Monday, October 31, 2011

Time for a Charismatic Reformation

October 31 is not only Halloween, but also Reformation Day, the anniversary of the day when Martin Luther nailed his "95 thesis" on the Wittenberg Church door, starting the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century.

J. Lee Grady at Charisma Magazine says the Charismatic movement needs its own "Reformation" - It’s (Past) Time for a Charismatic Reformation:
I am no Luther, but I’ve grown increasingly aware that the so-called “Spirit-filled” church of today struggles with many of the same things the Catholic church faced in the 1500s. We don’t have “indulgences”—we have telethons. We don’t have popes—we have super-apostles. We don’t support an untouchable priesthood—we throw our money at celebrity evangelists who own fleets of private jets.
In honor of Reformation Day, I’m offering my own list of needed reforms in our movement. And since I can’t hammer these on the Wittenberg door, I’ll post them online. Feel free to nail them everywhere
Luther had 96; Grady has only 15. I agree with all of them, and especially the last one.
15. Let’s make the main thing the main thing. The purpose of the Holy Spirit’s anointing is to empower us to reach others. We are at a crossroads today: Either we continue off-course, entertained by our charismatic sideshows, or we throw ourselves into evangelism, church planting, missions, discipleship, and compassionate ministry that helps the poor and fights injustice. Churches that embrace this New Reformation will focus on God’s priorities.

What Christians Should Know about Halloween

What Christians Should Know about Halloween | The Resurgence:

Here's a little historical background if you are interested.

A Gospel Diagram

Fascinating diagram of the gospel message by Brian LaPorte at Near Emmaus.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Apostle John on Technology

Some interesting comments on the use of communication technology:
We mentioned the apostle John’s view of technology found in 2 John 12, where he wrote, “Though I have much to write to you, I would rather not use paper and ink. Instead I hope to come to you and talk face to face, so that our joy may be complete.”
John was comfortable using the communication technology—pen and ink—of his day, but he did so with a set of values that were contrary to the tendencies built into the technology of writing. Whereas a letter requires that one isolated person write a message and then another isolated person later read that message, John says that his joy is never complete until he is physically present with his community.
And yet, aware of this problem, John used writing because he understood both its helpfulness and its problematic value system. From that perspective he was able to use technology in service of the embodied communal life that Christ taught him. When John could not be physically present with his community, he was comfortable using technology to communicate with them. But he was always careful to state that he considered technologically mediated relationships to be inferior to embodied relationships.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Stunned Awe

"Salvation is not primarily about doing something for God. Salvation is about knowing what God has done for us - and sitting in stunned awe of it."

- J.D. Greear, Gospel: Recovering the Power that Made Christianity Revolutionary, page 209

Waste Your Life

Jesus Wants You to Waste Your Life @ Desiring God

Read it! In what way are you wasting your life today?

Admit It!

"So when the devil throws your sins in your face and declares that you deserve death and hell, tell him this: "I admit that I deserve death and hell, what of it? For I know One who suffered and made satisfaction on my behalf. His name is Jesus Christ, Son of God, and where he is there I shall be also!"

                --- Martin Luther

Hat Tip:  Abandon the Reformation, Abandon the Gospel – The Gospel Coalition Blog

Thursday, October 27, 2011

What Did Jerusalem Look Like in Bible Times?

Here's an interesting comparison of maps of the City of Jerusalem from different Biblical periods using maps from the ESV Study Bible. See more at What Did Jerusalem Look Like in Bible Times? – Justin Taylor:

The Defining Element

"A gospel-centered church is always about the gospel. It preaches the gospel in all places, at all times, to all people. The gospel is the defining element in every part of their ministry.

