Monday, July 25, 2011
-a guest post by Bill Nash, Associate Pastor and Director of Small Groups at Southwood Presbyterian Church.
“I have realized that we all have plague.” Dr. Rieux in The Plague, by Albert Camus
Jean asked me to guest blog this week and suggested that I write on how the experience and expression of grace “kiss” in small groups. Sounds good to me, I like kissing. TMI…
There are a number of ways the experience and expression of grace “kiss” in small groups. But, how do I highlight one or two (at most) and not appear self-serving or as a heavy handed small group Pharisee adding to grace the need to be in a small group if you really love Jesus. And how do I write about it without painting a rosy picture of life in community?
First of all, I am a self-serving small group Pharisee that struggles with wanting to be the best small group pastor presiding over a successful ministry that is the standard-setter on the face of planet earth. …
Monday, August 01, 2011
Monday, August 15, 2011
This is a re-post of the text of a blog entry from Dr. Tim Keller at Redeemer Presbyterian in New York City. Many thanks to Ruling Elder, John Bise for directing my attention to it. It is worth reading every word. The original post can be found here.
“First, Dr Lloyd-Jones insisted that we use the gospel as we edify Christians. In Preaching and Preachers, Lloyd-Jones warns preachers not to “assume that all…who are members of the church, are…Christians. This, to me, is the most fatal blunder of all.” (p.146) He goes on to say that many people have accepted Christianity intellectually but have never come under the power of the Word and the gospel and therefore have “not truly repented.” (p.150)
This is very significant. It is at the heart of the difference between the Old Side/New Side, Old Lights/New Lights controversy during the revivals in 18th century…
Monday, September 05, 2011
The first thing to remember is that we must never separate the benefits (regeneration, justification, sanctification) from the Benefactor (Jesus Christ). The Christians who are most focused on their own spirituality may give the impression of being the most spiritual but from the New Testament’s point of view, those who have almost forgotten about their own spirituality because their focus is so exclusively on their union with Jesus Christ and what He has accomplished are those who are growing and exhibiting fruitfulness. Historically speaking, whenever the piety of a particular group is focused on OUR spirituality, that piety will eventually exhaust itself on its own resources. Only where our piety forgets about us and focuses on Jesus Christ will our piety be nourished by the ongoing resources the Spirit brings to us from the source of all true piety, our Lord Jesus Christ.
Thursday, September 22, 2011
My friend Tullian Tchividjian posted this video on his website a month ago. My eyes fill with tears every time I watch it. I remember when my daughter was young and particularly troubled one night about her sin. She could not sleep. She told me that she could not ‘forgive herself…’ I gathered the family and we watched this particular clip from the movie. We all wept. She got it. The picture of grace in this artistic expression is inspired. Anyone who doesn’t think grace leads to obedience and holiness needs to watch the rest of the movie. Victor Hugo understood what so often seems to elude us…the powerful reality of Grace is the ONLY thing that turns us a man from evil to good.
Thursday, October 06, 2011
“We do not like to be saved by charity, and so to have no corner in which to sit and boast. We long to make provision for a little self-congratulation. You insult a moral man if you tell him that he must be saved in the same way as a thief or a murderer, yet this is no more than the truth. For a woman of purity to be told that the same grace which saved a Magdalene is necessary for her salvation is so humbling, that her indignation is roused, and yet it is the fact, for in every case salvation is “without money and without price.”
From a sermon by Charles Haddon Spurgeon entitled “Without Money And Without Price,” delivered March 8, 1871
Monday, October 17, 2011
Jerry Bridges wrote an article for Modern Reformation Magazine in 2004 entitled, Gospel-Driven Sanctification. In it he quotes William Romaine. The quote is pure Gospel gold!
William Romaine, who was one of the leaders of the eighteenth-century revival in England, wrote, “No sin can be crucified either in heart or life unless it first be pardoned in conscience…. If it be not mortified in its guilt, it cannot be subdued in its power.” What Romaine was saying is that if you do not believe you have died to sin’s guilt, you cannot trust Christ for the strength to subdue its power in your life. So the place to begin in dealing with sin is to believe the gospel when it says you have died to sin’s guilt.
