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Don’t Play Travel Ball: Stay in the Rec League

I have friends I respect whose kids have played (and some who do play) travel ball, and I mean no offense to them by this post. Nor am I categorically condemning their decisions and choices. I am offering these thoughts for parents who are considering whether to put their kids on a “competitive” team, or a “travel-ball” team, or a “tournament” team, or whatever it may be called in your sport and locale.

Don’t get me wrong: I love competition. I love excellence. And I want to provide the best competitive opportunities I can for my own kids.

I played two years of major college baseball at the University of Arkansas, and I’ve been coaching my sons in baseball and basketball for the last 7 years or so. These reflections grow out of my own experience playing and coaching and watching other families. My thoughts will be mainly applied to baseball, but I think they are valid for basketball, volleyball, soccer, lacrosse, swimming, and whatever else.

Here are 10 reasons I think you should keep your kid in the rec league rather than quitting it for travel ball. These are presented in the order in which I suspect most dads think about them, not in the order of importance I would rank them (#6 would be #1, and #4 would be #2).

  1. Kids should play not work.

Growing up I loved baseball. I wanted to play all the time, until I got to college and had to do so. When I walked on and made the Razorbacks, the sport I loved to play became a year-round job. A job is not a game. We practiced a lot, doing as much as the NCAA allowed, all year long, in season and out.

That’s fine for an 18 year old on the cusp of adulthood, but there’s no reason to put a 7–14 year old through that kind of rigor.

After my first year of it in college, I found that what had been so fun because I had the opportunity to look forward to it in the off season, or even on days between practice or games, began to feel like a dreaded obligation that consumed a significant portion of every day.

The daily grind not only sapped the joy of the game, it was physically punishing. My arm hurt all the time, and I wasn’t a pitcher. The journey the Lord had me on led to me being cut from the team after I did not play summer ball following my sophomore year. I had played non-stop from the summer before my freshman year, through fall ball, winter weights, the spring season, then summer ball before it started all over in my sophomore year. I needed a break, and I wanted to be a counselor at a Christian camp that summer (Kanakuk).

The gods of baseball punished me for my lack of devotion. I was sad when the team cut me from the roster, but I was also relieved. I had my schedule back. So much time was freed up by not having to go to practice. I could now study what I wanted to study, and my classes were no longer determined by baseball practice. I could rest.

I’ve heard of travel ball teams that play 60 games in a summer—for kids under 10!—and then they practice at least once a week through the winter.

I’ve also heard more than one parent tell me that after a few years of travel ball, in some cases only one year of it, their son decided he didn’t want to play baseball anymore. I never felt that way until I got to college, but looking at the demands of travel ball, I totally understand how the kid feels.

That’s why I’m writing this post. I want your son to love baseball, to have the opportunity to be a kid, and to play the game as a kid. Baseball should be a fun game for him not a demanding job.

Keep him in rec ball, where he won’t get burnt out because he’s a kid facing the demands of a profession.

  1. Your kid isn’t going pro (and that’s a good thing).

The percentages are outrageous. So many kids grow up dreaming, so few put on a big league uniform. No one should expect to make the show.

I grew up wanting to be a major league baseball player, and I’m so glad I never even got drafted. I spent my 20s laying the foundation for what I’m doing with the rest of my life, not bouncing around in the minor leagues. I got an education, got married, we started having children, and now I get to coach my kids.

If I was in the big leagues, my summers (and falls, and springs) would be dominated by an unrelenting schedule leaving no opportunity to coach my kids’ teams. Travel is not glamorous but grueling. How does a big leaguer have a family? And at best a professional athlete might play into his late 30s or early 40s, then what?

I submit that even with all the excitement of the game, and the money and fame that come with it, the life of a professional athlete is not one to be envied.

Don’t sacrifice your son’s childhood on the altar of the hope that he’s the next Derek Jeter. Have fun with sports, and use it to build character, not dream-castles in the skies.

Give your kid the chance to be a great person and cultivate that through sports.

  1. If your kid does go pro, rec ball is the likelier path.

On the off-chance that your kid is a freak athlete with the arm strength, foot speed, power, stamina, and character, who gets all the right breaks at just the right time, chances are he’ll rise up through the ranks of rec ball rather than being groomed on the travel ball circuit.

Small towns breed professional athletes, and the reason seems to be that kids in small towns aren’t over-coached, over-organized, and over-specialized by the travel ball opportunities found in larger cities. Small town kids grow up playing lots of sports not getting burnt out playing the same one all year round.

  1. Your family doesn’t need travel ball.

This is the one your wife wants you to care about. And you should. Your marriage matters a lot more than some sport your kid plays. What will travel ball mean for your marriage? What will travel ball mean for your other kids? If you’re coaching your 12 year old’s travel ball team, what does that mean for the rec league opportunities your 7 year old has? Do you want to miss the younger kid’s games and practices?

If you are traveling every weekend, or most of them, for a Friday, Saturday, Sunday tournament, what happens to non-sport family time? If you’re exalting baseball over all these other things, are you serving a false god, an idol, that is going to use you and then throw you away?

Is the travel ball opportunity your 7–14 year old kid has more important than Friday nights and Saturday mornings at home with the family? Is it more important than being at church on Sunday morning? (on which more below).

  1. Your wallet will thank you.

I don’t even want to think about how much parents pay for their 7–14 year old kids to travel to tournaments, to stay in hotels, to pay the tournament entry fees, and whatever else all this costs. I am confident that there are better ways to steward those thousands of dollars.

You may be betting on the kid getting a scholarship. I’m betting you would be better off saving your money to help him with college expenses. Consider D1 baseball: each team is allowed a maximum of 11.7 scholarships, and those scholarships can be divided up between players. The roster includes 35 players, 27 of whom can receive scholarship money.

When I was playing at Arkansas, none of my teammates had a full ride from the baseball program. Not one. The only kind of baseball scholarship D1 programs offer is a partial one. That means that even if your kid is the best thing since Babe Ruth, if he goes off to play major college baseball, the baseball team isn’t paying all the expenses. And given the number of kids playing and the number of available spots, even a partial baseball scholarship is terribly unlikely.

  1. You should be in church.

As a follower of Jesus, this consideration is the most important one for me.

I talked to a dad who was committed to having his family in church even when they were on the road—and he said they traveled as a family as often as they could—for tournaments. That’s commendable, but I suspect that those tournaments don’t always start the Sunday games at times that make finding a worship service possible.

More important than that, you and your family don’t need a summer long break from the life and fellowship of your local church. Christians need to be gathering with the same group of people every week to worship the risen Lord Jesus, to hear his word, and to fellowship with each other.

Kids need to see that Jesus and his church are more important to their parents even than baseball. Jesus is God not baseball.

You need the church, and the church needs you.

If you’re a non-Christian reading this post, don’t you want to live for something more than baseball? I would urge you to consider how trustworthy Jesus is, how he can reconcile you to God, how he has paid for your sin, and how his Spirit can enable you to love others and enjoy life with them in a gathering of people joined together at a local church. Baseball can’t raise the dead, but Jesus will do just that when he returns to make this world into the new heavens and new earth.

If you’re in Louisville, come check us out at www.KenwoodBaptistChurch.com.

  1. Better to play more than one sport.

I’ve alluded to this somewhat above. Kids need to play more than one sport so their rotator cuffs can recover, so their elbows can rest, so they don’t have to have Tommy John surgery at 17. They need to run and jump and exercise other muscles than the ones required by baseball. They don’t need to have baseball practice every week all year long, and you don’t need to be their taxi for that every week all year long either.

  1. Don’t dilute the talent pool in the rec league.

Part of the argument for travel ball is the appeal of better competition. As more and more kids get involved in travel ball, the best players are taken out of the rec league. It’s a vicious cycle. The best coaches and the best players stop playing rec ball in favor of travel ball, leading to fewer teams and a lower level of competition in the rec league.

  1. Don’t cause the rec league to dry up.

This is related to the previous: the best players leave the rec league for travel ball, and then the mediocre players get tempted to do so, and then all the kids get burnt out and stop playing baseball. Thus the rec league dries up. Was it really worth it?

  1. Don’t get seduced.

As I’ve talked to people about this dilemma, one friend proposed this to me: he said that I should start my own travel ball team, and I should commit myself to being “low-key” about it. Sound familiar? It did to me. Several dads had told me that they were leaving rec ball for a “low-key” travel ball team, or that they were adding a “low-key” travel ball team on top of the rec ball their son was playing.

But my friend who suggested that I do this also told me what was going to happen: he said I needed to understand that the other travel ball teams weren’t going to be low-key, so we would get pummeled at tournaments and probably lose every game. That would inevitably awaken the competitive impulse, leading to more practices, more effort expended, and the gradual creep to a higher key. He said he had seen it happen. Dads get into it for a little better competition not meaning for it to take over their lives, and the next thing they know their schedule and wallet are dominated by travel ball.

