Friday, February 27, 2009

Review of Running Scared by Ed Welch

Author: Ed Welch

Pages: 324 pages

Publisher: New Growth Press

Price: 11.99

Genre: Christian Living/Counseling

Quick Summary:

Some people know that they have fear. Others are afraid to admit it. In this primer on fear, worry, and the God of rest Ed Welch invites us on a biblical journey to face our fears. He begins with initial observations on fear. In order to let God speak to our fear we have to discover exactly how we are afraid, as well as admit that our fear says more about our belief in God than about the fear itself. In the second section of the book (which is comprises 4/5 of the book) Welch “let’s God speak” to our fear. He begins by laying a biblical foundation from the story of the Israelites and Manna. His point is simple—God gives us enough grace for each day, but only enough for each day. You will get more grace for tomorrow but only until tomorrow. After laying a solid foundation Welch then invites us to hear what God has to say about some of the big “fears” we face. He addresses money and possession; people and their judgments; death, pain, and punishment. He closes out the book by letting God speak peace to us. Also, after every chapter Welch offers a personal response to what has been discussed.

What I Liked:

Welch’s writing style is soothing and attractive. He writes almost like you are the listener and he is telling you about all of his fears and worries. This book is written as if you are listening to a man wrestling with his own struggle. As you hear his advice to himself you begin applying that advice to yourself. On such a potentially confronting and threatening topic our author writes in a loving and non-threatening way. Even when he exhorts us it still feels like a man exhorting himself.

The principles that are outlined in this book are phenomenal. The chapter on The Manna Principle is worth the cost of the book. Here is an excerpt that has stuck with me, and one I have used to conquer fear and worry in my own life:

“God will give us what we need for today and today alone…The plan, of course, is genius. Dump a year’s supply of manna into cold storage and, guaranteed, you will forget God until the supply disappears (Dt. 8:10-14)…God’s strategy is to give us enough for today and then, when tomorrow comes, to give us enough for that day too.” (76, 77)

What I Disliked:

I think this book should be about 220 pages rather than 320 pages. A few chapters seem to be a tad redundant. Perhaps we need to hear these principles over and over again and that is why Welch revisits certain points so frequently. Even with that being said the book certainly does not feel like 320 pages long. It reads relatively quickly, I think I just got a tad tired towards the end. It’s a great book that needs to be read by all.
Should You Buy It?

This is a much needed book. Even if you do not think you struggle with fear and worry there is a good chance that you know someone that does, and this book will assist you in ministering to them; the truth is after reading the first few chapters you will probably discover that that person is you. I would definitely consider buying this.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This Week in Blogworld 2/27

CJ Mahaney wants us to meet Ligon Duncan. Read part 1, 2, and 3.

Excellent article by Timmy Brister: The Gospel Our Greatest Common Denominator. Be sure to read this one.

Along those same lines here are some great thoughts by Nathan Finn: The Conservative Resurgence and Great Commission Resurgence.

Be sure to read this excellent quote by McCheyne.

Russell Moore has written another thoughtful piece on adoption: Adoption as Cosmic and Missional.

It is officially free agency in the NFL. To track the activity go to To watch a team doing nothing go to Cleveland

I have seen a few more links to Shane and Shane recently. I really hope more people begin listening to them--you'll be blessed by this:

(HT: Jared)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Review of Relationships: A Mess Worth Making by Paul Tripp and Timothy Lane

Author: Timothy Lane/Paul Tripp

Pages: 180 pages

Publisher: New Growth Press

Price: 13.49

Genre: Relationships/Christian Living

Quick Summary:

On the top of the back cover it reads, “Hope for messy, conflict-ridden relationships”: unless you are prideful, blind, or live in a cave that sentence will appeal to you. Tripp and Lane once again deliver an impressive book. Relationships are messy but through 15 chapters the authors show us that they are indeed a mess worth making. Inside this excellent work you will find advice for conversations, apologies, forgiveness, mercy, how to use your time and money, and much more. But more importantly each chapter is gospel-saturated. This book does not only define the problem it offers the only biblical solution—Christ and Him crucified.

