The Early Bird Gets The Link

Insights on the State of American Theology 2016

Here is some worthwhile info.

Why Multigenerational Community Matters

Paul is writing to Timothy about shepherding the people of God. Timothy has been given a mandate to help establish order in the church, and in these instructions, we see a general rule for all that our position doesn’t dismiss our approach, and that being right doesn’t remove the need to respect.

Learning to Read the Unseen Headline

In fact, even if we had the best journalist in the world they likely do not have the eyes to see what is really going on. What the headline reads on earth is likely quite different than what the headline would read in heaven.

On Loving My Neighbor With My Vote

This is a valid concern. We definitely should think of how our votes (or non-votes) affect our neighbors. As Christians, we ought to think how our postures toward politics and the electoral process demonstrate love for our neighbor.

12 Theses on a Christian Understanding of Economics

Christians must allow the economic principles found in Scripture to shape our thinking while simultaneously recognizing that we can act in light of those principles in any economic, cultural, or generational setting.

The Early Bird Gets The Link

Dr. Moore on AC360

Worth watching

Do Good Works Require Good Doctrine?

Real righteousness simply cannot exist in isolation from belief in the truth. Any “practical good” apart from sound doctrine has to abandon God’s standards for what is good and righteous. Naturally, it doesn’t take very long for that kind of thinking to undermine the foundations of Christianity itself.

3 Ways Marriage Proclaims the Gospel

All marriages in some way or another points to the gospel, even among unbelievers, but the Christian marriage shines a bright light of the gospel for the world to see. We must never forget that marriage matters.

Four Principles for Thinking Well about Boundaries

Some helpful words here.

Seeking Clarity in this Confusing Election Season: Ten Thoughts

I hope these brief reflections will not be in the category of “stirring up,” but rather might provide some clarity about what Christians should agree on and what we may not have to agree on.

Making Decisions in Light of God’s Sovereignty

Now again, they could have stayed seated. Done nothing. Waited passively. But they chose to act – to make decisions before a sovereign God. There is a great truth in that for all of us – the sovereignty of God does not paralyze our decision-making; rather, God’s sovereignty gives us the freedom to move and act according to His will.

How Do We Prepare Our Children For Suffering? 

This was a helpful episode of ask Pastor John. 

The Early Bird Gets The Link

Who Should We Vote For This November?
Well balanced article weighing and explaining your options, including not voting. 

4 Ways to become a better listener and a better Apologist

If you want to defend your faith well, become a good listener. Be patient and hear what others are saying so that you can respond appropriately. Do not dominate conversations. This is not easy. It takes practice. But you need to do it. Let me offer four practical ways to improve your listening.

10 Poisons That Will Kill Any Church

As I think about churches dying, I’m reminded there are certain poisons that are causes of death. I call them poisons because they are deadly, but they avoidable. The churches that die from them do so by their own hand.

Here’s Why You Struggle With the Race Conversation

I was able to understand why people are struggling with the race conversation when my wife was talking with me about women’s roles in the church. Even as she explained her concerns, I halfheartedly listened because I, “know what the Bible says.” And of course, I nearly led off my response with, “Well the Bible says…” which could be seen as equivalent to leading off a race discussion with #alllivesmatter. What would make me respond that way? Well, it’s simple. Her problem wasn’t a problem for me, so therefore the problem didn’t exist.

How to Reach Across the Racial Divide

The story of Scripture ultimately culminates with all tribes, tongues, and nations—a multi-ethnic community of the redeemed—bowed before the Lamb in the new heavens and the new earth. This is the same vision God calls the local church to support and advance here on earth.

The Early Bird Gets The Link

Here are some interesting and worthwhile reads. 

If I Die Before You Wake…

When Christ draws near, the systems we put in place collapse because they are the systems of sinners exposed by perfection. I want my children to know this. I want them to remember it. Because as they go through this fallen world there will be so much pressure on them, as there is on their parents, to conform to the world. And they must not be afraid to stand for the collapse of all things so that the one thing that truly matters stands tall.

