Fighting Sin With Worship, by Tim Keller

Originally part of a sermon, and recently posted at the Desiring God blog.

If you are a Christian and you are dealing with enslaving habits, it’s not enough to say, “Bad Christian, stop it.” And it is not enough to beat yourself up or merely try harder and harder and harder.

The real reason that you’re having a problem with an enslaving habit is because you are nottasting God. I’m not talking about believing God or even obeying God, I’m saying tasting —tasting God.

The secret to freedom from enslaving patterns of sin is worship. You need worship. You need great worship. You need weeping worship. You need glorious worship. You need to sense God’s greatness and to be moved it — moved to tears and moved to laughter — moved by who God is and what he has done for you. And this needs to be happening all the time.

Go here for the whole, really, really, really good excerpt on the enslaving nature of sin and the power of worship to set us free.

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Addressing Theology With Children

The following idea has been adapted and adopted from the article at WORLD by Russ Pulliam.  The idea is simply to give you a list of fictional writings designed to engage children and their imaginations with theological and ecclesial-historical truths.  Here are some (and if you want to add some others, feel free):

1. Irenaeus of Lyons, by Sinclair Ferguson
2. Polycarp of Smyrna, by Sinclair Ferguson
3. Ignatius of Antioch, by Sinclair Ferguson
4. Big Book of Bible Truths 1, by Sinclair Ferguson
5. Big Book of Questions and Answers About Jesus, by Sinclair Ferguson

6. The Lightlings, by R. C. Sproul
7. The Barber Who Wanted to Pray, by R. C. Sproul (teaching on Martin Luther)
8. The Donkey Who Carried a King, by R. C. Sproul (gives the gospel through the donkey’s perspective, teaching humility from carrying Christ into Jerusalem)
9. The Priest With Dirty Clothes, by R. C. Sproul (illustrates the imputation of Christ’s righteousness)
10. The Prince’s Poison Cup, by R. C. Sproul (explaining Christ’s suffering for us)
11. The King Without a Shadow, by R. C. Sproul (explaining holiness)

12. Children’s Stories, by J. C. Ryle
13. Thoughts for Young Men, by J. C. Ryle
14. Boys and Girls Playing and Other Addresses to Young Children, by J. C. Ryle
15. The Duties of Parents, by J. C. Ryle (ok, this is for parents, but undoubtedly involves children!)

6 Traits of a Pastor in Awe of God, by Paul Tripp

Humility, tenderness, passion, confidence, discipline, and rest.

Go here for his explanations of each.

On the Nature of Divine Election

Patrick Schreiner has a put together a good synopsis of the arguments put forward by Brian Abasciano (corporate emphasis/conditional election) and Tom Schreiner (individual emphasis/unconditional election) here.

He includes the two opposing articles (Abasciano’s article is a response to Schreiner’s work some ten years before, and Schreiner’s article is a response to Abasciano’s response).  I want to highly suggest you reading them both.  They will stretch your mind, and that is good.  And depending upon what side of the debate you are on at present, I would encourage you to a cool frame and tempered, teachable disposition in reading the article that exegetes and argues contrary to your position.  As Piper has said, “it is more important to learn what they are saying than to hear what you want to hear” (paraphrase).

I will tell you, also, that after reading them both, I still land somewhat predictably and unhesitatingly with Schreiner’s position.  I won’t bother you with my own thoughts beyond that.  Just read the articles and we can talk later.  And, p.s., I don’t think this is a peripheral issue!

The Motivation Behind Everything We Do And Say, by Paul Tripp

This means every sermon should be prepared by a person whose study is marked by awe of God. The sermon must be delivered in awe and have as its purpose to motivate awe in those who hear. Children’s ministry must have as its goal to ignite in young children a life-shaping awe of God. The youth ministry of the church must move beyond Bible entertainment and do all it can to help teens see God’s glory and name it as the thing for which they will live. Women’s ministry must do more than give women a place to fellowship with one another and do crafts. Women need to be rescued from themselves and myriad self-interests that nip at their hearts; awe of God provides that rescue. Men’s ministries need to recognize the coldness in the heart of so many men to the things of God and confront and stimulate men with their identity as those created to live and lead out of a humble zeal for God’s glory, rather than their own. Missions and evangelism, too, must be awe-driven.

Go here for the whole post.

10 Resolutions for Mental Health, by Clyde Kilby, posted by John Piper

On October 22, 1976, Clyde Kilby, who is now with Christ in Heaven, gave an unforgettable lecture. I went to hear him that night because I loved him. He had been one of my professors in English Literature at Wheaton College. He opened my eyes to more of life than I knew could be seen. O, what eyes he had! He was like his hero, C. S. Lewis, in this regard. When he spoke of the tree he saw on the way to class this morning, you wondered why you had been so blind all your life. Since those days in classes with Clyde Kilby,Psalm 19:1 has been central to my life: “The sky is telling the glory of God.”

That night Dr. Kilby had a pastoral heart and a poet’s eye. He pled with us to stop seeking mental health in the mirror of self-analysis, but instead to drink in the remedies of God in nature. He was not naïve. He knew of sin. He knew of the necessity of redemption in Christ. But he would have said that Christ purchased new eyes for us as well as new hearts. His plea was that we stop being unamazed by the strange glory of ordinary things. He ended that lecture in 1976 with a list of resolutions. As a tribute to my teacher and a blessing to your soul, I offer them for your joy.

Go here for Kilby’s 10 resolutions for mental health.

Joy’s Eternal Increase: Edwards on the Beauty of Heaven, by Sam Storms

This message was given at the 2003 Desiring God National Conference.  I listened to it again today, and it is still one of the most encouraging, heart-warming, affection-raising messages I’ve heard.  I think the truths expressed in it, although mind-stretching and, though very high, still admittedly low in comparison to the reality of heaven, are transformative if grasped and taken to heart.  Indeed, I think this message of heaven is fundamental to the Christian life.  It is the great goal for which we have been saved, seeing God (cf. Psa 42.2).

Go here to listen.