A Great Conference on Discipleship

Last week a great friend of mine was able to come and stay with my family while he poured his heart out for us on the topic of discipleship. If you were able to come and be a part of our Bible conference then I trust that you were encouraged and challenged by Josh Wagner’s handling of the Scriptures. If you missed the conference I strongly recommend you listen to the audio that has been posted here.

Also, you might be interested in the list of books that were mentioned during the talks, here they are:

  1. The Trellis and The Vine by Collin Marshall and Tony Payne
  2. Listen Up! by Christopher Ash is a practical guide for listening to sermons
  3. Operation Multiplication by Billy Hanks Jr. A Call to Joy/A Call to Growth Discipler’s pack is a helpful guide to one on one discipleship but the first two chapters on salvation come from a strong Arminian perspective.
  4. Ten Questions to Diagnose Your Spiritual Health by Don Whitney is a great place to start if you don’t know where to start.
  5. Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem
  6. The Christian Counseling and Education Foundation you can find many wonderful resources in their bookstore to help in one on one discipleship.
  7. Church in the House by Matthew Henry is a must read help for family worship.
  8. The Peacemaker by Ken Sande
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So What’s it Like Being a Pastor?

I get this question quite often because for most people it’s difficult to imagine the day to day life of a minister. I guess it’s easier to imagine what life is like for a police officer, a lawyer, or a doctor because these professions are not only more common but they are also the staples of prime time television drama. And on the rare occasion that television programming calls for a pastor, the guy is usually portrayed in a less than positive light (and that is putting it mildly).

But what is it like to be a pastor? What goes on day to day in the heart and mind of a man who honestly cares for the mission of God he’s been called to and the sheep of God he’s been called to care for?

In a recent post Jared Wilson has done a masterful job in answering this question.

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Puritan Prayers: Living By Prayer

From the Valley of Vision – pgs. 266-67.

O God of the open ear, Teach me to live by prayer as well as by providence, for myself, soul, body, children, family, church; Give me a heart frameable to thy will; so might I live in prayer, and honour thee, being kept from evil, known and unknown.

Help me to see the sin that accompanies all I do, and the good I can distil from everything. Let me know that the word of prayer is to bring my will to thine, and that without this it is folly to pray; when I try to bring thy will to mine it is to command Christ, to be above him, and wiser than he: this is my sin and pride.

I can only succeed when I pray according to thy precept and promise, and to be done with as it pleases thee, according to thy sovereign will.

When thou commandest me to pray for pardon, peace, brokenness, it is because thou wilt give me the things promised, for thy glory, as well as for my good.

Help me not only to desire small things but with holy boldness to desire great things for thy people, for myself, that they and I might live to show thy glory.

Teach me that it is wisdom for me to pray for all I have, out of love, willingly, not of necessity; that I may come to thee at any time, to lay open my needs acceptably to thee; that my great sin lies in my not keeping the savour of thy ways; that the remembrance of this truth is one way to the sense of thy presence; that there is no wrath like the wrath of being governed by my own lusts for my own ends.

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A Fresh Look at an Age Old Sin – Gluttony

Jared Wilson, with some help from C.S Lewis, offers a pretty disarming illustration of the ungodly allure of food.

Here we are, being tantalized and aroused by the gleaming juices of delicious steaks, the architectural splendor of some well-stacked mega-burger, the whole-life-fulfillment promised by chocolate mousse, all airbrushed and lit up and presented with expertly selected music and pitched by a celebrity or model.

Would we not think that in this country something had gone wrong with the appetite for food?

Read the rest of this post here.

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“How Did the Animals Know?”

This is an interesting look into what happened just minutes before the recent earthquake occurred in the Eastern United States.

Shortly before the earthquake hit Washington, D.C., the animals in the National Zoo started freaking out.   So did lots of people’s housepets, with sleepy cats suddenly jumping up and heading for the hills just prior to the quake.  Scientists can’t figure out how they knew: keep reading

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God is both our Surgeon and our Judge

John Murray is helpful when he writes about this important distinction.

Regeneration is an act of God in us; justification is a judgment of God with respect to us. The distinction is like that of the distinction between the act of a surgeon and the act of a judge. The surgeon, when he removes an inward cancer, does something in us. That is not what a judge does – he gives a verdict regarding our judicial status. If we are innocent he declares accordingly.

The purity of the gospel is bound up with the recognition of this distinction. If justification is confused with regeneration or sanctification, then the door is opened for the perversion of the gospel at its center. Justification is still the article of the standing or falling of the Church.[1]

The truth is we need both. We need the Holy Spirit to invade our hearts and make us alive. We need God to remove the veil from our eyes so that we can see the beauty and glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ (2 Cor 4:3-6).

But, we also need God to declare us righteous, not on the basis of our merit but in respect to the merit of Christ. And this is the good news of the gospel.

God’s justice has been satisfied by the person and work of Jesus and as believers in Christ we stand in Him by faith to receive the gifts of God’s grace and the absolute assurance that we have right-standing with God.

To be justified is not merely a legal fiction it is a declaration of God himself that those who believe in Christ are forgiven of sin; it is a declaration that righteousness has been achieved by Christ and applied to the sinners account through imputation, and this imputed righteousness is perfect, complete, lacking in nothing.  And for all those who believe we can read Romans 8 with confidence saying…

Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.  34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died – more than that, who was raised – who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. —Romans 8:33-34

[1] John Murray Redemption Accomplished and Applied.

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Missional Community

What happens when a small group goes viral? Or, What would it look like to live as missionaries here versus thinking that missionaries only go somewhere else?

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