Showing posts from May, 2014

Starting to obey

"One of the reasons we experience so much failure in the Christian life is that we think more about obligations then we do gospel declarations. We focus on the imperatives, but we pass over the indicatives. We fail in our doing because we fail to grasp first what Christ has already done. This leaves us powerless - running on our own steam. Only when you realize that the gospel has nothing to do with your obedience but with Christ's obedience for you, will you start to obey. The only Christians who end up getting better are those who realize that if they don't get better, God will love them anyway." - Tullian Tchividjian, " Jesus + Nothing = Everything "

Kingdom Expansion

Tonight's sermon kicking off our Acts series.  [soundcloud url="" params="auto_play=false&hide_related=false&visual=true" width="100%" height="450" iframe="true" /]

Acts for You

Tomorrow we begin a series on the sermons in the book of Acts at our young adult gathering. The goal is to realize the truth that is preached by the Apostles and apply their methods to our context today. The preaching of the gospel to our world, broken and very much in need of the liberating message of the kingdom of God. The introductory sermon, "Kingdom Expansion," will evaluate Jesus' final words promising empowerment and making the commission to be witnesses to the end of the earth. It is far too easy for us today to think Acts presents simply a historical account of the early church, and while that is true, it is also for us today. It is a model for enlivening our churches and reclaiming our mission. R. Kent Hughes says this of Acts: "In our day one of the nicer things said of about the institutional church is that it is "irrelevant." The book of Acts carries the remedy. Whether you are young and virile with Superman-like energy or restless with what

Doctrine and Culture

At theology breakfast we are reading Ray Ortlund's newest book, The Gospel . The thrust of the book is not only right gospel doctrine but a gospel culture within the church that flows from our belief. Let's be honest, we fail at this most times. We have the right doctrine (at least we assume we do) but our church cultures are little reflection of it. They will know us by how we love one another... yet it is so hard to actually love! There is hope however. As we look at Christ more, our culture will change. We don't need to force change (which often brings the opposite of the desired result), we just need to revel in the truths we cling to and let the gospel change us. As Ortlund says, " the  need of our times is nothing less than the re-Christianization of our churches, according to the gospel alone; in both doctrine and culture, by Christ himself. " Toward that end, we do need the right doctrine and too often we neglect our statements of faith. But right doctrine

Only Grace

"The radical grace of the gospel transforms servanthood into friendship. Only grace can free us to obey Jesus out of friendship and worship, and no longer out of fear or self-interest." Scotty Smith, commentary on John 15:12-17, Gospel Transformation Bible.

Theological and Missional training

If you are in Southeast Washington and looking for some training that will reveal the marriage between theology and mission, check out Porterbrook. [vimeo=]

Church Revitalization for the Glory of Christ

There are many healthy churches doing amazing gospel ministry. There are many church plants turning over new soil for the kingdom. And there are churches in need of gospel revitalization. I am blessed by the story of Sellwood Baptist Church . From a model of training and equipping within the church, to partnership for kingdom effort, it is a great story. All for the glory of Christ. [youtube=] HT: CBNW

Living from Christ over living for Christ

" I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing" (John 15:5 ESV) John 15 and abiding in the vine. It is a rich text as there is so much good in it to challenge and grant us hope. We, after all, are the ones that get to remain in Christ because He has chosen us. The implications are life altering in the best way. What John 15 also does is give us a foundation from which to live. We live in Christ, as part of the vine (Him) and it is in this place that we desire to bear fruit and are empowered to do it. This is the place we live from . Maybe you have recently heard someone talk about a person that is not "living for Christ," or describe how great someone is for all they accomplished in a full "life for Christ." While this doesn't necessarily represent a wrong perspective on Christian living, I wonder if we would be better off articulating, and functioning &quo

On Becoming a Leader

Justin Taylor has highlighted an interview with Michael Lindsey about his new book View from the Top . It is a look at how the powerful see the world and insightful in the conversation is how people become leaders. Asked if there was one defining characteristic or shared trait in the stories of how leaders got to where they are, Lindsey summed up his findings with this: " So a lot of your major demographic characteristics do not matter on your likelihood to succeed. What  does  matter is the formative influence of an adult who speaks into your life and who has a sustaining relationship with you that you carry with you. Each of us could identify one, two, or three people outside of our family who had a formative influence, and my hunch is that the relationship you had was not for months, or for semesters, but for years. That’s what Christian Institutions can create and that’s one of the things that we found that was really special." You can be born anywhere, have nearly any e

Gospel Ambition

Romans 15:14-21. The mission of the Christian is not numb consumption of instruction but instead ambitious gospel declaration. Continuing our Jesus Style Love series and even making up a few words (ex: goodest). [soundcloud url="" params="auto_play=false&hide_related=false&visual=true" width="100%" height="450" iframe="true" /]

In Christ... you are adopted!

" But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God." (Galatians 4:4-7 ESV) We could talk of our adoption in Christ all day. What a joyous truth. We are sons and daughters, chosen, loved, redeemed and now heirs with Christ. We know it but we rarely live like it. But it is true. It is beautiful. And it is important. We have a new identity because we have been adopted by God through the work of Christ for us. Hallelujah! Adoption of children by loving families illustrate this reality with grace and significance. People choose adoption for any number of reasons but beyond our motivation it is a great picture of the love God has for us in Christ. Yesterday, an adoption w

In Christ... you are Spirit-empowered

" But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life." (Titus 3:4-7 ESV) By no work of your own, and by His mercy, God has saved you through Christ. When you believe in Him you are giving evidence that the Holy Spirit has regenerated, washed and made new, your heart. This same Spirit that changed you in that moment empowers you today. In fact, this Spirit has been "poured out on us richly through Jesus." This is no mere sprinkling of magic spiritual flavor. This is a full on drenching of God Himself, filling you, continuing to change you, and empowering you to love and good deeds. Most days we wake up feeling less than empowered. So

Performance Reviews

It is that time of year. Time to review what the accomplishments and missteps of the last year. Yes, even church that are firmly committed to grace do yearly reviews. As I prepare to finish the review of the poor guy that reports to me, and weigh in on all of our staff evals, I am thinking that it would be best to give everyone the same review. I know that sounds strange and I doubt I could get the rest of our leadership to go along with me. After all, not everyone really performed the same... right? So if I could rate everyone the same and give them all the same comment, what would it be? "Exceptional. We have no confidence in your ability but we have full confidence in Jesus in you. Rely on him more next year and you might be surprised by what happens." Silly right? Well maybe not. It is the message of grace after all. It is what my wife has to say to me (and herself) to have hope in our future. And it is the only hope the church has to offer a hurting and broken world. Jes

People of Peace

[soundcloud url="" params="auto_play=false&hide_related=false&visual=true" width="100%" height="450" iframe="true" /] Tonight's sermon on Colossians 3:1-17.