Hello and welcome to Volume 54 of “Links I Like.” Lots of stuff to read and watch today, so get comfortable, sip your favorite brew, and enjoy these awesome links!
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The Insecure Spouse
Much is written and spoken today about marriage and gender and what our roles are as men and women. And without the gospel of Christ as their foundation, the world sees fit to redefine and redistribute these roles as necessary, making it possible for some to self-identity their gender and others to love the same sex. These identity crises stem from a lacking of understanding the gospel. As Obbie so rightly says, “A lesson on manhood begins not with a visit to the weight room but to Calvary, where Christ lovingly gave Himself up for His bride, pursuing her and prizing her even unto death. Conversely, a picture of real womanhood begins not with a bikini body but with the body of Christ washed clean, following after her Christ.” Beautiful, needed words. continue reading→
The Lord Is Never Late
One of the more astute things I’ve heard spoken in a sermon remains something Matt Chandler said at a conference a few years ago. He made the point that God doesn’t drive an ambulance — He never arrives late to an accident. Or, in the timeless words of Gandalf the Grey, you could say that God “is never late . . . Nor is he early, he arrives precisely when he means to.” Saying that is one thing, but believing in the midst of the storm is another thing altogether. Sometimes it seems like God’s not there, like you’re praying to nothing but an empty room, like your words are spoken to a ceiling. But the Spirit would have us remember that God the Father never wavers, rather, He is great in faithfulness. “The Lord is never late.” He’s right on time. This is a beautiful reminder from Jared Wilson over on The Gospel Coalition. continue reading→
God Still Uses Ordinary Means & Ordinary Men
Crippling and castrating the gospel takes on many forms, but chief among them is narrowing your view of what God intends to do with the world. Often, we “shrink-wrap” and compartmentalize our view God’s plans. But through His Son and through the ordinary means of grace, God would have us see that His plan of redemption is infinitely larger than we could ever imagine. He’s not only making you new, He’s making all things new! But, perhaps, the most amazing thing about this plan is that it doesn’t necessitate extraordinary people. Actually, quite the opposite. As Erik Raymond reminds us, “God still uses ordinary means and ordinary men to accomplish extraordinary things!” continue reading→
Sleepovers, Giggles, & the End of the World
I loved this story from RJ Grunewald. He recounts a bedtime conversation he had with his toddler, in which they tackled some pretty deep theological quandaries. But, in typical RJ fashion, he spoke simply gospel-truth to his son, making it clear that the end of world was a good thing, a great thing. This sparked an amazing reaction from him, when RJ recalls that he said, “Go tell Mommy. We need to tell everyone.” I pray that I’d have that same enthusiasm for sharing the truth. continue reading→
Walk This Way
What a great piece this is from Scott Garrison. Here, he relates a conversation he had with his dad that underscores the beautiful gospel of ordinary grace. You’re calling isn’t, perhaps, to pastor a megachurch, written dozens of bestsellers, or lead a thriving para-church organization. You’re calling is for quiet, humble, faithful following of God and His Word. You may never know or realize who’s paying attention or who you’re impacting. And revivals may change people for a season but ordinary faith can last for lifetimes. Great reminder from Scott, here. continue reading→
Chasing the American Dream
American Christianity is often reductive, at best, narrowing the views and plans of God down to earthly levels. “American Dream Christians” can’t make sense of the true gospel, which is why they fight so hard to rebut it at every turn. The world’s philosophy says we have to have things figured out and in order and neatly arranged in order to be successful. Your life, then, becomes about your will, your grit, your determination to make your dreams come true. Yet, the gospel’s much different than that. The gospel just say, “Believe.” The gospel says, “Not as I will, but as You will.” Good words from Matthew Burr on The Gospel Economist on laying down our wills in the place of God’s better, more perfect will for our lives. continue reading→
Cleansed & Clothed
