Archive for the ‘Featured Resource’ Category
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 October 9th, 2013 by David Burnette
In his latest post, Al Mohler comments on the book by William Struthers, Wired for Intimacy: How Pornography Hijacks the Male Brain. Using insights from neuroscience, Struthers gives us some help in understanding why pornography is such a strong temptation for males. However, as Mohler notes, Struthers is clear that these biological findings do not make men any less responsible for their sin.
You can read Mohler’s entire post here. Here are a few excerpts:
To no one’s surprise, the vast majority of those who consume pornography are males. It is no trade secret that males are highly stimulated by visual images, whether still or video. That is not a new development, as ancient forms of pornography attest. What is new is all about access. Today’s men and boys are not looking at line pictures drawn on cave walls. They have almost instant access to countless forms of pornography in a myriad of formats.
The simplest explanation for why men view pornography (or solicit prostitutes) is that they are driven to seek out sexual intimacy,” he explains. The urge for sexual intimacy is God-given and essential to the male, he acknowledges, but it is easily misdirected. Men are tempted to seek “a shortcut to sexual pleasure via pornography,” and now find this shortcut easily accessed.
In a fallen world, pornography becomes more than a distraction and a distortion of God’s intention for human sexuality. It comes as an addictive poison.
Viewing pornography is not an emotionally or physiologically neutral experience. It is fundamentally different from looking at black and white photos of the Lincoln Memorial or taking in a color map of the provinces of Canada. Men are reflexively drawn to the content of pornographic material. As such, pornography has wide-reaching effects to energize a man toward intimacy. It is not a neutral stimulus. It draws us in. Porn is vicarious and voyeuristic at its core, but it is also something more. Porn is a whispered promise. It promises more sex, better sex, endless sex, sex on demand, more intense orgasms, experiences of transcendence.
Mohler closes by talking about our culpability in the sin of pornography, as well as its offensiveness to God:
“Sinners naturally look for fig leaves to hide sin, and biological causation is often cited as a means of avoiding moral responsibility. Struthers does not allow this, and his view of pornography is both biblical and theologically grounded. He lays responsibility for the sin of viewing pornography at the feet of those who willingly consume explicit images. He knows his audience—after all, his classrooms are filled with young male college students. The addict is responsible for his addiction.
At the same time, any understanding of how sin works its deceitful evil is a help to us, and understanding how pornography works in the male mind is a powerful knowledge. Pornography is a sin that robs God of his glory in the gift of sex and sexuality. We have long known that sin takes hostages. We now know another dimension of how this particular sin hijacks the male brain. Knowledge, as they say, is power.”
Posted on July 16th, 2013 by David Burnette
Pastor David talks about what led him to write Follow Me and why he sees it as more foundational than Radical.
This conversation is leading up to the free Follow Me simulcast on August 14th. For more information on being a part of the simulcast, go here.
You can view the previous parts of this conversation by going here.
Posted on July 10th, 2013 by David Burnette
The most recent question we asked Pastor David dealt with caring for the poor and how this fits with the church’s mission of making disciples. You can watch that here.
On this same issue, a number of related resources may be helpful, including Secret Church 8: The Gospel, Possessions, and Prosperity. (The audio, video, and study guide are free, or if you prefer you can purchase a hard copy from our store)
A number of additional recommended resources on this topic are listed in Secret Church 8, though as always, we encourage you to read with discernment, as not everything in these resources is endorsed:
Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert, When Helping Hurts: Alleviating Poverty Without Hurting the Poor…and Yourself
Craig Blomberg, Neither Poverty Nor Riches: A Biblical Theology of Possessions
Randy Alcorn, Money, Possessions, and Eternity
Tim Keller, Counterfeit Gods
Tim Keller, Ministries of Mercy
John MacArthur, Whose Money Is It, Anyway?
Ben Witherington, Jesus and Money: A Guide for Times of Financial Crisis
Gordon Fee, The Disease of the Health and Wealth Gospels
Wesley Willmer, A Revolution in Generosity
D.R. McConnell, A Different Gospel (Biblical and Historical Insights into the Word of Faith Movement)
Concerning the first book listed above, When Helping Hurts, Pastor David wrote the following foreword:
“So what are we to do? In light of massive need in the world and in view of God’s merciful concern for the poor, how are we to respond in the church? This question forms the foundation for the pages that lie ahead. Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert have undertaken a mammoth task in this book, and I praise God for how they have carried it out.
