Archive for May, 2012

  1. The Church and Living Radically

    Posted on May 31st, 2012 by David Burnette

    Pastor David Platt talks about the role of the church in living radically.

    For more on this subject, see Radical Together: Unleashing the People of God for the Purpose of God.

  2. The Mountain that You Feared Would Fall on Your Head

    Posted on May 30th, 2012 by David Burnette

    Even if you’ve never read John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, the (not-so-subtle) names of the characters tell you quite a bit. Christian, Evangelist, Mr. Worldly-Wiseman, and Mr. Legality are exactly what you would expect; nevertheless, Bunyan’s point cuts to the heart.

    In his journey from the City of Destruction to Mt. Zion, Christian takes some bad advice from Mr. Worldly-Wiseman. In this snippet, Bunyan powerfully illustrates the truths of Romans 3:19-20 and Galatians 4:21-27:

    “Christian left his path to go to Mr. Legality’s house for help. As Christian neared the hill, he was struck by how high and foreboding the hill appeared. One side of the hill hung precariously over the path that wound its way around it, and Christian feared that the overhanging hill would fall on him.

    Filled with fear, Christian stopped his journey and stood still, wondering what he should do. His burden now seemed heavier to him than it was just moments before he had taken this detour off the path that Evangelist had instructed him to follow.

    Flashes of lightning came out of the hill, and Christian was afraid that he would be burned. Christian began to sweat and quake with fear. He was sorry that he had taken Mr. Worldly-Wiseman’s counsel.”

    After meeting back up with Evangelist, Christian’s error is explained to him:

    “The person to whom you were sent for relief, whose name is Legality, is the son of the slave woman who, with all her children, is still in bondage. The mountain that you feared would fall on your head is Mount Sinai. Now if the slave woman and all her children are in bondage, how can you expect them to set you free from your burden?”

     

    John Bunyan, Pilgrim’s Progress, 35-36; 40

  3. Nothing Less Than Divine Power and Grace

    Posted on May 29th, 2012 by David Burnette

    Perhaps no one has had a greater impact on the spirit of modern missions than David Brainerd, a missionary to the American Indians. Brainerd died when he was twenty-nine years old, yet he had a significant impact on such figures as Jonathan Edwards, Jim Elliot, and John Wesley.

     

    After much effort and physical suffering, Brainerd had oversight of a congregation of over 130 Christian Indians. Of this congregation, he writes the following:

    “I know of no assembly of Christians where there seems to be so much of the presence of God, where brotherly love so much prevails, and where I should so much delight in the public worship of God, in general, as in my own congregation; although not more than nine months ago, they were worshipping devils and dumb idols under the power of pagan darkness and superstition. Amazing change this! Effected by nothing less than divine power and grace!”

    — cited in Danny Akin, 10 Who Changed the World, 117 (from Jonathan Edwards’ The Life & Diary of David Brainerd)

  4. Unreached

    Posted on May 28th, 2012 by David Burnette

    Arab, TunisianARAB, TUNISIAN of TUNISIA

    Having won its independence from France in 1956, Tunisia is now the smallest country in North Africa. Agriculture, phosphate mining, and tourism dominate the nation’s economy. Despite having many primitive farming methods, cell phones, the internet, and Facebook are changing the way Tunisians are viewing and interacting with the world.

    Though the country boasts a highly educated youth population, a revolution occurred in January of 2011 due to frustration, lack of opportunity, and government corruption. In the first democratic elections in Tunisia’s history in October 2011, the Islamic party won the largest number of seats and is seeking to make Islamic law the source of the nation’s legislation.

    Though the country is almost entirely Muslim, it is largely secular, so that many Muslims rarely go to a mosque. Nevertheless, Islam influences many aspects of Tunisian culture. Witchcraft and worship at shrines has led to bondage and strong spiritual blindness.

    Christian media (websites, TV, and radio programs) has in recent years led to a great interest in Christianity, so that there are now a few hundred believers in the country.

    Continue Reading

  5. Well Said: May 25, 2012

    Posted on May 25th, 2012 by David Burnette

     

    1. And the Creator Wins Again: Gene Veith highlights an excerpt about Joseph Stalin’s five-year plan to stamp out the memory of God’s name in the former Soviet Union. The plan was unsuccessful, to put it mildly. At least the latest wave of militant atheists in our culture won’t be the first to fail miserably.

    2. 10 Practical Ways to Love and Serve Your Wife: Some very practical advice for husbands from Brian Croft. The points are simple, but they’re great reminders. (HT: Tim Challies)

    3.The End of Mommy Wars: Christine Hoover at Desiring God has some refreshing words for moms who feel like they just can’t hack it. Works-righteousness and unhealthy comparisons don’t work for justification, and they don’t work for parenting either.

  6. If My Church Doesn’t Seem Radical, Should I Leave It?

    Posted on May 24th, 2012 by David Burnette

    Pastor David Platt talks about discerning the right (and wrong) time to leave one church in order to go to another.

