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Joe Fleener

Joe Fleener's Public Library

  • Rick Tyler, who told NBC: "It's mourning in America for conservatives. We lost our leader today."

  • Just like it’s not the pastor’s fault if a church member sins, it is not a church member’s fault if a pastor struggles. With that in mind I don’t think church people are responsible for a pastor’s struggle.
  • I want to retire a pastor
  • Every job has difficulties. This isn’t meant to compare struggles of other jobs. The pastor has some unique challenges that I don’t think anyone can fully relate to until they have walked in the shoes of a pastor.

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  • An enthusiastic group of 20-somethings from Immanuel Church of the Nazarene in Lansdale, Pennsylvania, recently gathered to share what they love about their congregation.
  • Wallace is 76 years old.

  • here's something very European about the South Island - and it's not to do with southerners rolling their Rs.

    Nine of the 10 spots with the highest proportion of Europeans among their populations are down south - and five of them are in Canterbury.

  • No work of art is more important than the Christian’s own life, and every Christian is cared upon to be an artist in this sense. … The Christian’s life is to be a thing of truth and also a thing of beauty in the midst of a lost and despairing world.”
  • There are many good ways to invest your time at this stage of life, but none is better than the pursuit of godliness.

  • Whether or not this story will ever be historically validated or not, the statement itself is one of the most profound biblical and theological truths; and, with Andy Stanley's recent outlandish rejection of this truth (take time to read the excellent critiques offered by David Prince and Mike Kruger), it is all the more important that we are settled on this issue when we come to answer the question, "How do I know that Jesus loves me?"
  • The problem with adopting a superstitious approach with regard to the love of God is that such an approach does not account for the hardship, trials and suffering experienced by those upon whom God has set His great love in Christ
  • The only objective evidence of the saving love of God and Christ for His people is the cross on which Jesus died.

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  • “If the churches came to understand that the greatest threat to faith today is not hedonism but distraction, perhaps they might begin to appeal anew to a frazzled digital generation,” Sullivan writes. “’Christian leaders seem to think that they need more distraction to counter the distraction. Their services have degenerated into emotional spasm, their spaces drowned with light and noise and locked shut throughout the day, when their darkness and silence might actually draw those whose minds and souls have grown web-weary.”
  • The digital revolution has made visible a spiritual problem that has rocked our churches for a very long time — the idea that identity is found in frenzied activity.
  • Perhaps this is one reason why — one after the other — young pastors in the fastest-growing segments of evangelical Christianity seem to be falling apart at midlife.

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  • It’s not the existence or even the quantity of conflict, but the inability or unwillingness to deal with it when it arises, and this despite the Bible’s clear teaching that Christians are to resolve conflict and how Christians are to resolve conflict
  • Generally, such conflicts are not resolved through a formal process of confrontation, but through growth in Christian character and deliberate expression of that character. If you find yourself in a conflict of differentness, learn to listen, learn to appreciate rather than fear or resent the differences in other believers
  • Once more, conflicts of this nature are not resolved by a formal process of confrontation. They, too, are addressed through Christian character

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  • We have learned to find our identity in our velocity. And that’s not just physically dangerous, but spiritually devastating.

  • Indeed, in many ways, his suggested cure becomes problematic enough that one begins to wonder whether it just might be more troubling than the disease itself.
  • While one sympathizes with Stanley’s desire to remove obstacles to belief in Jesus, his solution does not solve the problem.  In fact, it creates even bigger ones.  It becomes (as we shall see below) the equivalent of sawing off the branch you’re sitting on.
  • But, just because it is possible to believe in Jesus apart from believing the Bible doesn’t mean that is the preferable approach.  One does not follow from the other. And it certainly doesn’t mean it is dangerous or problematic to believe in Jesus on the basis of the Bible.

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  • Allen begins by distinguishing between three related terms: called to minister, called to ministry, and called to the ministry
    • Do you desire the ministry?
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    • Does your character meet God’s expectations?
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    • Is your household in order?
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    • Has God gifted you to teach and preach his Word?
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    • Does your church affirm your calling?
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    • Do you love the people of God?
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    • Are you passionate about the gospel and the Great Commission?
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    • Are you engaged in fruitful ministry?
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    • Are you ready to defend the faith?
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    • Are you willing to surrender?
  • The church is in desperate need of men who are willing, who are skilled, who are called.

