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What I Read Online – 03/01/2011 (a.m.)

01 Mar
    • Rob Bell is right about one thing: what you believe about heaven and hell says a lot about what you believe about God. That’s why theological error of this magnitude cannot go unchecked. The God of the Vimeo clip is not a God of wrath, not a God of eternal recompense, not a God who showed us love in sending his Son to be a propitiation for our wretched sins, not a God whose will it was to crush the Suffering Servant in an exercise of divine justice and free grace. Indeed, says Bell—even if he says it with a question—such a God could not be good.

      We don’t have to guess if Bell will say something dreadfully, horribly, disgracefully wrong.

      He already has.

    • Lessons from leading worship after an earthquake
    • “When I hear a knock at my study door, I hear a message from God.

      It may be a lesson of instruction;

      perhaps a lesson of patience:

      but, since it is his message, it must be interesting.”

      —John Newton, in Works I:76.

    • In some congregations, of course, that kind of generational forewarning takes place, but I suspect it happens in far too few. I wonder what would happen if we started listening to one another about those temptations “common to man” (1 Cor. 10:13) at each stage of the life cycle. Perhaps then we would look more like the Book of Proverbs, a father warning his son of what’s to come (Prov. 5-7). And perhaps then we would look more like our Lord Jesus who spoke ahead of time to his disciples of the trouble that was to come (Jn. 14:29).
    • This exercise, of course, isn’t designed to register complaints with the Bible. It is perfect. The exercise does, however, instruct me. I am far less than perfect. It reminds me to not shout where God has whispered. It reminds me to seek to align my priorities with His. It reminds me that while the Bible is not less than a rule book for the Christian, it is more than that. It is the very food by which we live. When we find ourselves troubled by the Bible, either by what is in there or what isn’t, we get a clue as to where our troubles lie. We learn submission to authority is more important than the form of the authority. We learn that while form matters, worship is a matter of the heart. We learn to allow preaching to correct us, more than we correct preaching. We learn that being a godly spouse is more powerful than picking the perfect spouse. And we learn that we have eternity to learn more about who God is.
    • The appropriate age to discuss these matters varies from child to child but if a parent is going to err, it should be sooner than later. Ensuring the lines of communication are open and honest between a parent and child is paramount. For younger children, this includes talking to them about inappropriate viewing and touching as well as keeping them in safe surroundings.
    • Well would it be for the Church of Christ, if it possessed more plain-speaking ministers, like John the Baptist, in these latter days. A morbid dislike to strong language an excessive fear of giving offence, a constant flinching from directness and plain speaking are, unhappily, too much the characteristics of the modern Christian pulpit. Uncharitable language is no doubt always to be deprecated. But there is no charity in flattering unconverted people, by abstaining from any mention of their vices, or in applying smooth epithets to damnable sins. There are two texts which are too much forgotten by Christian preachers. In one it is written, “Woe unto you when all men shall speak well of you.” (Luke 6:26) In the other it is written, “Obviously, I’m not trying to be a people pleaser! No, I am trying to please God. If I were still trying to please people, I would not be Christ’s servant.” (Gal. 1:10)

      ~ J.C. Ryle

      Expository Thoughts on the Gospels: Luke volume 1, [Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1986], 89. {Luke 3: 7-14}

    • Every pastor is called to be a theologian. This may come as a surprise to those pastors who see theology as an academic discipline taken during seminary rather than as an ongoing and central part of the pastoral calling. Nevertheless, the health of the church depends upon its pastors functioning as faithful theologians–teaching, preaching, defending, and applying the great doctrines of the faith…

      In far too many cases the pastor’s ministry has been evacuated of serious doctrinal content, and many pastors seem to have little connection to any sense of theological vocation. All this must be reversed if the church is to remain true to God’s Word and the gospel. Unless the pastor functions as theologian, theology is left in the hands of those who, in many cases, have little or no connection or commitment to the local church.

    • While Rana talks about how heartrending that must have been for Miller, I immediately thought, “If the current origin-of-life community has known since 2002 that Miller’s work is not relevant to the origin of life, why does nearly every high school biology book still discuss it as if it is relevant?”
    • Obviously, it is not. As Rana makes clear in his book, if modern origin-of-life research has taught us anything, it is that life cannot be the product of natural processes. It must have been designed.
    • Let me introduce you to the most important rule when talking to your kids about the sermon: They retain more than you think they do.  The second most important rule is like it: They understand more than you think they do.  
    • Remember the outline
    • Know the one, main point
    • How is Jesus the hero?
    • Engage your kids with open ended questions
    • Make sure the gospel is clear
    • Be the first to pray and confess
    • Chase rabbit trails
    • Remember the first two rules
    • And I promise you this, they will remember these times with you.  They will forget a ton.  But they won’t forget Sunday afternoons with daddy and mommy talking about Jesus.  

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

 
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Posted by on 01/03/2011 in Current Issues

 

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