They start with the Word of God, which is where we must begin. A book filled with practical thoughts and economic tips would be vain apart from eternal truth. This book is saturated with Scripture as the authors continually ground their assertions in God-breathed authority. They address poverty alleviation through the lens of redemptive history, and in so doing they rightly exalt Christ as the supreme healer of every human heart, whether rich or poor.
The authors move from God’s Word to God’s people, specifically the local church. Their conviction (which I share) that the local church has a unique role to play in poverty alleviation affects everything they write. In a real sense, they are writing to the church and for the church; they want to see local churches carry out the commands of Christ in ways that are gracious to the poor, good for God’s people, and glorifying to God’s name.
But this book does not stall in the sphere of the theological and theoretical. It moves wonderfully from timeless truth to contemporary application. As you read, you won’t just learn about problems in the world; you will discover how poverty in the world can actually be addressed. In the process of reading case studies, exploring critical questions, and analyzing current events, you will realize that God has given you—and your church—a unique opportunity to be a part of his global plan to make his great mercy known in your community and among all the nations.
For all of these reasons (and more), this book is virtually required reading for everyone in our church who is intentionally engaging the poor here and around the world. I cannot recommend it highly enough for anyone who is passionate about spreading and showing the love of Christ to the “least of these.”
Simply put, I have never read a better book on practically serving the poor, and I pray that God will use this new edition to equip his people to accomplish his purposes in a world of urgent spiritual and physical need for the glory of his great name.”
Posted on July 1st, 2013 by David Burnette
Pastor David Platt talks about avoiding legalism as we follow Christ with costly obedience.
Be sure to check out the previous topics in this series:
Part 1 - Encouragements and concerns three years after Radical
Part 2 – The role of the church in following Christ
Part 3 – How does living radically fit with the normal Christian life?
Part 4 – What does living radically look like for David Platt?
Part 5 – What’s the difference between God’s commands and His individual callings?
This conversation is leading up to the free Follow Me simulcast on August 14th. For more information on being a part of the simulcast, go here.
Posted on June 13th, 2013 by David Burnette
Is it a struggle for you to read and understand the Old Testament? You can be honest. Many of us say that the Old Testament is important because it’s in God’s Word, which is obviously true, but in reality we’re not very motivated to read it.
If that’s you, then consider going through the Survey of the Old Testament from Secret Church 1. Pastor David Platt gives an overview of every book in the Old Testament, as well as principles for how to interpret this sometimes intimidating portion of Scripture. Below you’ll find a excerpt taken from the opening section of this study.
Have you bought into one of these myths about the Old Testament?
- The Old Testament is insignificant. Many times we think this is just background material for the New Testament. Why would we want to pay attention to the first half of the game if we already know the result of the second half of the game? Why would we want to sit in the stands with a blocked view when you can already see on the field what unfolds in the New Testament? It is really not that significant for us in the 21st Century.
- The Old Testament is irrelevant. It contains a lot of things we don’t observe, things which don’t seem to relate to our lives anymore. There are a lot of people, even in Christianity, who say that the Old Testament is more for Israel and not for us. Let’s be honest, what relevance does an ancient animal-slaughtering religion that talks about God in a portable tent have for Christianity in the 21st Century? What does that really have to do with us? Have you ever read a passage in the Old Testament and just thought, “Why, Lord, did you decide to include that?”
- The Old Testament is inconsistent. It doesn’t make sense in light of the New Testament. This is where a lot of people disconnect the Old Testament from Christianity as a whole. They look at the Old Testament as a Jewish book. There are cults that use the Old Testament as well, such as Mormons. Even Muslims use parts of the Old Testament as part of their Scripture. The most commonly asked question is, “Why would the God of grace, love, mercy and compassion we see unfold in the New Testament, pour out judgment, wrath and punishment of sin in the Old Testament?” How do they go together? How do you explain the judgment that we see in the Old Testament, where entire nations are wiped out? How do you justify that with the God of love and grace and mercy? It seems inconsistent.
- The Old Testament is incomprehensible. What we basically think is that it is too cumbersome, or it is confusing and doesn’t make sense. It often leads us to boredom, apathy and neglect. It is just plain hard to understand. The books are large. They are filled with all kinds of history that many of us don’t know, as well as unpronounceable names that we never could begin to talk about. How do you really begin to understand this? It is overwhelming. It is long. It is tedious. We are a lot more familiar with the Gospels where we see Jesus. As a result, we use the Old Testament every once in a while in our quiet times, but the bulk of our faith is dependent on the New Testament. The Old Testament just doesn’t make sense.
