Faithful Sermon Preparation in a Busy Ministry (3)

Faithful sermon preparation in a busy ministry requires a regular pattern of study and a pragmatic use of biblical languages.

A La Carte (11/19)

Airport Security – This article takes a look at the unexpected costs of all the TSA is doing. “These days, the TSA’s major role appears to be to make plane trips more unpleasant. And by doing so, it’s encouraging people to take the considerably more dangerous option of traveling by road.”

Victory for Tyndale House – The headline from WORLD pretty much sums it up: “Judge temporarily exempts the Christian book publisher from the HHS contraceptive mandate, allowing it to operate its business according to its beliefs.”

Charles and Andy StanleyCNN has a long article about the falling out and later reconciliation between Charles Stanley and his son Andy.

Literal Word – This web site has a couple of helpful features. You can change the way the ESV text is formatted so it appears in three different ways (including a literary format that removes verse markings). The search also helpfully breaks down and charts the use of a word across the Bible (see here). It’s a site worth a bookmark!

Disability Says Ugly Things – This is a powerful testimony from the recent Desiring God conference on disability. Krista Horning compares what disability says to her and what God says to her.

Seeds Family Worship – Seeds Family Worship has released a new album that looks at the character of God. You can download one of the tracks by clicking on the link.

It is not great gifts that God blesses so much as it is great likeness to Christ. —Robert Murray McCheyne

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TULIP and Reformed Theology: Limited Atonement

I think that of all the five points of Calvinism, limited atonement is the most controversial, and the one that engenders perhaps the most confusion and consternation. This doctrine is chiefly concerned about the original purpose, plan, or design of G…

TULIP and Reformed Theology: Limited Atonement

I think that of all the five points of Calvinism, limited atonement is the most controversial, and the one that engenders perhaps the most confusion and consternation. This doctrine is chiefly concerned about the original purpose, plan, or design of G…

Book Highlights: Culture Making

Here at the Resurgence, we exist to train people to love and worship Jesus in all of life. Occasionally we like to take good books and highlight the big ideas, key takeaways, and amazing quotes to help you learn and grow as a leader and a Christian.
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God’s Answer to “How Should I Live with Disability?”

22-year-old Krista Horning—who has a rare genetic birth defect called Apert Syndrome, which has required over 60 surgeries—gives an 10-minute of how God’s word has helped her to live with disability. She says, “Disability says ugly things to me. It tells me I’m alone. I’m different. I’m worthless. I’m weak. It tells me my life is hopeless.” But “God tells the truth. . . . God says beautiful things to me.”

Twitter Highlights (11/18/12)

Here are highlights from our various Twitter accounts over the past week.

What Scripture ever said that the greatness of man’s sin could hinder the greatness of God’s mercy? (Thomas Hooker).
— Ligonier Academy (@LigonierAcademy) November 13, 20…

Twitter Highlights (11/18/12)

Here are highlights from our various Twitter accounts over the past week.

What Scripture ever said that the greatness of man’s sin could hinder the greatness of God’s mercy? (Thomas Hooker).
— Ligonier Academy (@LigonierAcademy) November 13, 20…

What the Church Really Believes about Sanctification

Each generation of believers develops its own weird convictions about Scripture. Though confessions and creeds offer some stability, they also conceal our faulty beliefs under a thin cover of orthodoxy. And there they wait, erupting to the surface in times of trouble

One place we can find the corporate weirdness of our day is in the doctrine of sanctification. It seems that we have arrived at a consensus about the normal process of sanctification and it’s not good. Here it is:

We believe in the victorious life: healthy, wealthy, prosperous and sin-free.

Lord have mercy on us.

We believe that a sanctified believer has fewer hardships
No sane Christian believes we will be free of trouble, hardships and suffering, but most of us believe we should have less of it than our unbelieving neighbors. So suffering still surprises us, as if children of the King have immunity. The two common responses to suffering are:

[with frustration] Why is God doing this to me?

[with guilt and confusion] What have I done to deserve this?

Do we think that Christ suffered so we are spared the hardships that would have fallen on us? True, Jesus bore our judgment but that doesn’t eliminate the suffering of living in a sin-filled world. Instead it gives us power to follow in his footsteps.

Weakness. That is the normal Christian life. It looks like power but it feels like weakness. That is the real victorious life.

Weakness.

We believe that a sanctified believer is largely free from sin
An elder from a fine church asked what I did. I told him that I was a Christian counselor.

“Why would Christians need counseling?” he asked.

I didn’t quite know what to say, but that was okay because he was not really asking a question. He was making a statement, and his statement says a lot. It says that sanctification is like a light switch. When we see a sin (and we certainly should not see one very often!) we confess it, and then we are done with it. Sin was “on” and we use confession to turn it “off.” It is the sin version of name-it-and-claim-it: name the sin, claim full, complete, victorious freedom and deliverance. And if that wily sin reappears, we are to deny its reality. If we say that it does not exist, then it, indeed, does not exist.

But the true “normal” Christian life is when we identify sin, confess it, and expect to be empowered to do battle with it.  We fix our hearts on Jesus and what he has done, and begin a journey that travels from loving sin to hating it, which can take quite a while and seem circuitous. It feels like weakness, but is sustained by the Holy Spirit. That is the real victorious life.

These implicit beliefs about the Christian life are everywhere, and they are pernicious lies. Perhaps some Nehemiahs and Daniels among us can start confessing these dastardly assumptions on behalf of us all.

Lord have mercy on us.

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