Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A couple of book recommendations...

C.J. Mahaney has written a couple of chapters in this book on worldliness. You might remember that I am preparing to do a short series on Sunday nights on this. I was really helped by this book in numerous ways: 1) It's an easy read. Sometimes you read books and they are a bit tedious, but this reads really well. 2) It's Gospel centered. Many books on worldliness seem to point to legalism and don't do this or that. This holds out the beauty of what God's Word says and then points us to the cross for all of our failures. 3) It's very practical. With chapters related to dress, the media, music, how we are to "love the world", and our hearts, there is much teeth to live by in this book. I would recommend it and we will be giving away a copy each Sunday night these next two months.

The other book worthy of attention is:
Stephen Altrogge has given us all such help in his book Game Day for the Glory of God: A Guide for Athletes Fans & Wannabes. Stephen blogs at The Blazing Center. This book is helpful for it's ease of read, Gospel-centeredness and helpfulness as well. The book deals with so many things I've thought of but never seen fleshed out in print. Things like how God is the source of all talent, how sports provide joy, what is a way to glorify God on game day, what is the Christian response when we win or lose, and how I can parent my children properly in relation to sports. Since most of the people around me are active in sports, as I read I was thinking of how helpful this has been to me and would be to them. Therefore, I urge you to get a copy and all God to be glorified through your participation in sports. There are some videos available to watch with this as well. Here's the page on Stephen's website about the book.

Avail yourself to these two options and watch God affect your life through these things.

More Total Church Quotes...(On Evangelism)

I have been posting about a post a week on Total Church. The first post was some highlights from the introduction and chapter 1. Then I posted on chapter 2, community. Today, I want to quote from chapter 3, evangelism.

The authors go to some length to remind us of how speaking the Gospel is central to evangelism. But the unique feature, in my opinion, is fusing that verbal witness with a gospel community. They say:
The gospel word and gospel community are closely connected. The word creates and nourishes the community, while the community proclaims and embodies the word. (p.55)
They go on and further speak of the centrality of the cross:
This cross-love is the primary, dynamic test of whether or not we have understood the gospel word and experienced its power. Not our doctrinal orthodoxy, as important as that is. Not our ingenious strategizing, as fascinating as that is. Not our commitment to preaching, as vital as that is. Not our innovative approach to planting, as radical as that may be. It is our cross-love for each other that proclaims the truth of the gospel to a watching and skeptical world. Our love for one another, to the extent that it imitates and conforms to the cross-love of Jesus for us, is evangelistic. (pp.56-57)
I also love this quote, because it is so true in exposing my heart...
People want a form of evangelism they can stick in their schedule, switch off, and leave behind when they go home. Jesus calls us to a lifestyle of love...Ideally evangelism is not something to be undertaken in isolation. Of course, if opportunity presents itself, the gospel word should be spoken clearly and sensitively in conscious dependence upon the Holy Spirit--whenever, wherever, and to whomever. But evangelism is best done out of the context of a gospel community whose corporate life demonstrates the reality of the word that gave her life. (pp.57-58)
What does all this mean? Well for me, it seems that what I've been wrestling with recently on our church's centrality being in the Gospel seems to be taking shape in this. To the degree that we are centered in Christ in our community will be the degree to which our effectiveness in evangelism will be pursued. This are simply incredible thoughts to bring together. More next time on the 3 strands of evangelism: building relationships, sharing the gospel, and introducing people to community.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Ferguson's Resolutions on the Tongue (from James)

JT quotes from Sinclair Ferguson's message at the DG National Conference on Words...

