Monthly Archives: May 2008

Jesus 24/7

It’s all Jesus, all the time. He’s the point of everything and the one who holds it all together. He’s the answer to every question, the interpretation and application.

Okay, I’m exaggerating. Except I’m not.

Some of my favorite bloggers are blogging hard on Jesus right now.

The iMonk already has 4 posts up in his new category, A Jesus-Shaped Spirituality.

Bob Spencer posts on Christ as the antidote to self-justification. It’s an awesome piece; you should read it.His post on all-satisfying grace is great too.

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.

– Colossians 1:15-18

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Pain and the Scandalous Beauty

Words are failing. I’ve been too busy to think about writing something substantive for the blog, but I’ve been struck by lately by how many people are writing and talking about pain and suffering. Is there something brewing? The world and the Church never has any lack of hurting people, but it seems lately we’re talking about it more. I would link to some places but they would distract from the links I’m about to ask you to visit.

You should read this.And this.And watch this.

Each post is about pain and grief. Each post is also beautiful in different but specific and penetrating ways.

I have nothing fresh to add to what is written at those places. But for some reason I was reminded yesterday of the following piece of mine from back in the Shizuka Blog days. It is a narrative-type thing from July 2005 that I simply called Houston. It’s not big on advice or theology, but it helped me to share it then, and it helps me to share it now. As it apparently blessed some people then, I hope it blesses you now.

We live in a beautiful worldYeah we do, yeah we do . . .– Coldplay

I am visiting family and friends in Houston right now, a city I only lived in for about five years starting in the tenth grade but which I nonetheless consider my hometown.

Last night I had a great dinner of Tex-Mex with my mentor-pastor Mike Ayers. We talked …

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Grace Abounds

And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.– Philippians 4:19

God says to us, “Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost” (Isaiah 55:1).

The gospel is addressed to those who have no money or good works. It invites us to come and “buy” salvation without money and without cost. But note the invitation to come is addressed to those who have no money — not to those who don’t have enough. Grace is not a matter of God’s making up the difference, but of God’s providing all the “cost” of salvation through His Son, Jesus Christ.

– Jerry Bridges, Transforming Grace

On the flip side, you can’t “use up” grace either. Just as there are those who think grace makes up the difference, there are those who think their need is so great it causes fear that it is greater than God’s love. But as I told the Element folks last night, you will always have everything you need. You cannot exhaust God’s supply of grace. There will always be enough.

How great is God’s love for us? Though sin increases, grace increases all the more.

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What a Pastor Does

Leslie Newbigin on the role of the pastor, by way of Todd Hiestand:

The task of ministry is to lead the congregation as a whole in a mission to the community as a whole, to claim its whole public life, as well as the personal lives of all its people, for God’s rule. It means equipping all the members of the congregation to understand and fulfill their several roles in this mission through their faithfulness in their daily work. It means training and equipping them to be active followers of Jesus in his assault on the principalities and powers which he disarmed on the cross. And it means sustaining them in bearing the cost of that warfare . . .

[The minister] is not like a general who sits at headquarters and sends his troops into battle. He goes at their head and takes the brunt of the enemy attack. He enables and encourages them by leading them, not just by telling them. In this picture, the words of Jesus have quite a different force. They all find their meaning in the central keyword, ‘follow me’.

Great stuff.

Related:Dissin’ with Driscoll

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Preaching the Searchable Riches of Us

Last Sunday evening a fifty-something year old guy (Hi, Chuck!) approached me after the Element service to express his thanks for the sermon. He was profusely appreciative and complimentary. Expounding on the greatness and the wonder of the glory of God in His wrath and His mercy from Habakkuk 3 had clearly resonated well with him.

I thanked him for his kindness and then shared with him that the message had occurred in spite of my weekly struggle with the temptation to offer something else.

We talked about that for a while, and another reason I gave for aiming high — and by that, I mean in subject matter, not in quality of presentation, although obviously I don’t try to suck either — is that I don’t want to leave the building in my car, get hit on the interstate and die, and have people be able to say, “His last message was on our inner potential to be awesome,” or whatever. I want to teach so that if any given message is my last, it can’t be said that I went out failing to have preached the gospel, failing to have proclaimed the glory of God.

Why do we settle for less?When we have in the endless fountain of Scripture “the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God” and “the unsearchable riches of Christ” why do we break even for one week from that stuff to preach the searchable riches of us? Why do we press pause …

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