Blog Day Monday

From around the blogosphere . . .

An encouraging gospel reminder on Who Cares?

Bonhoeffer on living together, pastor and local church, in grateful community.

On Confession By Works, that is, having the fruit of lips and life united in displaying Christ.

On the source of a tragedy and the surety of Scripture as the Word of God written.

Words for when our souls need “a preachin’ to.”

Unreached people group of the day: Bania of India. 27 million people, less than 2% evangelical, but recent spread in church planting.  Pray!

A wonderful post on 4 Things I’ve Learned About God Through My Being Born Blind by a missionary friend of mine.

May the Lord satisfy you all with His steadfast love this morning, that you may rejoice and be glad all your days (Ps 90.14).

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I Need to Hear This Again and Again

The sins I had most sense of were pride and wandering thoughts, whereby I mocked God.  The former of these cursed iniquities excited me to think of writing, or preaching, or converting heathen, or performing some other great work, that my name might live when I should be dead.  My soul was in anguish and ready to drop into despair, to find so much of that cursed temper.

Vance Christie, David Brainerd: A Flame for God, 133.

All Our Excellencies are Borrowed Excellencies

As no creature (in respect of external abilities) comes under more natural weakness into the world than man, naked, empty, and more shiftless and helpless than any other creature; so it is with his soul, yea, much more than so: all our excellencies are borrowed excellencies, no reason therefore to be proud of any of them, 1 Cor. 4.7. “What hast thou that thou hast not received?  Now, if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?”  What intolerable insolence and vanity would it be for a man that wears the rich and costly robe of Christ’s righteousness, in which there is not one thread of his own spinning, but all made by free grace, and not by free-will, to jet proudly up and down the world in it, as if himself had made it, and he were beholden to none for it?  O man! thine excellencies, whatever they are, are borrowed from Christ, they oblige thee to him, but he can be no more obliged to thee, who wearest them, than the sun is obliged to him that borrows its light, or the fountain to him that draws its water for his use and benefit.

John Flavel, The Method of Grace, 27, vol 2 of 6.

On Twitter

I recently joined the tweeting world.  I have heard arguments on both sides — “it’s a waste of time” and “it is helpful for this reason and seven other reasons.”  While I love the brothers on both sides, my two day experience with it has caused me to lean in the latter, more positive direction.  I’ll give two quick reasons why.  (1) Most people use it egotistically.  They use it to advance the glory of their own name with tweets like “just cut my finger nails — thought the world would want to know about it!”  So, I say, God will reign supreme over all things, Christ is redeeming all things to that end — why not advance His name and glory on the twitter feed as a show of Christ’s marvelously redemptive work.  (2) I have found myself encouraged time and again by the words of others.  How many times have you listened to a 45 minute sermon — you know it was a good sermon — but all you remember is one sentence, one heart-piercing sentence that made you stop and think and meditate and experience some helpful communion with God in His Word.  A tweet can be that one sentence.  Piper puts it like this —

The sovereign Lord of the earth and sky
Puts camels through a needle’s eye.
And if his wisdom see it mete,
He will put worlds inside a tweet.

Already I have been helped, encouraged, exhorted, challenged, and moved to pure and noble thoughts by the 140 character sentences of others.  So, these are two reasons why it is ok if you want to join the tweeting world.

For more thoughts on this go here, here, and here.

Churches Today Do Not Have This Effect

Jesus’s teaching consistently attracted the irreligious while offending the Bible-believing, religious people of his day.  However, in the main, our churches today do not have this effect.  The kind of outsiders Jesus attracted are not attracted to contemporary churches, even our most avant-garde ones.  We tend to draw conservative, buttoned-down, moralistic people.  The licentious and liberated or the broken and marginal avoid church.  That can only mean one thing.  If the preaching of our ministers and the practice of our parishioners do not have the same effect on people that Jesus had, then we must not be declaring the same message that Jesus did.  If our churches aren’t appealing to younger brothers, they must be more full of elder brothers than we’d like to think.

Timothy Keller, The Prodigal God, 15-16.

“If You Abide In My Word, You Are Truly My Disciples”

A characteristically helpful sermon by John Piper on John 8.31.

Go here.

The Importance of Being Humble in Mind

When the mind of the hearer is good and gracious, it easily assents to the speeches of truth.

Chrysostom, Hom. 26. in Mat., quoted in John Flavel, The Method of Grace, 6, vol. 2 of 6.

Flavel’s words in accord with this allusion,

I know the agreeableness of such discourses to the pious dispositions of your souls, is of itself sufficient to make it welcome to you.  It is a treatise of Christ, yea, of the Method of Grace, in the application of Christ; than which no subject can be more necessary to study, or sweet to experience.  All goodness is attractive, how powerfully attractive then must Jesus Christ be, who is the ocean of all goodness, from whom all streams of goodness are derived, and into whom they all empty themselves?  If Pindarus could say of the lovely Theoxenus, that whosoever saw that august and comely face of his, and was not surprised with amazement, and enflamed with love, must have an heart of adamant or brass; what then shall we resemble that man’s heart unto , that hath ferverous affections kindled in it by the incomparable beauty of Christ.