Archive for the ‘Well Said’ Category
Posted on July 18th, 2014 by Cory Varden
What’s All This ‘Gospel-Centered’ Talk About?, Dane Ortlund: “Gospel-centered preaching.” “Gospel-centered parenting.” “Gospel-centered discipleship.” The back of my business card says “gospel-centered publishing.” This descriptive mantra is tagged on to just about anything and everything in the Christian world these days. What’s it all about?
5 Insights Into Idolatry, J.D. Greear: There are certain themes in Scripture that tend to beat you over the head with their persistence. Idolatry is one of those. It’s such a prominent theme in Scripture that some have said it is the central theme of the entire Bible. And when it comes to idolatry, we humans are endlessly creative. As John Calvin said, “The heart of man is a perpetual factory of idols.” Give us the chance, and we’ll replace God with any and every object, person, ideal, or dream.
The Missional Church is Pointed in 5 Directions, Trevin Wax: The unhealthy church is too inward-focused, some will say. Unless a church looks outside itself to its kingdom mission, it will shrink and die. Wise counsel, of course. Just as Christians are to put others before themselves, churches are to put their mission ahead of their own comfort. But missional churches are not called to only look outward. The biblical position is more robust (and beautiful) than the inward / outward dichotomy. In fact, one of the directions a missional church should look is inward, as long as it is being pointed in the other directions as well.
Posted on July 11th, 2014 by Cory Varden
The Next Wave of Missions, J.D. Greear: I am convinced that the next wave of missions (at least coming from the Western World) is going to happen on the wings of business. This has a strong biblical and historical precedent. Luke seems to go out of his way to show that the gospel got to some places in the ancient world faster via the hands of Christian merchants than even Apostles. He notes that the first time the church “went everywhere preaching the word,” the Apostles were not engaged (Acts 8:1).
Evangelicals and Cities: A Discussion in Need of Clarity, Kevin Deyoung: I love cities. I’ve spent time in Washington D.C., Philadelphia, and Chicago this summer. I love the energy, the opportunities, and the history of our nation’s big cities. I have no desire to discourage any Christian from moving to the city for ministry. Our cities have lots of people, and so they need lots of Christians, lots of churches, and lots of evangelical institutions. I’m all for evangelicals and cities coming together. But what does that mean?
How Churches Became Cruise Ships, Skye Jethani: Why am I talking about the history of the shipping industry? Well, I think it’s a helpful parallel for what’s happened in the American church over the last 40 years. Around the same time that jetliners were causing waves for the shipping industry, cultural changes were also rocking the church. Prior to the 1960s most churches in America were small with a very utilitarian function–they transported people into communion with God by providing the basic necessities for living a Christian life.
Posted on June 27th, 2014 by Cory Varden
God made me this way, Phillip Jensen: The nature/nurture debate is as endless as the determinist/freedom dispute. The safe position to adopt combines both nature and nurture. Yet that doesn’t end the debate; it simply moves the discussion onto the character of the combination. Scientific research will not bring a resolution. Not simply because the question is large and complex and the research is narrow and detailed, but because the reason for the debate is the implications of its outcomes.
7 Good Reasons to Stop Looking at Porn Right Now, Tim Challies: There are certain topics I return to on a regular basis and, if you are a regular reader of this site, you know that one of those topics is pornography. I return to it again and again because I see the damage it is doing and I see the despair of those who are caught up in it. My goal for today is simple: I want to give you 7 good reasons you need to stop looking at porn right now.
Primer on Reading the Bible, John Hughes: The Bible is not an ordinary book, and we will never taste its choicest fruits if we approach it in an ordinary manner. Here are seven short pieces of counsel, from a lifelong Bible-reader, to help you make the most of your own study of the Scriptures.
Posted on June 13th, 2014 by Cory Varden
How to Grow Spiritually, William Boekestein: Louis Berkhof defines the means of grace as the “objective channels which Christ has instituted in the Church to which He ordinarily binds Himself in communicating His grace.” The means of grace are “his ordinances, especially the word, sacraments, and prayer, and all these are made effective in the salvation of the elect” (Westminster Shorter Catechism, Q&A 88). Believers must recognize these means of grace and trust God and His working through them.
Thoughts on the ‘Together for the Gospel’ Conference 2014, Ian Murray: Supposing you were suddenly to find yourself among 7,000 mainly young people, singing without any band, Reginald Heber’s ‘Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty!’, and gathered to hear sermons for three days, you might well wonder where you were and what was happening. My own arrival in that situation was not entirely sudden for I had heard and read of it beforehand, but it has still left me with a degree of wonder. The place was Louisville, Kentucky, in April of this year. I had not been in a city before where I was stopped in the street, and at its airport, to sign Banner of Truth books.
Why ‘God and the Gay Christian’ Is Wrong About the Bible and Same-Sex Relationships, Christopher Yuan: Jesus did not come to call the righteous, but was accused of being a friend of sinners. Too often, we are more like the older, self-righteous brother of the prodigal son, and our hearts are hardened toward the lost. This is truth at the expense of grace. But the approach that Vines suggests—grace at the expense of truth—also misses the mark. It overlooks the theology of suffering and gives us Christ without the Cross. Jesus, who personifies love, came full of grace and full of truth (John 1:14). Might this be how we live as well.
Posted on May 30th, 2014 by Cory Varden
The Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, CBMW: The Spring issue of this helpful journal has just been released. This issue includes articles from Owen Strachan, Andrew Walker, and more. Strachan’s article takes a critical look at the moniker “gay Christian.” Walker has a piece about religious liberty and current debates about sexuality. This issue also includes David Schrock’s interview with the author of True Sexual Morality, Daniel Heimbach. This issue is filled with helpful material, and you can read the full table of contents is below. (HT: Denny Burk)
The Ethos of Christian Hedonism: Sorrowful, Yet Always Rejoicing, John Piper: Christian Hedonism is a way of life rooted in the conviction that God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him. The branches and fruits of this root are all-encompassing and thrilling. They include the stunning implication that all true virtue, and all true worship, necessarily includes the pursuit of happiness in God.
