Born Arminian, turned Calvinist by the Grace of God, which also turned him from a Brazilian into an American. Former interpreter of most major TV ministries in America, TV personality in the late 80's and 90's and public speaker for audiences as large as 35,000 in Sports Arenas in South America and also spoke in mega-churches in the USA. Ordained Minister in Brazil and USA, who after leaving the ways of Arminius has taken the "Zaccheian" vow to restore fourfold with good doctrine those whom he had defrauded with bad doctrine. Brother Milton keeps his past ministerial life in the past other than benefit from his experience. Brother Milton doesn't care about his degree but does try to keep his temperature on the high.
Yes, the quotation marks on “conservative” are on purpose!
I am a conservative and one of the traits of a conservative is the ability to exercise, at least mildly, critical thinking and be reasonable. At least that’s what I thought! Conservatives don’t have to use hyperbole, innuendos, or practice the double talk and, especially, exaggerations and fake outrage common to the extreme left. Again, at least I thought so!
However in social media there seems to be a surge of a few SHADY conservative websites quoted often on Facebook (they’ll remain nameless) that make me feel ashamed that people who claim to be conservatives accept what these sites spew out. The fact is I unavoidably read them because, oh, they know how to hook you with a headline! When I do read the first lines however I see the trick: they bring up an overstatement of a minor issue, blow it out of proportion, exaggerate, cherry-pick their emphasis, and practice the same old falsehood seen in the dirty left wing website, mainly those financed by a certain billionaire.
Guess how and what these far from credible websites quote as support for their “reporting”???? Other websites just as shady as they are! When you click on those supposedly supporting links you read the same drivel supported by more of the same, that is, links from other websites with the same not-so-reputable credence.
I am tired of this! It used to be a practice of the political side that I despise but now it is creeping in, as a disgusting slimy bug who saw the light in a room, in mainstream genuinely conservative media! I am sick of it and won’t read articles quoted by these “I-can’t-live-outside-my-parents’-musty-basement” websites writers. All they want that you would spend hours watching the tabloid type of advertisement they publish anyway, such as “Mothers you can’t unseen”, “Hot brides you’ll never forget”, and similar not so instructive articles; everything but the article that called your attention.
I am sick of it! I’d rather read the mildly distorted, spin, in mainstream media and exercise judgment than to be hooked by some headline such as “Obama’s brother says this disgusting thing about him” with a picture of an apparent youtube link appealing to those who are hungry for the “dirty stuff” (admittedly, perhaps myself as of recently). But I can’t miss the opportunity to recommend to those in the left also stop reading material that calls a racist, a bigot anyone who wants a fair pro-American immigration policy, or one who is concerned with the influx of unidentified Arab refugees and would prefer that women and children only would come, but young man and able man would be fully vetted, or left in their country and fight the system they want to flee. All these issues can be open for disagreement and one can reasonably argue against them, but to jump to ad hominem, or labeling anyone something that merely serves to shut down debate, should be something unacceptable among thinking adults on both sides of the issue.
I am asking “conservative” shady websites to give me a break, but, actually I am giving them a break and no longer “click” on them, but I am also asking for the left to do the same! A couple of billionaires cannot, for their exclusive benefit, keep financing the formation of your opinion by making rich morons who would not have a life it would not be for their ability to vomit extremism for pay and who keep dividing us into every single little victims group they can.
Maybe we should all give a break and see that we are being nothing but pawns used in a game of political corruption.
“Over the years when I would occasionally hear a hymn, the language was always strikingly foreign, with Ebenezers and bulwarks, diadems and fetters. Which only served to confirm my bias that hymns were simply out-of-date. They had served their purpose. They had run their course”
This post is an exact description of my journey! For the few conversations I had with Joel Watts on this issue, he feels either exactly the same way or in a similar way! In my view the “link” between us, current Christians (avoiding the word “actual”) and those who came before us, who left us a legacy of Christian worship, has been broken and that is perhaps the most harming aspect of the obsession for what is called “contemporary worship” which is in and of itself a contradiction of terms, as if God planned and desired to be worship differently in different epochs… So, read this article and I hope it helps someone who, as a “current Christian” desiring to keep up with his times, has somehow despised the old hymns.
