Discipleship and the Visible Church

 

By Rich Lusk

 

This is an old article article, being republished for the blog.

 

Discipleship is a vital dimension of the church’s life.  The church’s motherly, nurturing role as discipler is indispensable.  Indeed the church is the school of discipleship.  We are enrolled in her school in baptism, educated in the word by her pastors and teachers, and fed at her table in the weekly covenant renewal service.  Consider Calvin’s wisdom:

 

From Public Church to Private Christian

 

By Rich Lusk

 

This is an old article article, being republished for the blog.

 

It is critical for the church to understand the broader social trends that have undermined her existence as a public and visible community if she is going to act and react in appropriately biblical ways in our (post)modern situation.  The progressive privatizing of religion needs to be sketched out more fully than will be done here, but a few critical points may be made. 

 

Orphan Care as a Christian Calling

Rich Lusk

This is an old article article, being republished for the blog.

 

How does one become part of a family one was not born into? Adoption. One of the central privileges of the gospel is our adoption into the family of God. We are not children of God by nature; rather, we are by nature children of wrath (Ephesians 2:3). God, in his glorious grace, adopts us into his family through Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:4-5). The eternal Son of God became the Son of Man and suffered and died for us, that we might become children of God, born again by the Spirit into a new family (John 1:12-13; 1 John 3:1). Now, as sons in union with the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, we cry out “Abba” to our Heavenly Father through the work of the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:15). The Triune God has adopted us, inviting us into his shared life of love and has made a home for us in eternity (John 14:2-4). As adopted and dearly loved children, we have a place at God’s table. We can be assured he provides for our every need, carries our every burden, and protects us from every enemy.

This article was originally written for the newsletter of Redeemer Presbyterian Church ion Austin, TX in 1997. It has been updated for TPC.

 

Worship is a controversial topic among Christians in our day. Strong, passionately held convictions often clash over even the minutiae of how we should worship God. Considering the centrality of gathered worship in the Scriptures, and the current fragmentation of the church, this is probably inevitable in our day. At TPC, we strive to be a worship-centered church because we strive to be a God-centered church. But why do we worship God the way we do?

 

These are thoughts shared with the TPC ruling elders some years ago, but I have decided to make them public here with the hope others in church leadership will find them helpful.

Pastors are required to be leaders of men. They must shepherd the shepherds, helping ruling elders do their work in the congregation effectively. They must lead the session so the session can lead the church. But today, we face a crisis in leadership, both inside and outside the church. Those who have been entrusted with leadership often have a failure of nerve, and thus fail to take charge and act decisively. Would-be leaders fail to cast vision and then implement that vision. In our culture, when leaders do try to take charge they all too often do so in self-serving, arrogant, and short-sighted ways, acting as tyrant-leaders rather than servant-leaders. True leaders don’t just make decisions, they take responsibility for those under their authority and the decisions that affect them. Sadly, today, many in positions of leadership like its perks, but don’t want to be held responsible for anything. They blameshift, make excuses, or invent new ways of escaping accountability.