The magnificent tyranny of the Gospel

Seven reasons for preaching from a text rather than a topic:

  1. Scriptural precedent
  2. Honors the Bible
  3. Distinguishes the sermon
  4. Tethers preacher
  5. Easily remembered
  6. Variety
  7. Sets limits

Email and RSS subscribers may need to click here to view the video.


Check out

Got a PhD in  theology? Go work for a church
Shouldn’t be as a last resort either.

Preaching and complementarity
Good preaching helps women stay complementarians.

How John Piper helped me in the midst of darkness
Mike Leake was surprisingly helped by two unpromising truths.

My first one-star review
Pretty painful. Only consolation is that it’s from Jay Adams’ colleague.

Poor students struggle as class plays a greater role in success
“For poor, the leap to college often results in a  hard fall.”

27 science fictions that became science facts in 2012
If this doesn’t make you worship God, nothing will.


Biblical Stargazing

Despite the column inches given to daily horoscopes, there’s only one example of stars ever being used to direct human lives and predict the future…and it’s in the Bible.

Yes, in Matthew 2, God sent a star to guide wise men and point them to the future plan of God for the salvation of sinners. As we gaze at this star with these wise men we learn six lessons:

  1. Jesus fulfills prophecy
  2. Jesus saves sinners
  3. Jesus gladdens the heart
  4. Jesus humbles the wise
  5. Jesus opens wallets
  6. Jesus arouses hatred

Read the rest of the post at Christianity.com


Check out

Re-engineer your morning ritual
I was thoroughly impressed with Michael Hyatt’s early morning ritual. I doubt any of us have the discipline to copy Michael, but I think we can all pick up some tips to getting a better start to our day.

Christian…and depressed
Why these words shouldn’t be surprising, and what we can do to help.

I am not a depressed person
Michael Patton writes honestly and helpfully about his own struggle with depression.

Move forward into hope
By way of contrast, Paul Tautges highlights a new book by Joni on Gaining a hopeful spirit.

Pre-marital counseling
Ron Edmondson prioritizes seven areas to cover in preparing for marriage.

If you’re serious about ideas, get serious about blogging
And if you need some help, here’s a great video from Michael Hyatt on how to set up a blog in 20 mins.


Children’s Bible Reading Plan

This week’s morning and evening reading plan in Word and pdf.

This week’s single reading plan for morning or evening in Word and pdf.

If you want to start at the beginning, this is the first 12 months of the children’s Morning and Evening Bible reading plan in Word and pdf.

And here’s the first 12 months of the Morning or Evening Bible reading plan in Word and pdf.

And here’s an explanation of the plan.


Two (more) helps to believing the Gospel of Done

A couple of days a go we considered four hindrances to believing the Gospel of Done. Yesterday I suggested two helps, and today I’d like to propose another two.

Re-study Salvation

The Apostle Peter wrote that the angels desire to study salvation (1 Pet. 1:12). In his commentary, Grudem portrays these angels as standing on their tip-toes, craning their necks, trying to peer into the phenomenon of God’s saving sinners by grace. If angels who don’t need salvation have such a joy-filled interest in it, how much more should we, whose whole life and eternity depends on it?

Few of us can remember much of what we learned in High School. Some of us can hardly remember what we learned yesterday. However, it’s no big deal if I can’t remember the French for frog, or the number of ions in sodium phosphate. I can actually survive quite well without that knowledge. But I cannot survive or thrive if I forget the Gospel (Heb. 2:1-3).

That’s why we need to be constantly studying salvation. End-times prophecy, combatting the cults, church history, biblical languages, ethics, practical Christian living, etc, all have their place, but they must never displace salvation as our favorite topic of study.

It’s a vast subject with numerous ways of looking at it: justification, redemption, victory, reconciliation, atonement, adoption, etc. Perhaps you don’t recognize or understand some of these words, Yet if you’re a Christian you’ve experienced them! So why not take one of them every year, and explore it through sermons, books, articles, etc., and experience angelic delight as you expand your mind and heart with the joy of your salvation.

And don’t let the study of these salvation truths distract or divert you from Jesus. The great doctrines of the Bible are like majestic royal robes. But they must not be studied in the closet. Take them off the hangers and clothe Jesus with them. They fit Him perfectly and beautifully. It’s Jesus who justifies, it’s Jesus who redeems, it’s Jesus who reconciles, etc.

Repent immediately

So we believe in Jesus and rejoice in His salvation. Then we sin; again.

What now?

Obvious isn’t it, we need to do something good to make up for it and then bring it to the table to ensure our forgiveness. Or maybe we should just set a reasonable period of time, a healthy and respectful delay, before confessing. Or perhaps we manufacture some tears and some really deep guilt pangs in order to prove how genuinely sorry we are. We need to do some deed, do some delay, or do some guilt, don’t we?

Do we?

No!

We need Jesus’ DONE! again. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Don’t do anything. Don’t do a deed, don’t do a delay, don’t do a despair. Do nothing and turn to Christ’s Done! Confess your sin without delay. Don’t wait even a minute. Don’t carry one miserable sin for one miserable second. Immediate sin, immediate confession, immediate forgiveness, immediate joy.

Begin and end the day with “Done!”

“Beep, beep, beep, beep….thump!”

The day’s agenda floods your mind and twists your stomach. So much to do. Too much to do.

Whisper, “It is finished!”

Repeat. “It is finished!”

Louder. “It is finished!”

Whatever you will complete or not today, rest in the only work that will never need to be done again. Rest in the fact that Jesus has done the most impossible job in the world, done it perfectly, and made it available. Take it. Enjoy it. Build your life on it. Let it change your whole view of your life and work. Use His work to put your work into perspective. Believe His work is counted as yours. Despite all that you fear and dread about the next 10 hours – a critical boss, a vicious competitor, a looming deadline, a complaining customer, an impossible sales target, unrelenting children, monotonous drudge – you have Christ’s perfect work credited to your account. Yes, it’s counted as yours, as if you did it. Are you humble enough to receive it?

And as you re-set the alarm clock at the end of each day of incomplete lists and unfinished business, rest again in Christ’s “It is finished.” The most important work has been done and covers all our laziness, all our foolishness, all our time-wasting, all our bad decisions, all our temper tantrums, all our losses, all our everything.

Christ offers us His perfect C.V. and says “Take this and put your name on it. It’s yours. Let this satisfy you, let this fulfill you. Let this calm your mornings and soothe your evenings!” It is finished!