What I Liked:

Once again (see How People Change) Tripp and Lane write in a writing style that both convicts and offers hope. You always feel the impact of your sin but they never leave you there—they always take you to the Cross of Christ for hope. Their personal humility and own Christian struggle is evident throughout this book. In my copy each chapter of this book is heavily underlined. There is not one chapter that does not cause me to stop and think and seek God for change. The authors get to the heart of each issue.

Even though I dislike the cover (see below) I absolutely love the structure of the inside. When helpful we are given charts, graphs, and bullet points. On numerous pages key quotes are drawn out and highlighted to get our attention. This book will appeal to all age groups and all audiences. Very well written and very much needed.

What I Disliked:

This seems like such a petty thing to say…but…the cover really turns me off to the book. It makes it look like a book for high school students. Either that or something that a grandmother made and she just had to get all of her grandkids on the cover.

Inside, one thing concerns me and that is the use of The Message for many Scripture passages. While I find that paraphrase helpful at times, I think a fair amount of people are turned off to it. I sincerely hope that it does not distract from the beautiful message of this book. One other, minor disappointment that I hope gets corrected in the second edition (if there is one), is that the authors refer to the wrong James as the author of the Epistle of James. Easy mistake, but again I hope it does not hurt their credibility. These dislikes are minor and the overall tenor of this book is phenomenal.

Should You Buy It?

Yes. This book needs to be on every pastor’s shelf and in every home library. If every member of our churches followed the biblical guidelines outlined in this book then our churches would be much healthier places. Once again Tripp and Lane bring us to the foot of the Cross and therein points us to healing in our relationships.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Economic Crisis and Church

If When the economic crisis starts hitting churches, and we have to make tough budget decisions, I really hope that what gets axed is not missions/outreach but building/maintenance. Just heard a news story about some churches that are feeling the recession that have to make tough decisions and are cutting some outreach programs. It's a sad day when those that are supposed to follow the One that said, "Take nothing for your journey" decide the journey is not worth it because we need to pay the electric bill. May the Lord rescue us from our "necessities".

There is something wrong with this:

Review of Famine in the Land by Steven Lawson

Author: Steven J. Lawson

Pages: 134 pages

Publisher: Moody Publishers

Price: 12.74

Genre: Church Ministry/Pastoral

Quick Summary:

This book is an expansion of a four-part series originally published in Bibliotheca Sacra in 2001-2002. Lawson’s plea in this book is to get back to the expository preaching of the world. In his own word Lawson sees this book to directly address, what is “the crying need of the hour, specifically that the modern-day pulpit be restored to her former glory of generations past, days when God’s truth was fearlessly proclaimed –days when doctrinal clarity, theological precision, and heart-searching application once poured forth from pulpits.”

Lawson hopes in this passionate call for expository preaching to show us the priority of biblical preaching, the power of biblical preaching, the pattern of biblical preaching, and the passion of biblical preaching. The author attempts to define the problem and offer the only biblical solution—expository preaching.

What I Liked:

Lawson draws from some great expositors in the past and as such there are very good quotes strung throughout this book. The author’s passion is present on every page of this book. You know that Lawson avidly practices what he is proclaiming in this book. Furthermore, he is right. I agree with about everything in this book. However…

What I Disliked:

This book might be unnecessary. I hope I am wrong because it is a quality book and it is very beneficial. Yet, Lawson writes in the MacArthur style that does not attempt to prove his statements but merely states them as true. If you are already convinced of expository preaching then this book will simply add a few more bullets to your gun. As one that is fully convinced of the need for expository preaching and as one that agrees with everything Lawson says—I found the book unchallenging. If you are not convinced of the need for expository preaching then I am not certain that this book will convince you. Therefore, it is my opinion that this book might be unnecessary; it reaches neither audience.

And this is a shame because Steven Lawson has a lot of good things to say. He is a man worth listening to and following. I wish that he would have either attempted to prove the need for expository preaching and therefore wrote in a more polemical style or attempted to strengthen those that already believe in the need for expository preaching.

Should You Buy It?

