Archive for the ‘Secret Church’ Category
Posted on January 28th, 2015 by Radical
If you knew that the Old Testament had one overarching purpose, would it change the way you handled it?
In Secret Church 1: Survey of the Old Testament, David Platt says that it was written to reveal how God redeems His people for His kingdom. Knowing that the Old Testament has one unifying storyline affects at least three areas of our lives.
It will affect the way we understand. It is going to keep us from fragmenting it. This is what we do: we take the Old Testament, and we fragment it into all kinds of different pieces. Then we can’t put it together, get frustrated, and we move on to the New Testament. That hampers our ability to understand what God desires to teach us. We need to know the story.
The beautiful thing is that as we look at God’s work in history, we realize that the God who was working in their life is also the God that is working in our lives. We also realize that, if there is a story that is begun in the Old Testament, then that story is still continuing today. We are a part of that story. We want to apply it to our lives. We want to know it. We want to be able to apply what God is doing in all of history. If God is doing something in all of history, don’t you want to know so you can apply it to your life?
There are all kinds of worldviews, ideologies, and world religions in our culture today that are teaching things that are false and against the story of God. If we know the story and we proclaim it, then we can show its beauty and its grace and its truth amidst all the diverse and competing worldviews that are present today.
For more on this, check out Secret Church 1: Survey of the Old Testament.
Posted on January 21st, 2015 by Radical
Favoritism first disrespects man. That word “favoritism” literally means “to receive according to the face.” In other words, to respond to someone based upon external factors, external appearance – to respond to them based on that.
Now, we have been talking about favoritism when it comes to the rich and the poor, and that’s exactly what this context right here [James 2] is addressing. But I want to encourage you at this point to think through if there are any facets of your life where you are showing favoritism – discrimination based on external appearance, based on external factors – for this is sin. And there are many ways that this may look. As I was praying for this, I was reminded again of the ways of the world that are so pervasive in our lives. I was reminded of this particularly when it comes to ethnicity.
I’m not going to use the term “race” here… I think we have to be careful when we talk about different races because we begin to divide up the theological reality that we are all a part of the race from Adam. And this affects how we view ourselves… our unity in Christ, our need for Christ. But when it comes to different ethnicities, you think about it.
Imagine yourself walking into a lunchroom and there are two tables. You’re by yourself, and there are two tables. At one table, there is a small group of people with an ethnicity like you, and at the other table, there’s a small group of people with an ethnicity not like you. What immediately goes through your mind? The reality is, we are drawn, naturally, to the table that is like us. What is the thought process that leads to that? Isn’t it something like – at the speed of thoughts, it’s not like we intentionally go through these stages – but isn’t it something like, “Okay, like me, not like me; like me, therefore safe; safe, therefore comfortable; comfortable, therefore beneficial to me,” and the converse, “Not like me therefore not safe, not comfortable, not as beneficial to me.”
And the challenge before us is to ask God in Christ to radically transform our thinking so that we do not live according to the pollution of the world, that even in the way we speak we are careful not to discriminate, not to show or point out how people are different from us based on external appearance, external factors. When someone says to me, “I was talking with a Korean guy the other day…” Why did you tell me he was Korean? “I was talking with a Hispanic guy the other day…” Why did you include that? Do you say, “I was talking with a white guy the other day? I was talking with a black guy the other day?” The reality is, we are constantly thinking in terms of what separates us from others, and the body of Christ changes everything. We are all in Adam’s race, in need of Christ. And with brothers and sisters, we are all unified in Christ in a way that transforms and transcends ethnicity.
And so we must be careful here to avoid favoritism that disrespects man – that always highlights our differences – because it not only disrespects man, but, ultimately, favoritism dishonors God Himself. We’re not just breaking a law, we’re offending a lawgiver. To show favoritism is to dishonor God.
– David Platt, Faith Loves, James 1:26-2:13
Ethnic discrimination is one of the topics that will be addressed in Counter Culture, available February 3rd wherever books are sold. Visit the book website for more info: CounterCultureBook.com.
Posted on January 13th, 2015 by Radical
The key to understanding how to interpret the Old Testament is to understand why God gave us the Old Testament. This is big…
Why do you think God gave us the Old Testament? Was it for historical information? We know that is not true because He doesn’t give us all the historical facts. He doesn’t fill in all the blanks. He definitely picks and chooses parts of history to give us. The purpose is not just so we would have a good history of the people of Israel that leads up to Jesus. That is not the point.