Nonbelievers need to hear the gospel to believe it and be saved.  Believers need to be reminded of the gospel so they can grow deeper in Christ. There really is no distinction, you see, between what believers need to hear and what unbelievers need to hear. Both believers and unbelievers need to get a glimpse of God's majestic glory, a taste of His surpassing beauty, and a sense of how much grace God has shown toward them in Christ. Both believers and unbelievers need to be rebukes for their pride and self sufficiency, to be reminded of the all surpassing beauty of God. They both need to be stirred up to faith. The gospel is the center of the message no matter who you are talking to. It is everything. Christ is all."

- J.D. Greear, Gospel: Recovering the Power that Made Christianity Revolutionary, page 240.

Video Prevue: "Jesus + Nothing = Everything"

Jesus + Nothing = Everything: Chapter 2 from Crossway on Vimeo.

Here's a video preview by Tullian Tchvidjian to his new book Jesus + Nothing = EverythingI want this book!

Hat Tip: Adrian Warnock

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Rethinking Foreign Missions

Here's a provocative challenge to American church leaders to rethink the way we do foreign missions, pened by my old friend Jim Wright at his Crossroad Junction blog. I recomend his thoughts for your prayerful consideration.
I’ve had the privilege over the years of traveling extensively, both for business and ministry, and seeing what really happens out on the “mission field.” It’s not pretty, and in many cases it’s counterproductive. Forget about those missionary newsletters with pictures of half-naked starving kids and open air meetings led by the Great White Hope — that’s good for raising money, but has very little to do with the vast majority of where our mission dollars and energies are needed.
Read the whole piece at Rethinking Missions | Crossroad Junction

What Our Souls Need

“Jesus is what we drink. “Come to me and drink” (John 7:37). Jesus doesn’t just have what our souls need; he is what our souls need. Recall John 6:35 “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.” He is the bread of life. He is the living water. Our souls were made for Jesus. The ache in our hearts is at root an ache for Jesus. This is how the soul lives on God. It lives on Jesus.”

— John Piper, "Out of Your Heart Will Flow Rivers of Living Water"
(Minneapolis, Minn.: Desiring God Ministries, February 19, 2011)

Hat Tip: Of First Importance

"Martin Luther: In His Own Words" - Free Download

From now until Reformation Day (Oct. 31) , is offering free download of the audiobook of Martin Luther: In His Own Words:
It was October 31, 1517 when Martin Luther nailed the Ninety-Five Theses to the door of the Castle Church of Wittenberg. Outraged by the church's practice of selling indulgences as a means of forgiveness, Luther wrote the theses in protest. He argued that forgiveness was a gift of God freely given, and the church was wrong to profit from such sales.

Word of Luther's challenge to the church quickly spread through Europe and his Ninety-Five Theses are considered to be the genesis of the Protestant Reformation, a movement that forever changed the church. October 31 is observed by many as Reformation Day, in recognition of Luther's work.

In honor of Martin Luther, we are pleased to offer Martin Luther: In His Own Words as a FREE audiobook download through October 31. This title is a compilation of many of Luther's most important writings, including the Ninety-Five Theses and six other works.
Did I mention that it is FREE?!!!

Monday, October 24, 2011

For Helpless People

“If you read the Scriptures carefully, you will never get the idea that the work of Christ is for well adjusted people who just need a little redemptive boost. It never presents any human condition or dilemma as outside the scope of the gospel. Redemption is nothing less than the rescue of helpless people facing an eternity of torment apart from God’s love.”

— Paul David Tripp  Instruments in The Redeemer's Hands
(Phillipsburg, NJ: P & R Publishing, 2002), 195

Hat Tip: Not a little redemptive boost | Of First Importance

Friday, October 21, 2011

As Easy as 1,2,3,4

This a a simple and easy to grasp summary - How To Articulate a Christian Worldview in Four Easy Steps – Kevin DeYoung:
One God. We worship one, personal, knowable, holy God. There are not two gods or ten gods or ten million gods, only one. He has always been and will always be. He is not a product of our mind or imagination. He really exists and we can know him because he has spoken to us in his word.

