“Feed My Sheep”‘

15 When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” 16 He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep”.

John 21:15-17 (ESV)

We know with the story:

7 of Jesus’ Disciples had returned to their previous occupation of fishing (for real fish instead of men), had fished all night and caught nothing. A man (Jesus) on the shore and called out to them and told them to toss their net on the right side of the boat instead of the left, which had not resulted in a single minnow, much less any fish. They obeyed and had such a haul they couldn’t get all the fish into their boat.

Once ashore, the man who had called out to them already had a good breakfast going and invited them to join him. It was then that they recognized their Lord. After a hearty breakfast Jesus took the opportunity to Peter three times, “Do you love me?” Naturally Peter answered in the affirmative all three times, and even might have wondered why Jesus asked so many times! We are not told. We are given Jesus’ direction to Peter after each answer:

“Feed my lambs.”

“Tend my sheep.”

“Feed my sheep.”

You might say that Jesus told Peter to become a sheep herder! He told him to take care of sheep, young ones and older ones. Has that ever happened to you? Read a story many times and suddenly something literally jumps out at you?

First of all Jesus said “Feed MY sheep. Those needing care and nurture belong to Christ, not to Peter, not a particular group of believers, but to Jesus himself! Pastors, Sunday school teachers, Bible study leaders, you are to care for JESUS property! That knowledge should give you great pause, should it not?

Secondly, Jesus told Peter to “Feed my SHEEP, tending them and nurturing them to maturity. That should tell us in no uncertain terms the purpose of the church, Christ’s church, not yours. The mission of the church is the care and feeding of the sheep of God. Should ‘goats’ be invited and welcome in our churches? By all means! The main reason the church exists however, is for the ‘sheep of God’, not the’ goats of the world’.

I listened to one popular megachurch pastor tell his congregation one Sunday morning “This is the last Sunday this church is about YOU!” No kidding. While most of today’s so called ‘pastors’ won’t go quite that far, they ‘manage’ their churches with the same mindset, offering all sorts of ‘worldly’ enticements to make following Jesus a really cool/hip thing to do. But listen to what Jesus said to his disciples near the very end of his earthly ministry:

“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.” (John 15:18)

The ‘world’ in Jesus’ time hated him and the world in our time will hate us when we stand for the true gospel that Christ came to save men from their sin, not to fulfill their wildest dreams.

Then we have the Apostle Paul who, by his own admission, preached nothing but Christ crucified for the sins of men:

“For we (gospel messengers) are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life.” (2 Cor: 15-16)

In other words, the aroma of Christ is sweet to the ‘sheep of God’ but that same aroma of Christ smells like death and destruction to the ‘goats of the world’.

So why do we do what we do? We try to make Christ and his gospel smell sweet to the stony hearted unbeliever to get them through the doors and then tell them that Christ died for their self-fulfillment rather than for their sin. After all, we know that if we start talking about sin the ‘bait and switch’ will be on and oh so obvious to the goats you lured through the church doors. Unless God is doing a supernatural ‘heart work’, they’re walking and they ain’t coming back any time soon!

What’s the answer to this mess? Whether it’s a church setting or personal evangelism, it’s really quite simple.

1. Pray that God open hearts to hear the true gospel.

2. Preach the true gospel.

3. Leave the ‘saving’ to God.

Christian Military Fellowship

Christian Military Fellowship is a unique ministry IN the military rather than just TO the military. I’ve been connected to CMF for a little over 30 years. They connect military believers worldwide, have a powerful prayer network, and give away Christian growth resources, including the discipleship material that followed me wherever I went and that I now use when God provides the opportunity to help young soldiers grow in their faith. If you have ever been in the military, or know anyone currently serving, would you pass along a good link?  The most unique thing about CMF is the lack of paid field staff, like larger ministries. The field staff is made up of men and women in uniform sharing the gospel and making disciples. That’s one of the reasons I connected to CMF – to become a government paid ‘missionary’ in uniform. I would be able to take the gospel to places a Chaplain might never be able to set foot.

via Christian Military Fellowship.

