Reading with Pastor Matt
On The Mortification of Sin by John Owen
Chapter 11 Part 2
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“I think we delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment; it is its appointed consummation. It is not out of compliment that lovers keep on telling one another how beautiful they are; the delight is incomplete till it is expressed. It is frustrating to have discovered a new author and not to be able to tell anyone how good he is; to come suddenly, at the turn of the road, upon some mountain valley of unexpected grandeur and then to have to keep silent because the people with you care for it no more than for a tin can in the ditch; to hear a good joke and find no one to share it with. . . . The Scotch catechism says that man’s chief end is ‘to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.’ But we shall then know that these are the same thing. Fully to enjoy is to glorify. In commanding us to glorify Him, God is inviting us to enjoy Him.”
― C.S. Lewis, Reflections on the Psalms
Episode 71 - Don't be a Lone Ranger Christian
(Any resemblance to actual people that might occur in this post is purely coincidental and speaks more to the prevalence of this issue and not to my desire to point anyone out.)
There is something new that is plaguing Christian communities. Ok, well... maybe it isn't new, I don't really know, but it is new to me. Actually, now that I think about it, it might not even be new to me, but it is definitely something that is now demonstrating itself in a newly exaggerated state. It is sort of like when an artist draws a caricature of a person: The artist will exaggerate any feature that is slightly noticeable in order to create the caricature. This is what is happening in our Christian Communities - we always had lone-ranger Christians, but it has never been as apparent or as grotesque as it is today.
Before I proceed, allow me to outline the format of this post. I'll begin by defining the title I've created: The Lone Ranger Christian. After that, I would like to describe the three contributing factors that I believe have exaggerated the noticeable characteristics of The Lone Ranger Christian, creating its current caricature. Finally, I will attempt to, in as brief a way as possible, share a couple of Biblical insights that I hope will battle this issue and strengthen the Church.
Episode 68 - Listen Here:
For those that do not know:
My name is Matt Harmless. I am in my 23rd year as a math teacher. All but one of my first nine years of teaching were in the private Christian School setting. The rest of my career has been in public education (with the last seven years at Danville High School in Danville, IL). I have also been a pastor at Edgewood Church in Danville since the summer of 2009. I share this information for those that might be new here, but also as an introduction to today's post.
I am going to discuss two aspects of my job, but not my teaching job... my pastoral job. I may take some time to talk about aspects of being a teacher in another post, but I wanted to make some specific points about my job as a pastor. More specifically, I wanted to discuss two things that Paul the Apostle mentions in his letter to Titus.
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In Matthew 13:24–30, Jesus tells us this parable:
 He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field,  but while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away.  So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared also.  And the servants of the master of the house came and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have weeds?’  He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ So the servants said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’  But he said, ‘No, lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them.  Let both grow together until the harvest, and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, “Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.”’” (Matthew 13:24–30 ESV)
I would like to begin this post by sharing some information. If you haven't already heard, the City of Danville voted an ordinance into place that could potentially affect an abortion clinic from relocating to Danville from Indiana. Here are a few of the news articles:
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Listen to this letter with the actual audio clips from the April 25th meeting.
Here is the statement that I planned on reading tonight at the city council meeting: