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Category Archives: gospel-change

Discovery of Fire and the Gospel

This is why I love Jared Wilson:

Isn’t the good news like fire? Isn’t hearing it and believing in it a precious, wondrous, life-changing event? It’s startling, confusing, exhilarating in the joy of first sight of something we’ve ever longed for. It gives heat never had, warmth never felt, makes everything taste better. Don’t we dance to discover it, hoot and holler over its newness, its blazing, dangerous beauty?

Don’t we want to light many more fires with it, touching torches and lanterns and taking them everywhere cold and dark? Don’t we want to take this fire and immolate those frozen memorials to flameless promisers of fire? Don’t we want to light up the world with this wonderful elemental stuff?

Don’t we?

I know I sure do!

Lord, cause many in New England and beyond to discover the fire of the gospel of Jesus the Messiah!

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Posted by on September 7, 2010 in gospel, gospel-change, Heart, Jesus, revival

 

Numbness will be the Exception, not the Norm

Some rich, gospel encouragement from an excerpt of Jared Wilson’s upcoming book.

But! Oh man. If we are regularly and excitedly engaging people in the good news of the finished saving work of the sacrificing, dying, rising, exalted, sovereign Jesus Christ who is the death-proof, fail-proof King of kings before all things and in all things and holding all things together as he sustains the world by the mere word of his power, the ones whose hearts are opened by the Spirit to be won to Christ will be irrevocably changed. Numbness will be the exception, rather than the norm. We will not have to lead them through hoops of creative entertainment, constantly hamstrung by the limits of our artistic brainstorming sessions, seeking to keep their attentions stirred by a well-composed aesthetic this or that.

 

Is “Missional” a Movement?

After offering sharing some great quotes overheard at the VERGE conference, Jonathan Dodson concludes

Something is happening. Maybe it will result in a movement, maybe not. It depends on us…depending on the Spirit. It will require an absolute shift from mission at leisure to mission as lifestyle. But this missional movement will die out, burn out, and go nowhere if we aren’t continually brought to repentance and faith in Christ ourselves, over and over again, for our idolatry of mission and indifference to mission. May Christ be more precious than mission, but may mission be more precious than our very own lives.

Amen!

 

Lead09 Conference Starts Today

Lead ’09 begins today! And I can’t wait for the first session to start!

Together, men and women from Maine, New England and beyond will be exploring the themes of Gospel, Community and Mission.   This two-day conference is a call to each of us and our churches to take Jesus seriously–to radically reshape our lives around the gospel word so that we can truly be his gospel community on God’s mission.

Please pray that God will use this conference to exalt Jesus in the lives of all who attend and in the churches they represent. May God bring a great awakening of gospel renewal in New England!

Here’s Friday’s schedule…

Friday – October 9

* 12:30 : Welcome

* 12:40 : Gathered Worship

* 01:00 : Tim Chester – Session #1 Making God’s people the heart of God’s missionIs our gospel too small? Too individualistic? The Bible’s story of salvation puts community at the heart of God’s mission. The church is part of our identity as Christians.

* 03:00 : Tim Chester –  Session #2 Community as lifestyleHow can we live as a community – sharing lives, sharing decisions, sharing struggles?

* 05:00 : Jonathan Dodson. Session #3 What is the Gospel? The Three Dimensions – this will be a biblical-theological examination of the Doctrinal, Personal, & Social dimensions of the Gospel.

* 06:30 : Dinner

* 08:00 : Breakout Sessions –

  1. Too Busy for Mission?: Tim Chester
  2. Becoming a Missional Leader: Jonathan Dodson
  3. Gospel, Community, Mission & Orphan? Bill Legere
  4. The Shift: Our experience in re-churching the church: Mark Gedicks

Here’s the full schedule. Hope to see you there!

 

Admit it–You are a Glory Thief!

Lasting change takes place when people are not only shocked by the evil in their world, but by the degree to which they have lived as glory thieves, demanding for themselves what belongs only to the Lord.

–Paul Tripp, Instruments in theRedeemer’s Hands, p. 226.

 

The Church is God’s Wonderful Mess

“The church is not a theological classroom. It is a conversion, confession, repentance, reconciliation, forgiveness, and sanctification center, where flawed people place their trust in Christ, gather to know and love him better and learn to love others as he has designed. The church is messy and inefficient, but it is God’s wonderful mess–the place where he radically transforms hearts and lives.”

–Paul David Tripp, Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands, p. 116

 

John Owen and Gollum: Puritan vs. Hobbit

Gollum personifies how evil takes hold of you, enslaving and devouring you. And the genius of Tolkien’s Gollum is that the evil that destroys the once kind, playful hobbit does not come in an ugly, obvious form of evil. Instead, it seems beautiful and lovely; it is precious! Outwardly, Gollum’s “Precious” does not look as dangerous as Saruman’s pride, treachery, and manipulation or Sauron’s destroy-anything-that-gets-in-my-way-of-absolute-power. And yet, I know of no other literary or cinematic character that so graphically portrays how sin begins so craftily, but ends in destruction.

Well, the other day I came across the most unlikely pairing. Reading through John Owen’s Overcoming Sin and Temptation, I found something that made me think that Tolkien just might have ripped off the Puritan when he came up with Gollum and his beloved “Precious.” Check this out…

[Unmortified sin] untunes and unframes the heart itself by entangling its affections. It diverts the heart from the spiritual frame that is required for vigorous communion with God; it lays hold on the affections, rendering its object beloved and desirable, so expelling the love of the Father (1 John 2:15; 3:17); so that the soul cannot say uprightly and truly to God, “You are my portion,” having something else it loves. Fear, desire, hope, which are the choice affections of the soul, that should be full of God, will be one way or other entangled with it.”

John Owen, Overcoming Sin and Temptation, eds., Kelly Kapic and Justin Taylor, 64-65.

Notice how Owen describes sin: “it lays hold on the affections, rendering its object beloved and desirable.” Sin is ultimately calling something other than God, “My Precioussss!” It’s not merely doing bad things; more fundamentally, it is making good things into god things, as Tim Keller states. And when this happens we become incapable of experiencing or enjoying the love of God because our affections are diverted away from him. Something else has taken his place, and to it we say “You are my portion; you are my Precious!” That something is to us a substitute savior, a damning idol.

And sin, like the ring is not content to be just an add-on in our life: it’s desire is to enslave. Remember when Gollum, then Smeagol, acquired the ring? His servitude began right away! It lead him to murder his own cousin. It drove him from the ones he loved. It reduced him to living like an animal, eating raw fish and dwelling in caves. It owned him! It destroyed him.

Together, Owen and Gollum remind us of this central truth: whatever we love, whatever we worship…we will serve. You’ve got to serve somebody, may you take Jesus at his word and serve him!

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.
John 10:10