Archive for the Gospel Category
At our Good Friday service we left in quiet and contemplation after viewing this animated video, “It is Finished!”
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Over the past week, several of DSC’s leaders and some others from around DSC made their way to Florida for The Gospel Coalition’s National Conference. The theme for this conference was focused on our future hope: “Coming Home: New Heaven and New Earth.”
Summaries of each day—including photos, videos, and quotes—are posted on TGC’s site: Day 1, Day 2, and Day 3. Full sermon audio and video will be available in the weeks ahead, but for now, here are several short sermon clips from the conference.
Tim Keller — “Why Circumcision?”
John Piper — “If you write it, put your name on it.”
Voddie Baucham – “The federal headship of Jesus.”
Mark Dever – “America’s safety belt.”
Ligon Duncan – “We shall be like Him.”
Philip Ryken – “Get back to the garden.”
John Piper has written a bit about suffering in the course of his ministry. Any pastor preaching the Bible will, actually. Here’s a nice piece from Piper on suffering, titled, “Trouble: Faith’s Best Friend.”
“Count it all joy, my brethren, when you meet various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.” — James 1:2-3
The testing of your faith through trials produces endurance. What is the opposite of endurance? Well, I suppose the opposite of “endurance” is “petering out”. When faith doesn’t endure it peters out. So if you don’t want your faith to peter out then you need some trials. Because James says it is trials that “produce endurance.”
This is odd. Most of us would say that faith endures in spite of trials, not because of trials. Most of us think that when trouble comes faith is threatened. We don’t usually attribute the duration of faith to the trouble it meets. But duration is what endurance means. James says, faith lasts, faith endures, because it meets trouble and threat.
This is odd. We might be willing to say that faith becomes deeper or stronger through trials. But that’s not the same as saying that faith endures because of trials. That’s like saying a marathon runner is able to finish the race because he keeps getting bumped into. Would any runner say that his ability to endure to the end of a race is enhanced by the number of people that knock him down?
Perhaps. Suppose there was a runner who loved flowers. Here he is, running along at the head of the pack when all of a sudden he is carried away by the beauty of a rose garden beside Lake Calhoun. Forgetting the race and the reward of the wreath, he starts to leave the road and smell the flowers. But all of a sudden, out of nowhere, someone (!!) knocks him flat on his back. It hurts so bad that his nose for roses is gone. But suddenly he realizes that the race is still on and only those who finish get a prize. And he is up and running.
And if this happens several times, some clever sports writer might write an article and say, “Hey rose-lover, count it all joy when you get knocked down, because it produces endurance—the only runner in the marathon who finished the race because some ‘fan’ kept knocking him down!”
Maybe it’s us runners who are odd, not God.
And could it be that the health, wealth and prosperity teaching of our day is the enemy of faith because it teaches that faith’s best friend is her enemy?
Heading for the tape with you,
Our citizenship is in heaven, and yet we are embedded in the world. It’s important to know where we are and when we’re living in order that we might praise God accordingly and live wisely as those send here with the gospel.
With that in mind, here are seven articles to read over this fourth of July weekend.
“Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, the only two presidents to sign the document, both died on the Fourth of July in 1826, the fiftieth anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration. Adam’s last words have been reported as ‘Thomas Jefferson survives.’ He did not know that Jefferson had died only a few hours before. James Monroe, the last president who was a Founding Father, also died on July 4 in 1831. Calvin Coolidge, the 30th President, was born on July 4, 1872, and, so far, is the only President to have been born on Independence Day.”
“Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness,” Kevin DeYoung
“I understand the dangers of an unthinking ‘God and country’ mentality, let alone a gospel-less civil religion. But I also think love of country–like love of family or love of work–is a proximate good. Patriotism is not beneath the Christian, even for citizens of a superpower. So on this Independence Day I’m thankful most of all for the cross of Christ and the freedom we have from the world, the flesh, and the devil. But I’m also thankful for the United States. I’m thankful for the big drops of biblical truth which seeped into the blood stream of Thomas Jefferson and shaped our Founding Fathers. I’m thankful for our imperfect ideals. I’m thankful for God-given rights and hard-fought liberty. I’m thankful I can call myself an American.”
