Monthly Archives: November 2009
Tim Keller on two kinds of popularity:
There are two very different motivations for adapting and accommodating our message to the sensibilities of a group of people. The first motive is ‘ambition’ — we do it for our sake, for our own glory and approval. The other reason we may accommodate people is for their sake, so that we can gradually win their trust until they become open to the truth they need so much. The first motive will so control us that we will never offend people. The second motive will help us choose our battles and not offend people unnecessarily.
Tullian Tchividjian is thankful for pain:
To be thankful for our comforts only is to make an idol of this life. “God-sent afflictions”, says Maurice Roberts, “have a health-giving effect upon the soul” because they are the medicine used to purge the soul of self-centeredness and this world’s vanities. Pain, in other words, sharpens us, matures us, and gives us clear “eye-sight.” Pain transforms us like nothing else can. It turns us into “solid” people. Roberts continues, “Those who have been in the crucible have lost more of their scum.” All of this should cause us to be deeply thankful.
It’s been said that pain is the second best thing because it leads us to the Best Thing (God). For, it is only when we come to the end of ourselves that we come to the beginning of God. And it is only when …
Why Low Expectations Cheat Our Church Members
How Should You Handle Criticism?
The Little Graces
10 Words to Add to Your Vocabulary
Evangelical Approaches to Roman Catholicism
The Ironies of the “Church is Lame” Crowd
Going Rogue: An American Life – Sarah Palin
The Lost World of Genesis One – John Walton
Christless Christianity – Michael Horton
Book Notes: Bright-Sided / Leading with Confidence / Fool Moon Rising
Patron Saints for Postmoderns – Chris Armstrong
Ripped: How the Wired Generation Revolutionized Music – Greg Kot
Jim Belcher Responds to Critics of Deep Church
ESV Study Bible Turns 1: An Interview with Justin Taylor
Evangelicals and Catholics on Holy Ground: 4 Questions for Chris Castaldo
New Endorsements for Holy Subversion
O Lord, Your Word…
Scotty Smith’s Gospel-Soaked Morning Prayer
Prayer of Praise
Charles Simeon’s Thanksgiving Prayer
Lancelot Andrews’ Thanksgiving Prayer
Notable Items from Novembers Past
I bless you, O Lord, for creating me and bringing me into life.
I thank you for setting me free from many sins,
for enduing me with the gifts of grace,
with the gifts of nature and fortune.
I praise you for your abundant mercy,
for bringing us into a lively hope
by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled,
that will never fade away.
I thank you for Jesus,
in whom you have blessed me with all spiritual blessings.
I thank you for comforting me in the time of trial,
and for the knowledge that -
as the sufferings of Christ abound in me,
so my consolation also abounds in Christ.
To you, O God of my fathers, I give thanks!
I am the work of your hands,
the price of your blood,
the image of your countenance,
the servant of your purchase,
the seal of your name,
the child of your adoption,
a temple of your spirit,
a member of your church.
- Lancelot Andrews, 1555-1626 (adapted)
During my years of study in Romania, I was challenged by the example of one professor in particular – Dr. Radu Gheorghita. Dr. Gheorghita is a Romanian scholar who now teaches at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. I was fortunate enough to take Hermeneutics, Greek, and New Testament with him while studying at Emanuel University.
I have never met someone so passionate about knowing the Scriptures in the original languages. Dr. Gheorghita disciplines himself in the memorization of the Greek New Testament – having committed several books to memory already. I am thankful for his love for the Bible and also for his endorsement of Holy Subversion.
The bridge between the biblical world and ours is a two-way path. Most travelers start from the Here-and-Now world and equipped with the tools of exegesis step back in space-time into the There-and-Then world.
Trevin Wax makes a bold proposal for a journey in the opposite direction. What would it be like if the biblical authors were to step into our own world? How would Moses, David, Paul, or even Jesus proclaim God’s message if they were living today?
The author’s creative and persuasive proposal invites the readers to ponder what they might plausibly hear if the biblical imperative against idolatry were given to us today.
- Dr. Radu Gheorghita
Associate Professor of Biblical Studies
Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
We are thankful for the magnificent grace of God shown to us in the person and work of Jesus Christ. We are the recipients of so great a salvation. Such grace should overwhelm our hearts and lead to grateful obedience.
Magnificent grace leads me to obedience. But sometimes, it’s the little graces that get to me.
The little drops of grace God showers on my life remind me that he truly loves and cares for me… personally. It’s not just my salvation that makes me thankful; God’s little graces also move me to gratitude.
I can think of two personal examples. The first goes back to my trip to Romania in April. (Actually, the very fact that we were able to go on that trip is an evidence of God’s grace… but I digress.)
One of the elders in the village church I used to serve in has been a godly example to me. He and his wife, though up in years, lived next to the church for decades. When the church relocated, he built a new house next to the new building just so he could be near the house of the Lord. He and his wife called me “their American grandson,” and they became for me “my Romanian grandparents.”
Last January, my parents briefly visited Romania. They found out that Bunica (the grandmother) had stomach cancer and her health was quickly degenerating. Bunica told them that she hoped to see me and …
A little over a year ago, she was a largely unknown governor of a state closer to Siberia than New York City. Today, Sarah Palin is one of the most polarizing political figures in recent memory. People either love her or hate her (as the customer reviews of her book on Amazon demonstrate).
With my GRE out of the way and my requirements for Graduation at SBTS completed, I decided late last week to go to Barnes and Noble to pick up a couple of books to read for pure enjoyment. Not for the blog. Not for school. Not for ministry. Just something to enjoy reading.