Youth Yoke: The Necessity of Hardship for Young Men

yoke1Hardship comes to us via every avenue of life, from beginning to end. Affliction is no more avoidable than air. And thankfully, Scripture has much to say about it. But one passage that has often redemptively grabbed me is from Lamentations 3.

“It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth. Let him sit alone in silence when it is laid on him; let him put his mouth in the dust—there may yet be hope.” (Lam 3:27-29). Now, the degree of hardship faced during the time of this verse exceeds what many of us will face. Even so, the verse illustrates a timeless principle on the topic of affliction: it is good for us young men (“young” could refer to under 40ish +/-) to experience a measure of hardship’s yoke.

But why? What is it about us young men such that affliction is particularly profitable? For the most part, it’s simply because we are young. We lack the full seasoning of sanctification. Our spiritual development is many stages from completion. The flesh has undergone less mortification. So, in God’s good sovereignty, affliction’s yoke in youth is a necessity which can move us along in the school of Christ. There’s nothing easy about it. But when our loving God grooms us with hardship, we young men can profit greatly. As a friend and mentor, Ray Mehringer, once said to me, “It’s the ‘ABC’s’ of Christianity: Adversity Builds Character.” And character building is the need of the hour for many of us young men.

Oak-sapling-Quercus-robur-001By God’s grace, some are well-trained in hardship’s academy. For others of us, we may need to simply enter the school or re-take a few classes. For those like me who have often flunked in the school of struggle, here are a few reminders on the necessity of hardship, especially for us younger guys:

  1. Hardship reminds us that God is God.

As young men, we do not naturally gravitate towards respecting that God reigns solo on the throne of the universe. We are natural-born sovereignty contenders.

Further, as young guys, we sometimes glory in beholding what we’re capable of. Things like physical strength, energy, vigor, and the like; we suppose that they are something of cosmic value. Because they helped us bench more, play a sport well, experience a measure of success, that they carry sovereignty. We can accomplish things and get stuff done by our own strength.

Affliction is good, then, because it reminds us that our young-manness exercises no sovereign sway. God is God. And in his love for us, he may hand us hardship so that we cease secret self-admiration and bow low before our sovereign God.

  1. Hardship grows us in the concept of Christ’s lordship.

“Lord.” Generally, the word refers to one who lawfully owns other people as property, someone of supremacy, or one who possessed a right to individually rule over others. A lord was someone to whose requests you did not dare say, “No.” “Lord” is a word that has long-passed out of cultural style because submission is out of style because self-worship is in style. Like a stubborn donkey, our decadence can hardly handle the concept. We are far too awesome and important; we matter too much for lordship. Plus, with the internet and social media, everyone and their words radically boosts their matter-meter. If we look hard enough, everyone can find a place in which we can function as a little-lord. But it’s spiritual smoke and mirrors.

Christ is the Lord. The word appears about 700 times in the New Testament; far more than any other title. And the term, “Lord,” captures in large part our relationship with our loving God. It means that he possesses extraordinary and unrivaled supremacy: he will do things his way at all times in all places with all people. The lordship of Christ is perhaps the most necessary thing to know about Jesus. And hardship serves that knowledge.

Suffering is not a spiritual boot-camp given to us young men so that we can narcissistically prove ourselves. It is a spiritual endowment given to us so that we can submissively humble ourselves. As we embrace it, God grooms us in the concept of lordship.

  1. Hardship reminds us that we are extraordinarily frail in every way.

One of the things we enjoy most about our youth is our not-so-strong strength. We love what we can do. We love what we can do to be known.

Such impulses evidence that, in our brief existence, we may not have had enough encounters with our frailty and God’s power. However, even a brief consideration of God’s creation is convincing. For example, among trillions of other things, Jesus made this thing out in space called a “black hole.” A black hole is so strong that light moving at 186,000 miles per second is not fast or tough enough to evade its grasp. How fast does something have to be moving to evade your grasp?

Yet, if you’ve been stubborn like me, even the daily demonstrations of our weakness and God’s strength in creation are not convincing enough. We need something more. As our perfect Father, God will see to it that we decreasingly operate in a delusional state of personal potency.

