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Suck It Up

I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you…
Ephesians 4:1 ESV

Once, while reading through the book of Ephesians, it struck me as a bit odd that here smack dab in the center of his letter, Paul mentions the fact that he’s in prison. I’d expect maybe that he’d do that at the beginning, perhaps at the end, but to stick it here seems out of place. Continue reading “Suck It Up”

We have just posted the audio of the first four sessions of our Spring Conference held last Saturday at Lifespring Church in Crosby, MN. Thanks so much to Pastor Eric Anderson and the dear folks at Lifespring for their labors in Jesus’ name making this a wonderful day of sound biblical instruction, encouragement, and challenging thinking. It was an honor to get to meet the gracious Dr. Peter Jones, who was somehow schnookered into coming to the sticks of Northern Minnesota. We are so grateful.

I’ve also posted some new material on the What I’m Listening To page, including some fun kids stories I grew up with, audio Bible recommends, and some other good stuff including Psalm 23 in Hebrew and a wonderful piece on “The Disease of Melancholy.”

-jr

In Which I Discover I am Immoral

I am now immoral when once I wasn’t, and I didn’t do nothin’. These are my thoughts concerning my recent, rather unpleasant, self-discovery. Continue reading “In Which I Discover I am Immoral”

A few little things to note:

I added some new things to What I’m listening to for your auditory pleasure and/or edification. I particularly enjoyed (for the third time or so) Nathaniel Hawthorne’s story story about Mrs. Bullfrog, which is perhaps more relevant and culturally fitting in our day than we may care to admit. And while in my shop I was enraptured in the vision of God Sinclair Ferguson presented so beautifully, I also ignored the strain I was putting my table saw through until the motor burnt out. Still, I can scarcely recommend this sermon highly enough.

Don’t forget to register for our upcoming Spring Conference with Dr. Peter Jones. Registration is both free and required. If the registration process frightens you (entering an email address that “they” will have), contact Eric or me and we’ll register you under the name of some notorious heretic. I think the next name to be used is Marcion, unless Andy Stanley has reserved it for himself.

JC Ryle texted me from my Dad’s phone this week:
When an eagle is happy in an iron cage,
when a sheep is happy in the water,
when an owl is happy in the blasé of noonday sun,
when a fish is happy on the dry land –
then, and not until then will I admit
that the unsanctified man could be happy in Heaven.

My birthday was this week. Spent much time thinking about last year’s birthday – Alice on my lap laughing opening my presents and blowing out my candles (picture of that here), the first little signs of her tumor’s recurrence were showing up making it somewhat miserable for me as I tried to soak up all the good and properly ignore the bad I couldn’t do anything about. I think much of eternity, and in a way, yesterday I turned 40 but kinda wish I’d turned 70. I’d look good for a 70yr. old. Anyway, itching to see her again, itching to get on with the business of eternal life. God give me patience to endure to the end.

Common Slaves Spring Conference

The Common Slaves Network is excited to invite you to attend our Spring Conference, to be held on Saturday, April 27th, 8:30AM at Lifespring Church in Crosby, MN.

Our keynote speaker is Dr. Peter Jones, who will be addressing the theme of the conference, Only Two Religions: Understanding All the Worship in the World. Continue reading “Common Slaves Spring Conference”

The pastors, elders, and churches comprising the Common Slaves would like to extend an invitation for you to join together with us for an evening of praise and worship rooted in the tradition of the Reformation this coming Sunday evening, November 25th, 4:30 PM, at Quamba Baptist Church, located in the heart of the metropolis of Quamba, Minnesota.

Pastor Joe Reed from Lewis Lake Covenant Church will be preaching Christ in You, the Hope of Glory from Colossians 1:27.

The ladies at Quamba are preparing a meal to follow, so stick around and enjoy a rollicking good time of food and fellowship with saints from across the rural communities and churches of Central Minnesota.

The Gospel’s Hope for Fallen Minds

God created this world and all that is in it. He rules and reigns still. He declared his creation “good.”

Since Adam and Eve rebelled against God and came to know by experience the fruits of sin, life in this world has been fallen and cursed by God. From the moment we are born we are dying. Our physical death may lie in our future, but in respect to favor and life before God, we are already dead. This is true of each and every one of the 7-8 billion people on this planet bearing the image of God. Nothing works as it should. Plans fail, interpersonal conflicts arise, nations rage, and even the best inventions are often weaponized to cause pain and destruction.

Even our minds are enslaved to the corruption of a sin-filled world. Continue reading “The Gospel’s Hope for Fallen Minds”

The Common Slaves fall conference will be held on October 26, 2018 at Lifespring Church in Crosby MN. This year’s theme is “Sound Minds and Soul Care,” and will address matters of the mind, including the necessity of clear thinking in a confused culture, the powerful mental medicine found in the “ordinary means of grace,” ministering to those in crisis or tragedy, and an in depth look at John Newton’s pastoral ministry to the chronically, disablingly depressed poet William Cowper. We hope you’re able to join us as we hear from pastors in our network who have been ministering the ointment of the word to wounded hearts and minds for decades. More information can be found on our conference page here

Alice: Missing

On the seventh day the child died… David said to his servants, “Is the child dead?” They said, “He is dead.” Then David arose from the earth and washed and anointed himself and changed his clothes. And he went into the house of the Lord and worshiped. He then went to his own house. And when he asked, they set food before him, and he ate. 2 Sam. 12:19b-20

The record of King David losing his infant son was never too far from my mind during Alice’s final weeks. The passionate prayers and sorrows before death, followed by a seemingly immediate return to “normal” life sort of laid out a simple pattern for me that I hoped to follow.

The night Alice died, after I’d lifted her lifeless, already stiffening body off our bed, carried her through the kitchen, out the front door, and set her in the back of that shiny black minivan, laid her on a cot that was far too big for her little body, kissed her cool forehead one last time, pulled up the zipper of that adult size bag – after all, this ride wasn’t designed for kids – I walked back into the house where my Dad was seated at the table, and with reference to David that I knew he’d understand, I said to him, “Time to take a shower and eat something.” Continue reading “Alice: Missing”

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