Pastors' Blog

A shepherding tool of San Gabriel Community Church

I was trying to imagine what it would be like to be a young pastor in Northern Europe in the 5th century.  Augustine of Hippo, one of the greatest theological minds the world has ever known is writing, preaching and teaching...and I had never heard of him.  I try to imagine what it would be like to be a young settler and pastor coming to America in the mid 16th century.  Martin Luther and John Calvin, the two great leaders of the reformation are essentially my contemporaries and it is likely I would go my entire life without reading a word they had penned. Such is not the case in the 21st century and I am grateful.  Not only do I sit in my office surrounded by books written by men such as Augustine, Luther and Calvin, we have the great privilege of living in a time when the greatest of contemporary voices are available to us for our own spiritual nourishment.  We have the opportunity to be discipled (in one sense of the Word) by men we have never met.  Such is the case  with Rev. John Stott. John Stott died yesterday, in the South of England, at the age of 90.  A quick scan of my bookshelves reminds me of hours that I have sat under his rich teaching... "Basic Christianity", "The Cross of Christ", "The Letters to John" and "Romans".  His book on preaching, "Between Two Worlds" is one of the most straightforward, profound and helpful books on preaching I have ever read.  I don't agree with every word he has written in these books but I respect them all.  His writings, even on technical matters, are devotional.  He has the heart of a pastor and it comes through in his writings.  When his commentaries are available for a book I am preaching through, I try to read through his comments on Saturday night or Sunday morning before I preach.  For one, to make sure I didn't miss the whole point of the passage but mostly, for the sake of my own soul. I praise God for the life and ministry of John Stott.  We lived an ocean away from one another and we never met.  Yet, he had a profound impact on my life.  Praise God for such great men and praise God for God glorifying, Christ exalting uses of technology that allow us to be impacted by contemporaries who live thousands of miles away. If you want to read more about Rev. Stott's life and work, here are a couple of links. NY Times article Reflections from around the web Bible Mesh, John Piper, Derek Thomas