Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Is the Bible a theology book, story book, or guide book? Jimmy Davis answers the question here and here.

Archive back again

Somewhere along the line I inadvertently deleted my archive links from the sidebar. In case anyone besides me is interested, they're back now.

Another Gospel-Filled Wallet review

The latest review of Jeff Weddle's book is by David Taylor at AK Pastor. Thanks, David, for reading and offering a helpful review of The Gospel-Filled Wallet.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

You mean to say such an animal exists?

Homiletical perspective

Is homiletics a nice little addendum to theological education, or the point where all that education converges?

Reviews roundup for The Gospel-Filled Wallet

Thanks once again to each blogger who took the time to read and review Jeff Weddle's The Gospel-Filled Wallet: What the Bible Really Says About Money, published by Transforming Publishing. Here are links to all the reviews so far:
I'll be finishing up the initial publication marketing later this week with an interview here with Jeff. If you're interested in receiving a free copy of The Gospel-Filled Wallet and doing your own review, please leave a comment here.

Update: For some reason the link to Jeff's book on is not working. I hope it's just a temporary glitch. I'll try to get to the bottom of what's going on.

Update 2: It's back online now.

Update 3: I'm continuing to add links to new reviews as they're posted.

Eating & drinking as mission strategy

"Trinitarian people (super)naturally form welcoming and warm communities - places that love to include others, where the door is as wide open as the grace of God is, and where there is mutual love and care. This is not to the dilution of the gospel but for its amplification. The gospel creates community, a community that loves to speak of the gospel and loves to love like the gospel."

Monday, June 28, 2010

The only recognition that matters

Like an old pick-up

Royce Ogle is now officially old.

What he said

Keith Brenton's latest blog post needs no explanation. Here's the opening:
Man says, “You have to choose whether you’re a Calvinist or an Arminian … Unitarian or Trinitarian … Baptist or Anabaptist … Traditional or Non-traditional worshiper … Sunday worshiper only or worshiper on other days … weekly Eucharist observer or non-weekly Eucharist celebrant … transubstantiation or consubstantiation subscriber … indwelling Holy Spirit or Holy Spirit through the scriptures only vessel … literal six-day creation believer or figurative six-day creation believer … Pre-millennialist, Post-millennialist or Amillennialist advocate … Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican or Protestant Christian …” and on and on and on.

Christ says, “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.” (John 5:24)
Keith's whole article is short and worth reading.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Once again, with feeling

This is good advice, from Biblical Preaching, on re-using old sermons.

More on The Gospel-Filled Wallet

Two more bloggers have published highly thoughtful reviews of Jeff Weddle's The Gospel-Filled Wallet.

Dr. Claude Mariottini, whose writings are always both gentle in tone and hard-hitting in truth, looks at the pros and cons of Jeff's work as well as going a long way in giving his own picture of a biblical view of money.

Today's other review is at Being Frank. Frank is one of those rare bloggers whose kindness and generosity moves beyond the virtual (when my dad moved in with us, Frank helped haul furniture from the old house). Frank offers another well-reasoned and balanced review of Jeff's work.

Once again I want to offer my personal and heartfelt thanks to Claude, Frank, and all the bloggers who took time to read and write about Jeff's work.

Moralism vs. the gospel

At Borrowed Light this week, Mike Leake takes aim at the face of moralism:
What will it take for America to see and experience a revival? Or any nation for that matter?

How you answer that question determines whether or not you are a moralist or gospel-centered.
Mike hits the target, by the way. I recommend reading his whole article.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Faith and love

"Faith and love go together. You can’t have saving faith without love and you can’t have true love without saving faith."

For believers only?

Dan Edelen makes the case against viewing worship services as a means of evangelism:
When I consider the state of the American Church, I’ve got to think that our emphasis on encouraging lost people to come to our church meetings has only succeeded in diluting our ultimate effectiveness. As it is said: The good is often the enemy of the best.

The early Church model was to send believers out, beyond the doors of the assembly. They shared Christ out in the streets. When the lost outside responded to the message and became believers, they were brought into the church assembly proper.

Today, though, we have believers bringing the lost into the church assembly with the hopes that the church leaders will convert them.
Dan goes on to give three brief and fairly compelling reasons for not using worship as evangelism.

On the other hand, the Apostle Paul seems to make the opposite case (albeit as an illustration for another main topic) in 1 Corinthians 14:20-25.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Hearts' center

This little essay on husbands and wives loads a whole lot of wisdom into a very few words.

BibleX reviews The Gospel-Filled Wallet

The quality of reviews of Jeff Weddle's new book, The Gospel-Filled Wallet, continues to be high. The latest is from Charles Savelle at BibleX. As noted here before, I would rather everyone simply praise Jeff's theological profundity and my own publishing brilliance, but the thoughtful discussion being prompted by Jeff's work is really all anyone could ask.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Without the luxury of long hours

Here's some good advice for preaching when preparation time is short.

