I’m so grateful to BJU for sponsoring the blog this week to tell you how to Hate More and Kill Better. Sponsors play a key role in allowing this site to carry on.
(Yesterday on the blog: Facing the Last Enemy)
Here’s a timely call to young people to consider really trying to put down roots in a local church.
“Over the last couple of decades of ministry, I’ve listened to people utter words like these as they suffer from the fresh and painful wounds of self-inflicted sin. Building a fulfilling life takes a million tiny decisions, but only one bad choice can wreck it.” Erik reflects on the way every nightmare begins as a dream.
“I once heard Martyn Lloyd-Jones say that ‘the greatest enemy of the Christian faith has always been the Christian church.’ I was a little taken aback, but a few moments thought was enough to feel that he had a point.”
This is a couple of weeks too late for us, but still timely.
“Even our very best plans often meet with significant snags. Many variables can conspire to derail our plans, but one in particular often proves a great help or hindrance in our efforts: people. Planning would be so easy if it weren’t for other people with other opinions!”
“A Christian reading of Scripture affirms that the biblical authors do not tell us everything everywhere all at once. Things build, and that takes time. The doctrine of Scripture includes the teaching of progressive revelation.” That’s a key concept to understand.
The pleasures of this present world are pleasurable indeed. But the greatest of them must pale in comparison to the least pleasures of the world to come.
God’s Word is a light to guide us, and we must follow. It is water to wash us, and we must bathe. It is a mirror to show us our blemishes, and we must be honest…We don’t just look at the Word to learn the Word; we must live by the Word. —Warren Wiersbe
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By Tim Challies — 1 year ago
Here’s your occasional reminder that all the quote graphics I share day-by-day are available and nicely categorized at SquareQuotes. They’re free to download, print, etc.
(Yesterday on the blog: The Parable of the Acorn)
What Makes a “Strong Woman” Strong?
Rebekah Matt: “‘Strong woman’ is a phrase heard often these days, and because I admire both words and women, I’ve been paying attention. It’s used in politics, on campuses, in the media, and even by little girls who know at a very early age to describe themselves as ‘strong.’ It’s made me think about what strong actually means—what is the implication when people say ‘strong woman’?”
Success is Dangerous
Jared Wilson says that “when we are made little, we can find ourselves in the heart of John the Baptist’s prayer, that Jesus would increase and we would decrease. It’s not the ideal place to be in terms of our dreams and ambitions, but relying totally on God’s sovereignty is right where God wants us. It’s not a call to passivity or to excuse-making. But even the most diligent of workers can say that God has called him to be faithful, not successful.”
We don’t need to rescue biblical characters from themselves
This is a helpful reminder and encouragement. “The Bible is not a book full of heroes. It is notable just how many of its so-called heroes are, actually, a bit rubbish. And few books encapsulate the abject uselessness of God’s people – and even more so God’s leaders – than the book of Judges. A book dedicated to the bluntest of blunt tools that the Lord chose to use for his own glory. A glory that is all the greater because of the tools he chose to use.”
The Freebie Round-Up
It has been a while since I’ve linked to one of Nitoy Gonzales’ “Freebie Round-ups.” He does a great job of scouring the [Christian] internet for helpful free resources.
When Culverts Buckle
“As the spring thaw begins on the Canadian prairies, the still frozen ground merely acts as a platform over which the water flows, unable to absorb much of the moisture yet.” Amber Thiessen goes on to draw a lesson from this.
You’re Never Praying Alone
It’s very comforting to know that we never truly pray alone—even when we think we’re praying alone.
Flashback: We Have the Light So We Can Be the Light
We are the light to the sons of darkness who cannot see the way to salvation, but also to our fellow sons of light who know the way but whose hearts have grown heavy, whose feet have become weary, who have been waylaid on their journey.
God sometimes washes the eyes of his children with tears that they may read aright his providence and his commandments. —Theodore Cuyler
By Tim Challies — 1 year ago
Every book contract—at least, every book contract I’ve ever seen—includes a word count. When the author finally submits a manuscript, it cannot be a discretionary number of words but must be within the range the publisher has set. This is good and helpful for an author because it makes it simple to set goals and because it helps him progress toward a very measurable outcome. After he signs his contract he needs only to divide the words by the number of weeks before his deadline to keep up steady progress. As he writes, he needs only to look at the bottom of his screen to see how that word count is increasing. It’s easy, it’s clear, it’s objective. If only all progress were so easy to measure.
Each of us begins the Christian life a novice and each of us means to finish it a seasoned veteran. Each of us begins with character that has been shaped by the world and the flesh and each of us longs to finish with character that has been shaped by the Spirit and the Word. Each of us begins with warped desires and means to finish with true desires, with sinful instincts and means to finish with pure instincts. Each of us longs to make consistent progress.
But what may be true of writing a book is not true of living the Christian life. There is no progress indicator on our spiritual lives, no objective measure of our sanctification. A woman laying a floor can stand back and observe that she has laid 50 percent of the planks; a man finishing a basement can observe that 80 percent of the drywall has now been hung. But no Christian can assess his or her life and say “I am halfway there” or “I am three quarters of the way there.” We make progress that is far less visible and far less measurable. This being the case, we must rely on other indicators.