Thank you Jerry for reminding us that we live by FAITH ALONE, by believing what is true as the basis for behaving like it is true!
Monday, November 07, 2011
James Parker, our lead musician sent me the text of this song last week. Of all the songs ever written about either I am convinced that this would be a favorite of both. I could definitely see the Younger Brother in Luke 15 writing a song like this if the story had been set in modern times…
George Jones and Jesus are two heros of mine.
One is only human but the other one divine.
When I could not find a friend I found out that I had two.
George Jones and Jesus pulled me through.
When a man is on the bottom he may not cry for help.
But he needs to know he’s not alone in hell all by himself.
Those songs old George was singing they some how eased the hurt.
And Jesus did not turn me out when a bar room was my church.
George Jones and Jesus are two heros of mine.…
Jesus+Nothing = Everything
“Jesus + Nothing = Everything will remind you of the ancient yet ever-fresh truth that everything we need is found in the perfections of Christ—not in ourselves, not in our reputation, our relationships or wealth or accomplishments—in Christ alone. If you’ve never rested in the finished work of Christ this book is for you. If you’ve rested in it for decades like I have, this book is for you, too. Why? Because we forget; And, although we love Jesus, we’re blind to the ways in which his work connects to our daily lives and we wonder why joy and zeal are foreign concepts to us.” -Elyse Fitzpatrick
A Scandalous Freedom
Get ready to be bothered by the Gospel. Steve Brown teaches grace in a way that gets under your skin—- Reading Brown is like having a gospel hair in your mouth of your conscience. The more it bothers you the more beautiful the pearl produced will be
The Gospel Mystery of Sanctification
From the publisher: “It is a deep and rich biblical study of sanctification - how Christians grow in holiness and become more like Jesus. In a day when Christians are very prone to pursue self-help methods to grow in obedience to Christ, Walter Marshall lays out the biblical way of growth: obedience comes as Christians live by grace, in union with Christ, by faith.” This book influenced me PROFOUNDLY on the topic of sanctification. The Modern-English re-write makes this a TOP PICK for 2011!
12 Steps for the Recovering Pharisee (like me)
I ‘accidentally’ picked up this book simply for the title alone. I grew to hate it quickly. It hit a little ‘too close to home.’ Fischer’s book plunges the scalpel of self-awareness and need for deep repentance deep into the hard hearts of Pharisees like ME!
- Redeemer Presbyterian Church
Ricky Jones is the pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He is a trophy of grace. If you want to listen to bold preaching by a man who knows his sin, knows his weaknesses and trusts only Jesus to take what he says and use it to God’s glory then you are heading in the right direction. The preaching is bold, the preacher is humble and you will be blessed.
- Key Life Ministries
Steve Brown is not the most subtle guy you will ever meet. If I were to write an S.A.T. question about Steve this is how it would go: Steve Brown is to legalism what a child hopped-up on cake and ice cream is to an pinata! I love this guy. Check out his website and fair warning: you are not heading to a ‘SAFE’ little Christian site!
- Coral Ridge Presbyterian
As one comment on iTunes said: “Tullian preaches the Gospel in an unadulterated and undomesitcated way…The way it should be preached!”
- Mockingbird Blog
Mockingbird is a ministry that seeks to connect the Christian faith with the realities of everyday life in as fresh and down-to-earth a way possible.
- White Horse Inn
White Horse Inn is a multimedia catalyst for reformation. We believe that each generation must rediscover and apply the gospel to their own time. We long to see a second reformation take hold of our churches and return them to the God-honoring, Christ-centered, Spirit-wrought places of worship they should be.
- On Earth as it is in Heaven
William Graham Tullian Tchividjian (pronounced cha-vi-jin) is a Florida native, the pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale, a visiting professor of theology at Reformed Theological Seminary, and a grandson of Billy and Ruth Graham.
Smith is the founding Pastor of Christ Community Church in Franklin, TN, avid writer, prolific blogger and tweeter. His nuggets of Gospel wisdom are seasoned by years of service to the Bride. He is gentle and very purposed in his every comment.