Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Fight Against Lust

By Faith magazine has a great article called, Lust: A Life and Death Matter. I highly recommend that you check it out.

Here is a great excerpt on one of the outcomes lust has:

Second, lust distorts our vision and leads us to see people as objects instead of what they are—unique masterpieces created in God’s image

Friday, September 25, 2009

A Filthy Sponge

What a picture of the love of Jesus on the Cross and new look at an overlooked moment during Jesus' crucifixtion.

From The Resurgence:
Here’s a video clip of Pastor Mark from the first sermon of Mars Hill’s new series, Luke's Gospel: Investigating the Man Who Is God:

Friday, September 18, 2009

Drawn Into The Gospel Includes Suffering

Zach posted this quote, and the more I hear about A Praying Life, the more I desire to read it.

Doug Wolter:
Paul Miller’s book, A Praying Life, has affected me deeply. I cannot recommend it to you highly enough. Here’s one section that grabbed a hold of me and hasn’t let go for days. Next to this quote in the side margin of my book I wrote, “need to meditate on this.”

Whenever you love, you reenact Jesus’ death. Consequently, gospel stories always have suffering in them. American Christianity has an allergic reaction to this part of the gospel. We’d love to hear about God’s love for us, but suffering doesn’t mesh with our right to “the pursuit of happiness.” So we pray to escape a gospel story, when that is the best gift the Father can give us.

The Father wants to draw us into the story of his Son. He doesn’t have a better story to tell, so he keeps retelling it in our lives. As we reenact the gospel, we are drawn into a strange kind of fellowship. The taste of Christ is so good that the apostle Paul told the Philippians that he wanted to know “the fellowship of sharing in [Jesus'] sufferings” (Phil. 3:10).

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Christianity Is Against Individualism

This quote is good prep for this coming Tuesday at The Well as we will look at the community that came from Acts 2.

From A Brick In The Valley

Cornelius Plantinga:

Christianity is against individualism. In the Old Testament God made his covenant with Abraham and his descendents, with a whole people. We now baptize persons not because they are individual believers or even because they belong to a family of believers, but because they belong to the extended family of believers – - the people of God. We are all baptized into this community, into a body that existed long before we did. We did not join this body. We are called into it.

When God’s people are called out of the world, they called into fellowship, into what the New Testament calls koinonia. Good words are associated with koinonia: “common,” “commune,” “commonwealth,” “community,” and “communion. We were called into koinonia, which means we have something in common with other believers.

Rather we have someone in common. . . . But, always it is Jesus Christ who is the fount of blessing, the broken bread, the life-giving vine, the head of the body. We belong to him – - and thus to each other. (Beyond Doubt, pages 116-117, emphasis his).

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

J.C. Ryle: Hold The Here and Now Loosely

“Are you prosperous in the world? Have death, sickness, disappointment, poverty, and family troubles passed over your door up to this time and not come in? Are you secretly saying to yourself, ‘Nothing can hurt me much. I shall die quietly in my bed and see no sorrow.’ Take care.”

“You are not yet in harbor. A sudden storm of unexpected trouble may make you change your note. Set not your affection on things below. Hold them with a very loose hand and be ready to surrender them at a moment’s notice. Use your prosperity well while you have it; but lean not all your weight on it, lest it break suddenly and pierce your hand.”

~ J.C. Ryle

Practical Religion, “Our Home”, 396.

This quote reminds me of what Pastor Ryan Kelly preached about this past Sunday at Desert Springs on worrying over what others think and over possessions.

Click here for that message

Props on Quote: J.C. Ryle Quotes

Religion vs Gospel

Last night at The Well I mentioned the distinctions between religion and The Gospel. I read from a list that comes from Tim Keller of what marks religion and what marks The Gospel. Below is some of the distinctions that comes from Tim Keller that has been compiled by The Journey Church in St. Louis.

Click here for the pdf. version.

Here is a few of the distinctions:
“I obey-therefore I’m accepted.”

“I’m accepted-therefore I obey.”

