Gospel Points – Struggling with Depression, Part 1


On this week’s edition of Gospel Points we continue our look at depression from a Christian perspective. Listen in as Pastor Jim Oakley describes his own personal journal and the struggles he has experienced. In our conversation we encourage Christians to strip away the mask of fake happiness and be real about our issues. We also discuss when to consider seeking medical attention and wrestle through the question of medication.

Listen to the streaming audio on podomatic or download the mp3.

Other listening options:

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Related Links:

Pastor Jim’s Blog

Who Won Tonight’s VP Debate?

I haven’t done much debate coverage on this blog in awhile.  At one point, it was the most popular feature of this blog – my debate analysis and live Twitter feed.  So, tonight, I make this blog great again…

I was not disappointed in tonight’s debate.  It was much better than how the two on the top of the ticket last week did.  What was disappointing was Tim Kaine.  Coming into this debate, I genuinely respected the man.  He seemed reasonable and level-headed.  Yet, tonight, he came off as a little weasel.  He kept interrupting (a complaint I made about Trump last week) and kept repeating clearly rehearsed lines of attack.  He was impatient and just annoying.

However, Kaine was at his best when going after Trump’s “insult-driven campaign.”  Governor Pence was left speechless.  But, what can you really say?  Trump’s childish insults simply cannot be defended.  The more Kaine went after him on this, the more points he put up on the board.

That being said, the clear winner of this debate was Mike Pence.  The governor was calm, cool and collected.  Dare I say it?  He looked presidential.  He swatted down Kaine’s overly-rehearsed attack lines with a simple dismissal.

Pence was at his best at the end of the night speaking of his faith, showing respect for Senator Kaine’s beliefs but, most of all, standing firm on life.  Governor Pence is clearly pro-life and a champion for the unborn.  I have to respect that.

Will it be a game-changer?  Probably not, but it may get some conservatives off the fence who have been looking for a reason to vote for Trump.  But, it won’t be enough change the course of the campaign.

Below are my live-tweets from the debate.  Read from the bottom to the top.

Thank you, @mike_pence for standing firm on life. Notice @timkaine would not defend partial birth or HIllay’s stance on the Hyde Amendment.

If I were @mike_pence I’d say, “Shh, Tim. Take a breath. Count to ten. You’ll get your chance to quote your rehearsed lines.” #VPDebate

Gov @mike_pence – keep asking the question – do you take deductions? Don’t let him ignore it. You’ve got him on this! #VPDebate

Clearly @timkaine scored some clear points going after Trump’s insults. @mike_pence is left silent. What can you say? #VPDebate

So @mike_pence can’t defend Trump’s insults and so goes after comments @HillaryClinton apologized for. #VPDebate

Now I’m ready for the debate! https://www.instagram.com/p/BLKbQ8vDGWBBbGUTSOPnG7rLLVqIIg_501VVSA0/

I wish @timkaine would answered the question – do you pay more taxes than you need to? #VPDebate

Clearly @GovPenceIN is looking the most presidential here. @timkaine just seems to be trying too hard. #VPDebate

Kaine is the Trump of this debate, can’t wait to interrupt. Trying to play Joe @JoeBiden maybe? #VPDebate

Both these guys sound ridiculous defending the trustworthiness of their candidates – can’t do it without attacking the other guy. #VPDebate

Gov @mike_pence wins the battle of the receding hairline against @timkaine #VPDebate

I guess Tim Kaine has home field advantage tonight. #VPDebate

This and That 09-24-16

Why I’m Trying to Preach Shorter Sermons – If the people stop listening at 45 minutes each week, what value is there in going another 15 minutes? If the people aren’t receiving the information, I’m not really making disciples. – Josh Buice

Crush Your Exegesis Paper: 3 Secrets Every Student Should Know – Don’t write like an academic computer writing binary theological code to other academic computers. Writing exegesis papers, like preaching sermons, means sending “truth through personality.” Write like you and your teacher both need to be edified by the Bible, because you do. – Mark L. Ward, Jr.

Five Categorical Lies about Pastors – Lie #3: “Megachurch pastors don’t care about the members.” Pastors of large churches and megachurches (over 2,000 in average worship attendance) are getting the brunt of these criticisms. The assumption is that large is bad and unloving. Here is the reality. A church of over 150 in attendance is a large church compared to most of the 350,000 churches in America. And even the pastor of a church of 150 cannot give ongoing personal attention to every member. Most large church and megachurch pastors do really love their flock.

