Here are some more of the Evangelism stories that were shared at Together for the Gospel last week. The gospel is truly the power of God unto salvation.
One of the best sermons I have heard in a very long time is from Pastor Kevin DeYoung. At T4G he preached “Never Spoke a Man Like This Before: Inerrancy, Evangelism and Christ’s Unbreakable Bible.” I recommend everyone to listen to this sermon, especially in light of the attack on the Bible’s inerrancy and authority in our culture. With that said, as T4G is a pastors conference, I especially recommend this sermon for pastors.
DeYoung does a masterful job at what I would call “cutting through the crap” and dealing with the things that really lie at the heart of this issue. He cuts right through the shallow comments of secularism and liberal christianity and delivers a blow.
He doesn’t just stop there though. Many pastors are satisfied delivering blows to those they see as “opponents,” but DeYoung is not one of them. In this sermon he argues passionately for why we can stand faithfully on Inerrancy and the authority of the Bible for our lives and ministries. I have heard a lot of sermons on Inerrancy. Typically, I respond to these with a, “Yes, of course. Inerrancy is true and vital.” With this sermon I want to stand up and charge up a mountain.
Never have I been so roused, gripped and encouraged through a sermon on Inerrancy. This sermon gives every Christian, but pastors especially great confidence for our preaching and sharing of the Word in our dark culture.
Make the time and give this sermon a listen. I would love to hear your thoughts and process it further.
I am cheating a little this week. I went to Together for the Gospel this last week. The theme was evangelism. I strongly encourage everyone to go listen to the messages. In order I would suggest: DeYoung, Platt, Piper, Chandler, Duncan, MacArthur, Thabiti, Dever, and Mohler. I also encourage you to watch the evangelism stories they used. I loved them.
Following an entire conference on evangelism we dove into Romans 9:1-3 this morning. Both at the conference and this morning God was quite gracious to me. Though sometimes we don’t think of “conviction” as grace we most certainly should.
When I first became Christian, God radically changed me and I was known for evangelism. I talked about Jesus a lot. I prayed consistently for God open doors for me to share the gospel. This has changed significantly. Do I still share the gospel? Yes. Though not nearly at the rate, with the urgency, or the joy that I once did.
I remember going to New Orleans for two mission trips as a teenager. I was the arrogant (bold?) kid that wanted to share the gospel with the person no one else would. The leaders told us to stay away from the Tarot Card readers, mystics, and other Wiccan type of people in the French Quarter area. Yes, I went straight for the that crowd and was in about 10 minutes with of conversation before a leader saw me and pulled me away.
There was also a couple sitting on a bench that was fully decked out in the goth look. I thought, “Yeah, I will take my preppy teenage self over there to tell them about Jesus.” I remember somewhat trembling as I walked over there while simultaneously feeling a rush of joy. This conversation was actually very effective and has quite the story, but that is for another time.
The point is, I used to have deep urgency to share the gospel. I had just been freed from sin and raised from death to life and I was “dead set” on seeing this happen in other people. It is very fair to say that I had a “great sorrow” for those separated from Christ.
Somewhere along the way… Actually, I know exactly where I lost this: Bible College. I went from being light in a dark place to being around Bible college students that wanted to be pastors all the time. I totally lost the rhythm and relationships of lost people in my life. Now I am a pastor and also spend all of my time with church people. Don’t misunderstand me though, there is a lot of gospel sharing that takes place with “church people.” Church people doesn’t always mean “saved people.”
Since Bible College the frequency and urgency in which I share the gospel with neighbors, friends, etc. has simply decreased beyond what any Christian should be comfortable with. The Holy Spirit convicted me greatly at the conference and pressed it in today.
I pray that my work as an evangelist picks up greatly, even surpassing when I was in High School. It always starts with conviction. It is easy to get too comfortable and complacent. The Holy Spirit has to shake us out of our stupor. He is doing this in me in regards to evangelism and it is a great grace.
I’m looking forward to this conference! They are all 20 minute Ted-style talks. I will refresh this page very often while filling in content underneath the headings of each talk. The conference is using the hashtag #CBMW14 for Twitter. Follow the hashtag, follow this blog, and enjoy the content!
