Friday, February 26, 2010

Submitting to the Word

Thanks to Larry and Kathy Mears for emailing a link to this article by Albert Mohler: Falling on Deaf Ears? Why So Many Churches Hear So Little of the Bible. I can attest that the pressure to preach "relevant" sermons (i.e., less Bible, more about us) can be intense even among churches which think of themselves as Bible-based.

Reflections on Job

"I don’t think the book of Job is about suffering as a theoretical problem — why do the righteous suffer? I think it’s about suffering as a practical problem — when (not if) the righteous suffer, what does God expect of them? And what he expects is trust. When the righteous cannot connect the realities of their experience with the truths of God, then God is calling them to trust him that there is more to it than they can see. As with Job, there is a battle being fought in the heavenlies."
- Ray Ortlund

Update: Dave Bish has also posted some thoughts on Job.

Christians and the Law

Jeff Weddle offers sound advice on a right view of the OT law:
In our current age we feel it imperative to bash the Law. I suggest we be careful with this. The Law was added to codify our sin, to let us know what it is, and yes, it did stir us up to sin.

However, that’s not a problem with the Law–it’s a problem WITH US!
Yes, indeed.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

More and more resources for ministers

The online resources for ministers seem to be growing each day at The Worldview Church. And I'm gratified, by the way, at how their blogroll is shaping up; thanks, guys, and please keep up the outstanding work.

Building the church

Matthew Milliner shines light on the relationships of architecture and evangelism.

Learning to say no

Cal Habig, who is trying to get a coaching business up and running, offers a time management tip especially for ministers.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Faithfulness in joblessness

These are helpful reflections on trusting God through unemployment.

Surveying the wasteland

It's both thick and long, but if you have the time and attention, Doug Floyd's essay on morality and Modernism is full of provocative ideas, references, and questions.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Grace in action

Ray Ortlund: "A major part of pastoral ministry is preaching the doctrines of grace and managing an environment of grace. The latter is harder to accomplish than the former. It is more intuitive. It requires more humility and self-awareness. "

Big grace

"God's grace is so often discussed, but its depth, width, height and mass rarely is. Yet therein lies the true miracle of it. The world is full of grace, and full of grace which we do not acknowledge. But only God's grace is that big, that incomparably immense - so big that to ignore it is sin itself."

Not powerless

Dan Edelen has some hard-hitting ideas about Christian confrontation of corrupt systems. According to Dan, far too many Christians, seduced by defeatest notions of the so-called Serenity Prayer, resign themselves to doing nothing to oppose systemic evil--systems, they believe, that exist among "the things I cannot change." Here's Dan:
Look, you and I can’t change our chronological age, our ancestry, the era into which we were born, and a few things like that. But nearly everything else is up for grabs. Ours is not a calling to serenity but to go out there and fight systems, no matter how innocuous they may seem.
Good point. I recommend Dan's whole post.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Remembering the good ol' days

Foolishness of the cross

"Imagine being asked to stand before a grand gathering of the good and the wise and being asked to make a speech about goodness, beauty, the meaning of life, the point of history, the nature of Almighty God or some such high subject and having no material at your disposal but an account of a humiliating, bloody, execution at a garbage dump outside a rebellious city in the Middle East. It is your task to argue that this story is the key to everything in life and to all that we know about God. This was precisely the position of Paul in Corinth. Before the populace of this cosmopolitan, sophisticated city of the Empire, Paul had to proclaim that this whipped, bloody, scorned and derided Jew from Nazareth who was God with Us."

Prayer and preaching

Royce Ogle offers some helpful perspective on academics and preaching:
Keep first things first. Don’t lean too heavily on someone else’s study; do your own. Allow the Bible to speak to you. Spend time with the text, read it and re-read it, meditate on it, memorize it, and then when you are sure what God is saying to you, and you have adjusted your life to it, share it with others.

Finally, pray! “We will devote ourselves to PRAYER and the ministry of the word” are words to live by. I think more important than disciplined study, the best resources, the best study skills, and the best aptitude for homiletics, is the discipline of prayer. You will learn more about God on your knees than you ever will with a book in your lap.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

On lively, biblical faith

Mike Leake has written an outstanding blog post on gospel-sounding legalism. Here's a sample:
God does indeed intend to conquer your fear, worry, and anxiety. But He does not conquer your fear, worry, and anxiety by leaving you an owner’s manual, providing you the resources, setting an example, and then saying "get it done”. He conquers your fear, worry, and anxiety by ACTUALLY conquering your fear, worry, and anxiety.
Amen. I recommend Mike's whole article.

On Athanasian marriages and families

This one's a keeper: Glen Scrivener's article (complete with helpful graphic) on heretical and orthodox marriages.

Update: My wife enjoyed Glen's article but found the historical theological terminology difficult to follow. But if you're already familiar with the terms Arian, modalist, and tritheist, you ought to find the article fascinating.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Testimony and temptation

These are very wise thoughts on the dangers of delivering personal testimonies of transformation.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Right timing

When fellow Christians are suffering, do we treat caterpillars like butterflies?

On 'Tech, the Church, and the Death of Community'

Dan Edelen: "In all my years of watching the Church, I’ve never seen an individual church improved by technology, only diminished by it."

Monday, February 15, 2010

Fitting between the extremes

Peter Mead offers good advice on finding a good balance with commentaries and preaching (and, as always, you can find the best online commentary links here).

