Monthly Archives: October 2011
Barnabas Piper – “Congregation vs. Audience”
When I receive proposals for books or book ideas from pastors I often get something like this as an accompanying comment: “I am the pastor of a X,000-person church, and based on their response to this message I think there is a large demand for this material.” This seems like a reasonable assertion. 80% of the congregation loved the messages, therefore a large percentage of like-minded Christians will also like the message. Unfortunately there is almost no correlation between what a pastor’s congregation thinks of his sermons and the audience size when that is turned into a book. There are a few reasons for this…
The Gospel does not simply provide us the proper set of motivations to do what everyone else in the world does. Instead, it provides us unique insight into the structure of morality (Christ is our wisdom), such that we can open up new possibilities for action rather than staying within the framework provided to us by the world around us. The Gospel is not only an internal reality that helps us to get our hearts in the “right place” with respect to adoption. It is an external reality that should help us discern who we adopt and how we go about it.
War and Peace: Pastor Tullian Tchividjian survived a leadership coup by finding rest in the liberating power of the gospel.
Tchividjian’s church plant, New City, merged with the larger Coral Ridge, but the …
As promised yesterday, we are taking a look back through the past five years of this blog’s history. Here are some highlights from Kingdom People’s first year (October 2006-September 2007).
The first significant blog series that I did was done out of curiosity. Having spent several years in a country dominated by Eastern Orthodoxy, I was curious about Orthodox theology and why some American evangelicals were converting to Orthodoxy while Orthodox adherents in Romania were converting to evangelicalism. To explore the differences, I interviewed two converts who went opposite ways and then pointed out the major fault line between the two traditions: sola Scriptura.
Theron’s Story: Why I Left Evangelicalism for Eastern Orthodoxy (November 8, 2006)
John’s Story: Why I Left Eastern Orthodoxy for Evangelicalism (November 9, 2006)
Sola Scriptura: The Dividing Line Between the Orthodox and Evangelicals (November 10, 2006)
The most trafficked post of Kingdom People’s first year dealt with the rise of church gossip blogs. I had come across a blog devoted to demeaning and diminishing the ministry of the pastor who had recently followed Adrian Rogers as pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church. I thought the development of publicizing this kind of church gossip would do great harm to churches and ministries, so I wrote a post called “How ‘Saving Bellevue’ is Destroying Bellevue” (February 8, 2007). The Bellevue furor has since died down, but blogs devoted to critiquing mega-church pastors and their ministries have only increased.
Ironically, more damage is being done by the effort to “preserve” Bellevue by …
Dan Phillips – “How I Wish the Abortion-Debate-for-Rape Debate Would Go”
Seeing the terrible dither and fog Herman Cain cast up when asked about abortion, I felt impelled to borrow a page from Trevin Wax and give my dream-version of such an interchange…
Social media is affecting behavior and nothing is more important than the ability to influence decisions and ultimately behavior. The state of social media is not necessarily as much about which network is #winning as much as it is about how people are spending their time, interacting and connecting with one another, and what happens as a result. To demonstrate this point, let’s review the profound findings from the recently released Nielsen Social Media Report…
LA Times - Is Family-Friendly TV Going Extinct?
The new fall season highlights how scripted TV shows with a broad family appeal have become a rarity, with ‘Terra Nova’ and ‘The Middle’ among the few.
You see, I don’t spend a lot of time with “issue Christians.”
It’s not just the issue of prophecy either. I’ve had similar conversations with “issue Calvinists,” “issue political Christians,” “issue charismatics,” “issue homeschoolers,” and many others. These are often good people and those are important issues, but when these are the primary defining issues in the first (and every other) conversation, the correct response is help them move on and do so quickly.
Here are four reasons why I have no difficulty helping “issue Christians” to move on…
Five years ago this week, I registered a new blog on WordPress and called it “Kingdom People.” From time to time, readers ask me about the circumstances that led to the beginning of this blog. The five-year mark is as good a time as any to tell the story of how the blog got going. Over the next few days, I will be linking to and commenting on some older posts in the archives.
A Major Move
The decision to launch this blog in October 2006 was made during a particularly difficult time in our life and ministry. Fifteen months earlier, I was wrapping up my fifth and final year as a missionary and student in Romania. Corina and I had been married for just three years, we had a one-year-old son, and we had settled into a life of service in several village churches. As much as we loved life in Romania, my wife and I sensed God calling us back to the United States.