Gospel Points – Questions on Depression


This week on the Gospel Points podcast we continue our look into the issue of Christians and depression. Our latest installment features an interview with Pastor Chris Brauns of the Red Brick Church in Stillman Valley, IL. The interview took place a few years back as a follow-up to a message Pastor Chris preached during a chapel time at Rock County Christian School. So listen in and hear answers to such questions as, is depression a spiritual or medical issue? Is depression a sin? What are the causes of depression? What is the spiritual condition of those who take their own life?

Listen to the streaming audio on podomatic or download the mp3.

Other listening options:

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Related Links:

When the Word Leads Your Pastoral Search
Unpacking Forgiveness
Bound Together

Book Review – Good and Angry by David Powlison

Title: Good and Angry:  Redeeming Anger, Irritation, Complaining and Bitterness
Author: David Powlison
Publisher: New Growth Press
Publishing Year: 2016
Pages: 246
My Rating: 5 out of 5 (1 meaning I hated the book, 5 meaning I loved the book)

This is one of those books that I’d like to say I read for a friend…  But, anger is an issue that has been in my family probably as long as it has been in existence.  So, it easy to excuse it away.  Not only does it come natural, it just seems right.  Getting angry, at its core, is a fight against injustice, so of course I’m going to get angry.  But, in the past few months the Lord has been convicted me of this sin that pushes away others and builds up my own pride.  With all of this in mind, I was excited about the chance to review Good and Angry for all of you.

I was disappointed in the book.  It’s not what I thought it would be.  I was looking for some practical tips of how to control the rage that sometimes bubbles up within me.  I was looking for ways to keep myself under control when everything inside of me wants to be out of control.  This was not that book.

Yet, what I found was that while this was not the book I wanted, it was indeed the book I needed.  Good and Angry taught me that my whole concept of anger needed to change.   For so long I have viewed anger as some sort of foreign entity that somehow resides in my body and from time to time surges up.  I was looking to control and force.  Yet, now I am coming to understand that anger is not something merely within me, it is me!

Powlison writes, “Usually angry people and those who give them advice focus on only one part of what is going on in anger.  And, curiously, the part they focus on is not you.  Anger becomes something that is happening to you or in you.  You deal with “it,” or harness “it,” or liberate “it,” or manage “it,” or rid yourself of “it.”  But you are not intrinsically responsible for “it.”  “It” is going on inside of you, but you aren’t doing it… One key to getting anger straight is to understand that when you are angry, you are doing something.  Anger is not an “it.”  Anger is not just one part of you.  Anger does not “happen” to you.  You do anger.”

That one little paragraph changed my entire perspective on anger and how I deal with my sin.  This entire book is a game-changer.  Very few books blow me away, but this one did for sure.  Good and Angry breaks apart the DNA of anger and helps us to see it at a basic level which then allows us to see its cause and core.  Then, Powlison takes on a journey to see anger not as a problem, but as an attribute of God meant for good.  Yes, anger can be a good thing when put in the right perspective with the right motive.  Anger does not have to lead to sin, though we are so accustomed to only think of it from that perspective.  Actually, patience and mercy may flow from the angry heart.

While Good and Angry does not offer tips such as counting to ten or punching a pillow, the book is filled with practical tips that will challenge your assumptions and take you the Word of God to see God’s intent and design.  This book was convicting on a deep level, but left me encouraged and inspired to rethink how I approach this entire subject.  I cannot recommend this book enough.

Purchase the book for yourself here.

Disclaimer: This book was provided by the publisher for review. I was under no obligation to offer a favorable review.

This and That – 09-17-16

Call to the Ministry Checklist – In my “Christian Ministry” class we put together a “Call the the Ministry Checklist.” Basically we went through the Bible, and a number of pastoral theologies, pastoral biographies, and blog posts on the subject and noted the most common recurring marks that were given by various authors. – David Murray

10 Things You Should Know about Definite Atonement – Christian doctrine is not arrived at by providing a few proof texts here or there. If we treated doctrine like that, then we would have to affirm justification by works and not justification faith alone, as there is a text clearly stating the former (James 2:24) but no such text stating the latter. The same may be said about other important doctrines like the Trinity or the two natures of Christ in one person. These doctrines are arrived at by holding together a range of biblical texts, while at the same time synthesizing internally related doctrines that relate to the doctrine in view. – Jonathan Gibson