You Aren’t Gospel Centered

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There’s been a resurgence in the last few years around the gospel. This is a good thing. We are starting to have a larger view of the gospel, seeing the gospel as more than just how one is made right with God, how one is changed and how one goes to heaven. We are seeing the gospel for Christians as well and how the power of the gospel changes us into who God has called us to be.

This is positive.

It has also created a new thing to complain about.

Now, preachers are gospel centered preachers. If you want to sell a book, throw the word gospel into it. Parenting, preaching, church planting, maybe even write a book called the gospel. 

Now, bloggers complain about writers and preachers who aren’t gospel centered. Maybe, if you are a pastor, you’ve had someone tell you, “I’m leaving your church because you aren’t gospel centered.”

When I’ve heard this personally, what this often means is, “You don’t preach the gospel the way I think the gospel should be preached.” In other words, “I think the gospel has specific components and need to be said in a certain order (ie. the Romans road) and if you don’t say them in that order, you haven’t preached the gospel.

This has also become code for deeper preaching and not having to move forward and do anything with a sermon someone gives.

So, if you are a pastor and get someone who comes up to you after a sermon or sends you an email telling you that you aren’t gospel centered, even though someone started following Jesus in that same sermon, what do you do?

  1. Ask them what it means to be gospel centered. Most of the people who will make this complaint have a prophet lens. For them, gospel centered is the gospel they heard when they got saved, how Tim Keller or John Piper tells the gospel message or something else, but something very specific. One of the best ways to learn from them and help them understand your perspective is to ask them what they think is gospel centered. Sadly, most people who make this complaint cannot actually articulate it. I had one guy complain about this for almost a year and he could never tell me what it meant to be gospel centered, only that our church wasn’t it. Finally, he said we were to sensitive to seekers, so that made us not gospel centered. At that point, you can actually have a conversation, when terms are defined.
  2. Lovingly tell them the gospel from your perspective. As you move forward, explain to them what the gospel is from your perspective. All over the New Testament, there is evidence of Peter and Paul communicating the gospel differently depending upon their audience. This is important for a pastor to keep in mind. So, what John Piper says at a Passion conference may have a different goal and audience than your church in New England or rural Nebraska.
  3. Understand the fears that come from someone with this complaint. Most of the complaints around this, and I can say this since the camp I’m a part of, the Reformed camp is the one blogging and complaining about this issue. It comes from fear. As we watch our country become more and more liberal, people are fearful that the church is going the same way, and many are. This is a legitimate concern, not fear. Scripture is clear that we are not to be afraid. This is a great shepherding moment for you as a pastor. Many leaders miss this opportunity in an effort to be right or win the argument.

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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.

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John Piper on Don’t waste your weaknesses in 2014.

Since 2007, millions of people have read books and taken inventories designed to find our strengths. These are useful for positioning people in places of maximum effectiveness. But I am calling you to give attention and effort in finding your weaknesses and maximizing their God-given purpose. The Bible tells us what that purpose is in 2 Corinthians 12:8–10. Paul had been given a “thorn in the flesh” which was one instance of a “weakness.” Why?

The top 30 blogs Christian leaders need to read.

Zach Nielsen on How to avoid mission drift in 2014.

New pastors and/or church planters have extremely high aspirations for maintaining the purity of their church’s mission. All those churches they used to work for got too messy, complicated, and unfocused. “This church won’t be that way!” they vow to themselves and other leaders.

A gut level, honest struggle every Christian leader has.

One of the most difficult aspects of Christian leadership is keeping your relationship with God fresh and alive.

Ed Stetzer on What evangelicals can learn from TIME naming the Pope the person of the year.

The immediate evangelical responses to the TIME story were interesting to watch: some evangelicals said appreciative things about the Pope’s actions, only to be criticized by other evangelicals for compromising, some took the time to point out all the ways they disagreed with Catholicism, and others just said nothing.

Dan Reiland on 4 questions every young leader should be asking.

The leader in trouble is not the one who doesn’t have all the answers; it is the one who doesn’t know the right questions.

