Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Recommended Summer Reading by Tim Keller

This excellent list is avaliable here.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Which Jesus?

I am now at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary ready to study Greek for the next two months. I guy just called my new GCTS friend and asked about how to answer people who ask: "how we can trust the gospel accounts of Jesus when there are so many other "gospels" out there?" (e.g. the Gospel of Thomas). Here is an excellent, readable, and comprehensive short article by Dr. Craig Blomberg called "Jesus of Nazareth: How Historians Can Know Him and Why it Matters." It is something that you can give to those who ask, and better yet read it for yourself.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

What Preaching Is

David Wells in his new book The Courage to be Protestant: Truth-lovers, Marketers and Emergents in the Postmodern World says the following concerning preaching:

"Preaching is not a conversation, a chat about some interesting ideas. It is not the moment in which postmoderns hear their own private messages in the biblical words, one unique to each one who hears, and then go their own way. No! This is God speaking! He speaks through the stammering lips of the preacher where that preacher's mind is on the text of Scripture and his heart is in the presence of God. God, as Luther put it, lives in the preacher's mouth.

This is the kind of preaching that issues a summons, which nourishes the soul, which draws the congregation into the very presence of God so that no matter what aspect of his character, his truth, his working in this world is in focus, we leave with awe, gratitude, encouragement, and sometimes a rebuke. We have been in the very presence of God! That is what great preaching always does" (page 230)

HT: Matt Harmon
Ministry Can Be Dangerous to Your Spiritual Health

Tim Keller has an eye opening article on this subject in the Reedeemer Report (March 2007). I especially like his point that one can "mistake the operations of your spiritual gifts for the operation of spiritual grace in your life" (page 1) the danger being that:

we can look to our ministry activity as evidence that God is with us, or as a way to earn God’s favor and prove ourselves. If our heart remembers the gospel, and is rejoicing in our justification and adoption, then our ministry is done as a sacrifice of thanksgiving —and the result will be that our ministry is done in love, humility, patience, and tenderness. But our heart may be continuing to do the same self-justification it has always done—seeking to control God and others by earning and proving our worth—through our ministry performance (page 4).
For more Tim Keller Resources and links to articles such as these go to this site.

Messages from the Dwell Church Planting Conference

Here's the audio from the 2008 Dwell Conference in New York:

Dwelling with Non-Christians (Darrin Patrick)

Dwelling in the Gospel (Tim Keller)

Dwelling thru the Text (Mark Driscoll)

Persuasion (Tim Keller)

Dwelling in the Text (Mark Driscoll)

Dwelling in the Cross (C.J. Mahaney)

Dwelling Incarnationally (Eric Mason)

HT: Justin Taylor

Monday, June 02, 2008

How to Read 500 Books a Year

This is how D.A. Carson does it.

HT: Unashamed Workman
Wise Thoughts for Young Pastors by Iain Murray

Here are six points from veteran pastor Iain Murray directed especially at young pastors:

1. It has been the practice for many ministers to be away from the routine and to look closely at our lives in the light of eternity. This is a valuable practice—taking a day per month or a few days per year.
2. Watch your own temperament. If you love being out and about you probably need to be in your study more; if you love to be in your study you may need to be out and about more.
3. Read the best books and only the best and read them with a pencil in your hand or with some other system so you can recall even years later what you’ve learned.
4. Be sure you do not let emails and web sites control your priorities.
5. We need very carefully to avoid losing time on controversies. Sometimes it is necessary but most often it is not.
6. Do not “see” in your churches what you cannot change. In most churches there are things we’d like to see changed but that we can’t change. Sometimes it is good not to see such things—to just ignore them. It is better not to see a disputable matter that can disrupt the whole church.

HT: Unashamed Workman

Update: Tim Challies summarizes the whole message by Iain Murray in which the above is from here.

Should We Make the Gospel Larger?

You may be surprised by Mark Dever's response, but I think that he is right.
Just for Starters

I have just started going through a Matthias Media Bible study called Just for Starters with some young believers at the Drop-in that I run. It is excellent for discipling new believers and for brushing up on the basics. As we were studying Romans 5:8-9:

8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God (ESV).

I had never noticed before the difference between salvation and justification. Justification is being declared right with God in the present and salvation is being saved from the wrath of God on the last day.

I highly recommend you do it with a friend (but if you do, also purchase Preparing Just for Starters; they are all available at the Matthias Media store).
The Shack

There has been a lot of discussion and talk of the recent spiritual/theological novel called The Shack by Canadian William Young (no, I have not read it yet). I have heard many different perspectives on the book by people who love God.

Here is a comprehensiveness and thoughtful review by Canadian Tim Challies (you can print it out and give it to people).

Here is a recent news article in USA Today.

HT: Justin Taylor