I love the argument that Christians have to obey the Word of God above the Constitution of the USA. Although I revere the U.S. Constitution, the Bible and The U.S. Constitution are not one and the same. However I’ve been thinking on it again and I realized that this is the same argument that ISIS makes about their Holy Book and Muslims in general use to defend Sharia Law! How then is it fair for Christians to condemn Muslims for believing that religious rules supersede the standing laws of a country? Is Christian absolutism, even prejudicial, the answer? Is “freedom from religion the answer?” Any thoughts?
“…Discouragement: The greatest occupational hazard of the believer…”
As I began to read this book for the first time, preparing for my review, I had to stop in the phrase above in total awe of the truthfulness of it! Anyone who is honest about their feelings, especially those in the ministry, will have to admit that an aspect of being a Christian minister that is as connected to the ministry as the calling to minister itself, is the fact that ministers will often be discouraged and unfortunately many, for lack of resources, committed fellowships, etc. will allow the discouragement to become such a heavy burden that they will no longer be able to function as ministers and worst, as Christians!
Thankfully there is this book, written brilliantly and in a way that ministers, specifically, but also the folk in the pew, will understand the reasons for discouragement and hopefully deal with them.
Chapters are subtitled “How to…” which turns the book into an useful “how to” manual. It is always refreshing when an author not merely points to problems but also prescribe valuable and applicable solutions to such problems. Stott does that very well in this book.
THE TARGET AUDIENCE
As I mentioned above, every Christian can find useable information in this book as to how to deal with discouragement. But ministers, those who minister to congregations of any size, bound to a denominational creed, or the self-proclaimed independents will benefit from the “how to” prescriptions offered in this book. If you are not a minister — but have experienced bouts with discouragement, or the euphemistically called “spiritual burn-out,” — do not shy away from reading and applying the “how to” principles of this book. These concepts are easily adaptable to you whether you are a Sunday School teacher, a choir director, a music director, or in any activity in which one may be overcome by this “occupational hazard” called discouragement.
It is not a large book, so in reviewing it I was often tempted to review chapter by chapter, and perhaps allow my feelings and experiences as someone who have been honored by God to exercise the function of a minister in two different countries — as one who could not escape seeing my own personal story written in the pages of this book! Had I done so, however, I would never have finished this review and it would not be as easy for those who are considering reading this book to make a decision about reading it; the review would be perhaps larger than the book!
So, my method here will be to comment on some outstanding portions of the book. Here are them classified not specifically in any order of importance:
A Personal Ministry to you: When Stott mentions the “Problem of Discouragement – How to Persevere Under Pressure,” he inserts the teaching of the Apostle Paul as a direct mention of discouragement: In “Do not lose heart…” — as if Stott is preaching directly to you — he writes, “I’d like us to turn to 2 Corinthians 4 and I hope you don’t mind if I give you a little Greek lesson” – this type of personal ministry to the reader will make this “how to manual” be a very intimate conversation with the author, whose credentials to provide advice, and “give us a little lesson in Greek” is indisputable. He then proceeds in a brilliant exposition of the text — crowning his arguments by stating to us why we should not “lose heart.” Readers will be glad they are not reading some broad concepts of a haughty author dispensing his erudite knowledge of a particular text, but he is actually ministering to you! That’s the way I felt; as if I were in his office and he was talking to me! Discouraged people, or people struggling with discouragement, need this personal ministry and Stott provides it throughout the book!