*disclaimer: most content will not be direct quotes, but summarizing of ideas.*
Ligon Duncan: “Where CBMW & Complementarianism Has Been”
The CBMW has been at work to serve pastors leaders, and churches for over a quarter of a century. It started with a group of leaders who met together concerned about the unbiblical teachings around biblical manhood and womanhood. Out of this came the term complementarianism, along with the statement of faith the CBMW now uses.
This group continued to work and in 1991 Wayne Grudem and John Piper published, “Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood.” It signaled that complemetarianism featured rich biblical truth.
CBMW has played a supportive role with a number of denominations and organizations to present a biblical view of manhood and womanhood.
Under the influence of leaders like Bruce Ware and Randy Stinson CBMW has increased its influence through conferences, resources online, their theological journal, and partnering with conventions.
Complementarianism: God has created both male and female with inherent value. Yet, God has made us different in giving us roles and functions that are distinct from one another. “This is a truth to be celebrated, not ignored or apologized for.”
We want complementarianism to be seen mostly as the position that values and honors women. Egalitarianism actually down plays the value of women, by negating the leadership of the husband.
1) Complementarianism is important because God has created men and women differently. These differences need to be recognized, taken account of, and addressed.
This is something egalitarians cannot come to grips with. When God created man he created them male and female. This universal, creational value has huge implications for Christian discipleships. The distinction between male and female itself displays the nature of the godhead.
This distinction means that Gods design for male and female demands our response of, “this is wonderful.” It ought to be celebrated. It is better than any other way. Because it is so counter-cultural it needs to be taught and understood in the local church and in Christian discipleship.
2) Complemetarianism is important because the Bible teaches so much so clearly on biblical manhood and womanhood.
The fact of the matter is the Bibles teaching is not incidental and peripheral, it is pervasive and foundational.
3) Complementarianism is important…. yeah, my bad- didn’t get it!
4) Complementarianism is important because it is cry much at the heart of the cultural transition we find ourselves in right now. We have seen a huge worldview shift.
5) Complementarianism is important because denying the Bible’s teaching on this issue is one of the primary ways the Bible’s authority is undermined in our culture.
Russell Moore: “How the Gospel of Jesus Christ Creates True Flourishing”
Dr. Moore starts our reading Genesis 3. Why do people watch horror films? Because they face their deepest, darkest fears in a safe environment. They get the rush of fear without actually being in danger.
Dr. Moore makes the joke, “I don’t watch horror films, but I get the ams effect when I watch prosperity teachers.” Crowd roars at the wit and humor… He goes on to make the point the commandment of the Lord and good and not burdensome. Yet, in our present times Scripture teaches that it is also hard and difficult.
When we come to the issue of gender, often controversial- even in conservative churches, we are engaging in spiritual warfare. This has to do with the mission God has given to his people. The devil is opposed to this mission and this includes being against that God has chosen to make men male and women female.
Satan wants humanity to see ourselves as gods and goddesses, transcending what God has created us, including that he has made us male and female. He also wants us to see ourselves as animals. He attacks us from both sides. His goal is to strip away from us what it means to be created in God’s image… God’s image as male and female.
Sometimes Complementarians are mischaracterized as teaching women should submit to men. This is not what the Bible teaches. Complementarianism teaches that wives are to submit to husbands. What it means to be submissive to her own husband and to God also means to reject false authority over her- satan, other men, etc.
The problem is not egalitarianism. The real problem is the pornography culture. The reality that women are exploited sexually for the desires of men. The world outside is not egalitarianism, it is patriarchal of the worst kind. It pushes an agenda that men are to get what they desire to the exploitation of women.
Complementarianism creates a womanhood that isn’t a doormat, rather one that stands up against false authority as she graciously submits to the correct authority- husband and God.
The headship of Christ is not self-seeking. The headship of Christ is sacrificial of the cross kind.
Complementarianism cannot be the prosperity gospel of the X and Y chromosomes. It is not a message of ‘once you get the roles right it is easy.’ It is a message of, ‘This is the best for both men and women.’
Kevin DeYoung: “The Beauty of Difference- In Heaven and on Earth”
“What would you say to a little girl that comes up to you and says, ‘Mommy, what does it mean to be a woman.’” (vica versa with males) Question originally asked by John Piper.
What does it mean from the Bible? What would you say?
Perhaps you would start by stating we are created in the image of God and having identity in Christ.
