Archive for February, 2013
Sunday’s message from 1 Peter 1:13, “A Fixed and Focused Hope,” brought us to the subject of Christ’s return, and the subject of Christ’s return brought us to the subject of heaven. Why is Christ’s return so great? Why is heaven so great? Because God and Christ are there.
Heaven is something Christians certainly believe in, but it’s something most of us aren’t sure what to say about.
Well, here’s some help. If you’re into sermon reading, check out a sermon by Charles Spurgeon, titled, “The Heaven of Heaven.” Then, if you’re into sermon listening, listen to the excellent message by Sam Storms, titled, “Joy’s Eternal Increase: Edwards on the Beauty of Heaven” (click here for the video).
Listen, enjoy, and look forward to all that God has in store for those whose hope is set fully on the grace that will be revealed to us at the appearing of Christ (1 Peter 1:13).
“Do You Still Want to Be Like Mike?” (Matt Smethurst)
An excellent reflection on a much loved sports hero who is sadly living out the implications of a, quite literally, self-centered worldview.
“Reaching Catholics in Your Community” (Chris Castaldo)
With the Pope’s retirement comes an opportunity to consider how we might reach our Catholic neighbors with the gospel.
“Are You Worshiping the Idol of ‘Open-Options’?” (Barry Cooper)
The false god of limitless choices, like at the coffeehouse, is enslaving modern Americans.
“Was Adam For Real, and Does It Matter?” (John Piper)
John Piper answers this important question.
“Ten Sure Signs We’ve Lost Our Minds” (Trevin Wax)
Documenting the bizarre beliefs and inconsistencies that surface in contemporary discourse.
“7 Things Pastors Should Teach Those in the Marketplace” (Lukas Naugle)
Insightful words about the diversity and dignity of work, and how we can go about it to the glory of God.
“Why the Afterlife Bores Us” (Russell Moore)
Our very verbiage of “afterlife” indicates that we think of heaven as a postlude to our more exciting present life.
“D. A. Carson: ‘This Is Now the “Must Read” Book in the Field’” (Justin Taylor)
If D.A. Carson recommends a book, consider getting it. Here’s an important new book on ethics and the beginning of human life.
“What Is the Bible?” (Dane Ortlund)
Here’s a great answer to this question by J.I. Packer.
Colin Marshall published an article this week with a title that sounds strangely familiar, “Church Was Great! Let’s Not Talk About It.”
Here’s how Colin’s article begins:
We’ve just heard the Word read and proclaimed, sung the praises of our great God, and petitioned him for mercy in our time of need. And then we spend our time afterward talking about last night’s movie, the game, the hobby, the state of the nation, or whatever.Anything but the great truths of the gospel we’ve just heard and by which we’re saved. Why do we do this?
Then, he suggests a number of familiar reasons:
“Drive-thru church” doesn’t help. We have six other commitments on Sunday, so we aim to get through church as efficiently as possible on the way to the next thing. Some of us have just never thought about having conversations about the sermon (apart from pestering the preacher about something). Others know it’s crazy to talk about everything but God, yet they still feel uncomfortable striking up “spiritual” conversations. We’ve never been in a context where this is normal. Sometimes, perhaps too often, we leave the service with no sense of engaging with God by Word and Spirit, and so we have nothing to say to anyone.
For still more, the underlying problem is our consumer view of church—an unsurprising consequences of “what’s in it for me” contemporary Western culture. “Church is put on for me by the professionals and their teams,” we assume. With this mindset, engaging in spiritually encouraging conversations certainly won’t be on the agenda.
Ironically, those with a serving mindset—the antithesis of consumerism—can also find it difficult to get into “God talk” at church. The busyness of serving can keep us from stopping to encourage others and can let us feel we’ve done enough by helping to organize things.
At least one or two of these dynamics will ring true for any of us. Click here for some of Colin’s suggestions for how to think and talk about Sunday.
Then, looking forward to Sunday morning, read and talk about 1 Peter 1:13, the text for this Sunday’s sermon: “Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
“A Personal Liturgy of Confession” (David Powlison)
David Powlison with another always insight article, this time on the subject of confession of sin to God. He walks us through a liturgy of confession.
“How Could God Command Genocide in the Old Testament?” (Justin Taylor)
That’s an important question. Here’s Justin Taylor’s explanation of what he sees in Scripture.
