Trading Fear for Fear
Christina Fox offers some clear thoughts about the concept of fearing God.
The Bible is More than Stories of Morality
This post addresses the question, “Is it possible to teach Bible stories without teaching the Bible story?” (One thing I really appreciate about our Children’s Ministry leadership is their desire to teach our kids the whole story of Scripture.)
Why the Church Needs Intergenerational Friendships
This is an insightful post on the benefit of relationships in the church that span age groups.
Faithful with Fifteen Minutes
This post gives some good perspective on the significance of regular Bible reading, even if it’s just for a short time each day.
5 Reasons We Eat Together as a Family
Tim Challies discusses some of the benefits of families having regular mealtime together.
Written by: Josh Mathews
Knowing God deeply in his word
Praying fervently for God’s purposes in the world
Making God known by spreading the gospel locally and globally
Fostering unity and building up the body through genuine community
Expressing a growing love for Jesus in a life of worship
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
This charge to the disciples extends to the Church around the world, and to us at Gresham Bible Church in particular. We are commissioned with the task of multiplying God’s kingdom and making disciples of Jesus. At GBC there are many ways we try to implement this value. Here are a few of them.
Local Outreach—Serving Dexter McCarty and its students, teachers, and administrators; Engaging in various work projects in the community; Supporting the YoungLives ministry.
Global Outreach—Supporting missionaries in Slovenia, Basque country, and Mexico.
Church Planting—Membership in the Waterhouse church planting network; Regularly supporting Hub City Church plant in Albany, Oregon.
Give to support missions and local outreach endeavors, like YoungLives.
For some of you, go overseas. This could be either a short-term trip like the Bolts, or it might mean going to another country long-term.
Be a part of Local Outreach efforts. Giving of our time to serve those in our community can provide significant opportunities to demonstrate and speak of Christ’s love.
Reach out to your own neighbors. Develop relationships with them so you can point them to Jesus.
Make God known in the workplace, by working hard at your job as unto the Lord, and by looking for opportunities to tell people about him.
New Year’s Resolutions: Aim for Godliness and God’s Glory
This post looks to the example of Jonathan Edwards and gives a few thoughts on New Year’s resolutions.
Resolved: To Read the Bible
Here are some helpful points about regular Bible reading. Notice the links near the bottom of the page.
The Weakling’s Secret to Being Filled with Confidence for the New Year
Mark Altrogge offers some simple and profound insight on resolutions.
A Matter of Life and Death: Prayer
Derek Rishmawy reviews Tim Keller’s new book on prayer, and offers some encouragement as well.
Time Is Now for Gospel Transformation in Race Relations
On Tuesday several evangelical leaders and pastors got together to discuss race and the gospel. This post reviews these discussions and includes a link to the video.
Written by: Dan Stump
This is a book review of The Hole in Our Holiness: Filling the Gap between Gospel Passion and the Pursuit of Godliness, by Kevin DeYoung
The Role of Singing in the Life of the Church
In this post the author discusses three principal reasons for singing in church.
The Santa Question
This post gives two things for Christian parents to think through when it comes to Santa.
When God Doesn’t Zap away our Sin
This short piece talks about God’s grace in our struggle against sin.
10 Plumblines for Local Outreach (part 4, with links to parts 1–3)
These are the guidelines used by the Summit Church in North Carolina for their local outreach ministry. It’s a larger church than GBC so the principles apply differently, but generally they are quite helpful to consider.
Written by: Josh Mathews
Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me (John 15:4).
That age of the church which was most fertile in subtle questions was most barren in religion; for it makes people think religion to be only a matter of cleverness, in tying and untying of knots. The brains of men inclining that way are hotter usually than their hearts.
We must recognize the danger of entrapment in “subtle questions,” whether they’re the subtle questions of theology or of sociology. Those dangers include—to paraphrase Sibbes—hot heads and cold hearts. A quick visit to most twitter feeds and Facebook pages will supply ample evidence that this heating of the crown and cooling of the chest is well underway among many Christians.
We have it on the greatest Authority that, “Whoever abides in [Christ] and [Christ] in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). Apart from Christ we can do nothing. We become unfruitful in spiritual knowledge and barren in our activism. Nothing could be more vital in Ferguson-like times than we sing and pray, “Jesus keep me near the cross.” To put it another way: We must first apply the gospel to our own lives by immersing ourselves in the truth of God’s word, warming ourselves with the Spirit’s fervency in prayer and keeping ourselves in the love of God. We begin here and never finish this delightful duty.