You can get it for relatively cheap on Amazon or Ebay. And even though I say that the book might be unnecessary it certainly is worth 5 bucks. After all I could be wrong. You might benefit greatly from this book. If it is only recently that you have been convinced of the need for expository preaching then perhaps you will benefit. I would however suggest that you buy instead Feed My Sheep, Christ-Centered Preaching, or The Supremacy of God in Preaching, these, in my opinion will serve you better.

Rating: 3 out of 5

UPDATE: I am selling this book for very cheap on EBAY (If you live close to me I'll cut the shipping or just end up giving you the book) it here

Monday, February 23, 2009

Review of How People Change

Author: Paul Tripp/Timothy Lane

Pages: 230 pages

Publisher: New Growth Press

Price: 13.49

Genre: Christian Living/Christian Ministry/Pastoral Resources

Quick Summary:

As the authors explain in the acknowledgements this book grew out of a class that David Powlison has developed and taught for over twenty years. And Powlison’s imagery and class grew out of the biblical principles of change. This book is God-centered and gospel-saturated. This is not a self-help book. This book is one that pinpoints where we need to change and offers the only biblical solution for change—union with Jesus Christ.

Tripp and Lane begin this book by defining the problem—which is that in many areas of our lives we do not believe the gospel. Then, before getting into any practical tips, they lay a solid theological foundation. Before showing us how to change they paint a picture of where God is taking us and point us to the Savior that is taking us there. Then in chapter 7-14 they look at a biblical picture for change. The book ends with a story of one couple’s journey as well as one’s church’s story.

What I Liked:

Tripp and Lane write in such a way that you are unable to escape their exhortations. Even in areas where I thought I had it together they wrote with such biblical and penetrating insight that I discovered my need for change is deep. Yet, at the same time they do not leave you on your own as many self-help books do. This book is the exact opposite of self-help. This book draws you to your knees and therein points you to Jesus. Many books about change and practical living are sub-Christian at best and heretical at worse. This book is unbelievably gospel-saturated.
One of the great benefits of this book is that it does not claim to work overnight. Tripp and Lane remind us that biblical change is a lifelong process. What a refreshing rebuke to our "quick-fix" church culture. I love that the authors are real and do not promise more help and faster change the Bible does. Part of the great appeal of this book is that admits that the Christian life is messy. And the hope that it offers is that the God of the universe is in control in the midst of the messiness of life. There are few books that are more needed in our church and culture.

What I Disliked:

My only regret is that the book is only 230 pages and I do not have Tripp and Lane’s cell phone number. Thankfully this book gives principles that I will use for a lifetime so it really does not need to be over 230 pages—but I will keep going back to this book as a resource. Great book!

If I had to offer one criticism it would be outrageous price of the Workbook and Leader’s Guide. This would be a great book to go through as a church and the workbooks would be a wonderful benefit. Unfortunately they are 25 bucks a piece for the workbooks (21.25 if you follow the link) and 50 for the leader’s guide (42.50 if you follow the link). For smaller churches that have people with lower means this is a ridiculous price. Hopefully they make this excellent resource available for a less expensive price. (The book is well priced at 13.49)

Should You Buy It?

This is one of those must have books. My copy is dog-eared and full of underlines—I have had it for less than a year. I keep going back to this book for sermon illustrations as well as for my own personal growth. Whether you are a pastor or not this book is for you. Unless you are Jesus you need to change. And if you need to change there are few books that will lay a better foundation for change than this one.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Monday's Ministry Musings: The Changing Face of Preaching Styles

This post will officially disqualify me from holding an office within the Southern Baptist Convention for at least 30 more years. It is not meant as slander. It is not meant to trash another man's preaching style. It is not even meant as a criticism. Here is the sacred cow that I'm getting ready to "insult"....I do not like Adrian Rogers' preaching. My pastor loves him, I love my pastor, but I do not share his love for Rogers' preaching. (Neither of us agree with him doctrinally on some points).

Apart from his anti-Calvinistic missiles here is why I do not like his preaching style. The alliteration and the constant "Here's what I'm going to tell you, Here's what I told you, etc." comes off to me as inauthentic and far too crafted. I think in days gone by this was the hip thing to do. Rogers did it better than anyone. Even his alliteration was alliterated. And it is a great tool for learning. Many books on preaching encourage you to use things like this to assist your hearers. Even parts of the Bible use it in forms. So, I am not against alliteration.

