Archive for the ‘commentary’ Category

Cody Dolinsek, a Ph.D. student at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary who happens to be blind, asks and answers a really helpful question:

“What do those with disabilities owe to those without disabilities and vice versa?” Asking this question might seem wrongheaded in a society, not unlike others, that tends to focus attention on the question: “how shall we best help those with disabilities?” While this question is not out of place in all circumstances, it is tilted to one group’s responsibility without taking into account the other group’s need also to do its ethical duty.

The emphasis on ‘service to’ those living with disabilities and their families is not wrong. But it is certainly incomplete, especially in light of the scriptures which states that we have been created by Jesus for good works (Ephesian 2:10 ESV).

So I appreciated Mr. Dolinsek’s perspective, finding it both helpful and encouraging. We parents of children with disabilities should consider the same lessons for ourselves!

The entire article can be found here: What do those with disabilities owe those without?

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For anyone dealing with disability or sickness, what Pastor John is committing to helping us learn to do for ourselves is really, really important and life-giving.

Last night, Pastor John wrote a new post announcing The Legacy I Want to Leave. In it he shares some deeply important things to him, like:

We believe one key to the strength of the church — the authenticity of her worship, the depth of her fellowship, and the courage of global mission — is that the people of God get steel in their spiritual spine, which is forged in the furnace of their own first-hand dealing with God in the Bible. Second-handers will not do in these trying times. (emphasis mine)

One of the greatest gifts God has given me are the people with ‘steel in their spiritual spine’ because God used disability to blow away the Satanic fog and distraction of an easy life. God and his book are the source of that steel.

And now Pastor John wants to multiply that impact by teaching us how to ‘look at the book’ for ourselves!

Almost three years ago I wrote a series on men who God has used to shape me. My first was on Pastor John. In that post I included this:

No, he taught me (and demonstrated) that God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him.  He showed me how much the Father delights in the Son, and how much the Son delights in the Father, and how great it is that we get to delight in Father, Son and Spirit! But only if we cling to Jesus as our righteousness – we do not honor God if we look to ourselves or anyone else for the kind of freedom that only Jesus can provide.

And we can know these things because God gave us a book, and that book is full of the God-centeredness of God as the greatest news there could be because there is nothing better or greater or more beautiful or more satisfying than God himself.

I am really excited about what Look at the Book could mean for families like mine all over the world and their churches as they learn how to dig deeper and deeper into what God has to say about himself and his purposes – including specifically about disability. It could change everything for them!

Please take a couple minutes to read the post and watch the video he included. And then pray that God would do even more than all that we ask or think (Eph. 3:20) in making his name and his book known and trusted and loved everywhere.



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An Italian organization, CoorDown, created this exceptional video of people with Down syndrome answering a question from a pregnant mother.

World Down Syndrome Day is March 21 (3/21 – get it?).

Let’s make sure people don’t just know about Down syndrome, but actually get to know people who live with it by letting the babies live, welcoming them into our churches, and letting their gifts be expressed for the glory of God and the good of God’s church.

Then the LORD said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind (or with Down syndrome)? Is it not I, the LORD?” (Exodus 4:11 ESV)

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At Desiring God today they put up a post I wrote which they titled, “Four Kinds of Churches Worth Leaving.”

My original title was “Pastor, if you claim to believe the Bible and you say this to a family like mine, I will personally punch you in the nose.”

The content editors at Desiring God appreciated my passion, but wisely made the change. They also took a 1400 word post and shaved it down to 600 words. That was a good thing as well. There was a lot more heat than light in what I sent them!

I hate, to my core, the stories of churches that tell families like ours to leave – until I started thinking about the churches where that would be a kindness and came up with four.

For the churches who do dumb things out of love, I have a lot more patience. May God grant us the wisdom to see when churches and leaders are pursuing our good in wrong-headed ways out of love for God and affection for us and confidence in the Bible! And may we respond with kindness and confidence that God is good – along with a thought or two about what might actually be useful.

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At the 2014 Desiring God Conference for Pastors last week, Sinclair Ferguson offered a great vision, and challenge, to churches around communion:

Do you agree? And do you think we could actually pull this off?

The entire panel discussion can be viewed here.

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In the busy-ness of my week I nearly missed this post by Vaneetha Rendall Demski at Desiring God, and it is too powerful to miss!

Countless childhood surgeries. Yearlong stints in the hospital. Verbal and physical bullying from classmates. Multiple miscarriages as a young wife. The unexpected death of a child. A debilitating progressive disease. Riveting pain. Betrayal. A husband who leaves.

If it were up to me, I would have written my story differently. Not one of those phrases would be included. Each line represents something hard. Gut wrenching. Life changing.

But now, in retrospect, I wouldn’t erase a single line.

You can read the entire post here: When God Does the Miracle We Didn’t Ask For

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One of the most frustrating, repeated arguments I hear about killing some people – the unborn, the frail elderly, those with disabilities – is that they have no real value. Only productive people have value in that twisted view.

Writing for Bethlehem College and Seminary’s weekly update, Joe Rigney points out that NONE of us has value in ourselves – but we still have real value:

. . . Edwards knows that human sinners, in our quest for autonomy, love to affirm creation from nothing while smuggling in some notion of our own inherent value and worth. Edwards insists in the strongest possible terms that we have nothing apart from God. We have no autonomous or independent value. When it comes to God, we bring nothing of our own to the table. He gives to all things, life and breath and everything else, including value. “What do you have that you did not receive?” Paul asks (1 Cor. 4:7).

At the same time, Edwards does not leave man as a nothing. We may not have any autonomous, intrinsic value, but we do have real value. And we have value because God values us. Our worth is derived wholly from the fact that God makes us and calls us good. Even in our fallen state, we still retain the remnants of God’s image, an image that God is restoring in Christ. What’s more, in Christ God has given himself to us, so that his Holy Spirit now dwells within us and enlivens our thoughts, affections, and actions. Though we are nothing, God has invited us into his own triune life, extending his fullness and glory to us in the gospel.

Joe RigneyAssistant Professor of Theology and Christian Worldview, Bethlehem College and Seminary

God values us! God makes us! Yes, this is much better news than believing we – or any human being of any size, ethnicity or ability – only have value as long as we are productive.

On a weekly basis members of Bethlehem College and Seminary provide helpful commentary and insights from their disciplines and observations. I highly recommend subscribing to their weekly email, which you can do here.

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Pastor Kempton, father of Christian and the man on the cover of Just the Way I Am, praying yesterday. It is about 2 1/2 minutes.

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A wonderful nine minutes with Pastor John, David Platt and Matt Chandler on the goodness of God in suffering.

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