Thursday, February 03, 2011
Let me commend to you the preaching of Rev. Joe Novenson, Senior Pastor of Lookout Mountain Presbyterian Church in Chattanooga, TN. Joe and I preached together at some training for Reformed Youth Ministries at their leader training in Jackson, Mississippi. My assigned topic was ‘Glorification’ and Joe’s assigned topic was ‘Sanctification’. It was really outstanding- all 4 messages. Truly some of the best I’ve ever heard. You can link to the RYM download page by clicking here.
If you followed the blog dialogue last week with regard to the nature of sanctification and indeed how God uses the regular work of the Holy Spirit through faith and repentance then you will be all the more encouraged and challenged by the messages. With regard to the messages I was asked to bring to the group I’d particularly commend the second message to you—- If you are a Type “A”, “Get it Right”…
Monday, February 07, 2011
I came across the following article thanks to an email from Brock Warner. It is very insightful and likely prophetic for the conversations around Southwood for the next couple of years. It is linked below and its content is DEAD ON with regard to the current dialogue going on in the halls of Southwood regarding Sanctification and our participation in that work of the Holy Spirit.
Link to the article entitled: “Are we Transformed YET?” by Mark Galli on Christianity Today’s website.
There is also a great follow-up article by the Internet Monk about Galli’s article. It can be found here.
Monday, February 21, 2011
Should the Gospel be confusing? When we come to the (Lord’s) table should we not know what we are doing? The Gospel is a mystery that was hidden for ages, but now revealed – it is Christ in us the hope of glory (Col 1:27).
There is none righteous.
All have sinned.
All fall short.
We were under a curse and the judgment of God.
Christ redeemed us from the judgment due us (Galatians).
We were delivered out of the domain of darkness (Col1:13 ) and transferred into kingdom of God’s Son.
Eternal life is a free gift received by faith in Christ.
Christ is our righteousness.
The Holy Spirit is the deposit and seal of what is to come.
We are made new in Christ for good works (Eph 2:10).
We are to put on the new self, created in the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness (Eph 4:14).
As those who have believed in God we are to be careful…
Monday, February 28, 2011
I stood in front of the sanctuary last week and received a familiar look accompanied by a familiar question. The look was one of concern, confusion and suspicion. The question was very familiar. It began this way, “I’ve got to ask you a question, are you saying…” I interrupted them, “...am I saying that grace means you can go out and do anything you want to do, throw caution to the wind, embrace debauchery and live with a perpetual “hall pass” to do whatever you want, whenever you want?”
They smiled and graciously said, “well I wasn’t going to ask that exactly, but…” I interrupted again, “...but you were going to ask whether I believed that as Christians we are to put off the old man and put on the new man, participate in the mortification of the flesh, run the race with perseverance, buffet our bodies, die to sin and live to righteousness?” They smiled again. I got it.
I’d heard that question before, probably several hundred times.…
Monday, March 07, 2011
(This question was submitted via Knots last evening and was inspired by yesterday’s sermon which can be found here)
I chose to go to Sunday School Class this morning after the first service. I briefly considered sitting and drinking coffee and waving, but I would have missed out, not on grace, but on the class and it seemed like a profitable way to spend my time. But I wondered, not in an effort to be witty, but in an effort to understand what you are saying: would you be willing to decide at 8:25 a.m. to go and sit on the couch and drink coffee, leaving the pulpit empty, and a few hundred people scratching their heads and looking at each other?
What would be the thoughts that would contribute to your decision either to go and preach, or go and sip coffee on the couch? By the way, if you are going to sip coffee on the couch next week, please let me know, and I will…
Saturday, June 18, 2011
This week’s message, entitled “Gospel Confirmation Hearings” (link is for file download) would probably be more appropriately entitled, “Paul had a dream…” There is likely no more important message that I have ever preached from the Pulpit at Southwood. The grace of God is so pregnant, poignant and rich in this text that I will hardly be able to sleep this evening thinking about sharing it with the church! Please be in prayer for worship tomorrow!
From the message, “You need to know that the question before the Galatian church had VERY LITTLE to do with the ‘sign’ of circumcision, but more to do with the fundamental implications of the law.
