Friday, October 21, 2016

Book Review: Designed To Lead by Eric Geiger and Kevin Peck

When it comes to leadership, the church seems to fall flat on it. I am not speaking of leaders who fall morally, although that is an important topic and reason why leadership seems to fail in the church. What I speak of is the lack of understanding of leadership in the church. Most churches think the pastor is the only leader of the church while there are other who think those who hold a church are the only ones who are leaders.

Some churches have handled the area of leadership very well by recognizing the potential leadership within its congregation. Eric Geiger and Kevin Peck believe that the church should be passionate about building up leaders and have a culture of leadership within the local church. They discuss this and other topics in their book, Designed To Lead.

Geiger and Peck believe that the church has been "uniquely set apart to develop and deploy leaders for the glory of God and the advancement of the gospel." Notice they said not for the benefit of the church they are part of, although that is another very important factor in leadership. They know leaders are there for the edification of the body, but they are also there to spread the gospel.

Geiger and Peck write that things are missing in developing leaders in the church is a way to mold leaders as the conviction to develop leaders and a culture of leadership. They go to say that leaders are those who know they have been redeemed by God through the finished work of Christ and eager to serve the church because Christ loved them first. They go on to write that a church needs to have a culture of leadership in the church. Leaders are also instrumental in creating a transforming culture within the church. They used the analogy of a doctor caring for the patient when it comes to help a church become all that God has called them to be. Leaders must use care when it comes to bring people God's Word to them to be equipped for good works.

There are not many leadership books that have grabbed my attention as much as Designed To Lead. Geiger and Peck has done a wonderful job in communicating the importance of leadership within the local church. I highly recommend this book to all church leaders and those who feel God is calling them to the ministry.

Thanks B&H Publishing for letting me review this book.

Around The Web-October 21, 2016

Sinclair Ferguson's new book is available at WTS Books

5 Things the Seeker Movement Got Right by Jared C Wilson

The Gift of God's Judgment by Joe Rigney

The Joy of Seeing Christ in the Old Testament by Ian Conrey

Ten Annoying Things Pastors Need To Stop Doing by Mark Dance

Should Christians Feel Guilty All the Time? by Kevin DeYoung

When Sin Keeps You From Prayer by Erik Raymond

Derek Rishmawy on why it is harder for younger generations to commit to the local church:

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Alistair Begg on Self-Control

Our series on the Fruit of the Spirit was recently concluded with addressing the last fruit, self-control. This video features Alistair Begg devoting a whole sermon on self-control.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Should a Church Allow Christian Celebrities to Speak?

Every once in a while a church will bring in a guest preacher to fill in for the pastor or have a special service in celebration of some holiday. In most churches, this is not uncommon. In some churches, they will even invite a famous Christian. By famous I mean an actor, an athlete, or a politician.

Recently, one church in our city invited an Olympic athlete that won gold medals in the recent Olympic games in Brazil. The church advertised from the past couple of months since the games ended. I did not take part of the service (I was at my church), but I did watch the video. The pastor introduced the athlete and proceeded to do an interview style "message" for the service. What I did not mention is this happened on a Sunday morning. Yes, instead of the pastor preaching the word of God to equip the saints, he interview the athlete about her accomplishments and faith. This went for over 20 minutes before the pastor gave an opportunity for people to respond to an invitation, which is another topic for another post.

You might be saying, what is wrong with what that church did or we need to hear celebrities that are believers to share their story with the people of God. So I am going to answer the question, should a church allow a Christian celebrity to speak in their service? The answer is yes and no. I think there is a right way and a wrong way for a church to have an athlete or any other celebrity come and give their testimony to the congregation. How should a church conduct itself when they have a Christian celebrity speak to their congregation?

