Monthly Archives: August 2008

The Atonement: Infinitely Wonderful

Stealing this from my friend Ray:

“The chief impression that a study of the atonement leaves with us is that of the many-sidedness of Christ’s work for men. When he died for us on the cross, he did something so infinitely wonderful that it is impossible to comprehend it in its fulness. However man’s need be understood, that need is fully and abundantly met in Christ. The New Testament writers are like men who ransack their vocabulary to find words which will bring out some small fraction of the mighty thing that God has done for us. And yet, though it is so complex and so difficult, it may be put very simply: ‘the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me’ (Gal. 2:20).”

Leon Morris, The Cross in the New Testament

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Missional and Attractional Structures

My newest SearchWarp piece is up:

Missional and Attractional, Part 5

Taking a look at the way these models view and treat the church “machine.”

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The Myth of American Evangelical Stinginess

Do we have a long way to go? Yes.Are we self-centered, self-interested, and self-involved? Yes.But the image of the stingy American church is essentially a false one. (It particularly irks me when the criticism of outside celebrities and even younger inside church leaders make it sound like they invented missions and charity ten years ago.)

Douglas Wilson has a revealing and penetrating perspective:

Americans are about six percent of the world’s population and we account for about forty-five percent of the world’s philanthropy. Among Americans, believers are far more generous than secularists. Among believers, Protestants are more liberal in their giving than Catholics. Among Protestants, evangelicals are more generous than mainliners. But if you were ask a secular arbiter of all that is philanthropic for his opinion on how we were doing, he would invert the whole thing. That much said, when the standard is God’s generosity to us, most of us are not nearly as generous to others as we ought to be. We should pray for grace to overflow more liberally still. But we may be pardoned if the evangelical artesian well, producing 20 gallons a minute, while wishing it could be 40, doesn’t want to hear lectures on charity from the dry hole of secular leftism.

Yup.

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The Joy Set Before Us

The ransomed of the LORD will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.– Isaiah 51:11

I don’t know about you, but this promise from our relentlessly faithful God helps my life immensely.

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Are You Dissatisfied?

(Cartoon by and via David Hayward)

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Turning Over Tables in the Coffee Shop

My new SearchWarp piece is up:

Subverting Suburbia

It is a greater elaboration on “kingdom rhythms,” a subject I’ve written about before, only this time it is applied to the specific culture of the suburbs.

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One Church

Louie Giglio (preacher) and Chris Tomlin (worship leader) are planting a church in Atlanta.

Sounds awesome.

Some people are upset.

They are concerned because of the potential for Passion Church to “suck up” believers from other churches, folks who may be attracted to Passion Church because, well, let’s face it: Louie Giglio and Chris Tomlin are much cooler than what most of us have going in our churches. There is brand name recognition.

And that may (and probably will) happen. That sucks.

1. Do you really think losing people who are interested in the celebrity factor is a loss?

2. I’ve said it before: If you treat your church like a business, you will treat other churches like competition.

I’m going to be praying more and more churches that center on the gospel and celebrate God-centered worship rise up all over the place. We could use a lot more of them in my city.

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Gospel Repetition

“All of us to some degree live around the truth of the gospel but do not ‘get’ it. So the key to continual and deeper spiritual renewal and revival is the continual re-discovery of the gospel. A stage of renewal is always the discovery of a new implication or application of the gospel – seeing more of its truth.”

– Tim Keller, “The Centrality of the Gospel”

This is why the gospel must be central in our teaching and preaching and why it must be preached and taught every time we gather. Because every day we may forget its scandal and we are constantly tempted to live ambivalent about its goodness.

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Worshiping This God

We trust not because “a God” exists, but because this God exists.– C.S. Lewis, “On Obstinacy in Belief”

Yes!

As the segment of ostensibly evangelical worship directed somewhere roundabouts “a God” who cares about our feelings and who wants us to tap into the “divine potential” in all of us grows and grows, more and more determined evangelical worship redirects to “the God” who has a name, who rules and loves and saves in history, who can be accessed and enjoyed through the divine Person of Jesus.

I’ve sat through some Christian worship services that could’ve been directed toward Allah for all we knew. We have shaved off the specificity (to better comfort) and slouched away from intentionality (to better entertain) and consequently we have ceased, in N.T. Wright’s words, “rehearsing the mighty acts of God” in our corporate worship.

“Telling the story, rehearsing the mighty acts of God: this is near the heart of Christian worship, a point not always fully appreciated in the enthusiastic, free-flowing worship common in many circles today. We know God through what he has done in creation, in Israel, and supremely in Jesus, and what he has done in his people and in the world through the Holy Spirit. Christian worship is praise of this God, the one who has done these things.”

– N.T. Wright, Simply Christian

Here’s praying that the evangelical church continues reforming its worship culture and how that is played out in the worship gatherings.

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Missional and Attractional Measurements

My latest SearchWarp piece is up:

Missional and Attractional, Part 4

Talking about measuring success, growth, and health.

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