From Douglas Wilson: A Box in the Back http://dougwils.com/the-church/a-box-in-the-back.html
When it comes to godly fund-raising, there are two basic methods employed in the Bible. When Paul puts the godly squeeze on the saints, it is for the sake of distributing practical relief to others (2 Cor. 9:2-4). Even there, there is a point made of having accountability (2 Cor. 8:18-20), but Paul does lean on the saints to dig deep and give . . . to the poor.
This is worth thinking about….
Sermons are not for liking
Here’s the lesson: Sermons are not for liking. Sermons are for listening, they are for discerning, they are for applying, but they are not for liking. You don’t get to like or dislike a sermon. We tend to ask questions like, “So how did you enjoy the sermon today?” It is just the wrong question to ask.
Actually, the author’s conclusion, “Far better is, “What did you learn from the sermon?” or “How did the Holy Spirit speak to you through the sermon?”” is presumptuous because too often, too many preachers fall into all of the pitfalls he discussed in the post. Perhaps a better pair of questions would be, “Did you learn something from the sermon?” and “Did the Holy Spirit speak to you through the sermon?”
Repentance versus Defensiveness:
Our default mode – in and out of the church – seems to be defensiveness. I know mine is. Nothing is more natural when we feel threatened by a criticism than to divert, distract, and downplay. Its as instinctive as flinching when a punch is coming. In my experience, a heart of repentance is something I have to work at. I have to say things like, “wait a minute. Think this through. Why does this criticism hurt you the way it does? Remember your identity is in Christ. Remember you’re identity is not at stake. Relax! Is there something you can learn here?” Its a counter-intuitive feeling, like learning to use a muscle we didn’t know we had for the first time. Or better: learning to relax a muscle for the first time that we’ve always kept tight. Its a kind of paradox: an effort at relaxing, a striving to cease striving, a struggle to give up.
[UPDATE 28.mar.2013 1:48 p.m.] Apparently, this Kindle title is no longer free. Bummer.
Thanks to Eternity Matters for letting me know that Cold-Case Christianity: A Homicide Detective Investigates the Claims of the Gospels for Kindle is available for free today! “Even if you don’t have a Kindle you can read it on your PC or tablet. Whether you are a skeptic or a believer you should study this topic.”
Written by an L. A. County homicide detective and former atheist, Cold-Case Christianity examines the claims of the New Testament using the skills and strategies of a hard-to-convince criminal investigator.
Christianity could be defined as a “cold case”: it makes a claim about an event from the distant past for which there is little forensic evidence. In Cold-Case Christianity, J. Warner Wallace uses his nationally recognized skills as a homicide detective to look at the evidence and eyewitnesses behind Christian beliefs. Including gripping stories from his career and the visual techniques he developed in the courtroom, Wallace uses illustration to examine the powerful evidence that validates the claims of Christianity. Continue reading
Apologetics 315 posted a piece by Michael Patton of Credo House Ministries this morning, “Eight Issues That Do NOT Make or Break Christianity.”
- Young Earth Creationism
- The authorship of the Pastoral Epistles
- The inerrancy of Scripture Continue reading
Several weeks ago, I stumbled upon The Book of Church Order of the Presbyterian Church in America. I browsed through the table of contents, and went directly to Chapter 49, “The Order of Public Worship.” What I found there was humbling and encouraging. 49-3 resonated with be because I am particularly prone to getting wrapped up in visiting and joking around. 49-4 resonated with me because this is something I have become more and more convicted about over the last … well, since our first child was born.
CHAPTER 49 The Ordering of Public Worship
- 49-1. When the congregation is to meet for public worship, the people (having before prepared their hearts thereunto) ought all to come and join therein; not absenting themselves from the public ordinances through negligence, or upon pretence of private meetings.