So I’m writing in the hope that you’ll see that rec ball is a better route. It’s better to honor God than to win, and it’s better for your kid to enjoy the game than for him to play at the highest possible level.

Conclusion

Do I think you are sinning if your kid plays travel ball? Not necessarily, but if your kid is in the 7–14 age range, I will suspect that you might not be pursuing the wisest course. I could be wrong. There may be instances in which it’s the right thing, and when a kid gets to be 15 to 16 years old, it’s understandable that commitment levels and demands are going to rise and choices are going to have to be made.

But I say be wise. Be a parent. And for the good of rec ball leagues everywhere, for the good of your family, and for the good of your kids, I would urge you to avoid travel ball until the kid is old enough to commit to a more demanding regimen. It seems to me that time comes in the mid to late teens, but that’s going to be a judgment call . . .

Bottom line: give your kids a childhood they’ll want to replicate with their own children not one they’ll react against.

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Is Biblical Faith a Kierkegaardian Leap?

These reflections were prompted by the first chapter of David Crump’s Encountering Jesus, Encountering Scripture: Reading the Bible Critically in Faith.

In his introduction, Crump is very clear that his understanding of faith has been heavily influenced by Soren Kierkegaard. Crump explains,

“Arriving at faith in the Word incarnate is not the inevitable result of a logical syllogism and doesn’t follow as the obvious sum of a line of convincing evidence. It is always a step, perhaps even a leap, across an otherwise unbridgeable gap.”

To test this, I want to compare it with Adam’s faith-response in the naming of Eve. Arguments similar to the one I’m about to make could be pursued with Abraham’s faith-response to the promise of Isaac and with Abraham’s faith-response when he was commanded to sacrifice Isaac, but to keep this manageable I will limit myself to Genesis 3.

In some ways this is less about Crump and more about Kierkegaard, since these are Kierkegaard’s ideas that Crump has adopted and is heralding. The question comes down to this: does the Bible present faith as a leap or as something else? What that something else might be will become apparent as we continue, but those who would like a hint at where I’m going can take a glance at Romans 10:17 (and to anyone who wants to allege that Paul is controlling how I read narrative, I reply that Paul’s statements are summaries and interpretations of the narratives, meant to teach us how to read narrative–and turn the question back on my accuser: do you follow Paul or some other teacher?).

Adam had been told that he would surely die in the day he ate the fruit (Gen 2:17). He ate the fruit, then he heard the footsteps and hid (3:8).

When the Lord began to speak words of judgment in Genesis 3:15, he told the serpent that there would be enmity between him and the woman. Attentive readers might pause and ponder the fact that enmity seems to involve an ongoing conflict, which already begins to suggest that the death of Adam and Eve might not be immediate. That the author of Genesis intends to present Adam and Eve arriving at this conclusion shortly becomes apparent.

The suspicion that the death of Adam and Eve will not be immediate is confirmed by the next words of Genesis 3:15, where the Lord tells the serpent that along with the enmity between serpent and woman, there will be enmity between the seed of the serpent and the seed of the woman. This means that neither Adam nor Eve face immediate execution, for both are necessary for offspring to be born. In the final statement of Genesis 3:15, the serpent is told that he will receive a head wound from the seed of the woman, only delivering a heel wound himself, suggesting that the seed of the woman will defeat him.

When God speaks to the man and woman, the idea that though they will eventually die, their death is not immediate, becomes a necessary working assumption. The Lord tells the woman she will have pain in childbearing and a difficult relationship with her husband in 3:16, then he tells the man that his toil will be painful and eventually he will return to the dust from which he was taken in 3:17–19.

So Moses has presented these characters as going from the expectation of immediate death on the basis of what God had said in 2:17 and what they did in 3:6, to now having reason to think, to believe, that they would live, have at least one child, and that this seed of the woman would bruise the head of the serpent, hopefully triumphing over and defeating the one who brought evil into the world.

The next thing Adam does in Genesis 3:20 is give his wife a name that sounds like the Hebrew word for “life,” accompanied by the explanation that “she was the mother of all living.” They expected to die, but now they believe they will live. On what is their faith that they will live and have children, with the hope that the child will triumph, on what is that faith based?

Is that faith a leap?

Rather than being a leap, Adam’s act of faith in the naming of Eve was a response to the word of God.

God made a statement that Adam and Eve had reason to believe. The word of God prompted their faith. Faith came by hearing, and hearing by the word promising a future redeemer.

Kierkegaard was an important philosopher who said challenging things to his generation, but when he talks about faith he does not present it the way the biblical authors do.

