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This and That – 02-18-17

3 Steps to Get the Most out of the Sermon This Sunday – The key is to develop a system to help you remember the main point of each message so you can look for the connections that run from message to message and from each message to the particular circumstances of your life. – Phil Schomber

Love the Church You’re With, Not the Church of Your Dreams – I think to really love the church in front of you, you have to die to the church of your dreams. – Ricky Alcantar

Preaching as a Means of Survival – Preachers need to be competent in many arenas of life. They need managerial competence. They need organizational competence. But above everything else, the preacher needs theological and exegetical competence. – Al Mohler

 

Free E-Book Alert – This Momentary Marriage by John Piper

Reflecting on forty years of matrimony, John Piper exalts the biblical meaning of marriage over its emotion, exhorting couples to keep their covenant for all the best reasons.

Even in the days when people commonly stayed married “’til death do us part,” there has never been a generation whose view of marriage was high enough, says Pastor John Piper. That is all the more true in our casual times.

Though personal selfishness and cultural bondage obstruct the wonder of God’s purpose, it is found in God’s Word, where his design can awaken a glorious vision capable of freeing every person from small, Christ-ignoring, romance-intoxicated views. As Piper explains in reflecting on forty years of matrimony: “Most foundationally, marriage is the doing of God. And ultimately, marriage is the display of God. It displays the covenant-keeping love between Christ and his people to the world in a way that no other event or institution does. Marriage, therefore, is not mainly about being in love. It’s mainly about telling the truth with our lives. And staying married is not about staying in love. It is about keeping covenant and putting the glory of Christ’s covenant-keeping love on display.”

This Momentary Marriage unpacks the biblical vision, its unexpected contours, and its weighty implications for married, single, divorced, and remarried alike.

Download the book after filling out this survey.

This and That – 02-11-17

What Does “World” Mean in John 3:16?  – [World] is not here a term of extension so much as a term of intensity. Its primary connotation is ethical, and the point of its employment is not to suggest that the world is so big that it takes a great deal of love to embrace it all, but that the world is so bad that it takes a great kind of love to love it at all, and much more to love it as God has loved it when he gave his Son for it. – BB Warfield

Gospel Points – The Ordinary Pastor, Part 1

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This week on Gospel Points we welcome Pastor Cody Almanzar of the Grace Family Church in Canon City, CO.  In addition to pastoring, Cody is the host of he Ordinary Pastor Podcast that features interviews with pastors, pastor’s wives, missionaries and church members.  In this first segment, Cody and chat about the challenges of being an “ordinary” pastor in world (and even a church) that is obsessed with celebrity and notoriety.

Listen to the program here.
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This and That – 02-04-17

Subtle Ways to Abandon the Authority of Scripture in Our Lives – That the formal principle by itself is inadequate is obvious as soon as we recall that groups such as Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons happily and unreservedly affirm the Bible’s truthfulness, reliability, and authority, but their understanding of what the Bible says (the material principle) is so aberrant that (we insist) they do not in reality let the Bible’s authoritative message transform their thinking. On the other hand, today it is not uncommon to find Christians saying that they refuse to talk about biblical authority or biblical inerrancy or the like, but simply get on with preaching what the Bible says. History shows that such groups tend rather quickly to drift away from what the Bible says.  In other words, to be bound by only one of these two principles tends toward a drifting away from hearty submission to the Bible’s authority. If one begins with adherence to the formal principle, thus nominally espousing the biblical authority of the formal principle, and adds penetrating understanding of and submission to what the Bible actually says, the result is much stronger, much more stable. Conversely, if one begins with an honest effort to grasp and teach what the Bible says, thus nominally espousing the material principle, and adds resolute adherence to the formal principle, one is much more likely to keep doing the honest exegesis that will enrich, revitalize, and correct what one thinks the Bible is saying. – D.A. Carson

Foster Children Need the Church – The church really can do something to help. While not all may be called to open a home to foster children, there are numerous ways to get involved and be part of the solution. I’ve been incredibly blessed by a meal from a friend on a busy week of social worker visits, or by friends who took the time to get fingerprinted so they could be approved babysitters. Larger group homes may be in financial need to care for the children, or they may have a child in need of a tutor or a counselor. The needs are many and ongoing at every level of the foster care system. Who better to meet those needs than the church? – Brittany Lind

Foster Care as the Way of Christ – There are many ways to get involved. You could provide meals for a family as a child enters the home without warning. Perhaps you could help find babysitters, offer to babysit, or become certified to take a foster child for 48 hours as a respite to the family. It could mean something as simple as coming over to watch the kids so mom or dad can catch up on things at home. You could also commit yourself to practice affirmation and encourage worn-out foster parents with Scripture promises. Foster care is much too difficult for isolated families, but no better context exists than families deeply embedded, and supported, in the community of the church. – Darren Carlson

10 Christian Reality Shows That Need to beMade – What Not To Wear (Pastoral Edition) – Every week, a hopelessly fashion challenged pastor is accosted and given a wardrobe makeover. Plaid and khaki are out and skinny jeans are IN! Based on their church budgets, pastors receive a substantial sum of money (usually around $50) to spend on clothes recommended by a certified church stylists. There will be laughs, tears, and many deep lessons learned. Your heart will be warmed. – Stephen Altrogge

Gospel Points – The Doctrine of the Lesser Magistrates, Part 2

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This week’s Gospel Points Podcast features part 2 of our interview with Pastor Matt Trewella of Mercy Seat Christian Church in Milwaukee.  Part one can be found right here if you need a quick refresher.  We’re talking about his book, the Doctrine of the Lesser Magistrates.  In this final segment we chat about Romans 13 and then spend the remainder of our time we get a history lesson as we travel back in time to discuss the Magdeburg Confession.  You can purchase the book on amazon.

Listen to the program here.
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You’re Offended, Now What?

I’ve been offended by quite a bit of things in my life. That’s a good thing. On Facebook alone, I’ve been offended at many things I’ve seen and read. These times I’ve been offended have led to several different situations.

Sometimes it’s led to the end of a friendship. That offense showed me this is not the type of person or influence I need in my life at the moment. That’s healthy from time-to-time.

Sometimes it’s led me to think through a particular view I’ve held. After considering the view, I’ve thought about different ways to communicate my thoughts in a better, more understandable way. In the end, it actually strengthened my belief. It made me an even more fierce advocate and helped me see how much more I need to fight and how much people need to know the truth.

Sometime it’s led me to be so angry that I knew there was something wrong to evoke such a strong reaction in me. I turned out to be wrong. I was offended because it revealed a weakness I never want to admit. In those cases, I’ve had to repent and change my views. That’s never easy but always necessary.

So, you got offended at something you read or something you’ve seen. Great. So what are you going to do about it?

This and That – 01-21-17

Are You a Confirmation Bias Christian? – The reason we fall into confirmation bias politically is not essentially a political problem. It is a human problem, which is to say, it is a sin problem — which is to say, it is a problem of self-interest and self-worship. The truth is, you and I are prone to conducting our entire lives along the narratives constructed from confirmation bias. –  Jared C. Wilson