Speaking of Homosexuality; Heaven; Suffering Well; Tim Keller; Dennis Prager; Richard Dawkins

Weekend Links

Looking forward to being back in the pulpit for the first time in four weeks.  And I’m looking forward to having my wife back after a long visit to visit and care for her mother in West Virginia. Enjoy your weekend.

 

Dragon's Blood Trees in Yemen, Socotra region

Dragon’s Blood Trees in Yemen, Socotra region

Doctrine

What is the Gospel and How Do We Ensure We Tell It?  (Book review of a new Paul Washer book.)
Can the Scriptures that Speak of Homosexuality be Nullified?
(A fine article by Dr. John Carpenter, PhD. that facts checks some popular but erroneous defenses of homosexuality as normal.)
Heaven: The Logic of Eternal Joy   (Book review of a new book by Jerry Walls, reviewed at Apologetics 315.)

Book Reviews

Tim Keller wants You to Suffer Well  (And so does God.  Review of Tim Keller’s book, Walking with God Through Pain and Suffering, by Matt Smethurst.)

Worship

Refreshing Worship One Hymn at a Time  (The Indelible Grace website includes new charts for musicians.)
A Reformed Critique and Appreciation of Ana-baptist Criticism of the Neo-Reformed Movement in America (Now that’s a title!  Great article and the last paragraph is very helpful.)

Better Engagement with Culture

Dennis Prager’s Challenge to Richard Dawkins (The atheists are on the run, they just have a microphone to scream into. They are all paper tigers.)

 

Dogs vs Cats; Planned (Sadomasochism) Parenthood; Tim Keller; Rick Warren: Hobby Lobby; Reading the Bible; Doctrine

Weekend Links

Dog and Cat DiaryVacationing. Few Links. Little time, got to get back to relaxing. As always, presence on the list doesn’t mean complete endorsement of all the particulars.

Better Thinking About Life, Rights and Sex

Planned Parenthood Supports Sadomasochism : I Know, It Sounds Crazy But it’s True 
Rick Warren Comments on the Hobby Lobby Morning-After Pill Lawsuit 

Better Thinking About Doctrine

A Definition of the Gospel from Tim Keller (A good place to start a discussion on what the gospel is)
Are Your Kids Likely to Loss their Faith? (Fact checking the fear creating comments of some pastors and ministries)
How I Changed My Mind on Millennialism (Sam Storms—agree or disagree, but defend your position with grace, love and text.)
How Not to Read the Bible in 2013 (Many will be attempting to read thorough the Bible in the New Year. Here are some practical tips on what to avoid in attempting to do so.)
A Better Way to Take the Focus Off Athletes and Sports Teams and Place it on Jesus (TheBibleOutLoud.com)

Better Thinking about Hurricane Relief

Hurricane Sandy Victim Blasts President Obama: “He’s a Phony and a Liar” (Video—we have got to get better politicians in Washington)

Christian response to Immigration; Tim Keller on Idolatry and Calvin; Bono; Michael Breen; Sharia and British Law;

Weekend Links

Wouldn’t mind living here.

These will give you plenty to talk about over coffee with you friends. You might become the most interesting person in the room, Just remember, I don’t necessarily agree with everything in them.

Better Engagement with Politics and Culture

A Personal Note from Bill O’Reilly to the President (Short and sweet.)
Finding meaning in the Madness: Looking back in the election. (I know you are tired of the election and punditry but this is a brilliant analysis of where we are at this political moment in history.)
The Sings of Political Idolatry (Tim Keller—a not to miss article)
U2′s Bono on the Future of Changing the World and Who will Do It 

Better Understanding of the World

Sharia Law Challenging British Law and Setting New Models for America? (President Obama is NOT a Muslim. He is at least a nominal Christian. That said, he has a relativistic theology that owes more to liberal politics than it does to the Bible. With such a leader, is this where the election just past may take us in the future.)
The Law of Unintended Consequences: The Cobra Effect in the Church (Unintended consequences are everywhere with human plans. Here’s a thought provoking article about some of those consequences.)

