Friday, April 30, 2010

Discussion question

At Worldview Church, Jimmy Davis is inviting ministers to share outlooks and stories on when is it time to take time off?

"We did it all for the glory of love"

Laying hold

In his ongoing study of Romans, Bob Spencer reflects on the difference between reading the Word of God and really laying hold of it.

Current events question of the day

Thursday, April 29, 2010

I agree

Winsome preaching

Jared Wilson: ". . . gospel-driven churches ought to be attractive. They ought to radiate joy. Their preachers should be self-deprecating, winsome, and visibly moved by the power of the gospel."

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

New book blog

Jeff Weddle has started a new blog for his book, The Gospel-Filled Wallet. Even if I weren't the publisher of Jeff's book, I would still say it's worth your while to click over and have a look.

Work and witness

Learning the rhythms

Doug Floyd reflects on storytelling and discipleship. Doug considers how the stories we tell ourselves shape us, and concludes,
Jesus enters into the story of His people again and again, with light for darkness, laughter for sorrow, life for death.

Sometimes we find ourselves trapped in stories–even good ones. But we are still so very blind and so very deaf. What do we do?

We bring our successes and sorrows to Jesus, the One who was dead but now is Alive forevermore. We come, we cry, we listen, we wait.
Amen. Perhaps the central challenge--and treasure--of Christian discipleship is learning to see our story within Jesus'.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Romans reflections

"The truth of God is stranger than fiction."

On perfectionism

D.A. Carson reflects on the biblical balance of absolutes and narratives (via).

Monday, April 26, 2010

Transforming Publishing

In case you missed last week's big announcement, you can read it here.


Royce Ogle is looking for balance on biblical doctrines of sovereignty and free will.

Not about us

Jeff Weddle: "The subject of Spiritual Gifts is very confusing. Christianity has done a fine job murdering this subject."

Update: John Schroeder has more: "I am so tired of evangelism that "sells" Christianity as a means of self-improvement, self-actualization, or simply self- help. That's not what it is. Those things happen, but they are by-product, they are not the point."

Friday, April 23, 2010

The real message?

Web perspective

Anthony Esolen shares insights gleaned from going through "internet detox." This point is especially trenchant:
I find, with the pull of the internet, that I end up thinking about the things that everybody else is thinking about, and I'd rather not do that. I run the danger of lapsing into the unreality of that world.
Can you relate?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Just so we're clear...

Even though I've started something new with Transforming Publishing, this blog will continue here as it has for the past five years--with links to the best on the web for preachers and other Christians committed to knowing and living the transforming Word of God.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Something new: Transforming Publishing

Please allow me to introduce Transforming Publishing, a new undertaking intended to make new, high-quality Bible studies and commentaries available in both hardcopy and electronic formats. This new work has grown out of an effort to bring together writings by Christian bloggers and make those writings available in book form. All books published by Transforming Publishing will be available for download at no charge, and hardcopies will be sold at low cost as well. It's a truly 21st-century approach to publishing, and I urge you to visit the home page to learn more.

One of the first books we're publishing (and by "we" I mean me and the other authors) is Jeff Weddle's The Gospel-Filled Wallet: What the Bible Really Says About Money. If you visit this weblog often, you know I'm quite an admirer of Jeff's blogging at anti-itch meditation. Please go have a look: Jeff's book is just as sharp-witted and idol-smashing as his blogging. I'm having trouble at the moment with the Amazon account, but you can follow one of the links above and buy the book less expensively directly from the printer. There's also a link for downloading the book free from Google Books.

Please note, too, that I'm still looking for authors, especially bloggers. If you think you might be interested in submitting some of your work for publication, please check out the Call for Authors page. I've been in contact with a few of you already, but please don't make me beg. If you have a manuscript or an idea for a book, I'd be interested in seeing it.

This is something new and audacious for me, and I'm really nervous about this announcement. I'd be most grateful for any input you might have, either at the Transforming Publishing Guestbook or, even better, here in the comments section.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Stay tuned

That announcement I mentioned last week is being delayed by a bit of administrative ineptitude on my part, but stay tuned: it's coming this week.