Twenty-Five Bloggers in One Sentence Each, Andrew Wilson: Many people don’t have the time to read more than one or two bloggers on a regular basis. But, it turns out, you don’t really need to. Most of us say the same thing over and over again, with the incidentals tweaked according to the latest kerfuffle, as per the maxim, “if people don’t know what your passion is, you don’t have one.” So here, for the time-constrained among you, is a summary of what the major blogs I read (excluding the academic theology ones, which vary a bit more) say in virtually every post.
Bible Q&A – What Does the Bible Say About Swearing?, Dane Ortlund: How does the Bible guide us here? Not only for children just asking for the first time, but for all of us? There are two basic ways we might handle swear words with our kids and in our own use of the tongue. We could call them the List Strategy and the Heart Strategy.
Posted on May 23rd, 2014 by Jonathan
When We Get Small & God Gets Big, Jared C. Wilson: I am sorry for the lack of posting in a long while. Life and ministry have occupied most of my time, and I am sad to report to those who don’t follow me on Twitter that our church is undergoing yet more challenges from the beast called cancer. In the last 6 months we lost our friends Anne andRichard. Our friends Daisy and Jerry are said to be fighting on the final fronts. And so is our friend Natalie. Can I tell you a bit about her? … READ MORE
Should I be Content with My Singleness?, Betsy Childs: I am 33 and single. I have wanted to be married for as long as I can remember. As I’ve struggled to come to terms with the prospect of lifelong singleness, I’ve joined the chorus of others who desire marriage who ask, “If God wants me to be single, why hasn’t he taken away my desire for marriage?” … READ MORE
John Piper on Romans 8:28: ”And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Rm 8:28).
Posted on May 16th, 2014 by Jonathan
The Church Needs More Tattoos, Russell Moore: U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) often tells audiences, “Republican Party events need more people with tattoos.” It struck me, as I heard him say this, that this is kind of what evangelical Christians ought to be saying about our churches…
A Kick in the Chest, Hope for Turkey: On a weekend night in a quiet residential neighborhood of Istanbul, Pastor Baris sat in his office preparing his Easter sermon. In the small basement flat where the church meets, his office doubles as the nursery on Sundays. A sign over the front door of the otherwise unremarkable building reads “Grace Church.” Due to prior attacks with rocks and worse, the outside windows are covered with metal grates. Suddenly, the doorbell rang…
Getting Clear on Evangelism, Jonathan Parnell, Jeff Vanderstelt: We might have evangelism mixed up. When evangelism is often discussed, it tends to focus on how churches mobilize their people to get out and connect with unbelievers. But when we think in these terms, the definition of evangelism can be mistaken as a maneuver, rather than proclamation.
Posted on May 9th, 2014 by Cory Varden
“I Feel Super Great About Having an Abortion” – The Culture of Death Goes Viral, Albert Mohler: Emily Letts is a 25-year-old abortion counselor at the Cherry Hill Women’s Center in New Jersey whose video has gone viral. These days, videos go viral on a daily basis, and most are soon forgotten. But not this one. Emily Letts decided to make a video about her own abortion, and the result is one of the most disturbing video messages ever presented to public view.
Walking the Wedding Aisle Without Your Virginity, John Piper: I think the main thing I want to say is this: Virginity is a precious gift that you cannot give to your fiancé, nor she you. That is a great sadness and a great loss. But there are gifts you can give her and God will multiply those gifts so wonderfully that the loss will not be destructive.
Kevin Durant offers emotional MVP acceptance speech, Denny Burk: Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder won the NBA’s MVP for the 2013-1014 season. In an emotional acceptance speech earlier this evening, he gave thanks to God and honored his teammates. But perhaps the most poignant moment came at the end when he honored his mother. His remarks to her begin at 4:58, and it’s worth your time to watch.
Posted on April 25th, 2014 by Cory Varden
God, the Gospel, and the Gay Challenge – A Response to Matthew Vines, Albert Mohler: Evangelical Christians in the United States now face an inevitable moment of decision. While Christians in other movements and in other nations face similar questions, the question of homosexuality now presents evangelicals in the United States with a decision that cannot be avoided. Within a very short time, we will know where everyone stands on this question. There will be no place to hide, and there will be no way to remain silent. To be silent will answer the question.
But What About Gluttony!?!, Kevin Deyoung: Why do conservative Christians make such a fuss about homosexuality and give everyone a free pass—most notably themselves—when it comes to gluttony? That’s a question you hear a lot of us these days and one you should expect to hear again and again, posed in a hundred different ways, in the years ahead.
Why Do You Struggle With Evangelism?, Erik Raymond: Evangelism is hard. I can’t think of anyone that I have met over the last 15-plus years of being a Christian who did not struggle with evangelism. Even the people who seem to excel and have the gift of evangelism readily confess their weakness. So, why is it so universally difficult?
Posted on April 18th, 2014 by Cory Varden
Resources for Understanding and Explaining Easter, Stand to Reason: Don’t let this Easter season pass you by without some reflection on what it means and why it matters. Here are some resources to help you do this.
Easter and ethics: How the resurrection reshapes the Christian life, Phillip Bethancourt: What is the relationship between Easter and ethics? How does the crucifixion shape the Christian life? How does the resurrection reorient our moral intuitions?
Five Errors to Drop From Your Easter Sermon,Andreas J. Köstenberger and Justin Taylor: If you want to help people see Holy Week with fresh eyes, start by dropping these familiar fallacies.
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