What about for moral lessons? Did He give us the Old Testament for character studies, to teach us about how to be courageous, wise, brave, or strong? Or, did He give us the Old Testament for examples in life? Is that the purpose of the Old Testament?
The last three encapsulate what are probably the primary reasons we give that affect the way we interpret the Old Testament. This is what I mean by that:
When we go to the Old Testament, most often we look at the stories, and we use them as moral lessons, character studies, or examples for our lives. It starts when we are children growing up in Sunday school, or Bible study, or whatever it may be. We learn the story of David and Goliath, and we learn to have strength in our battles. We look at Abraham and we learn to have faith. We look at these different characters and we say, “We need to be like them. We should learn from them.” As I mentioned earlier, I am not saying that it is not good to see some of these characteristics in these people, but I am saying we need to be careful not to make a quick jump from our lives to their lives. God was doing something much broader than just giving us some character studies. These people were playing a unique role in history.
What is interesting when we study the Old Testament and begin to look at characters is that we always identify with the hero in the story. Who studies David and Goliath and says, “Now we are the people who are scared to death in the background?” No one says that. You don’t want to be that group of people. We are going to study Cain and Abel – who are you going to choose? We always see ourselves in the role of the hero. Whatever applies to them also applies to us.
We look at Moses, in Exodus 1, and see this baby that is born and is saved from the destruction that is going on around him. We automatically think that God will take care of us, and we equate ourselves with Moses instead of equating ourselves with the countless other Hebrew babies that did not make it through the destruction. What right do we have to identify with Moses and not to identify with the others?
Here we begin to see how we can begin to misinterpret the Old Testament if we don’t have an overall picture of why things unfold the way they do.
– David Platt, Secret Church 1: Survey of the Old Testament
Posted on January 12th, 2015 by Jonathan
If you’re new to Secret Church, that may leave you with more questions than answers. So to learn what exactly the prayer focus is, watch the two minute video below. You can also explore the prayer focus websites from last year or the year before that.
As the video explained, it’s more than a few minutes on the night of Secret Church. After Secret Church, we’ll be devoting the entire month of May to focused prayer for Vietnam, so now is the time to begin thinking and praying about how you can encourage your church or small group to pray for the Peoples of Vietnam.
Posted on January 9th, 2015 by Jonathan
The Secret Church 15 topic, “Christ, Culture, and a Call to Action,” will touch on everything from abortion to homosexuality to religious liberty. Make sure you don’t miss out on this important conversation about what the Bible says and how we are to respond in this world.
Posted on January 7th, 2015 by Radical
Good news for those who want to be a part of the live gathering for Secret Church 15: tickets will be available right here on Monday, January 12, 2015 at 9:00am CT!
Tickets go very quickly, so make sure you’re online and ready to sign up when the time rolls around. This year’s live gathering will be held at The Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, Alabama, on Friday, April 24, 2015. David Platt will be teaching on Christ, Culture, and a Call to Action.
For more information on Secret Church 15, or for frequently asked questions about Secret Church in general, go here.
Posted on December 18th, 2014 by Jonathan
… the Peoples of Vietnam! That’s who we’ll be learning about in the coming months, who we’ll pray for together the night of Secret Church, and who we’ll pray for throughout the month of May and beyond. There is much more to be said about the people groups in Vietnam and why they’re worthy of our collective focus, but for now, pray about how you might involve your small group and/or church in supporting the work there.
Posted on December 9th, 2014 by Jonathan
Thank you for your support. When you purchase items in our Store or make a donation to our ministry, Radical is able to serve the body of Christ in many different ways. Here are a few of the ways your support has been used and how people have benefited, specifically when it comes to Secret Church.
- With your help we facilitated our fourteenth Secret Church gathering this past year, which was simulcast to 60,000 people from 80 countries.
- We developed a new Small Group Discussion Guide to accompany Secret Church 14.
- We’ve continued to make Secret Church resources available in our Resource Library free of charge.
