Posted on December 4th, 2013 by David Burnette
We're excited to announce that the date for the second Radical Intensive has been set for May 18-21, 2014. This gathering will be held at The Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, Alabama. Find out more about the Radical Intensive by going here. Registration will open on Monday, January 27, 2014, so begin making plans now. Availability is limited!
The Radical Intensive is a gathering designed to serve pastors and church leaders who are interested in discussing how to infuse global disciple-making into the heart of their local church. Registration is only open to church leadership, and the team attending from each church must include the senior pastor. To find out more about who can attend, go here.
From the Radical Intensive website, here's what you can expect during the days of this gathering:
Participants will join together to worship at Brook Hills on Sunday evening and then, over the next few days, join in discussions with Senior Pastor David Platt as well as other church leaders and members as they share how biblical principles have guided the mission practices in our faith family. You will also have the opportunity to interact with our Global Disciple-Making Team and others during breakout sessions to consider the implications of a priority on global disciple-making in the local church.
Along with The Church at Brook Hills, we're excited to be hosting this gathering again. We hope you and your church will consider joining us as we talk about how to make global disciple-making a priority in our local churches.
Posted on December 4th, 2013 by Eric Parker
Jonathan Edwards writes in his well-known book, Religious Affections, talks about the way we should feel about Jesus. He says,
We are depressed at our losses and excited and joyful about our worldly successes and prosperity. But when it comes to spiritual matters, how dull we feel! How heavy and hard our hearts! We can sit and hear of the infinite height, and depth, and length, and breadth of the love of God in Christ Jesus, of his giving his infinitely dear Son–and yet be cold and unmoved!
If we are going to be emotional about anything, shouldn’t it be our spiritual lives? Is anything more inspiring, more exciting, more lovable and desirable in heaven or earth than the gospel of Jesus Christ? Not only is it worthy of our emotion, but it is shown to us in a way that should affect us emotionally. In the same way, the glory and beauty of Jehovah is worthy in itself to be the object of our admiration and love, but it is demonstrated to us in a way that should shake our hearts, for it shines with the luster of an incarnate, infinitely loving, gentle, compassionate, dying Redeemer. All the virtues of the Lamb of God, His humility, patience, gentleness, submission, obedience, love, and compassion, are exhibited in the gospel so that our emotions should be deeply moved. Christ should move us more deeply than any other thing, for he is the source of our hearts’ life, and our hearts’ feelings were designed to perceive him.
Jonathan Edwards, Religious Affections, 45
Posted on December 3rd, 2013 by David Burnette
The latest roundtable discussion at TGC features John Piper, Matt Chandler, and David Platt talking about how God’s sovereignty and his “bigness” sustain us through suffering.
Posted on December 2nd, 2013 by David Burnette
“You want to be successful? If you live comfortably, share what you have. If you have a spouse, serve him or her sacrificially. If your home is filled with the clamor and clutter of children, savor the monumental challenge of raising them. If other follow you, point them to Christ. If you are given accolades, receive them humbly. Love and serve the people around you. Walk well through the inevitable sufferings of life. Live your life worthy of the gospel of Christ. This is true success. And really, what more could we possibly want?”
–Embracing Obscurity, Anonymous, 89
Posted on November 28th, 2013 by David Burnette
Posted on November 28th, 2013 by Eric Parker
Note: The following excerpt was adapted from a sermon delivered by Pastor David Platt on 7/8/07 titled “Desperation: Do We Need Him?” Go to the Resource library in order to access the sermon in it’s entirety.
We pray to express the depth of our needs for him, explore the mystery of this intimacy with him, and to experience the power of being used by him. God’s sovereignty means that he, in all of his sovereignty, has ordained prayer to be a means, maybe even the means, through which he shows his power and his glory most clearly to His people.He’s designed it so that you and I would be a part of what he’s doing in this whole plan, through this means called prayer, and the design of prayer is two fold. One, we get to help. The overarching message of Luke 11:1-13 is that we have a Father in heaven who is ready to help us, who is ready to give to us. Just like a father desires to give to an earthly child, even more so does our Father in heaven want to give to us. But he’s designed it so that we get to help and he gets the glory.This is why Jesus prayed like he did all throughout the Gospels. It’s why Jesus, before he took five loaves and two fish and fed over 5,000 people, lifted up his hands and prayed. He did it in this way because he wanted the people to see that we get the help in such a way that only he gets the glory. We have the privileged of showing to this world, not that we live sacrificially in different ways because it is easy or fun. We live sacrificially, and ask God to give us everything we need. We ask him to do it in such a way that only he gets the glory. We’re walking with him, fulfilling this mission with him, and he’s providing us with everything we need. That’s why we must be a praying people, because we will show the world that only God can do what he’s doing in and through our lives. God wants the world to see a people who are completely dependent on him, in such a way that we get the help and he gets all the glory. That’s why he’s designed prayer to be what it is.Now, it’s at this point I want us to take a step back and realize that the power of prayer is useless. One of my biggest concerns is that we would walk away committed to pray more and that the end goal would be for you to pray, be more structured, or more organized in your prayers. That you would be known as a man or woman of prayer. Because if that is our end goal, then we are no different than the Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, or millions of other Christians who have yet to truly, authentically connect with the living God of the universe. Even Congress prays. There is no power in prayer. If that is our goal, just to pray, then we will end up creating Christianity to be just like every other religion in the world.However, the power of people who connect with the Almighty God of the universe, that power is unstoppable. Prayer is a means by which we encounter, we connect, to the living God of the universe. It’s at that point that we will see prevailing, powerful, victorious prayer. It’s through God supplying it. It’s God’s power, not our power in prayer. It’s God’s power poured out on his people through stressing the depth of their need before Him, exploring the mystery of intimacy with him, and experiencing the power of being used by him.
