Welcome to “Links I Like,” a weekly roundup of news, stories, and links that have impacted me throughout the past week. Enjoy!
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The Horror of the Same Old Thing
“Familiarity breeds contempt.” This trite old saying actually rings loudly with a lot of truth, especially for Christians. The easy tendency for believers to become unsurprised and uninspired by what’s read in the Word and heard from the pulpit. Spiritual rut of familiarity is filled with a lot of well-meaning Christians that have fallen privy to the “horror of the same old thing.” The same old sermons. The same old stories, etc. Indeed, as Chad writes, “One of the greatest dangers we face is not failing at being a Christian, but succeeding.” We become so self-sufficient that we put Jesus out of work. Important words, here, from Chad Bird and 1517 Legacy. continue reading→
Who Was the Central Figure of the Protestant Reformation?
Come October of this year, Protestants will likely gather to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the unofficial commencement of the Protestant Reformation. With Martin Luther’s nailing of the 95 Theses to the church at Wittenberg, he seemingly created a firestorm of rejuvenated thought and scholarship concerning the Word of God. For many, then, Luther becomes the key figure of Reformed though, and rightfully so. Others, though, would put this label on John Calvin. But, as Obbie explains, both of these reformers would continuously point away from themselves and to another historical figure as the key to the Reformation: Augustine. This is a fascinating look by Obbie at the “central figure” of the movement that changed the course of evangelical thought and practice. continue reading→
Paul to Galatia: Stop Kissing the Ring
The apostle Paul’s letter to the Galatians stands out, to me, from among his other epistles as one of the most fiery and passionate letters ever penned. Under the Spirit’s power, Paul wrote words that cut to the heart of not only the Galatians’ erroneous thoughts about the gospel but also our present and continued misunderstandings about religion. The Book of Galatians is as relevant now as it was in Paul’s day. Paul’s primary objective is remind the Galatian Christians of the radically of the gospel, and to “stop kissing the ring of the law.” They were deceived by the Judaizers into believing that more merit was needed on top of what Christ already accomplished. And so it is that we, likewise, try to add to what’s already finished. Both then and now, those who do this are called fools. Excellent piece, as always, from Paul Dunk here. continue reading→
Love for Losers
The love of God infinitely more rich and deep and wide than we make it out to be. It goes far beyond our lowest depths of rebellion. It spreads father than our wandering takes us. It works in ways we can never understand nor ever will till we see Him face-to-face. “It’s a love that accepts us just as we are, soaking us to the bone with grace.” Great words, Chad. continue reading→
Lessons Learned From Four-Legged Friends
Bethany’s words are true and right. Having a pet isn’t an arbitrary thing. Yes, they often entertain us. I don’t know what I’d do without my German Shepherd, Chloe. But beyond entertaining us, pets preach to us. They show to us the endless forgiveness of the Father. They show to us the unflinching commitment Christ has for us. They beuaitufllyp display a “love that is unassuming, unprejudiced, and unyielding.” Yes, sometimes, pets make the greatest preachers. Wonderful words from my sister, here. continue reading→
When You Are Weak, You Are Strong
The economy of the gospel is completely opposite to the economy of the world. The world says you get what you give, whatever you put out is what you’ll receive in return. It’s karmic. The world also says that weakness isn’t allowed. You show yourself weak, you’re out, you’re shunned, you’re no longer useful. The important people are the strong people, the one’s who “have it together.” The gospel is the antithesis of these notions, declaring that the weak ones of the world are those who are most useful. And you don’t get back what you put out, you actually get the opposite — you get grace. Great post from Silverio Gonzalez and CCC Discover. continue reading→
We Are More Than the Skeletons in Our Closets
We all have them. They haunt us and torment us on a daily basis. The devil never ceases to remind you of the skeletons you’ve worked tirelessly to keep hidden. Indeed, much of the effort we expend is to keep our secrets secret and our skeletons locked away, forever. We don’t want to be defined by them. We fear that if people see us, the real us, they’ll cower. But, as Chad says, the God of the gospel never shies away from the skeletons in your closet. He’s not afraid of getting His hands dirty. He comes to rescue us from these debilitating secrets, these self-destroying stories, to rewrite us into His story. Chad writes: “The Spirit rewrites our life stories in the crimson ink of Christ’s atoning blood.” Once again, amazingly-uplifting words from Chad Bird. continue reading→
The Two Greatest Words in the Bible
It’s crazy to think about but the wonder of the gospel of God’s free grace can really be summarized in a mere two syllables. Paul opens chapter 2 of his letter to the Ephesians with a rather dower view of mankind. He pens words that cut straight to the quick and remind us of the vastness of our sin. And then he writes two words that are, perhaps, the two greatest words in the whole of Scripture. “But God,” he says (Eph. 2:4). You were dead in trespasses and sins . . . but God! You were absolutely hopeless and lifeless . . . but God! You were condemned to eternity in hell . . . but God! These words quickly but perfectly capture the sense that all our badness meets its match in the power of God’s name. He condescends, He comes down. God enters our mess to meet us with His mercy. Seems crazy, doesn’t? And that’s the point. “Until the gospel seems too good to be true, you haven’t really understood it,” J. D. writes. And I wholeheartedly agree! continue reading→
Brian Regan Stand-Up
Brian Regan is a master comedian. Always love his stuff.
Song of the Week
“When I Lost My Heart to You (Hallelujah)” by Hillsong United. This version comes their live record, “Of Dirt and Grace.” Love the sound on this recording.