Hello, and welcome to another edition of Links I Like, a weekly collection of links and stories that impacted me in some way during the past week. Let’s get right to it!
The Christian Polytheist
The common belief today is that there are a myriad of roads to get to heaven, but they all have the same paradise at the end of them. We’re a pluralistic and polytheistic society that’s bent on ensuring everyone’s right in their own way. But by making this consolation, no one’s right. The offensive truth of the gospel is its demand for recognition of One way to glory, that is, through the blood of the Son. As Chad explains so well, here, the underlying sin of the world is idolatry — the exchange of the one, true God for lesser, more apparent gods. And in this exchange, or more accurately, in this usurpation of God’s rightful throne lies all the misery and brokenness of sin and death. continue reading→
A Pastor’s Legacy
Growing up a pastor’s kid, I knew this firsthand. I had frontline knowledge of the fact that my dad’s “job” was less about the pulpit and more about the people. In fact, his ministry had little to do with Sunday and more to do with Monday through Saturday. So often, people get the harebrained idea that being a pastor is easy because all they do is preach once or twice on Sundays and then just kick back and read all week, or something like that. But nothing could be further from the truth. A pastor’s real ministry isn’t necessarily on the Lord’s day, but all the others days that come in between. These are days that are filled with hurt marriages, struggling husbands, complaining members, and dying loved ones. It’s in these moments that a legacy is formed. Obviously, how these situations are handled with drive how people remember you, which is why it’s important to preach the gospel through it all. The greatest legacy a pastor could leave is to preach Someone else’s. Great words from my dear friend, Obbie. continue reading→
What We Want the Law to Do That It Can’t Do
One of the core threads uniting believers throughout the centuries is our desire to be “better.” This doesn’t just apply to believers, as unbelievers desire this too. However, a Christian’s spiritual aspirations are naturally appealing methods of determining his spiritual maturity and aptitude and apprehension. This sense of better coupled with our innate drive for control has propelled us back to the law, back to a list of rules and provisos that we have to live up to. But the notion that these rules, that this law will make us better is misguided and completely mistaken. The law can never make us good, it can only show us what goodness looks like. “The Law, apart from the Gospel, at best will generate a begrudging submission to rules.” Good stuff, here, from RJ! continue reading→
The Church is not a Hospital for Sinners, It’s a Morgue for the Dead
“Church is not a museum for saints, its a hospital for sinners.” This famous colloquialism has been repeated ad nauseam throughout the years. And while I tend to be partial towards its use, in order to drive home a certain truth, there is certainly a level in which even this phrase isn’t good enough. It doesn’t go far enough in driving home the true reality of sin and glorious reality of the gospel. As Joel Hess expresses it so well, “The church is not a hospital for sinners, she is a morgue for the dead. Yet, it is the strangest of morgues — people arrive dead as doornails and leave alive!” Beautiful, gospel-soaked words. continue reading→
Preaching is Essential
“What is preaching?” For many today, preaching is a time to be encouraged or be entertained or taught how to be better. At least, that’s what a lot of sermons set out to do. But the reality is, a preacher’s job is singular and his sermons have a singular point and purpose: to drive sinners to the Word of God. A preacher’s mandate to speak with boldness the Word of God, in season and out, convenient or not. By preaching this Word, he’s not preaching himself, but preaching Christ, who is the Living Word. This is the rhythm of Scripture itself, after all. The plot line of the Bible is focused on the Word of the Father. Great reminder from John Divito. continue reading→
Stop Segmenting Your Life
As humans, we’re bound by time. All we do and say and think is influenced by the driving hands of the clock. It’s inescapable. And so, as we’re defined by time, we segment our lives into years, months, days, seconds, using them to our advantage (most of the time). The idea of New Years Resolutions can be chalked up to this notion, that a new segment of time offers more opportunity for “change” than the one we’re already in. It’s a fabricated idea that, while offering a glimmer of hope, most often ends in failure and exhaustion. Instead of succumbing to this law that says the passing of time demands you get better, put your faith and hope in a God who died for your past, present, as well as your future. Believe in the Son whose blood has covered your life, making you new — regardless of what resolutions you keep or don’t, God’s grace comes freely and unsegmented. continue reading→
If Church Isn’t Necessary, Let’s Quit.
Church is hard. Growing up a pastor’s kid, going to church just becomes part of your DNA. The question “What are you doing on Sunday?” isn’t even a legitimate question, which is both good and bad. Good in the sense that I’m consistent, but bad in the sense that church can become routine. And once the assembly of saved sinners becomes routine, then quit. Church is too hard for routine to overcome rejoicing. As soon as I slip into and focus more on the procedural aspects of Sunday services, I’d be better off sleeping in or spending my time elsewhere. There’s too much going on anyways. But these notions are absolutely false. To shake off the routine, we only need to remember why the church is absolutely necessary in the first place. I’ll let Kyle explain. continue reading→
Baptism Foreshadowed in Old Testament Narratives
One of the most helpful realizations that has revolutionized my study of Scripture is the fact that all of the Bible is Jesus-centered. That might seem so rudimentary that you chuckled a little bit, but focusing solely on Christ crucified and resurrected throughout the pages of the Word shifts the way you read it. And it should, because then you realize that those stories and scenes and people and prophecies were just historical, they’re Christological. They point us and drive us to Christ and what He would do for His people. And so it is that Chad Bird has compiled an excellent list of quotes and passages regarding the Old Testament foreshadowings of baptism. This is a great collection that helps you see and realize the larger picture of the Bible. continue reading→
Song of the Week
“My All In Thee” by Young Oceans, featuring Ellie Holcomb.