Welcome to Tennant Across the Pond

Thanks for coming by--and welcome to Tennant Across the Pond, my online journal which will serve to update friends and family about my upcoming trips to Formby, U.K.

I will be in Formby twice in the next six months, serving with Formby Baptist Church. The dates for the trip are:

March 5-22 and May 16-July 12.

For updates, info, and reflections, read on.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Studying Suffering for the Glory of God

Today is Saturday, which means the first week of the internship is down with seven more to go. Time has moved so quickly, but each day has been packed full of activity and ministry. It's been a blast.

This summer, the lion's share of ministry will be devoted to the study of suffering. It is a topic I am supremely passionate about--over the past six months I have come to a very clear recognition that my ministry is to be devoted to suffering people and seeking ways to specifically address the issues they are facing.

Suffering is a worthy topic of study, because wimpy theology makes wimpy Christians. So, Christians who have a weak theology of suffering, a poor understanding of how God works in and uses suffering to His glory, will make for a wimpy Christian.

Thus, when suffering befalls the Christian, their faith crumbles because they do not understand God's purposes for their suffering. Thus, when they speak to other suffering Christians, they causes those believers emotional harm because they only offer trite platitudes and disregard their emotional pain. Thus, when they speak to the lost, they cannot articulate the Gospel's interpretation and understanding of evil.

Thus, my goal in teaching and studying suffering with Formby Baptist Church is to offer them lenses with which they can perceive and process their own suffering, so they in turn can shepherd the suffering well.

This Sunday, I will be preaching through the life of Joseph and what his sufferings and his perceptions of God teach us about how we can suffer. We will find that the story of Joseph offers emotional freedom and emotional protection to those who are suffering. We will also develop a basic understanding of God's interaction with evil. I'll post more on this later. Future sermons and talks will discuss the sufferings of Christ and Paul and evil's effect on the world.

God is for the suffering--He is with the suffering--and He comforts the suffering. Someone told me recently that, even though they may not know it, the children of God love the deep things of God. Suffering is profound and deep and great; but God is by far more profound, He is deeper and infinitely greater.

This summer, my prayer is that God would be glorified as we move from being overwhelmed by suffering and pain and evil, to being even more overwhelmed by God's greatness and glory.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ's sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.
---2 Corinthians 1:3-5

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for writing this. I look forward to hearing more from you this summer. I think I and those I minister to this summer will be greatly blessed by what you have to say. This summer's camp theme is "Redeem," and we are looking at the stories of redemption found in the genealogy of Jesus - Judah, Rahab, Ruth, David and Bathsheba, and finally Jesus himself.

    I think you'll really like this video. I thought it was awesome: http://vimeo.com/10959675

    Miss you bro. Hope you have a great internship :)