James 1:5 To ask God for wisdom to speak and with a single mind
James 1:9-10 To boast only in exaltation in Christ & humiliation in world
James 1:13 To set a watch over my mouth
James 1:19 To be constantly quick to hear, slow to speak
James 2:1-4 To learn the gospel way of speaking to poor and the rich
James 2:12 To speak always in the consciousness of the final judgment
James 2:16 To never stand on anyone’s face with my words
James 3:14 To never claim as reality something I do not experience
James 4:1 To resist quarrelsome words in order to mortify a quarrelsome heart
James 4:11 To never speak evil of another
James 4:13 To never boast in what I will accomplish
James 4:15 To always speak as one subject to the providences of God
James 5:9 To never grumble, knowing that the Judge is at the door
James 5:12 To never allow anything but total integrity in my speech
James 5:13 To speak to God in prayer whenever I suffer
James 5:14 To sing praises to God whenever I am cheerful
James 5:14 To ask for the prayers of others when I am sick
James 5:15 To confess it freely whenever I have failed
James 5:15 To pray with and for one another when I am together with others
James 5:19 To speak words of restoration when I see another wander

Powerful stuff!

MM - Authority

Yesterday morning, we saw a glimpse of the absolute authority of Jesus as He exposed the religious leaders in Mark 11:27-33. Jesus' authority truly comes from God and not man. In application of that truth, I offered this point of application at the end:
For those of us who are believers, we have submitted to and embraced the authority of Jesus. There is one word that expresses our allegiance to that authority and it is the word submission. As followers of Jesus, we are called to submit to Him. We are to submit to His control over all things and this is demonstrated in many relationships.

In the Home – Jesus has established leadership in the home through husbands who lovingly lead their wives and wives who respectfully submit to their husbands. In the home, Jesus’ authority is seen as children submit to their parents. Honor Christ in the home by submitting appropriately (Ephesians 5:22-6:4).
How are you doing, then, at submitting to Jesus' authority in the exercise of your role in the home?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Music Recommendation - Daniel Restrom

Another Brad Recommendation: Daniel Renstrom

I downloaded this yesterday from ITunes and have already listened to track 2 about 17 times. The song called "Let Us Love and Sing and Wonder" speaks of how "We delight in the Son, who gives us light and His light has now dawned on us." One line in v.1 I can't get over..."Let us love and sing and wonder, let us praise our Savior's name, He has hushed the Law's loud thunder, He has quenched Mt. Sinai's flame, He has washed us with His blood, He has brought us nigh to God, let us love and sing and wonder, let us praise our Savior's name."

You will appreciate the doctrinal depth as well and thoughtful, engaging tone of this album. I encourage you to check it out.

Worldliness

C.J. Mahaney's latest book, Worldliness, is now out. After reading the first chapter, I was (as I usually am with C.J.'s material) struck with conviction, as he pointed the reader to Scripture, and hope, as he directed our attention to the cross. This should be an excellent pastoral resource.

Furthermore, on Sunday nights in October and November, we are going to be looking at worldliness. Here's the tentative preaching schedule:

October 5 -- Worldliness (Intro)
October 19 -- Desires of Flesh
November 2 -- Desires of Eyes
November 16 -- Pride in Possessions

For further info: Read 1 John 2:15-17.

Abort73

My friend, Brad, taking a cue from John Piper, told me about the Abort73 website.

Here's a video that gets at the truth:


It would be well worth your time to check out their resources and spread the word.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

SOW - Peasant Princess

As Tim Challies said, "Love it or hate it, you can’t argue with the skill and creativity of Mars Hill’s creative department." He is speaking of Mark Driscoll's latest sermon series on the Song of Solomon. The website for and the series are entitled The Peasant Princess. Enjoy!

Total Church Interview

As you know, I've done a couple of quotes from and have been totally impressed with the book Total Church. Over at Desiring God, David Mathis conducted an interview with the authors and gives a good overview of the content and passion driving it.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

More Total Church Quotes....(On Community)

Recently, I quoted from Total Church on this blog, and reading through this book has been a continual joy. Speaking of Why Community?, they write (on p.41):
By becoming a Christian, I belong to God and I belong to my brothers and sisters. It is not that I belong to God and then make a decision to join a local church. My being in Christ means being in Christ with those others who are in Christ. This is my identity. This is our identity. To fail to live out our corporate identity in Christ is analogous to the act of adultery: we can be Christian and do it, but it is not what Christians should do. The loyalties of the new community supersede even the loyalties of biology (Matthew 10:34-37; Mark 3:31-35; Luke 11:27-28). If the church is the body of Christ, then we should not live as disembodied Christians.
And later in this chapter, they say (on p.50):
The church, then, is not something additional or optional. It is at the very heart of God's purposes. Jesus came to create a people who would model what it means to live under His rule. It would be a glorious outpost of the kingdom of God, an embassy of heaven. This is where the world can see what it means to be truly human.