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Read the Bible: Kindle Reading Plan

Chris Dendy came up with the idea for the God’s Glory in Salvation through Judgment Bible Reading Plan, and Lindsey Jacobs designed it. The plan pairs daily Bible readings with relevant sections from God’s Glory in Salvation through Judgment, and you can read more about it here.

A number of folks requested that the plan be made available for the Kindle version of the book, and Chris and Lindsey have come through with one.

In addition to the two plans available for the print copy of the book, here’s a plan that will take you through the Kindle version: Kindle Reading Plan.

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SBTS Publications in 2014

Here are some ideas for Christmas and/or birthday gifts for the pastor, theologian, missionary, evangelist, seminarian, or teacher/student of the Bible in your life. Last year I posted a list of books from the SBTS Faculty in 2013, and I’m following it up with this list of books from the SBTS Faculty in 2014.

I may have missed something. If so, please bring it to my attention and I’ll update the list.

It’s an honor to serve the greatest cause with these great men. List alphabetical by author’s last name.

Gregg R. Allison, Roman Catholic Theology and Practice: An Evangelical Assessment

Dan Dewitt, Jesus or Nothing

Dan Dewitt, The Owlings: A Worldview Novella

Duane Garrett, Exodus

James M. Hamilton Jr., Ezra and Nehemiah: Rebuilding People and Wall

James M. Hamilton Jr., With the Clouds of Heaven: The Book of Daniel in Biblical Theology

James M. Hamilton and Thomas R. Schreiner, (contributors), Adam, The Fall, and Original Sin

Michael A. G. Haykin, George Whitefield

Michael A. G. Haykin, Patrick of Ireland

Michael A. G. Haykin and C. Jeffrey Robinson Sr., To the Ends of the Earth: Calvin’s Missional Vision and Legacy

Oren R. Martin, Bound for the Promised Land: The Land Promise in God’s Redemptive Plan

Daniel Montgomery and Timothy Paul Jones, Proof

Jonathan Pennington and Stephen Wellum (contributors), Heaven

Thomas R. Schreiner, editor, with James M. Hamilton Jr., Michael A. G. Haykin, Gregg R. Allison, Shawn D. Wright, and Bruce A. Ware (contributors), Shepherding God’s Flock

Zane Pratt, M. David Sills, and Jeff K. Walters, Introduction to Global Missions

Mark A. Seifrid, 2 Corinthians

M. David Sills, El Llamado Misionero: Encuentre su Lugar el el Plan de Dios para el Mundo

Donald S. Whitney, Finding God in Solitude: The Personal Piety of Jonathan Edwards. . .

Donald S. Whitney, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life

May the Lord bless your study, and may the Lord bless the administration, faculty, students, graduates, and supporters of SBTS and similar schools seeking to advance the gospel. If you’d like to know more, head on over to sbts.edu.

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SBTS Alumni Academy on Biblical Theology

Is there anything more important than the Bible? Jesus said Scripture can’t be broken, and he prayed that the Father would sanctify his people in the truth, then said, “Thy word is truth.”

God’s people need God’s word.

The word doesn’t work like a magic formula, however. We don’t just pass our eyes over a meaningless series of symbols. No, for the word to work it has to be understood.

To understand the Bible we need biblical theology.

Why? Because biblical theology enables us to understand the trees as they stand in the forest, and it enables us to see the shape of the forest formed by all those trees.

Biblical theology helps us see how the biblical authors understood the Scriptures and their own situations. Biblical theology shines the light on how later authors picked up the storyline started by earlier authors of Scripture, summarizing and interpreting it in their use of symbolism, imagery, typology, and significant patterns.

God has spoken to us in his word. We want to understand what he has said. God’s people need to hear his voice.

Are your ears trained to hear him?

We want to do biblical theology because we want to know God and love God’s people by giving them the fullness of what God has revealed in our preaching and teaching.

Join us at the next SBTS Alumni Academy for two days (Jan 8–9, 2015) of biblical theology. If we are to teach the nations to obey everything Jesus said, we have to understand what it means.

Register here, that all the ends of the earth might fear the Lord.

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Spanish Translation of “Family Discipleship in the Old Testament”

All families of all nations need to know what the Scriptures say about the training and discipling of children, so I rejoice that Saul Sarabia L. has rendered my essay, “That the Coming Generation Might Praise the Lord,” into Spanish:

Discipulado Familiar en el Antiguo Testamento: Que la Generación venidera Alabe al Señor

And here are Saul’s previous translations:

The Glory of God in Salvation through Judgment

The Church Militant and Her Warfare

A Biblical Theology of Motherhood

Were Old Covenant Believers Indwelt by the Holy Spirit?