He may ordain some physical weakness, sickness, or disease. Now, the presence of illness does not automatically mean God is disciplining us for some form of pride. But in either case, such great difficulties serve redemptive purposes to convince us of our frailty, which drives us to him. Young men need to know that they are frail.

  1. Hardship reminds us that we should not expect Eden-like circumstances in this life.

normalAs I look back, I have many embarrassing moments in my ministry (and certainly more to come). Many of them bloomed from an unseasoned heart, ignorant that life outside of seminary is not edenic. Those first few years of things like ministry mistakes, people leaving the church, coming under slander and scorn; it was a shock to my infantile soul.

Other things like financial hardship, losing jobs, non-ideal housing and family circumstances, not getting to work your dream job, mistreatment at work and in the home; often young men suppose that these are bizarre things between Genesis 2 and Revelation 20. Yet they, and worse, are status quo.

So, one of the great ways we can position ourselves for a stable, fruitful life in Christ is to settle into the fact that life now is the photo-negative of heaven. Too often we unnecessarily compound our own discouragement because we make demands on this world that only heaven will meet.

So then, a measure of hardship reminds us of the ubiquitous thorns and thistles which we like to pretend are non-existent. By God’s grace, we can embrace things like little ministry fruit. That very well could be God’s best for us for where we are spiritually. It very well could be his mercy to withhold that which would lure our corrupt cravings for glory. If we experienced too much success, we could easily become glory thieves.

  1. Hardship reminds us that we are not great.

J.C. Ryle once wrote, “Pride never reigns anywhere so powerfully as in the heart of a young man.” We begin life with excessive-self-inflation syndrome. And in young men, many of us seem to have a bad case of it.

Even in Christian ministry, many of us quietly cling to the buzz of praise and recognition. It’s such a fun high. Some of us, for example, love social media because we can secretly bask in our pseudo-greatness, beholding the retweets, compliments, and flattery. We can make people believe that we are humble, yet still cyber crowd-surf behind the facade.

Young men, stop thinking you are great. You are not. Heaven laments at the loathsome spectacle when any young man meditates on his own mythical greatness.

But in heaven’s mercy, affliction eradicates self-inflation syndrome. Hardship serves to pull us down from the proverbial crowd surfing. Because he loves us, God may pull the praise out from underneath us so that we fall flat on the floor. At that point, we have begun to assume a posture of worship. It’s as Thomas Watson once said: “When God lays men upon their backs, then they look up to heaven.”

  1. Hardship reminds us that our usefulness depends entirely on God’s mercy.

A bit of success in youth is a potential hazard. Temptation can whisper that our might made it happen. We begin to believe the praise. And we look at God’s glory with covetous eyes.

young manIt’s then that affliction can shake us out of the spiritual stupor. John Newton put it this way when he once said to a young pastor, “Many distressing exercises you will probably meet with upon the best supposition to preserve in you a due sense of your own unworthiness and to convince you that your ability, your acceptance, and your usefulness depends upon a power beyond your own.”

God may raise gifted preachers or writers or athletes or engineers or doctors from dirt. In fact, he does it all the time. Clay pots are not indispensable. “But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us” (2 Cor 4:7).

  1. Hardship renders us more useful for God.

God has such great purposes for us. He loves us so much that he will settle for nothing less than conforming us daily to the image of the greatest Person in the universe: the Lord Jesus Christ.

But young men often suppose they are quite OK the way they are. So, we are slow to change. We are both blind and resistant to our woeful inadequacy before God to live a life for his glory. And many, if not most, of us possess little usefulness to God until we are older and have weathered many storms.

sanctificationHardship is often God’s chisel with which he bashes away anything on us that does not resemble Christ.

Other seasoned saints have observed this far before us:

Thomas Watson: “God’s smiting his people is like the musician’s striking upon the violin, which makes it put forth melodious sound. How much good comes to the saints by affliction! When they are pounded they send forth their sweetest smell.”

Augustine: “Affliction is God’s flail to thresh off our husks; not to consume, but to refine.”