First, if a church wants to have a Christian celebrity give their testimony, it needs to be during another time instead of Sunday morning. Yes, Sunday morning is where a majority of the congregation attends, but the purpose of a Sunday morning is for the worship of God and the preaching of His word. If a church wants to have a Christian celebrity come for a special Saturday service, that would be fine or even Sunday night. The church I attended did that a few times where an athlete came and gave his testimony on Sunday evening. Sunday morning is where the largest crowd will be, which is an opportunity for the gospel to be preached. Not to mention, it might be tempting for Christians in other church to not attend their church's worship service for the sake of hearing and seeing a famous person.

Second, the pastor needs to step aside. People are coming to hear the celebrities story of faith not the pastor. If you want to have an opportunity for him/her to answer questions, get them from the congregation. Let the celebrity share how he/she met Jesus and what God has done in their life. In this case with an athlete, let him/her have a little freedom to share what God has done instead of being interviewed. They get interviewed enough from ESPN and any other sports network.

Finally, make much of Jesus, not the celebrity. During the introduction to the athlete, the pastor of the church I mentioned said she was at their church because she is an Olympic champion. He went on and on about her accomplishments without saying she is a dedicated follower of Jesus. Yes, her faith was mentioned in various times, but she was more spoken of than Jesus. This sets up idolatry where we see how great this athlete is rather than God.

Our culture loves celebrities. We love to gossip about them, whether we speak or read about them. There is nothing wrong for a church to invite a Christian celebrity to come, but I think there are ways that can be done to honor God without compromising what the church's mission is suppose to be.

Podcast Wednesday: Prayer, Sports, Bible Reading, and more

Kevin DeYoung and Greg Gilbert on the mission of the church

Doctrine and Devotion on prayer

Dsvid Prince talks with Equipping You In Grace about The Promise of Sports for Christian Discipleship

Reading The Bible For Transformation- Not Just Information with These Go To 11 and Rondi Lauterbach

John Piper on why did Jesus delay so long before entering human history

Gotham Central on Marvel and DC shows and other various topics

How to suggest expositional preaching to your pastor from To Be The Church

The Happy Rant presents A Political Extravaganza

Monday, October 17, 2016

The Fruit of the Spirit is...Self-Control

Of every fruit that has been addressed in this series, self-control seems to be one that is not address very much. We like to talk about love, joy, peace, etc. But self-control seems to put aside.

When I think of self-control, I tend to think about going to a buffet. Chinese and Pizza buffets are my weaknesses. I am sure I am not alone in this. You have many choices but you don't to over do it because, if you do, you commit gluttony which the book of Proverbs condemns in many verse (of which I have confessed and repented several times).

Another thing to think about self-control is in regard to our sexual urges. Like it or not, we still live in the flesh, and our flesh is at war with the Spirit as Galatians 5:17 says. Paul wrote to the Thessalonian church:

For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God (1 Thessalonians 4:3-5).

Notice, I have written about two common sins that are mentioned with self-control: gluttony and sexual immorality. Self-control does not pertain just to those two. It pertains to all the Christian life. Lets talk about anger. Do you lose your cool when the kids don't behave the way you want to? Did you mouth off the person who cut you off on the freeway? The Bible says, "Be anger yet do not sin" (Ephesians 4:26). Self-control is not just to keep us in sexually and keeping off the pounds, but it also keeps us in check with our conduct.

How does one exercise self-control? In the verses before Paul mentions the fruit of the Spirit, he wrote, "But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh" (Galatians 5:16). We must hold on to the Spirit as we walk with Jesus who is the True Vine (John 15).

Why is self-control important? The Bible says, "A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls" (Proverbs 25:28). The wall of a city was its first line of defense. When a wall is taken down, the city becomes vulnerable as was the case of Jericho in the book of Joshua. Jerry Bridges wrote, "Self-control is the believer's wall of defense against the sinful desires that wage war against his soul...Self-control is necessary because we are at war with our own sinful desires."

Without self-control, we would be defenseless against the war that is within us. Our flesh wants us to go against the Spirit. The Spirit wants, by God's grace, "to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ" (Titus 2:12-13).