  7. True Christianity is a Fight

    Posted on May 23rd, 2012 by David Burnette

    J.C. Ryle’s words (below) fit well the apostle Paul’s admonition to Timothy:

    “Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” (1 Timothy 6:12)

    “True Christianity! Let us mind that word “true.” There is a vast quantity of religion current in the world which is not true, genuine Christianity. It passes muster; it satisfies sleepy consciences; but it is not good money. It is not the real thing which was called Christianity eighteen hundred years ago. There are thousands of men and women who go to Churches and chapels every Sunday, and call themselves Christians. Their names are in the baptismal register. They are reckoned Christians while they live. They are married with a Christian marriage service. They mean to be buried as Christians when they die. But you never see any “fight” about their religion! Of spiritual strife, and exertion, and conflict, and self-denial, and watching, and warring, they know literally nothing at all. Such Christianity may satisfy man, and those who say anything against it may be thought very hard and uncharitable; but it certainly is not the Christianity of the Bible. It is not the religion which the Lord Jesus founded, and His Apostles preached. It is not the religion which produces real holiness. True Christianity is ‘a fight.'”

    — J.C. Ryle, Holiness, 158 (from J.I. Packer’s Faithfulness and Holiness: The Witness of J.C. Ryle)

  8. The Pioneer of Baptist Missions Was…

    Posted on May 22nd, 2012 by David Burnette

    The first Baptist to leave his homeland for the spread of the gospel was…not William Carey. And it wasn’t Adoniram Judson. So, who was it?

    In chapter 6 of 10 Who Changed the World, Danny Akin introduces us to George Leile, a black man and former slave who planted the gospel in Jamaica in 1782. Ordained in 1775, Leile is recognized as the first ordained black Baptist pastor in Georgia.

    Though he had to support himself and his family – a wife and four children – in a bi-vocational role, the Lord blessed Leile’s ministry tremendously. In fact, a contemporary of Leile said the following of Leile’s heavy workload:

    “I am led to believe that it has been of essential service to the cause of God, for his industry has set a good example to his flock, and has put it out of the power of enemies to religion to say, that he has been eating the bread of idleness or lived upon the poor slaves.” (99)

    In Jamaica, the number of Baptist converts rose from 8,000 in 1814 to 32,000 in 1832, and this despite significant persecution. The Lord used Leile and his followers greatly in this work, converting over 500 slaves to Christianity in a span of seven years under Leile’s preaching. Leile was also influential in the move to abolish slavery in Jamaica, which occurred in 1838.

    Leile’s faithfulness is a tribute to God’s grace, and a model for all ministers of the gospel.

  9. Unreached

    Posted on May 21st, 2012 by Cory Varden

    Arab, Southern Yemeni of Yemen

    The Yemeni Arabs have had a close association with Islam throughout their history; and today, nearly all of the Yemeni Arab (both in the Republic of Yemen, and in the other nations), are Muslims. About half of them are Zaydis Muslims, 40% are Shafi’ites, and 5% are Ismailis. Social life is extremely important to Arabs. They like to share a daily coffee time by sitting on the floor and drinking coffee from cups without handles. Yemeni Arab society is tribal in structure with over 1,700 different tribes or clans. These various tribes are ruled by sheiks (Arab chiefs), who often fight with each other. There is little doubt that Islam has influenced their society. The Zaydis sect of Islam (part of the Shi’ite tradition) is quite fanatical in its form. Most of the Zaydis are warriors and perceive all wars to be a manifestation of Jihad (Muslim crusade against infidels; holy war). Like many Muslim countries, Muslims who profess faith in Jesus Christ can be put to death. Perhaps this explains why there are so few known Yemeni believers in Yemen at the present time. Evangelization efforts among them are challenging due to restrictions in many of the countries, and general antagonism to the Gospel. Continue Reading

  10. Well Said…

    Posted on May 18th, 2012 by David Burnette

    1. Pop Quiz from a Jehovah’s Witness: Could you answer these questions about the deity of Christ? Phil Johnson shares a list of questions from Jehovah’s Witnesses used in their door-to-door encounters with Christians. Their goal is to plant seeds of doubt. Know your Bible.

    2. Cynical about Prayer?: Paul Miller, author of A Praying Life, talks about the danger of our cynicism toward God in prayer. If we’re honest, this is a battle we all face. (HT: Jonathon Parnell @ DG)

    3. Fashion Advice for Pastors: File this under “Are You Serious?” There’s actually a website about how pastors should dress, and Joe Carter is rightly flabbergasted. (HT: Dane Ortlund)

    4. Josh Hamilton and the Means of Grace: With a little help from John Frame, David Mathis highlights Josh Hamilton’s expressed need for the means of grace, a need all Christians have whether they realize it or not. (HT: Justin Taylor)