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What I Read Online – 02/16/2011 (a.m.)

16 Feb
    • This trend is not destroying churches outright, at least not many of them. But it is weakening believers. Weakening their love for the Scriptures. Weakening their faith in an increasingly pluralistic world. Weakening their children who hear feeble drivel in their youth groups, Bible classes and chapels, and as a result have little desire or respect for the Word.
    • Without a strong commitment to being a pastor-theologian, a pastor will merely be speaking every Sunday, not preaching. As one pastor said, “The church already has speakers. They’re usually on the wall behind the pulpit. What it needs is preachers!” True preaching must be theological, and this requires the pastor to be a theologian. If more pastors don’t return to this model, I fear for the church in the next decade.
    • The gospel is the good news that God sent Jesus to undo what Adam undid (see, e.g., Heb 2:5–9; 1 Cor 15:20–28;<!– @font-face { font-family: “Courier New”; }@font-face { font-family: “Calibri”; }p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal { margin: 0in 0in 10pt; line-height: 115%; font-size: 12pt; font-family: “Courier New”; }div.Section1 { page: Section1; } –> Rom 5:12–19): Jesus died and rose again for sinners, just as God promised (1 Cor 15:1–8). It is the good news that we can once more be truly human. No longer are we, like Adam, evicted from God’s presence and under his wrath. The garden—the kingdom—has been regained with a plus. It is the good news that we sons of the second Adam have been remade—not just considered to be remade (Rom 3:21–26)—but actually remade—not fully . . . yet (2 Cor 3:18)—but actually, truly. We’ve been re-born, made new, which is to say re-generated. We sons of the second Adam were remade, raised with him to new life. His resurrection guarantees our own (1 Pet 1:3; Eph 2:5–6; et al.). We are new creatures (2 Cor 5:17). Yes, this means something terribly important for the future (1 Cor 6:14; 2 Cor 4:14). And, yes, it means we’ve got something we must share now with our unbelieving neighbors before its too late. However, for far too long we’ve missed what the gospel means for us now. We’ve missed why the gospel is good news for Christians today.
    • If the engine of the Christian experience is the good news that God has given you new life in Christ, then you need to preach this good news to yourself every day. Remind yourself about what God has done for you in Christ as often as you can. So, for example, when Satan tempts you to despair and preaches condemnation to your heart, remember that Jesus took your death sentence away; he made an end to all your sin. Besides preaching the gospel to yourself, fuel this practice with all the means of grace at your disposal: Bible reading, prayer, corporate worship, gospel-centered (and celebratory) music, and especially fellowship.
    • I want to end with a specific word about fellowship. If new life has been given to us, to Christians, we should expect to see evidence of this new life every day. Instead of this fact turning us inward in introspection (there is, of course, a place for this), let it also make us expect to see evidences of new life, evidences of grace, in others’ lives every day. One of the best, most faith-building, joy-producing things we can do for our brothers and sisters in Christ is to point out God’s work in their lives. Infuse courage into the soul of your spouse, your pastors, your small group by drawing attention to what you see God doing in their lives.
    • A wise leader spells out expectations up front, before someone ever joins a music team. But over time, we can drift. Little by little people start to wear things that raise questions or distract others.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

 
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Posted by on 16/02/2011 in Current Issues

 

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