I am not sure what the underlying cultural values where that drove this type of preaching in Rogers' day--I was not in church then. But I do know that in our culture today for those under the age of 35 a far more effective method is passionate, messy, yet authentic preaching. I think people my age and younger are turned off by slick preaching and flashy rhetoric. People listen to passion and follow those that have it.

So here is my question and a little advice. The question is this--How do you effectively preach to those congregations that have Adrian Rogers-Charles Stanley-lovin' Southern Baptist as well as "what the heck is a Baptist"-Jesus lovin' postmoderns?

Advice--Preach the Word. Do not try to follow Adrian Rogers and do not try to follow Mark Driscoll or Matt Chandler. Be authentically who you are. If it helps you to think and preach with alliteration then do it but do it authentically. If you could care less about alliteration and are a messy Jesus lovin' postmodern preacher then do it authentically. Do not try to be who you are not. And lastly consider what John Owen said, "If the Word does not dwell with power in us, it will not pass with power from us."

A Neat Opportunity

Bible Study Magazine and Mars Hill are giving away 20 copies of Mark Driscoll’s new book, Vintage Church. Not only that, but they are also giving away five subscriptions to Bible Study Magazine and a copy of their Bible Study Library software! Enter to win on the Bible Study Magazine Mark Driscoll page, then take a look at all the cool tools they have to take your Bible study to the next level!

This looks like a pretty neat magazine. Is anyone else familiar with this?

Friday, February 20, 2009

Review of The Gift of Being Yourself by David Benner

Author: David Benner

Pages: 114 pages

Publisher: IVP Books

Price: 10.40

Genre: Christian Spirituality

Quick Summary:

At the core of this book David Benner hopes that we understand the importance of knowing our true self. The self that God created and the self that God really knows. His hope is that we might reject the false self and embrace our true selves. This book is a book about self-discovery but it is also a book about discovering God. You cannot know yourself unless you truly know God. Benner hopes that this book will set us on a journey of doing both.

What I Liked:

I think the core point that Benner is getting at is pretty solid. We need to be real and part of the process of redemption is God stripping away our false self and transforming us into who He really has crafted us to be. The core I think is good; the layers, however, are muddy at best--unbiblical at worse.

Another positive aspect to this book is the Benner does make the principles practical. He offers practical suggestions for getting to know God better and our true self better.

What I Disliked:

I went through this book with a group of pastors and most of us shared the same dislike—the truth that Benner proclaims in this book is so clouded by psychobabble that it makes the book almost irrelevant. There are statements in this book that cause me to shake my head and wonder not only what Benner is talking about but why he said it the way that he did. There are quite a few statements in this book that tiptoe towards crossing the line of biblical theology. Here are some of the samples:

“No one is born with an identity, and Jesus was no exception…and being fully human meant that he, like all humans, had to discover who he was. Even Jesus had to find his way, his self.” (p.93)

“Jesus’ understanding of his vocation came out of wrestling with God, himself and the devil in the solitude of the wilderness.” (p.99)

And this quote, I think sums up the fundamental problem with Benner’s theology and this book. Speaking of the human capacity for self-deception Benner says this, “This is taught in Scripture and confirmed by psychology.” Since when does psychology have the right to “confirm” Scripture. As one fellow pastor said, “there is a difference between being a psychologist that is a Christian and a Christian that is a psychologist”. Benner seems to be the former and as another pastor said, “a little theology would have went a long way in this book”.

Should You Buy It?

If you have discernment and are able to sift through mud to find gold then it might be a good read. I would not suggest it for the new believer or a Christian that struggles with discernment. I think someone could be a deep sinner, read this book, and walk away from it very comfortable in his sin and comfortable with himself. That would not be Benner’s intent but his writing opens up the door for such things.

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

This Week in Blogworld 2/20

This will certainly prove to be controversial: What will we be in the SBC? by Tom Ascol.