“I’m from Colombia, South America. I live in a little town that only has a couple sound doctrine churches, and one day searching on the internet for a way to do discipleship and good resources, I found Secret Church. I’ve been nurtured, and I’ve been able to teach what God, through David, has taught me in Secret Church. I’m thankful to God for all He is doing through this ministry. God’s Word is being known all over the World for the sake of His name. Praise God! “ – Daniel
“I attended Secret Church 2014 because my friends from college invited me to join them. I’m extremely blessed to have had this opportunity as an international student, and hope I can introduce this ministry to people from my country. Even though I didn’t know what it was or what to expect, my experience was AMAZING!!! I learned too much to process in one day, but I’m looking forward to delving deeper into the Word and the teachings and to grow in my faith… I am definitely going to make sure I’m back next year!!!” – Chamapuwa
Posted on November 24th, 2014 by David Burnette
When it comes to the topic of spiritual warfare, some Christians seem to be all in.
You know the person I’m talking about: he finds demons lurking behind common colds, transmission problems, and every other less-than-ideal circumstance. When any difficulty arises, you’re likely to hear him say, “I think it’s the enemy.” While this approach to spiritual warfare has its problems, there’s another perspective on the demonic that poses a danger for many of us, and it’s just as unbiblical. Practically speaking, we act as if Satan doesn’t exist.
We would never say that, of course, but in reality Satan’s opposition to Christ and his people makes no difference in our thoughts and actions and prayers. A number of factors may be involved: maybe we’re reacting against that Christian friend who’s always convinced that Satan is sabotaging her life, or perhaps we’ve adopted a naturalistic, secular mindset without realizing it, or maybe, and this seems highly likely, we just don’t want to sound weird. Attributing something to demonic opposition can make you feel, well, pretty unintelligent. However, as Christians, we shouldn’t decide what we believe based on how it makes us look. After all, we claim that Jonah was swallowed and then regurgitated by a giant fish, and that Christ will return to earth to judge both the living and the dead—so much for sounding sophisticated. Reality for us should be shaped by the Word of God, not what we see or feel.
The idea of a cosmic conflict between Christ and Satan may sound bonkers to a watching world, but that doesn’t make it any less real or any less serious. Yes, Christians are secure because of Christ’s death and resurrection, but that doesn’t mean Satan is idle in the meantime. He is described as a devouring lion (1 Pet 5:8) and the “prince of the power of the air” (Eph 2:2). John goes so far as to say that “the whole world lies in the power of the evil one” (1 Jn 5:19). Shouldn’t that affect the way we pray and fight sin and give for the spread of the gospel?
In the end, the reality of spiritual warfare doesn’t mean we look for demons behind every turn, nor should it cause Christians to panic. We are “hidden with Christ in God” (Col 3:3), and the One who is in us is greater than “he who is in the world” (1 Jn 4:4). However, Satan’s opposition should remind us of our total dependence on God. Gospel proclamation and Christ-like living will put us in the devil’s cross-hairs, which is why we must put on the “whole armor of God” (Eph 6:11). Although victory is assured, there is, at least until Jesus comes, a battle to be fought.
– For more on what Scripture teaches about spiritual warfare, see Secret Church 7, “Angels, Demons, and Spiritual Warfare.“
Posted on November 20th, 2014 by David Burnette
Why should Christians and churches speak to the issue of so-called same-sex marriage, or to marriage in general? Aren’t these just political and social issues? Dr. Russell Moore, President of the ERLC, talks about why marriage is a gospel issue in his recent address to worldwide religious leaders at the Vatican:
As an evangelical Christian, I come to this discussion with motivations about the common good and human flourishing, but beyond these merely natural goods to an even deeper concern for what I believe to be the purpose of the entire cosmos: the gospel of Jesus Christ. All of us must stand together on conserving the truth of marriage as a complementary union of man and woman. But I would add that with that there is a distinctively Christian urgency for why the Christian churches must bear witness to these things. The Apostle Paul wrote to the church at Ephesus that the alpha and omega of the universe is personal, that the pattern and goal of the universe is summed up in what he called “the mystery of Christ” (Eph. 1:10). . . .
. . . we stand and speak not with clenched fists or with wringing hands, but with the open hearts of those who have a message and a mission. And, as we do so, we will remind the world that we are not mere machines of flesh, but rather, we are creatures, accountable to nature and to nature’s God. We must do so with the confidence of those who know that on the other side of our culture wars, there’s a sexual counter-revolution waiting to be reborn, again.
For a full transcript of Dr. Moore’s address, go here. The fact that marriage portrays and bears witness to the gospel is one of the reasons we’ll be covering this issue in Secret Church 15, “Christ, Culture, and a Call to Action.” For more info, go here.
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