Friday, December 18, 2009

Keeping the Gospel Front and Center (Part 5)

5. Study the Gospel
The last part of helping us keep the Gospel at the forefront of our hearts and minds daily, is to grow in our knowledge of the Gospel. If we are to grow in our understanding of the Gospel, we MUST grow in our knowledge of the Gospel. The great thing is that we don't have to go to seminary to do that! I would personally recommend that you be careful and strategic about the resources you use, especially early on, but you don't have to take classes (which aren't bad by the way) to grow in your theology. So where do you begin? Good question!

I would first recommend that you dive into great books of the Bible like Romans, Galatians, Ephesians, Colossians, or Hebrews, and as you mull over some of the rich passages about the Gospel in these books have a trusty commentary with you. I recommend "The Bible Speaks Today" series (only buy for the books you are studying) or taking advantage of Now as you read and study, some pretty freaky words like justification, substitutionary atonement, propitiation, predestination, election, and others are going to jump out at you. Don't be SCARED...Superman (or Wayne Grudem) will help you. Go get his systematic theology book (which is HUGE) but you aren't reading the whole thing. This book is the clearest I have ever read in regards to explaining what some of these theological words actually mean. Another great resource is John Frame's "Salvation Belongs to the Lord".

By the way, if you haven't noticed already, to grow in your knowledge and understanding of the Gospel takes discipline and the work ethic to read and think. At times, you will do better than at other times, but just stick with it. I also recommend reading outside sources to assist you as you desire to grow in your understanding of the Gospel.

Here are my TOP 10 resources (in no particular order): Click here for a bookstore!

  1. The Gospel for Real Life, Jerry Bridges (easy)
  2. How People Change, Timothy Lane and Paul David Tripp (intermediate)
  3. Christians Beliefs, Wayne and Elliot Grudem (easy) *abridged version of the above mentioned Systematic Theology
  4. Prodigical God, Tim Keller (easy)
  5. The Cross of Christ, John Stott (technical)
  6. Redemption Accomplished and Applied, John Murray (technical)
  7. The Disciplines of Grace, Jerry Bridges (easy)
  8. Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ, John Piper (easy)
  9. The Great Work of the Gospel, John Ensor (intermediate)
  10. Death By Love, Mark Driscoll (easy) *read only if you are ready for brutal honesty and being pointed to the Savior at the same time.
Praying with you and for you as WE seek to understand more of the Gospel!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Please click the picture below to watch an incredible 4-minute video by Matt Chandler, Pastor of The Village Church near Dallas, TX. Matt recently had surgery for a brain tumor, and is now recovering at home with his wife and family.

Matt has definitely challenged and encouraged my heart in many ways and I hope that his life and ministry does the same for you. Please take a brief moment to pray for him, his family, and The Village Church after you watch this!

If you are a pastor or in ministry of any sort I would really encourage you to listen to the sermon "Ministry Over the Long Haul", which Matt refers to in this video.
Keeping the Gospel Front and Center (Part 4)

4. Review How the Gospel Has Changed You
Most of us, if we are honest, try very hard to forget the past. Mistakes we have made, sins we have committed, people we have hurt, and people that have hurt us, are not things we love to revisit in our hearts and minds. The Apostle Paul, however, in I Timothy 1:13 is not shy about telling his young disciple about his past. "...though I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy...". Why would Paul be interested in recalling who he was nearly 30 years prior? Because reflecting on who he once was, in light of the Gospel, magnified the grace of God and kept him dependent on that grace.

It is vital that we never forget our past. If you have a personal relationship with Christ, you have a story of redemption, and it does not have to be a dramatic story to show off the glory of God. All salvation stories are miracles of His grace. God intervened in the midst of your rebellion. God changed your heart. God saved you!

