Monday, May 30, 2011

Answering Awkward Questions

What do you say when someone greets you with "How are you doing?" or "How have things been?" You probably go with the automatic "doing well" or "good" or perhaps even "great". Even as the words roll off your tongue you know them to be false. Of course, I hope they are honest answers but what about when the circumstances presently in your life are discouraging or painful. Those questions could be awkward because you want to erase the fake smile and say "terrible" but you know that would produce an even more awkward look on the greeting person's face. So what is an alterntive to fake optimism and raw pessimism?

Try answering as a gospel-person. We are not defined by circumstances anyway. There are always things at work for our good beyond the circumstances. For that matter circumstance may be good and you not be growing spiritually-- which is not good. Try responding honestly but in a way that adorns the gospel that has transformed you and given you a hope beyond the present circumstances.

"It has been a difficult season but God has been so faithful to encourage and sustain me."

"Circumstances have been challenging but the Lord never fails."

"It has been up and down but the Lord has been so gracious to grow me through it all."

"It has been rough but my hope is in the Lord."

Now even these responses could come across as phony if you don't really mean them. So first ask yourself some awkward questions- Are you looking to the Lord (in His Word and by prayer) during this difficult season? Are you continually repenting from trusting in the things of this world and instead believing in the Lord Jesus who never fails? Do you daily reflect on the Lord's grace in your life and how He is shaping you through the difficulties? Are you genuinely hoping in the Lord or is your focus only on the circumstances? We must be gospel people through and through and how we respond to difficult seasons of life will either reveal can display the gospel transforming power.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Tuesday Hodge-Podge (5-24)

  • Good interview with Tim Chester on the missional nature of mealtime.

  • Our church has transitioned from taking the Lord's Supper once-a-quarter (at its most frequent) to every month on the first Sunday morning service of the month. Jim Hamilton offers some Biblical perspective on the frequency of observing this ordinance.

  • I'm taking a brief 3-week break from Galatians to preach a doctrinal series on heaven and hell. Here is a good response from Randy Alcorn to the recent books about supposed "caught up to heaven" experiences.

  • Jennifer Smidt at The Resuregence Blog has posted 10 Things Submission is Not.

  • Justin Taylor presents the back and forth between Trevin Wax and John Starke regarding the gospel as a "three legged stool". Interesting.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Video Monday- John Piper on "Receiving Jesus"

I've been a bit AWOL as blogging is concerned but will be back in the swing this week. Here is a powerful excerpt from a sermon John Piper preached a couple years back on John 3.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Theological Hoosiers!

Need a good laugh? Watch this video of some theological and pastoral "heavy weights" tossing it around on the basketball court (with Al Mohler on the sideline). Oh and it's a promo for T4G 2012.

T4G 2012 Teaser: The Game from Together for the Gospel (T4G) on Vimeo.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Tuesday Hodge-Podge (5-3)

  • I've been intrigued by George Guthrie's book and Lifeway's accompanying video study series entitled Read the Bible for Life. Here is a summary of his outline for the Bible.

  • This looks like a great summer read... Philip Ryken on King Solomon

  • Are you a World War 2 buff as I am? Check this site out.

  • Trevin Wax debunks some urban legends that preachers are guilty of (yes, I've been guilty of a couple of these too)... with well-intended ignorance of course.

  • Michael Patton gives us an interesting chart of church history.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Christian Reflections on the Death of Bin Ladin

Those of us who go to bed at a decent hour woke up this morning to the news of Osama Bin Ladin's death at the hands of heroic Navy SEALS (some of you night-owls heard about it last night). Naturally, as an American citizen I was a celebratory as the next patriot that our military accomplished a very important victory in bringing to justice (the ultimate kind) the most-wanted terrorist on the planet. I'm thankful for those brave men and women who serve in our military to keep our country safe and who pursue justice to those who would inflict unspeakable harm to others. Today is a day in which I am especially proud to be an American.

However as a Christian- whose first citizenship is to the kingdom of God- other thoughts come to mind upon reflection. First, I'm grieved by a wasted life. Osama Bin Ladin was created to glorify God and enjoy Him forever but instead chose- like all men- to reject God's authority and commit himself to a life of sin. Most people do not act on their sinful nature to the degree as someone like Bin Ladin but anyone who rejects God's rule and enslaves himself to the mastery of sin represents a wasted life. Second, I'm reminded of Romans 13:3-4 and God's ordaining of the state to administer justice to the law breaker. God is sovereign over all things but uses governments and military force to bring wrong-doers to account for their crimes. We should be reminded that God does not ignore sin but upholds His righteous standard.

Third, I think about the justice that Christ bore on my account and on the account of many (Mark 10:45; 2 Corinthians 5:21). Yes, Osama Bin Ladin got what he deserved- in death by bullet and in eternal death but after celebrating the upholding of justice remember to reflect on the fact that "There is none righteous, not even one" (Romans 3:10) and "It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God" (Hebrews 10:31). We all deserve justice. The thing which we rightfully celebrate today is the thing we should all face for sin but for the mercy of God and the atoning work of Christ.