More reviews of The Gospel-Filled Wallet

Three more bloggers have posted reviews of Jeff Weddle's Gospel-Filled Wallet:

Mike Leake at Borrowed Light
Barry J. Maxwell at Blind Man's Fancy, and
Brian at The Blog Prophet.

It's impressive how thorough and insightful the reviews have been. As publisher, of course, I would have preferred unalloyed praise, but Jeff and I both try to face the truth in our writings; I'm sure that Jeff, like me, appreciates constructively critical insights.

Update: John Frye has published another insightful review at Jesus The Radical Pastor.

'The most urgent question'

This post by Ray Ortlund summarizes beautifully and succinctly the truth that Christian discipleship is not primarily a matter of ethics, but of faith. Here's a sample:
Ethics we can manage on our own. We can even observe biblical ethics to keep God at a safe distance. But if our hearts are believing the promises of God, we cannot say no to him. We yield to him. We suffer dislocation in this world for his sake. We feel the ground shifting under our feet and we don’t panic. Nothing seems stable, but we accept that. We surrender to God. Drawn on toward his promises, we start changing.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Gospel-filled week

This week a number of weblogs are posting reviews of Jeff Weddle's The Gospel Filled Wallet. If you haven't seen Jeff's book, I recommend giving it a look or downloading it free (I would do the same, I think, even if I weren't the publisher). It's short and very much to-the-point. Jeff's writing style is hard-hitting and sometimes sarcastic (sort of like this), so don't expect every reviewer to fawn on every page. But Jeff does raise important issues about money and Christian discipleship, and I'm glad his ideas are getting some attention.

The first review is by Royce Ogle at Grace Digest, and the first interview by Charles Sevelle at BibleX. Both men are thoughtful writers, and I'm grateful for their willingness to review Jeff's book.

Update: And, of course, if you want to buy a copy, you can find it here.

Whoops!: The first review actually is by Bob Spencer at Wilderness Fandango. Bob, by the way, is the one-and-only guest blogger at this weblog. His critique of Jeff's book is kind, thorough, and insightful. Thanks, Bob.

Simply simplifying

Living without additives

What's the difference between discipleship and religion? Vicki Gaines has some pretty good ideas:
Religion is a cancer that spreads if left untreated. It convinces us to put on our game face and camouflage our brokenness. It urges us to serve before teaching us to abide in the One who enables our service. And how can we heal if we can't be honest about our condition?

So there you have it. Guidelines and programs, ministries and books, conferences and bible studies, committees and choir practice - these things helped me cope for a few years. But trying to draw life from them only exacerbated the problem.

Jesus said, "Come unto Me". . . not . . . "come unto religion."

My only hope for healing is through intimacy with the Person of Christ - not the myriad of books, speakers, activities, counseling, pastors, conferences, and websites I'd come to rely upon.
Indeed. And, by the way, Vicki offers alternatives to dead religion.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Right on target

Will Willimon really nails the problems with so-called 'children's sermons': "I sometimes say that I’ve only got two objections to children’s sermons: they are not for children and are usually not sermons." Yep. This is another article I strongly recommend.

Uglier, and more beautiful

If you follow only one link from this blog this year, this may be the best. Jollyblogger David Wayne, who is fighting cancer himself, reflects on life and death in a fallen world. Like it or not, David points out, most cancer patients are not miraculously healed, even though Christians seem to want, desperately, to believe those kinds of stories are the norm.
The glory story is that the Christian path is one of glory, observable, overcoming, obviously seen glories as the Christian triumphs over all his enemies. Thus, the Christian has ears to hear the stories of miraculous healings and beatific deaths because those are glory stories. These people live in a world where we can practice a mechanistic kind of magic with God. For the health freaks, if I would just I would just imbibe a magic potion concocted by nutritional wizards then like magic I would be healed. In the spiritual version, a performance of certain rituals of self-exam followed by the prescribed repentance and obedience would free me from my physical ailments. In any case, whereas doctors are reticent to describe what brought on the cancer simply because the factors that can contribute to any given cancer are innumerable, the glory-story folks know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I brought this cancer on myself and it is up to me to reform myself physically or get right with God. In each case, suffering is not something a Christian should have to endure and God's only role in it His deliverance of us from it, if we will meet the conditions.

The cross story says that suffering is the path of the Christian. If you are a Christian, more than likely you will not go gently into that good night, and I am not using that phrase in its original context. In the original context Dylan Thomas urges us to rage and fight against death until the last moment. What I am saying is that if you are Christian your death and maybe even the years leading to it, may not be gentle.
Again, please click over to Jollyblogger and read David's whole essay.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Desiring to know God's Word

Jeff Weddle: "Faith is primarily about hearing God’s Word. In fact, that’s pretty much all it’s about."

Lingering images

Tony Woodlief writes at WORLD Magazine on the insidious evil of pornography:
There's no regaining your innocence once you've looked upon obscenity. That's one reason for obscenity laws, not so much that we might transform the onanist or pornographer, but because once a child sees the vulgar T-shirt or cast-aside magazine, he is forever changed.

