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  • God’s Mission Has a Church: An Interview with Ed Stetzer Article by Ed Stetzer

    FROM TABLETALK | January 2014

    Tabletalk: Please describe how you became a Christian and your current ministry. Ed Stetzer: I grew up on Long Island, outside of New York City, in a nominal Irish Catholic home. My sister was the first in my family to hear the gospel and trust Christ. She rode a church bus from our home in Levittown to a small congregation nearby. She heard about grace and mercy and began to share the gospel with the rest of us. My mother soon became a Christian, shortly before we moved from New York to Florida. I saw something in my mom that … View Resource

  • The Preacher’s Character Article by Rick Gamble

    FROM TABLETALK | July 2013

    The Apostle Paul demonstrated how we can love God and others in our speech. He used words that could sting and rebuke as well as heal and comfort. His ministry was one of words—speaking God’s very own Word. His companion Luke painted a moving portrait that connected the importance of a minister’s words with his ministry and gives great insight on the preacher’s character. Paul had ministered the word successfully in Ephesus and called for the finest fruit of that work, the elder preachers, to come and hear his final advice (Acts 20:17–38). Paul gave an … View Resource

  • A Pastor’s Love for Christ Article by Nicholas Batzig

    FROM TABLETALK | May 2013

    Dr. John H. Skilton was professor of New Testament at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia for almost fifty-eight years (1939–1998). He was one of the most scholarly men in the church. Rumors have circulated over the years that he had memorized the entire Greek New Testament, together with every textual variant. His doctoral dissertation, “The Translation of the New Testament into English, 1881–1950,” which he lost on a public bus in Philadelphia and then reconstructed from memory, shows something of his unique breadth of knowledge in theology and linguistics. In addition, John served as the editor of The Westminster Theological … View Resource

  • One Family Under God Article by Tom Ascol

    FROM TABLETALK | March 2013

    He was asking a question that I had heard multiple times during my years as a pastor: “Do you have children’s church?” This time, instead of giving an extensive explanation for our practice of not segregating our church worship gatherings by ages, I decided to give a brief and accurate yet intentionally provocative answer. Here’s how it went: “Yes, we do. Every Sunday.” “Great. Can you describe how it is structured?” “Sure. We have singing, prayer, Scripture reading, giving, and teaching. We also observe the Lord’s Supper monthly, and periodically we observe baptism.” “That sounds interesting. Are … View Resource

  • The Call to Ministry Article by Geoffrey Thomas

    FROM TABLETALK | November 2012

    Who will possibly stay in a relationship with a girlfriend or boyfriend “until death us do part” unless there is a deep devotion to that one person above all others, a commitment that is based on comprehensive knowledge and respect? That is the essence of marriage, leaving all others and cleaving to one until God shall separate by death. Who will stay in the Christian ministry for one’s entire working life unless one loves this work above all others, being unable to do anything else than preach the gospel and pastor the people of God to whom he preaches … View Resource

  • The Pastor – His Identity and Authority Article by John White

    We have ceased to think theologically about the ministry. Instead, we characterize it almost exclusively in functional or institutional terms. There are at least two reasons for this shift in emphasis. On the one hand there are the new developments in clinical psychology and counseling procedures, and on the other the requests of parishioners, the denominational programs, and the culture of the local community. Much has been written about various aspects of pastoral theology, but there is a remarkable scarcity of literature that explores the theological issues that lie behind it. The doyen of modern pastoral methods, Seward Hiltner, has … View Resource

  • The Coming of the Kingdom Article by R.C. Sproul

    FROM TABLETALK | March 2012

    The gospel of Mark is notable for its lack of extended accounts of Jesus’ teaching. Furthermore, Mark gives us noticeably fewer parables than do Matthew and Luke. However, in chapter 4 of his gospel, Mark records four parables. He begins with the lengthy parable of the sower, then follows with three short, pithy parables, each clearly communicating one central idea, as do most parables. All three of these parables teach us something about the kingdom of God. In 4:26–29, Mark writes: And he said, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground … View Resource

  • The Heresy of Self-Centeredness Article by John MacArthur

    FROM TABLETALK | March 2012

    Self-centeredness has no place in the church. That ought to go without saying. But from the dawn of the Apostolic era until today, self-love in all its forms has plagued the fellowship of the saints. A classic early example of out-of-control self-centeredness is seen in the case of Diotrephes. He is mentioned in 3 John 9–10, where the Apostle says: “I have written something to the church, but Diotrephes, who likes to put himself first, does not acknowledge our authority… . He is talking wicked nonsense against us. And not content with that, he refuses to welcome the brothers, and also … View Resource

