Pastor’s Ponderings

“Of making many books there is no end…” – Ecclesiastes 12:12b

Elsewhere in this newsletter, you’ll find an article that I wrote recently concerning the vaccines for the COVID-19 coronavirus.  I’m running it again in the Trinity Times church newsletter in case you didn’t see the email I sent to the church family.  A scaled down version of that article also ran last week in the Times Record.

My ‘Pastor’s Ponderings’ article this month addresses three items – the Sunday morning preaching schedule for the next couple of months, a question I received from one of our members concerning a recent sermon and my answer, and the books I hope to read this year.

As to the upcoming preaching schedule, we’re winding down our study on “Romans: Christianity Explored.”  By my count, the final sermon in that series would be Sunday, March 7th.  That means we have six sermons remaining, counting the Sunday this newsletter was distributed (Sunday, January 31st).  I love it when our people express to me their interest in the present sermon series as well as the next one we will turn our attention to.  After prayerful reflection and encouragement, I’ve decided I’ll preach a short, 8 to 10 week sermon series on some of my favorite Old Testament passages.  These sermons will come from Old Testament books that I have not yet preached here at Trinity Church.  So that would rule out Genesis, Judges, 1 & 2 Samuel, Proverbs, Daniel, Jonah, Habakkuk, and Malachi for this brief study.

Following that 8 to 10 week series, we will look to a New Testament book (one much shorter than Romans!).  That short series would then be followed by another sermon series on a longer book of the New Testament (Matthew? Luke? Hebrews? I Corinthians?).  Stay tuned!

One recent Sunday, a dear member of our congregation asked what I meant by something I said in the sermon that morning from Romans Chapter 14.  The question – “What does it mean that ‘we don’t have to exercise our freedoms to enjoy them?’  If I give up doing something for the sake of protecting others, how can I also enjoy doing that, if I’m not doing that?” 

My response – “A good question you raise.  It is the enjoyment of helping our weaker brother (or sister).  Not exercising freedoms while the weaker ‘other’ is still growing can bring enjoyment to the stronger brother (or sister).  It is a time of loving the weaker ‘other’ through sacrificing our freedom so they don’t stumble.  In time, we could have opportunity to enjoy the freedom with him/her.”  In other words, this is a perfect scenario to help disciple a weaker ‘other.’ 

That answer was satisfactory for the inquirer.  I’m always encouraged when people seek to understand something I’ve said, written, or done, as opposed to using the time to criticize.  I really appreciated the sincerity and love that compelled this person to ask the question.

The last part of my article is a list of the books I hope to read this year (I never have enough time, and I always have too many books!!)  Here we go:

  • Pastors and Their Critics: A Guide to Coping with Criticism in the Ministry by Joel Beeke.
  • Is It Abuse? A Biblical Guide to Identifying Domestic Abuse and Helping Victims by Darby Strickland.
  • Gentle and Lowly: The Heart of Christ for Sinners and Sufferers by Dane Ortlund.
  • Does God Care How We Worship? by Ligon Duncan.
  • Devoted to God’s Church: Core Values for Christian Fellowship by Sinclair Ferguson.
  • The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self: Cultural Amnesia, Expressive Individualism, and the Road to Sexual Revolution by Carl Trueman.
  • Killing Crazy Horse: The Merciless Indian Wars in America by Bill O’Reilly.
  • Pacific Crucible: War at Sea in the Pacific, 1941 to 1942 by Ian W. Toll.
  • The British are Coming: The War for America, Lexington to Princeton, 1775-1777 by Rick Atkinson.

That’s it for this month.  Pray for our church and those we’ve not seen in some time.  Keep inviting people to attend worship and believe in Jesus.  See you Sunday! 
Pastor Daren

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