November 29, 2010

The Achilles' Heel of the Next Generation

This video has been around for a little while, but I thought it would be helpful to share it here as well:

November 13, 2010

The Trellis and the Vine: A Review

Earlier this week I finished reading The Trellis and the Vine: The Ministry Mind-Shift that Changes Everything by Colin Marshall and Tony Payne. While I many reviews have already been written on the book (for one such review, see here), I didn't think it would hurt to add one more endorsement.

In The Trellis and the Vine, the authors seek to look at some of what has been accepted as the "norm" within the Church in recent years and challenge their readers to compare these to Scripture, and particularly the mandate to "make disciples" (Matt. 28:19). Beginning from an explanation of what God Himself is doing in our world, they continue on, describing our part in this work, which is to be disciple-making disciples. From there, they continue to explain how this is worked out in a local body, addressing concerns and appealing to Scripture all along the way.

All in all, the book is an invaluable resource in regards to church ministry. The book is easy to understand, applicable, and, I believe, pertinent to the church at this time. I would recommend this book to all in the body of Christ.

November 12, 2010

Matt Chandler's Latest Update

A while ago, I posted about Matt Chandler, pastor at The Village Church in Texas and his battle with brain cancer. Though I have failed to post all of his updates here, I thought that it was important that I share this one with you (you can see all of Matt's updates throughout the year here):

(you can see all of Matt's updates throughout the year here)

(HT: Vitamin Z)

November 5, 2010

The Gospel is NOT... A Political Party, Ideal or System

(This is the second post in the series, "The Gospel is NOT...")

The Gospel is NOT... A Set of Rules

2. A Political Party, Ideal or System: Considering that this is the week of the midterm elections, this post seems particularly relevant.

Because of America's founding on certain Biblical principles and the feeling among some that we are somehow a "Christian nation", I think that there is a peculiar presence of those who hold to certain political stances as being distinctly Christian. For instance, some may think that those who do not believe in a democratic republic form of government as the best form of government are in some way unchristian. They couldn't fathom being a Christian and also in support of a monarchy or other forms of government. However, there have been Christians throughout the ages who have lived and died as good citizens of governments that were anything but democratic.

Likewise, in the political sphere, there a many Christians who on both sides of the fence politically. I have friends who genuinely disagree about the role government has in meeting the needs of people and wear the label "liberal", "libertarian" and "conservative" accordingly. But these friends also realize that the Gospel is what is central and ultimate, not their political views. Certainly, there are issues that have grave moral significance and are much easier to think through from a Biblical perspective. For instance, the Bible is clear about the moral nature of abortion. However, the fact that two people agree that abortion is wrong does not mean that the they will also agree on economic policy, or that being a Christian means that one must be for or against limited government, welfare or any other number of issues. God has blessed us with wisdom and logic to think through these things- indeed it is our responsibility to do so- but we should not expect that we will always be in agreement or that taking one stance is necessarily more in line with the Gospel than another.

In other words, believing the Gospel will not lead anyone to take a particular governmental or political stance. The converse is true as well. Being a Republican, Democrat, liberal, conservative or anything else will not save you. Jesus will not come back and ask what political party you were affiliated with. This may seem silly, but sometimes it seems that people think this way. They appear to find it unfathomable that those who call themselves "Christian" would not share their views.

But the root problem with all of this is that we are putting an extra requirement on people that the Bible gives no credence for. Salvation is by faith alone in Christ alone. It's not that we have to have faith and be registered as a Republican. It's not that we believe in Christ and support the Democratic party. It's that we believe in Christ, who told us to submit to the government (no matter the structure) [Rom. 13:1] and who said, "My kingdom is not of this world" (John 18:36). We trust in Him who will one day put all governments beneath His feet and rule as our perfect, praiseworthy King (1 Cor, 15:26-27; Rev. 19:16). It is from Him that we receive salvation, and no earthly power.

November 4, 2010

Solace of Silence

Solace of Silence

To where have they gone?

Though we long, we yearn... we scream for them,
Instead we’re encased
in this cacophony of
Bustling, hustling and jostling around us.
A swarm, a tempest, a tsunamic wave
Crashes upon our ears,
Splinters our thoughts,
Corrodes our concentration,
And attacks our minds.

Where is the peace
Of a cool summer breeze?
Where is the serenity
Of a mountain lake?
Where is the mute
Solace of silence
That brings lucidity, clarity, and health to our souls?

It is not to be found, my friend,
On the lofty peaks of the Rockies,
In the deep valleys of Appalachia;
Neither in the trees of the Amazon,
Nor in the waters of Lake Victoria,

No, no, it cannot be found there
For even there the tranquility will end
Even there Noise will intrude,
For our lack is within us,
Though our desire without,
And that need of calmness only One can fill:
The One who still cries out
“Be still!”
And bids these waves of clamor subside

-Nathan C. Matthews



© 2009Mind in Renewal | by TNB