Here are 5 differences we see in Scripture:
1) Appearance- 1 Corinthians 11. The confusion of gender is contrary to nature. Men are not to appear like women and vica versa. This is where it can be dangerous because people will add false descriptions of what manhood and womanhood looks like. We add things like girls can only be interested in things like their nails and men have to get excited about guns.
It is not right for men to be like women. 1 Cor. 11:14. How this distinction plays out is somewhat played out by our culture. There is an intermediate step that we see in 1 Cor. 11. Nature does speak what manhood and womanhood looks like, but our culture also gives us some clues.
Examples: nature teaches men shouldn’t where a dress and where lipstick. Our culture would identify this. The debate is where the line is drawn.
2) Body- One of the most scandalous verses to our culture is 1 Corinthians 6:19- “not our own, bought with a price- glorify God in your body.” Part of being a man is that your body was designed for a women. Part of being a woman is that your body was designed for a man. Both the Bible and natural theology teaches us this.
3) Character- Men are to be honorable, understanding. The crowning value of the woman is her true beauty. This is not seen by hours in front of a mirror. Men long for a true strength. (Isn’t this seen in their love for conquering video games, sporting events, et?)
4) Demeanor- 1 Thess. 2: 7-8, 11. Paul likens his pastoral approach to motherhood and fatherhood. For motherhood he uses nurturing and gentleness. From fatherhood he uses exhortation, encouragement.
5) Eager Posture- the wife’s posture is to be eager to help. By creation of design Eve had a posture to be an eager helper of her husband. The wife is willing to be led. The husband is eager to take sacrificial leadership on his shoulders. The most important exhortation in complementarianism is not for women to sit down, it is for men to stand up.
Eric Mason: “Renewing Men: The Gospel Call”
We are not the only missionaries. Our culture seems to have several missionaries that use all types of avenues to disciple. Eric Mason noted that rappers typically use their gift not only to entertain, but to educate. 50 Cent has a hard persona, a deep detachment from his emotions.
In the church we have a lot of “50 Cents” We barricade ourselves off from the gospel and don’t let it shape and change our emotions. We cannot ignore the impact of the past on our present.
The only way to start with “Renewing Men” is by owning our need for the gospel.
Our emotions point to our affections from our heart value system. The challenge we deal with as men is truly engaging emotions. We see this by denying the emotional issues that come from being disconnected from our fathers.
Jesus comes to restore our families, our value systems, and our emotions.
2 Cor. 10:3-6 shows us the answer as to why so many of us make it hard to experience our emotions. Paul tells us to tear down and challenge everything that brings down the glory of God in our lives.
The reason why we have emotional unhealthy and a lack of spirituality is because we deny the impact our past has on our present. This has great effect on how we relate to our wives, children, and our Lord.
*Eric Mason did more preaching- very hard to keep up with, but it was very good*
John Piper: “Renewing Women: The Gospel Call”
I have a bias that men are more evil than women. Murders, burglaries, and sexual assaults etc. are overwhelmingly committed by men. (he gave the exact stats- all of them were in the 80-90 percentiles.)
Women simply don’t do as many public sins as heinous as men. Piper also joked that his mother was a women and so it is hard for him to put her in the same category as the evil he sees in men. “I have a built in bias against thinking of women as exceedingly evil.”
With that said, we are all dreadfully evil before being reconciled to God through Jesus Christ. No exceptions, we are in a dreadful condition apart from Christ. Women are dead in trespasses and sins. They love darkness rather than light. They are by nature children of wrath. They were not able to submit to God rightly. They are not righteous at all. They are all suppressing the truth of God. Women were without faith and it is impossible to please God without faith.
So, Piper’s bias is blown up by the Bible. All men and women are in a terribly sinful condition apart from Christ.
1) This means that the proposal that a greater depravity in men and a lesser in women accounts for those crime statistics doesn’t work. There is not greater or lesser depravity (despite Piper’s personal bias). Before Christ all people do is sin. It is all we do, even our so called virtues. “Without faith it is impossible to please God.”
2) The explanation of those statistics lies in that depravity is given form by nature and the nature is deformed by depravity.
Depravity is given form by nature and in the process nature is deformed by depravity. Nature is what we are in creation, not in depravity. In men, depravity takes on its form in male nature (crime stats). Similarly, there are aspects of female nature that when highjacked by nature become scheming, gossiping, manipulating,etc.
