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Category Archives: theology

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!

 

Register for Lead09, Get Total Church for Free

Lead 09

Thanks to our friends at Crossway Books, everyone who registers for Lead09 this week will receive a free copy of Total Church. Every person will also be entered to win 1 of 2 free ESV Study Bibles (a $50 value).

 
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Posted by on July 29, 2009 in conference, gospel, theology

 

Lead 09 Conference: Tim Chester is coming to Maine

Free Total Church book if you register today this week!!!

My church is partnering with Atmosphere Church to host a conference October 9-10 that we hope God will use to bring about gospel renewal throughout Maine, New England and beyond. It’s called Lead ’09 and the theme is 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.

Our two speakers are both God-centered, Christ-exalting, Spirit-dependent leaders who teach the Word of God  faithfully with passion, humility and urgency.  Tim Chester is a writer, Bible teacher and church planter in Sheffield, UK. An author of many books, Tim is also the co-author of Total Church, a biblically-rich book on what it means to BE the church. Jonathan Dodson is the lead pastor of Austin City Life in Austin, TX. His articles have often blessed our church family, especially “Fight Club” and “Anger: the image of Satan.” On a personal note, Jonathan is a treasured friend. Having served with him in both the local church and in global missions, I can tell you without hesitation that you will be blessed by his teaching.

You can find out more and register, here.

 

Happy 500th Birthday, Calvin!

Here are some ideas to help you celebrate!

But here’s my favorite…

Buy it, here.

 
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Posted by on July 10, 2009 in birthday, celebrate, John Calvin, theology

 

Is Gospel-Centeredness a Fad?

What do you think? My answer, here.

 
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Posted by on June 25, 2009 in biblical theology, gospel, Pastoral, theology

 

We Become What We Worship, Chapter 5

Chapter 6 bridges the gap between idolatry in the Old and New Testaments. But the odd thing about the gospels is that they don’t talk about idolatry! At least not overtly. This lack of “idol talk” might lead one to believe that idolatry was no longer a problem. Perhaps the Babylonian Exile cured Israel of her idolatry?!

Beale doesn’t buy that argument. Israel was not cured of her idolatry. She simply exchanged her old idols for some new ones.

“Though words for idol or false god appear in the Gospels, this does not mean that there is no concept of idolatry there. Rather, though Israel’s reliance on idols in Jesus’ day did not take the form of bowing down to images, nevertheless, they did put their trust in something else besides  God, bringing judgment  on themselves, as it had come on earlier generations of Israel. Consequently, they were still idol worshipers in essence, though the outward form of it was expressed differently.” (p. 162)

Re-Formed Idolatry

Even though you never hear Jesus rebuking the Pharisees for bowing before a golden calf or for offering their children to Molech, he does in fact rebuke them for their re-formed idolatry. And as should be expected Beale connects the dots, showing how Jesus appeals to the foundational OT idolatry text of Isaiah 6 in nearly all of his rebukes against the religious leaders.

“There is reason to believe that Israel in Jesus’ time was, indeed, guilty of idol worship….Israel of Jesus’ day was idolatrous because it had worshiped tradition in place of God and his living Word, and this is why Jesus applies the idol text of Isaiah 6:9-10 in Matthew 13 to the Jews of his generation. New forms of idolatry were developing in Jesus’ time. Though Israel said, “We will never commit idolatry like our forefathers or like the nations,” they committed a differen and perhaps new form of idol worship….Israel’s predominant problem was replacing trust  in Jesus with worship of human-made tradition.” (p. 166)

Traditional Idolatry

In the OT Israel was described as “far from God” when they were worshiping idols and not God (Isaiah 29:13; Jeremiah 2:5). Jesus says the same of the Israel of his day when he calls to task for their overvaluing of tradition and their undervaluing of God’s Word (Mark 7:6-13).

“Therefore, the words which Jesus is quoting from Isaiah 29 concern the sin of idol worship in their originial Isaianic context. Mark 7:8 affirms that to neglect the “commandment of God” and hold to “the tradition of men” is to revere tradition  over God’s Word and thus to commit idolatry.” (p. 168)

What was the result of their idolatry? Blindness. Spiritual blindness. Matthew 15:14 records Jesus’ pronouncement of God’s judgment on tradition-worshiping Pharisees: “Let them alone; they are blind guides of the blind. And if a blind man guides a blind man, both will fall into a pit.” The blindness of the Pharisees was a continuation of Jesus’ application of Isaiah’s prophecy in 6:9-10 and 29:13–idolaters  will be blinded, incapable of seeing God’s truth as trustworthy because they are trusting in their idol instead.

