A word or two about Discipleship Groups. Their purpose is to "attend to one another's souls". We are essentially asking "How goes it with you with Jesus?" Then we help each other apply the Bible to life. For instance, you mention that you have a big meeting coming up this week at work. You want to trust God in that. That's your answer to "how it goes with you . . . with t...Keep Reading
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How can God justly forgive you? The theological answer: it’s not the relative badness of one’s sins that matters, but the worth of the sacrifice given by God, for the forgiveness of sins. Leave in place the badness of what Bundy, Duch and you have done. Do not minimize it for a moment. But Jesus, the perfect Son of God, God in flesh, was an even greater, infinitely more valuable sacrifice, more valuable than even the worth destroyed by all the murders of the whole world. ...
There are three common characteristics of Community or Discipleship Groups or friendships that are faithful and useful and healthy over the long-term: • Deliberately Gospeled • Attentive Friendship • Consistently Missional:...
Our church, described in a nutshell, from the top down: we aspire to really be about God and his gospel, in everything we do. We grow into Jesus, through his gospel, by means of community. Therefore we pursue simple church, not in service of simplicity, but in the service of keeping God and his gospel at the center. Our simple church has three parts: Sunday Worship Celebr...Keep Reading
Our little Lucy requests that I sing "This I Know" to her at bedtime. She means the song "Jesus Loves Me", but the line "This I Know" stands out to her. She knows more than she realizes; we preach the gospel to ourselves that we would know what we know; that His voice of love would quiet us, encourage and give us rest - "He gives to his beloved sleep" (Psalm 127:2). The ba...Keep Reading
Sometimes the topic of the sovereignty of God can trip people up. Sometimes we take offense at the notion that God is sovereign over everything, even my free choices. So I'm a robot? one might ask. Offense or confusion can easily lead to arguments and division. It ought not be; we preach the sovereignty of God to Christians for encouragement that goes to the very base of ...Keep Reading
These days you may be beginning a Bible reading plan, praying more, eating better, organizing your stuff better, etc. There's something about the turn of the calendar that hastens an impulse within us, to depart from ourselves and be a better self. For me, it's in January that iPhone apps for productivity suddenly become attractive. One is called "Nirvana" - presumably th...Keep Reading
Where do we find our mission? Our goal is to find one that is for the sake of others, "so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God" (2 Cor. 4:16). Paul had his version of this mission; how do we discover ours? Ezra points the way: "For on the first day of the first month he began to go up from Babylonia [on a risky tri...Keep Reading
Christmas, if anything else, is about the giving of gifts to our loved ones. We criticize ourselves for our Americanized commercializing of Christmas (and we should). But we are only reenacting our Father’s giving in love. What we enact around the tree is little and miniscule, compared to how God “celebrated” the first Christmas. I’ll let Paul put i...Keep Reading
[Often I use this space to reflect on some portion of daily Bible reading from the M’Cheyne Bible reading plan. Personally, I try to follow half the plan, reading two chapters a day, or the whole Bible in two years. This gives me more space for personal reflection on what I’m reading, leaving less pressure to keep up with the plan. If you would like to join me,...Keep Reading
The world asks of the church, “What’s the point?!” So do people inside the church. What’s the point? If the point is to make you a better person, there are plenty of books and speakers who can tell you how to get your best life now, better than us. If it’s to build a better society, there’s the Rotary Club, or the Red Cross, or any numb...Keep Reading
Thankfulness is a key indicator of true, eternal usefulness. But the Bible never tells us anywhere to contrive thankfulness, as if thankfulness itself is power and a sign of nobility. Many scientific studies have found therapeutic benefits to thankfulness, but God wants more for us than just a noble character and a healthy body. To be noble and healthy are good goals, but ...Keep Reading