1. Gavin Ortlund’s blog post, “How Not to Help a Sufferer”
Suffering touches everyone at some point. Ortlund offers a helpful list of things to not do if someone you know is going through a time of trial and suffering.
So what should we do instead? Well, we should be like Jesus. Ortlund writes:
“[Jesus] doesn’t shield us from suffering in this life, nor does He offer trite pep talks when the darkness descends. He promises that when it comes, He will be with us. In fact, we find Him most truly in our brokenheartedness: ‘The LORD is near to the brokenhearted’ (Ps. 34:18); ‘He heals the brokenhearted’ (Ps. 147:3); ‘He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted’” (Isa. 61:1).
2. This nice tribute to Tim Keller from Scott Sauls
Some very nice things said here about Keller in light of his retirement from pastoral ministry later this year. Many, of course, appreciate Keller for his theological insights. What’s even better, however, is the kind of character he seems to have: in particular, his character traits of humility and graciousness towards others (as opposed to the self promotion that is so rampant in our “celebrity pastor” day and age).
“In a time of posturing, comparing, and competing — a time when many pastors see each other as obstacles to overcome versus kingdom co-laborers to pray for and applaud — Tim has always been the latter. Instead of trying to position Redeemer as New York’s Wal-Mart of churches that would swallow up “the competition” with its superior offerings, Tim consistently leveraged time, resources, and energy to build a church planter training organization through which to bring more church planters, and with them more churches, into the city of New York. He was happy to see other NYC pastors succeed and other NYC churches thrive, even if it meant that Redeemer’s “slice of the pie” might become smaller as a result. Tim never had a market share mentality about Christians in his city, and he never targeted members of other churches, either overtly or covertly, so as to lure them to his own church. Instead, he focused on reaching the unreached, paying special attention to the skeptic and the seeker.
“Tim is one of the best examples I have seen of covering shame with the gospel. In five years of serving under his leadership, never once did I see him tear another person down to their face, on the Internet, or through gossip. Instead, he seemed to always assume the good in people. Occasionally, he would talk about how having the forgiveness and affirmation of Jesus frees us to “catch people doing good” instead of looking for things to criticize or be offended by. Even when someone had truly done wrong or been in error, Tim would respond with humble restraint and self-reflection instead of venting negativity and criticism. Like the grace of God does, Tim covered people’s flaws and sins — including mine on more than one occasion. He did this because that’s what grace does…it reminds us that in Jesus we are shielded and protected from the worst things about ourselves. Because Jesus shields us like this, we of all people should restore reputations versus destroying reputations, protect a good name versus calling someone a name, shut down gossip versus feeding gossip, and restore broken relationships versus begrudging broken people.”