Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The 3 Most Disturbing Words on TV

This weekend I'll be preaching on the well-known words of the Apostle Paul, "So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything do all to the glory of God."

In light of that wonderful exhortation, I found this post by Mike Cosper at the Gospel Coalition blog very insightful. Though I often fall short, I'm eager for myself and for those I love to magnify Jesus in everything that we do.

Cosper's post is wise instruction on watching television for the glory of God. Check it out and let me know what you think.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Gospel Drives Discipleship

I'd like to read this but don't have time to right now, so I'm posting it here so I can refer back to it when I have more time. Maybe you will find it interesting too.

In this series of posts, Bob Thune explores how the gospel drives discipleship from beginning to end by sharing his experience working with a friend, Ryan, who identifies as a transsexual.

In Honor of the Spectrum...

Youtube is amazing. I did a search for Julius Erving buzzer beater looking for a highlight from this game, and found it. I was at this game with my dad, in the very top row of the arena if I'm not mistaken.

Ah, the memories:

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Identifying Idols

After preaching this morning on idolatry from 1 Corinthians 10:1-22, I had a few people ask me for a list of the questions I mentioned to our congregation to identify the idols of our hearts. Here they are, in case anyone is interested in doing some heart-work.

You can listen to the sermon here.

What captures your greatest zeal?

Whose approval do you crave most?

What do you brag about? Ie, what personal distinctives tend to make you feel superior/look down upon others?

What do you feel like you need to have in order to be a happy, whole, meaningful, successful, person?

What are you afraid of?

What do you complain most about?

What is that one thing that, if you were to loose it, would cause you to feel that life isn’t worth living?

Where do you go for comfort in the midst of stress?

What angers and frustrates you most?

What things cause you to question God’s love and goodness to you? In other words, about what things do you say, “Jesus, I’d be sure of your love for me if only You…”?

What do you sacrifice the most for?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

What's Your Passion?

Challenged today by this quote from Don Carson:

If I have learned anything in 35 or 40 years of teaching, it is that students don’t learn everything I teach them. What they learn is what I am excited about, the kinds of things I emphasize again and again and again and again. That had better be the gospel.

If the gospel—even when you are orthodox—becomes something which you primarily assume, but what you are excited about is what you are doing in some sort of social reconstruction, you will be teaching the people that you influence that the gospel really isn’t all that important. You won’t be saying that—you won’t even mean that—but that’s what you will be teaching. And then you are only half a generation away from losing the gospel.

Make sure that in your own practice and excitement, what you talk about, what you think about, what you pray over, what you exude confidence over, joy over, what you are enthusiastic about is Jesus, the gospel, the cross. And out of that framework, by all means, let the transformed life flow.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Spread the Joy

While supplies last through December 16th, you can get 48 copies of John Piper's Seeing & Savoring Jesus Christ for just $68 (or whatever you can afford).

Why not take a risk and buy some as Christmas for unbelieving family members and friends and attach a note telling them why Jesus is a treasure infinitely greater than anything else you'll find under a Christmas tree?

Of course, it might be wise to get them another "real" gift as well, to let them know that you think about them and care for them as they are, and don't simply regard them as your personal conversion project. What do you think?

Anyway, click here for more details about the special.

Suffering & Idolatry

This blog post from Tullian Tchividjian is worth your time. A few of my favorite quotes:

Job’s maintained his joy and perspective in a season of suffering because he held onto a robust theology of grace. Job knew that he was not entitled to anything he had—God held the title to everything.

Our response to suffering reveals what we’re building our life on and what we’re depending on to make life worth living. This means that suffering itself does not rob you of joy—idolatry does. If you’re suffering and you’re angry, bitter, and joyless it means you’ve idolized–and felt entitled to–whatever it is you’re losing.

Joylessness and bitterness in the crucible of pain happens when we lose something (or think we deserve something) that we’ve held onto more tightly than God.

Much of our anger and bitterness is [the result of] God prying open our hands and taking away something we’ve held onto more tightly than him.

Future Hope --> Love Now

Matt Chandler, commenting on Colossians 1:3-5, that the love of the Colossians for all the saints was because of the hope laid up for them in heaven:

"If your only hope is here, on this earth, in this bit of time, you tend to be a miserable person and you’ve got a hard time loving anybody because all you’ve got is right now. So everybody becomes means to your happiness and your satisfaction now. That usually makes you a miserable person, because everybody exists to meet your needs."

I think that's very insightful, and very timely for my often-loveless heart.

Also, see this video update from Chandler with great news on his health!

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Pastor and the Gospel

While on vacation, I spent some time reading through the recently-published book in honor of John Piper, For the Fame of God's Name. I didn't get through all of it, but since it's a collection of essays, I leaped around to read the ones that were most appealing to me. In the weeks to come, I hope to read the rest.

In CJ Mahaney's chapter, The Pastor and the Trinity, Mahaney adapted his talk from the 2007 Sovereign Grace Leader's conference. As I've written about before, being in attendance for that talk was a key, defining moment in my ministry. So I was eager for the refresher in this chapter. Writing on 2 Corinthians 13:14, and Paul's prayer for the grace of the Lord Jesus to be with the Corinthians, I was struck especially by this:

Paul’s example reminds me that:
  • I must never assume the gospel.
  • I must never assume the church I serve sufficiently understands the gospel.
  • I must inform every aspect of pastoral ministry with the proclamation and celebration of the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ revealed in the gospel.
  • I must never teach on any topic without explaining how it relates to the gospel.
  • I must preach to reveal the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.
  • I must counsel to impart the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.
  • I must help those vulnerable to legalism and condemnation to experience the justifying grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.
  • I must help those fighting a besetting sin to experience the sanctifying grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.
  • I must help the suffering to experience the comforting grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.
  • I must help the weary to experience the sustaining grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.
  • I must help those who persist in disobedience to experience the convicting and cleansing grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.
I think I'm going to have those bullet points printed out and hung somewhere in prominent view.

Monday, November 1, 2010

How Members Can Serve the Church on Sunday Morning

From the Nine Marks Blog:

At the Trellis and Vine Workshop in DC today, Colin Marshall shared ways that ordinary church members can serve the church on Sunday mornings.

Before the Service

  • Read the passage in advance
  • Pray for the gathering
  • Greet newcomers (act like you are the host)
  • Think strategically about who you should sit with
  • Arrive Early

During the Service

  • Sing with gusto (even if you can’t sing)
  • Help with logistics (if there’s a problem, help fix it)
  • Don’t be distracted
  • Listen carefully
  • Be aware of your facial expressions (you may affect others and discourage preachers)

After the Service

  • Connect newcomers with others
  • Get newcomers information
  • Start a conversation about the sermon
  • Ask someone how they became a Christian
  • Stay late