Friday, July 21, 2017

"The Gospel According to Joel" Sermon Series

I am in the process of moving my sermon podcast to Soundcloud. My hope is to post both my weekly sermons as well as a podcast (more on that as it develops). You can access my sermons here at Soundcloud. Below is my series on the prophecy of Joel entitled, "The Gospel According to Joel."

Joel 1:1-20: The Day of Suffering

Joel 2:1-17: The Day of Grace

Joel 2:18-32: The Day of Restoration

Joel 3.1-21: A Day of Deliverance

All Around the Web - July 21, 2017

Denny Burk - The intersectional case for teenage sodomy

Doug Wilson - 21 Theses on Submission in Marriage

Evangelical History - The Day Martin Luther Luther King Jr. Prayed at the Billy Graham New York Crusade

Chuck Lawless - 10 Mistakes Churches Make in Evaluating Pastors

Michael Bird - Why is the Gospel of John Different?

Kevin DeYoung - For the Sake of Your Conscience

Pastor's Today - Should a Church Have Financial Reserves?

Christianity Today - Immigrants Are Reshaping American Missions

The Blaze - Astonishing number of UK Christians say their faith is marginalized

AP - Netflix still piling up viewers and big programming bills

Babylon Bee - Man Wonders What People Will Think When They Hear He Went On Jesus Freak Cruise 2017

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Rainers: Seven Signs of a Dying Church

In their book Essential Church?, authors Thom and Sam Rainer offer seven signs of dying churches. They are:
1. Doctrine Dilution - "Teaching anything less than the absolute truths in Scripture will make the younger generation feel betrayed when they learned that a large gap exists between what the Bible really says and what they were taught in church." (16-17)

2. Loss of Evangelistic Passion - "Dying churches have little evangelistic passion." (17)

3. Failure to be Relevant -". . . there is nothing more relevant to a lost world than the saving grace of Jesus Christ. . . . Churches that keep their internal culture unchanged for fifty years while the world around them goes through continual periods of metamorphosis typically die with that old culture" (17-18)

4. Few Outwardly focused Ministries - "[D]ying churches gorge themselves on closed study groups and churchwide fellowship events while neglecting outreach in the community. . . . [I]t must reach into the community with outwardly focused ministries." (18)

5. Conflict Over Personal Preferences - "When the church focuses on trivial matters, the greater gospel message is left on the sidelines." (18)

6. The Priority of Comfort - "Dying churches are comfortable with their ministries. . . .Churches that flourish get outside comfort zones and reach into areas that are uncharted for them." (19)

7. Biblical Illiteracy - "One of the major sins of a dying church is the neglect of theological teaching." (19)

All Around the Web - July 20, 2017

Albert Mohler - The Agonizing Ordeal of Eugene Peterson — You Might Be Next

Evangelical History - The Pro-Life Movement Before ‘Roe v. Wade

Resurgent - Have You Prayed for President Trump?

Resurgent - They Mock Christians for Believing in the Resurrection, But They Believe This

Thom Rainer - Ten Roadblocks to Church Revitalization

Chuck Lawless - 11 Responsibilities for Parking Lot Greeters

Tim Challies - Master Your Finances

The Good Book - 3 Responses to Eugene Peterson's Affirmation of Same-Sex Relationships

Sam Storms - Should Women Wear Head Coverings in Church? Historical-Cultural Context and the Challenge of 1 Corinthians 11:2-16

Chuck Lawless - 9 Reasons People Slept in Church Yesterday

CNBC - Superheroes are almost single-handedly saving the US box office

Babylon Bee - Top 5 Most Hilarious Satire Sites

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

From Bonhoeffer's Pen: The Ministry of Proclamation

From Life Together:

Where Christians live together the time inevitably come when in some crisis one person will have to declare God’s Word and will to another. It is inconceivable that the things that are of utmost importance to each individual should not be spoken by one to another. It is unchristian consciously to deprive another of the one decisive service we can render to him. If we cannot bring ourselves to utter it, we shall have to ask ourselves whether we are not still seeing our brother garbed in his human dignity which we are afraid to tough, and thus forgetting the most important thing, that he, took, no matter how old or highly placed or distinguished he may be, is still a man like us, a sinner in crying need of God’s grace. He has the same great necessities that we have, and needs help, encouragement, and forgiveness as we do. (105)

All Around the Web - July 19, 2017

Joe Carter - Why Didn’t the Planned Parenthood Videos Change the Abortion Debate?

Evangelical History - What Did It Mean to ‘Hit the Sawdust Trail’?