Taylor Buzzard gives us a helpful Algebra equation to mark our time left with our children under our care: x/18=y. According to this formula I already have spent 10% of time with Isaiah under our care. Read the article.

Both Nathan Finn and Alvin Reid write open letters to SBC Calvinists and Non-Calvinists. Read Finn's to the Non-Calvinists and Reid's to the Calvinist.

CJ Mahaney interviews Thabiti. Check out Part 1 and 2.

I love this question by Abraham Piper: How would the Bible be different if you'd been it's editor?

Great article by Matt Chandler on Legalism. He also has good thoughts on Seminary.

Bill Mounce considers Ephesians 4:29 and blogging.

Michael McKinley gives 95 Theses (give or take 85) on Christian humor.

Showing his continuing maturity Joshua Harris lets us know what he has learned since writing I Kissed Dating Goodbye.

This raises an interesting question......should a pastor wear a speedo?

(HT: Tim Ellsworth)

Thursday, February 19, 2009


I've started using Twitter. Not sure if I like it. Not sure if I'll keep it. You can follow me (how arrogant does that sound???) here at

If you have Twitter I'd love to follow you (how humble does that sound???)

Monday, February 16, 2009

Do You Agree?

"If you believe the wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God, you can not speak to them as if you were telling a story."
-Thomas Boston
Do you agree?

Monday's Ministry Musing: Answering Tough Questions Quickly

Last Wednesday it was 8:26 and I had 4 minutes left in the sermon. Suddenly a hand in the back raised. It was Freddie. Freddie is a neat young man. Just to give you a glimpse on that night he was wearing his tongue ring, sporting an orange tie, and wearing leather pants. Freddie can sometimes ask silly questions. But Freddie can also ask really good questions. So right before the conclusion to the sermon Freddie had a question, and it was a doozy. "If Jesus died for all of our sins, then why is he not in hell."

The implications of that question are huge. At first I thought about discussing it with him after the sermon. But there it was hanging out there and I could see a puzzled anxiousness on many of our students. So, how do you answer that question in 4 minutes and still get a conclusion to your sermon? I stuttered, I stumbled, I restarted and then I stumbled again. Still puzzled. I knew I could not give the long answer.

So how would you have answered that question in less than a minute? Would you have even tried? I'll tell you my answer either later today or tomorrow. But, think about it.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Why is the Sun Shining Today?

Because there is still at least one sinner yet to become a sheep and because God has decided to remain in a position of mercy for the time being.

While God is still showing mercy...perhaps I should.
While God is still withholding wrath...perhaps I should.
While God is still calling sinners to repent...perhaps I should.
While God is still radically, lovingly, doggedly, pursuing sinners...perhaps I should.

How Do You Demonstrate God's Character?

Well, how do you?

In less than 15 do you demonstrate God's character?

This Week in Blogworld 2/13/09

I've decided to make this a weekly feature rather than daily. It wasn't daily much anymore anyways.

Is anyone else getting sick of this? Baptist Press trashes Driscoll. Numerous people have already responded. I think Alvin Reid might have done about the best.

Carl Trueman has a great piece on technology and a great quote about Facebook: “…the church should show this generation of text and web addicts where real friendship and community lie, not with some bunch of self-created avatars on Facebook but with the person next to them in the pew on Sunday, with the person next door, with the person they can see, hear, touch and, of course, to whom they can talk, and who is created not in webworld but by the mighty Creator.” (HT: Tony)

Great quote here by Jared Wilson: Why, God?

It seems a little extreme but I agree. Russell Moore discusses cellphones, children, and the gospel. I would absolutely love for our teenagers to STOP TEXTING EVERY 2 MINUTES!!!

Kevin DeYoung, author of Why We're Not Emergent, has started blogging. He starts out with an excellent series of posts on having a theological core without being crusty. Then offers 6 questions for the potentially crusty, and then another 6 questions. Great articles, be sure to read these.

Bill Mounce tells us what to do with metaphors in Bible translation.

