"Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly" (James 3:1). At the end of the age, every teacher of the Bible will give an account for every word spoken on His behalf.
In his book, The Preacher's Catechism, Lewis Allen gives every Bible teacher six questions to assess whether they are being faithful and obedient in their teaching and/or preaching. If you are blessed to be a teacher of the Bible, read and reflect:
I love gospel tracts. In many respects, I "grew up" on them.
I was converted in a small baptist church that set out a table in the foyer every week full of gospel tracts for people to use during their week. These gospel tracts were small, two-page explanations of the gospel and gave church members another tool in their evangelism efforts throughout the week. Gospel tracts proved to be an easy way for Christians to share the gospel on-the-go in a concise, clear way.
"All-in-all, let's be Christians consistently spreading the good news of the gospel."
R.A. Torrey, an evangelist from the late-19th century, was convinced that gospel tracts were one of the best tools for evangelism. In his book, Methods of Christian Work, he gave six advantages in using gospel tracts:
The problem, however, is that many of the gospel tracts I've found are either 1) not doctrinally accurate, 2) too big/long, or 3) just plain cheesy (Oh, I've got stories...). As a result, I recently spent time writing and printing my own gospel tract. Below is a copy of what is written on the front and back of the business card-sized tract. All-in-all, let's be Christians consistently spreading the good news of the gospel.
Who is God?
God created everything—including us (Genesis 1:1). He is "merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in love and faithfulness" (Exodus 34:6-7) and perfectly holy and just (Isaiah 6:3).
Who Am I?
God created us to delight in Him and live according to His commands for His glory (Micah 6:8; Matthew 22:37-40). Tragically, we have chosen to rebel against this good God to live for ourselves—this is called sin (Romans 3:23). We try to find out identity in our jobs, sexuality, socio-economic status, and anything else we believe will give us worth (Romans 1:21-23). One thing is evident: our world is desperately broken because of sin and we are no different.
The Good News
Because of our rebellion against God, we deserve His wrath (Romans 1:18). The good news—the gospel—is that God, in His mercy, sent His only son Jesus Christ to live the life we couldn't live, die the death we deserve, and rise from the dead so that we might be forgiven (John 3:16). By placing our faith in Jesus, we become God's children and we are given a hope that exceeds anything the world has to offer (Romans 5:1-5).
"God, I know I can't save myself, and I know you have promised to save those who turn from their sin and put their faith in you alone. I trust you to forgive my sins and give me eternal life. Thank you for dying in my place to make my salvation possible!"
I've read through about ten to fifteen books this Summer. The following list contains the five I would recommend.
We don’t do anything in life without motivation.
We mow the grass because we don’t want the neighbors calling the H.O.A. We take the car in for an oil change because we like having a car that runs. We exercise because we don’t want to be overweight.
The same is true of reading. The reason why many people don’t read books on a regular basis is just that they aren’t motivated to do so. They don’t see the benefit or use of reading. After all, life is so busy — family, work, church, other commitments — that reading seems like something that “less busy” people do. So, why should people make the time and take the effort to read books?
When was the last time you slowed down enough to fill up your soul with a good book?
1. Our souls don’t replenish themselves.
Reading is a way we can pour fresh life into our often-weary souls. John Piper was well aware of this when he wrote, “I, for one, am not a self-replenishing spring. My bucket leaks, even when it is not pouring. My spirit does not revive on the run. Without the time of unhurried reading and reflection, beyond the press of (life), my soul shrinks… Few things frighten me more than the beginnings of barrenness that come from frenzied activity with little spiritual food and meditation.” When was the last time you slowed down enough to fill up your soul with a good book?
2. Words change lives.
In God’s wisdom, He has designed words to inspire, create, and reveal ideas that revolutionize life as we know it. Books do not change lives, ideas do. And ideas flow from well-ordered, sequenced words. Have you ever stopped to consider the Bible itself is a deposit of words that reveal glorious realities about eternity, death, heaven, hell, life, and God Himself? And while there is no other book divinely inspired like the Bible, all books contain ideas that can be life-shaping, even life-altering, when reading in light of The Book. How many life-altering ideas are left unfound simply because we don’t read?
Martyn Lloyd-Jones once remarked that reading is a fight for one’s life. He’s right. If we are to be growing, flourishing people that impact others we must read books — our souls depend on it. So, pick up a book, put down the phone, and read.
The Bible has much to say, both explicitly and implicitly, about husbands loving their wives.
Husbands are told to “love your wives, as Christ loved the church” (Eph. 5:25), “live with your wives in an understanding way” (1 Pet. 3:7), “enjoy life with the wife you love” (Eccles. 9:9), and etc. But perhaps the most startling verse in all of the Bible in regards to the spousal love of a husband is 1 Timothy 3:4-5, “He (the overseer) must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his household, how will he care for God’s church?” Simply put, Paul tells Timothy that if a husband is not shepherding his wife, he cannot shepherd God’s people.
No ministry is more important than your wife.
So, here’s the question: how do husbands shepherd their wives?
For starters, a husband should know the state of his wife’s soul and how he can better serve her. To do this, every husband should ask his wife four questions on a regular basis:
1. How are you encouraged in your faith and life right now?
In what ways are you seeing the grace of God at work in your life? How are you seeing God at work in the lives of those around you? What events or circumstances have brought joy to your heart recently?
2. How are you discouraged in your faith and life right now?
What sins are you struggling to overcome? In what ways are you battling unbelief? What recent situations or circumstances have siphoned joy from your life (at work, home, church, etc.)?
3. How can I pray for you?
What are some specific passages of Scripture I can pray for you? Is there something specific you want me to ask the Lord to do on your behalf?
4. How can I grow as a Husband, Father, and Christian?
In what ways can I be more nurturing, caring, and compassionate? Is there anything I’ve done recently that has concerned or hurt you? If I were to focus on one area of my life to change in the next thirty days, what would it be?
Husbands, no ministry is more important than your wife. You are called to shepherd your Bride — anticipating the day when the Great Shepherd will finish His good work in her (Phil. 1:6). Until then, spend your life loving, serving, and nurturing your wife to the glory and praise of God.