Our identity as human beings is found in community. Our identity as Christians is found in Christ's new community. And our mission takes place through communities of light. Christianity is "total church."
As we will see in further posts, the Gospel and Community aspects must work together in practice.

Monday, September 22, 2008

MM - Roles

I was really encouraged in reviewing the Scriptural role of a husband this weekend. I am in premarital counseling with some people and this brought this issue front and center. I needed a reminder that loving leadership is my responsibility and role. I was struck again, though, with the way in which Paul goes to great lengths to emphasize love and not leadership. All the verses and exposition on the love of Christ for His bride, the Church. We have the Petrine literature telling us to live with our wives in an understanding way. We are to lead out in loving our wives. So, men, how goes it in loving your wife? In what ways are you sacrificing to show her how much you love her? Does she know security in that love? Is she being encouraged in her role as you model love to her? Love your wife!

Parenting Tip: How to Not Raise a Pharisee.

I don't think any of us would want to raise a Pharisee. Here's a helpful article from Pulpit Magazine (think John MacArthur) with much practical wisdom.

ESV Study Bible...

It is coming. Look on the right side of my blog to see a countdown until it releases.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

ESV Study Bible Videos

The ESV Study Bible comes out in a month. They just released a bunch of videos.

There's a Full ESV Study Bible Video (15 minutes on its features, contributors, etc)

J.I. Packer weighs in:


Other videos are worth checking out as well.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Bible Study Essentials...

Mark Driscoll offers these 6 essentials for Bible Study:
1. Have a good Bible.
2. Have some good Christian books.
3. Have some good (free) online study resources.
4. Have some good Bible software.
5. Have some good websites.
6. Have some good community.

(This Sunday PM, we will conclude our series on the Bible with "How To Study The Bible")

SOW - The Church: Dearest Place on Earth

At my small group Sunday PM, I mentioned a sermon series from Sovereign Grace Ministries on the local church.

This set, The Church: The Dearest Place on Earth, contains the following sermons:
1. A Testimony: C.J.'s Conversion and the Origins of Covenant Life Church (C.J. Mahaney)
2. The Sunday Meeting: The Best Time of the Week (Jeff Purswell)
3. Married to the Church: Commitment to the Dearest Place on Earth (Joshua Harris)
4. Understanding Life in the Church (Mark Mullery)
5. Love for the Local Church (Mike Bullmore)
6. The Church and the Sacraments (Robin Boisvert)
7. Discipline: God's Gift and Blessing to the Church (Ken Sande)
8. The Church: A Place Built with Small Groups (Chris Silard)
9. Leadership in the Happiest Place on Earth (C.J. Mahaney)

As always, they offer this as a free MP3 download. These would be worth an investment of your time.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Couple of Quotes From Total Church...

I just got it yesterday, but I am devouring Tim Chester and Steve Timmis' book total Church: A Radical Reshaping around Gospel and Community. Here are a couple of nice quotes:

From pp. 15-16 on what the book's about:
This book argues that two key principles should shape the way we "do church": gospel and community. Christians are called to a dual fidelity: fidelity to the core content of the gospel and fidelity to the primary context of a believing community. Whether we are thinking about evangelism, social involvement, pastoral care, apologetics, discipleship, or teaching, the content is consistently the Christian gospel, and the context is consistently the Christian community. What we do is always defined by the gospel, and the context is always our belonging to the church. Our identity as Christians is defined by the gospel and community.

From p.35 quoting from Chris Wright's book The Mission of God and how a God-centered missions perspective opens our eyes to the big picture, rather than the selfish confines of our own little worlds...
We ask, "Where does God fit into the story of my life?," when the real question is "Where does my little life fit into this great story of God's mission?"

We want to be driven by a purpose that has been tailored just right for our own individual lives, when we should be seeing the purpose of all life, including our own, wrapped up in the great mission of God for the whole of creation.