  1. Hardship fosters perseverance in our lives.

As young men, there is one thing which is a scarcity in us all: perseverance. That is not to say that young men will not persevere. Rather, by virtue of our youth, we have not demonstrated much perseverance.

Especially for us younger guys, by God’s grace, a measure of struggle serves us well by eradicating pride and entitlement and infusing perseverance and humility.

  1. Hardship deepens our love for God’s word.

Since youth usually means less experience with hardship, Bible verses on suffering sometimes remain two-dimensional to many of us young men. We read them, hear them preached, and observe seasoned saints cling to them. But in our spiritual infancy, they are still a bit out of our reach. We’ve yet to put them into practice. And it’s not entirely our fault. We’re just young and inexperienced.

So, affliction charters us into biblical territory which we’ve seen and heard, but yet to thoroughly navigate.

Places like Psalm 119 become frequently visited territory:

“This is my comfort in my affliction, that your promise gives me life” (Ps 119:50).

“Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep your word” (Ps 119:67).

“It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes” (Ps 119:71).

Oftentimes we erroneously say, “He makes the Bible come alive to us.” But the Bible is living (Heb 4:12). Hardship profits us because it makes us come alive to the Bible.

  1. Hardship deepens us in God’s great sustaining grace.

It’s embarrassing to admit, but I have personally been frightened at verses like, “Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Tim 3:12), and, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness” (Jas 1:2-3). But my fears of those verses reveal a deeper immaturity: I know little about God’s great sustaining grace for his children in trials. Really, it’s a sinful fear of God.

But as he holds our hand through various valleys, we learn an extraordinary lesson. Our weakness doesn’t change much. But, our understanding of his sustaining grace does. The fear of the unknown morphs to a trust in the Known. We learn that our suffering and weakness are not detrimental, but fundamental, to our intimacy with and usefulness for Christ.

We never have a “bring it on” attitude towards affliction. Rather, it is more of, “God, I would never choose this for myself, but as a young guy, I know that this is your good, fatherly care for me. And by your competent, intimate care alone, I will walk through this.”

We learn the priceless truth: “’My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (2 Cor 12:9).

Many more benefits come from God’s good hand in hardship. We could talk about, for example, how suffering weans us off the world and its vanity, increases our compassion for others in affliction, sets our compass more towards heaven and an eternal perspective, makes us more malleable and calm in the face of other hardship, and reminds us of the far greater sufferings of Christ in propitiating the wrath of God in our place.

Hardship is so helpful for us young men because it convinces us of our radical ordinariness. From the soil of ordinariness blooms a pure worship of, and usefulness for, our extraordinary Savior, Jesus Christ. Therefore, let us bow under the glorious youth yoke that we might be more fully shaped into his image for the good pleasure of our Father.

by Eric Davis

Posted at The Cripplegate

Family Integrated Churches

Over at a certain blog from which I have been banned for daring to challenge the fact that they pretty much condemn and damn not only very real wrongs in the church, the individuals that are perceived as guilty without all the facts, as well as entire ‘movements’ such as homeschooling, anything close to Reformed theology, and yes, the Family Integrated Church movement, the latest rant is in fact against the National Center for Family-Integrated Churches (NCFIC). The NCFIC has a ‘Confession’ composed of ‘Articles’, and a ‘Wherefore we have resolved. . . .’ section based on the set of Articles, which can be read in their entirety here.

In the blog I mentioned above, I found this:

Below is one of the more troubling confessions in Article XI:

We affirm that there is no scriptural pattern for comprehensive age segregated discipleship, and that age segregated practices are based on unbiblical, evolutionary and secular thinking which have invaded the church.”

Well, it’s true that there is no model / pattern for age segregated discipleship activities in the Bible. It is also true that the idea for ‘age segregated discipleship’ had to have come from somewhere. If it’s not patterned nor seen in scripture, It must have been developed in the mind(s) of mere mortal men. Either they just dreamed it up out of thin air or they used an existing model that existed in secular society. Therefore, the only issue I would have for the above affirmation is the phrase “have ‘invaded’ the church”. In my mind ‘invaded’ implies malicious intent, and I don’t think there was any ‘malicious’ intent in the minds of those who invented Sunday School and Children’s Church. I think they were trying to fill a gap that existed because children weren’t being raised in the nurture and admonition of the Lord at home where parents have the biblical mandate to do so.