Go here to read part 2 of “Power Through Prayer”.
Posted on November 27th, 2013 by David Burnette
After looking on the crowds with compassion, Jesus said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest” (Matt 9:37-38). With this command in mind, Cross (a new student missions conference) is launching #PrayForWorkers, a call to pray to the Lord to send His people to unreached peoples across the globe with the gospel of Christ.
Even if you won’t be attending Cross, you can sign up to indicate that you are praying for workers here. Cross is sending the bracelet above (for FREE) to those who sign up as a reminder to pray. Here’s more about #PrayForWorkers:
Posted on November 26th, 2013 by Jonathan
Here is how Heather recounts her second abortion:
My in-laws have been helping us out financially, so we have no choice but to involve them in our decisions. They gave us $500 cash to bring to the clinic. I felt very forced. I felt like I was required to have an abortion to provide for my current family. Money help is a manipulation. I’m crazy in love with my daughters—imagine if I did that to them? It’s almost too much to open the door of guilt and shame because it’ll all overcome me. In the waiting room, there was a dead silence that’s hard to describe. Everyone was holding in her emotions to a heartbreaking degree. Truly pro-life people should go light on the judgment, because shame motivates abortions.
25 other women who have aborted share their personal reflections on their experience in last month’s New York Magazine cover story, titled “My Abortion.” The article sought to unearth the personal and tangible side of a topic that the American public only feels comfortable talking about distantly and abstractly, despite the fact that “one in three women has an abortion by the age of 45.”
While statistics like that are heartbreaking enough, these 26 stories will break your heart in a way that numerical data does not. Reading them makes it clear that the tragedy of abortion is even sadder than we think.
As Christians, we ought to be deeply distraught over the 1.2 million abortions preformed each year. We also ought to hate this evil practice because it directly opposes our Creator who created these precious babies in their mothers’ wombs… in his image. But let’s add to that hurt for the unborn and hate for their killing a unique heartbrokenness for the mothers who carry it out. The arguments against abortion are strong, but as we attack “the issue” with everything we have (and we should do that), let’s be sensitive to the people behind it. They need our love.
Reading through these stories, you’ll be struck by the fact that there is often a lot more to these women’s sinful decisions than a mere lack of regard for human life. Many of the women in this article are women who are conflicted, who feel like they have no other option, who face all kinds of pressure, who regret their decision, who question what they did, who were hurting before having an abortion, and who are now hurting worse as a result. One woman said that after the abortion, she continued to track her would-have-been pregnancy online, imagining how big her belly might have been along the way. Another woman told of how she’d think about what the baby’s age would be had she not aborted.
A lot of things concerning abortion are angering, from the horrid act itself to the self-centeredness of the sex-crazed men often behind the scenes. But don’t let your anger be without sadness and love, and that not just for the babies. For a moment, let’s peek out from behind our picket signs to see the women to whom we are ministering. Yes, we are ministering to them – or at least we should be. And for them, as New York Magazine puts it, “most have feelings too knotty for a picket sign.”
Posted on November 25th, 2013 by David Burnette
It may not be a pleasant thought, but have you ever stopped to consider all the things that threaten your faith? The deceptiveness of Satan's schemes, the lure of sinful temptations, and the cares of this world are just a few of the dangers lurking out there. Persevering to the end can seem daunting in such conditions. After all, whose faith can stand such testing?
If you are in Christ, don't despair: the situation is not as bleak as it seems. Even when you feel weary and defeated, you have this underlying assurance: God is more committed to your perseverance than you are. That's right, the One who is infinitely gracious and infinitely powerful is determined to bring you safely to your heavenly destination. Paul put it this way in Philippians 1:6: "He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ."
Paul's words to the Philippians ought to give every believer confidence. Not confidence in our own spiritual discipline and effort (though these things play a role in our sanctification), but confidence in the God who began the work of salvation in us. He did not send His own Son to die for us, only to leave us overwhelmed and defeated in the end. He will finish the work He started.
So, Christian, if you don't feel you have the resolve to finish your course, take heart: God does.
Posted on November 22nd, 2013 by Cory Varden
1 .The Word of the Year by Tim Challies: Every year Oxford Dictionaries announces a Word of the Year. This is a word, or expression, that has attracted a great deal of interest that year. Throughout the year the Dictionary staff track words using all kinds of interesting means and in November they narrow in on a few for special consideration. A final selection team is made up of lexicographers and consultants to the dictionary team, and editorial, marketing, and publicity staff. This year, all of that effort led to this word: Selfie.
2. 3 Common Ways to Read Scripture by Matt Smethurst: I’m always a little skeptical when I hear people talk about reading Scripture “devotionally” rather than, say, “academically” (or vice versa). Who says we have to choose? I wonder.
3. Ted Turner says he does not want to go to hell by Denny Burk: CNN has a fascinating and wide-ranging feature on Ted Turner today. Among other things, it says that Turner has grown more reflective about his mortality in his later years. Turner even confesses that he doesn’t want to go to hell. It’s a provocative piece in many ways.
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