As we wrap up our series on the fruit of the Spirit, we must remember there cannot be accomplished without being connected Christ. He is the True Vine and the Spirit works in us to produce Christ-like character in every true believer. We know from Scripture what the works of the flesh are which is contrary to the fruit of the Spirit. Christians, stay connected to the Vine and walk in the Spirit so that we may overcome the battle that is within us day after day until we depart this earth or when Jesus returns.

Music Monday: Your Mercy by Paul Baloche

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Gospel & Politics Forum

One thing this political season has brought out a lot of nastiness in the church. Some people will hash out against one another because of their political view. I know when the video of what Trump said in regards to women came out, I was posting articles that rebuked Trump and call from him to step aside, I was accused of being for Hillary Clinton. I know many Christians have come out against Clinton, and been accused of being a fanboy of Donald Trump, even though they don't support him.

Can Christians talk about politics without causing division? Can a church be unified when they are different political parties represented? Should Christians vote in this election?

J.D. Greear recently hosted a Gospel & Politics Forum where it discussed about being unified in the name of Jesus while being involved in politics.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

The Fruit of the Spirit is...Gentleness...

What does it mean to be gentle? We know it is the opposite of aggressive. Gentleness could be the same as kindness. Some translations has translated the Greek word to "Meekness." I have known men who have told me that you are meek, you were considered a sissy.

Is that what gentleness or meekness means? R.C. Sproul wrote:

Gentleness—meekness—is not to be confused with weakness. Moses was a meek man. That is, he had the quality of humility. He knew who he was. He was bold without being arrogant. It is the meek who are promised the world. Christ promises they will inherit the earth. Meekness is the flip side of gentleness. They go together, wed by a spirit of humility.

God gives grace to the humble. It is a grace that breeds even more grace.

That is one way we can look at gentleness. Another way we can look at it is giving aid to someone. Jerry Bridges wrote, "Gentleness is stooping down to help someone. God continually stoops down to help us, and He wants us to do the same: to be sensitive to the rights and feelings of others." Think of Jesus when he said:

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light (Matthew 11:28-30).

Jesus is gentle with us that He knows our deeds fall short. We fall short all the time and think He will abandon us, but that is not the case. He will continue to receive us. As a study note in the Gospel Transformation Bible says, "He is ready to help all those who are themselves humble enough to admit their need of his mercy and grace. Indeed, he delights to do so."

The work of the Spirit produces gentleness that we are able to help those in need and to be humble before God knowing He has redeemed us.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Around The Web-October 14, 2016

Danger Signs of an Unhealthy Dating Relationship by Tim Challies

Why Didn't The Reformers Unite by Sean Michael Lucas

Is There Such a Thing as Church Authority? by Greg Gilbert

A Gospeled Church by Jared C Wilson

Make The Most of Sunday Morning by P.J. Tibayan

Mike Boling reviews A Biblical-Theological Introduction to the Old and New Testament

Resources for Standing Firm in a Faithless Age which features Tim Keller's latest book

Ligonier is now offering a study by Mark Dever and Jonathan Leeman called, Marks of a Healthy Church

3 Ways Marriage Proclaims The Gospel by Josh Buice

Can grace and law coexist? Bryan Chappell answers that question.

Finally, the new trailer to Rogue One has been released which shows a very familiar villain

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Book Review: NKJV Word Study Bible

Studying the Bible is hard work. Studying the Bible with the help of its original language can be a little harder. Thankfully, the body of Christ has been given tools to use to help in studying the Bible.

Thomas Nelson has produced a study Bible that is perfect for studying the Bible in its original language called, the NKJV Word Study Bible. This study Bible does not contain notes at the bottom of the pages as most study Bibles do. What it does contain is help with words in our English language and what is the meaning and translation in the original Hebrew & Aramaic for the Old Testament and Greek for the New Testament.