Too strong

Real relationship

Dave Bish: "Contrary to popular belief, a Christian isn’t someone who believes the right things or behaves in the right ways. A Christian is defined by a familial relationship. A Christian is a son of God. It’s all about relationship."

Friday, April 16, 2010

Big announcement coming

I'm not much for teasers or other marketing gimmicks, but there's such a big announcement on the way for this site, that I want to alert you ahead of time. Please check back next week for something really big (at least for this humble little blog).

Clothed in Christ

"Every Christian has ‘put on Christ’. Every Christian is clothed with Christ, clothed with his righteousness because they’ve been baptised into Christ. That’s language that isn’t about dunking you into water but about what baptism represents. Jesus’ baptism was his death and his being raised. This happened to Jesus. And it’s happened to someone who has become a Christian. It’s not just a lifestyle choice or preference to become a Christian, its death to everything that came before and resurrection to a whole new existence.

"Those who believe in the death of Jesus are immersed into his death and resurrection and clothed with Jesus. And the emphasis there isn’t on the word believe but on his death and resurrection. Not an ounce of this is earned or something I can take credit for. It’s all a gift from God based on what God has done."

More on resurrection preaching

Will Willimon is continuing his blog series on preaching and the resurrection. Here's a sample from his latest installment:
. . . if Jesus is raised from the dead, if the resurrection is true, a fact that is real, then we must change. Resurrection carries with it a claim, a demand that we live in the light of this stunning new reality or else appear oddly out of step. Now we must acknowledge who sits upon the throne, who is in charge, how the story ends. Now we must either change, join in God’s revolution or else remain unchanged, in the grip of the old world and its rulers, sin and death.

Thursday, April 15, 2010



Earlier today I inadvertently put up a post here intended for one of my English class blogs. Sorry about that.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

New thought paths

One of the purposes of this blog is to help Christians break out of over-worn thought paths and see truths of discipleship and God's Word in new light. If you're like me, you'll find these articles from Mere Comments do just that:

Cremation and a New Kind of Christianity, and
The Christ of the Folded Napkin


Resurrection truth

David T. Koyzis has shined a little light on a common misconception in religious thought: a preference for the idea of soul immortality over the doctrine of resurrection. Here's a sample:
Plato famously believed in reincarnation, as does Hinduism and the varieties of post-modern spiritual experience grouped under the New Age label. Moreover, it seems to take little work on God’s part for a soul to drift off into the ether after the demise of the body.

Even some Christians believe that our ultimate destiny is in an incorporeal state with God in heaven. I recall a funeral in my youth in which the presiding minister conspicuously omitted any reference to resurrection, focussing solely on soul survival at the expense of the clear teachings of Scripture (e.g., I Corinthians 15).

Why the reluctance to put the resurrection in the spotlight? Because it is quite simply more difficult for people to accept.
Good points. Resurrection of the body, not soul immortality, is the New Testament teaching.

Monday, April 12, 2010

On ship-jumping and the gospel

Skye Jethani shares valuable insights to kick-start Christians' thinking on the de-churched.

Unamazing preachers

From Biblical Preaching: "I've. . . realized that praying for the congregation is one of the best ways to fight against pride and the desire to show off. As we pray for them, we start loving them and long for them to be amazed by God and not by ourselves, the preachers."

Friday, April 09, 2010

Resurrection preaching

Will Willimon: "The world, the flesh and the devil have a stake in our convincing ourselves that preaching doesn’t work – it’s one of the ways that the world protects itself from the reality of resurrection."

Worship and evangelism

Mike Leake has begun asking some important questions about evangelism and worship:
When a local gathering makes their Lord’s day meeting primarily about the evangelization of the unbeliever instead of the edification of the body through the worship of her Head, a subtle and dangerous shift takes place. The church becomes primarily about man instead of God.