Be sure to read the article that goes with the HT:
(HT: DeYoung)

Review of The Work of the Pastor by William Still

Author: William Still

Pages: 152 pages

Publisher: Rutherford House

Price: 4.89

Genre: Pastoral/Preaching

Quick Summary:

The Work of the Pastor is a compilation of five addresses given by William Still in the 1960’s. The fundamental cry of Still’s heart is that the pastor might see his work as feeding God’s sheep the Word of God. It sounds rather obvious and yet it is a much neglected practice. The pastor can be tempted to be about the business of many “good” things but neglect the most important—caring for the sheep.

What Still is aiming at in all five of these messages can be summed up by this quote, “If you think that you are called to keep a largely worldly organization, miscalled a church, going, with infinitesimal doses of innocuous sub-Christian drugs or stimulants, then the only help I can give you is to advise you to give up the hope of the ministry and go and be a street scavenger; a far healthier and more godly job, keeping the streets tidy, than cluttering the church with a lot of worldly claptrap in the delusion that you are doing a job for God. The pastor is called to feed the sheep, even if the sheep do not want to be fed. He is certainly not to become an entertainer of the goats. Let goats entertain goats, and let them do it out in goatland. You will certainly not turn goats into sheep by pandering to their goatishness. Do we really believe that the Word of God, by His Spirit, changes, as well as maddens men? If we do, to be evangelists and pastors, feeders of sheep, we must be men of the Word of God.” (9, 10)

Everything else that Still says in this book stems from the fundamental statement—“The pastor is called to feed the sheep, even if the sheep do not want to be fed.” Throughout this work Still shows exactly what he means by feeding sheep. He shows what this means inside the pulpit as well as outside the pulpit.

What I Liked:

I had never heard of William Still or his ministry prior to picking this book up off of Monergism for under five bucks. I actually assumed it was written in the seventeen or eighteen hundreds, and because of Still’s focus on the Word it very much feels as if it was. Because the Word of God is always relevant this booklet by Still is always relevant—calling pastor’s to do their job of feeding the sheep.

William Still “brings it” in these five messages. He does not shy away from confrontation or mince words. He tells it as it is. As Still tells pastors to “preach the Word” he is giving us a visible demonstration of what he means, throughout these five addresses Still brings us the Word of God. At times it cuts like a knife. At other times it comforts and encourages. What an excellent little book this is.

What I Disliked:

At times I think Still might be a tad prone to simplism. It is true that the Word is sufficient, but the Word must be handled correctly. This is, perhaps, not a knock on Still’s addresses but rather our fallen condition—we are prone to simplistic answers. And “only preach the Word” can be a license to the lazy or self-protecting pastor to not engage the difficulties of the pastorate.

Another difficulty in this book is its language. Still is, I believe, a Scotsman. And as such he speaks as a Scotsman. The lengthy quote above reveals the sometimes difficult and jam-packed language that Still uses. Yet, this is also one of the books great strengths. It is poetic and beautiful but sometimes the wording trips you up.

Should You Buy It?

There are few better uses for a five dollar bill than this book. Even if this little book were ten dollars I would still recommend it. What Still has to say in this book needs to be heard by pastor’s today as much as it needed to be heard in the 1960’s. Buy a copy today.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Hump Day Humor: QVC Edition

This guy is still in an unemployment line

The guy at the end is classic..."We may need emergency surgery in the studio"

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

A Missing Gospel Element in Our Culture

Doubtless you have heard the story of former New York City mayor Fiorello La Guardia and the grandmother on trial for stealing bread. Apparently, one night La Guardia visited a night court in the poorest part of the city. As the night went on the mayor took the bench himself. At one point a case came before him of a grandmother that stole bread to feed her grandchildren. La Guardia said, "You are guilty, and I have to punish you. Ten dollars or ten days in jail." But he did not stop there. The mayor pulled the ten dollars out of his pocket and paid the fine. The story also goes that La Guardia fined everyone in the building for living in a city where a grandmother has to steal bread. As they passed the hat around the woman left the courthouse with her fine paid and some $47.50 in her pocket.

This is an excellent picture of the gospel. We are guilty and the story does not deny that; in fact it confirms it. La Guardia did not lower the standard he considered the grandmother guilty--just as we are before God. Yet, just as in the story the Judge Himself pays our fine. And it is not only our fine that is paid but he also blesses us abundantly. There have been few better sermon illustrations on the gospel.

