Links I Like

Links I Like is a collection of blogs, articles and books I’ve come across recently and thought they were worth sharing. Click here for past Links I Like.

book

  1. 7 things every pastor should do every week on social media. Great ideas.
  2. Brian Howard on How to organize your week.
  3. How to pray for your future husband. Great insights for single and married women.
  4. Brad Lomenick on Why every leader needs a confidant. Totally agree. Here’s how a pastor can find an accountability partner.
  5. 25 apps every leader should be aware of. I love the apps I use for leadership and ministry.
  6. Tony Reinke on God’s delight in you.
  7. How to care for your pastor.
  8. Mike Myatt on The #1 problem every leader has.

Links I Like

Links I Like is a collection of blogs, articles and books I’ve come across recently and thought they were worth sharing. Click here for past Links I Like.

book

  1. Eric Simmons on I hate porn, I love Jesus.
  2. The difference between buzzwords and leadership.
  3. Melissa Kruger on The loving intolerance of God.
  4. How some not famous pastors prep a sermon. Great wisdom here.
  5. Carey Nieuwhof on 3 essentials for a leader’s inner circle. As a leader, the people closest to you is one of the most important decisions you will make.
  6. Brian Dodd on 10 practices of leaders of fast growing churches.
  7. Dan Reiland on 10 basic people skills leaders should have.
  8. Why I believe in the doctrine of election.

Jimmy Fallon’s Best Musical Impersonations

Links I Like

Links I Like is a collection of blogs, articles and books I’ve come across recently and thought they were worth sharing. Click here for past Links I Like

Links I Like

Links I Like is a collection of blogs, articles and books I’ve come across recently and thought they were worth sharing. Click here for past Links I Like

How is Predestination Encouraging?

B.J. Stockman guest posts a great piece at Zach Nielsen’s blog on 5 Encouragements from Predestination:

1. God chose you because he loved you. Ephesians 1:4-5, in the ESV translation, says, “in love God predestined”. Therefore predestination is motivated by love. This means that God’s choice of you derives from his love for you. Sovereign choice doesn’t detract from God’s love it is the fountainhead of God’s love. We don’t go deeper into love by sidestepping predestination. We go deeper into love by diving into its deeps. We are familiar with the fact that God so loved the world that he gave his Beloved Son, but need to become more familiar with the fact that God so loved the world that he predestined adopted sons in the Beloved from all eternity (Eph. 1:5).2. You are a gift of love from the Father to the Son. John 17 reveals that your salvation was planned in the heart and mind of the Triune God before there ever was a you (17:2, 24). This means that God’s love for you is bigger than you. It is tied to the love for which the Father has for his Son. And the reason this is encouraging is because the size of God’s love for you is not to be gauged by his love for you but by his love for Jesus. From his very own mouth, Jesus said, “[Father] you sent me and loved them even as you loved me” (17:23). The astonishment that we should feel at being loved by God becomes even more mind-blowing because God’s love for us flows in the same stream as God’s love for God.

3. Your present sins may be many but your future sinlessness is certain. Romans 8:29 tells us that we have been “predestined to be conformed to the image of [Jesus].” As a son of God, you are guaranteed one day to look like the Son of God. Therefore you fight sin in hope not in defeated depression. Your Christlikeness is not dependent upon your performance but upon God’s predestination.

4. Your very identity is “elect” because God has named you that. The apostle Peter begins his letter to those in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, and Bithynia by calling them “God’s elect” (1 Pe. 1:1). Contemporary Christians don’t normally go around calling each other “predestined” or “elect” or “chosen” or “called”, but there is no reason why we shouldn’t. In fact, if we were named this by God, what stops us from calling each other that? What kind of massive encouragement would it bring to believers to have spoken over their lives the fact that God has picked them? Psychologically we see in various social situations that many times a person lives up to what they are called to. If you are called “loser”, “failure”, even “sinner”, and the like over and over again you will probably live up to it. If you trust Jesus, you can be confident that God has given you a new name. You have been chosen. God has called you something that you are not in and of yourself to make you something that you are in him. So act like it. Be who you are. Be what you have been called to be. Live up to your name.

5. God’s predestination of you enables you to live life to the highest purpose of your existence, namely, “to praise of the glory of [God’s] grace” (1:6). All of us have heard the phrase “do everything to the glory of God” and too often it becomes a cliché that means nothing in practice. The little phrase “to the praise of the glory of God’s grace” helps us see that one of the best ways to do everything to the glory of God is to do everything celebrating and enjoying God’s grace. Predestination has a unique way of drawing this out of us because it drowns out our propensity toward boasting and relying upon works and establishes the fact that it flows from the sovereign heart of God uninfluenced by human decision and work. Election strips us from taking one ounce of salvation and putting it in our portfolio and propels us into praising God exclusively for everything. Predestination is exceptional at displaying that every piece of salvation is gift, and one’s who have been given such a great gift will joyfully praise and glorify the Giver. We live “to the praise of the glory of the grace of God” when we recognize that predestination is all of grace and for God’s glory.

Read the whole thing.

HT: The gospel coalition

The Origin of Salvation

Salvation is entirely of God. It is God-sourced in its planning, in its execution, and in its application; it’s also from God in how it’s sustained in the human heart, and in how it’s ultimately perfected in our eternal state. Salvation belongs to the Lord. -Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Preaching a Balanced Diet

One of the dangers of preaching is repetition. Repetition in one sense can be good because people need to hear things several times before they understand it or get it, and a church should have a nice flow of guests coming in that need to hear specific things about Jesus and faith.

