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Keller on The Gospel, Moralism, and Irreligion

Check out this short video from Tim Keller on three ways to view the world.  The Christian message is often rejected because it is either viewed as moralism or is presented as such.  The Gospel is really the only thing that frees us and gives us hope.

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Keller & Clowney: Preaching Christ in a Post-Modern World


I love sharing God’s word through preaching.  Since I’m moving to preaching every week, as we launch The Exchange Community in Jackson, Mo, I thought It would be good to reexamine my preaching and how I interpret and display God’s word.  I remembered a friend of mine shared, a number of years back, that Tim Killer and Edmond Clowney team taught a class at Reformed Theological Seminary on Preaching Christ in a Post-Modern World.  As I started to listen through these teachings, I desired to share them with other church planters, preachers, and pastors that may not be aware of their existence.  Even if you don’t fit in these categories, this is an excellent resource to understand and share scripture.

Free Resources:

Audio from itunes

Course Material in PDF These notes were extremely difficult to find.  I believe they are notes from this course as it was later modified.  They do not seem to match all of the titles found on iTunes, but do seem to follow what is referenced in the class.

Blog posts covering notes from each session in the class:

  1. Preaching Christ in a Postmodern World: Introduction to the Christ Centred Model of Preaching
  2. Preaching Christ in a Postmodern World: Expounding Christ through the Structure of Redemptive History Part One
  3. Preaching Christ in a Postmodern World: Expounding Christ in through the Structure of Redemptive History Part Two
  4. Preaching Christ in a Postmodern World: Applying Christ: Introduction to Christ-centred Application
  5. Preaching Christ in a Postmodern World: Applying Christ: Getting to Christ
  6. Preaching Christ in a Postmodern World: Expounding Christ in through the Structure of Redemptive History Part Three
  7. Preaching Christ in a Postmodern World: Expounding Christ: Telling God’s Story, Narrative Analysis
  8. Preaching Christ in a Postmodern World: Applying Christ: Getting Down to Earth Part One
  9. Preaching Christ in a Postmodern World: Applying Christ: Getting Down to Earth Part Two
  10. Preaching Christ in a Postmodern World: Expounding Christ: The Parable of the Prodigal Son
  11. Preaching Christ in a Postmodern World: Expounding Christ: Christ and the Law
  12. Preaching Christ in a Postmodern World: Applying Christ: Getting inside their world part one
  13. Preaching Christ in a Postmodern World: Adoring Christ: Getting Inside their World Part Two
  14. Preaching Christ in a Postmodern World: Expounding Christ in the Psalms
  15. Preaching Christ in a Postmodern World: Expounding Christ in the Wisdom Literature
  16. Preaching Christ in a Postmodern World: Adoring Christ: Spiritual Reality
  17. Preaching Christ in a Postmodern World: Expounding Christ:Asking Questions, Discourse Analysis
  18. Preaching Christ in a Postmodern World: Adoring Christ: Communion with God

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Why Do Our Children Leave the Church?

Why do so many people—with incredible conversions—parent children who leave Christianity? History overflows with great saints whose offspring lose faith:
•Samuel was a mighty prophet of God. His sons were a mess.
•David was a man after God’s own heart. His children were a disaster.
•Harvard, Yale, and Princeton were founded on the gospel. Now they lead the opposition.

I’ve witnessed dozens of families (churches, ministries, and prayer groups) who began with a furious fire of love for God whose next generation couldn’t blow a smoke ring.

Our children lose fire because of our mother-of-all-assumptions; we assume the gospel. This is how the gospel is lost…..Read More Here

I’d add to this that our children don’t see what we profess effect the lives we lead.  So we forget about he Gospel or we don’t allow the Gospel to be the motivating factor in our lives.

How do you relate to your members of your MCs?  How do you relate the faith to your children.  Is it “This do…then God will?”  Or is it, “God did…so we can?”

I wonder If Sunday School Is Destroying Our Kids

The Bible is not primarily a story about you!  It’s a Story about Jesus.  Check out this article from Belief’s of the Heart:

“Several years ago I met with a woman distraught by her son’s rejection of Christianity.

She said, “I did everything I could to raise him right. I taught him to be like the ‘heroes of faith,’ with the faithfulness of Abraham, the goodness of Joseph, the pure heart of David, and the obedience of Esther.”

