Bricks And Rungs (book review)

T.M. Moore is a first-rate theologian, so everything he writes is well-grounded in Scripture. However, when most people think of “theology,” they think of a lifeless treatise that is boring to read, or perhaps difficult to grasp. But T.M. totally shakes things up in Bricks And Rungs with rock-solid theology presented in beautiful poetic verse.

Bricks And Rungs is all about finding our purpose or calling in life. T.M. says—

“Most people have a sense of being here for some reason. They must become something, achieve something, or come to know something which they consider to be unique to them. Something is out there for them, beckoning them, drawing and wooing them beyond themselves to realize more of something, however that is envisioned or whatever it may be.

“Calling is experienced as a summons from without, a beckoning which resonates with something within, something deeply personal, leading us to aspire to more than what we know or are or have at present. …

“Everyone has a sense of calling. Christians know this to be a summons from God, a command which their lives are intended to fulfill by knowing God and serving Him. The Christian knows that each human being is called to know God and, knowing Him, to serve Him gladly and fruitfully. Calling thus involves our need to be blessed and to be a blessing to others.”

Some of these poems are autobiographical to T.M. Moore, some are reflections on Scripture, and some are musings about how each of us discovers our own calling. But all of these poems will open a window in your soul to hear God’s voice speaking to you about your own unique calling.

Take some time to linger over these insightful words.

11 Quotes For Pastors From “Interpretation Of The Scriptures”

You don’t have to be a pastor to benefit from reading Interpretation Of The Scriptures by A.W. Pink, rather I think all students of the Bible will benefit from reading this classic book. However, the Apostle James did warn that “not many of you should presume to be teachers” because “we who teach will be judged more strictly” (James 3:1). In that light, A.W. Pink directs several of this comments in this book exclusively to those who teach/preach from the Bible. Here are a few of those quotes.

“The preacher’s task is both the most honorable and the most solemn of any calling, the most privileged and at the same time the most responsible one.”

“The ministry is no place for trifiers and idlers, but for those who are prepared to spend and be spent in the cause of Christ. The preacher ought to work harder than the miner, and to spend more hours per week in his study than does the man of business in his office.”

“Particularly does the minister need to attend unto this injunction ‘take heed unto thyself’ in his study of the Scriptures, reading them devotionally ere he does so professionally; that is, seeking their application and blessing to his own soul before searching for sermonic materials.”

“To ‘open’ the Scriptures helpfully to the saints requires something more than a few months’ training in a Bible institute, or a year or two in a seminary. None but those who have been personally taught of God in the hard school of experience are qualified so to ‘open’ the Word that Divine light is cast upon the spiritual problems of the believer, for while Scripture interprets experience, experience is often the best interpreter of Scripture.”

“The preacher should be with his time as the miser is with his gold—saving it with care, and spending it with caution.”

“Great care needs ever to be taken that we do not expound our own minds instead of God’s.”

“The preacher should be, above everything else, a man of the Book, thoroughly versed in the contents of God’s Word, one who is able to bring forth out of his treasure ‘things new and old’ (Matthew 13:52). The Bible is to be his sole text-book, and from its living waters he is to drink deeply and daily.”

“Commentaries we consult only after we have made a first-hand and exhaustive study of a passage.”

“It is at the feet of God that the preacher must take his place, learning from Him the meaning of His Word, waiting upon Him to open its mysteries, looking to Him for his message.” 

“To discourse upon the chemical properties of food will not feed a starving man, neither will tracing out the roots of the Hebrew and Greek words (necessary though that be in its proper place) the better enable Christ’s followers to fight the good fight of faith.”

“Scripture must be allowed to speak for itself, and it does so only so far as the preacher sets forth its genuine import. Not only is he to explain its terms, but also the nature of the ideas they express, otherwise he is apt to make use of scriptural terms and yet give them an unscriptural sense.”

To read the other quotes I shared from Interpretation Of The Scriptures, click here. You may also check out my full book review by clicking here.

Who Are You?

This is another post especially for pastors (but I think others will find this helpful too).

John the Baptizer had no credentials, and yet people flocked to hear him speak.

He had no formal training, and yet people hung on his every word.

He had no authority from a sanctioning body, and yet he spoke with such power.

This perplexed the religious leadership. After all, they had credentials, training, and authority. So they came to John asking, “Who are you? What do you have to say about yourself?” (John 1:21,22).