This study Bible also points out other passage that the word is used in the original language to help the reader connect the Bible all together as one book rather than separate writings. In the back of the study Bible, there are references to the Hebrew and Greek as if you had an exhaustive concordance, in this case, Strong's Concordance. There is also an English word index and as well as a passage index.

This is a good resource to have in studying the Bible with its original languages. I have already been using this study Bible myself and have found it very helpful.

Thanks Booklook Bloggers for letting me review this book.

Book Review: The Dynamic Heart in Daily Life by Jeremy Pierre

The Dynamic Heart in Daily Life is a book written about how to understand the human experience. Jeremy Pierre's goal is to give his readers an insight inot how faith in Christ can restore the human heart and how people can join in the process. Pierre has years of experience in the counseling ministry and has written what he has observed in the pages of this book.

Pierre begins by writing on the beauty of the human experience. The human heart is a vast mystery and we are not talking about the physical heart, but the heart that represents the person's most inward being. He writes how the heart is corrupted due to the fall and how it can be redeemed through the redemptive work of Christ.

Next we see how the heart responds to circumstances in life. How the heart responds to God, worship, trials, and influences that can sway us. Finally, Pierre takes us into a more in-depth look at the theology of the human heart and how to counsel someone in the process.

This book is good for pastors who want to understand more of how to help people in their daily walk with Jesus as well in times of trouble. This would also be a good book for every member to read with others to understand the theology of the human experience.

Thanks New Growth Press for letting me review this book.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Book Review: The New Believer's Guide To The Christian Life by Alex Early

You have been contemplating about becoming a Christian after hearing a gospel presentation from a friend, loved one, or a pastor. Then, after the Spirit works in you, you have decided to follow Jesus. The church rejoices in your decision to follow Christ as He draws you to the Father. Now comes the most important part, what is next.

There are a few resources out there for new Christians to begin their journey in following Jesus. Some are good, others not so good. Some are centered on the gospel while others tend to be performance based. Alex Early has written a book geared toward new Christians starting in the faith called, The New Believer's Guide To The Christian Life.

In this book, Early has a new Christian in mind as he or she is reading this book. He does not sugar coat things when it comes to walking with Jesus. One thing he shared is that Christianity is not easy. It is a hard life where you have moments of joy and sorrow at the same time. You normally don't hear some pastors telling new believers this life is hard, they usually let them figure it on their own.

Early goes on to write about what it means to follow Jesus because of our identity as a child of God. We don't serve to get, we serve because we already have been given mercy and grace through Christ. Next, we see a couple of chapters on our fellowship with God and being real with God. We tell God our feelings and desire to have fellowship with Him through prayer and the Word.

Early continues on in the importance of obedience in the Christian life. This is another aspect of the book that I really appreciate because some Christians are left in the dark when it comes to obedience. Early addresses the importance of baptism and what it means for the believer.

The last things Early addresses is life in the church. This is really important for new believers to understand the importance of church membership and continuing fellowship within the body of Christ. Finally, I was little surprised by this, Early writes about what we should do with our money. When it comes to money, many Christians tend to shut down because of abusive teaching over this matter. Early takes a Biblical, gospel-centered approach as to how Christians should engage and use their money.

I am delighted to recommend this book for churches to give to new believers. I hope that a maturing believer will read along with a new believer so they may answer questions regarding topics addressed in this book.

Thanks Bethany House for letting me review this book.

Podcast Wednesday: Feminism, The Reformation, Dr. Strange, and more

Dave Jenkins responds to challenges to the Bible

The Reformed Pubcast and Summer White discuss feminism

Doctrine and Devotion on The Reformation

Ian Hamilton on what it means to be a reformed pastor

Popcorn Theology on the final "Lord of the Rings" movie, The Return of the King

Pop Culture Ninja discuss Comic Books and Dr. Strange

The Sheologian podcast discuss Proverbs 28:26 and its importance in a Christian worldview

Thabiti Anyabwile on Single-Issue Voting & the 2016 Presidential Election with The Village Church