What I Read Online – 08/30/2011 (a.m.)

    • round more for their four children. She told him that even when he was home, he often wasn’t “there.” And in his quiet, self-reflective moments he had to admit that his heart wasn’t at rest. Little did my pastor friend know that he was not alone. His story is the story of many pastors
    • What Jesus says next is may be hard to accept, but it is vital to hear. He essentially says that the reason our lives are driven and shaped by fear and not faith is that we have forgotten the gospel
    • So the gospel of creation preaches rest to the pastor
    • The pastor’s job is simply to use his God-given gifts in public and private gospel ministry
    • Once your ministry is driven by your attempt to meet your needs, you are ministering for you and not for others. Others-centered ministry is always propelled by a quiet rest in the Father’s love and care
    • So, what is the problem? Gospel-amnesia. When you forget who you are, you quit resting in the Father’s provision, you start relying on your own wisdom, and you try to do God’s job
    • Go back and read (or listen to/watch) R. C. Sproul’s “The Holiness of God.” Now there you can’t help but be faced with a person rather than a principle. Your questions, not just answers, change. The vertical dimension is recovered. Sure, you’d like to have a better marriage and family, but a deeper set of questions emerges—questions you never had before. Then you find that God is not a prop or resource for your life movie, but your problem.  Only then does the question, “How then can I be saved?” arise.  Only then is the gospel really good news—namely, that in Christ the Judge has become your
    • father
    • If we start with the Bible’s answers, we’re too late.  We need to allow God’s Word to give us new questions first
    • At the same time—and I take it that this is Tim Keller’s point—the gospel is just as necessary.  Otherwise, what we have is what the Puritans called “legal” rather than “evangelical” repentance: that is, fear of the law without gospel-driven hatred of sin.  It’s one thing to run from a judge; it’s another thing to hear the surprising announcement from the Good Father that he welcomes the sinner, wraps him in his best robe, puts a ring on his finger, and kills the fatted calf for the celebration. Many of our contemporaries have never met anyone like that
      • Into which category an issue falls should be determined by the cumulative force of at least eight considerations:

         

         
           
        1. biblical clarity;
        2. relevance to the character of God;
        3. relevance to the essence of the gospel;
        4. biblical frequency and significance (how often in Scripture it is taught, and what weight Scripture places upon it);
        5. effect on other doctrines;
        6. consensus among Christians (past and present);
        7. effect on personal and church life; and
        8. current cultural pressure to deny a teaching of Scripture.
    • I am enjoying the privilege of 3 days of God-centred ministry from John Piper and John Lennox at the Oxygen conference in Sydney, along with around 2300 other people, including some other contributors to this blog. While others may have their take on this time, I thought I would at least list a few of the many helpful things for life and ministry that were mentioned today
    • If you’re drawn toward exciting, contemporary worship settings, know this—we all are! But this is not because it is right; not because it is proper; not because God is truly putting a burden on our hearts to pursue worship of him in this way… it is because all of us prefer to worship ourselves! All of us are idolaters who fashion gods in our own image
    • Here’s the point: the only true and valid reformation occurs as we align our beliefs, our behavior, and our worship with the Word of God. In fact, the full, unabbreviated version of the Latin slogan is Ecclesia reformata et semper reformanda secundum verbum Dei (“The Church Reformed and always reforming according to the Word of God.”)

        

    • God’s Word is the only true standard we have a divine mandate to conform to, and it is the ultimate standard by which we will be judged. Success or failure in ministry therefore cannot be evaluated by numerical statistics, financial figures, popularity polls, public opinion, or any of the other factors the world typically associates with “success.” The only real triumph in ministry is to hear Christ say, “Well done.”
       

       

           

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About Joe Fleener

Lover of Christ & His Gospel, Husband to Mandy, Father to three wonderful children, Servant to the Local Church, Bible College Lecturer
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