Two kinds of being. We are not gods. God is not found in the trees or the wind or in us. He created the universe and cares for all that he has made, but he is distinct from his creation. The story of the world is not about being released from the illusion of our existence or discovering the god within. The story is about God, the people he made, and how the creatures can learn to delight in, trust in, and obey their Creator.

Three persons. The one God exists eternally in three persons. The Father is God. The Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, is God. The Holy Spirit, the Spirit of the Father and the Son, is also God. And yet these three—equal in glory, rank, and power—are three persons. The doctrine of the Trinity helps explain how there can be true unity and diversity in our world. It also shows that our God is a relational God.

For us. Something happened in history that changed the world. The Son of God came into the world as a man, perfectly obeyed his Father, fulfilled Israel’s purpose, succeeded where Adam failed, and began the process of reversing the curse. Jesus Christ died for the sins of the world. He rose again from the dead on the third day. By faith in him our sins can be forgiven and we can be assured of living forever with God and one day being raised from the dead like Christ.

Obviously, this doesn’t say everything that needs to be said about the Bible or Christianity. But I find it to be a helpful way to get a handle on some of the most important distinctives of a Christian worldview. Feel free to steal it and use it for yourself. It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3, 4.
Not exhaustive or complete by any means! However, it is a good outline to help us organize our thinking and presentation of the gospel. As he said, feel free to steal and use (as I just did).

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Homo Unius Libri

"I want to know one thing--the way to heaven; how to land safe on that happy shore. God himself has condescended to teach the way. . . . He hath written it down in a book! O give me that book! At any price, give me the Book of God!

I have it: here is knowledge enough for me. Let me be homo unius libri. . . . I sit down alone: only God is here. In his presence I open, I read his book; for this end, to find the way to heaven. . . . I meditate thereon, with all the attention and earnestness of which my mind is capable."
--John Wesley, 'Preface,' in The Works of John Wesley (London: Thomas Cordeux, 1811), 7:4-5 ('homo unius libri' = 'a man of one book')

Hat Tip: Strawberry-Rhubarb Theology: O Give Me That Book!:

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Psalm 23 Reversed

Most people know Psalm 23. It's quoted at so many funerals and presented on so many cross-stitched plaques and pictures that it is a part of our common culture. But have you ever tried to imagine a life that is the opposite of Psalm 23? David Powlinson has, and puts it this way.
Antipsalm 23
I’m on my own.
No one looks out for me or protects me.
I experience a continual sense of need. Nothing’s quite right.
I’m always restless. I’m easily frustrated and often disappointed.
It’s a jungle—I feel overwhelmed. It’s a desert—I’m thirsty.
My soul feels broken, twisted, and stuck. I can’t fix myself.
I stumble down some dark paths.
Still, I insist: I want to do what I want, when I want, how I want.
But life’s confusing. Why don’t things ever really work out?
I’m haunted by emptiness and futility—shadows of death.
I fear the big hurt and final loss.
Death is waiting for me at the end of every road,
but I’d rather not think about that.
I spend my life protecting myself. Bad things can happen.
I find no lasting comfort.
I’m alone . . . facing everything that could hurt me.
Are my friends really friends?
Other people use me for their own ends.
I can’t really trust anyone. No one has my back.
No one is really for me—except me.
And I’m so much all about ME, sometimes it’s sickening.
I belong to no one except myself.
My cup is never quite full enough. I’m left empty.
Disappointment follows me all the days of my life.
Will I just be obliterated into nothingness?
Will I be alone forever, homeless, free-falling into void?
Sartre said, “Hell is other people.”
I have to add, “Hell is also myself.”
It’s a living death,
and then I die.
Makes the meaning of the familiar words more clear, doesn't it?

Hat Tip: Justin Taylor:


"I fear that what will surprise us most, when we see our Lord, will be the extent of our own ingratitude."