Moving back to the States as a family turned out to be much more difficult than leaving for Romania on my own when I was 19. The knowledge that our decisions affected multiple people – family members on both sides of the Atlantic, and especially our son – added weight to our thought processes. In the end, we obeyed. We endured the tough goodbyes, abandoned nearly all of our possessions in Romania, and then flew to the States with five suitcases between us. A week later, we moved to …
It doesn’t matter what you do, modern jobs seem to require that everyone barrage you with email at all hours of the day. If you’re feeling overwhelmed and like you’ll never get back to a clean inbox, here are ten of our favorite tips to help you manage the ever-growing mountain of email.
Researchers are learning that it is not so simple: napping in children actually is a complex behavior, a mix of individual biology, including neurologic and hormonal development, cultural expectations and family dynamics.
The theological interpretation of Scripture (TIS) is not so much a method, but a mode of interpretation; not a neatly defined set of steps, but a set of concerns. A helpful definition I borrow (in slightly altered form) from another author defines the theological interpretation of Scripture as the reading of biblical texts that consciously seeks to do justice to the theological nature of these texts and embraces the influence and direction of theology on the interpreter’s enquiry, context, methods, and results.
N.T. Wright may have written the foreword to Scot McKnight’s new book on the gospel, but there are some important distinctions between the two scholars, as Derek Ouellette points out:
At first glance it appears that Scot McKnight’s gospel proposal in his recent book, The King Jesus Gospel, is very much “Wrightian”. But the more I reflected on …
Dwell in the soul that longs to be Your temple;
Water that barren soil overrun with weeds and briars
And lost for lack of cultivating.
Make it fruitful with Your dew.
Come, dear Refreshment of those who languish;
Come, Star and Guide of those who sail amidst tempests.
You are the Haven of the tossed and shipwrecked.
Come now, Glory and Crown of the living,
As well as the Safeguard of the dying.
Come, Sacred Spirit;
Come, and fit me to receive You.
- Augustine of Hippo
Here are some of my favorite quotes from N.D. Wilson’s excellent book Notes From The Tilt-A-Whirl:
On the wonder of life:
Marx called religion an opiate, and all too often it is. But philosophy is an anesthetic, a shot to keep the wonder away.
It is easy to be numb to the world’s marvels when you’ve missed lunch and the light is still red.
To an infinite artist, a Creator in love with His craft, there is no unimportant corner, there is no thrown-away image, no tattered thread in the novel left untied.
There is a crushing joy that crackles in every corner of this world. I am tiny and yet I am here. I have been given senses, awareness, existence, and placed on a stage so crowded with the vast, so teeming with the tiny, that I can do nothing but laugh, and sometimes laugh and cry. Living makes dying worth it.
On death and future hope:
I’m eating my lunch in a graveyard. Human seeds have been planted in neat little rows. Stone stakes label the crop.
Every soul waits in the wings. Every life taken in age, tired and ready, taken in youth, in shock and sorrow, taken in pain or taken in peace, every needle now hidden in shadow waits in eager silence. I see my cousin. My nephew. Many faces, forgotten by those who followed behind, known always by the Author who needs no stone reminders. He is the best of all possible audiences, the only Audience to see every scene, the …
Today, I’m excited to welcome pastor David Platt back to the blog to discuss his upcoming “Secret Church” simulcast. David is the pastor at The Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, AL, and he is the author of Radical and Radical Together.
Trevin Wax: David, the upcoming simulcast was originally about the last days. Why did you change the topic?
David Platt: We had originally planned to cover “Heaven, Hell, and the End of the World” at this Secret Church. But then, due to a variety of factors in our church, our culture, and in my own life, I decided that we would switch to “Family, Marriage, Sex, and the Gospel.” Daniel Heimbach, who wrote a wonderful book on sexual morality and the gospel, has said:
“The stakes in the current conflict over sex are more critical, more central, and more essential than in any controversy the church has ever known. This is a momentous statement, but I make it soberly, without exaggeration. Conflict over sex these days is not just challenging tradition, orthodoxy, and respect for authority in areas such as ordination, marriage, and gender roles. And it does not just affect critically important doctrines like the sanctity of human life, the authority and trustworthiness of scripture, the Trinity, and the incarnation of Christ. Rather, war over sex among Christians is now raging over absolutely essential matters of faith without which no one can truly be a Christian in the first place—matters such as sin, salvation, the gospel, and the identify …
Wow… how the world is changing!
Seven links for your weekend reading:
6. Has “application” replaced “exhortation” in sermons? Have we settled for practical pointers when we should focus on the prophetic purpose of the Word?