The Issues Before the Church

Defining the Emerging Church and Cousins Who are Sometime Mistaken for It (Helpful in a typically Mark Driscoll-ish way, i.e. clear, funny, controversial and mostly accurate)
A Christian Response to Immigration (Alvin Sanders—Alvin’s blog on leading God’s people to a diverse kingdom. Some good ideas from a Free Church in California.)
Review of The Year of Biblical Womanhood (Mary Kassian—a prominent complementarian and friend of Rachel Held Evans reviews the controversial book.)
Tim Keller’s Surprising Discoveries from a Year of Reading Calvin’s Institutes (Gospel Coalition—John Piper has advocated this type of reading for years, a singular focused immersion in the mind of one author. Keller’s article summarizes some of the fruit of that adventure into Calvin’s Institutes.
Why the Missional Movement will Fail (Michael Breen—I have linked to this article before but it is worth a second look or a first if you missed it the first time.)
The Election Outcome Could be a Prophetic Announcement (Jack Hayford)

Church Planting, Michael Breen; Missional Movement Fail; R.C., Piper and Keller

Weekend Links

Politics, Japan, Biblical Interpretation, a smattering of John Piper, Tim Keller and R.C. Sproul, with a little bit of Al Mohler thrown in with Michael Breen and Tullian Tchividjian—-so much to choose from. This weeks links are the last for two weeks. I will be traveling to Japan to speak at a conference five times and will be unable to post them next Saturday. But enjoy this week with the oft repeated mantra, I don’t endorse all that is in them but find them helpful in shaping my thinking.

A tsunami carries buildings across waters in Kamaishi city port. (I will be visiting this region of japan for two days prior to a speaking engagement in Osaka October 22-29. Please pray for lasting fruit among the Japanese.)

Politics

Salaried Obama Campaign Worker Breaking the Law and Committing Voter Fraud (
I Am Going to Vote (John Piper—you don’t like either candidate for an office, should you vote? Here’s how John Piper decides.)
Do Christians really Take the Bible Literally? (The answer may surprise you. We have got to become wise in how we engage with culture.)

Thinking Better About Christian Practice

What about the Sabbath? (Gospel Coalition—Ray Ortlund, a short but worthy article about holiness.)
Sell All that You Have? (R.C. Sproul—thinking about seriously about the words of Christ.)
Begin Your Day with a War in Your House so You Can Have Peace Through Christ (John Piper)
How Many People Does it Take to Change a Marriage in 10 Days? (Philip Wagner—a creative and helpful article and what looks to be a very good book.)
Christians and Suffering (Tullian Tchividjian—new book reviewed by Aaron Armstrong at Gospel Coalition)

Thinking better About Doctrine

There is No Love (of God) without Wrath (in God)  (Tim Keller)
Christians and Science (NPR interview with two prominent Christians over the historicity of Adam and Eve—Al Mohler and Calvin college professor Daniel Harlow)

My Friend and Fellow EFCA Pastor Matt Mitchell Posted a Series of Links from the recent Theology Conference held at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School on the Issue of Biblical Complimentarianism. It is well worth listening to all of the messages linked there.

Church Planters and Planting

Are We Overlooking Valuable Potential Church Planters? (An Interview with Paul Williams and the Orchard Group)
Why the Missional Movement Will Fail (Michael Breen)

Killing Calvinism; Killing Sin; Dispensing with Good Enough; Suffering Well; and so much more

Weekend Links

Weekend links for your edification. I found these helpful and instructive. Some of them need some “wiggle room.” Some are suggestive rather than definitive. Some will alarm and others will encourage. But all will stretch you and give you more fuel to change your world. I hope the annotations will help you decide which are most significant for you. As always, I don’t embrace all of them equally.