The crime statistics are owing to the highjacking of our natures by depravity. The peculiar differences in male and female show themselves even in our depravity.
3) Therefore, conversion to Christ- redemption is the rescue of female nature from its deformations caused by depravity. It is even more than rescue. In Christ women are not simply restored to pre-fallen Eve. It is more than recovery of fallen “femaleness.” In breaking the power of depravity God did more. He made women a participant in the very thing she and the men had been foreshadowing, namely the union of Christ with her bride.
In Christ, the redeemed woman says, “I was not made to be a natural women, I was made to be supernatural.” Through union with Christ and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit the woman sees that she is caught up with the bride and sees even more so what her femaleness really is.
Natural tenderness, nurturing, etc. is not only set free, this created female nature is now infused by the Spirit and the power of Christ so that this tenderness, gentleness, and nurturing becomes the invincible supportive, fearless hands of Christ himself.
David Platt: “Radically Single: Authentic Christianity as Men and Women”
Divorce rates are up, marriage rates are down… What are we to think about this?
1 Corinthians 7 speaks to this for us. Two realities to be brought to light about singleness:
1) We affirm singleness as a good gift from God that portrays the gospel of God. It is a gift from God and he does not give bad gifts. In a sense, the supremacy of Christ and satisfaction in God is uniquely portrayed in singleness.
Singleness also gives an availability to God and his mission that married people simply don’t haven especially with kids.
2) We exhort single brothers and sisters to use this good gift for God’s great glory in the world. The message of 1 Cor. 7 is clear- “don’t squander your singleness.” Singleness is not to be used to prolong adolescence.
Paul exhorts single people in 3 ways:
1) Be focused on the mission. “Being single is meant that I am free to take risks that I might not be able to take if a family was dependent on me.” (Missionary).
Could it be that your impact in God’s kingdom is not despite your singleness, rather because of it?
2) Be undistracted in your affection.
3) Be undivided in your devotion.
*There was quite a bit I couldn’t get here. All I know is, this talk was by far the best 20 minutes on singleness I have ever heard* *slow clap*
Albert Mohler: “Sound Words on Homosexuality, Marriage, and the Public Marriage”
Most of us recognize that we are living in an interesting time… We are experiencing a unique kind of moral revolution. It is truly unprecedented. It touches on all things that revolve around the idea of family. What is a family, marriage, healthy sexual experience, etc?
There are a good many that would like to think we can retreat from the public square on these issues. They desire to talk about it “in house” only. The problem is these are foundational issues for every society. Every society has to regulate what is a marriage, who can be a parent, etc.
The Australian High Court just ruled that people don’t have to be a himself or herself, but can identify themselves however they want when it comes to their sexuality and gender. This obviously has major impact on marriage. It is being drastically redefined. This has never happened before.
These used to be no such thing as “same sex marriage.” Now, supporting same sex marriage is used as a type of litmus test of ethics and human tolerance. The Christian church throughout all of the western church has always had the reputation of speaking with a moral respectiveness.
Now, for the first time, the challenge has changed. Our voice is no longer sought after and respected in our culture. We are not the moral minority. Courage looks very different now than it used to.
It makes us remember that the gospel is the only answer to our human confusions. The cultural revolution and confusion can only be answered by the gospel of Jesus Christ.
We speak on the message of the power of the gospel that they may know the grace of God in Jesus Christ. We want people in our culture to see their identity in union with Jesus, not in their social and moral confusions.
Religious liberty, gospel credibility and other things are under attack in our culture. We have to learn a new set of skills in how we interact with the public square. It is okay, God reigns and we have the power of the gospel.
If nothing else, this revolution must be combatted with serious gospel credibility. This will only happen when we are pointing people to the gospel, living in line with the gospel, and declaring the glory of the gospel.
Danny Akin: “Men and Missions: The Missional Link”
Romans 12:1-2 and Romans 15:18-25. It is Paul’s goal that we get swept along with him in his passion for reaching the lost and going where others have not yet gone. Salvation leads to consecration and that leads to mission.
Missions is the natural outcome of a consecrated life lived out of gratitude for the mercies of God through the gospel of Christ.
Dr. Akin did some research and found that there are a significant difference in how many men and women are on the mission field. In the IMB Journeyman program there was more than double females then males. There are 48 females in West Africa right now and 2 males.