She wondered why he rejected Christianity.

I wondered why it took him so long.

Here is how we destroy the gospel message

Look at almost any Sunday school curriculum. You’ll find:

  • Abraham was faithful, and God made him the father of a nation. So be faithful like Abraham.
  • Joseph was a good little boy (unlike his “bad” brothers), and God made him Prime Minister of Egypt. So be good like Joseph.
  • David had a pure heart (unlike his brothers), and God made him King of Israel. So have a pure heart like David.
  • Esther was an obedient girl. God made her Queen of Persia and she saved God’s people. So be obedient like Esther.
  • Finally, if we fail to be good, Jesus will forgive us (a “P.S.” tacked onto the end).

What’s so bad about these Sunday school lessons?

Nothing really. Except that they lie about God, they lie about these “heroes of the faith,” they lie about the Bible, and they lie about the gospel….”
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He Is The Image of The Invisible God

Here’s another good video by Jeremy Poyner on Colossians 1:15 and Jesus being the image of the invisable God.

[vimeo https://vimeo.com/33838312]

 

In The Beginning Was The Word

I love the opening of John’s Gospel.  It is maybe the most poetic peice in the whole new Testament.  Here’s a good video I found on John 1:1-14 by Jeremy Poyner:

Christian Meditation On the Mass Shooting At the Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut

Today’s headline read, “27 dead, including 18 children, in elementary school shooting” in Newtown, Connecticut.  Parents, children, brothers and sister are not coming home to their families this afternoon. They won’t be with their families this Christmas. Like most parents, I couldn’t help but hug my daughter and pray for the families of the dead. How could such a thing happen? Why does it keep on happening? When will it stop?

More and more people are self-proclaimed atheists. Many others are functional atheists as they live as if God doesn’t exist. Yet if you reject God, you must reject the idea of right and wrong. You have to accept that death created us. Death becomes your god of sorts because through the death of billions of life forms the fittest survived and passed on their genes and evolved into us. So if you reject God, even the kind of death we saw today, is what created us. It’s nothing more than the “weak” being removed so the “fittest” can survive. You have to accept this if you reject God and accept evolution.

Yet when such a tragedy strikes, many suddenly get religion. Their worldview doesn’t provide the answers to the questions of their hearts or they close their eyes to what their worldview actually says about death. So when something horrible happens, suddenly God is alive and real…and to blame for allowing such tragedy. Yet is this really God’s fault? Is it really his will?  If someone asked me what I thought about today, I’d respond by telling them the story.

Creation

While evolution says death created us, the Bible says God never created us for death. Death was never part of his plan. We were always meant to live. God created us to live in a perfect world, where we had a perfect relationship with Him. Because we were in a perfect relationship with God, we were at peace with one another. There was never any violence like we see today. God never designed us to suffer and die. Rather we were meat to live forever by his side.

Fall

Yet this world isn’t perfect, not anymore. You see our first parents thought they could improve on God’s creation. They were tempted by God’s enemy into believing that they’d be better off if they were in control of their own lives. So they rebelled against God and His ways. Suddenly their relationship with God was broken, and just as quickly their relationships with each other fell apart as well. Now sin, suffering, wars, famine, disease, aging, and death hold the world captive.  People even kill each other now.  Yet this wasn’t part of God’s plan and God didn’t want to leave us this way.

Redemption

God continued to pursue His children. He continued to call them back to live a life close to Him, in His ways, under His rule and protection. Yet his children kept rebelling. All of us keep rebelling. Yet God keeps calling us. Finally, God sent his Son who was called Jesus, which means “The Lord Saves”, and Immanuel, which means “God with Us.” He lived perfectly as His Father always created us to live. Yet he died the death we deserved, because of our rebellion, on the cross. As we believe and are baptized in Him, His perfect life becomes our perfect life. Our relationship with God is restored. His death then becomes our death, so death will not hold us because death could not hold Jesus.  We then have hope, on days like today, that death does not have the final word.

Restoration

One day, there will be no more death. The peace that the angels sang about on the night of Jesus’ birth will be realized. God’s enemy, and all who chose to follow in his ways of rebellion and refuse to be cleansed, will be locked away forever. The world will be perfect again. God will raise all those who trust in Him, will give us new life, and never again will there be any anger, fighting, wars, sickness, pain, or death. Such things won’t even be remembered.  Even days like this day will be forgotten.  God will wipe away every tear from our eyes and we will live in joy, true joy, in a perfect world forever more.