The Central Message
Well, these are myths I hope will be dispelled by one central message: The Old Testament is invaluable. If we abandon the books of the Old Testament, then we abandon the revelation of God. More than that, we hinder our ability to understand the New Testament’s revelation of God. If we abandon the Old Testament, we will never get the picture that the New Testament is trying to teach us. The key to the New Testament is the Old Testament. There are at least 1600 direct quotations of the Old Testament in the New Testament, in addition to all kinds of allusions and references to it. If we don’t get what the Old Testament teaches, we will never get Christ. It is important for us to remember that the Lord of the universe who gave us this book does not waste words. He gave us this entire book for a reason. It doesn’t mean that it is not confusing or tedious or doesn’t make sense. I will go ahead and be honest; I am not going to be able to answer all the questions that come up in the Old Testament. My desire is for us to see an overall picture of what God is doing and why the Old Testament is so important.
Visit our Resource Library where you can find this and other Secret Church material. The audio and video downloads are free, as is the Study Guide that accompanies the teaching. You also have the option of purchasing DVD’s and hard copies of Study Guides through our online store.
Posted on June 11th, 2013 by David Burnette
A short excerpt from Gloria Furman’s new book, Glimpses of Grace, concerning God’s rule in the mundane aspects of being a mom and a homemaker:
“I believed that if I could just get through this awful and seemingly interminable season, then I would come out on the other side bruised and worn down; but at least it would be over. Perhaps then I would be free to serve the Lord with gladness, and I would be content.
But I was wrong.
When I attended a marriage conference taught by Paul Tripp, he said something that devastated me. Tripp said, “If God doesn’t rule your mundane, then he doesn’t rule you. Because that’s where you live.” Dramatic, life-altering moments come only a few times during our lifetime – that’s why they’re dramatic. The rest of our lives are lived in the common, ordinary mundane.
Home managing is my ordinary. Regardless of what your normal is, I’m sure we can agree that that’s where we live.” (26-27)
To read my interview with Gloria Furman about the book, go here.
Posted on June 10th, 2013 by David Burnette
In his soon to be released book, Pressure Points: Twelve Global Issues Shaping the Face of the Church, J.D. Payne speaks to the “pressure point” of international migration. You can find last week’s interview with J.D. about the book here.
In his chapter on international migration, J.D. speaks to the opportunity for gospel witness this phenomenon presents for believers in the U.S. and other Western countries. Among the eye-opening statistics in this specific chapter is the fact that there are an estimated 361 unreached people groups in the United States alone. Stats like this and the large numbers of refugees flooding our way lead J.D. to the following exhortation for those seeking to obey the Great Commission:
“The call to reach the nations that have migrated to our neighborhoods is not a call to neglect to send missionaries to Majority World countries where large numbers of unreached peoples exist. We have been told to go and must continue to do so, for the greatest needs for the gospel and church multiplication exist in the non-Western world. However, something is missionally malignant whenever we are willing to make great sacrifices to travel the world to reach a people group but are not willing to walk across the street. The church is foolish to think that it pleases the Lord when we travel to another country to reach a people when representatives of that people group fly past us over the Pacific and land in our airports to settle in our communities, but we make no effort to reach them. In view of this pressure point, the churches and mission agencies that are likely to thrive in the realm of missions are those who integrate their domestic and international strategies and stop operating from the long-standing model that consisted of silos separating the “domestic” and “foreign.” (69-70)
See also J.D.’s previous book on this very issue titled, Strangers Next Door: Immigration, Migration, and Mission.
Posted on June 6th, 2013 by David Burnette
In her new book, Glimpses of Grace: Treasuring the Gospel in Your Home, Gloria Furman tackles such questions. If you’re a mom who feels inadequate to the task, or if you struggle to see how God can use your mundane and often stressful routine for His glory and your good, then this is the book for you.
Gloria is a wife, mother of three young children, doula, and blogger. In 2008 her family moved to the Middle East to plant Redeemer Church of Dubai where her husband, Dave, serves as the pastor. She blogs regularly at The Gospel Coalition and Domestic Kingdom.
1. Gloria, I appreciate your honesty in this book about your frustrations and failures with homemaking and parenting. How difficult and how important is it for wives and mothers to make these confessions?
Thank you for your encouragement! It was difficult to confess these things, but I knew it was helpful for the health of my own heart. I think most of us will readily admit that there are things we’re frustrated by or failing in regarding homemaking and parenting. There are places we can safely turn for encouragement and solidarity with other women in those moments– friends, family, social groups, and the like.
