Monthly Archives: November 2008

Interesting Church Buildings

Here’s a neat photo post on church architecture around the world. Each building profiled is really interesting, although each one for unique reasons.

(HT: On the Journey)

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Black Friday is an Appropriate Name

A stock clerk was trampled to death this morning by the crowd eager to get inside a Wal-Mart. Others were injured. One lady who was trampled reportedly lost her unborn child.

Because people want stuff.

We are sick.

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What I’m Thankful For

There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call — one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore it says,

“When he ascended on high he led a host of captives, and he gave gifts to men.”

(In saying, “He ascended,” what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower regions, the earth? He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.)

– Ephesians 4:4-10

Jesus filling all things seriously excites me.

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Honoring Jack

Yesterday marked the 45th anniversary of the passing of the incomparable C.S. Lewis, the greatest Christian writer of the 20th century and The Thinklings’ patron saint.

(It was also the 45th anniversary of the passing of JFK and philosopher Aldous Huxley, who both died the same day.)

Read last year’s Thinklings tribute to Jack.

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Pastors, Don’t Waste Your Pulpit

Pastors and preachers, please preach Jesus tomorrow morning. “High church” or “relevant” church, megachurch or minichurch, traditional or contemporary, expository or topical, whatever or whatever: give your people Jesus. Not a little Jesus. A lot.

Don’t save him for a special occasion.

Just speaking for myself, I have a major crisis of conscience when I feel as though I haven’t preached enough Jesus. I believe it is my duty to center on the gospel every week because the Bible says it is of first importance. That means it can’t be occasional or implicit.

I don’t want to preach, leave the building in my car, get hit on the interstate and die, and have anyone 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 on the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God in the amazing gospel of grace to press play on the Seven Steps to Being a Better Person?

If you’re a …

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The Gospel Word is Central to Gospel Work

A beauty from Total Church by Tim Chester and Steve Timmis:

Francis of Assissi is alleged to have said, “Preach the gospel always; if necessary use words.” That may be a great medieval sound bite, but it falls short of what the Bible teaches about evangelism. Jesus began his public ministry by “proclaiming the good news of God” (Mark 1:14). When he gained a reputation as a miracle-worker, his response was to leave the area so he could give himself to the task of proclamation, for “that is why I have come” (Mark 1:38). And the risen Lord left his disciples with the specific commission to go to the nations, “teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:20).

There is a tendency in some quarters today to promote a kind of evangelism without proclamation. Acts of service are done or people are invited to experience Christian worship. But without words of explanation these are like signposts pointing nowhere or, worse still, signposts pointing to our good works. The gospel is good news — a message to be proclaimed, a truth to be taught, a word to be spoken, and a story to be told.

Related: Faith Comes By HearingWord-Centered Missionalization

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Latest overhaul is complete.

The new should do nicely for quite a while.

All thanks to my good friend Chuck Leonard of Macin2itive Design and to my brilliant webmaster and fellow Thinkling Bill and his passion project.

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Numerolatry and the Church

Several weeks ago I was one of more than a few small church pastors listening in to the backstage interviews at the Catalyst Conference. Folks of my sort are somewhat skeptical of folks of that sort — not really the folks, so much as the machine the folks are a part of — and what we were hearing was not very encouraging. Conferences like Catalyst and its progenitors and imitators appear to be predicated on the idea that the number one problem facing evangelical churches is lack of success. How to get success and keep success. And who best to teach us how to do this than successful pastors? By which it is usually meant pastors of large churches. This is how pastors with radically different philosophies of ministry end up on conference stages together: they both have huge churches.

One of the Catalyst speakers in his address said that every church has the Holy Spirit but that some churches have that something extra that makes them special. The crowd ate this up, and indeed, this seems to be the implicit message of all conferences, kits, consultations, and systems of this kind: You may have the Spirit, but do you have _______?

This not only implies that God isn’t enough, it only feeds and stokes the insatiable idolatry for that “x factor” the fans of these programs are operating out of. “Sure, I’ve got Jesus. But I need the tips, techniques, and know-how to take it to the next level!”The level …

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Rev’d Up

Any Rev! Magazine readers out there?

My article on the affect of preaching on the health of a church’s community is in Rev!’s Nov./Dec. issue. Page 79, I think.

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Recent Acquisitions

Due to birthday gifts and some deep discounts at a booksale for charity at the wife’s work, I’ve gotten quite the stack of reading material in the last couple of weeks.

The Missional Leader by Alan Roxburgh and Fred RomanukJesus Driven Ministry by Ajith FernandoJesus’ Blood and Righteousness: Paul’s Theology of Imputation by Brian VickersThe Majesty of God in the Old Testament by Walter KaiserThe Present Future by Reggie McNealThe Attributes of God by Arthur PinkUnlearning Church by Michael SlaughterThe Perfectly Imperfect Church by Steve SjogrenChristianity’s Dangerous Idea by Alister McGrathLiving the Resurrection by Eugene PetersonPierced for Our Transgressions: Rediscovering the Glory of Penal Substitution by Jeffery, Ovey and SachJustice in the Burbs by Will and Lisa SamsonRecovering Jesus: The Witness of the New Testament by Thomas Yoder NeufeldLook Unto Me: The Devotions of Charles Spurgeon edited by Jim Reimann

Anybody got any history with these? Thoughts?

I’m most excited about digging in to McGrath, Peterson, and Pierced.

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