Why do so many people (emphasis on men) stay here and not go overseas? What contributes to this:
1) Debt. Debt has to be paid before we can go to the mission field.
2) Pornography. This knocks out so many men out of qualification.
3) Parental pressure. Parents get delighted their kids are called to the ministry as long as it is in driving distance!
5) Idol of recognition and praise.
6) Theology. Many men have a theology that breeds theological arrogance rather than a missional heart.
What is the fall out of men not going to the nations?
1) We communicate to the nations that Christianity is a feminized religion.
2) We are not able to share the gospel with many across the world. For example: a muslim man will never listen to a female share the gospel with him.
What to do?
1) Cultivate a theology that will cultivate your heart for the glory of God among all peoples.
2) Remind yourself, “You can only have one ultimate in life. That one ultimate should be Christ and his mission.”
3) Remind yourself that God did not err in leaving the gospel in the hands of men and women to take the gospel to the nations.
4) Crucify the idols of the flesh and family that put restriction on where and how God might use you.
5) Ask God to give you a vision for the nations like many men who have gone before us. Adoniram Judson, Zinzendorf, John G. Patton, David Livingstone, Jim Elliot, etc… Dr. Akin shared many missionaries and quotes about being called by God to the mission field.
Women’s Panel: GraceAnna Castleberry (moderator), Trillia Newbell, Kristie Anyabwile, Melissa Kruger, Jodi Ware, and Candice Watters.
There is a lot of busy moms- lets talk about the importance of daily time in the Word.
Whatever season women are in the weight of prosperity is time in the Word. This is where we receive and grow in the fruits of the Spirit as we abide in Christ. Women have to plan time in the Word each day. They have to know the season of life they are in and plan accordingly.
The other part is perseverance. There are a lot of times we leave the Scriptures feeling very little to nothing. The way we are biblical women is by staying in the Word even when it isn’t easy. God will give us his tenderness and help us feel his affection when we need it. At times, he calls us to persevere in the dryness.
What does submission look like in a healthy, complementarian marriage?
1) It’s a work in progress.
2) First ask the question, “How does the church submit to Christ.” We submit to Christ out of our love for him, joyfully, fully, in community, trusting him, and because he is an authority.
3) We cannot undermine husbands with cutting humor or putting them down privately or in others.
A lot of women with young children struggle with, “I know my children and home are my main ministry. How do I balance that with everything else? “
1) There are different seasons. There are times when women can do almost nothing outside of taking care of the children, home, and husbands. Women have to feel okay, not guilty, about these seasons.
2) Pray and ask for discernment. Don’t discourage the woman who is capable of doing more and have a little more capacity. We shouldn’t feel guilty by our limits or discourage those who are able to do a little more.
3) We need to look in the right place for what we are to be about. There is a lot of things online, on pinterest, etc. that give a picture of what a “perfect mother” is, but we have to find this in our relationship with Jesus. Do small practical things that help you focus on God- podcasts while you work around the house, notecards in your pocket with Scripture, etc.
4) Talk to your husbands about where you could use some help and pray for your husbands to be able to serve you in a valuable way.
Women seem to struggle greatly with comparing themselves to others: what would your thoughts be for women who struggle with this?
“Comparison and fear of man is a snare. Women, life is fleeting. Whatever God gives you today, he is sovereign and good.” Candice Watters
1) Stop looking at pinterest and get off social media if it is making you feel shame and guilt for not being able to live up to the images out there of what you should really be like and about.
2) Remember your identity is found in Jesus. We are accepted by God, approved by Him, and in Him we found what we are really to be like and about.
It is important to understand the dynamics of your relationship with your husband: his leadership and your submission. Some men veer towards extreme passivity and some towards harsh authoritarianism. It is helpful for wives to know where on the spectrum their husbands are and able to pray for them and talk with them.
How do we encourage women to live our biblical womanhood?
1) Many women have not got to see it modeled. Growing in our knowledge of God and how he has designed things help greatly. We see how he made things and embracing that it was made for our good.
2) Find an older women that does model biblical womanhood. Watch how she interacts with her husband, go to her with issues with your kids, etc.
3) We need to be women of the Book. Quality and quantity are both important. We grow in biblical womanhood when we grow in our relationship with Jesus and grow in our knowledge of the Lord and bear fruit in every good work.