We talk about "applying the Bible to our lives." What would it mean to apply our lives to the Bible instead, assuming the Bible to be the reality--the real story--to which we are called to conform ourselves?

We wrestle with "making the gospel relevant to the world." But in this story, God is about the business of transforming the world to fit the shape of the gospel.

We argue about what can legitimately be included in the mission that God expects from the church, when we should ask what kind of church God wants for the whole range of his mission.

I may be wondering what kind of mission God has for me, when I should be asking what kind of me God wants for his mission.

And finally, I loved this quote from a report in the UK on reaching culture (p.36 in total Church):
The vast majority of Christians have not been helped to see that who they are and what they do every day in schools, workplaces or clubs is significant to God, nor that the people they spend time with in those everyday contexts are the people God is calling them to pray for, bless, and witness to. So we pray for our Sunday School teachers but not, for example, for schoolteachers working 40 hours a week in schools among children and adults who on the whole don't know Jesus. We pray for overseas missionaries but not for Christian electricians, builders, shop assistants and managers in towns...We have simply not been envisioned, resourced and supported to share the Good News of Jesus in our everyday contexts.

These thoughts are some of the same things I've been thinking about prayerfully for a while, so coming across these things seems to be confirmation that the Lord is up to something. I'll try and give further snippets as I continue reading.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Dever on the Gospel...

Here is video from Mark Dever explaining the Gospel. (less than 2 minutes long)

MM - The Local Church

Joshua Harris' excellent book, Stop Dating the Church, urges us to be a part of the local church. Indeed, more than being a part, the church should be our passion. To have strong marriages, we need to involvement of others in our lives. Josh illustrates:
The opportunity to share life wtih otehr Christians and experience this kind of fellowship is one of the most exciting parts of being a committed member of a local church. But it requires effort and hard work. We have to pursue it diligently.

As you reach out to others, don't limit yourself to people like you. The beauty of the local church is the opportunity you have to grow close to people from completely different backgrounds and cultures. So if you're single, develop friendships wtih married couples adn families. If you're older, look for the chance to befriend younger members. Don't let age, race, or any other factor distance you from other brothers and sisters in Christ.
As married couples, let's pursue this fellowship in the local church and honor God as a result.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

SOW - Matt Chandler on Hands and Feet

Matt Chandler pastors The Village Church in the DFW area. I was listening to a sermon by him entitled Hands and Feet and he was speaking of how we minister to the local people in our area (not just on the international front). He spoke of a mentoring program to jr. high and high school students and said this:
"The public schools are the only place left where there is a mixture of every kind of socio-economic, ethnic and religious background."
He illustrated this by saying that sports doesn't do it, because it is segregated based on how much money you have. Because of the unique combination of people found there, this is an incredible ministry opportunity. Listen to the sermon for more info.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Shane and Shane in Hutch, Sept. 29...


Just got word from my good friend, Mario, that Shane and Shane are coming to the Father's House on Monday, September 29.

Here's the precise details from their website:
Join Shane & Shane, Monday September 29 at 7pm at The Father's House. Buy you and a friend a ticket and come worship with Shane & Shane. Ticket's will be available at Will Call at The Father's House on the day of the concert.
Tickets are only $10. They don't have a bad seat in the entire place. You can also purchase tickets online. This is an incredible opportunity and I encourage you to plan to be there.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Best Entrance in College Football...

Here's that web page I mentioned yesterday rating the best entrances in college football.

Don't Waste Your Marriage...

With our Adult SS starting a SS class on Piper's book, Don't Waste Your Life, I have been thinking a lot about this theme and thought for today's Marriage Monday post, I would say something about how this would apply to marriage.

There are countless couples who effectively waste their marriages. They forget the purpose for which God has brought them together or they minimize that purpose to things that are less than ultimate. Maybe they think that God has brought them together simply to procreate and raise children. While this might be something entrusted by God to married couples, it doesn't point to ultimate reality.

