Archive for March, 2010

Rejoicing in the Cross

This past Sunday, we took a Journey to the Cross which culminated in reading the story of the crucifixion of Jesus and making a few observations (listen here).

Here were some of the observations we made. Take a moment and rejoice (again!) in the love of Christ for you.

  1. Jesus received the robe of mockery so that we could receive the robe of righteousness.
  2. Jesus could have saved himself and lost his people. Instead he lost himself and saved his people.
  3. Jesus offers radical grace to those who have no hope without him and no opportunity to repay him.
  4. Jesus was forsaken by his Father so that we could be adopted by the Father.
  5. Jesus’ sacrifice rips open access to the presence of God.
  6. Jesus, the truly innocent one, was crucified so that we, the truly guilty ones, could be forgiven.

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VIDEO BLOG: Sunday Preview – Journey to the Cross

Here’s a sneak peek at what we’ll be doing together this Sunday. I hope you’ll join us. Also, be sure to come to the baptism afterward.

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Can you do the ‘Ministry of the Pew’?

Last night we had a terrific discussion with our Community Group leaders over this brief article, “The Ministry of the Pew.”

This is something that, if really embraced by our church, would make our Sunday gatherings warmly and delightfully different than anything people might be used to experiencing at church.

Here are some of the best lines from the article:

“Church is a place where Christians go to work.”

“The shift was made from being the ‘helpee’ to the helper, the served to the servant. Church is where we seek spiritual food and encouragement in order to become more godly; but church is also where we go in order to feed other people and encourage them.”

“The preacher should not be the only one preparing for church.”

“We need to develop a nose for new people…The way we welcome and look after people when they visit our homes should be a model for the household of God.”

“It is your meeting, not the minister’s. It’s all about being observant and outward-looking.”

Click here to read the whole article.

Is this something you think you could do? What obstacles do you think you’d face?

(Note: The PDF is an edited, condensed, and Americanized version of the original, which can be found here)

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What makes the church compelling?

Much is written about the church — what it should be, how it should function, and what makes it grow. Few things written are as spot-on as this brief post by James MacDonald.

He writes:

I believe with all my heart, that much of what the church has become in our day is measly, milk-toast, and malnourished. It’s about as compelling as a ‘walk in the mall.’ I believe the New Testament church needs to be compelling. By that I mean, window-rattling, life-altering, Almighty God unveiling, COMPELLING! (I was yelling when I thought/wrote that).

He then gives five marks of a compelling church:

  1. “Thus Saith the Lord,” Preaching
  2. “Spirit, to Spirit” Worship
  3. Stories of God at Work
  4. Loving People Doing Life Together
  5. Miraculous Answers to Prayer

Click here to read the whole article. It’s worth it.

Which of these five things most stood out to you?

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Motives for Biblical Understanding

In preparing for this Saturday’s seminar on how to read and understand the Bible, I was reminded of this tremendous quote by J.I. Packer from his classic book, Knowing God.

For the fact that we have to face is this: If we pursue theological knowledge for its own sake, it is bound to go bad on us. It will make us proud and conceited. The very greatness of the subject matter will intoxicate us, and we shall come to think of ourselves as a cut above other Christians because of our interest in it and grasp of it; and we shall look down on those whose theological ideas seem to us crude and inadequate and dismiss them as very poor specimens. For, as Paul told the conceited Corinthians, ‘Knowledge puffs up…. The man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know’ (1 Cor 8:1-2).

To be preoccupied with getting theological knowledge as an end in itself, to approach Bible study with no higher a motive than a desire to know all the answers, is the direct route to a state of self-satisfied self-deception. We need to guard our hearts against such an attitude, and pray to be kept from it… there can be no spiritual health without doctrinal knowledge; but it is equally true that there can be no spiritual health with it, if it is sought for the wrong purpose and valued by the wrong standard.