Building Better Christians

Killing Calvinism 7 (Changed by Beholding—two and a half minute video. Good job brother. We are wrecked and in desperate need of a Savior.)
Killing Sin (John Piper—another three minute video on a topic we don’t struggle enough about. Oh how we need to kill sin in our lives, for the glory of God, for the joy of all around us.)
The Good Enough Person (Tim Stafford—this is a very brief synopsis of an article (with a link to the article) about the difference it makes when we view ourselves as depraved sinners rather than as people who are basically good. The cancer of sin must be battled daily in the former view. In that latter view, it just needs to be managed.)
A Biblical Perspective on Suffering from B.B. Warfield (Reformed Bibliophile—a great thinker on a perennial topic, suffering—one that was a major theme of Paul’s new believer follow-up—see 1 and 2 Thessalonians)
The Hollow Gospel (Jim Wright—This is an honest post from an organic church fan and practioner who sometimes makes things an either/or when both/and is probably closer to the truth. That being said, Jim does an admirable job of putting the locus of discipleship failure squarely on the shoulders of the way that church is often “done.” ) 

Defending the Faith

A Simple Tool to Help the Next Time Jehovah Witnesses Come Knocking (Defending/Contending—JW’s need the gospel too. Don’t let them in. Don’t send them away empty handed.)
Old Testament Law and The Charge of Inconsistency Are Christians Inconsistent in Their Use of the Bible? (Tim Keller—-short answer, yes, we have clay feet, but Tim Keller calls journalists to be more consistent in how they deal with Christians and their use of the Bible with regard to homosexuality.

Building Better Leaders

Aspirin for Aneurysms (Leadership Freak—applying half-hearted solutions to serious problems is a recipe for disaster. Heal your problems, don’t just cover them up.)
What Young Leaders Should I Invest In and How? (Leadership Freak–another fantastic article on how to identify the leaders of tomorrow to invest in today.)
The Forgotten Leadership Virtue (Leadership Freak—neglect this virtue in yourself and others at your own [and your organization's] risk.)
Why it is So Easy for Leaders to Fake It (Francis Chan—as of this posting,  I have not gotten to read this article, but I respect Francis for his honesty and know that it will be a good read.)
Swagger (Lisa Bloom—an important new book on raising boys and men in a culture that despises them.) 

Engaging with Culture

 Innovative New School in Detroit Graduates First Class with Every Student Headed to College (Great story of a Detroit turn around that shows how necessity + creative flexibility + high standards produced a school like no other in America.)
Ten Characteristics of Growing Churches (Perry Noble)
The Most Dangerous Person in the Church (Erik Raymond—you will recognize him/her quickly from the description here but you will also learn a little bit about how to deal with them.)
Is the Private Sector Doing Fine? (Keith Hennessey—If you don’t understand how the president could be so out of touch with reality, or if you think that he is playing with numbers in a funny way and not telling the whole story but don’t know where to begin your analysis—this is the place to start. Great article.)
What Does the Real Jobless Rate Look Like ? (An article, the content of which, all the media knows but won’t report.)
The Immigration Ploy or How President Obama is Locked into Short Term Thinking (Thomas Sowell)
Vulgarians on the Loose! (Ann Coulter—a scathing admonishment of the vulgarization of the culture)

Matt Chandler interview; Religious Reverts; Baseball and technology; Candidates who believe?; Gay Rights; Gandhi and much more

Weekend Links

New England Bike PathThe best and most interesting links of the week. Some new categories this week. As always, My hope is to give you penetrating analysis, challenging thinking, and inspiring content, but that doesn’t mean that I endorse or embrace every thought, direction or conclusion of any particular link.