Repetition can also be dangerous because communicators can get into the habit of saying the same thing over and over, always finding a way to make a passage about their soapbox, or just repeating sermons. I knew of one church planter that repeated his sermons, really repeated them, every 18 months.

One of my jobs at Revolution is setting the preaching calendar, what topics we will study, what books we will preach through, etc. I submit those ideas to the elders to make sure that we are in agreement on what our church needs to hear, get feedback on topics from them, etc.

Here is what makes me excited about the next 18 months at Revolution, we will study a wide variety of topics. Such as:  Jesus, the trinity, mission, evangelism, community, marriage, dating, being single, heaven, hell, the afterlife, the wrath of God, predestination, free will, election, suffering, does God cause suffering, hospitality, prayer, money, generosity.

We will touch on books like Malachi, Daniel, Jonah, Ephesians, Proverbs. We will preach through Titus, Jude, and Romans.

Pastors, one of your jobs is to make sure your church is getting a balanced diet of Scripture. Do you have a plan for that? Do you know what topics you will cover over the next 12-18 months? What books you will preach through? How will you make sure you don’t just preach from the New Testament or the gospels?

Links of the Week

  1. Steve Jobs on the branding of Apple. Branding is so important and churches miss the boat so many times. Branding can have to do with mission, your church name, logo, etc. Pastors need to think through branding more because it is how you can be easily remembered and identified in your city. This is why we named ourselves Revolution and use 3 dots for our logo.
  2. How Christians can be faithful and politically present in our culture. Interesting interview.
  3. John Piper spent 224 sermons preaching through the book of Romans, but you can listen to these 11 messages and get the big picture overview. You can download the 11 key messages here.
  4. Forbes on Nextflix killed Blockbuster, but Apple, Amazon and Microsoft won’t be so easy.
  5. Mark Galli on Insignificant is Beautiful.
  6. The next Acts 29 boot camp is in Phoenix next week. So excited about spending the week at it.
  7. Kevin DeYoung on What’s wrong with theistic evolution. This is an interesting interview with the editor of the new book God & Evolution.
  8. One year later: an interview with Matt Chandler and what having cancer has taught him.
  9. What pastors and business leaders can learn from each other.
  10. Al Mohler on What we know from the elections on Tuesday.
  11. Download the audio from Acts 29 Seattle Boot Camp. Great stuff.
  12. Have you bought coffee yet to support our adoption? You can do so here (it’s really good).
  13. Watch this video of Andy Stanley talking about momentum. Anything with Andy Stanley on leadership is worth listening to or reading.
  14. Will Mancini on The tyranny of more. He lists out the 6 myths that cause churches to try to do everything. Revolution is a simple church, which means we only do 5 things (worship, groups, mission, students and children’s ministry). It is this clarity that I believe is one of our strengths as a church. I just preached on it if you are interested.
  15. Changing a church culture. Cultures are hard to change because they are so natural in how they come about. You have to change thinking, not just what you do to change a church.
  16. Ed Stetzer’s thoughts on Jim Swilley (a Prominent megachurch pastor) who came out of the closet this week. Stetzer raises some great questions that churches and leaders have to wrestle through in terms of how we respond to homosexuality and what Scripture has to say. While Scripture is clear where God stands on it, we have often missed the boat in communicating that and all the layers to the discussion. We need to do better at communicating truth.

How Pain, Hardships & Suffering Move the Gospel Forward

Saturday was part 2 of our Ultimate Fighter series on 2 Timothy at Revolution. I preached on 2 Timothy 2:1 – 13. In verse 10 Paul says, “I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.”

One thought kept coming to mind from this verse that is very sobering. I think you can take from this and the verses that follow that if you don’t follow Christ and “die with him” that you won’t reign with him forever. But there is something else in these verses. I think the question comes up, does how we handle pain, hardships and suffering affect the gospel moving forward? I think it does and I think that is one of the things Paul is trying to point out. If Paul does not suffer the hardships he does and if he doesn’t suffer well and push through, the gospel does not reach as far as it does.

Now, I believe that God is sovereign and can supersede anything I do or don’t do, but with the power of the Holy Spirit, we are God’s plan to move the gospel forward. Our actions of living for Christ affect the gospel moving forward, so does how we handle riches and blessings along with pain and suffering. I think how we handle the tough stuff might be more of an indicator to the world around us as to the trustworthiness of the gospel. Anyone can follow and celebrate God when it is going well, but what about when your health fails, the loss of a job, the death of a close friend or family member, a broken relationship. It is in those moments that God is the most real, but our witness is the most powerful.

I think it raises some questions for us:

  1. Do we believe that God is over all things, even when life seems to be falling apart?
  2. Do we trust God enough to trust that He will work all things out for the good of those who love him, even if that means it won’t happen when and how we want it?
  3. Are we willing to be used by God however he wants to use us, even if that means it will hurt?

I would love to say that God calls all of us to have tons of money, an easy road with little pain, but the reality is, very few people actually get that. No one in Scripture had an easy calling. I think the attitude that Paul has throughout his writings of, “I’m glad that God will use my pain, hardships and suffering and that He can trust me to continue following Him through these times” is a great attitude for us to have and a way for us to look at the world through gospel centered eyes.

Chosen

“I believe in the doctrine of election, because I am quite certain that, if God had not chosen me, I should never have chosen Him; and I am sure He chose me before I was born, or else He never would have chosen me afterwards; and He must have elected me for reasons unknown to me, for I never could find any reason in myself why He should have looked upon me with special love.” Charles Spurgeon (quoted in Humility by C.J. Mahaney)