Welcome to another collection of links that have impacted me this past week. Hope you find them as beneficial as I did.
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The Normal Pastor Conference
Ever since Jared Wilson hinted at a conference having this venue and theme, I was hooked. A conference pastors speaking to pastors about the pastoral office, irregardless of platform or background. “This isn’t about big churches or small churches or big platforms or small platforms. Whatever your ministry context or scale, The Normal Pastor is for any minister who is a little more convinced each day that he needs a lot more gospel and a lot less of himself.” I’ll be in attendance. Hope you will too. continue reading & register→
What a Foe We Have In Jesus
Many times, the Jesus we think we want isn’t the Jesus we need. We want a plush, friendly, cozy Jesus — a chummy Savior. At least we think we want that because we think that’d be easier. But that’s not who Christ is. He’s both the Friend and the Foe of sinners. The labor of chiseling the old Adam from our nature often hurts like hell. And its supposed to. The work of redemption involves death and resurrection. That’s not a pretty process. That’s not a nice thing to go through. But, as Chad says, “Jesus isn’t always nice. But he is always truthful and faithful, which is far better.” continue reading→
I Am a Sinner Preaching to Sinners
At times, evangelical Christianity can be more Catholic than it’d ever admit. Besides our functional theology of grace plus works, which creeps in at times, the office of the pastor is continually lofted to heights above where Scripture mandates. Growing up a pastor’s kid, I was privy to see and experience this firsthand. There’s almost a target on the backs of the pastor and his family, as they endeavor to minister and serve the church without messing up. And in one sense, there is a peculiar calling and standard that any aspiring pastor must live up to. God’s Word is clear on that. But in another sense, the pastoral office is much less complex than that. It boils down to a dying man preaching to other dying men. continue reading→
Tattoos and Turtles
One of the biggest lies in Satan’s arsenal is believing that God can’t use you because of your past. The devil will often use our wrong decisions against us, bringing back feelings of guilt and regret and remorse, all of which form formidable barriers that often hinder a belief in the gospel of grace. But as Emilie reiterates so well here, God can use anyone — yes, even a tattooed turtle — to carry out His will. The Bible makes this very clear, that regardless of your past, God is the great transformer of lives. It doesn’t matter what you look like before, the gospel-promise is that you are whiter than snow. Excellent piece over at The Gospel Economist. continue reading→
The Christian Is a Live Oak
A recurring theme throughout the Scriptures is that of comparing the life of a believer to that of a tree. If you were to carry this study to its completion, you’d find remarkable symbolism between the two. Like a tree, the believer with the most solid root system will withstand the torrent of life’s struggles. Those who are “rooted and grounded in love,” in the gospel, are those who remain steadfast when life seems against them. Without this root system, this knowledge, endurance is impossible and failure is inevitable. In actuality, the Christian ought to resemble the Louisiana live oak more than anything else. I’ll let Obbie explain. continue reading→
Radical Grace . . . is Radical
It’s so easy to get caught in in the pit of curtailing the message of the gospel. The truth of God’s good news of salvation for sinners is so good that it can’t be true. At least, that’s what the old Adam would have you believe. But the radical news of free salvation for sinners like you and me is true, verifiably true, now and always. Like the apostle, shame on us for preaching and propagating anything different (1 Cor. 9:16). We should never back down from the message of the gospel. We should “never rob people of the good news that religion can take away.” Great words here from Steve Brown. continue reading→
Good News v Old News
Perhaps the most grave fallacy we can commit is assuming that the “spiritual milk” referenced by the apostle was the gospel, and that the “meat of spiritual maturity” is something beyond the gospel. I think many find that interpretation comfortably true. The gospel becomes old, therefore, I must move on from it into something deeper, more profound. And such are the lies that Satan would have you believe. There’s nothing more deeply profound than God’s gospel of salvation for sinners. And, in the words of Paul Dunk, “Spiritual maturity is not moving past Christ and onto some other deeper teaching. Spiritual maturity is moving more deeply into Christ, because that gives relevance to the rest of biblical teaching.” Loved this piece. continue reading→
One of the saddest things a Christian could be known for are his rules. That’s the preconceived notion, many times, in the people’s heads. The Christian is some rule-checking nazi that’s bent on making sure everyone else follows the same rules, and if not, watch out! Sadly, a judging spirit has become the trademark reputation for the Christian. But that’s not at all what we should be known for. “Instead of being known for our hateful rhetoric,” Chad West says, “we should be known for jaw-dropping acts of mercy.” I wholeheartedly agree. And I wholeheartedly enjoyed this post. continue reading→
Song of the Week
“The Length of the Cross” by Chris Quilala.