Friday, September 19, 2008

Ever Heard of Swooping?

Check this out:

Resources for Teaching and Preaching Ephesians

This year in the youth ministry of our church, Rexdale Alliance, we are studying the book of Ephesians.

Below are some helpful resources on Ephesians.

Ephesians Introduction from the soon to be released ESV Study Bible

Dr. Constable’s (Dallas Theological Seminary) Notes on Ephesians

Some Model Expositions on the book by R. Kent Hughes (formally pastor at College Church Wheaton, IL):

Go to the website here, and click on the book of Ephesians (on the right hand side). You will see all these messages:

Blessing Above: Ephesians 1:1-14
In Accordance with His Pleasure: Ephesians 1:3-6
Celebration of Redemption: Ephesians 1:7-10
Celebration of Salvation: Ephesians 1:11-14

A Prayer for Enlightenment: Ephesians 1:15-23
Mighty Power of God: Ephesians 1:15-23
From Death to Life: Ephesians 2:1-7

All of Grace: Ephesians 2:8-10

Brought Near by the Blood of Christ: Ephesians 2:11-18

The Third Race: Ephesians 2:19-22
The Mystery of Christ: Ephesians 3:1-13

The Measure of Love: Ephesians 3:14-21

Walking in Unity: Ephesians 4:1-6

Growing the Church: Ephesians 4:7-16

Living in Light: Ephesians 4:17-24
Living as the New Race: Ephesians 4:25-32

The Cookie Jar Syndrome: Ephesians 5:1-7

The Fullness of the Spirit: Ephesians 5:15-21
The Mystery of Marriage, Part I: Ephesians 5:21-24

The Mystery of Marriage, Part II: Ephesians 5:25-33

God and the Family: Ephesians 6:1-4

Servants and Masters: Ephesians 6:5-9
Ephesians 6:5-9

Armed for Battle, Part I: Ephesians 6:10-17

Armed for Battle, Part II: Ephesians 6:10-17

Armed for Battle, Part III: Ephesians 6:17

Armed for Battle, Part IV: Ephesians 6:18-20
Glad Benedictions: Ephesians 6:21-24

All Prayer: Ephesians 6:18-20

Helpful Commentaries (for those at RAC, talk to me):

Stott, John R.W. The Message of Ephesians: God’s New Society. Downers Grove: IVP, 1979.

R. Kent Hughes, Ephesians: The Mystery of the Body of Christ

O'Brien, Peter T. The Letter to the Ephesians PNTC. 1997.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Therapeutic Gospel

The Therapeutic Gospel: Part 1
In this new gospel, the great evils to be redressed do not call for any fundamental change of direction in the human heart. Instead, my deepest problems are merely limited to what has happened to me.

The Therapeutic Gospel: Part 2
God gives good gifts. But he also gives the best gift, the inexpressible Gift of gifts.


Monday, September 15, 2008

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Why Don't We?

If it is true as Dick Lucas says that "one of the clearest lessons of Acts is that the Word of God on the lips of his servants is the supreme secret of missionary advance (Acts 6:7; 12:24; 13:49; 19:20)" then why isn't there a greater emphasis on teaching and preaching the Word of God as well as training people in how to teach and preach the Word of God in youth parachurch ministries? Is it because of a false understanding of the incarnation as applied to us and this is now our controlling paradigm? We often hear youth ministry people talk about incarnational ministry or "you are Jesus with skin on," but the fact is that we are not. Jesus is Jesus and we are not Jesus [for more on the roots of this idea in early 20th century liberal theology see this excellent book edited by David Peterson: The Word Became Flesh: Evangelicals And The Incarnation (2003)]. We are to take our cue from the apostles who preached about Jesus, who hearalded the good news wherever they went and whenever they could. The gospel is advanced, people are saved, and people are sanctified through the preaching of God's Word in the power of His Spirit. Let's look at the Acts passages above:

Acts 6:7 And the word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith.

Acts 12:24: But the word of God increased and multiplied.

Acts 13:49: And the word of the Lord was spreading throughout the whole region.

Acts 19:20: So the word of the Lord continued to increase and prevail mightily.

This preaching occurred among Jews and Greeks in a very relativistic and "postmodern" society with a multiplicity of gods, goddesses, religions, and worldviews. Instead of abandoning the preaching and teaching of God's words to pagan youth today saying something like "that doesn't work anymore," why don't we see how we can do it better. Why don't we take the principles that Paul used and equip a new generation of youth workers to preach the gospel boldly with broken hearts:

Jesus "is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead....that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name" (Acts 10:42-43).

For more on the principles of Paul in preaching see this excellent article by Dick Lucas called "Preaching to Pagans."