Motivation is based on fear and insecurity.

Motivation is based on grateful joy.

I obey God in order to get things from God

I obey God to get to God-to delight and resemble Him.

When circumstances in my life go wrong, I am angry at God or my self, since I believe, like Job’s friends that anyone who is good deserves a comfortable life.

When circumstances in my life go wrong, I struggle but I know all my punishment fell on Jesus and that while he may allow this for my training, he will exercise his Fatherly love within my trial.

When I am criticized I am furious or devastated because it is critical that I think of myself as a ‘good person’. Threats to that self-image must be destroyed at all costs.

When I am criticized I struggle, but it is not critical for me to think of myself as a ‘good person.’ My identity is not built on my record or my performance but on God’s love for me in Christ. I can take criticism. That’s how I became a Christian.

Click Here for the Rest

Props: Reformissionary

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

David Brooks on Our Self Congratulavie Culture

David Brooks is a columnist from the N.Y. Times. He is very insightful and witty as well. The excerpt below is from a column he wrote pertaining to how our country has gone from a humble and modest country to one full of ego driven, me-centric self worshipers.

I agree that the rise of the self-esteem "savior" has led to a generation and culture full of self lovers that are very vocal about it. However, I do not want to have a "good ole days" mentality. Brooks talks about the humble that came out of WWII, we also must remember that this humble nation had seperate schools for whites and blacks. We need to learn from the past, good and bad, that means taking of the rose colored glasses of our current era and past eras as well.

Here is an excerpt from the Column:

Today, immodesty is as ubiquitous as advertising, and for the same reasons. To scoop up just a few examples of self-indulgent expression from the past few days, there is Joe Wilson using the House floor as his own private “Crossfire”; there is Kanye West grabbing the microphone from Taylor Swift at the MTV Video Music Awards to give us his opinion that the wrong person won; there is Michael Jordan’s egomaniacal and self-indulgent Hall of Fame speech. Baseball and football games are now so routinely interrupted by self-celebration, you don’t even notice it anymore.

This isn’t the death of civilization. It’s just the culture in which we live. And from this vantage point, a display of mass modesty, like the kind represented on the V-J Day “Command Performance,” comes as something of a refreshing shock, a glimpse into another world. It’s funny how the nation’s mood was at its most humble when its actual achievements were at their most extraordinary.
Click Here to Read the Rest

Reason Enough To Add HBO

6 Essentials of College Ministry

Working in college ministry for over 2 years now, I could not agree more with these 6 essentials. Especially with #1, Jesus cannot be overlooked or understated in college ministry. He is our source of life, redemption and eternal joy, we cannot act like He is just a means to an end or that Christianity is about moralism and duty.

From The Resurgence:

1. Don't confuse the gospel with religion
To prevent doing this, talk about Jesus (who he is and what he has done) all the time. If you don't, students will think Christianity is really about something else, like morality, philosophy, piety, social justice, or a religious experience. If you start talking more about what they should do instead of what Jesus has done, you're preaching another gospel (Gal. 1:6-9), which is to put heavy burdens on them (Matt. 23:2-4).

2. Learn about sexual assault
The prevalence of sexual assault is staggering. At least 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men are or will be victims of sexual assault in their lifetime. And the numbers are much worse for college students. These young women and men feel crippling shame, deep guilt, and painfully alone because of what has been done to them.

3. Teach students how to read and interpret the Bible for themselves
This means being clear on the relationship between the law and the gospel. The law is "perfect, true, and righteous altogether" (Psalm 19:7-9) and "holy, just, and good" (Rom. 7:12), but it does not effect what it demands (Gal. 3:21). The good news is that on the cross Jesus took our penalty of law-breaking and fulfilled the law, so he could give us his righteousness. God then works in us to will and to do his good pleasure (Phil. 2:13). The very law that condemns us becomes the very thing that God fulfills in us through the power of his Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:18-23), not through our effort (Gal. 3:1-3).

4. Be prepared to comfort students because of divorce and death
College students are at a phase in life where their parents seem to get divorced, if they aren't already, now that their children are leaving home. This is also the age when grandparents begin to die.