               —E.B. Pusey

Hat Tip: Challies Dot Com

Hellish Days

Okay, I laughed (and I bet you did too!)

From: Cartoon of the Month | Christianity Today:

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

One More Round with Harold Camping

Uh oh, here we go again.  Remember this back in May, and this as its result? This week it is Harold Camping, Round 2 

I predict the same result.

"He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority." (Acts 1:7 ESV)

“But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.   (Mark 13:32 ESV)

The Power of Beholding

"When we see the size and beauty of the God who speaks to us, the power of sin and idolatry over our hearts is broken.

The way that we will stop sinning is not by being told over and over, 'Stop sinning!' but by seeing the majesty and glory of God in our hearts.

'But wait!' you might say. 'The Bible is full of directives and prohibitions.  Isn't the point of the Bible to stop sinning?'

Yes. But ceasing to sin is the by-product of seeing God. As we see the beauty of God and feel His weightiness in our hearts, our hearts begin to desire Him more than we desire sin. Before the Bible says, 'Stop sinning,' it says, 'Behold your God!'"
- J.D. Greear, The Gospel: Recovering the Power that Made Christianity Revolutionary, page 97

I'm finding gems like this on almost every page of this powerful book!


"Man is eager for vengeance and God is eager for forgiveness."
              -- John MacArthur

Quoted at The Gospel-Driven Church: Love Rushing Through the Dam Break

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Promise First

"Think of what Jesus said to the woman caught in the act of adultery. He said to her, 'Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more' (John 8:11 NKJV). What is most significant about His statement is its order: promise first; command second. 'Neither do I condemn you' precedes 'go and sin no more.' We almost always try to reverse those. We say, 'If you can manage to go and sin no more, then God will accept you.'

God, however, motivates us from acceptance, not toward it. Jesus' affirmation would give this woman the security that could free her from her destructive relationship with sex. Without that, she'd never truly break free. God's approval is the power that liberate us from sin, not the reward for having liberated ourselves."
- J.D. Greear, The Gospel: Recovering the Power that Made Christianity Revolutionary, pages 53-54

Package Deal

“If you believe what you like in the gospels, and reject what you don't like, it is not the gospel you believe, but yourself.”

         - At. Augustine of Hippo

Saturday, October 15, 2011

The Gospel Prayer

I'm learning to pray "the Gospel Prayer" from JD Greear's book Gospel: Recovering the Power that Made Christianity Revolutionary.

"...there's nothing magical about this prayer.  It's not an incantation to get God to do good things for you. Incidentally, it's also no my attempt to replace the Lord's Prayer. This prayer is simply a tool to help you train your mind in the patterns of the gospel. The point is not the prayer; the point is thinking in line with the gospel." - Gospel, page 40

Have I mentioned that this is a really GREAT book?

Friday, October 14, 2011

All Life Is Worship

I needed to hear this word this morning. -- From -All Life Is Worship - Confluence:
All of life is worship. To cease worshiping is to cease living. As those created to image God, we worship… continuously. Obviously I’m not talking about singing songs or going to meetings, I’m talking about trust, hope, longing, desire, affections.
It’s impossible to turn our worship off; it’s just a matter of where we aim our worship. Whether it’s our desire for sexual satisfaction, monetary provisions, relationships, rest, comfort, or security, the outcome is the direct result of where our worship is aimed.
It’s impossible to worship God and sin at the same time. If I worship God I turn from temptation and say God is good enough, he’s great enough, he’s my comforter, my hearts desire.
More at the link.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

October Book Giveaway from Crossway Books

Zach Nielsen has a free drawing hosted at his blog giving a way two new titles from Crossway Books! The two are Jared Wilson's, Gospel Wakefulness and Tullian Tchividjian's, Jesus + Nothing = Everything, both high on my personal wish list.

You can enter a the link above - and you can be sure that I already have.