  • "We asked our summit pastors, 'What obstacles stand in the way of your fruitful, growing walk with Christ?' They focused on one primary issue: workaholism. Their workaholism largely stems from two sources: the belief that they never work hard enough (and that others work harder than they do) and the assumption that they are responsible for everything that happens in the church... [Pastors] were greatly concerned that, to the layperson, their flexible schedules make it look like they are goofing off. While studies we referenced earlier show that pastors work every bit as hard--if not harder--than other professionals, the anxiety that pastors carry of having to demonstrate that they are "earning their keep" is pervasive" (34).
  • It seems that the public, and more narrowly the church, have lost sight of the rigors of pastoral ministry. It wasn't too long ago ministers were somewhat esteemed as educated men who maintained a good work ethic. Now, people often wonder if we are bi-vocational, not because we need additional income but because ministry isn't laborious
  • in some respects it seems the end of conviction is holiness while the result of guilt is shame and despair. The former causes you to turn to the Lord and reacquaint yourself with him. The latter, in many instances, causes you to retreat from Jesus and fill the perceived void with other things (e.g., work).

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  • Andy Stanley preached a controversial sermon a couple weeks ago arguing that the Bible should not be the basis of our Christian faith

  • Without question, my understanding of scripture on these matters has been decisively shaped by Mark Dever and the ministry of 9Marks
  • As cultural Christianity disintegrates and the American church faces a culture arrayed against it, evangelicals are sensing the need to retrench and prepare for this new day. My hunch is that “The Benedict Option” for evanglicals will end up including the 9Marks. What a smiling providence from God that we have over a decade’s worth of solid resources from 9Marks to teach us how to sojourn faithfully (1 Pet. 1:1).

  • Young people who regularly engage with a religious institution tend to be healthier and happier. 

    Frequent church attendance has been associated with lower rates of smoking and drinking, a greater tendency to exercise, better sleeping patterns, a reduced risk of cancer, and improved cardiovascular health. 

  • The Reverend Canon Ben Truman, 31, is a strong advocate for the benefits of institutionalised religion.

    Truman, who has been the Curate at the Anglican Parish of Lincoln,  southwest of Christchurch, for almost a year, said that for him, the church created a sense of community.

    "I really do believe that everyone does struggle with those big life questions. And that we all do go on some kind of spiritual journey. 

    "For people who aren't going to church or to the mosque, well they have to go on that journey alone. 

    "When you go to church you have a whole community of people to help answer those questions with you. To talk and debate and discuss with. And I think that is helpful.

    "Not to mention the fact that when you are going through a tough time you are going to be surrounded by people who want you to do well and who will support you."

  • Only the Netherlands and Belgium permit euthanasia for patients under the age of 18.

    In the Netherlands, a competent patient between the ages of 16 and 18 may request euthanasia or assisted suicide. The parent or guardian does not have a veto, but must be consulted. Competent patients aged between 12 and 16 may also qualify, but only if their parent or guardian consents.

    In Belgium, a competent patient under the age of 18 may request euthanasia with parental consent. Additional scrutiny of the child's competence is required, and suffering based on a psychiatric disorder is excluded.

  • In contrast, research carried out in Flanders, Belgium found the rate prior to legalisation was unclear, with separate surveys reporting rates of 0.3% of all deaths in the region (in 2001-02) and 1.1% (in 1998). The rate has risen steadily since legalisation in 2002 to 4.6% of all deaths in the most recent survey in 2013.

  • It is not sufficient … to instruct the church in certain positions of Scripture or to make them memorize a great deal of Scripture. In addition to this, they must possess a doctrine of Scripture as a whole. It is only if men see clearly that Scripture is what the orthodox doctrine says it is that they will, by the grace of God, be safeguarded against every wind of doctrine that so easily besets us (240).
  • prolegomena (from the Greek prolegein meaning, “say beforehand). Here the more foundational material is presented from which all other doctrines will be elucidated.
  • We must, therefore, be self-conscious of our doctrine of Scripture when formulating our theology, whether that be exegetical, biblical or systematic.

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  • Equal Opportunity Act, making it unlawful for religious organisations to not employ persons on account of them holding to different religious views to those believed by the organisation.

  • I hate to admit that the title of this blog post too often describes my household. I never (or at least it seems that way to me) lose my temper with my wife, my staff, or my congregation. But sadly, I too often feel (and act?) like that little Anger guy from Inside Out when it comes to my kids. Too many frustrated sighs and raised voices and sharp tones (and that’s just from the parents!).
  • Self-Control
  • Predictability

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