Wednesday, August 17, 2011
As I walk through
This wicked world
Searchin’ for light in the darkness of insanity.
I ask myself
Is all hope lost?
Is there only pain and hatred, and misery?
And each time I feel like this inside,
There’s one thing I wanna know:
What’s so funny ‘bout peace love & understanding?
~ Nick Lowe
If you have been reading and following Jean on his blog “Knots” - and I recommend you do - you couldn’t help but notice that he has addressed many variations of a concern that go something like this: “With all this overt grace coming from the pulpit, what’s happened to the things we are supposed do?” What do you have against telling us what Scripture teaches about the spiritual disciplines? I mean, doesn’t the Westminster Standards in the Shorter Catechism question #3 say that Scripture principally teaches what man is to believe concerning God AND what duty God requires of man?”
Similarly, one critique that is leveled at small groups is that they are weighted
Monday, June 06, 2011
Life Change is the shorthand response we have adopted to the question, “Why does Southwood do small groups?” As small group leaders we need to have a clear idea what life change means in the light of the Gospel. A misunderstanding of this can lead to legalism and works oriented small groups that place a premium on saying the right things and doing the right activities rather than discovering and rediscovering the surpassing worth of a relationship with Jesus rooted in the Gospel (Phil 3:8). Here are three thoughts we need to keep in mind about life change as we lead our groups.
Life change isn’t essentially about new behavior or disciplines.
Life change starts in the heart with new affections, new desires, and new motives that lead to new behavior (life change). Tim Chester points out in his book You Can Change, “If you don’t see your sin as completely pardoned, then your affections, desires, and motives will be wrong. You will aim to prove yourself. Your focus will
Thursday, May 05, 2011
For followers of Jesus, embracing the Gospel of grace is the end of striving. Grace is the end of striving to perform and become acceptable to God. The Gospel is simply this: Jesus lived the life we, in all our earnest and most disciplined strivings, could never live, and died the death we deserved. Scripture drives the point home in 2 Cor 5:21 - “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” But in the glow of the brilliance and beauty of grace a new striving emerges: A striving to find our satisfaction in Jesus and to rest him alone - “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matt 11:28
Idolatry is a major reason - dare I say THE reason - we find the satisfying rest in Jesus alone so elusive. In the first commandment God makes it clear: “You shall have no other gods before me…” and Romans 1:25 reveals that we will worship and serve either God or something we
You'll find most of my recommended books available in the Guest Center at Southwood.
You Can Change
How do we mortify sin? How do we address the sin in our lives that reignite like a trick birthday candle we thought we had already blown out of our lives? This is a careful and thoroughly theological book that is hopeful without avoiding honesty. It is practical without being legalistic. It gets to the root of the sinful areas of our lives without offering a prescriptive regimen to hide behind avoiding the grace that has the only true power to teach “us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.” Titus 2:11-14
Relationships: A Mess Worth Making
Timothy Lane & Paul Tripp
Small groups would be easy if weren’t for the people in the group! This book will help equip you to see your own sin first and provide the courage and humility to address it in others.
The Heart of a Servant Leader
This is a collection of letters written by Jack Miller to people experiencing real-life concerns and struggles. Through these gracious and honest letters you will learn how to humbly offer to others (and yourself!) hope, repentance, and courage that flows from the truth of the gospel of grace. Though this isn’t a “how to” book full of nifty steps to Your Best Gospel Life Now. It’s a glimpse into the heart of a person who has found food at the Cross, and you watch (and learn) as he humbly points others to the feast.
Comforts From The Cross
Elyse M. Fitzpatrick
This 31 day devotional will bring you to the foot of the cross to remember and celebrate the truth of the gospel of grace, and develop skills that will help “inform, free, gladden, and enliven your soul every day.” Becoming proficient in applying the Gospel of grace to our own hearts is a key skill that is well worth our effort to develop.
- Steve Brown Etc.
Steve Brown’s unique blend of orthodoxy and controversy, humor and profundity, and a refusal to play religious games will give you permission you have needed to stop being so uptight. And even if it’s for 30 minutes, you just might experience radical freedom, infectious joy and maybe even a bit of surprising faithfulness.
- Tim Chester: reformed spirituality and missional church
Tim has an incredible way of applying the Gospel of grace that is both practical and honest with a consistent skillful affinity to point us to Jesus. He is director of The Porterbrook Institute; a church planter with The Crowded House in Sheffield, UK; and the author of over a dozen books including Total Church and You Can Change.
- Of First Importance
Living Each Day in the Good of The Gospel
Here you will find a growing collection of gospel-centered quotes to help reorient your thoughts toward the splendor and grandeur of the person and work of Jesus.