Links & Quotes

link quote

Some good reading from today…

“Go to bed seasonably, and rise early. Redeem your precious time… that not one moment of it may be lost. Be much in secret prayer. Converse less with man, and more with God.” —George Whitefield 

“Lord, let me not live to be useless.” —John Wesley

Jon Bloom looks at narcissism in a different way: Beware The Mirror.

“To be specific, the self-sins are self-righteousness, self-pity, self-confidence, self-sufficiency, self-admiration, self-love and a host of others like them. They dwell too deep within us and are too much a part of our natures to come to our attention till the light of God is focused upon them.” —A.W. Tozer

“Confession isn’t a punishment for sin; it’s an isolation of sin so it can be exposed and extracted.” —Max Lucado

We must learn to tell ourselves the truth on the basis of God’s Word.” —Oswald Chambers

During the cold & flu season, here is a great reason to kiss your sweetie: Kissing helps boost your immune system.

Unbiblical Church Growth

Jim CymbalaThis message from Jim Cymbala is a hard word, but right on target.

The apostles never tried to finesse people when they were presenting the gospel. Their communication was not supposed to be “cool” or soothing. They aimed for a piercing of the heart, for conviction of sin. They had not the faintest intention of asking, “What do people want to hear? How can we draw more people to church on Sunday?” That was the last thing on their minds. Such an approach would have been foreign to them.

Instead of trying to bring men and women to Christ in the biblical way, we are consumed with the unbiblical concept of “church growth.” The Bible does not say we should aim at numbers but rather urges us to proclaim God’s message in the boldness of the Holy Spirit. This will build God’s church God’s way.

Unfortunately, some churches now continually monitor how pleased people are with the services and ask what else they would like. We have no permission whatsoever to adjust the message of the gospel! Whether it seems popular or not, whether it is “hip” to the times, we must faithfully and boldly proclaim that sin is real but Jesus forgives those who confess.

Nowhere does God ask anyone to have a large church. He only calls us to do His work, proclaiming His Word to people He loves under the anointing and power of the Holy Spirit to produce results that only He can bring about. The glory then goes to Him alone—not any denomination, local church, local pastor, or church growth consultant. This is God’s only plan, and anything else is a deviation from the teaching of the New Testament.

Today we have an anti-authority spirit in America that says, “Nobody can tell me I need to change. Don’t you dare.”

Both in the pulpit and in pastoral counseling we have too often given in to this mentality and are afraid to speak the truth about sin. We keep appealing to Paul’s line about becoming “all things to all men” (1 Corinthians 9:22), not noticing that in the very next paragraph he says, “Run in such a way as to get the prize” (verse 24). Adapting our style to get a hearing is one thing, but the message can never change without leaving us empty-handed before the Lord.

UPDATE: This challenging word from Pastor Cymbala is one of the thoughts that helped form my thinking about what is considered “successful” in God’s eyes. I share these thoughts in my book Shepherd Leadership: The Metrics That Really Matter

Keeping The Ten Commandments (book review)

Keeping The Ten CommandmentsI am just completing a series of messages at my church on the Ten Commandments. This was no small undertaking, and one that I undertook with great reverence. I knew I needed some scholarly resources to guide my study time, and there is none who fits the bill better than J.I. Packer and his work Keeping The Ten Commandments.

Packer is indeed a most-learned man, but he has a God-given gift to discuss doctrine and theology on a level that is accessible to even someone like me! He doesn’t water-down the biblical doctrines contained in the Ten Commandments, but he presents God’s intent in them in a way that the reader can immediately grasp and then put into action.

Before looking at each of the commandments individually, Packer opens the book with a couple of chapters giving us a bird’s-eye view of how the Ten Commandments fit in with the balance of Scripture. Then he walks us through the commandments one-by-one, and concludes with a couple of chapters that help us live out the commandments today. Each chapter includes a “for further study” list of questions and Bible verses, which I highly recommend.

For getting to know the Ten Commandments better, Keeping The Ten Commandments should definitely be on your reading list.

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