Godly manhood

S.M. Hutchens shares some hard-hitting thoughts on true Christian manhood. Here's a sample:
Don’t let the feminists tell you that Nice Men was all they really wanted all along. No, feminism wishes to destroy men as men by making them equal to women, to efface every difference between the sexes that it can instead of exult in them. It is the opposite of the love that a woman gives a man that encourages his manhood. It approves the domesticated male because his domestication symbolizes his degradation. It is full of self-consuming and isolating contradiction and self-loathing, defining successful womanhood in terms of its equality to the maleness it seeks at once to possess and destroy; it is demonic, inhumane, wholly un-Christian.
True. And there's more at the link.

Friday, February 12, 2010

One in Christ Jesus

Steve Williamson reminds Christians of the differences between uniformity and unity.

On weighty preaching

"Weighty preaching will cause people to have to chew and digest so you may not see instant results. In order to really preach a text with weight you will have to feel that text—and that often hurts. Not to mention to really feel a text means to know it, so this means more time. There really is no “big secret” to preaching weighty, so you may not be seen as cutting edge. Creation, fall, and redemption might get a little old. People may get sick of hearing that the only remedy is the gospel. It will be tempting to offer other solutions, to not beat the same drum. You might lose a few people.

"People will flock to flashy; but what they really need is weighty. We cannot afford to entertain, merely inform, and make certain that the people enjoy our sermons. I am not calling for boring sermons where lazy or unbroken and untouched men “preach the text” but refuse to let themselves be broken under it. I hunger to be broken by the sermons that I preach, to preach them passionately, and to preach as a dying man to dying men and women."

By faith

Glen Scrivener has written a short, pithy essay on faith and salvation. Here's how it begins:
How does Christ’s work and our faith relate?

What we don’t want to say is that Christ’s sacrifice brings 99 units of salvific merit and my faith brings 1 unit of salvific merit and between His contribution and mine I have accumulated the necessary 100 units.

Even if we say the blood of Christ is 999,999 units and ours is only 1 we have put our faith up where it doesn’t belong. We have made our faith into a work – a contribution towards salvation.
I recommend Glen's whole article.

Thursday, February 11, 2010


Jeff Weddle: "A person who thinks they are loving someone else with no thought of personal gain is closer to being a Pharisee than being like Christ."

Resources for preachers

Jimmy Davis sends a link to his new site: The Worldview Church. The site, associated with Chuck Colson's work, is intended to give resources for ministers. It looks like they have a good bunch of resources available (although I must say I'm a little disappointed in the brevity of their blogroll, if you know what I mean).

Update: Well, that didn't take long. Thanks, guys. Again, this site seems to be growing every day and is is shaping up to be a good resource site for ministers.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Narrative in NT too

Expository Thoughts is beginning a blog series on preaching NT narrative.

On coolness

Wise words on coolness and the gospel: "God wasn’t stuck with the leftovers. He got first dibs. And he chose the uncool people, to shame the cool people." Amen (HT).

Monday, February 08, 2010


Of chickens and eggs

Steve Brown: "I fully expect to go into an airport sometime and find three rest rooms: one for men, one for women, and one for clergy. Our image—and thus, God’s—is sissified." (HT)

Using and abusing koine

Doug Chaplin, a.k.a. Clayboy, has posted an excellent little article on illegitimate uses by preachers of the meanings of Greek words. Here's how the article begins:
One of the biggest warning flags in a sermon comes when the preacher says: “Now, in Greek, the word is … which (literally) means …” Sometimes they know what they’re talking about. More often they are about to pull a fast one.
Clayboy goes on to give "two sorts of bad exegetical moves" common to a great deal of preaching and finally comes to this conclusion:
The next time you hear anyone saying: “The real meaning of …” or even more obviously “What this word literally means is …”, turn on your claptrap detector.
Sounds like good advice. And thanks to Eddie Arthur for the link.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Resisting temptation

This is helpful advice: 10 Temptation Truths (HT).

Transforming Sermons recognized

Transforming Sermons has been listed among the Top 50 Evangelical Christian Blogs by Biblical Learning Blog. Thanks to Joy Shepherd and all the BLB crew for the recognition; it's an honor, and I hope this site provides helpful resources to readers at BLB.

Rejoicing in Christ

"Your church might be dysfunctional. But if Christ is being preached, even with impure motives, that should be enough to make you happy. It might be all you’re going to get out of your church. And if you require more, who gave you the right to overrule the Lord Jesus Christ as your only treasure and satisfaction and sufficiency?"

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Only natural

Forget forgetting

At The Thinklings, Philip Schroeder has some very wise words on forgiving and forgetting:
The Bible never tells us to literally forget sin. God can't literally "forget" either or he would cease to be omniscient. God still knows what happened, but he “forgets” our sin in the sense that he treats us as though the event never occurred. Is that how you and I forgive others?
Good points and good question.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Good question

The way of all men

Glen Scrivener continues looking at Jesus' temptations and what they mean for us. Here's a sample from Glen's look at Matthew 16:
Peter thought the things of God were the things of power, prestige, safety and comfort. Jesus says, No, those things are the things of men. And, shockingly, the things of men are the things of Satan.

It couldn’t be clearer could it? Satan’s way is the way of all men – the way of comfort, the way of self, the way of safety. Christ’s way (which is God’s way) is the way of the cross, and He calls every follower to it (v24ff).
Good point. The whole series is worth reading at Christ the Truth.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

This and tat

This is good advice on tattoos and Christian young adults.


"Jesus is not something we add to our life to make it better; Jesus takes us from our life.

"It’s amazing how hard it is to get this point across. Jesus did not suffer and die so you could live the American Dream, He didn’t even do it to heal your sniffles. He did it to call you to new life, to make us new creations.

"He didn’t enter your life to reform the old, make the old better, paint over the old. He came to do away with the old and start you over."