Tim Brister on How to create a disciple making plan in 2014.

For many of us, it could be that we are simply not well taught or well trained in the words and ways of Jesus. No doubt, that is an issue. But for all of us, disciple-making is just plain hard. It’s hard because we have years of non-disciple-making habits in us like inertia that need to be moved by Christ’s call of living on mission. It’s hard because we have rarely seen it modeled well before us and therefore disciple-making is turned into a program or function rather than a way of life. It’s hard because we have to evaluate our lives in light of the mission and make disciple-making a priority, and that can be a very painful and challenging process.

Mike Anderson on How to plan your ideal week.

The more responsibility I take on, the more my life feels out of control. One good way to help bring some order to my calendar is planning an ideal week. I try to keep it simple.

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.

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John Piper on When we send someone to their death.

Ronnie Smith was shot and killed in Benghazi, Libya, on Thursday. He was 33. He was a husband and father. The leaders of his home church have given me permission to respond to his death publicly and carefully. You can read the fuller story at World or in the mainstream media. One of the reasons I want to respond is because Ronnie wrote to us at Desiring God last year and told us that one of my messages was significant in leading him and his family to Libya. Now Anita is a widow, and his son Hosea has lost his father.

Jon Bloom on For all who have ever lost a child.

Suffering. Evil. Death. All of us experience them. They consume the lives of our precious loved ones — sometimes in unspeakably horrible ways. They bend us to the ground and produce tearful groanings too deep for words.

Thom Rainer on One of the biggest mistakes pastors make.

Pastors, I want to talk frankly and, hopefully, with a spirit of love, about one of the biggest mistakes I see many of you make. Most pastors have little emphasis, or sometimes, even knowledge about the content that is taught in groups in their churches.

Jonathan Holmes on Why does he look at pornography.

Something I have found personally helpful in counseling with both men and women through this issue is helping the counselee identify what motivates him or her to seek out pornography. In some ways we might say the actual viewing of pornography is symptomatic of a deeper worship disorder that is happening in the heart. What motivates and precedes the viewing of pornography? Once that can be identified then more specific biblical counsel can often be offered.

Letting pastors be real.

We have a cultural tendency to elevate leaders. Maybe it’s because they have an extraordinary education or a title or a position. Maybe it is because they have had a great deal of success in the growth of their church, or as an author or speaker. Whatever the reason, we’re creating minigods in our minds and hearts. That creates expectations in leaders, and expectations are the foundations for disappointment.

One Family’s Adoption Journey

Cheap Kindle Books [12.9.13]

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Here are some cheap kindle books. Not sure how long they’ll stay that way:

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.

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  1. Practicing biblical hospitality.
  2. Geoff Surratt on 3 reasons guests don’t return to your church.
  3. An email from a proud deadbeat dad. Love Matt’s response. Definitely shows what is wrong with men in our culture.
  4. John Piper on Parents, require obedience from your children.
  5. 6 trends in kids ministry.
  6. Carlos Whitaker on 4 tips on how to handle social media with your kids. Great tips for parents.
  7. One father writes a letter to his daughters about body image. If you have a daughter, help her understand biblical body image.
  8. 30 hour work week.

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.

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  1. Tim Challies on A safe place for our kids shameful questions.
  2. A pastor looks at dads.
  3. Barnabas Piper on Why Christian leaders (like Mark Driscoll & John MacArthur) fighting is discouraging.
  4. 5 reasons people aren’t volunteering at your church.
  5. Michael Jensen on Is chastity possible?
  6. How to keep your home safe with the internet. Great insights for protecting your kids.
  7. Carey Nieuwhof on Is the pastor celebrity culture a positive or negative thing. Interesting thoughts on this subject.
  8. Sam Rainer on Why pastors neglect managing.
  9. Tim Keller on Why a covenant marriage matters. Marriage is a covenant, not a contract which our culture holds to.
  10. Thom Rainer on How pastors can develop thicker skin.

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.