The sophisticated will snicker. What's wrong with a boy looking at women in bathing suits, after all? It's hardly hardcore pornography, after all. And besides, boys will be boys.

Boys will indeed be boys, but there are a great many varieties of boys, and of men.
Indeed. I recommend Tony's whole article.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

On cool

Ray Ortlund: "God wasn’t stuck with the leftovers. He got first dibs. And he chose the uncool people, to shame the cool people."

Content in prosperity

Justin Taylor makes a very good point about Philippians 4:11-13 and the challenges of being content when things are going well:
We need Christ’s strength not just when things are bad, but also—perhaps especially—when they seem so good.

We need Christ’s strength not only when the grass looks greener on the other side, but when the grass on our side looks greener than all of the neighbors’.

The better things are, the more potential for Christ to recede from our hearts and minds as the one from whom, to whom, and through him the good gifts exist.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

What kind of righteous?

Glen Scrivener: "All anger is righteous anger."

On paradise

Jeff Weddle has written a wonderful little blog post about paradise and doing God's will. At the risk of quoting about half of Jeff's original article, here's a sample:
Paradise is when people listen to God.

Lots of people want to go to heaven and think they are going there, but few of these people have any interest in listening to God now. Which makes a guy wonder if they really, actually want to end up in heaven, where everyone will listen to God for eternity.
Amen. And in case you haven't heard, Jeff's new book is now available at Amazon. (Full disclosure: I'm the publisher).

Monday, June 14, 2010

That sounds right

Peter Mead offers some brief, helpful advice on preaching to youth.

Holiness & default positions

Bob Spencer: "Why do we so often preach (and write and talk) about kingdom realities (like healing), at the expense of the Cross?"

Teachable spirit

Vicki Gaines writes about God's love freeing her from "the chronic need to defend myself and correct others"
Answering a critic is not a problem. Sometimes it leads to fruitful communication, especially when a bit of clarification is needed. But I've lost the desire to debate; I'd rather let others express themselves without feeling intimidated, or jumping in to correct all the time. In matters of truth, I'll calmly state my case and let the Holy Spirit do His thing. I can't change anyone's heart. I can't even change a flat tire! The Holy Spirit does a much better job at dealing with hearts than I do. Sometimes the very heart He changes is mine.

Friday, June 11, 2010

On the real Jesus

Jared Wilson: "Jesus is no talisman. Crucify 'Jesus as key to your personal achievement' and he will stay dead."

Real ministry opportunities

It doesn't take Bob Spencer many words to deflate the puffed-up idea of program-oriented church service: "Can I just mention that being a Mom and Dad might be a more fruitful and important place to minister than any of the church's 'ministry opportunities.'" Indeed. Bob's whole article is here.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Gospel-Filled Wallet

Jeff Weddle's book is now available on Amazon.

Uniformity or unity?

At Grace Digest, Royce Ogle shares some valuable ideas on Christian unity.

What it really means

Ray Ortlund offers a fine description of gospel-centered ministry. Here's a sample:
A gospel-centered church holds together two things. One, a gospel-centered church preaches a bold message of grace — so bold that it becomes the end of the law for all who believe. Not our performance but Christ’s performance for us. Not our sacrifices but his sacrifice for us. Not our superiority but only his worth and prestige. The good news of substitution. The good news that our okayness is not in us but exterior to us in Christ alone. Climbing down from the high moral ground, because only Christ belongs up there. That message, that awareness, that clarity. Every Sunday.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Remembering the least

On theology on the web

Rob Bradshaw has written a blog update on what's new at Rob does a tremendous amount of work--from securing permissions to digitizing texts--in publishing biblical studies online. If you're not familiar with his work, I recommend clicking over and having a look.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Moving in grace

Jared Wilson: "You will not grow in the Christian life through stasis. You must move."

Friday, June 04, 2010

Lord and Savior

Steve Williamson: "How easy it is to follow Jesus as teacher and avoid him as savior! . . . . Am I thinking [that] deep in my soul the more I do the more difficulty God will have casting me off in the last day? Or, am I trusting Jesus’ resume because I know He is my only hope? Am I a good person or am I a gospel person?"

Rhythms of work

This article on effective work patterns may appear a little off-topic, but spiritual formation, after all, needs to take into account the human mind and body. Plus, I've found the strategies described in the article to be very useful. Thanks for the link go to Darryl Dash, who is dealing with the rhythms of work by taking a sabbatical.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

On Arian misogyny

Leave it to Glen Scrivener to figure this one out: Arians are misogynists.

Curator and creator as preacher

Thanks to Darryl Dash for the link to this article by David Murray: "Bloggers are usually either curators or creators. Curators act like hi-tech museum custodians, scanning the worldwide web for quality content to gather, organize, and link to..."

At this blog I'm pretty much a curator, but I'm thinking about adding some of my creative posts as well.

I recommend reading David's whole article to see how the curator/creator distinction relates to preaching.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Shattering idols of 'vision'

Jared Wilson: "The mission is the vision."

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Congregation trends in USA