Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Novel dangers?

The Christian community is really good at providing subculture substitutes for objectionable but enjoyable entities in the world. One of the most prominent is the Christian romance novel, which has become staple reading for millions of church-going women. Though superficially innocuous, could such books be harmful to one's spiritual and relational health? In an insightful post, Russell Moore helps us think through this topic for our good. You can find his article here.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Piper and Warren

If you have ever wondered where Rick Warren stands on some major doctrines, and if you were perplexed at John Piper's invitation for Warren to speak at the Desiring God conference two years ago, here is a very helpful and edifying interview recently recorded of the two men in discussion.

Friday, May 27, 2011

The most important discipline

Though there are all kinds of daily disciplines which a growing Christian should give attention to (e.g. prayer, Bible reading, evangelism, generosity, quiet reflection, confession, acts of service, etc.), I am more and more convinced that one should rise above the rest: preaching the gospel to ourselves. It is the simple practice of beginning (and, I would recommend, ending) each day by briefly recalling the sins you've committed recently (to remind yourself of how much you need Christ's grace) and the certain forgiveness you have in Jesus' perfect life, atoning death and victorious resurrection.

Jerry Bridges, in Bookends of the Christian Life, presents his own model for daily preaching the gospel to himself. It is a three-step process:
1. Each day he begins with a standard text which reminds him of his need for Christ. He has chosen Luke 18:13, "God, be merciful to me, a sinner."
2. Next, Jerry remembers sins he's recently committed and is still feeling convicted about and applies to them, in the form of a prayer, a gospel-proclaiming text. Here are his daily prayers:
Monday: Micah 7:19, "Lord, I know that you will again have compassion on me; Because of Jesus' life and death in my place, You will tread my sins of (fill in blank) underfoot. You will cast all my sins in the depths of the sea."
Tuesday: Romans 4:7-8, "Lord, I am blessed because my sins of (fill in blank) are completely forgiven, and my sins of (fill in blank) are completely covered; blessed am I against whom You will not count my sin. Christ has paid for them all!"
Wednesday: Romans 8:1, "Lord, I know that there is, because of Christ's life and death in my place, now no condemnation for me, for He has cleaned me of (fill in blank)."
Thursday: Colossians 2:13-14, "Lord, I have sinned by (fill in blank). Yet, I who used to be dead in my trespasses and sins, and the uncircumcision of my flesh, You have made alive together with Christ. You have forgiven me of all my trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against me with its legal demands. This You set aside, nailing to the cross. It's gone! The accuser's voice is silenced. I'm cleansed. I'm forgiven!"
Friday: Psalm 103:12, "Lord, As far as the east is from the west, so far have you removed my transgressions of (fill in the blank) from me through the merits of Jesus Christ. Though You still know them, You will never hold them against me."
Saturday: Isaiah 1:18, "Lord, my sins of (fill in blank) are like scarlet, yet in Christ I am white as snow; though they are red like crimson, His cross makes me clean and pure like wool. His death and resurrection guarantees it."
3. Finally, Jerry finishes preaching the gospel to himself daily with the victorious words of John 19:30, "It is finished! Father, thank You that in Christ my forgiveness is a done deal, yesterday, today and forever."
As your pastor, I'm pray that as you mature as a Christian you increasingly fill your life with many godly, biblical daily disciplines. But never forget that only one is supreme and indispensable. Don't forget to preach the gospel to yourself.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Duncan on Camping

Yes, by now its official: Harold Camping, the May 21 prediction prophet, is a fake. Not surprising, given the fact that he previously predicted the Rapture in 1994 and was wrong. Just how misled and dangerous is this California church leader and radio personality? Ligon Duncan provides an excellent, detailed assessment here.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Showing Jesus to our kids

As Trinity has sought to become more and more a gospel-centered church in all we do, one of the trusted authors we've found so helpful is Elyse Fitzpatrick. In the attached video clip she discusses parenting in a gospel-driven way. May it inspire us to help us show Jesus more clearly to our kids. You can watch it here.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Seeing red?

Tomorrow I'm preaching on the Word of God, and one of the points I'm making regards the equal value of the entire Bible for Christians today. Sometimes we can unwittingly slip into gravitating in our Bible reading to some parts of Scripture more than others or even think that some parts are more relevant or important than others, but that is not true. Though I personally own a 'red letter' Bible, sometimes such publications which highlight certain words can have the same eroding effect on our view of Scripture. An excellent, short article exploring that can be found here.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Biblical joy

Tomorrow we get to dig into three of the Bible's shortest but most significant commands: "Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all things, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." (I Thes. 5:16-18)

Here's a foretaste: What is biblical joy? It is a state of deep, unshakable, inner satisfaction and optimism in Who God is for us in Christ. Think about that. Does that define you? If not, why not?