Yet, I wonder if the story would be different in our culture? Instead of declaring the grandmother guilty and paying the fine; she would probably have just gotten off without punishment, left acquitted, but still had nothing in her pocket. In our culture we sometimes do a good job overlooking offenses...but we have little concept of justice. One thing missing from our culture is the idea that "The fine must be paid". And because of this we also miss the deep truths of grace.

Yesterday, my wife went to the shopping mall. While there she decided to get our son's hair cut. At the salon (little boy's should go to salon's should they?) my wife found a great deal on shampoo that she loves to use. It is normally pretty expensive, but this deal was two hugemongous bottles for $15. When she went to pay for it, I guess she read the sign wrong or something. It was actually going to be about $30. That would have definitely meant no shampoo. But the cashier decided to be nice and went ahead and sold it to her for $15.
Now, is this grace?
Yes, sort of. But really the cashier (who is only an employee) is only stickin' it to the man. That's not really her decision to make. The price has been set, it must be paid. If she really wanted to give grace then she would have gotten $15.00 out of her pocket and paid the other half. But instead she said, "oh, just call it even". And this is a missing element of the gospel in our culture. Without an understanding that "The fine must be paid" grace becomes cheapened and almost mandatory. And as we know grace that is mandatory is not really grace.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

God's Great Global Purpose Visualized

1. The chief end of all God’s actions is for the display of His glory.
2. This glory is made visible in Christ.
3. Christ is made visible through the gospel.
4. The gospel gathers individuals into a blood-bought community of redeemed believers, that
a. fosters growth into Christ likeness
b. ignites a passion for mission
5. When these are grounded in a vision of God’s glory it results in our ultimate purpose:
6. Worship: The creation of passionate worshippers that accurately reflects and rejoices in the glory of God.

I have been working on this and I have a 12 page document that goes with this that has a detailed discussion of each point. There is a purpose to it but that does not matter at this point. Without having the detailed discussion in your hand tell me your thoughts. Is it clear? Would you re-word anything? Did I leave something out?

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Humbling of When I'm Actually the Idiot

I would tell you a secret but I am afraid you would hurt my business. Ok, since only a handful of people read this I'll share. EBay is often much cheaper than Amazon. Yet, some people prefer to use Amazon because it seems far more secure. You can take advantage of this. Here is how I do it. I buy Super Nintendo games on EBay then sell them on Amazon.

When I first started doing this I saw a game on Amazon listed for 49.99. On EBay I saw that some complete idiot was selling the game for 9.99. This is not 9.99 in an auction...this is Buy It Now 9.99. With my heart beating out of my chest I committed to buy. What a sucker! I quickly received the game and listed it on Amazon. I was even generous and listed it for 39.99. Somebody would be sure to buy it.

2 months later....Nothing. Turns out some games and books on Amazon will NEVER sell. Found out the seller rank for this game is like 2 million something. And to top it off some goober just put the same game up for sale on Amazon for 15.00. Turns out the "idiot" that listed it for 9.99 got another idiot (me) to buy a worthless game.

So, here is the lesson. I've had the same experience in theology. You know when you just cannot wrap your mind around what some idiot is teaching. He is obviously wrong because your Bible teaches something different. So, you even write a few articles and talk to a few friends about this ridiculous teaching.

A few months wholeheartedly agree with the previous "ridiculous teaching". Turns out he wasn't the idiot you were. Stay humble and always remember you could be wrong. God gives grace to the humble but rejects the proud.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Monday's Ministry Musings: Dethroning the Mini-king

"Your words are always in pursuit of some kind of kingdom. You are either speaking as a mini-king, seeking to establish your will in your relationships and circumstances; or you are speaking as an ambassador, seeking to be part of what the King is doing."
-Paul Tripp, Relationships: A Mess Worth Making, page 73.
We must ever keep this truth in mind when we come into the pulpit and in the relationships we forge within our congregation. I have been far to guilty of building my mini-kingdom (of course for the sake of Jesus) than just seeking to be a part of what the King is doing. Lord help me!


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