“Christians Face Abuse Around the Globe,” Robert P. George
“With media attention riveted on the Middle East, it is tempting to assume that persecution against Christians occurs almost exclusively in that region. But assaults against Christians are worldwide, transcending any one regional, ideological, or religious bent. Combating this problem entails a much broader solution. According to the findings of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), evidence abounds of persecution elsewhere.”
“Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness,” Jon Bloom
“We know that our democratic republican form of government has its origins in Athens and Rome and various other Western democratic experiments. But where did this vision for the dignity and freedom of all human beings come from? Jerusalem — by which I mean the Bible.”
“Pastors, Politics, and the American Republic,” Jonathan Parnell
“America and its founders. Now that’s a conversation folks can get passionate about, whether in political rhetoric or some Christian circles. However, beyond any dispute on the role Christianity played in those early days, we can say undoubtedly that public opinion in 1776 considered Christians beneficial to the American republic. In short, the consensus was that Christians bring a lot of societal good in a representative democracy. The man who led the way in articulating this benefit was John Witherspoon, founding father, Presbyterian minister and president of Princeton University, among other things. Though he flies under the radar in many history classes, Witherspoon’s influence is significant. And while he embodied the major intellectual traditions of his day, he has a helpful word on the gospel’s influence in society. Witherspoon contended that the contribution of ‘true religion’ to the public order is the morality of its adherents. Or said another way, the gospel’s influence on society comes by the means of transformed lives.”
“American Equality and Ideals,” Justin Taylor
Quoting C.S. Lewis: “I am a democrat [believer in democracy] because I believe in the Fall of Man. I think most people are democrats for the opposite reason. A great deal of democratic enthusiasm descends from the ideas of people like Rousseau, who believed in democracy because they thought mankind so wise and good that every one deserved a share in the government. The danger of defending democracy on those grounds is that they’re not true. . . . I find that they’re not true without looking further than myself. I don’t deserve a share in governing a hen-roost. Much less a nation. . . . The real reason for democracy is just the reverse. Mankind is so fallen that no man can be trusted with unchecked power over his fellows. Aristotle said that some people were only fit to be slaves. I do not contradict him. But I reject slavery because I see no men fit to be masters.”
“What John Piper Said in Washington, D.C.,” John Piper
“More than ever since 9/11, Christians in America, and especially Christians in the U.S. government, should make clear that there is a radical distinction between Christianity, on the one hand, and American culture and the American political system, on the other hand. Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Jews, atheists, and all other non-Christians need to know this for Christ’s sake.”
That’s a question you need to settle.
In 2011, Christopher Yuan published a book by the title, Out of a Far Country: A Gay Son’s Journey to God. A Broken Mother’s Search for Hope. It’s his story of salvation. He was a fully engaged in a homosexual lifestyle for years as his mother prayed for him. Then, as this good story goes, God saved him. Now he writes and speaks on the subject. Here’s his site.
This year, Matthew Vines published a very different book with a very different story on the same topic. It’s titled, God and the Gay Christian: The Biblical Case in Support of Same-Sex Relationships. You may have heard about it. In our seminar on the topic of homosexual marriage in April, we addressed a number of the arguments raised in Vines’ book. You should have confidence that the Bible is clear. The seminar will help.
So, will Christopher Yuan’s review of Vines’ book at Christianity Today, “Why ‘God and the Gay Christian’ Is Wrong About the Bible and Same-Sex Relationships.” Here’s from the opening section:
[Vines’] aim is not to present new information, but to synthesize gay-affirming arguments and make them accessible for a broader and younger audience. Vines does a good job fulfilling this goal. Unfortunately, his book consists of some logical and exegetical fallacies, and it does not address the shortcomings of the authors to whom it is most indebted. And although Vines professes a “high view” of the Bible, he ultimately fails to apply uncomfortable biblical truths in a way that embraces a costly discipleship.