Today something horrible happened. Yet if someone asks me why such tragedy happens, I’ll share with them the truth and “good news” of God’s story. We still mourn today, we pray fervently for the families of those who were killed, because we’re still awaiting the Restoration of things. Yet we have hope because one day God will make everything right. We sing, “Come, O Come, Emmanuel!” We pray come quickly, Lord Jesus! And we look to the day when He comes again to make everything right.

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The Gospel: 321

Here’s an awesome video displaying the Gospel in terms of God’s Community of Love and Mission.

  1. What’s new to you in this Gospel Presentation?  How did it awaken you to what the Gospel means?
  2. What do you feel, if anything, should have been added in?
  3. We often share the Gospel through Creation -> Fall -> Redemption -> Restoration.  We’re all the elements in this presentation?  What would you like to have seen more of?

 

Video by Jeremy Poyner

A Picture of Life Around the Gospel, Community, and Mission

The other night we gathered our two Missional Communities together to do a little training and to celebrate what God has been doing through our Church planting efforts.  At the end, I shared this video from Soma communities because I wanted to remind our MCs what they were working towards, why they were reaching out, why they were sharing and stretching their lives.

Spend a few minutes of watching the video below and dream of what church could be:

  1. Oftentimes there’s a disconnect between what we read about the Church in scriptures and the church as we know it in 21st century America.  How does this video challenge you?  How does it give you hope?
  2. It takes time to plant a church and to share life in a missional community.  Much of what we do is to invite people to share life with us, by inviting them to join us in what we’re already doing throughout the week.  Still, sometimes to add something we need to let go of something.   What is keeps you from having time to share life with members of your MC, or the people you’re trying to reach?  What do you need to give up to give of yourself to this new life in Christ as His Disciple?
  3. Think of all the people in your life.  Think of the people in this town and region.  For whom is God breaking your heart?  How can you start inviting them to share life with you?
  4. Is there someone who has been discontented with the church that you can share this video with and invite them along on the mission?

Keller On Avoiding Sin

 

I recently watched a short video from Desiring God, with John Piper and Tim Keller, entitled, More on Sanctification from Piper and Keller.   I’ll be honest, I didn’t think the video was all that great.  There were too many incomplete thoughts and jumping around.  Yet I did find it helpful when they were speaking about how to avoid sin.  Keller refers to reading the great Puritan theologian, John Owen’s, book, The Mortification of Sin.  Keller says he learned from Owen that there are two main motivations not to sin: Guilt and Danger.

Guilt:  This is grief before God.  As you are sinning or am about to sin, ask yourself: Is this how I respond to what Jesus has done?  Is this a proper way to live after Jesus died to free me from such things?  This is really what Joseph said to himself when he had an opportunity to sleep with Potiphar’s wife, “How could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God” (Gen 39:9).

Danger: Danger is looking at the short-term and the long-term consequences of your sin.  This is really focusing on what is going to happen to you.  If Joseph were also thinking of the danger of sleeping with his master’s wife, he could have also said, “Potiphar could kill me or put me in prison” as an added motivation not to sin. 

The guilt motivation is the prefered motivation for a Christian because it is based off of the love of God.  Ideally, we should stay away from sin because God is so amazing and wonderful, and has loved us so much, that we don’t want to sin and disappoint Him.  Yet, at times we don’t think like that so we need to remember the danger of our sin as well.  Keller uses two examples here.  He says if he’s lusting and wishing to look at porn, sometimes he has to remember to dangers of the shame he’ll feel if he gets caught and the damage he’ll cause to his marriage and to his congregation.  Likewise, Keller says, if you lift a stone to knock someone over the head, If the Guilt doesn’t motivate you to not kill the person, go to the danger, the consequences, anything you can to change the course of your actions. 

Thinking of Tim Chester, and his 4 G’s, a third motivation on avoiding sin would be similar to the Guilt motivation that Keller mentions.  Yet the motivation is not simply that I don’t want to dissapoint God but that what God offers is better, greater, and more important than anything I can have here.

When you’re faced with sin, what motivates you to change course?   

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