Archive for October, 2009

A Faithful Servant

Tuesday, October 13th, 2009

Today I’d like to pay tribute to a dear friend, the Rev. Dr. Wayne F. Brauning. Wayne is a graduate of Westminster Theological Seminary and has served the Lord as a pastor in the Reformed Presbyterian Church in North America, General Synod, the Reformed Presbyterian Church, Evangelical Synod, and the Presbyterian Church in America. He began his ministry at Fifth Reformed Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia and most recently pastored Immanuel Presbyterian (now a part of Olive Street Presbyterian Church in Coatesville, PA).

I’m paying tribute to Wayne for several reasons. First, he is a good friend. He is kind and pastoral. He knows when you need someone to say, “Let’s pray together.” Second, he is the Moderator of my presbytery (Philadelphia Metro West, PCA) and has just been elected to serve a second term. Third, today marks the 49th anniversary of his ordination. Wayne was privileged to have Professor John Murray give the charge at his ordination, and that charged has been preserved for us.

Professor Murray began, “You have been called as minister in this congregation and you have been ordained in pursuance of that call. There are many functions which devolve upon you in that particular capacity, but I want to draw your attention particularly to two of these functions because I believe they are the two main functions which devolve upon the minister of the Gospel. And these two functions are the preaching of the Word and pastoral care.”

Every Christian will be encouraged by this address. Take a few minutes to read the rest of the charge. You’ll be thankful you did.

Before I close today’s blog, let me say a word of thanks to Joan, Wayne’s wife. She has been his faithful companion through all these years of ministry. Wayne and Joan, you are both a great blessing! Thank you for how you serve others.

The Great Pain Version

Thursday, October 8th, 2009

When I was in junior high school, a friend brought his Bible to me and asked me to read 1 Timothy 6:6. It read, “But godliness with contentment is great pain.” Now, if you’re familiar with this verse, you know it should read, “But godliness with contentment is great gain.” Ooops! We soon dubbed that printing of the Bible “The Great Pain Version.” But the more we thought about it, the more we realized that, though not true to the original text, the misprint was reflective of the way most of us live.

Contentment depends upon how we react to our circumstances and in particular how we view God in relation to our circumstances. If we see God as a culprit out to get us and make our lives miserable, then we’ll see ourselves as victims, helpless sufferers at the hands of an untrustworthy Sovereign. If, however, we believe God is a good and gracious Father, then we’ll see ourselves as stewards who have been entrusted with our circumstances as an opportunity to glorify God and become more like Christ.

Are we willing to accept and embrace what the Lord has for us?

“Acceptance means that you accept your circumstances from God, trusting that He unerringly knows what is best for you and that in His love, He purposes only that which is best. Having then reached a state of acceptance, you can ask God to let you use your difficult circumstances to glorify Him. In this way you have moved from the attitude of a victim to an attitude of stewardship. You begin to ask, ‘God, how can I use my disability (or whatever the difficult circumstance may be) to serve You and glorify You?’” Jerry Bridges, Respectable Sins (Colorado Springs: NavPress, 2007), 75.