Monday, September 08, 2008

Doug Moo on Colossians

Doug Moo has written a new commentary on Colossians and Philemon that is about to come out in the Pillar New Testament Commentary Series (Eerdmans and edited by D.A. Carson).

He also has preached a four-part sermon series on Colossians:

Part One - Col 1:3-14
Douglas Moo gives a broad overview of the book of Colossians of how they were trying to fit Christ into the worldview they'd already adopted. He homes on some key thoughts in the book, such as bearing fruit and growing and God's rescue and redemption, like that in Exodus.
Part Two - Col 1:15-20
This section of Colossians celebrates the supremacy of Christ in creation and the new creation. All you could possibly know about God is found in Christ. He is not some "blurry, impressionistic view" of God but the exact image of the Father.
Part Three - Col 1:21-23; 2:6-15
The message of Colossians is that you don't need to go running after spiritual truth in other places in the "religious marketplace" outside of Christ. What is a life lived in Christ look like? It's rooted in Him, built up in Him, strengthened in Him, and full in Him.
Part Four - Col 2:6-23
Doug tackles the difficulties surrounding the text concerning baptism and seeks to understand it in its context in the chapter. Baptism is a "last act of conversion" where it is more or less a "sealing" upon our conversion. "Your Christian life needs to be directed by the transforming work of the Spirit within," he underscores, "creating the mind of Christ in you, leading you to live a life that pleases Him and honors Him.

HT: Justin Taylor

Sunday, September 07, 2008

A Review of Brian McLaren's Finding Our Way Again: The Return of the Ancient Practices

Well respected church historian Dr. Michael Haykin (Ph.D. University of Toronto) reviews Brian McLaren's new book Finding Our Way Again: The Return of the Ancient Practices here.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Functional Saviors: Idolatry in Everyday Life

In his new book, On Who is God? (A book you'll actually read), Mark Driscoll writes the following:

The temptation of idolatry is that it proposes a functional savior. What I mean is this. All people have a concept in their mind of what their hell is. They also have a concept in their mind of what their heaven would be. To get out of their proverbial hell and into their desired heaven, they worship a functional savior. While this all sounds very religious and spiritual, in practice it rarely is.

For example, if a young woman sees being single as her hell and dating a cute boy as her heaven, then some guy becomes her functional savior. In dating him she will be taken from her singles' hell into her couples' heaven. The only problem is that she must make sacrifices to worship the boy as a god, such as sleeping with him or putting up with his abuse.

Furthermore, if a man sees chastity before marriage and fidelity in marriage as his hell and naked women as his heaven, then perversion (e.g. porn, fornication, and adultery) becomes his functional savior. The only problem is that he must make sacrifices to worship his false god - blowing massive amounts of time and energy online or at strip clubs and buying cheap drinks for even cheaper women (pg 69).

Read the book to see the solution to this problem. For more info on these little books go here.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Simeon Trust Preaching Workshop Toronto Audio

I really enjoyed this workshop last year by the Simeon Trust and I highly encourage you to take advantage of them. Here is their website and here is some audio from this past year (bios below the audio):

Instruction 1
Why Exposition? [mp3, 73mb]
William Taylor

Instruction 2
Traveling Instructions [mp3, 75mb]
Steve Bickley

Instruction 3
Bone and Marrow [mp3, 51mb]
Steve Bickley

Instruction 4
Melodic Line [mp3, 61mb]
Steve Bickley

Instruction 5
Text and Framework [mp3, 59mb]
William Taylor

Model Exposition 1
Philippians 1.27-2.4 [mp3, 64mb]
William Taylor

Model Exposition 2
Philippians 2.5-11 [mp3, 53mb]
William Taylor

William Taylor studied at Cambridge University and served in the British Army as an officer in the Royal Green Jackets. He then studied theology at Ridley Hall, Cambridge and was ordained in 1991. He was then appointed curate at Christ Church, Bromley, in London. He joined St Helen’s, Bishopsgate under Dick Lucas in 1995 and succeeded Dick as Rector in 1998. He authored Partnership (Christian Focus Publishers), a book on teaching the themes of Philippians as well as John’s Gospel: Read, Mark, Learn.


Stephen Bickley is pastor of Help and Hope/Basics Pastor's Conference at Parkside Church near Cleveland. Prior to joining Parkside in 2001, he pastored in Minnesota and in England. He also organized pastor's workshops for the Proclamation Trust while in London. He attended Taylor University and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. bickley

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

The Danger of Worshiping Spiritual Leaders

Carl Trueman writes a very insightful post on this subtle form of idolatry here. May we take heed.

HT: Justin Taylor