But I think a difficulty of another kind is what feels less “safe”– that is, discovering and confessing what is going on at the heart level in those moments of frustration and failure. Coming face-to-face with what’s in your heart could reveal a habitual sin, or the effects of a dark past, or nerve-wracking unbelief. Confessing these things is hardly easy.
All of these insecurities, wounds, fears, failures, and feelings of desperation are things that only the gospel of Jesus Christ can wholly and gracefully address. Instead of leaving us wallowing in the darkness, God shines the light of his gospel into our hearts. And in the light of the knowledge of God’s glory we come face-to-face with Jesus! He is the Hope for frustrated homemakers and mothers.
2. The theme of glorifying God in the mundane pulses throughout this book, with many practical examples from your own life. Could you speak to the danger of separating the “daily grind” from our sanctification and our faithfulness to God?
I vividly remember the confusion and discouragement that stemmed from my own compartmentalizing of life in the home from my spiritual life. I reached for easy quick fixes but it was like putting a band-aid on a gunshot wound. If Jesus is Lord (and he is!) then we dare not imagine that a single, mundane moment of our lives does not belong to him. Separating God from “real life” is like having a great feast remain uneaten because we’re full from eating out of the dumpster. We’ve settled for a very shabby, deadly substitute. Another danger of compartmentalizing the daily grind from sanctification and faithfulness to God is missing out on the joy of glorifying God in the mundane.
3. Believing the gospel is crucial for every Christian, but you have applied God’s grace more specifically in this book. What are some unique challenges homemakers face?
This is a great question! I think if you asked a group of homemakers this question, their answers would be as diverse as they are. When I talk with other women about the unique challenges they are facing as homemakers, a couple of things keep coming up. My own heart resonates with both of these, so I’ll say “we” and “our.” One, we may waver in our certainty that what we’re doing is good. There are cultural and societal pressures that can contribute to this uncertainty, and trusting the Lord becomes challenging when we sense a lack of support from the people we’re around. Two, we may feel that what we’re doing is not good enough (in the Lord’s eyes, in our own eyes, and in the eyes of others). Fear and deep-seated feelings of inadequacy can bubble up out of the heart when things go wrong and even when things go really well. Jesus is our rock-solid foundation in the midst of these swirling sands of doubt. Believing the gospel and trusting God helps to clear away the sand from our feet so that we can see that the Rock who we’re standing on is a sure and steadfast anchor for our soul.
4. The gospel is (rightly!) so clear and so prominent throughout this book. Would it be accurate to say that you are pushing back against something like a works-righteousness approach to being a homemaker?
My gut response to reading this question was how I absolutely cannot wait until the Day when the works-righteousness approach to anything is no longer enticing to my sinful heart. A day is coming when I’ll no longer struggle to live in light of the fact that God justifies the ungodly and counts our faith as righteousness. And until that day, yes, by God’s grace, I want to push back against the works-righteousness approach to homemaking. I need to remember the gospel every single day and revel in the grace extended to me through the cross of Jesus Christ!
5. You are obviously addressing moms in particular, but as a dad, I not only found this book helpful in terms of serving my own wife, but also in terms of how I view my own ordinary, everyday tasks. Would you say that the truths here apply to any believer at any station in life?
Yes! While various implications of the gospel might resound in our hearts in particular ways in particular times, I would agree that the good news is always good for anyone in any station in life.
Thanks, Gloria. I trust the Lord will use this book to cause moms (and all believers) to hope in the gospel, even in the midst of stressful and rather mundane routines.
Posted on May 31st, 2013 by David Burnette
J.D. Payne has agreed to answer a few questions about his latest book, Pressure Points: Twelve Global Issues Shaping the Face of the Church. You can now pre-order the book, which is published by Thomas Nelson and is set to release in mid-July.
Along with being a professor, a missiologist, and a rather prolific author, J.D. is the Pastor of Church Multiplication at The Church at Brook Hills. He blogs at “Missiologically Thinking,” where you can find a list of other books he has authored. You can also subscribe to J.D.’s vodcast, “Multiplication Matters.”
As the title suggests, his latest book explores twelve “pressure points” that are having a massive impact today on the church and its mission. The 12 pressure points J.D. discusses are as follows:
- Unreached People Groups
- The West as a Mission Field
- Growth of the Majority World Church
- Pluralism and the Plurality of Faiths
- International Migration
- Growth of the Cities
- Children and Youth
- Health Care
- Oral Learners
- Pornification of Societies
1. J.D., can you begin by explaining what a pressure point is?
JD: A pressure point in the book is a global issue that is influencing the present and future of the Church and mission. Pressure can be something harmful, but it can also be something that is beneficial.