It is a book of personal discipline: Most of us, people in the ministry often struggle to be disciplined and orderly. The book lines up three kinds of discipline that are especially beneficial for those compulsive workers that frequently, in times of stress, are open to discouragement — the need for time off, even an afternoon siesta (God is good after all…) taking the example he learned in Latin America; along with the repentance of the vice of punctuality; the need for hobbies; and, time with family and friends, meaning, friendships. He, as a biblical preacher, applies a text of Paul in 2 Timothy to support to his thesis by mentioning that Paul who was a great Christian was not afraid to admit that he needed friends. Oh, that hurts, I would say, because most of us ministers know very well that we are not supposed to have “close friendships” with no one since that may impair our ability to minister to them, but here Stott says, YES, we need friendships as Paul also needed.
Time for Devotion: Ministers have to study so much to teach that they deplete themselves of that they need to learn for themselves. I learned that one when I was still in ministry school. This is one of the areas of Self Discipline within the remedies to combat discouragement. In fact, this book is a book in and of itself of Self-Discipline in my opinion! Anyone who needs a “list” of Self-Discipline applicable suggestions will find it in this entire book!
A book about Respect and trust in Relationships: Throughout the book Stott uses “live” first-hand experiences in his life to teach us some principles. When laying out principles of trust in relationships he tells a humorous one about one of his missionary recruits who responded to “how he was getting along in his new country.” Worth reading and laughing at the response. However, better yet to check it out and honestly conclude that perhaps all of us would have given the same answers and still would not have identified such answers as a problem. I feel tempted in transcribing the story here — but, read the book, read the chapter. Find how important it is to learn how to trust and respect committed relationships, whether they be with your peers or with the people whom you are entrusted by God to work. Furthermore in the aspect of relationships, Stott deals with very simple principles, or mistakes, that we all commit, such as the inability to recognize redemptive worth on people, the incapacity to listen, and all the other aspects that many of us take for granted and consider them to be an “aside” (and why, even an inconvenience) in our ministerial life!
IN SUMMARY, I said that I did not want to make this review larger than the book. Let me just tell you that if you are in ministry you should do what the writer of the Foreword (Ajith Fernando, Teaching Director of Youth for Christ) says: “…I read this book slowly, as part of my devotions…” Yes, this is a devotional book! I loved it, I recommend this to anyone.
Remember, often it is not “if” you will get discouraged, but “when!” Discouragement may not be something that is inherent to your activity as a minister, but rather, I remind you, it is an “…occupational hazard…” This book will, at a minimum, if you are one of the lucky ones whose dangers of discouragement have not yet assailed you, prepare you “when” it comes!
(Someone asked me if I can’t just be foolish on Facebook… Well, hell, NO! I will be foolish here as well:)
1 – The State of Indiana passing laws that are to allow business to reject service to gays: WRONG. Even with the argument that it is to protect businesses from the heavy lawsuits gay people file against business. We should not respond with legislation against others whereas saying that we don’t like “legislation” which is against us
UPDATE: Please read a clarification in the comments. UPDATE #2 – Please read how CNN “headlines” the matter here
2 – Gay people closing otherwise good business by suing them because they cannot bake a cake for themselves, or arrange flowers by themselves (what kind of gay people are they?): WRONG
3 – Gay people in business, hypothetically, refusing to provide services for the KKK and the Westboro (more like West Burro) Baptist Church in a anti-gay regalia: WRONG.
So, in whatever case, it is all wrong! The fact is that no one wants to live together with those with whom they disagree. The fact remains that TOLERANCE is something you give, not something you DEMAND! The one demanding TOLERANCE and rights should be the first one READY TO GIVE IT!
I have repeated this often, including in “diversity” courses: Tolerance demanded is in and of itself INTOLERANCE! Especially when it is in detriment of others.
If it matters, before you call me names, read this: I do business with gays although I respect those who do not!
Now you can call me names …
A Civil War “of sorts”?
WE ARE IN A CIVIL WAR,
We can’t live without legislating against those whose live styles or opinions we despise;
We can’t live without involving the courts against those whose life styles and opinions we despise;
We can’t live without involving the GOVERNMENT against those whose life styles and opinions we despise:
THEN, we are already amid a CIVIL WAR; a bloodless one indeed, but perhaps just as dividing of a society as a full blown CIVIL WAR!!!!