When God created marriage in Genesis 2, there was something He was addressing in man and that was a need for companionship. Marriage is a unique relationship. It isn't merely just having a life partner to keep you from being lonely. But Scripture also highlights marriage as being a covenant. Marriage is almost a new creation in which 2 individuals are formed into 1 unit. In marriage, God has brought you together with your spouse so that His glory can more effectively be displayed to the world than you could accomplish on your own. At the core of a marriage, then, is this "oneness" that exists. No longer are 2 individuals striving for their space or seeking to serve self. In marriage, God has brought those 2 individuals together as one. In marriage you die to self and come together to something greater.

We forfeit this idea, then, when we devote marriage to my time and doing what I need to do. When we have a selfish focus like this, we might be tottering on the brink of wasting our marriages. Therefore, before you waste it, spend time reviewing your marriage and its ULTIMATE purpose. God has brought you together with a spouse so that His glory is seen through you. Glorify and enjoy God, then, together...forever.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Thabiti's What Is A Healthy Church Member?

I just got in the mail Thabiti Anyabwile's excellent book, What Is A Healthy Church Member? WTS also offers a PDF of the preface, introduction and Mark 1. After skimming it quickly, I found it wrought with much application and think it would be an excellent small group material for our church (potentially i.e. if the elders agree). Breaking from the conventional mold of 9 Marks, he gives 10 Marks of a healthy church member:
A Healthy Church Member Is...
1) An Expositional Listener
2) A Biblical Theologian
3) Gospel Saturated
4) Genuinely Converted
5) A Biblical Evangelist
6) A Committed Member
7) Seeks Discipline
8) A Growing Disciple
9) A Humble Follower
10) A Prayer Warrior

If you are looking for a book that will practically help your involvement in your church, this book is for you.

C.J. on Sports...

For today's sermon of the week, there's a sermon many are talking about:

C.J. Mahaney preached the final message in the Don't Waste Your Life series at Covenant Life Church on Don't Waste Your Sports from 1 Corinthians 10:31. I thought Tony Reinke summarized well when he quoted C.J. early in the message:
“Participation in sports must be informed by the knowledge of God. We have a tendency, when considering the topic of glorifying God in sports, to proceed immediately to practical application and to prematurely consider specific ways we are called to glorify God in sports. But any practical consideration must first proceed from a theologically informed understanding of the character of God as revealed in Scripture and the person and work of Christ. We must begin our consideration of this topic—of every topic!—with God. Until we behold the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ we cannot accurately or authentically glorify God (2 Cor. 4:6). Before we play sports for the glory of God we must behold the glory of God. … And this morning I have asked Puritan theologian John Owen to assist me:

Because he is—that is, an infinitely glorious, good, wise, holy, powerful, righteous, self-subsisting, self-sufficient, all-sufficient Being, the fountain, cause, and author of life and being to all things, and of all that is good in every kind, the first cause, last end, and absolute sovereign Lord of all, the rest and all-satisfactory reward of all other beings—therefore he is to be adored and worshipped. Hence are we in our hearts, minds, and souls, to admire, adore, and love him. His praises are we to celebrate. In him we are to trust and fear, and so to resign ourselves and all our concerns unto his will and disposal, to regard him with all the acts of our minds and persons, answerable to the holy properties and excellencies of his nature. This is to glorify him as God.

No doubt some are asking, ‘What does a 17th-century Puritan (who didn’t have game) have to say to the modern athlete? How does this relate to my soccer game or cross-country meet?’ Here’s why: When I behold the glory of God prior to playing sports, my heart is affected and transformed. This makes all the difference when I step out onto the field or court. This knowledge of God positions me to glorify Him and not myself. Our participation in sports must be informed by the knowledge of God in order to keep us from turning sports into something ugly, rather than beautiful. This knowledge of God’s glory will keep us from wasting our sports.”
More information on the sermon as well as info for the MP3 is available here.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Fair Time...

The Kansas State Fair comes to Hutchinson in just 3 days. Pretty wild to think about, really. There's a map of the fairgrounds available for those wishing to plan their time more specifically. Many of us go to the fair for one real reason--the food. Elrond Wedel tipped me of to this: A Food Directory for the 2008 Fair. In the words of Elrond, "whet your appetites" and enjoy!