Motivations to Believe the Gospel

Motivations to Believe the Gospel

I was reading today in Timothy Keller’s excellent book Center Church-- Doing Balanced, Gospel-Centered Ministry in Your City and I was greatly helped by this section. There is a tendency in evangelism to want a cookie cutter one-size-fits-all formula for sharing the gospel. Keller simplifies an article that he read by theologian and scholar D. A. Carson.  I have included it here. “Carson argues that the biblical authors use a range of motivations what appealing to their readers to believe and obey the truth. They do not seek to persuade in just one way.”

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Hymn Friday: O Great God

Hymn Friday: O Great God

Why do I love hymns?  The best hymns whether they are ancient or modern are a coming together of theological truth and artistic beauty.  They also are meant for congregational singing.  I want to leave church with the truths that I just proclaimed in song to still be ringing in my heart and spilling over my lips throughout the week.  That is sometimes hard to do with some modern praise songs that are more performance driven.  The hymns also connect me to our rich Christian heritage and help to fight what C. S. Lewis called "chronological snobbery" (believing that whatever is newest is best).  "A Mighty Fortress" was written in 1527 by Martin Luther.  The Church has been singing this hymn for almost 500 years and unless Christ returns will sing it for 500 more at least!  

One of the most exciting developments in recent years is the movement of not only reviving these classic hymns but of Christian artist writing new ones.

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Extraordinary Prayer

Extraordinary Prayer

The elders of Redeemed South Bay have been reading Tim Keller’s book Center Church.  In his chapter entitled The Work of Gospel Renewal I was both convicted and encouraged by a section on the role of prayer in gospel renewal.  I was convicted by my own lack of intense prayer for gospel renewal in our city but encouraged that the work of renewal is ultimately the work of God.  I must be faithful to go before the throne begging for renewal for my own heart, the heart of my family, the heart of our church, and  the heart of the city.

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"The Calvinist" A Poem by John Piper

"The Calvinist" A Poem by John Piper

I grew up in a Christian tradition that emphasized duty. While I know that duty is good, sometimes if overemphasized it can suck the joy out of our Christianity. About 20 years ago I came across a book that had a profound impact on my life. The book was Desiring God and its author was John Piper. Desiring God changed the way that I saw my Christianity. Piper freed me to pursue my deepest joy. And that joy is Jesus Christ. Over the years John Piper has continued to inspire me, to instruct me, and help me to continue to pursue my deepest satisfaction in Christ. Piper shows us in the writing of “The Calvinist” that profound theology and beauty exist together.  We can think the deep thoughts of God in artistic and refreshing ways. I hope you enjoy John Piper’s poem and video as much as I have.

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The Goal of All Theology

The Goal of All Theology

Why theology? Josh Blount of Sovereign Grace ministries gives a great answer.

Some of us are born theology nerds. There’s probably a gene for it. Here’s an easy test to figure out whether you are one or not. Can you answer yes to any of the following questions?

  1. Did you consider naming your child Herman, Geerhardus, or Ulrich?
  2. Do the titles to your bathroom reading material contain the words “Systematic,” “Dogmatics,” or “Institutes”?
  3. Have you ever been surprised to hear it’s almost March Madness (or Super Bowl Sunday, the World Series, New Year’s Eve, a presidential election, etc.)…but you have never yet missed a Reformation Sunday?
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In But Not Of

In But Not Of

How do I live in the city and not be overwhelmed by it?  How do I live in the city and not be consumed by it?  Is it possible to truly be in but not of? 

In our small groups at Redeemed South Bay we are going through Tim Keller’s book and video series “Gospel in Life.”   I have found this series to be both challenging and encouraging.  As a Christian in the city there are many things that may go against my value system.  How do I deal with these issues? Do I withdraw into my own Christian ghetto or continue to engage the culture of the city?

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The Bridgegroom

The Bridgegroom

Over the years, as a pastor, it has been my privilege to preach and officiate at a number of weddings.  It is no accident or coincidence that the Word of God refers to the Church as the bride of Christ.  It is not as if the Father looked around on earth searching for an analogy for the relationship of his Son to the elect and said, "Aha! Marriage that's a close approximation."  No, God has purpose and intention for all his creation.  He didn't model the church after marriage.  He modeled marriage after the relationship of His Son and the Church.  The latter is the substance and the former is the shadow. 

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Big Questions for Little Children

Big Questions for Little Children

Is there anything more important than passing on our faith to the next generation?  As Christian parents it is not enough for our faith to only last one generation.  We desire to see our children and our children's children walking with the Lord.  At Redeemed our vision statement says, "We are a community of disciple making disciples who exist to proclaim the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit for the salvation of every man, woman, boy, and girl in the South Bay and to the ends of the earth."  And many of those boys and girls that our statement identifies are our own sons and daughters. To this end we take our children's Bible time seriously.

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Seven Certainties from the Gospel According to Luke

Seven Certainties from the Gospel According to Luke

1. Certainty For Our Faith.

In the beginning of his Gospel Luke identifies the reason for his writing.  He tells his friend Theophilus that he writes, “That you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught.” (Luke 1:4)  Most of us struggle at times with doubt and uncertainty regarding our faith.  Immersing ourselves again in the Gospels refreshes our faith as we walk with Jesus and witness again his life, teachings and miracles.

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