What troubles me is that the blog post author calls that Article a ‘troubling confession’, rather than examine it objectively. What follows is a bot of play-by-play about a particular Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC) Pastor who signed the FCIC Confession and the Presbytery to which his church belongs. That is an issue between the Pastor and the Presbytery, not something broadcast to the world to ‘prove’ how horrible the FCIC is, which is exactly what is intended. Listen to the NFCIC basher’s conclusion:

The NCFIC, in its attempt to have the perfect church ideology, has marginalized other traditional churches which have Sunday schools, youth groups, college groups, etc. This is the same kind of methodology we see from high-controlling and abusive groups:

  • black and white thinking
  • our way is the right way
  • everybody else is wrong
  • our way is the biblical way
  • our way is the godly way

In this kind of high-controlling environment, if you differ from these views, they will likely question what else in your belief system is off kilter. They may even question your salvation if you get too many “wrong” answers.

I give kudos to OPC presbytery for keeping this destructive ideology away from their church groups. It will be interesting to watch Kevin Swanson (The OPC Pastor) maneuver around this when he has been one of the loudest voices in the Family-Integrated Church movement.

All the NFCIC is doing is trying to be what they consider more biblical. The Article discussed at the beginning of this blog post is no more ‘troubling’ than saying that you can’t find anything in the NT that tells us to ‘give our hearts to Jesus’ or that you can’t find altar calls in the NT either. If there is anything that might be termed abusive it’s the OPC demanding a choice be made between the OPC and the NFCIC, however the OPC gets to set OPC rules and guidelines, and Pastor faces a decision it seems.

Charging the NCFIC of being a high-controlling and abusive group is completely without foundation, spurious and rotten to the core. Professing Christian who make such false charges bring shame upon the label ‘Christian’, if not upon the Savior they claim.

“Occupy Until I Come” – Jesus

“As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him (Jesus) privately, saying, ‘Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?’ And Jesus answered them, ‘See that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains.”

“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” (Matthew 24:3-14)

One cannot read the above passage without thinking about one or more recent newspaper articles and/or news broadcasts. False prophets and teachers in the church, wars and rumors of wars, nations at each other’s throats, natural disasters all over the world, increasing hatred against all things Christian, love growing cold – it’s all happening right before our eyes. I don’t need to get into the details.

Not only are these things happening, there are also a countless number of prognosticators who will tell us not only exactly when Jesus is coming back, they tell us what we should be doing in the midst of it all. We should be hoarding everything from foodstuff to guns and ammo according to the ‘survivalists’, mounting opposition campaigns or boycotts against all of the ungodly factions out there, or even taking back the country! We Christians can even find scripture passages to support our efforts, although not necessarily in their natural context in the Bible.

While I’m not taking a stand for or against any of the above, I am asking if the Bible tells us what we are to be doing in light of ‘these end days’. I think we are told how to respond – not only in the end days, but every day, until Jesus comes back as the judge of the Earth.

“And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come.” (Luke 19:13 KJV)

We know the rest of the story. The servants who invested the money given to them were commended, while the one who buried it for safekeeping it was chastised.

We are to ‘occupy’, (‘do business’ in more modern translations) until Jesus comes back. What business?, you ask. Jesus left no doubt their either:

“ And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations” (Matt 24:14)

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20)

No matter what our main occupation or situation in life might be, we are to be about the business of the gospel, proclaiming it and making disciples. We are to be about ‘investing’ the gospel in our own lives and in the lives of others. We should be continuously growing in our own knowledge of God and His Son, sitting under sound Biblical teaching, and at the same time pointing the lost around us to the Cross of Christ and helping other believers grow in their faith.