Jesus has overcome the world and has promised to build His Church. However, from the first century until now, the Church has experienced pressures across the centuries.
As the Church experiences a point of pressure, the reality is that She will change. Change is unavoidable. The question of concern, in light of any pressure point, is how should the Church respond while remaining faithful to the Lord and His Commission?
2. What would you say to a pastor of a small congregation who doesn’t see the relevance of these pressure points to his weekly ministry?
JD: I would say that they are influencing the church whether or not he recognizes the immediate impact. If he is concerned about leading the church to make disciples of all nations, then as soon as teams from that church go into all the world—both across the street and across the countries—they will find themselves having to use strategies and methods in response to today’s global realities.
3. I expected to see factors such as globalization and pluralism, but others were eye-opening, such as children and youth. Were there particular pressure points that surprised you?
JD: Eleven of these twelve have been discussed by missiologists for some time. These, and others, were addressed at length at Cape Town 2010, the third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization. The biggest surprise for me was the inclusion of what I refer to as the pornification of societies in chapter twelve. About two months before my writing deadline, I felt a strong leading of the Lord to examine this matter. I quickly became convinced that this is not only an international reality, but also one that affects the sending of missionary teams and teaching new believers and churches how to obey Jesus in such sex-saturated societies.
4. In the first chapter, you refer to cross-cultural work as the “need of the hour.” Why is this the case?
JD: There are over 3000 unengaged-unreached people groups in the world. There are about 540 unreached people groups in the United States and Canada. Until churches begin sending missionary teams to make disciples by crossing slightly different and radically different cultures—both within North America and across the world—these peoples will remain unengaged, and also unreached.
5. What difference does it make for our witness that the U.S. is no longer a Protestant-majority country?
JD: This reality is part of a process that is forcing the Church in the U. S. to return to an apostolic understanding of Her missionary task. The Church is operating less and less from a position of significant influence. The country-at-large is less likely to look to the Church for guidance on issues of morality, ethics, wisdom, and spiritual matters. She may speak, but not be taken too seriously. Protestants become a voice among many often conflicting voices in our pluralistic society.
6. Why are the statistics in chapter 9 related to the seismic demographic shifts in the world so important for us to know?
JD: That is the chapter on children and youth. We in the West must recognize that while our societies are growing older, children and youth comprise large percentages of the Majority World. We not only have to think through the cross-cultural aspects of such ministry but also matters related to ministering across generations. Matters such as these influence how we minister to families in light of such demographics. Not only are children and youth susceptible to evils such as trafficking, poverty, disease, street life, etc., they are sometimes some of the most receptive to the gospel. They are a potential powerhouse for Kingdom advancement. They are often highly connected socially and technologically. In some parts of Africa, many young people are alone without mothers and fathers. Children and youth across the world need to be challenged and equipped to obtain marketable skills and degrees that would best position them for the multiplication of disciples and churches wherever the Lord may call them.
7. Most Christians realize that pornography is a problem in our own culture, but you argue that this epidemic affects missions worldwide. Can you elaborate?
JD: We often think it is an exclusively U. S., or Western problem. Not true. The pornography industry is a global industry. Western pornography is not only showing up in Majority World cities, but also in their remote villages. Many Majority World countries are producing their own pornography. The web allows free pornography to know no geographical or cultural boundaries. Major search engines are reporting that large numbers of pornographic searches and downloads are coming from predominately Muslim countries.
The tentacles of this beast will shape how the Church reaches other peoples with the gospel, but also how She teaches them to obey Christ in areas of sexuality, masculinity, femininity, the family, and raising up pastors from within newly planted churches.
Despite the massive challenges facing the church identified in this book, J.D.’s final paragraph offers a word of hope for Christ’s church:
“As we remain in the Word, walking in the light as He is in the light, His leadership will keep us on the right path. Apart from abiding in Him, all of our strategies, methods, desires, and interests are worthless for the sake of the kingdom. Greater is He who is in us than are the pressure points in the world” (p. 172).
You are currently browsing the archives for the Featured Resource category.
- Platt Excerpts (84)
- Reaching the Unreached (80)
- Voices from the Past (79)
- Well Said (73)
- Videos (68)
- Featured Resource (56)
- Interviews (42)
- Pray for the Persecuted (36)
- Biblical Insights (32)
- Featured (28)
- Secret Church (24)
- Multiply (20)
- Christmas/Advent (20)
- Morning Meditation (18)
- Current Events (16)
- Follow Me (16)
- Conferences (12)
- Uncategorized (11)
- Threads (6)
- About Radical (5)