Archive for June, 2009

Jun 25

Longing for Acceptance

2009 | by Ryan Kelly | Category: Quote

Tullian Tchividjian: 

One of the gospel’s most thrilling, life-giving, notes is that in Jesus I have all the acceptance I long for. The gospel rescues us from the fear of being rejected.

That fear looms large in all of us, though some have become quite sophisticated in trying to suppress and silence it.

We think our lives will become meaningful and worth living if we can just get in the right relationships with the right people, especially those who can help us reach where we want to go and get what we want to obtain, wherever and whatever that is. It could be the right level of income, or entry into the right social strata, or the right career, or the right marriage. If we can’t make our dreams a reality, whatever they are, then life isn’t worth living. We seek to gain that acceptance especially through our appearance, or our achievements, or our performance.

Read the rest here.

Jun 11

Connecting the Dots in Luke 9

2009 | by Ryan Kelly | Category: Sermon Follow-Up

Last Sunday’s sermon looked at Luke 9. Below is a basic outline for the sermon.


Scene 1: The twelve sent out on mission (1-11)

Scene 2: Five thousand fed (12-17)

Scene 3:  Peter’s confession (18-21); Prediction of Jesus’ death (22); Discipleship explained (23-27)

Scene 4: The transfiguration (28-36)

Scene 5: A demon possessed boy healed (37-45)

Scene 6: Who is the greatest? (46-48)

Scene 7: Who is for us and who is against us? An outsider who heals in Jesus’ name? (49-50); Inhospitable Samaritans? (52-56)

Scene 8: Discipleship explained again (57-62)


1.  It’s time to get more clear about who Jesus is

• He’s the commissioner of the disciples (1-6)
• He’s the Elijah-like Prophet (8, 19, 30)
• He’s a miraculous provider (12-17)
• He’s the Christ (20-21)
• He’s the friend of Elijah and Moses (30-31)
• He’s the unique glory of God incarnate (32, 34-35)
• He’s uniquely sovereign over demons – unlike the disciples (40-43)
• He came to save, not destroy (56)
• He’s on a mission – He’s “determined to go to Jerusalem” (51)

2.  It’s time to tell the disciples of his impending death

• Herod is growing concerned (7-9) – this is Luke tipping his hand about what’s to come
• Jesus explicitly says that he will suffer and die and be raised (22, 44)
• His disciples will have to follow him to take up their cross (23) 
• He was “determined to go to Jerusalem” (51) 
• In light of v 51, the significance of v 31 becomes clearer (“they were speaking of His departure which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem”)

3.  It’s time to start to pass the mission on to the disciples

• Disciples go out as an extension of Jesus and his ministry (1-2, 6)
• Disciples are to join Jesus in seeking salvation of the lost (54-56)
• Disciples are not to be rivals (49-50)

4.  It’s time to fully warn of the sacrifice and single-focus of the mission

• Disciples go out expecting their provision to come from God (3)
• Disciples go out anticipating rejection and suffering (5, 23-27)
• Disciples are to be child-like, not jockeying for greatness (46-48)
• Disciples go out in sacrifice and with a singular focus (57-62)

5.  It’s time for the disciples to start to really get all of this

There are a couple examples of them getting it in this chapter:
• When they’re sent out with nothing and return with a good report  (1-11)
• Peter’s confession (20)

There are more examples of the disciples not getting it (being knuckleheads):
• Peter doesn’t understand the utter uniqueness of Jesus in God’s plan (32-35)
• Jesus is frustrated with the disciples’ failure to cast out a demon (40-41)
• They did not understand what he said about his death (44-45; cf 22)
• They debate among themselves about which of them is the greatest (46)
• They wonder if they should oppose an outsider who works in Jesus’ name (49)
• They wonder if they should call down destruction on inhospitable Samaritans (53-54)

Jun 8

We’re All Theologians

2009 | by Ryan Kelly | Category: Quote,Recommended Link

So says Doug Philips.

Our ‘theology’ is essentially the set of controlling beliefs and thoughts that we have about God and how we are to relate to him. So, again, we are all theologians. The difference lies in whether or not our theology is intentionally (and increasingly) shaped by Scriptural teaching.

Read the rest of the article.

Jun 5

Bavinck on the Danger of Mysticism

2009 | by Ryan Kelly | Category: Books,Quote,Recommended Link

Kevin DeYoung has some great quotes from Herman Bavinck on “anabaptist mysticism.” You may not have a clue as to what anabaptist or mysticism refer to, but if you’ve been in American evangelical culture much at all, you’ve surely heard (or yourself spoken) a contemporary version of it.

What is it? According to Bavinck:

Its fundamental idea, although modified in a Christian way within Christian circles, is essential to all mysticism, wherever it has appeared–whether in India or Greece, in Persia or Egypt. Simply stated, it is this: in order to find truth or life or salvation–in a word, to find God–a person need not go outside of himself but need only descend within himself. God dwells within a person, making His abode within the person either through nature or through a special, supernatural descent into the person. After all, religion does not involve doctrine or activity, thinking or doing, but religion involves living in God, union and communion with God, which can be enjoyed only in the depths of one’s psyche, in the immediacy of one’s consciousness.

After Bavinck explains that that line of thinking has not been without some fruit in the Anabaptist tradition, he nevertheless warns of where it subtly leads:

When this notion has been expressed at any time in history by a person of deep seriousness and firm conviction, finding warm and enthusiastic agreement within any circle small or large, it frequently give birth to exuberance, courage, enthusiasm, and deep and glorious mysticism. This was the case at first with the Anabaptists as well. At that time there were many upright believers among them, many genuine children of God. Whatever one might say about the Anabaptists, one must never forget that in large numbers and with remarkable courage of faith, they sacrificed their goods and their blood for the cause of the Lord.

So Kevin concludes:

Without an outer, objective Word, the internal Word always gives way to rationalism, because in appealing to our inner sense of things, we end up just appealing to our own reason. Over time, then, Scripture is increasingly silenced, as we continue doing and thinking what we want, and Scripture is consulted only to confirm what we already “know.” The result is a cold, lifeless church, without the power of God or the truth of God’s word.

Related to the question of God’s leading and our decision making, see Kevin’s book, Just Do Something: How to Make a Decision Without Dreams, Visions, Fleeces, Open Doors, Random Bible Verses, Casting Lots, Liver Shivers, Writing in the Sky, etc. Zach also recently did an interview with Kevin about the book.

Jun 5

Thank God for Pinch-Hitters!

2009 | by Ryan Kelly | Category: Gospel

As many of you know, last Sunday, at around 5 AM, after hours of vomiting and fervently praying to feel better soon, I called Ron Giese to tell him that I was too sick to preach and I needed to hand the sermon off to him. Despite the fact that it was an extremely late notice, he filled in happily and wonderfully.

If for some reason you missed Pastor Ron’s message, you really should listen to it. The audio is available here and detailed notes are also available here.

This Sunday we’ll take another run at the message that was intended for last week from Luke 9: “Crash Course Discipleship for Knuckleheads.”