Monday, March 14, 2011
Special thanks to Emily Cusker who drew this picture of the sermon from Sunday, March 6th. It is great to see our kids are listening and engaged with the message. It is my prayer that when their lives get ‘messy’ as everyone’s life does that somewhere in their hearts they will remember that God’s grace is what sinners fall INTO not OUT OF when we fall! God bless you Emily and thanks for the great drawing!
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
I want to make sure that I let you all know that there are many, many encouraging emails I receive every week. If you are a ‘golden retreiver’ kind of Christian like me then it’s usually easier to remember the critical statements, but this amazing note of encouragement came this morning:
I wanted to say keep preaching what you are preaching!! We NEED to hear and understand Grace. I was a covenant child raised by christian parents at large ‘First Presbyterian’ type church in another city. I knew the catechism by heart, had regular quiet times, and attended church every time the door was opened. I heard the gospel over and over and knew the right answers, but I did not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. It was all about checking off the items on a list of “being a good christian.” As you can imagine that the works oriented faith was empty and like the prodigal son I ran to…
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, July 18, 2011
This post is a link to the blog of Tullian Tchividjian, Senior Pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church. It is a profound explanation about the place that the Gospel has in the life of people who ALREADY believe. I HIGHLY recommend to you Tullian’s blog. It is saturated with grace, theologically sound and engaging to read.
“Any evangelical- indeed, any real Christian-would probably say that life’s key issue is whether someone comes into a saving relationship with God through Jesus Christ. How one receives that salvation, however, has been the subject of many debates throughout church history, debates that continue today. At the center of these many debates is an assumption: Every human being born after Adam and Eve is affected (some call this effect total depravity) by the Fall. In order to right the wrong and restore us to a saving relationship with our Creator, Christians affirm that the eternal Son of God assumed to himself a particular human nature in order…
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…
Friday, August 05, 2011
Grace is difficult. It is harder than trying harder. We are allergic to resting in the finished work of Christ and the hardest ‘trophy’ to lay down is that trophy of obedience I have been working for my whole life. To make the shift from an life driven by fear to a life motivated by love is very, very painful. The emotional fear involved cannot be overstated. Most of us have obeyed because of fear of reprisal from God. To know that we are loved apart from our obedience or disobedience is a truth that is elusive. This is why it must be pounded into our souls week after week. Tim Keller said, “If you fear that when all fear of punishment is removed that all motivation for holiness will be removed as well then you must acknowledge that the only motivation to holiness at all was FEAR itself!” We have purposed to drive deep into those fields ripe with the green grass of the grace of God, not into the rocky crags of fundamentalism, legalism and pietism hoping that some nourishing shoot…
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…
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
My friend 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 PLEASE subscribe to his podcast!
These are quotes from Steve’s book, Scandalous Freedom (here goes the pinata!):
‘What God does or does not do in your life rarely has anything to do with how good you are.’
‘The greatest cause for our not getting better is our obsession with not getting better.’
‘Sanctification becomes a reality in those believers who don’t obsess over their own Sanctification. Holiness…
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.
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
I got this as a blog comment on Sunday. Some really good encouragement about Sunday and some frustrated questions. I don’t have time to engage it all right now, but it was so well written I thought it might get some chatter going on Knots…P.S. I told the one who posted this that I was going to steal their line and title my autobiography, ‘HOW I MADE A LIVING WITH CLEVER LITTLE ONE LINERS…’
As far as the execution of the new 3-service, sunday seminar format goes, all I can say is Wow, that was amazing! I can really see that a lot of thought went into the new format, and I just loved being part of something this exciting for Southwood!
On your sermon, ok, I’ll bite! Let me be the first to take the bait: When Jesus returned from praying in the garden, and found his disciples asleep, it seems to me that He should have spent a little more time listening to Steve Brown before He rebuked them,…
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 24, 2011
Below is an excerpt from the introduction of Bryan Chapell’s book, Holiness by Grace. You should buy this book. It is balanced, bold and for broken people who long to see the grace of God take root in their lives and actually propel and motivate them to holiness. Chapell doesn’t disclaimer away the radical grace of God, nor does he soft-sell grace motivated obedience. If you find yourself reading the book and wondering if it was written by two authors then you are probably reading it right, but processing it wrong. God’s radical grace and the radical response He desires from it will often seem to be at opposition to one another, but it precisely the opposite is true. Grace must be EXPERIENCED and EXPRESSED or it is not grace at all!
‘God says, ‘Be holy, for I am holy.’ The young preacher quoted the
words of Leviticus…
Monday, October 31, 2011
“(reply to the Diet of Worms) Since your majesty and your lordships desire a simple reply, I will answer without horns or teeth. Unless I am convinced by Scripture and by plain reason (I do not believe in the authority of either popes or councils by themselves, for it is plain that they have often erred and contradicted each other) in those Scriptures that I have presented, for my conscience is captive to the Word of God, I cannot and I will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand; I can do no other. God help me. Amen.”― Martin Luther
See Also: Martin Luther posts 95 theses. (2011). The History Channel website. Retrieved 8:25, October 19, 2011, from http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/martin-luther-posts-95-theses.
THE 95 THESES by Martin Luther
1. When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said, “Repent”…
Monday, November 14, 2011
Looking for the perfect Christmas gift for the Pharisee in your life? How ‘bout a book that you will love to hate? Trying to find a handbook on how to exorcise your inner legalist? Tullian Tchividjian has written Jesus + Nothing = Everything. Its not a ‘how to’ book, it is a ‘how He’ book. It is about Jesus and how He has indeed done all things necessary for us to die well and LIVE well. If you are thinking of buying this for someone other than yourself, because they need it, then grab yourself a copy while you are at it. You, like me, need to read this book!
“The fact is, a lot of preaching these days has been unwittingly, unconsciously seduced by moralism. Moralistic preaching only reinforces our inner assumption that our performance for God will impress him to the point of blessing us. A Christian may not struggle with believing that our good behavior is required to initially earn God’s favor;…
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.