Friday, July 30, 2010

Playing Church

Well, some Mega-Church services are a little bit of a circus (and certainly a really big show!)

From:  Big Top Playchurch - The Sacred Sandwich:

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Beyond the Appearance of Godliness

Paul instructed his protege Timothy to pursue godliness (1 Tim. 6:11), to train himself for godliness (1 Tim. 4:7). to teach according to godliness (1 Tim. 6:3), and told him that there is great gain in godliness with contentment (1 Tim.6:6).  So what is godliness, anyway?

In a post entitled A Theology of Godliness, Joe Thorn makes the following three points:
  • Legalism kills Godliness
  • License Kills Godliness
  • The Gospel Gives Lift to Godliness
He concludes (and I agree):
It is inappropriate to think of godliness as the stuff we do (or can’t do). Godliness is not behavior. Godliness is the result of the gospel taking root in our hearts, producing the fruit of Godward love and obedience through an attitude of joy and gratitude. True godliness in the life of a sinner-saint is an imperfect experience, but an experience of grace nonetheless. We need a theology of godliness that understands it is much more than will-power and performance, but the sanctifying work of the Spirit and true affection that leads to the joyful work of denying self and following Jesus.
We need to move beyond the mere appearance of godliness (2 Tim 3:5) to the reality of living by and out of grace.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Remembering Keith Green

I remember the day.  I remember the shock.

Today, July 28th, marks the 28th anniversary of the tragic plane crash in 1982 that killed Christian singer/songwriter and evangelist, Keith Green. He was 28 years old, and had only been a Christian for about 7 years. Also killed in that crash were two of Keith’s children (Josiah & Bethany), the pilot, and an entire family of 8 (the Smalleys).

Colleen and I saw Keith perform at RFK Stadium during the Washington for Jesus rally in April, 1980.  Yes, he could be a little harsh and strident at times; he certainly pulled no punches. But his passion for the Gospel and love for Jesus were always clear and evident. I wonder what he would be like now had he lived?

He is still missed.

Some Links:
Last Days Ministries
Keith Green :: Desiring God:
Keith Green Anniversary of His Death - Vitamin Z
One - Keith tribute

The Nowism of Grace

 All believers know (or should know) what the Gospel means in terms of eternal destiny.  Most evangelical Christians could describe their hope of eternity with their Savior.  But what does the Gospel mean for now?

Paul Tripp gives his answer at The Nowism of the Gospel :: Desiring God, explaining four aspects of the “nowism” of the gospel and what grace will do to you:
  1. Grace will decimate what you think of you, while it gives you a security of identity you’ve never had.
  2. Grace will expose your deepest sins of heart, while it covers every failure with the blood of Jesus.
  3. Grace will make you face how weak you are, while it blesses you with power beyond you ability to calculate.
  4. Grace will take control out of your hands, while it blesses you with the care of One who plan is unshakable and perfect in every way.
Read the whole thing - this one is really worth it!

Hat Tip to Justin Taylor

Practical Counsel for Theological Growth

Want to grow in Theological knowledge?  Want to see your small group grapple with some deep truth?  Here's some advice from Ray Ortlund (in an interview with Joe Thorn):
"What advice would you give to the average Christian who loves Jesus and the church, but needs to grow theologically?"

"Here’s one way to jump in. Pull some friends together, everybody buy a copy of Driscoll and Breshears’ Doctrine, and work through it together. Check out the small group suggestions on pages 437-450. Read it slowly. Embrace the difficulty. Look up every word you don’t understand. Mark up your copy with questions and highlights. Get mad if you have to. But pray to God for clarity, and he’ll give it. As you read, keep checking it against the Bible, examine what your friends say too, and don’t let go until you really know what you believe. You will never be the same again."
This book is definitely on my wish list!

Hat Tip:  Justin Taylor:

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Preaching to the Whole Choir

We've all heard the phrase "preaching to the choir" as an idiom for telling a message to the people who already believe it.  Kevin DeYoung reminded his readings today to strive for Preaching to the Whole Choir .

In any church congregation, on any average Sunday, he says you will find at least four groups of listeners: the Weary, the Wandering, the Lazy and the Lost.
"In most congregations, you’ll have all four groups in church every Sunday (though sadly the last category–self-identified non-Christians–may not always be present). If you only preach to one group you’ll get in a rut and invariably you’ll not be preaching the whole counsel of God.

If your preaching is always aimed at the weary, you’ll do well at emphasizing the grace of God and the tenderness of God. But what about the lazy and the wandering who feel perfectly and mistakenly secure? What about those who do not need a pat on the back but a kick in the pants? It’s good for every sermon to land on the gospel, but sometimes it’s best to wade through a lot of law before you get there.
If you always preach to the wandering and lazy, you’ll give people a good beatin up, but you may hurt the dear saints who come to church most Sundays already feeling beat up. Some sermons should be a trumpet blast, but if that’s all you do, their ears may start to hurt, or worse, they’ll grow deaf to your sound.
And if you only think of the lost in your midst, you’ll be winsome and relevant, but you may not get into the sort of issues that longtime Christians need to hear. You may shy away from necessary controversy and forget that sometimes the lost are earnest seekers, but sometimes they’re just punks (as we all are at times).
Most preachers gravitate toward one or two groups, sometimes for good reason. Bryan Chappell is well suited for the weary, John Piper for the wandering, Matt Chandler for the lazy, Time Keller for the lost. God doesn’t ask us to preach like only someone else can or preach for someone else’s context. But he does want preachers to remember that the choir is made up of more than just sopranos. So when you’re preaching, be sure to hand out more than one part."

Good lesson to remember.

Losing the Partial Good

Here's another great C. S. Lewis quote!
"The woman who makes a dog the centre of her life loses, in the end, not only her human usefulness and dignity but even the proper pleasure of dog-keeping. The man who makes alcohol his chief good loses not only his job but his palate and all power of enjoying the earlier (and only pleasurable) levels of intoxication. It is a glorious thing to feel for a moment or two that the whole meaning of the universe is summed up in one woman--glorious so long as other duties and pleasures keep tearing you away from her. But clear the decks and so arrange your life (it sometimes feasible) that you will have nothing to do but contemplate her, and what happens? Of course this law has been discovered before, but it will stand re-discovery. It may be stated as follows: every preference of a small good to a great, or partial good to a total good, involves the loss of the small or partial good for which the sacrifice is made"   (Readings for Meditation and Reflection, pgs. 14-15).

Hat Tip: Euangelion   "- Sent using Google Toolbar"

(All in favor of the earlier and pleasurable levels of intoxication, say Aye!)

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Avoiding the Letdown

“The secret of gospel change is being convinced that Jesus is the good life and the fountain of all joy. Any alternative we might choose would be the letdown.”

- Tim Chester, You Can Change (Wheaton, Ill.; Crossway, 2010), 15.

Hat Tip:  Of First Importance:

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