1. In addition to talking with this pastor friend about different coffees, we also talked briefly about how pastoral ministry has changed since we both started pastoring some thirty plus years ago. We both agreed it has changed quite a bit! One reason for this change is due to the changes we are seeing in our culture, which is moving further away from many of the Christian values we hold. Back when I was finishing up my doctoral degree, I took a course on postmodernism (the prof was D. A. Carson and the primary text was his book, The Gagging of God). The course was very helpful in understanding both the threats and opportunities postmodernism brought about for the proclamation of the Gospel. That was back in 2001 when I took that class. Now, some 16 years later, we have seen the logical outcome of postmodernism in our society today. I am referring to what many are now calling, "post-truth." This so called "post-truth" has so impacted western society (especially in the political realm) that the Oxford Dictionary named it its "Word of the Year."
Now just what is "post-truth?" The Oxford Dictionary defines it as "an adjective defined as ‘relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief." So given this reality ... what does this mean for proclaiming the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ? For starters, it means that we as Christ followers must firm up our grip on the truth of the Scriptures. It is only as we get this truth and then live it that we will be able to give it away! We cannot allow the view of truth held by our society to weaken our own view of truth. In addition, living in a "post-truth" world should also serve to remind us that we MUST seek to share the Gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit (and this has ALWAYS been the case). Only the Spirit of God can open up the eyes and minds of those who are blind to the truth. This leads me to ask, what are YOU doing to get to know God's Word better AND walking more in step with HIS Spirit?
If you would like to read more about this topic, I recommend you take some time to read Why Oxford Dictionary's Word of 2016 Matters by Ravi Zacharias.
2. Also at yesterday's breakfast, I reconnected with a former college friend whom I had not seen since college days! Given that he graduated a year ahead of me ... doing the math ... we had not been together for some forty years. As soon as he shared his name during our time of self introductions, I was wondering ... "Could this be the Bill Bateman that I went to college with?" Sure enough, as soon as the words of the closing prayer echoed into silence, he and I made a bee line for one another ... and yep! He was the Bill Bateman of my past (I got to know Bill well as
|Bill is on far right ... I am on far left.|
we sang in the singing group Joy together - my sophomore year and his junior year - photo above). We had little time to talk after the breakfast so we parted with a pledge to get together soon. I was thrilled to see that he is actively engaged in pastoral ministry and look forward to hearing his story.
All of us have stories, don't we. My story is not yours and yours is not mine. But our stories will often explain who we are. I fear that far too often we make judgments about people and what they do without knowing their stories. I believe one of the best things we can do to build relationships with the various people in our lives is to take the time to hear their stories! And as we listen (and I mean listen well) ... we may have opportunities to speak the truth of the Gospel into their lives (with grace, seasoned with salt, of course - Colossians 4:6).
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