  • It’s Not About You Article by Eric Landry

    FROM TABLETALK | March 2012

    After a particularly difficult marriage counseling session early in my first year of ministry, I called a mentor to debrief and decompress. He patiently heard me out and then offered a convicting assessment: “It sounds as if you’re more concerned about being right than you are about the couple you are counseling.” I knew immediately that he was right, but I made a mild protest and changed the subject. I didn’t want to face that truth about myself. It’s still hard to face the facts, but I can see now that in many different areas of my ministry, the … View Resource

  • From Pastor to President: An Interview with Philip Graham Ryken Article by Philip Ryken

    FROM TABLETALK | November 2011

    Tabletalk: How did you make the difficult decision to leave the pastorate and enter the academy as president of Wheaton College? Philip Graham Ryken: When the time finally came, making the decision was unexpectedly easy. Eventually God’s will became so clear that to do anything else would have been disobedience. The process leading up to the decision was difficult, though, as Lisa and I wrestled with God in prayer and asked for the grace to have only one agenda: to obey God’s calling, whether he called us to stay at Tenth Presbyterian Church or go to Wheaton College. Sharing this … View Resource

  • Happy Pastors Article by C.J. Mahaney

    FROM TABLETALK | September 2011

    As the star of the television series Dirty Jobs, Mike Rowe suits up and labors in some of the most dirty and dangerous work environments possible. To date, he hasn’t tried pastoring. But pastoring qualifies as a dirty job, which is reflected in the most common biblical metaphor for the job: shepherd. Being a shepherd is difficult, demanding, and — if done well — exhausting. Pastors with any experience in the field will know exactly what I mean. Take sermon preparation. The work is hard, repetitive, and impossible to avoid, outgrow, or expedite. You spend hours of hard work over … View Resource

  • Apostolic Anxiety Article by Kevin DeYoung

    FROM TABLETALK | August 2011

    Second Corinthians 11:28 always seemed like a strange verse to me — until I became a pastor. Here’s Paul, rattling off all the ways he’s been beat up for Jesus — imprisonments, lashes, rods, stonings, shipwrecks, drifting at sea, sleepless nights, hunger and thirst, cold and expos ure, danger from everyone everywhere (vv. 23–27). And then, as the cherry on top, Paul mentions one more trial: “apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches” (v. 28). This is the mighty apostle, the one who counted it a joy to … View Resource

  • Ministering by the Life-Giving Spirit Article by David Hall

    FROM TABLETALK | March 2011

    Following a 1970s Jesus Movement conversion, I served in youth ministry, where I subjected poor students to nearly every fad imaginable — all, I told myself, to have young people come to Christ. I then served as a pastor, an office I have held for thirty years. Along the way, I have made many blunders — far too many to chronicle here. One mistake that I hope to avoid, however, is ministering with external methods that cannot give life. Over the last thirty years, I have noticed a great reduction among my repertoire of ministerial gimmicks, while reliance on a … View Resource

  • Anti-Shepherds Article by George Grant

    FROM TABLETALK | February 2011

    Our Dear Asag, Remember: our abysmal sublimity does not so much want to tear down “godly” ways as to build up his own. From the apex of temptation in the garden to the present, his conspiratorial plot has always been to offer some sane, attractive, and wholesome counterfeit to the true kingdom of our foe. That’s why subtle counterfeits are the perfect tools for your task to hamper shepherds from shepherding, to deter pastors from actually pastoring. Amorality is obvious and shortsighted; scandal lasts but for a season; but fiddling the days and hours away on sweet nothings can become … View Resource

  • Self-Centered Sermons Article by Sean Michael Lucas

    FROM TABLETALK | February 2011

    Our Son in the Unfaith, We see that you are making progress with your charge. We applaud you for that. The enemy has enough minions preaching His infernal Word faithfully; to see this one begin to totter and swerve from his task causes me great and unholy happiness. Might we suggest another avenue by which you might neutralize his effectiveness and so undo his ministry? Begin to work ever so subtly that he would become the focus of the sermon instead of God’s wretched Son. That sounds like a difficult task, we know. Believe us, our general-in-unbelief struggled to get … View Resource