Take some time to reflect on your story of redemption today, and let aspects of the Gospel and the grace, love, and mercy of God encourage you!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Top 10 Most Challenging Tweets/Statements From the Last Month
Below are the 10 most challenging tweets/statements that I have heard from people within the last month and I hope they humble you and get you excited about the glory of God in the grace, love, and mercy of the Gospel. (not in order of importance or value)

  1. "If you only love the people that you can control, that is NOT love, but control." -Bryan Chappell (via Elliot Grudem)
  2. "If we come to Christ God drew us, which none of us deserves. If we don't, God did not draw us, which all of us deserve." -John Piper
  3. "You are only as free in the Gospel as you make people feel." -Elliot Grudem
  4. "Pursue your spouse as a lover, not as a provider of your needs." -Scott Thomas
  5. “Do you worship God, love people, and use things? Or do you worship yourself, love things, and use people?" -Francis Chan
  6. "You can't love people until you are no longer in slavery to their approval." - Jeff Vanderstelt
  7. "When you delegate tasks you create followers. when you delegate leadership you create leaders." -someone teaching at ReTrain (via Tim Smith)
  8. "The church can get another pastor, but your wife only has one husband." -Mark Driscoll
  9. "Every verse in the Bible is meant to have a good effect. Don't throw any away because at first it doesn't. The problem is us." -John Piper
  10. "If you deal with people at the heart level without being full of grace and love, it will be destructive." -Dr. Sam Williams

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Job Update: Cars To Go
After a long and sometimes disappointing road of job hunting, I have decided to try my hand at being a wholesale car salesman with my dad. Kelley and I started talking about this a couple of weeks ago, and as we prayed and weighted the pros and cons, it seemed just as good as any other opportunity.

The benefits would be:
  • Gaining sales experience
  • Flexibility (could do this and work a part-time job and/or go to seminary)
  • The chance to work with my dad
  • The opportunity to add "marketing" ideas to help increase our ability to serve people
So if you are looking for a car and don't want the hassle of looking for it yourself...we do ALL the work for YOU. Just let me know the make, model, mileage, year, color(s), and budget and I will go find the car you want.

To find out more about CARS TO GO follow us:


*If you want to earn cash, refer someone to us. If they buy a car at CARS TO GO, then we will give YOU $100 cash. It's that easy!
Keeping the Gospel Front and Center (Parts 2 and 3)
So I have been a little slack blogging lately, please forgive me. I actually took some time off to focus full-time on finding a job, and to discover what God wants for Kelley and I for this season. I do, however, want to finish up this series because it has been so beneficial to me the last couple of months. If you follow me regularly, I will have new posts up on Mondays and Fridays. stop laughing!

2. Pray the Gospel
I am convinced for us to have right perspective when we come before God in prayer, the Gospel should be at the center. I mean it is the Gospel that allows us to even approach God in prayer in the first place. How do I do that? One way is I implement the verses that I am memorizing about the Gospel into my prayer times. Another way is I begin my prayer times by thanking God for the realities of the Gospel. And then lastly, I claim the promises of the Gospel as I ask God to help me fight sin, serve and glorify Him, and for the power of the Gospel to reign in people's hearts (especially the people I am building relationships with, praying for, and hoping to share the Gospel with).

3. Sing the Gospel
I stink at singing (ask my wife and friends). I am literally tone deaf, but I love to sing about the Gospel. Music does something to my soul! As I read the Psalms, I am pretty convinced a Christian's heart should be full of song, songs about their glorious King. Do I just sing any worship song? This may offend some people but I don't. In fact, I am pretty strategic about the songs that I sing. There are so MANY worship songs today that focus on what we need, or what we want God to do, rather than what Jesus has already DONE! I have found my heart needs to be focused on songs that are Gospel-centered and theologically rich. Here are some songs that I sing routinely, and I would even recommend you finding the lyrics to these songs to have in front of you as you sing, so that you can mediate on the words.

In the Shadow of the Glorious Cross (Sojourn)
It is Well with My Soul (Michael Bleecker)
Before the Throne of God Above (Michael Bleecker)
On Jordan's Stormy Banks I Stand (Indelible Grace)
In Christ Alone (Page CXVI)
Nothing But the Blood (Page CXVI)
It is Finished-Part II (Red Mountain Church)
Thy Mercy (Caedmon's Call)

Go get by yourself and sing away!