The Announcement That Transforms

“The gospel transforms us in heart, mind, will, and actions precisely because it is not itself a message about our transformation. Nothing that I am or that I feel, choose, or do qualifies as Good News. On my best days, my experience of transformation is weak, but the gospel is an announcement of a certain state of affairs that exists because of something in God, not something in me; something that God has done, not something that I have done; the love in God’s heart which he has shown in his Son, not the love in my heart that I exhibit in my relationships. Precisely as the Good News of a completed, sufficient, and perfect work of God in Christ accomplished for me and outside of me in history, the gospel is ‘the power of God unto salvation’ not only at the beginning but throughout the Christian life. In fact, our sanctification is simply a lifelong process of letting that Good News sink in and responding appropriately; becoming the people whom God says that we already are in Christ.”

— Michael Horton, The Gospel-Driven Life, (Grand Rapids, Mi.: Baker Books, 2009), 77

Hat Tip: Already Not Yet: and Of First Importance-

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

It's Only Real When It's Facebook Official

Digital Lamb

From the CT Entertainment Blog comes the announcement that Lamb's Messianic Music Has Gone Digital:

Those who experienced the Jesus Movement of the early 1970s will no doubt remember Lamb, the messianic Jewish music duo of Joel Chernoff and Rick “Levi” Coghill. Messianic worship record label Galilee of the Nations is releasing Lamb’s entire musical catalog of 12 records via digital download from iTunes, Amazon mp3, Napster, Rhapsody, CD Baby and other online digital music stores.
I loved listening to Lamb back in the 70's, and still have some of their stuff on vinyl LP's (that's "records" for you youngsters).

Now, as one commentator at CT said, where's the good Messianic music of today?

Wake Up Call

Here's  link to Trevin Wax's excellent review on Jared Wilson's new book Gospel Wakefulness (to be released the end of October)  -  Wake Me Up, Lord! A Review of Jared Wilson’s “Gospel Wakefulness” at: Kingdom People:
 Jared Wilson’s new book Gospel Wakefulness made me think. In a good way. In the “thinking that leads to worship” kind of way. That’s why, despite a couple of concerns, I endorsed Gospel Wakefulness and I commend it to you.
In the book, Jared makes the case that Christians need not only to believe the gospel but to delight in it to the point that sin becomes increasingly bitter and Christ becomes our supreme treasure. He defines gospel wakefulness as “treasuring Christ more greatly and savoring His power more sweetly than before” (24).
This is another one on my wish list. So many books, so little time (and not enough money!)

Upside Down

"When our salvation depends upon our righteous behavior, our righteousness will be driven by a desire to elevate ourselves in the eyes of God.  This is not love for God, it's self-protection.

The gospel turns religion upside down. The gospel assures us of God's acceptance, given us as a gift earned by Christ's worthiness, not ours. In response to that gift, we are moved to obey. Love for Him grows in response to His love for us....

...The gospel reawakens us to the beauty of God and overwhelms us with mercy. Our behavior changes us because we change. Until that happens, all religious changes will be superficial. Even if you force yourself to act right, your heart will be going in the other direction. This is the doctrine of total depravity."

- J.D. Greear, The Gospel: Recovering the Power that Made Christianity Revolutionary, pages 36-37

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Is Yours Dusty?

The Cure

"Whatever spiritual dysfunction you have in your life, the cure is the gospel. Do we want to be filled with passion for God? We should drink from the gospel. Do we want to get control of our bodies? We must be captivated by the gospel. Do we want to be content with what we have? We need to feast on the gospel. Do we want to learn how to love your spouse? We have to be overwhelmed by the gospel.....

....Always 'begin again' with the gospel. Abide in it; swim in it; make your home in it. See more and more of your life through it. Be absolutely convinced at every moment of every day of the goodness of God in your life. That's the only way you'll ever really grow."