One way to assess our progress is to think back and consider who we once were. Caution is in order, though, as we must avoid the tendency to relish our sinfulness or to make light of our depravity. Sometimes we can almost cast a wistful eye on the past, longing for the days when we were free to follow our lusts. Looking back at our former selves and our former conduct should be painful more than alluring. Yet sometimes we best see who we have become when we contrast it to who we used to be.
Another way to assess our progress is to observe how we have come to respond differently to temptation. We will inevitably see that, while temptations still remain, many of them no longer have as great a hold on us. What used to entrap us every time now barely elicits a response. We will also see that, while sin remains, we fall into it far less often and repent of it far sooner. This is proof of the sanctifying work of God within.
Still another way is to ask those who know us—friends, spouses, children—to describe evidences of God’s grace, to tell us where they have seen God actively helping us put sin to death and come alive to righteousness. Often we are surprised and delighted to know that where we are convinced of so much failure, they may see great success. Sometimes another person’s assessment is more accurate than our own.
Yet always and forever, the best way to assess ourselves is to compare ourselves to Jesus, the one who led a perfect and unblemished life, the one who modeled what a human life can be and should be. Such comparison should both distress and encourage. It should distress us to see how unlike Christ we still are. But it should encourage us to see that we truly have grown in Christlikeness, that as we spend time with him we have become like him. It should encourage us to see that we truly are being conformed to his image, truly are modeling ourselves after his example. This comparison is the best and truest of all.
At this point in writing, this article is exactly 705 words long—progress easily measured by the little counter on my screen. And at this point in life, I myself am somewhere between justification and glorification, somewhere in the long process of sanctification. I may not know exactly how much progress I have made, but by God’s grace I know I am farther along than I once was. And, by God’s grace, I know that by tomorrow I will be farther along than I am right now. For I know and believe the great promise that the one who began his good work within me will bring it progressively and then finally to completion.
By Tim Challies — 2 months ago
For the Church Institute is a resource from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and Spurgeon College. It is an online platform that provides free and accessible theological training to equip, encourage, and edify local churches. These courses may be taken as a self-paced individual or as group within your local church.
Two winners will receive a book bundle from MBTS faculty OR two tickets to the For The Church National Conference on September 11-12 in Kansas City, MO.
Faculty Book Bundle
40 Questions About Biblical Theology
By Jason DeRouchie, Oren Martin, and Andy Naselli
40 Questions About Biblical Theology provides resources to answer key questions about biblical theology in order to guide readers in their own study and practice of biblical theology. Other vital topics the authors address include how to understand typology, key themes in biblical theology, and how Christians should relate to Old Testament promises.
Gospel-Driven Ministry: An Introduction to the Calling and Work of a Pastor
By Jared C. Wilson
In Gospel-Driven Ministry, Jared Wilson looks at the qualifications for the pastorate, addressing the notion of a call to ministry and how to identify the marks of maturity and affirm a call. In addition, he unpacks the eight core practices of pastoral ministry and offers guidance to prepare pastors for long-term, healthy ministry.
Historical Theology for the Church
Edited by Jason G. Duesing and Nathan A. Finn
In Historical Theology for the Church, editors Jason Duesing and Nathan Finn survey key doctrinal developments from four periods of church history: the Patristic (AD 100-500), Medieval (AD 500-1500), Reformation (AD 1500-1700), and Modern (AD 1700-2000) eras.
Spurgeon the Pastor: Recovering a Biblical and Theological Vision for Ministry
By Geoffrey Chang
In Spurgeon the Pastor, Geoff Chang, director of the Spurgeon Library at Midwestern Seminary, shows how Spurgeon models a theological vision of ministry in preaching, baptism and the Lord’s supper, meaningful church membership, biblical church leadership, leadership development, and more.
The Church as a Culture of Care: Finding Hope in Biblical Community
By T. Dale Johnson Jr.
We all know people in our world are struggling—eating disorders, addictions, depression, sexual issues, marital problems—the list goes on and on. Can the church help or is that an outdated concept that no longer fits modern problems? In The Church as a Culture of Care, biblical counselor Dale Johnson explains that the church is still the primary place where those who struggle can receive lasting hope and healing.
The Mission of the Triune God: A Theology of Acts
By Patrick Schreiner
In The Mission of the Triune God, author Patrick Schreiner argues that Luke’s theology stems from the order of his narrative. He shows how the major themes in Acts, including the formation of the church, salvation offered to all flesh, and the prolific spread of the gospel, connect. Through Schreiner’s clear presentation and helpful graphics, readers follow the early church as it grows “all under the plan of God, centered on King Jesus, and empowered by the Spirit.”
The Reformation as Renewal: Retrieving the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church
By Matthew Barrett
A holistic, eye-opening history of one of the most significant turning points in Christianity, The Reformation as Renewal demonstrates that the Reformation was at its core a renewal of evangelical catholicity.
Turnaround: The Remarkable Story of an Institutional Transformation and the 10 Essential Principles and Practices that Made It Happen
By Jason K. Allen
In this book, Dr. Allen shares the leadership principles he learned through the turnaround of Midwestern Seminary—principles you’ll be able to apply in whatever area God has called you to lead.
To enter the draw,
Enter your name and email address in the form below, which will add you to Midwestern’s mailing list.
Complete the 2 self-paced units of What is Theology? with Matthew Barrett before August 21 as a first-time learner with FTC Institute.