Chuck Lawless - 10 Balancing Acts in Ministry

Tim Challies - The Damning Devastation of a Single Coddled Sin

Pastors Today - Ministry Leaders: When Values Collide, Make the Right Choice

Sam Storms - 10 Things You Should Know about James Arminius and Arminianism

Thom Rainer - Five Sobering Realities about Evangelism in Our Churches

Bible Gateway - Did You Know Jesus’ Ancestors Are Not Who You Think They Are?

Joel Beeke - Reformation Tour: The Martyrdom of Patrick Hamilton

Crossway - 10 Things You Should Know about Dementia

Tim Challies - 5,000 Days

Babylon Bee - Report: 92% Of Conversions Occur After Heated Facebook Argument

Practical Shepherding - A video testimony of Brian Croft’s crazy first 5 years at his church

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

"The Hobbit": Blogging Through Tolkien's Classic - Riddles in the Dark

One of the best chapters and scenes in both the book and the first movie is without a doubt Bilbo's interaction with the mysterious character Gollum. What transpires here will have tremendous effects on the adventure of The Lord of the Rings.

The previous chapter concludes with Bilbo falling away from the fellowship in their attempted escape from the goblins. So for the first time in the story, Bilbo is alone (the very thing he desires) and in danger (the very thing he fears). The scene begins by describing the stark darkness of Gollum's lair and it is only with Sting, Bilbo's elvish blade, that he is able to see anything. It is here that he encounters the strange creature.

I trust we are familiar with the scene. Bilbo discovers the magical ring that dominates Tolkien's trilogy and puts it in his pocket. The two engage in an entertaining riddle game. If Bilbo wins, Gollum must lead him out of the mountains. If Gollum wins, Bilbo becomes dinner!

If Tolkien wanted us to compare the goblins with the dwarves, it seems he wanted us to do the same between Bilbo the Hobbit and Gollum. For all their similarities, they could not be more different. Gollum's backstory remains a bit of a mystery, but his original form (before being consumed by the ring) was a Stoor Hobbit. The ring has led him to pursue isolation and wickedness and now that Bilbo bears the ring, he runs the risks of going down the same path.

Comparing the two riddles is fascinating but will go beyond the purposes of this brief blog. Gollum's riddles reflect his dark life and nature. Bilbo, on the other, chooses riddles that reflective his more sunny (and hungry) worldview. Yet the risk Tolkien wants us to see is the power of the ring (especially for those who have already read The Lord of the Rings) to transform this Baggins-Took into a confused and wicked creature that lies under the mountain.

The Hobbit": Blogging Through Tolkien's Classic - An Unexpected Party
"The Hobbit": Blogging Through Tolkien's Classic - Roast Mutton
"The Hobbit": Blogging Through Tolkien's Classic - A Short Rest
"The Hobbit": Blogging Through Tolkien's Classic - Over Hill and Under Hill
"The Hobbit": Blogging Through Tolkien's Classic - Riddles in the Dark
"The Hobbit": Blogging Through Tolkien's Classic - Out of the Frying-Pan into the Fire
"The Hobbit": Blogging Through Tolkien's Classic - Queer Lodgings
"The Hobbit": Blogging Through Tolkien's Classic - Flies and Spiders
"The Hobbit": Blogging Through Tolkien's Classic - Barrels Out of Bond
"The Hobbit": Blogging Through Tolkien's Classic - A Warm Welcome
"The Hobbit": Blogging Through Tolkien's Classic - On the Doorstep
"The Hobbit": Blogging Through Tolkien's Classic - Inside Information
"The Hobbit": Blogging Through Tolkien's Classic - Not at Home
"The Hobbit": Blogging Through Tolkien's Classic - Fire and Water
"The Hobbit": Blogging Through Tolkien's Classic - Gathering of the Clouds
"The Hobbit": Blogging Through Tolkien's Classic - A Thief in the Night
"The Hobbit": Blogging Through Tolkien's Classic - Clouds Burst
"The Hobbit": Blogging Through Tolkien's Classic - Return Journey
"The Hobbit": Blogging Through Tolkien's Classic - The Last Stage

For more:
"The Hobbit" by J. R. R. Tolkien: A Review
A Few Thoughts on The Battle of the Five Armies
"The Fellowship of the Ring" by J. R. R. Tolkien: A Review
"The Two Towers" by J.R.R. Tolkien: A Review
"The Return of the King" by J.R.R. Tolkien: A Review
Longing for Eden: Tolkien's Insight into the Longing of Every Human Soul
An Encouraging Thought: Gandalf on Providence
How to Read J. R. R. Tolkien
Clash of the Gods: Tolkien's Monsters Documentary
The Lord of the Rings Trilogy Dramatized Audio
"Beyond The Movie": A National Geographic Documentary on the Lord of the Rings