5. Study apologetics
Many students still have brain cells left, and they've been reading and thinking about their world. They have legitimate questions about who Jesus is and what he did and why he isn't just a good example. They want to know why they should trust the Bible as reliable. The immense suffering in the world makes them doubt either the goodness or power of God or both. They think Christians are hypocrites and bigots, so why should they become one?

6. Be prepared to counsel students about what they're really facing
You must be prepared to counsel about eating disorders, pornography, cutting, abusive relationships, and the lingering damage of sexual sin. College students tend to be the shock-absorbers of the myths our cultural sells. Idols are brutal slave masters.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Has Conservatism Become An Idol?

Before I get any deeper, I want to say I am not political, I do not talk about my political views or leanings. I do not watch C-Span, Fox News, MSNBC and consider myself neither to be a red state or a blue state person. I love Jesus, He is my King and He is my message,hope and life. So to quote Mark Driscoll, "I vote for Jesus!"

With that said, Jon McIntosh, has started a new website and ministry called ReThink Mission. In it he talks about cultural engagement, church planting and gospel centric living. Recently he blogged about how Conservative politics has in many circles (especially the Bible Belt) become synonymous with the Gospel.

I could not agree more with Jon's cautions and exhortation to not confuse a political position with the gospel of Jesus Christ. So often today Jesus is not a stumbling block, because the "moral majority" has already tripped up and angered people.

If you have ever used the words "Jesus" and "Republican" in the same sentence please read Jon's cautions, as well as a 2nd clarification post he offers.

Below is a excerpt of his post:

When political conservatism is confused for Christianity:
1. It creates false assurance: many who are not Christians wrongly assume that they are simply because of their conservative vote.

2. It makes enemies out of friends: Christians forget that “we do not wrestle against flesh and blood” and make enemies out of anyone who disagrees with their political ideology.

3. It becomes a barrier to mission: political liberals who are not Christians are given the idea that to embrace the gospel of Jesus means to become a conservative. Naturally they pass on this. But the wrong “gospel” has been presented to them – thus many haven’t even rejected the gospel at all, only a highly politicized version of it.

4. The wrong gospel is passed to the next generation: In training our children to be good conservatives instead of grace-filled believers, we help harden their hearts to the gospel. I grew up in a church that did a better job teaching me to be a political conservative than a lover of Jesus Christ. That was a church that was easy to leave.

Read the rest here..

Also read his clarification to some of his original points here.

Creativity and Joy All Point Somewhere

...why is this so cool?

...why do we get excited when there is something creative and full of energy and joy, like this video?

It is because we are made in the image of a creative God who even in our sin we have traits and pointers in how we create and express ourselves that showcase Him.

Don't fool yourself by thinking this is just a cool "routine" or this is for the church of Oprah, God's common grace is being seen in His creation and He receives all glory for this. We may surpress the Truth of this, but there has to be a higher reason why there is something that finds beauty, joy and excitement in displays of creativity. Random chance and molecules cannot explain it away...

Props: LosWhit

Monday, September 07, 2009

Welcome to Macintosh Trailer

This looks interesting, and yes I am a big fan of the Mac.

Props: Matt Carlson via Twitter

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Preview of Luke Series for Mars HIll

Mark Driscoll, pastor at Mars Hill Church, will be starting a series on the Gospel According to Luke. Part of the series has been filmed in the region of Israel and Palestine that Jesus actually walked and did ministry.

If you are interested in check this coming sermon out check out Mars Hill Albuquerque, where this series will be seen via video.

Truth On Campus

From Think Christianly:
“There is one thing a professor can be absolutely certain of: almost every student entering the university believes, or says he believes, that truth is relative.”—Allan Bloom

“To say of what is that it is not, or of what is not that it is, is false, while to say of what is that it is, and of what it is not that it is not, is true.”—Aristotle

“…You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free”—Jesus

“If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end: if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth—only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin with and, in the end, despair”—C.S. Lewis