Circumcision, as a sign of the Abrahamic covenant, was indicative of ‘obedience to the law’——if circumcision was required in order to be saved, then salvation would not have been by FAITH ALONE.
The best analogy…
Thursday, June 23, 2011
I stumbled across this article this morning from a friends blog. It is apropos for Southwood today:
An Open Letter To Mr. Grace-Loving Antinomian
There seems to be a fear out there that the preaching of radical grace produces serial killers. Or, to put it in more theological terms, too much emphasis on the indicatives of the gospel leads to antinomianism (a lawless version of Christianity that believes the directives and commands of God don’t matter). My problem with this fear is that I’ve never actually met anyone who has been truly gripped by God’s amazing grace in the gospel who then doesn’t care about obeying him. As I have said before: antinomianism happens not when we think too much of grace. Just the opposite, actually. Antinomianism happens when we think too little of grace.
READ THE ENTIRE BLOG ENTRY:
Monday, June 27, 2011
Apparently our Gospel appetite is about 13 weeks long.
After week 13 in Galatians the dam broke. I have heard rumors, whispers, grumblings from every corner of Southwood. They have come from long-time members and newcomers alike. They range from blatant disgruntled comments about my preaching to subtle fears that by preaching ‘so much’ grace we will never ‘turn the corner’ to obedience. It seems that grace has been viewed as an ‘appetizer’ and the church is ready for the meal.
The comments generally go something like this, “Okay, enough already. Enough of this verse by verse, section by section consideration of Galatians. Get us to the REAL meat of the Bible! Get us at least to Galatians chapter 5! Get us past the indicatives of Paul’s preaching to the imperatives of the Gospel where we finally DO SOMETHING!”
I’ve heard that I just don’t care about holiness at all. I’ve heard the accusation that I am over-emphasizing one aspect of Pauline…
Friday, August 05, 2011
This quote was forwarded to me by Southwood Executive Director/Director of Adult Ministries, Bob Bradshaw. It is pure Gospel gold!
“You want to call people to holiness, as the new creatures they are, AND bring them into a deep awareness of the gospel of Grace. I want to call people to holiness, as the new creatures they are, BY bringing them into a deeper awareness of the gospel of Grace. You believe ‘effort and action (are) central to sanctification.’ I believe the gospel is central to sanctification, and that effort and action are neither central nor optional (optional = antinomanism) but integral. The rhythm of the New Testament is ‘walk in love as a response to how deeply you are loved in Christ’ Be imitators of God, as beloved children (Eph. 5:1). In a nutshell: if the imperatives of Scripture are extracted in preaching without being self-consciously placed within their (heart-transforming) indicative framework, then such bald imperatives will…
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.
Saturday, October 01, 2011
Put February 23-25, 2012 on your calendar. Book your flight to Fort Lauderdale and make plans to attend this conference…I hardly every give you OUGHTS, but this is something you OUGHT to do! The speakers, topics and intention of this conference is aimed directly at our Gospel needs, but more specifically it is aimed at APPLYING the Gospel to our hearts, not simply reiterating the Gospel to our minds.
From Tchividjian’s website, “Even those of us who have experienced the unconditional, saving grace of God find it intuitively difficult not to put conditions on grace- “don’t take it too far; keep it balanced”, we say. The truth is, however, that a “yes grace but” posture perpetuates slavery in our lives and in the church.
I wholeheartedly believe that the gospel of grace is way more drastic, way more offensive, way more liberating, way more shocking, and way more counter intuitive than any of us realize. There is nothing more radically unbalanced…
Monday, October 10, 2011
I met a couple last week that just floored me. They were both ‘good’ Presbyterians, Calvinists, Bible-readers and church attenders. I assumed they had fallen in love through RUF and had a storybook romance ending with a wedding night where God blessed the union that they had both ‘saved themselves’ for. Not so much. They epitomized what the cancer of legalism and self-righteousness can do—it can make you look HEALTHY on the outside while rotting your spiritual bones from the inside. The wife said this to me, “Sometimes God has to show your sin to the whole world before you can see it yourself…” I told her, “You have to write your story down and let me put it on the blog.” Here is their story. I hope you see yourself somewhere in here.
It is an odd thing to tell your own story, especially when you aren’t sure who will be reading it. But, I have been asked to share my tale with honesty so I will give it my…
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.