It is often advised of a church to ask this question of its worship service: “What would an unbeliever think if he/she were attending”? That is a good question, but the better question is this: “What does God think, as He is attending”? Do you see the shift? Rather than asking questions that can only be answered through Scripture we are now answering questions that can be answered through an opinion poll.
Good points. Mike offers further thoughts here.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Countering 'worm theology'

Victorious in death

"The world is old, and stupid. It wears the sniggering leer of the demagogue, the avid glance of the privateer of finance, the smug half-smile of the professor in the know. It does not want to understand the Cross, and Jesus who suffered upon it, because it is afraid of the new life that springs from Him; because that new life can take you where you do not know you want to go. But Jesus, who died for us, conquers by dying, conquers by giving of himself utterly. If we would be conquerors, if we would be as God himself, we must make ourselves one with Jesus, and give utterly. That cross, we feel, is too heavy for us to bear. It is too heavy; we cannot carry it. Then we must confess our nothingness, our weakness, and, as Therese of Lisieux says, let the cross carry us. We would be soldiers alongside our captain; first let us be as nothing, acknowledging that without Him who emptied Himself for us, we too are empty, like wooden idols, or like the waste and void before God said, 'Let there be light.'

"I look upon Jesus, crucified, and see that once the Lord has come, there is no choice but either to grasp after the delusions of power, or the sillier delusions of pleasure, or to be carried forth with him on the adventure of being, the adventure of love."

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Seeking signs

Are you a Christian who looks for "signs" to discern the will of God? I've met lots of Christians who are, and I confess to having looked for little "signs" around me to confirm God's will: "opened doors," words of confirmation from others, unusual coincidences, etc. I've since learned better, I hope. If you're a Christian who still looks for signs, or know a brother or sister in Christ who does, I strongly recommend this account on seeking God's guidance through a sign.

Something better

Royce Ogle writes powerfully about the persistent misconception that if a person becomes a Christian, believes and lives really well, that God will take away all problems. Here, in part, is Royce's answer:
One of the best Christians who ever lived was the Apostle Paul. He was beat up, run out-of-town, ship wrecked, and on and on. He had plenty of troubles including spending years in prison. He saw the big picture! He called his troubles “Light and momentary”. How is that for a good attitude?

So my friend, when the rain doesn’t come and the crop dries up, when you lose your job and your house, and Mom might not make it ’til tomorrow night, keep believing in God. Keep walking by faith. There is something better coming.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Engaging preaching

Peter Mead offers good, practical advice on preaching that engages the listener: Part 1 and Part 2.

The best evangelism technique

Evangelism and missions are at the heart of the call to Christian discipleship (Mt. 28:19-20), and most Christians would agree the church needs to do more in those areas. But how can the church go about increasing the work of mission? Marcus Honeysett has given thought to that question, and his conclusions are spot-on:
It was possible to do all the matters of technique but miss this crucial core. . . . I used to think that mission-mindedness could be developed even if I wasn't sure the person's heart was in it. Now I don't. Mission is the overflow of joy in God, or it is useless.

If you get a group that is delighted with Christ, enjoying the Word, full of the Holy Spirit, passionate to get into the things that God is passionate about, they will be irrepressible in mission. And if they aren't like that you can do all the skills training you like but the result will be impoverished and guilt-driven. I have lost count of the number of students I have seen do evangelism out of peer pressure, or feeling that it just goes with the territory. The nasty bit I have to do so I can get on with the nice stuff afterwards.
Too true. I recommend Marcus's whole essay.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Building bridges

This is thought-provoking: What Calvinism and Arminianism Have in Common.

When he arrives

Anti-itch Meditation has a valuable little meditation on personal testimonies.

Resurrection preaching

"Christian preaching can never rest on my human experience, or even the experience of the oppressed, as some forms of Liberation Theology attempt to do, because human experience tends to be limited by the world's deadly, deathly means of interpretation. The world keeps telling Christians to 'get real,' to 'face facts,' but we have -- after the cross and resurrection -- a very particular opinion of what is real. I don't preach Jesus' story in the light of my experience, as some sort of helpful symbol or myth which is helpfully illumined by my own story of struggle and triumph. Rather, I am invited by Easter to interpret my story in the light of God's triumph in the resurrection. I really don't have a story, I don't know the significance of my little life, until I read my story and view my life through the lens of cross and resurrection. One of the things that occurs in the weekly preaching of the gospel is to lay the gospel story over our stories and reread our lives in the light of what is real now that crucified Jesus has been raised from the dead."