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  1. Trevin Wax on Don’t give your child a trophy for losing. Couldn’t agree with this more.
  2. Regular bedtimes help kids behavior.
  3. John Piper on Hijacking your brain from porn.
  4. Thom Rainer on 7 reasons your church needs to go on a diet. Being simple is the one of the defining characteristics of Revolution Church.
  5. Ryan Williams on 8 things I learned as a young lead pastor.
  6. 10 productivity tips for pastors.
  7. Ron Edmondson on 5 tips to be a better dad this week.
  8. Sleep & productivity.
  9. Mark Driscoll on 7 sabbath killers.

Elevation Creative: I Have Decided

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.

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  1. 8 Ways You Might Be Losing People in Your Sermons.
  2. Derek Rishmawy on Oprah Puts Rob Bell on Her Spiritual A-Team.
  3. Dear Parents with Young Kids in Church.
  4. Mike Lee on 5 Kinds of Youth Ministry Parents.
  5. God does not create all pastors equally.
  6. Barna on The most post-Christian cities in America. Not surprised, but saddened, at how high Tucson is. Revolution, let’s plant more churches!

#Hashtag w/ Jimmy Fallon & Justin Timberlake

Monday Morning Mind Dump…

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  • Yesterday was a bittersweet day at Revolution Church
  • We announced that Jared Carter will be leaving our staff team to explore planting his own church
  • While this the nature of being a church that wants to plant churches, it is still sad when it happens
  • I’m excited though to see how God moves in his life
  • It was hard yesterday to because I woke up and completely scrapped my sermon
  • Definitely went a direction I did not expect but it was totally God on that
  • I have gotten so many texts, tweets and messages since yesterday about how the Holy Spirit was working during the service
  • Love when that happens
  • AJ did a killer job leading worship while Paul was away
  • Love the new worship leaders being developed and can’t wait to see Jeremy lead soon
  • If you missed yesterday, you can listen to it here
  • It was incredible to as this was our 7th week of having over 200 adults
  • Blown away by the way God continues to grow our church
  • One thing I mentioned in my sermon that I’ve gotten a lot of questions about is the catechism we use with our kids that I talked about
  • It’s called New City Catechism and you can get it free here
  • Pretty excited for this week as I have a week of downtime with Katie and the kids
  • While we’d hoped to have Judah home by this time, we are definitely seeing God’s hand in delaying it
  • Really looking forward to doing a lot of nothing and relaxing over fall break
  • You do NOT want to miss Revolution Church next week
  • We have a special guest preacher that is going to rock
  • Seriously, you don’t want to miss it
  • Looking forward to reading a bunch of novels this week and things not associated with upcoming sermons
  • Hoping to crack open this new biography about Spurgeon though
  • Yesterday, my latest post on the resurgence went up about the things I’ve learned about leadership, your energy as a leader, family and other things since planting Revolution Church
  • I’d love for you to check it out
  • Not even sure what to say about my Steelers outside of, maybe we can get Jadeveon Clowney
  • We are on our way to having a shot at the #1 pick next year
  • While I’m out this week, I have a bunch of posts and things scheduled to go but I will be dark on social media
  • Really looking forward to unplugging

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.

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  1. What your church can learn from Joel Osteen and his church. While I disagree with much of Osteen’s theology, this article is a great read for pastors and what they can learn from him.
  2. Brian Croft on How a pastors should schedule his week.
  3. How to help your child read with discernment.
  4. Bob Franquiz on The challenges of an introverted pastor. Definitely have applied these in my ministry.
  5. How do Tim Keller, John Piper, Mark Driscoll & Alistair Begg prepare a sermon.
  6. Rich Birch on 5 time wasters for pastors.
  7. What to learn from a church spy. Pastors need to read this.
  8. Doug Wilson on A childish life. Great look at the growing desire of what Time Magazine calls “The Childfree life.”
  9. What the teen choice awards tell us about youth culture. If you don’t read Walt’s blog and you are a parent or a pastor, shame on you.
  10. Sam Storms on Why God doesn’t save everyone.
  11. When you pray with your children, you are teaching them how to pray.