Sarah Palin’s autobiography looked intriguing to me. I enjoy politics. I like seeing the inner workings of a political campaign. At the same time, I understand that most autobiographies paint starry-eyed portraits of the protagonist. In the end, I decided to pick up Going Rogue.
Three things about this book stood out to me.
First, Alaska is a fascinating state. I expected to be bored silly by the first third of Going Rogue. I had no interest in reading Palin’s recollections of her ordinary life in Alaska.
But the stories from Palin’s childhood and teenage years showed me that there is no such thing as ordinary in Alaska. The state’s rugged terrain, fascinating history, and massive size (to cross the state you would have to drive a distance as long as Houston to Minneapolis) won me over. Palin’s “can-do” personality successfully represents the spirit of those braving …
The belief system of a pastor is bound to come out in his preaching at least in subtle ways. My emphasis was always on grace, but it was also laced with the discipline of effort and inner strength to be what God called us to be. The result was either pride or defeat. My preaching has changed as a result of the Gospel going deeper inside of me.
The truth is I have existed as a pastor with gods in my closet. There were times when these gods sustained me. Giving them up has caused more death this year than I would like to admit. The closet is still not empty, but the death of these gods has made me ravenous. Without the Gospel as my source of security and significance, I would die. So as one who has vacillated between self-sufficiency and depression, Gospel-driven transformation is both liberating and terrifying.
There are some in our church who have not yet rediscovered the Gospel this way. There are others who hear the terrifying part but not the liberating part, and they sit on pins and needles. Many of them will leave soon, I think. But there are many others who have felt the shackles start to fall off, and, like me, they are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy.
Kevin DeYoung on “The Gospel Old and New”
Please, please, please, if you are enamored with the New …
Chris Castaldo (Pastor of Outreach and Church Planting at the College Church in Wheaton, IL) has recently written a book entitled Holy Ground: Walking with Jesus as a Former Catholic (Zondervan, 2009).
In the book, Chris takes readers on a dynamic exploration of the challenges and opportunities encountered by Roman Catholics who become Evangelical. Holy Ground also casts a vision for how evangelicals can emulate Jesus in relationship to Catholic loved-ones and friends. Here are some questions I had for Chris after reading his book.
Trevin Wax: In the beginning of the book, you define “evangelical” in terms of the Lausanne Covenant. Later on, in your division of Roman Catholics into categories (traditional, evangelical, cultural), you use the term “evangelical” as an adjective for a type of Catholic. Are these different ways of using “evangelical” compatible?
Chris Castaldo: Essentially, although I would like to offer one caveat.
The Lausanne Covenant elucidates the gospel in point four under the heading The Nature of Evangelism saying:
“To evangelize is to spread the good news that Jesus Christ died for our sins and was raised from the dead according to the Scriptures, and that as the reigning Lord he now offers the forgiveness of sins and the liberating fruits of the Spirit to all who repent and believe.”
As far as this statement goes, Catholics say “amen.” This is so because Catholics and Protestants virtually agree on the “objective” dimensions of the gospel (that Jesus died, rose, and now reigns).
Where we differ is on how these …
Timothy George explains why he helped draft (and then sign) the Manhattan Declaration.
These are not the only matters that require a conscientious response from followers of Jesus Christ, but they are threshold issues that touch on everything else we do including the proclamation of the Gospel, concern for the poor, nurturing of children, ministry to prisoners, care of creation, and peacemaking in a broken world.
Here’s why Al Mohler signed it:
I believe we are facing an inevitable and culture-determining decision on the three issues centrally identified in this statement. I also believe that we will experience a significant loss of Christian churches, denominations, and institutions in this process. There is every good reason to believe that the freedom to conduct Christian ministry according to Christian conviction is being subverted and denied before our eyes. I believe that the sanctity of human life, the integrity of marriage, and religious liberty are very much in danger at this very moment.
Frank Turk tells why he respectfully declined to sign the Declaration. John Stackhouse didn’t sign it either, but for completely different reasons. In case you’re wondering, I signed it, and I encourage you to do the same.
Tim Challies shows his humorous side with this satirical proposal for the “ultimate Christian novel” – one that “seamlessly blends today’s most popular genres into one beautiful, compelling, cohesive whole.” Click here for the whole description.
In my desk drawer at home, I have a large collection of CDs. Years have gone by since I last touched many of them. Yet I still listen to the music, now conveniently stored on my computer hard drive. My big CD collection is now a large iTunes playlist. I know I’m not the only music-lover who has gone digital.
Ripped: How the Wired Generation Revolutionized Music tells the story of the transformation of music that has taken place in the past decade. Digital music has changed everything. The music industry has faced an unprecedented number of challenges, leading one analyst to call the changes “a technological freak out.”
The internet has led to the democratization of music. New artists without an official record label can market their music online. Old artists who saw success in the past are scrambling to keep their music from being illegally downloaded.
Ripped author, Greg Kot, is on the side of music lovers. He makes the case that Napster fans should not be considered criminals. He celebrates the success of iTunes. He points to the large attendance at concerts thanks to an artist’s internet presence.
Reading this book, I was reminded how expensive CDs used to be. Remember the frustration of wanting to purchase one song only to discover you would have to buy an entire album?
But the transformation of music has both positive and negative aspects. Some of the recent developments in music cause me to say, “This is wonderful!” Other times: “I really miss this …