One of the most crucial truths I’ve become familiar with, even in only the last few years, is the idea of Jesus’s active and passive obedience on my behalf. This truth lies at the core of the gospel, and yet we often only settle for the one side of it. When asking someone what Christ did for them, they’ll more than likely respond with, “He died for my sins” — which is absolutely, 100% true. But that’s not all He was doing as He bled and died on the cross. As Kevin puts it, “To better understand Christianity, we must realize that Jesus not only suffered and died for our sins; He also lived for our righteousness!” The gospel is all about substitution. Kevin Labby talks about that in this piece via KeyLife. continue reading→
Luther & the Creative Power of the Word
There are many thing for which Martin Luther the reformer is known. His Ninety-five Theses and nailing it to the door of the church, his stand at the Diet of Worms, his translation of the Bible into German, and we could go on and on. But, as Carl Trueman notes, one of the more overlooked but just as fundamental truths which Luther championed was the creative power of God’s Word. The idea that God’s Word creates out of nothing was extremely formative and transformative for Luther, leading to his own realization of the doctrine of justification by faith — faith in the power of God’s Word to create in a person what He says and wills and promises. This is a great reflection on the “untamable creativity” of God’s Word. continue reading→
Why the 5 Solas Still Matter
One of the outcomes of the Protestant Reformation was the acknowledgment of the five solas, which are essentially the indisputable pillars of the Christian faith. And even though they’ve been discussed and debated for centuries now, these foundational truths still have much to say to us today. This is another great piece from Brandon Smith via the Center for Baptist Renewal. continue reading→
Marriage Is Messy
Don’t kid yourself: marriage is hard. We like to put up appearances and pretend we have the perfect marriage, the one that’s filled with lots of intimacy and zero fights. But as much as we might strive for this, and rightly so I might add, the perfect marriage will never and can never be realized on this earth. This is because a marriage involves a union between two broken, sinful people. Don’t get me wrong, marriage is beautiful and wonderful, an exquisite gift from God. But denying the occasional (or often) turbulence of the marriage relationship isn’t only foolish, it’s actually detrimental to its growth. That’s why I loved this piece on Dead Men Stuff by Arnold Navey. He’s not afraid to admit to the hard stuff and show that God’s grace meets us there. Great stuff! continue reading→
God’s New Year vs. Our New Year
The New Year. It’s a foreboding time in the life of everyone who get to be blessed with the opportunity of another year of life. The law of the world will tell you that it’s another opportunity to make sure you’re measuring up. It’s a time when most realize that they’re failing this law and, so, in an attempt to silence the voices, they embark upon new resolutions, which they hope will quell the noise. Yet, opposite to our resolutions, God new resolution to us is His covenant of redemption — something which we have nothing to do with. “God’s new year doesn’t call for our resolve to be better,” writes Kyle. “Instead, God’s new year speaks grace and mercy. God’s new year proclaims us absolved.” Very good news regarding New Years from my friend Kyle George Jones of The Gospel Economist. continue reading→
The Original Jesus Juke
I first heard of the phrase “Jesus juke” from writer Jon Acuff. And though you may have never heard this term, you’ve undoubtedly felt its effects. You know, when you’re casually talking about sports on a Sunday and you get “Jesus juked” by someone who reiterates the need for “quietness” and meditation and “rest” on the Lord’s Day. I’m sure you’ve had encounters similar to this before. I know I have. But you might be surprised to know that the original “Jesus juke” was performed by none other than Jesus Himself. I’ll let Russell Meek of For The Church explain. continue reading→
What Is Theology?
The words “theology” and “doctrine” often get a bad rap. They sometimes scare us with their fancy lingo and confusing syllogisms, making it difficult to believe that they’re for everyone. But the fact of the matter is that theology isn’t as complicated as you might think. You can really boil it down to your thoughts about God, good or bad. R. C. Sproul has famously said that everyone’s a theologian — yes, even atheists who deny the existence of God. They’re theologians too, albeit bad ones. My friend Jordan Decker has written a great piece discussing this and more on his new blog, Small Town Theologian. Definitely give this one a read! continue reading→
Things You Can’t Do When You’re Not a Cat
One of my favorite YouTube channels is undoubtedly Tripp & Tyler. This comedy duo excels at understated humor and I love watching what they come up with. This one’s great!
Song of the Week
“God of Compassion” by Esterlyn.