“Occupy Until I Come” – Jesus

This Year’s Motto

Courtesy of Truth For Life Ministries

“Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.” (Colossians 4:2 ESV)

It is interesting to consider how large a portion of the Bible is occupied with the subject of prayer, either in furnishing examples, enforcing precepts, or pronouncing promises. We scarcely open the Bible before we read, “People began to call upon the name of the LORD;”1 and just as we are about to close the volume, the “Amen” of an earnest supplication meets our ear.

Instances are plentiful. Here we find a wrestling Jacob–there a Daniel who prayed three times a day–and a David who with all his heart called upon his God. On the mountain we see Elijah; in the dungeon Paul and Silas. We have multitudes of commands, and myriads of promises. What does this teach us, but the sacred importance and necessity of prayer? We may be certain that whatever God has made prominent in His Word, He intended to be conspicuous in our lives. If He has said much about prayer, it is because He knows we have much need of it. So deep are our necessities that until we are in heaven we must not cease to pray.

Do you need nothing? Then I fear you do not know your poverty. Have you no mercy to ask of God? Then may the Lord’s mercy show you your misery! A prayerless soul is a Christless soul. Prayer is the lisping of the believing infant, the shout of the fighting believer, the requiem of the dying saint falling asleep in Jesus. It is the breath, the watchword, the comfort, the strength, the honor of a Christian. If you are a child of God, you will seek your Father’s face and live in your Father’s love.

Pray that this year you may be holy, humble, zealous, and patient; have closer communion with Christ, and enter more often into the banqueting-house of His love. Pray that you may be an example and a blessing to others, and that you may live more to the glory of your Master. The motto for this year must be, “Continue . . . in prayer.”

1Genesis 4:26

Know the Truth About Carrying the Cross

“Christ would have all who profess and call themselves Christians reminded that they must carry the cross. They must lay their account to be despised, afflicted and tried, like their Master. He would have no person enlisted on false pretenses. He would have it distinctly understood that there is a battle to be fought, and a race to be run – a work to be done, and many hard things to be endured – if we propose to follow Him. Salvation He is ready to bestow, without money and without price. Grace by the way, and glory in the end, shall be given to every sinner who comes to Him. But He would not have us ignorant that we shall have deadly enemies – the world, the flesh, and the devil – and that many will hate us, slander us, and persecute us, if we become His disciples. He does not wish to discourage us, but He does wish us to know the truth.”

~ J.C. Ryle

Expository Thoughts on the Gospels: Luke volume 1, [Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1986], 339. {Luke 9:57-62}

You probably won’t hear anything like the above quote preached from the stages of most of today’s megachurches. If what God has promised to those who would be his disciples is actually taught, instead of the promises of better jobs, great sex, awesome self-esteem, more ‘stuff’ than can be imagined. . . ad nauseum, the folks in the theater seats (with or without Starbucks and popcorn for the show) to pay for the buildings, great audio/visual equipment, television style sets, and all the ‘pastors’ listed on their Web Site. would vacate the premises faster than the crowd at a rock concert when the pyrotechnics set the stage on fire.

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Being Patient With a Young Christian

Let us settle it in our minds, that grace must have a beginning in every believer’s heart, and that we have no right to say a person has no grace, because it does not come to full ripeness at once. We do not expect a child to do the work of a full-grown man, though he may one day, if he lives long enough. We mast not expect a learner of Christianity to show the faith, and love, and knowledge of an old soldier of the cross. He may become by and bye a mighty champion of the truth. But at first we must give him time. There is great need of wisdom in dealing with young people about religion, and, generally speaking, with all young disciples.

Kindness, and patience, and gentleness, are of the first importance. We must not try to pour in the new wine too quickly, or it will run over. We must take them by the hand and lead them on gently. We must beware of frightening, or hurrying them, or pressing them on too fast. If they have only got hold of the main principles of the Gospel, let us not set them down as godless, because of a few lesser matters. We must bear with much weakness and infirmity, and not expect to find old heads on young shoulders, or ripe Christian experience in those who are only babes.

~ J.C. Ryle

Expository Thoughts on the Gospels: Luke volume 1, [Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1986], 156, 157. {Luke 5:33-39}

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