Monday, December 28, 2009

Monday, December 21, 2009

Closed Minded Preaching

Reading on the importance of understanding the listener while preaching:

Heads are neither open nor hollow. Heads have lids, screwed on tightly, and no amount of pouring can force ideas inside. Minds open only when their owners sense a need to open them. ~ Haddon Robinson

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Prosperity Gospel is not the Gospel

Very sad that this is the answer that people are seeking after from church these days.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Switchfoot Coming to the SF January 9th

Get you tickets here!

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Gospel

We have a problem. The Bible names it sin. Jesus healed the sin with no help. He did not require help from the beginning. He did not require help while he lived amongst his followers. He does not require help today.

Instead we are invited into a relationship and a community. This community will be established, rooted in eternity. This community will be redefined beyond our understanding except this one truth. Jesus will be at the center of it all and by center of it all I mean he will be totally dominate in it. There will not be one shred of community left that is not dominated by Jesus in one shape, form or manner. Everything we do apart from Christ will be gone. Pursue Christ and you purse glory.

Friday, December 11, 2009

What does success look like in light of the Gospel?

I live in an area where success and the fear of failure is a regular part of life. From adults to children in preschool the pressure is on to be the best and highest achieving individual that you can possibly be. It is a relentless pace that often leave the broken down on the side of the road as everyone else passes by.

Know Christ as a man …

Philippians 2:4–7

Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.

It is not all about us. It never has been about us. The great deception is that we think it is about us. Every great moment that I have experienced has been in that time in place where I stop looking at myself and I sit back and enjoy the process of serving others, because ultimately that means I am attempting to serve him, by living out his calling in my life. Jesus makes himself into the man that we were suppose to be, set the example of who we were suppose to be and then gave us the charge to live in such a manner that is worthy of the call.

Know Christ as crucified …

Philippians 2:8

And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

The greatest gift of all came in the form of apparent defeat. This is so unlike our nature, this is so against all streams of conscious thought. How could death accomplish anything? Jesus, with his disciples, his band of brothers taught that the greatest sacrifice that any of them could make for each other is to lay down their life for one another. For Jesus, this meant an actual death, what does it mean for you?

Success in this lifetime is about living a life sacrificed to God. It means giving up our worldly loves and passions and striving after his loves and passions. In the thoughts of CS Lewis it is the most wonderful thing to do and at the same time the most painful. Success through the gospel demands that you risk everything and it is only in risking everything that our eyes can be made to see the glory that is worshipping him. It is taking this risk that causes Solomon to write to his son in the Proverbs that the beginning of knowledge is fear in the Lord. Success will never be found in the wisdom of the world.

Know Christ as glorified …

Philippians 2:9–11

Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

When one is given the opportunity to assist the President of the United States of America you take it and gladly so. You will go and tell your friends, take pictures, blog it, twitter it, facebook it, and anything else you can do to it. Yet our call to serve comes from the King, not a king, but The King of all, in all, through all, to all. The King of Kings, The Anointed One, the one whose name will be screamed out into the universe as all of his people yell “Alleluia” at the end of all days. All the world will be recreated with him as the centerpiece.

So how can we possibly define success away from him? How can we forget to make him the King of Kings in our daily lives when we rise. Everyday when we wake we must pause and remind ourselves what success means as one who serves the King.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Interview with Kevin DeYoung

I have recently been reading Kevin's blog and he posted an interview that was done by CJ Mahaney about him. I read through it and really liked this question and his answer.

What single piece of counsel (or constructive criticism) has most improved your preaching?

If people walk away from your sermons and think you are really smart, you probably have preached a bad sermon. At first I thought it was good if people were impressed by my learning, but now I see that wowing people with my studies is exactly the wrong thing to do. Along these lines, I’ve heard Earl Palmer say that he aims at the high school junior or senior in his sermon. This makes sense to me. A high school senior is used to thinking (we hope) and can handle new ideas and concepts (we hope), but we should not assume he has a deep background in the Bible and theology. That’s a good target audience.

I have ordered his book Just Do Something and will try to write my thoughts on it after I read it (so look for that post in a year or so).

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Signing the Manhattan Declaration

R.C. Sproul writes:

The Manhattan Declaration confuses common grace and special grace by combining them. While I would march with the bishop of Rome and an Orthodox prelate to resist the slaughter of innocents in the womb, I could never ground that cobelligerency on the assumption that we share a common faith and a unified understanding of the gospel.

I appreciate this perspective and agree. It is so confusing to understand as a church what we hold as the center that anything which clouds it does not stick well with me. I like what the document say, I agree with everything it says but is suggests a different center not so much in words but the its mere existence. I didn't have the terminology to explain this earlier but RC Sproul I think articulates my heart well, that it confuses special grace and common grace issues.

HT: Challies

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Am I Content?

I have struggled with being content because I focus more on what I don't have than what I do. I justify my longings because I feel that "normal people" have the things I desire. I speak to my heart lies that suggest that I deserve the basic things in life that all people enjoy and have opportunity to enjoy. I get bitter when I see people gain simple things, simply, when I have to work hard to achieve simple things. It is in this place of brokenness I find comfort in these words from Proverbs:

"Remove from me vanity and lies; give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me: lest I be full and deny Thee, and say, Who is the Lord? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain." ~ Proverbs 30:8-9

I desire deeply to have the vanity and lies removed. What an amazing prayer, and an amazing gift to receive. As one who has not received it, I will continue to pray.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

How are we saved?

Two weeks ago I preached on Revelation 21 and briefly described the debate in Protestant churches over Justification. Today I read this on Kevin DeYoung's blog and thought it was a great summarization of the debate that is understandable. Here is a quote from the blog


Of all the points of contention between the early Reformers and the Catholic Church, disagreement over justification was sharpest. Luther himself said that it was "the doctrine by which the Church stands or falls." The crux of the debate was this: What, if any, role do our own actions play in being justified?

The Reformers saw in the Bible that we are justified by faith alone. The Catholic Church has always acknowledged that the Christian was saved by faith; it was the alone part Catholics questioned. Do not works play some role in our justification? they asked.

Of course, Protestants insist on good works, too. But these works serve as corroborating evidence, not as any ground for our justification. Indeed, that's what the controversial second chapter of the New Testament book of James is saying: Works are how we "see" in others the kind of genuine faith that underlies justification. The gospel says, "believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved," not "believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and cooperate with transforming grace and you shall be saved." Yet the 16th century Council of Trent condemns those who believe in justification by faith alone.

Read the whole article here.