Read his whole article here. For another helpful response to Vines’ book, check out, God and the Gay Christian? A Response to Matthew Vines, an ebook written by professors from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
“We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you
and are over you in the Lord and admonish you,
and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work.”
— 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13
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This is the video we played to your surprise and to the surprise of Ryan Kelly on Sunday morning after he closed his 500th sermon. It was also a good time to celebrate Ryan’s 10th year with us (which actually happened back in August). We’ve been tracking his sermon total for a few years now and Sunday provided a nice moment for us to reflect on God’s grace in the life of our church in the gift of a preacher and in the fruit born from his Word.
After Ryan preached, he prayed and then asked the congregation to stand before the last song. As he walked off stage, Drew asked everyone to sit and introduced the video. After the video, Ron shared for a few minutes from Ryan’s life and ministry and invited Ryan and Sarah up to receive two gifts. First, a signed used NHL playoff hockey stick from former Red Wings player, Steve Yzerman. This is a rare find from one of Ryan’s favorite players from Ryan’s favorite team from Ryan’s favorite sport. This gift was given from a number of Ryan’s friends, a few from the church and several from around the country. Then, our church family (though you didn’t know this at the time!) gifted Ryan and Sarah with a trip to watch the Red Wings play in a city of their choice sometime in the next year.
If you weren’t able to be with us and wish you knew ahead of time, we sure wish we could have let you know! But then Ryan would have almost certainly found out. And as it is, he was clueless and befuddled, and after that, choked up and crying right in front of us. It was perfect.
Here are a few photos from the end of the service.
Ryan Preaching #500
“500 Sermons” video
Ron tells the story of Ryan’s ministry
Ron asks Ryan where the Red Wings play hockey because he forgot
Ron presents the first gift
Ryan and Ron go in for the hug
Ron mentions a second gift that includes Sarah
Last year John Piper posted an article, “Parents, Require Obedience of Your Children.” In the eight months or so since I’ve read this, we’ve tried to implement the nine principles that Piper offers in the parenting of our children. Each time we discipline our children (who are all under the age of 6), we ask:
1) Why am I about to discipline you? (Because I love you)
– and –
2) What would happen if I didn’t require your obedience and discipline you? (You would be on a trajectory of greater disobedience and rebellion)
In these formative years of childhood, we are trying to cultivate quick obedience from our children to their human authorities, so that when they are no longer children, they will, Lord willing and by his grace, quickly obey their heavenly authority.
I am writing this to plead with Christian parents to require obedience of their children. I am moved to write this by watching young children pay no attention to their parents’ requests, with no consequences. Parents tell a child two or three times to sit or stop and come or go, and after the third disobedience, they laughingly bribe the child. This may or may not get the behavior desired.
Last week, I saw two things that prompted this article. One was the killing of 13-year-old Andy Lopez in Santa Rosa, California, by police who thought he was about to shoot them with an assault rifle. It was a toy gun. What made this relevant was that the police said they told the boy two times to drop the gun. Instead he turned it on them. They fired.
I do not know the details of that situation or if Andy even heard the commands. So I can’t say for sure he was insubordinate. So my point here is not about young Lopez himself. It’s about a “what if.” What if he heard the police, and simply defied what they said? If that is true, it cost him his life. Such would be the price of disobeying proper authority.
I witnessed such a scenario in the making on a plane last week. I watched a mother preparing her son to be shot.
I was sitting behind her and her son, who may have been seven years old. He was playing on his digital tablet. The flight attendant announced that all electronic devices should be turned off for take off. He didn’t turn it off. The mother didn’t require it. As the flight attendant walked by, she said he needed to turn it off and kept moving. He didn’t do it. The mother didn’t require it.
One last time, the flight attendant stood over them and said that the boy would need to give the device to his mother. He turned it off. When the flight attendant took her seat, the boy turned his device back on, and kept it on through the take off. The mother did nothing. I thought to myself, she is training him to be shot by police.
Click here to read Piper’s nine principles and how the gospel transforms obedience.