If God has called you to the pastorate, He will equip you. There’s nothing wrong with credentials, training or sanctioning, per se. But when you think your call to preach has authority because of your title, your training, or your denominational appointment, you have missed the point! John had none of these, and yet Jesus said, “There’s never been a greater prophetic voice!”

So, pastor, who are you?

Are you the one who is credentialed, or trained, or sanctioned?

Or are you the one who has been called and equipped by God?

There’s a huge difference!

Who are you? I hope you can answer, “I am only a servant of the Most High, equipped by the Holy Spirit to make Jesus known in my city.”

I Didn’t Choose This

Hello, my name is Craig Owens and I’m a pastor. I wasn’t a PK (pastor’s kid). This isn’t the profession I chose for myself. I envisioned myself doing other things, but God had different plans for me.

He called, and I said “yes.” He called me to be a pastor and so He equipped me for the pastorate. I can relate to what the Apostle Paul wrote —

By God’s grace and mighty power, I have been given the privilege of serving Him by spreading this Good News. (Ephesians 3:7)

Paul, too, didn’t choose be a minister telling people about Jesus Christ. But God had different plans for him.

And so, since God has called me to do this, I must do it to the best of my ability. I don’t have the natural ability for it, I simply have God’s grace and mighty power. And to that grace and power I must add my best effort —

Study and be eager and do your utmost to present yourself to God approved (tested by trial), a workman who has no cause to be ashamed, correctly analyzing and accurately dividing [rightly handling and skillfully teaching] the Word of Truth. (2 Timothy 2:15, AMP)

I like the counsel of Charles Spurgeon:

Again, the theme of a minister should be Christ Jesus in opposition to mere doctrine. Some of my good brothers are always preaching doctrine. Well, they are right in so doing, but I would not care myself to have as the characteristic of my preaching doctrine only. I would rather have it said, “He dwelled much upon the person of Christ and seemed best pleased when he began to tell about the atonement and sacrifice. He was not ashamed of the doctrines; he was not afraid of threatening. But he seemed as if he preached the threatening with tears in his eyes, and the doctrine solemnly as God’s own Word. But when he preached of Jesus, his tongue was loosened, and his heart was at liberty.”

I didn’t choose this, but God chose me. And for that I am extremely humbled and grateful.

Thursdays With Oswald #5

This is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Oswald Chambers. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Oswald” in the search box to read more entries.

God’s Worker

     Never choose to be a worker, but when once God has put His call on you, woe be to you if you turn to the right hand or the left. God will do with you what He never did with you before the call came; He will do with you what He is not doing with other people. Let Him have His way.

From Approved Unto God

If God hasn’t called me to do His work, then anything I attempt will be in my own power alone. How miserable I would be if I attempted to keep doing this.

If God has called me to do His work, then He will equip me to do His work. How miserable I would be if I turned away from His work.

Are you God-called or self-called?

Yeah, But…

You know the story, or maybe you’ve even seen it portrayed on the big screen, where God appears to Moses in the burning bush. God handpicks Moses to lead His people to freedom. He assures Moses, “I AM the One who is sending you with My authority.” God shows Moses these miracles that He is going to do through him.

And how does Moses respond? “Yeah, but….” Sadly, this is how I usually respond too.

“Yeah, but who am I that You would handpick me?”

  • I don’t have the right credentials.
  • My family is dysfunctional.
  • I’m not comfortable with risk.
  • I’ve never done anything like this before.

“Yeah, but how do I really know this is You, God?”

  • I need a sign.
  • I’ve made mistakes before when I thought I was following You.
  • Have I mentioned I’ve never done anything like this before?

“Yeah, but what if this doesn’t work out?”

  • I need assurance.
  • I want to know where this is going to end up before I get started.
  • What happens next?

“Yeah, but how will I know what to say or do?”

  • I don’t want to look like a fool.
  • I don’t want to be embarrassed.
  • I want to be in control.

It’s interesting to see that God patiently answered all of Moses’ “Yeah, but” questions. It was only when Moses reached the conclusion “You’ve got the wrong guy” that God became angry.

Moses’ first response was his best response: Here I am.

This is what usually happens to me. God calls me to do something or say something for Him, and I immediately say, “Here I am.” Then I begin to think about what I just committed to. It’s then that I come up with all my “Yeah, but” reasons why I can’t be the guy God thinks I am. In other words, I think my way out of God’s plan for me.

Here’s what I need to remember – If God calls me, it’s only because He has already equipped me.

For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:10)

No more “Yeah, but” second-guessing… I’m just sticking with “Here I am.”

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