The Evangelical Civil War: An Interview With Russell Moore

Trump’s march through the nation’s dark side has left destruction, seen and unseen. The raging conflict within the Republican Party is mirrored in another battle over the soul of conservative Christianity. Moore, who has made it clear he’s looking for Christians to elevate church above party, Jesus above Trump, is not shrinking from the fight.

How Our Unbiblical Views of Forgiveness and Grace Are On Full Display in the 2016 Election

The Bible clearly outlines what repentance looks like—and it isn’t dismissive or apologizing because someone might have been offended. Biblical repentance will never hide behind an “at least I wasn’t as bad as the other guy”. It will instead see sin—even in seed form—as odious and offensive to a holy God.

Last night’s debate and my burden going forward

We live in sad times. But the debacle of the 2016 presidential election is not the cause of our times. It is the sign of our times. And we need to have our eyes wide open to the world and our hearts full of gospel joy and our feet swift to our great work. 

The Early Bird Gets The Link

What the Church Needs Is a Reclamation of Biblical Supernaturalism
The United States desperately needs churches re-committed to the weird, counter-cultural supernaturality of biblical Christianity. And this means a re-commitment to rely on the gospel as our only power.

Why (and How) Christians Should Still Vote

I also want to say, as clearly as possible, from the very outset, that while this political season matters immensely, the church does not ultimately depend on what happens in Washington. As Chuck Colson always says, “Salvation does not come riding in on Air Force One.” The hope of the church, whether in the 1st century or the 21st, is not found in political decisions, but in the power of Christ through his people.

3 Gospelisms That Empower Repentance

Below are three ways to remember that sin has ultimately lost its power in the life of the believer. They help me eliminate the shame I feel after disobedience and push me to repent of my sin even when I’m tempted to wallow in it. They are “gospelisms”—truths about the gospel that are easy to preach to one another when we begin to forget the gospel—and I hope that they help you as they have helped me:

10 Disciplines of a Godly Man

Men, we will never get anywhere in life without discipline, and doubly so in spiritual matters. None of us is inherently righteous, so Paul’s instructions regarding spiritual discipline in 1 Timothy 4:7–8 take on personal urgency: “Train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.” That word “train” comes from the Greek word from which we derive gymnasium. So, I invite you into God’s Gym—to some pain and great gain!

Autopsy of a Deceased Pastor

Autopsies are not a pleasant topic. I get that. But I would be negligent if I did not share with you about the numbers of pastors who are dead in ministry. You need to know. You need to grasp this reality. You need to pray for them. You need to walk alongside them.

The Early Bird Gets The Link

Why Won’t God End My Suffering?
Those two things can be difficult to reconcile. If God can end our suffering on earth, why doesn’t he? Why does he allow sickness to afflict us if sickness is not what he ultimately and eternally wants for us?

What to Expect of My Sample Bible Studies

With these sample Bible studies in Exodus, I’d like to show you how I go about my Bible study. When I sit down to blog, I’ve probably been thinking about the passage generally, but I don’t yet know what I will conclude about the passage’s structure, main point, connection to Christ, or application. So as I write, I’m coming to the text fresh, and I’m doing my study “out loud” by writing the post. So please read these posts as simply my thought process in working through observation, interpretation, and application.

The Only Sermon I’ve Ever Walked Out On : Borrowed Light

I just couldn’t take another second of it. My heart was breaking. I was desperate for Jesus. Desperate for help as a pastor. I needed to hear the word of God and what I got was business principles on how to reach people for Jesus. The chorus of “Amen’s” all around me was more than I could stomach. So I walked out and tried my best not to embarrass myself by weeping in the hallway.
Every Click Counts

Every click is a kind of vote. Every time you click, you say, in effect, I want this — and more of this. And someone hears you. When you click on seedy links and ads, and click around at sleazy sites, you’re not just showing and shaping the health of your own soul, but you’re also feeding the strength of those sites one click at a time.

How I Learned to Separate Meat from Bone in the Charismatic Tradition

Good read especially if you were or are part of this branch of Christianity. “While some aspects of the charismatic movement are commendable, there are also glaring concerns. When I was unable to find a church home during college, my father told me sometimes picking the right church is like eating deep fried catfish. You eat the meat and spit out the bones.”