- J.D. Greear, The Gospel: Recovering the Power that Made Christianity Revolutionary, pages 22-23

Saturday, October 8, 2011

"Christian Publishing in Black and White"

The books on top were published between 2006-2009. The books on the bottom are from 2010-2011. Do you notice a trend? We are all such herd beasts! Maybe pink is next.

Hat Tip: Christian Publishing in Black and White – Kevin DeYoung

Revelation as a Graphic Novel?

Imagine the Book of Revelation as a Revelation Graphic Novel:

Sounds almost impossible, but if it works, an extremely fascinating idea. Would you buy it? You can see and hear more at

Friday, October 7, 2011

Patron Saint?

Is C. S. Lewis the Patron Saint of American Evangelicalism?

Laughing at Ourselves

Hilarious clip of comedian Tim Hawkins poking fun at denominational names, coffee houses, and modern translations like The Message.

Hat Tip: Friday Funny: Tim Hawkins on Church : Kingdom People

Escape the Default Mode

" Martin Luther noted, religion forms the default mode of the human heart. It is essential, then, that we distinguish religion from the gospel.  Religion, as the default mode of our thinking and practices, is based on performance: 'I obey; therefore I am accepted by God.' The basic operating principle of the gospel, however, is, not surprisingly, an about-face, one of unmerited acceptance: 'I am accepted by God through Christ; therefore, I obey.' To truly understand this paradigm shift at a life-altering level requires that the gospel be explored and 'looked into' at every opportunity and in regular, systematic ways."

Tim Keller, from the foreword to J. D. Greear's Gospel: Recovering the Power that Made Christianity Revolutionary, page xiv.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Lunatics Scribling the Word "Darkness"

“A man can no more diminish God’s glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word, ‘darkness’ on the walls of his cell.” C. S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain, p. 46.

“You will certainly carry out God’s purpose, however you act, but it makes a difference to you whether you serve like Judas or like John.” C. S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain, p. 111.

(I wish I had one tenth of the way with words that C.S. Lewis had on his worst day)

Hat Tip: The Objectivity of Glorifying God – Justin Taylor

Grace Based Prayers

From J.D. Greear’s new book Gospel: Recovering the Power that Made Christianity Revolutionary come these suggested themes for “gospel prayer”:
  1. In Christ, there is nothing I can do that would make You love me more, and nothing I have done that makes You love me less.
  2. Your presence and approval are all I need for everlasting joy.
  3. As You have been to me so I will be to others.
  4. As I pray, I’ll measure Your compassion by the cross and Your power by the resurrection.
Hat Tip: Is the Gospel Influencing Your Daily Life? – Justin Taylor

You can read an interview with the author by Trevin Wax here.

A Steve Jobs Story You May Not Know

From The Deacon's Bench comes this Steve Jobs story that most of us didn't know.
I wanted to talk about one woman who did respect life – and her choice has made a difference in the life of virtually every person in this church.
Her name is Joanne Schiebel. In 1954, she was a young unmarried college student who discovered that she was pregnant. In the 1950s, her options were limited. She could have had an abortion – but the procedure was both dangerous and illegal. She could have gotten married, but she wasn’t ready and didn’t want to interrupt her education. Joanne opted, instead, to give birth to the baby and put it up for adoption.
And so it was that in 1955, a California couple named Paul and Clara Jobs adopted a baby boy, born out of wedlock, that they named Steven.
We know him today…as Steve Jobs.
It would not be overstating things to say that Steve Jobs is my generation’s Thomas Edison. As one observer put it, he knew what the world wanted before the world knew that it wanted it
If you have an iPhone or an iPad or an iPod, or anything remotely resembling them, you can thank Steve Jobs.
If your world has been transformed by the ability to hear a symphony, send a letter, pay a bill, deposit a check, read a book and then buy theater tickets on something roughly the size of a credit card…you can thank Steve Jobs.
And: you can thank Joanne Schiebel.
If you want to know how much one life can matter, there is just one example.
But: imagine if that life had never happened.
Imagine if an unmarried pregnant college student 56 years ago had made a different choice.
Amazing coincidence that this message was preached the Sunday before Jobs passed away. Today there is so much commentary about  the significance of this one man's life. This is also a good time to remember that every human life is significant in the eyes of God. Life is precious: Value it highly.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Book Worm for Jesus?

