Bob's Blog - November 10, 2021

November 10, 2021


Young and arrogant. They tend to go together; at least they did with me. In years past, I would have conversations with seasoned pastors who would speak of going on sabbaticals and I would wonder, what for? Why would you get the church to give you an extended “vacation?" Of course, I was young and arrogant. I had no perspective on the cumulative effect that a long season in the ministry can have on a person. Now, I know better. Several years ago, the elders graciously and wisely gave me two weeks per calendar year in order to read, refresh, and reset. I try to take the time allotted, though it is not always possible, since it is designed to be good for my soul. But I think that it is good for you to know that I actually read and use the time for its intended purpose. So, here is a brief report of my past week.


The Bible. I love to read the Bible for the pleasure of God’s Word. While I enjoy books, the Bible is THE Book and so I read a good portion of the New Testament, including some of Romans. Of course, when I do, I want to volunteer to do an elective from it. I’ll have to talk with Dave Dunham about that.


I read a biography of Martyn Lloyd Jones, who was affectionately known as “The Doctor.” Martyn pastored in England (1927-1968) for many years and has had a wonderful influence on pastors on this side of the pond through his example of expositional preaching and doctrinal faithfulness. Lloyd-Jones loved theology and rightly saw it as fuel for fire for God.


The second biography that I am finishing is on Herman Bavinck, a Dutch theologian, who was arguably one of the 19th century’s greatest Christian thinkers. Herman was involved in a number of controversies in the church in Holland, but modeled doctrinal faithfulness and deep affection. I loved reading of how he was very careful to understand those who disagreed with him and would point out the areas in which he could commend his opponents. His understanding of the doctrines of grace captured his heart and he was a gracious man. We are so accustomed to a scorched earth approach in disagreements today, that Bavinck’s example was a great challenge and encouragement.


Ray Ortlund just released a book called “The Death of Porn." This is a wonderful tool for every man in our church. The book is actually made up of six letters that Ray writes as a father would to his son. It is hopeful and helpful. Ray knows that the battle against porn is actually not about porn, but is about hope, real hope. I benefited from this and recommend it highly.


Jared Wilson’s, “The Prodigal Church”, is a call for the church to re-examine its tendency to depend on the world’s methods in order to “do church.” There is a reason why so many mega-churches (and the thousands who “wannabe”) are a mile wide and an inch deep.


Gender Ideology is a hot and confusing topic. Sharon James wrote a wondrously helpful book on this subject that I will be recommending for our bookstore. It is clarifying, understandable, and helpful to the church. Again, I recommend it highly.


The last two books that I read, “Meditations on Preaching” (Grimke) and “The Gospel Ministry” (Foxcroft) were books from giants of yesteryear. Francis Grimke was the son of a slave owner and a slave. His difficult youth was used by the Lord in forming a faithful gospel preacher who pastored for almost 50 years in Washington D.C. Thomas Foxcroft was a Harvard graduate who pastored in Boston in the 1700s. This book (The Gospel Ministry) is actually the sermon that he preached at his own ordination in 1717 at the age of 21! In his case, youth and arrogance did not go together.


I am grateful for this time to be reminded and renewed for the work that remains until Christ comes.


This Sunday, a portion of our service will be led by Michael Svendsen. Michael is one of the guys that we are in conversation with about our staff position for Worship Pastor. He will be meeting and working with some of our music team this weekend. Michael is married to Hope and they have a little girl named Aurora.


Grace and peace,




Sunday’s text: 1 Samuel 2:27-36