The Center of Biblical Theology in Acts

Biblical Theology and Preaching

The Seed of the Woman and the Blessing of Abraham

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Books from SBTS Faculty in 2013

This year (2013) the SBTS faculty published the following books (alphabetical by author’s last name):

Chad Brand, Flourishing Faith: A Baptist Primer on Work, Economics, and Civic Stewardship

Chad Brand and Tom Pratt, Seeking the City: Wealth, Poverty, and Political Economy in Christian Perspective

Denny Burk, What Is the Meaning of Sex?

Dan Dewitt, A Guide to Evangelism

James M. Hamilton, The Bible’s Big Story: Salvation History for Kids (children’s book)

James M. Hamilton, What Is Biblical Theology? 

Michael A. G. Haykin, Ardent Love for Jesus: English Baptists and the Experience of Revival in the Long Eighteenth Century

Michael A. G. Haykin, A Consuming Fire: The Piety of Alexander Whyte (Kindle ed.)

Dr. Haykin was also presented with a festschrift in his honor: The Pure Flame of Devotion: The History of Christian Spirituality

Heath Lambert, Finally Free: Fighting for Purity with the Power of Grace

R. Albert Mohler, Five Views on Biblical Inerrancy (contributor)

Tom Nettles, Living by Revealed Truth: The Life and Pastoral Theology of Charles Haddon Spurgeon 

Robert L. Plummer, The Story of Scripture: How We Got Our Bible and Why We Can Trust It

Robert L. Plummer, Understanding the Bible: A Guide to Reading and Enjoying Scripture

Thomas R. Schreiner, The King in His Beauty: A Biblical Theology of the Old and New Testaments

Owen Strachan, Risky Gospel: Abandon Fear and Build Something Awesome

Brian Vickers, Justification by Grace through Faith: Finding Freedom from Legalism, Lawlessness, Pride, and Despair

Members of our faculty also contributed to the following edited volumes:

From Heaven He Came and Sought Her

In Defense of the Bible: A Comprehensive Apologetic for the Authority of Scripture

The Call to Ministry

Acting the Miracle

Christ-Centered Biblical Counseling

I think I got everyone–if you see something I overlooked, please do bring it to my attention!

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The Glorious Calling of the Mother

Just yesterday I was asked: does the Bible teach that women are to do anything more than schlepp kids and keep house?

Proverbs 31 has lots to say about what wise women do, but this video turns the question on its head, capturing the profound majesty of mothering:

3 Queens from Matt Bieler on Vimeo.

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Gunner’s Review of Wenham’s Psalms as Torah

Someone said: Only a Philistine could fail to love the Psalms.

David “Gunner” Gunderson doesn’t just make last second shots, he thinks and writes well, and I’d encourage you to check out his important review of an important book, Gordon Wenham’s Psalms as Torah. Here’s a snippet:

The Burden of the Book: The Shaping Power of Praying the Psalms

Christians often talk about “the power of prayer,” and rightfully so. But what’s usually meant is the power of prayer to change things by summoning the sovereign power of God. This book is all about the power of prayer, but Wenham is taking a different angle. He wants us to see that prayer not only reshapes the landscape of our lives by moving mountains but reshapes the landscape of our hearts by recrafting and renewing our attitudes and commitments.

[P]rayer has an impact on ethical thought . . . If we praise a certain type of behavior in our prayers, we are telling God that this is how we intend to behave. On the other hand, if in prayer we denounce certain acts and pray for God to punish them, we are in effect inviting God to judge us if we do the same. This makes the ethics of liturgy uniquely powerful. It makes a stronger claim on the believer than either law, wisdom, or story, which are simply subject to passive reception: one can listen to a proverb or a story and then take it or leave it, but if you pray ethically, you commit yourself to a path of action (57).

Therefore, it’s not enough for the church to retell the narratives, preach the gospels, and exposit the epistles. We must also pray the Psalms, individually and corporately. [the whole thing]

We love the Psalms. Often in family devos around here we will be reading a Psalm nightly until the whole family can recite it. Right now we’re reading Psalm 29.

I’m hoping and praying for the creatives among us to come up with more and more tunes for singing the Psalms in ways that resonate today. May the Lord bless us with his word.