The elders have been reading Paul Tripp’s book, Dangerous Calling. This book, and the quote below, is directed towards pastors, but the truth applies to all Christians.
The problem was the pastor’s lack of a living, humble, needy, celebratory, worshipful, meditative communion with Christ. It was as if Jesus had left the building. There were all kinds of ministry knowledge and skill, but those seemed divorced from a living communion with a living and ever-present Christ.”
The pastor must be enthralled by, in awe of—can I say it: in love with—his Redeemer so that everything he thinks, desires, chooses, decides, says, and does is propelled by love for Christ and the security of rest in the love of Christ. He must be regularly exposed, humbled, assured, and given rest by the grace of his Redeemer. His heart needs to be tenderized day after day by his communion with Christ so that he becomes a tender, loving, patient, forgiving, encouraging, and giving servant leader. His meditation on Christ—his presence, his promises, and his provisions—must not be overwhelmed by his meditation on how to make his ministry [or marriage, job, family, etc.] work.”
You can’t give away or lead in an area that you don’t have yourself. So make sure to spend time daily nourishing your spirit with the Lord, reflecting on his gifts to us and the awe inspiring story of his birth.
Written by: Josh Mathews
O come, Desire of nations, bind
All peoples in one heart and mind
Bid envy strife and quarrels cease
Fill the whole world with heaven’s peace
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Written by: Dan Stump
In part 1 of this series I shared how I went from having no understanding of Calvinism, to not believing it and not liking it, to believing it was true but still not liking it, to finally loving these doctrines. Many call Calvinism the Doctrines of Grace. I imagine John Calvin himself wouldn’t love the idea of having a theology named after him. For me, it isn’t about following a man, but digging into God’s word to see what it says.
I don’t really care what you call it. I just want it to be true.
One thing you will find when researching Calvinism is the acronym TULIP. It isn’t the most helpful and can lead to some unhelpful assumptions, but since it is so well known, I plan to use it as a frame of reference when discussing this theology. Here is what it stands for:
Total depravity is a good place to start. What is the condition of humanity after the Fall? Are we able to choose to follow God? Total depravity is also referred to as total inability, which I think presents a more accurate picture.
Paul lays out our rebellion in
Romans 3:9–18. “I have already charged that all men, both Jews and Greeks, are under the power of sin, as it is written: None is righteous, no not one; no one seeks for God….There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
Later in Romans 8:7–8 Paul says, “For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, indeed it cannot; those who are in the flesh cannot please God.”
Finally, in Ephesians 2:1, we are told that we are dead in our sins. Until God makes us alive, by His mercy and love, we will remain spiritually dead.
A small sample of some more passages would include: Mark 7:21–23; Jeremiah 17:9; Titus 1:15–16; Psalm 51:5; Colossians 1:21; 1 Corinthians 2:14; Isaiah 53:6.
We are hopeless, “But God”We are spiritually dead, “But God”We are deserving of His wrath, “But God”
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved (Ephesians 2:4–5).
In three parts, Gerry Breshears identifies several lessons to be learned from the sad situation at Mars Hill Church in Seattle.
Here are some eye-opening and thought-provoking remarks on prayer and social-media.
Continuing the theme of our technological age, Betsy Childs thinks about Titus 2 and the overabundance of advice in today’s world.
Choose Hospitality over Entertaining
In this post, Jen Wilkin compares and contrasts entertaining with hospitality. “Entertaining seeks to impress. Hospitality seeks to bless.”
Earlier this week a worldwide group of religious leaders gathered at the Vatican in Rome to discuss the topic of marriage and family. Russell Moore, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission addressed the group, offering an evangelical perspective on gender and marriage. At the bottom of the page is a link to the transcript of Moore’s whole speech.
Written by: Thomas Slawson
It is valuable for the one who is suffering.
Satan’s and God’s designs in our cancer are not the same. Satan designs to destroy our love for Christ. God designs to deepen our love for Christ. Cancer does not win if we die. It wins if we fail to cherish Christ. God’s design is to wean us off the breast of the world and feast us on the sufficiency of Christ. It is meant to help us say and feel, “I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” (Philippians 3:8) and to know that therefore, “to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21).” John Piper, Don’t Waste Your Cancer, pg. 10.
It is valuable for those around the sufferer.
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:3–4).