Leading Better

The Anatomy of Holiness (Kevin DeYoung)
An Interview with Matt Chandler (Christian Post Reporter)
Religious Reverts: Are American Christians Coming Back to Church? (John Armstrong and USA Today)

Whimsy

Baseball and Its Gloves (Innovation and change)
Design Your Own Vegetable Garden Chicago vs Chicago (Extended)

Engaging with Culture

Gay Rights and the Abuse of Liberty (Shane Vander Hart)
Search Engines for Scholars and Researchers (Stumbled Upon) -very helpful
Candidates: Two Self-Professing Christians who Most Christians Don’t Believe are Real (Ed Stetzer)

Defending the Faith

Gandhi’s Jesus is Not Quite Jesus (Tim Challies)
Why Christianity Has Declined in America (Tim Keller)
The Ten Most Common Objections to Christianity (Alex McFarland, Video)
Financial and Sexual Abuses at TBN Revealed (World Magazine)
Is Christian Faith Irrational (Matt the med student) 

“Jesus Isn’t Almighty God” or How to Destroy Your Gospel Presentation

Monday Discussion

“I told you that you would die in your sins,
for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins.”

(John 8:24)

According to Jesus, no one can be saved if he does not believe in his deity. The doctrine of the incarnation is critical to God’s saving acts.

Some Simple Conclusions:

  1. Make arguments for the deity of Christ a key part of your new believer follow up.
  2. Train all your people to both know and articulate the doctrine of the deity of Christ.
  3. Don’t expect lasting results from evangelistic efforts that don’t make the deity of Christ clear.

Resources to Help:

Flash Mobbing Dr. King; Tim Keller; Leadership Freak; Church Planting; Kobe Bryant and more

Weekend Links

I don’t endorse them all, but my thinking was challenged by all of these links. Your mileage may vary but I recommend them all or you can pick your way through the categories and find the one’s most relevant to you and your ministry.

Government and Cultural Engagement

A Parable Whose Time Has Come:  (Larry Kudlow)
Flash Mobbing Dr. King’s Dream (Acton Institute)
How Dr. King Points the Way (Blanchard LeadersChat)

Leadership and Following

Leadership in Disaster and Defeat: Tebow Lessons (Erin Schreyer)
How To Move Through Uncertainty to Opportunity (Leadership Freak)
7 Tips on Reaching Your Neighbors for Christ (Resurgence)
Church Planting is Still Essential to Leading in Evangelism (Tim Keller)

Leading a Family (Barnabas Piper)

The Economy and Jobs

The Importance of Asking the Right Questions –search for a job or analyzing life (Michael Hyatt)

Doctrine and the Christian Life

Does God Know the Future and Does it Matter (Christian Research Institute)
Why Atheists Don’t Want there to be a God (The Poached Egg.net)
Jesus and Kobe (Jarrid Wilson)

Discipleship, Attributes of God, Top Ten Church Risks, Idolatry, Tim Keller and more

Weekend links

Some good links here. Can’t vouch for all of them, can’t agree with all of them, but all of them will make you think.

Growing as a Leader of God’s Church

Five Attributes of a Church in Decline (Tony Morgan)
Top Ten Risks Associated with Churches (EFCA NATIONAL)
Feeding the Beast of Idolatry (Paul Tautges)
Counsel for the Interim Pastor (9Marks)
What if we discipled people the way Jesus did?

Book Reviews

Generous Justice by Tim Keller (Adam Gustine)
Fasting (Ancient Practices Series) Scot McKnight (Chris Smith)

Growing in Doctrine

Jesus is God (Justin Taylor)

Required: Serving the Peace (The Shalom) of the City

Required: Serving the Peace (The Shalom) of the City.

This is a theme that is echoed in much of Jesus’ teaching. The beaten (think of parable of the Good Samaritan), the oppressed (think of the women who had suffered much at the hands of physicians), the poor (think of the widow’s mite), the despised (think of the Pharisee and the tax collector in the Temple) are held up in a sympathetic light.[3]

One could make a good case that Jesus concentrated his most personal and hands-on ministry to the least, most despised, and poorest of the land. We who call him Lord, who are eager to “have Christ formed in us” (Galatians 4:19) ought to follow in his footsteps.

[Click on the link here for more.]