Reflect True Glory

“Israel of Jesus day was becoming spiritually dead as the human-made, stale, empty tradition to which they had committed themselves” (p. 176). This is why Jesus urged the crowds and taught the disciples to build their lives on his word, on God’s Word instead of man-made, idolatrous tradition (Matthew 7:24-27). To do this is to reflect true glory, God’s glory.

“Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works [and how they reflect your Father’s light], and glorify your Father who is in heaven [whose image you reflect].” (Matthew 5:16)

 
 

50 FREE John Piper Books

In case you didn’t know. You can get  about 50 titles by John Piper for FREE, here. Thank you, God, for Desiring God Ministries!

 
 

“Awesome” is a Pooped-Out Word

Isn’t it ironic that we’ll use “awesome” to describe everything from Jesus to a Popsicle?  Harold Best is fed up with it–“awesome” is simply pooped-out, here.

 
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Posted by on April 3, 2009 in theology, worship

 

Mathematical Formula for Happiness

I’ve discovered the mathematical formula for happiness! “Happiness is equal to _______divided by _______”. Do the math, here.

 
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Posted by on April 1, 2009 in happiness, theology

 

The Gospel is the Point of the Bible

What parts of the Bible talk about the gospel?

The Gospels–Matthew, Mark, Luke and John? Portions of the letters of the apostles? Some of the sermons of the Prophets? A few of the “Messianic Psalms”? Unfortunately that’s the popular view. But it’s not the biblical view. The gospel of Jesus is not just part of the Bible, it is the point of the Bible. The Gospel is the overarching storyline of the entire Bible. Here’s a great summary by D.A. Carson.

The gospel is integrally tied to the Bible’s story-line. Indeed, it is incomprehensible without understanding that story-line. God is the sovereign, transcendent and personal God who has made the universe, including us, his image-bearers. Our misery lies in our rebellion, our alienation from God, which, despite his forbearance, attracts his implacable wrath. But God, precisely because love is of the very essence of his character, takes the initiative and prepared for the coming of his own Son by raising up a people who, by covenantal stipulations, temple worship, systems of sacrifice and of priesthood, by kings and by prophets, are taught something of what God is planning and what he expects. In the fullness of time his Son comes and takes on human nature. He comes not, in the first instance, to judge but to save: he dies the death of his people, rises from the grave and, in returning to his heavenly Father, bequeaths the Holy Spirit as the down payment and guarantee of the ultimate gift he has secured for them—an eternity of bliss in the presence of God himself, in a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness. The only alternative is to be shut out from the presence of this God forever, in the torments of hell. What men and women must do, before it is too late, is repent and trust Christ; the alternative is to disobey the gospel (Romans 10:16; 2 Thessalonians 1:8; 1 Peter 4:17).

This story-line, and its connection with the gospel, could be fleshed out in a number of ways. But the point is simply this: the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ makes sense in the context of this story-line and in no other. If, instead of this world-view, this storyline, some other is adopted, the good news of Jesus Christ no longer makes sense or is so badly distorted it is no longer the same thing. For instance, if one adopts a pantheistic world-view, then ‘sin’ takes on an entirely different configuration and there is no transcendent God to whom to be reconciled. In that case, the ‘good news’ cannot be the announcement of God’s reconciling act in the death and resurrection of his Son, by which he bore his people’s penalty. If one adopts some naturalistic world-view, something similar could be said. If one holds that history is going nowhere or in circles determined by impersonal fate, then the notion of final judgement and ultimate division between bliss and the abyss is incoherent—and so too the good news that Christ reconciles rebels to their Maker, prepares them for glory, enabling them even now to enjoy foretastes of the kingdom still to be consummated.

~ D. A. Carson,“The Biblical Gospel.” Taken from For Such a Time as This: Perspectives on Evangelicalism, Past, Present and Future, eds. Steve Brady and Harold Rowdon (London: Evangelical Alliance, 1996).

HT: The Big Picture

 
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Posted by on March 24, 2009 in biblical theology, gospel, quotes, theology