Monday, January 31, 2011

On lectors and readers

Ben Witherington has written a highly informative and accessible article on the role of lectors in NT times.

Irresponsibility and the church

This one's a keeper: Jeff Weddle writes on personal responsibility. Here's the opening:
We live in an age of irresponsibility.

Students don’t study for their tests and yet demand good grades. Employees play solitaire all day, drink coffee, and steal pens and yet demand more pay. Singers who can’t sing get mad when Simon Cowell tells them they stink.

The whole world is screaming, “Don’t judge me on what I do; judge me on who I think I am.”

What a dumb world, eh? Wonder where they got that philosophy from?

The Church.
As always, I recommend Jeff's whole article.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Pro-love, pro-life

Jared Wilson offers some good advice on A Missional Way for the Pro-life Passion.

What we see as blessings

Jeff Weddle: "Listen to most Christian prayer requests and they are all about physical things–health and money primarily. The Prosperity Gospel has picked up on this theme and invented a theology to go along with it."

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Hey, Christian...

Speed and the Bible

Eddie Arthur writes about the value of Bible translation, even when progress seems slow ("One lesson that is very clear from the Scriptures is that God is not in a hurry!").

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

On 'applicational faux pas'

Peter Mead: "People have an amazing ability to miss the point and make a point out of a minor point. This seems to be especially prevalent in church world. Here are some approaches people use, maybe people in your church."

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Seizing suffering

I kind of like these thoughts on suffering from Phillip Fletcher:
Imagine if we seized suffering. Imagine right now, what if you sat for a moment and reflected on whatever hardship had jumped on your Christian journey and you declared, “I will be using you to serve the cause of my joy. No longer will grief simply accompany you suffering, but now my companion, joy, will now walk with us.”
Phillip's article is a reminder that as Christians we are called to share in Christ's sufferings (Rom. 8:17; 2 Cor. 1:5; Philip. 1:29; 3:10; 2 Tim. 1:8; 2 Tim. 2:3; 1 Pe. 2:20-22; 4:13-19).

Monday, January 24, 2011

Boasting in Christ alone

Royce Ogle: "Is Jesus Christ sufficient? Is He enough?"

Calling heresy by name

"Jesus is not a self-help guru. He is not interested in you becoming a better person. He could not care less with you improving in any area of your life. Because in the end that is your life. Yours. And he demands you give it to him. All of it. An unconditional surrender. He did not come to improve you, or encourage you, or spur you on to bigger and better things. He came to raise the dead. And if you insist on living, then you’re on your own. Good luck. Sign up for all the seminars, workshops and marriage improvement weekends that you can, because you’re going to need them.

"The Gospel is this: We are dead in our sins. Jesus, too, is dead in our sins. But because he is very God of very God, death could not hold him. He conquered sin and death and rose again. And the only life we are now offered is the life he lives in us. Period. He wants us dead. He’ll do the rest."

Friday, January 21, 2011

A face of 'True Beauty'

Christian, are you really prepared to look at a face of true beauty? Really?

On cross-carrying and burden-bearing

"I was reflecting on Luke 14 and intense way Jesus makes demands in this chapter, if one wants to be a disciple. All too often, Christians confuse ordinary suffering with cross-bearing. Your physical pain or suffering may well be your thorn in the flesh, but it’s not ‘your cross to bear’. Cross-bearing as a metaphor for discipleship to Jesus has to do with a deliberately chosen course of life, not something that simply happens to you. The second thing to be said about cross-bearing is that Jesus does not call us to bear his cross, rather he talks about picking up our own crosses, and carrying them."

Weddle on interpreting Scripture

Preaching that engages listeners

Peter Mead writes to preachers here and here about "a fear worth facing": "It is the fear that the listeners may have already left the room, even though their bodies are still sat there."

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Too busy for you

John Schroeder offers some frank and valuable thoughts on busy ministers.

'The most freeing message of all'

Here's some good advice; a blogger urges Christians to be nobody special: "Do your job. Take care of your family. Clean your house. Mow your yard. Read your Bible. Attend worship. Pray. Watch your life and doctrine closely. Love your spouse. Love your kids. Be generous. Laugh with your friends. Drink your wine heartily. Eat your meat lustily. Be honest. Be kind to your waitress. And expect no special treatment. And do it all quietly."

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


On valuing the work of sermon preparation: "I wouldn’t trade my sermon preparation for anything. For me, it has become part of my own discipling process."

Fear, love, and discipleship

"Love and fear are not opposites, they fit together. When the Bible speaks of love it often ties it in with obedience or submission. “If you love me, keep my commandments,” is how our Lord and Savior put it. Paul says, “for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.” “And husbands love your wives as Christ loved the Church, and gave Himself for it.

"Love is doing what God says, it’s the most loving thing you can do for God, for you, and for others. These are the Words of Life! It’s stunning how stubborn our flesh is to simply do what God says."