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How to Grow in Humility: Experience the Greatness of Jesus

Muhammed Ali said, “It’s hard to be humble when you’re as great as I am.” He also said, “Humble people, I’ve found, don’t get very far.”

We see the opposite of that pride in John 3 from John the Baptist, and the reason John’s perspective is so different from Ali’s comes down to two things: he knows the identity of Jesus, and he knows the part Jesus plays in God’s plan.

From those realities I make these two assertions about true humility:

1)    True humility results from encountering Jesus, who is true greatness.
2)    True humility arises from knowing the part Jesus plays in God’s big plan.

Two applications: knowing the greatness of Jesus and the part he plays keeps us from thinking that we’re the world’s Savior, and it helps us to know what our own role is and isn’t.

From what the Baptist says in John 3:27–33, we see 15 things that he knew that kept him humble:

1. What can’t be done:

“A person cannot receive even one thing . . .” (John 3:27a)

2. Where gifts come from:

“unless it is given him from heaven” (3:27b).

3. Who he is:

“You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ’” (3:28a)

4. What his role is:

“but I have been sent before him” (3:28b)

5. Who Jesus is:

“The one who has the bride is the bridegroom” (3:29a)

6. What his relationship to Jesus is:

“The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him” (3:29b)

7. How to respond to Jesus:

“rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is now complete” (3:29c)

8. What must happen:

“He must increase, but I must decrease” (3:30)

9. Where Jesus is from:

“He who comes from above” (3:31a)

10. What place Jesus occupies:

“is above all. . . . He who comes from heaven is above all” (3:31b, e)

11. Where he, the Baptist, is from:

“He who is of the earth belongs to the earth” (3:31c)

12. How he speaks:

“and speaks in an earthly way” (3:31d)

13. How Jesus speaks:

“He bears witness to what he has seen and heard” (3:32a)

14. How Jesus is rejected:

“yet no one receives his testimony” (3:32b)

15. What it means to receive the testimony of Jesus:

“Whoever receives his testimony sets his seal to this, that God is true” (3:33)

Pride comes from thinking more highly of ourselves than we ought. By recognizing that he is not the Messiah, the Baptist has accepted the fact that he is not Israel’s king, not Israel’s champion, not Israel’s Savior. John knows who he is and who he is not. John also knows what his purpose is. His purpose is to prepare the way for Jesus. John knows his own origin. He is from earth, not heaven. John knows that he has nothing he has not received (1 Cor 4:7), and that whatever he has received has come as a gift from God (John 3:27).

One reason we are not humble is the fact that we have not experienced greatness. We have not encountered majesty, so in our ignorance and lack of experience we begin to think that we are grander and greater than we really are. We begin to overestimate our own importance. This doesn’t happen to John because he has experienced greatness, majesty, authority, incomparability in the person of Jesus. John knows that Jesus is the bridegroom (John 3:29) who comes from above, that is, heaven (3:31).

One manifestation of our pride is the assumption that we will succeed where others have failed. What keeps John from that pride? He knows that there has never been a better witness than Jesus, and “yet no one receives his testimony” (John 3:32). No one has a better perception of reality than Jesus. No one has more right to be heard than Jesus. No one could communicate more clearly than Jesus. And his testimony was not received.

What do you expect will happen to your testimony? What right do we have to think that we will have more success than Jesus had?

We cannot receive what has not been given. We are not Messiah. We are not from heaven but from earth. We are not the world’s Savior. We were created to reflect the glory of the image of the invisible God. We were made for Jesus, not the other way around. Therefore we should feel what John articulates about himself and Jesus in John 3:30, “He must increase, but I must decrease.”

From “He Must Increase, But I Must Decrease,” preached at Kenwood Baptist Church on October 27, 2013. 

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Despite Doubt by Mike Wittmer

Mike Wittmer is one of my favorite theologians. Heck he’s one of my favorite people. So I’m glad to see that he continues to find ways to say Don’t Stop Believing, the latest being a new book entitled Despite Doubt: Embracing a Confident Faith.

Here’s a trailer for the book:

Despite Doubt: Embracing a Confident Faith by Michael E. Wittmer from Discovery House Publishers on Vimeo.

Mike has preached a sermon with this title. I suspect Mike’s preaching will strengthen your confidence and bring a smile to your face.

This is a short book of short chapters. Despite Doubt will speak to those wrestling with big questions and seeking to know the truth.

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Gospel Transformation Bible Releases Today

Dane Ortlund has the details on the most important thing you’ll see online today: the release of the Gospel Transformation Bible.

I’m eager to consult these notes and grateful for Crossway.

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