“Churches Torched in Egypt” (Christian Today)
Read this article and pray for Christians suffering under persecution in Egypt.
“Top 10 Reasons Our Kids Leave Church” (Marc)
Every godly Christian wants to see the next generation embrace the gospel. Mark at 5solas helps us think through where the church can grow in its ministry to young people.
“Lecrae Raps the Gospel in One Minute” (Desiring God)
Listen to this great summary of what the gospel is in the form of a rap you will like if you are breathing.
“Three Kinds of Accusation” (Doug Wilson)
Some helpful reflections on how our liberation from guilt, shame, and fear in the gospel transforms our relationships.
“Generic Prayer Request Generator” (Zach Nielsen)
Just in case you need some help with prayer.
“How To Stop Church-Killing Gossip” (Justin Taylor)
Why are we enticed to gossip and why is it so damaging?
“Piper, Carson, and Keller on Sustaining the Covenant of Marital Love” (Collin Hansen)
A short video trying to answer: “What sustains the marital bond and affections over the long haul?”
This is the first of two posts introducing you to this year’s speakers for Clarus. First up is Timothy Lane.
Before some details on his background, here’s a video to more personally acquaint you with Tim’s care for people, his clarity of insight into human relationships, and the centrality of the Word in his understanding of how we grow together.
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If you didn’t catch it, here’s a great quote from the last part of this video:
“The Bible is a two edged sword. It enables and even pushes you to admit how deeply self centered you are, and that’s one of the reasons [people] don’t like the Bible. And at the same time is shows you a God who is committed to rescue you from your own self-centeredness.That right there is what is utterly unique about the Christian message.”
Timothy Lane is a choice speaker for our theme, One-Anothering the Word. He is President and faculty member at the Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation (CCEF) and has been counseling for more than 25 years. He has previous experience in both campus and pastoral ministry, including serving at Clemson Presbyterian Church in Clemson, South Carolina for ten years before coming to CCEF.
Tim is an Adjunct Professor of Practical Theology at Westminster Theological Seminary, and teaches at other seminaries throughout the country.
Tim co-authored the books How People Change and Relationships: A Mess Worth Making with Paul Tripp. He has also the author of several mini-books including Conflict: A Redemptive Opportunity, Family Feuds, Temptation: Fighting the Urge, Sex Before Marriage, andFreedom from Guilt. Tim writes regularly for the CCEF Blog and CCEF’s Journal of Biblical Counseling. Many of these resources are available at the Resource Center.
Tim lives in Jenkintown, Pennsylvania with his wife, Barbara. They have two children in college and two in high school.
For more information, or to register for Clarus, visit clarusabq.com.
One of our purposes on this blog is to point out some of the better resources around the web in a given week. The Link List is a new way of getting that done. Here’s the first installment!
“Advice For Parenting Young Kids” (Steve McCoy)
A pastor from Illinois and father of four shares some wise counsel for parents of young children.
“Do You Know Your Neighbors’ Names?” (Justin Taylor)
Are you eager to do something big and evangelistic? Here’s an idea.
“How’s Your Bible Reading Going?” (Ryan Kelly)
Why is it hard for me to read my Bible? Ryan Kelly offers a few suggestions for why we struggle with Bible reading and offers help for pursuing God through his Word.
“What is Church Membership?” (9Marks Ministries)
DSC’s Membership Class, Knowing Christ, Knowing the Church, began this past week. Be in prayer for those taking the class, and consider the wisdom of God’s plan to redeem people to himself for a people for his name.
“Confessions from a New Mom’s Devotional Life” (Sharon Miller)
A new mom reflects on how the pressures of parenting impact how she approaches Bible reading.
“Happy 100th Birthday, Mrs. Parks,” Justin Taylor
Here’s a nice write up by Justin Taylor about the story of Civil Rights heroine, Rosa Parks.
One of Paul Tripp’s many books is a book about words: War of Words: Getting to the Heart of Your Communication Struggles. For as much as we use words, we don’t think about how we use them nearly enough. But, as James reminds us, the tongue is a restless evil (3:8), yet God has given it to us that we might bless him with it and give grace to others.
Here’s a short video of Paul Tripp speaking about how we can use our words to speak truth in love.
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