On rightly ordered ambition; from John Stott

As a Christian, whether in leadership or not, it is right and necessary to know that ambition does have its place in support of Christ’s Church.

If all we Christians take God seriously, we shall “become ambitious for the spread of his kingdom and righteousness everywhere.” May this be our common goal, and may we “therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” (Luke 10:2 – ESV) AND > May we be among the bold/ambitious laborers. Keeping in mind that though we are differently gifted, we can, should, and must be willing to say to our Lord Jesus, “Here I am send me”. He can and does use in countless wonderful ways whosoever will.

Let’s look at what the late John Stott has to say on rightly ordered ambition.

“Ambitions for self may be quite modest (enough to eat, to drink and to wear, as in the Sermon [on the Mount]) or they may be grandiose (a bigger house, a faster car, a higher salary, a wider reputation, more power). But whether modest or immodest, these are ambitions for myselfmy comfort, my wealth, my status, my power.

“Ambitions for God, however, if they are to be worthy, can never be modest. There is something inherently inappropriate about cherishing small ambitions for God. How can we ever be content that he should acquire just a little more honour in the world? No. Once we are clear that God is King, then we long to see him crowned with glory and honour, and accorded his true place, which is the supreme place. We become ambitious for the spread of his kingdom and righteousness everywhere.

  1. 172 -173 “The Message on the Sermon on the Mount” (Inter-Varsity Press)

Why Isn’t Holy Week Happy, Happy?

More confirmation of my continuing admiration of Blaise Pascal…

From Carl R. Trueman at First Things:

Pascal observed the problem in seventeenth-century France when he saw the obsession with entertainment as the offspring of the fallen human desire to be distracted from any thought of mortality. “I have often said that the sole cause of man’s unhappiness is that he does not know how to stay quietly in his room,” he said. And: “Distraction is the only thing that consoles us for miseries, and yet it is itself the greatest of our miseries.”

Trueman really captures what we miss when our focus centers on avoidance and sentimentalization of the reality of the tragic. Please take the time to read his article Tragic Worship.

The Psalm reads

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil,”

and it does not stop there, as it goes on

for you are with me; your rod and your staff,  they comfort me.

Happy, clappy distraction does NOT sustain. In the end it can only strain the frailty of our resolve until it snaps unsupported by the truth of the tragic.

On the other hand, God is with us all along the valley of the shadow. Only He removes the fear of evil. Only He bestows comfort. Only His grace lasts. Distractions are – at best – sugar candies.

More of Why I am a Christian Who Happens to be Anglican

“Reformation Anglicanism is not a historical fetish.  Rather, we see in the English Reformation and the 39 Articles of Religion a clear, vibrant, and costly articulation of the saving power of the Gospel as proclaimed by our Lord Jesus and set forth in the Holy Scriptures.  In this time of global Anglican turmoil, Reformation Anglicanism acts as an anchor rooting us within faithful, historic, Gospel-centered Christianity.  It is the Gospel-centrality that exalts the glory of God, the grace of Jesus Christ, and the power of the Holy Spirit that we cherish above all else.  Reformation Anglicanism is simply a gracious reminder that Anglicans who cherish such things do not need to look beyond their own tradition to be resourced for mission both now and in the future.”

The preceding quote is from here.

Many who know yours truly wonder how in the world I could say with any true commitment and even coherence that I am an evangelical, reformed, apostolic, confessional, and yes, ecumenical, Anglo-catholic Christian practitioner. The Anglican Diocese of the Carolinas has produced this very apropos description of Restoration Anglicanism that seems to capture the description of the path many are trying to tread (including me).

I really don’t need to add anything  to this article on Reformation Anglicanism that would shed any further light to how I’m, by the grace of God, being an effective Christian person in, but not of, the world in the 21st century.

Well, now what do you think of a Christian whose disposition requires six adjectival modifiers?

Truth, reflectively considered

While working through several concerns this week, in prayer this came to my mind and heart: There is a heavy shortage of truth in this world nowadays. I submit that a prime reason for this is that Christians forget or willfully ignore the wonderful, inexhaustible verity of the one, real truth.

To make the whole matter worse, this forgetfulness and ignorance bear awful, bitter fruit amidst the Christian family,  and worst, result in an image of the church that the wanting, waiting world regards and then turns away in revulsion; the very opposite desire of our LORD that we be light and salt. Relativists look askance at this existential wasteland and roll out marketplaces of truths for the choosing.

Church,

We have  work to do. Repentance first, though.

Christe eleison!

From K.P. Yohannan: Godliness Is Not an Abstract Theology

Dr. Yohannan is a discipler extraordinaire. It is very much high time that we in the Christian west give careful, attentive, prayerful, active, decisive ear to the subject on which he is admonishing us.

If we ‘Christian leaders’ are all honest with ourselves, we must come to grips with our errors that have contributed to the spiritual bankruptcy of us all, especially those under our care. Christe eleison!

Very, very timely. Flat out must read. Share, too!

Here’s the title snip:  “Godliness is not an abstract theology, it is very practical and very real.” Read. Pray. Submit. Change. Disciple.

All for Jesus Messiah.

And for the sake of his children whom He came to seek and to save.

Error on a Deliberately Epic Scale

The church does err.  Especially, it has done so when it blithely ignores Jesus Messiah’s commission to teach disciples to “observe all I have commanded you”.  Here in the 21st century, I believe I’m being charitable with the adverb blithely. In many cases the word premeditatedly is more apt. My blood runs cold when I hear or read church leaders pontificate on the cultural fly on soul deep/salvific principles. Today, there is entirely too much leading astray at the hands of church leaders:

“But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough.” (II Corinthians 11: 3,4 – ESV)

A. S. Haley’s blog, Anglican Curmudgeon, is one that I try to read just about every day. His attentively acute analytical abilities are a joy to behold. He is well able to sift and sort fact from fancy drivel.  His grasp of American jurisprudence is vast. Enough about his many gifts.

Recently, Mr. Haley blogged a withering critique of the ecclesiastic liberalism of The Episcopal Church (TEC) as put forth by its current Presiding Bishop, Katharine Jefferts Schori. In the event you may think I’m singling Bishop Jefferts Schori out please allow me a moment.

Although I had been Episcopalian from 1976 to about 2008, I didn’t become aware of its out-of-control death march with post-modern liberalism until 2003. In that year I did a fair amount of historical research. As early as the 1960’s TEC’s ecclesiastical trial courts revealed a growing distaste for church discipline of priests and bishops who steered their flocks away from Biblically proclaimed Christianity and toward culturally defined Christianity.

You will find no better example of the latter than in the statements of the last three presiding bishops of The Episcopal Church: Browning, Griswold, and Jefferts Schori.

Here’s a revealing snippet from Mr. Haley’s blog ( do note how he analyzes Dr. Jefferts Schori’s statements):

Dr. Jefferts Schori: “We’ve insisted that dialogue and conversation is the way to discover and to discern more of God’s truth. It’s hard work, and it does lead to some conflict — that tension I talked about — but it’s creative.”

Much, much, much more here. Hie thee hence! Pray!