“It cannot be that the people should grow in grace unless they give themselves to reading. A reading people will always be a knowing people. ”   
        ― John Wesley

“Beware you be not swallowed up in books! An ounce of love is worth a pound of knowledge.”
        ― John Wesley

Wesley was a good preacher for balance!    "...'knowledge' puffs up, but love builds up." (1 Cor. 8:1)

Monday, October 3, 2011

Free Audiobook - "Think" by John Piper

This month's free audio-book download on is John Piper's Think. A video trailer for the book is shown below.

Did I mention that it is FREE! So go ahead and get it!

Something Better than the Gospel?

“There is something even better than the good news, and that something is God. The good news of the gospel is that God has opened up the dynamics of His triune life and given us a share in that fellowship. But all of that good news only makes sense against the background of something even better than the good news: the goodness that is the perfection of God Himself.”
- Fred Sanders, The Deep Things of God: How the Trinity Changes Everything

(which, BTW, is GREAT book!

Hat Tip: Something Better than the Gospel : Kingdom People

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Praying to the Omni-God

O God omnipotent,
you are able to do that which you mercifully intend,
in apparent weakness and in seeming strength.
Help us to know and trust your power,
if not fully comprehend it,
that we might rest secure in the knowledge
that nothing can alter your loving purpose toward us and your creation.

O God omnipresent,
you are always and everywhere closer to us than we are to ourselves.
Help us to discern your merciful presence
even when we feel forsaken and alone,
so that we might know you as does the one who felt forsaken on the cross,
even Jesus Christ our Lord.

O God omniscient,
you know our going out and coming in
and the secrets of our hearts before we know them.
Help us to rest in this knowledge
as a sign of your everlasting grace,
through the one who lived and died for us
before we came into existence,
Jesus Christ our Lord.
 - quoted from Mark Galli, A Great and Terrible Love: A Spiritual Journey into the Attributes of God

Hat Tip:  Prayers to the Omni-God : Kingdom People

What Religion Cannot Do

"The gospel is able to do produce in our hearts what religion never could: a desire for God."
This quote is from a great piece by J.D. Greear at the Resurgence. He goes on to say:
“ 'Rediscovering' the Gospel has given me a joy in God I never experienced in all my years of fervent religion. Now I sense, almost daily, a love for God replacing my love for myself. The jealously that once consumed my heart is being replaced by a desire to see others prosper. I feel selfishness giving way to tenderness and generosity. My cravings for the lusts of the flesh are being replaced by a craving for righteousness, and my self-centered dreams are being replaced by God-glorifying ambitions. A power is surging in me that is changing me and pushing me out into the world to leverage my life for the Kingdom of God."
Good stuff! Much more at the link.

How the Gospel Does What Religion Cannot | The Resurgence:

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Radically Unbalanced Grace

"Even those of us who have tasted the radical saving grace of God find it intuitively difficult not to put conditions on grace- “don’t take it too far; keep it balanced.” The truth is, however, that a “yes grace but” posture is the kind of posture that perpetuates slavery in our lives and in the church. Grace is radically unbalanced. It has no “but”: it’s unconditional, uncontrollable, unpredictable, and undomesticated. As Doug Wilson put it recently, “Grace is wild. Grace unsettles everything. Grace overflows the banks. Grace messes up your hair. Grace is not tame. In fact, unless we are making the devout nervous, we are not preaching grace as we ought.” Grace scares us to death because in every way it wrestles control out of our hands. However much we hate law, we are more afraid of grace."
From The End Of Control Is The Beginning Of Freedom – Tullian Tchividjian