Monday, January 17, 2011

Luke 11:8 prayer

Ray Ortlund encourages Christians to pray impudent prayers: "Jesus is teaching us to pray impudent, nervy prayers, because that’s when we get serious with God. He likes that, and doors start opening up."

The goodness of fear and obedience

Looking at misinterpretations of Romans 12:1, Jeff Weddle points out that although Christians are under grace, God still wants us to follow his commandments:
Saying that God begs us now rather than commands us, makes us the ones with the power and God the one dependent on us. I can’t go there. God is the Lawgiver, the Judge, the Creator and Supreme Being. I am a breathing pile of dirt.

God does not beg us to listen, He commands us to listen. He may employ some beseeching from time to time, can’t deny that, but the beseeching is not pleeing for His benefit, but for ours.
Yes, indeed.

Friday, January 14, 2011

'Don't be so insecure'

Thanks to Charles Seville for pointing to this article on "Why You Should Raise Up Preachers in Your Church."

Gary Everett commentaries

Gary Everett recently emailed me about the commentaries he's offering free online in .pdf format. From what I've seen they're some of the best free commentaries available online, and I've downloaded all of them.

I'll be blogging about other free, online commentaries in the days ahead. For a roundup of all the best NT commentaries available free online, please visit Expository Links.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Blind to blind spots

The insights are profound, but the irony exposed in this article is even more striking. Here's a hint: do you notice anything missing from the list of moral blind spots in contemporary U.S. culture?

Gloriously unnecessary

Glen Scrivener:
So my friend, whoever you are. Know in your heart: You are entirely unnecessary. Entirely. Unnecessary. You are a profligate extravagance, a superfluous addendum, a needless flourish. The Lord, His universe, His church, His kindgom purposes could so easily do without you. You are completely surplus to requirements.
As Glen goes on to explain, we may be unnecessary, but Christians have solid, deep, profound hope.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


In case you missed it during the holiday season, I strongly recommend Todd Rhoades's article, "Are You a Three-Strike Pastor?"

On being 'Christian nice'

Bill Mounce writes on the sinfulness, at least at times, of being "nice."
Aren’t we “Church Nice”? Isn’t our tendency to smile and pretend that all is okay, at least until the person is out of earshot, and then we say what we really think. We call it being “gracious.” Hmmm. I wonder.

Isn’t it interesting how explicit Scripture is? If you have something against someone, it is your responsibility to go to them (Matt 18:15). If you know your brother or sister has something against you, it is your responsibility to go to them (Matt 5:23-24). It is always your responsibility.
One of the most profound disappointments I've run across in ministry is the unwillingess of Christians to follow Jesus' clear and simple teaching on grudges and peacemaking. I recommend Dr. Mounce's whole article.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

'Yea, folks, we back again'

After a couple of months off, I'm rested and ready to go here at the blog. Is anyone reading? Thanks for reading.

P.S.: This is wildy off-topic, but how good is your pop culture trivia? Anyone who can identify which '60s song features the lyrics in the title of this post wins a free paperback copy of Jeff Weddle's book, The Gospel-Filled Wallet.

P.P.S.: This one takes some real trivia knowledge; I doubt you'll find the answer with an easy Google search. Please leave your guesses in the comments section. The answer will follow soon.

Update: The line is from Taj Mahal's song, "Bacon Fat," from the 1968 1969 album, Giant Step. The line comes at a rather memorable section of the song, but as far as I know it's not included in any online lyrics.

Jollyblogger update

Even while I'm happy to get back to blogging here, I'm sad to report that Jollyblogger David Wayne is calling it quits. For those of you who have read Jollyblogger through the years, let's continue to pray for David, who has been fighting Stage 4 colon cancer for more than two years. David is continuing to blog, at least a little, on his WordPress site.

Rejoicing in the messy gospel

Reflecting on the fishing story of John 21, Doug Floyd shares some powerful insights on the gospel. Here's a sample:
I’m not so comfortable with the messiness of this spirituality revealed in the Gospels. I want to live on the Mount of Transfiguration, far from the smells and sounds and struggles of our broken world. I want my faith and spiritual life to grow and flourish in a place free from conflict. Like a child hiding from shouts of an angry parent, I want to hide from the problems of life. I seek a sanitized spirituality. Not the messy wonder of Jesus stepping onto the boat of a few weary fisherman.

They needed him during their night of futile fishing. They needed him in their hour of darkness. But he didn’t come. Then they gave up. They started cleaning their nets and docking their boats, then he suddenly stepped into their story.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Thanks for the comments

I had forgotten that I enabled comment moderation for posts more than 14 days old. Thanks for those of you who commented and whose posts didn't appear till today. And thank each one of you for visiting; I hope to be back to full-scale posting any day now.