30 April 2013

Do Cities Really Matter?

Justin Buzzard, Stephen Um and Jon Dennis discuss why cities matter and the books they wrote on this important issue.

D.A. Carson's endorsement of Why Cities Matter:

“Recent years have witnessed a torrent of books on urbanization and on urban ministry. Many of these are specialist sociological studies; others are ‘how to’ manuals so comprehensive that the Spirit of God could walk out and we’d never miss him. What has been lacking is a short, reasonably comprehensive, impassioned, and simply written survey of the trends and issues, combined with unwavering commitment to the eternal gospel and a transparent love for the city. Whether or not you agree with all its details, this book supplies what has been lacking. Written by two younger pastors on opposite sides of the country who share their devotion to Christ and their years of fruitful ministry, this book is neither sociology nor manual (though it has some features of both), but a clarion call to Christians to look at cities with fresh eyes and cry, ‘Give me this mountain!’”
D. A. Carson, Research Professor of New Testament, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

You can find their books here and here.

26 April 2013

Toward Outsiders

    Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.
(Colossians 4:5-6 ESV)

24 April 2013

Doctrine of the Holy Spirit Week 8

    I write these things to you about those who are trying to deceive you. But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him.
(1 John 2:26-27 ESV)

22 April 2013

The Sadducees

    And Sadducees came to him, who say that there is no resurrection. And they asked him a question, saying, “Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man's brother dies and leaves a wife, but leaves no child, the man must take the widow and raise up offspring for his brother. There were seven brothers; the first took a wife, and when he died left no offspring. And the second took her, and died, leaving no offspring. And the third likewise. And the seven left no offspring. Last of all the woman also died. In the resurrection, when they rise again, whose wife will she be? For the seven had her as wife.”
    Jesus said to them, “Is this not the reason you are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God? For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. And as for the dead being raised, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the passage about the bush, how God spoke to him, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not God of the dead, but of the living. You are quite wrong. (Mark 12:18-27 ESV)

19 April 2013

Doctrine of the Holy Spirit Week 7

    He [the Holy Spirit] will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you.
(John 16:14 ESV)

17 April 2013

Specific Prayer

    At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison—that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak.
(Colossians 4:3-4 ESV)

16 April 2013

Taxes & Caesar

    And they sent to him some of the Pharisees and some of the Herodians, to trap him in his talk. And they came and said to him, “Teacher, we know that you are true and do not care about anyone's opinion. For you are not swayed by appearances, but truly teach the way of God. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not? Should we pay them, or should we not?” But, knowing their hypocrisy, he said to them, “Why put me to the test? Bring me a denarius and let me look at it.” And they brought one. And he said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” They said to him, “Caesar's.” Jesus said to them, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's.” And they marveled at him.
    (Mark 12:13-17 ESV)

12 April 2013

General Prayer - Colossians 4:2

    Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.
(Colossians 4:2 ESV)

10 April 2013

Doctrine of the Holy Spirit Week 6

    For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe...   
(Ephesians 1:15-19 ESV)

09 April 2013

Christ in the Old Testament

Many of us really miss the point of the Old Testament. Its not a bunch of moralistic stories that can be repeated week after week to our kids in Sunday school. The point is Christ. The OT looks forward to Christ as we today look back. Scott Redd provides an excellent look into the nature of this issue. In part he states

The OT witness to Christ is as rich and varied as are all of the functions he performs. When evangelicals talk about Christ in the Old Testament, they tend to look for images, patterns, or outright anticipations of Christ's work of substitutionary atonement. Of course, Christ's work as once-and-for-all sacrifice is central to the Christian hope for salvation, but it only gets at part of the distinct and lordly character and work of the Son of God himself.
In fact, the New Testament claims that Christ fulfills the Old Testament in many ways. Just to name a few, Christ is:
Read the entire article and delve into the richness in Scripture that points to the Gospel.

08 April 2013

The Wicked Tenants - Mark 12:1-12

 And he began to speak to them in parables. “A man planted a vineyard and put a fence around it and dug a pit for the winepress and built a tower, and leased it to tenants and went into another country. When the season came, he sent a servant to the tenants to get from them some of the fruit of the vineyard. And they took him and beat him and sent him away empty-handed. Again he sent to them another servant, and they struck him on the head and treated him shamefully. And he sent another, and him they killed. And so with many others: some they beat, and some they killed. He had still one other, a beloved son. Finally he sent him to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ But those tenants said to one another, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ And they took him and killed him and threw him out of the vineyard. What will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the tenants and give the vineyard to others. Have you not read this Scripture:
    “‘The stone that the builders rejected
        has become the cornerstone;
    this was the Lord's doing,
        and it is marvelous in our eyes’?”
    And they were seeking to arrest him but feared the people, for they perceived that he had told the parable against them. So they left him and went away.
    (Mark 12:1-12 ESV)

02 April 2013

Ministering to Children in Difficult Times

I have appreciated Brian Croft's ministry for some time now. His book, Visit the Sick, Ministering God's Grace in Times of Illness is a particular favorite. Recently Mez McConnell re-posted his blog post on ministering to children in tough times. He spoke with a young child whose father left the family. In it we read

God teaches us important lessons when we suffer.  A very thoughtful question that came from her mouth was, “Why is God allowing my daddy to leave?  If God is good to us, then why would he allow this?”  Yes…only 6 years old.  I cannot tell her, her daddy will come home and everything will be alright.  I do not know.  What I did say is she needed to know a common way God is at work in the lives of all Christians, regardless our age.  God teaches us some amazing lessons when we suffer.  We may not see them now, but we will see them clearer when some time has passed.  I believe this smart little girl as well as other children can begin to understand this merciful quality about our sovereign God.

Very sound and Biblical advice. Advice even we as adults can and should apply during difficult circumstances.

He concludes with the following

Jesus will always be there for you.  I am uncertain if her daddy will come home, but I am certain that if this little girl trusts in Jesus Christ, Jesus will never forsake her or her mom.  Whether 6 years old or 60 years old, we must always turn the eyes of others off the struggle and urge them to fix their eyes upon Christ (Heb. 12:2).  I reminded her that even though those she loves in her life will let her down, Jesus will never forsake her.  I shared the gospel with her and allowed this to be a key time for her to see her need for Christ both for forgiveness of sin as well as to have a King and Father who will always be with her.

...Speak truth.  Remind children of the character of God and that he is faithful even in suffering.  Remind them of their need for Christ.  Do not be amazed years later if you look back on this painful moment as a turning point in that child’s faith as they grasped the truth of God’s Word because of a heightened desire for answers that provide hope. 

Extreme suffering is not a bad thing that we must endure. God gets glory and works in us to produce faith and good works. Let's embrace these times and those of others, especially children.

Read the entire article here

01 April 2013

Are We Most to be Pitied? Easter Sermon

    Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.
    (1 Corinthians 15:12-19 ESV)