4) Be involved in a vibrant, gospel preaching church.
Owen Strachan: “Where CBMW & Complementarianism Is Going”
How is this a “gospel issue?”
1) Gospel creates sexual ethics. We cannot compartmentalize our sexuality and gender away from what the gospel does in us.
2) The gospel frees us to live as God intended. We are not sad and long-faced about complementarianism. We are functioning in what can give the most joy.
CBMW is not about “battling gender wars.” CBMW is about life transformation. We are not established primarily for 50 year old white men. We love all people. We love women. This movement is young and growing amongst all generations and genders.
We are to be winsome and engage well. We ought to be positive, vibrant voices.
CBMW loves marriage and singles. We have gotten flack for that. It is a very tricky balance. We have to be very pro-marriage. This does not mean we do not value and love singleness in the same way God does. David Platt did a great job on this issue earlier.
CBMW is here to help pastors, churches, and christians stand up and promote a biblical view of manhood, womanhood, marriage, etc. Our culture is confusing these things badly and we want to be a positive voice, full of truth and grace.
I am headed to the Together for the Gospel conference this week! I attended two years ago and it was very encouraging and spiritually nourishing. I am praying for the same this year.
Along with that, the Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood is holding a conference before T4G starts. I am very excited to attend. It has several leading voices that will be teaching; John Piper, Eric Mason, Ligon Duncan, Kevin DeYoung, Russell Moore, Danny Akin, Al Mohler, David Platt, and Owen Strachan. There will also be a women’s panel made up of Trillia Newbell, Kristie Anyabwile, Melissa Kruger, Jodi Ware, and Candice Watters.
It is going to be very good. The main reason why I am excited about it isn’t because of the notoriety of the speakers, but because of the topic itself. There is not a theological topic that strikes an American nerve more than Complementarianism. This doctrine is what the church has believed throughout its history in regards to gender roles in the church and the home.
With the rise of secularism and feminism this doctrine becomes more hated by the day. Now, it is theologically-liberal Christians that seem to do most of the attacking.
Because this is such an important topic I have decided to live-blog the conference. There is a lot of confusion about what real complementarianism is and what true biblical manhood and womanhood looks like. I am excited about this conference shedding light on those things.
I have posted the schedule and topics below. I will have a post up tomorrow during the conference that I will update throughout!
Schedule and Topics
|8:30-8:50||Ligon Duncan: Welcome, “Where CBMW & Complementarianism Has Been”|
|8:50-9:10||Russell Moore: “How the Gospel of Jesus Christ Creates True Flourishing”|
|9:10-9:30||Kevin DeYoung: “The Beauty of Differences–In Heaven and on Earth”|
|9:30-9:50||Eric Mason: “Renewing Men: The Gospel Call”|
|9:50-10:10||John Piper: “Renewing Women: The Gospel Call”|
|10:10-10:30||Danny Akin: “Men and Missions: The Missing Link”|
|10:30-10:50||Albert Mohler: “Sound Words on Homosexuality, Marriage, and the Public Square”|
|10:50-11:10||David Platt: “Radically Single: Authentic Christianity as Men and Women”|
|11:10-11:40||Women’s Panel: GraceAnna Castleberry (moderator), Trillia Newbell, Kristie Anyabwile, Melissa Kruger, Jodi Ware, and Candice Watters|
|11:40-12:00||Owen Strachan: “Where CBMW & Complementarianism Is Going”|
My pastor announced something that I love today. Some back story is important here… Several months ago our staff was talking through sermon series ideas and planning several months out. We decided to go through the Book of Lamentations to look at “the dark that beautifies the dawn.” It was a sermon series that focused God’s justice, his wrath, suffering, and man’s sin.
We ended the 5 week series today. What we realized this last week is that during this series we have:
- seen a record number of people in our Worship Gatherings
- grown in generosity and have had a record month in giving
- we now have more people in a Missional Community than ever before
That is grace, people. Ask every supposed church growth “expert” how to grow to new heights in numbers, giving, and people getting connected and 0 of them will say, “Preach a series through Lamentations!”
It is God who draws people to himself and does a mighty work in the life of a church. He honors faithfulness. It is a great grace that I get to be a part of a church that is excited about preaching through Lamentations and that it is received with thankfulness.