Thursday, January 31, 2013

Gospel Quotes - You Cannot Scare People into Loving God

“Heaven is not a place for those who are afraid of hell; it’s a place for those who love God. You can scare people into coming to your church, you can scare people into trying to be good, you can scare people into giving money, you can even scare them into walking down an aisle and praying a certain prayer, but you cannot scare people into loving God. You just can’t do it.” -- Matt Chandler, The Explicit Gospel, pg. 49

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

A Homicide Detective Investigates the Claims of the Gospels

J. Warner Wallace, an atheist who used his homicide detective skills and knowledge to investigate the claims of the four gospel accounts shares His story of how he became a Christian.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

What Happens After I Die? (2:30)

Are you ready for death? A look at the various possibilities of what happens after you die and why it matters to find the truth.

Monday, January 28, 2013

What is Christianity? Jon Oleksiuk (2:14)

If someone asked you to explain what Christianity is what would you say? Check out this video to see the basics of Christianity explained in a little over two minutes.

Pastoring Related Posts - January 28

Here are the best pastoring related blog posts I came across this past week. If you are serving others or discipling someone you may find some good "food for thought" as well.
  1. Whose Kingdom? - Paul Tripp
  2. Zack Eswine on Significance in the Ordinary (4:27)
  3. Developing Authentic Relationships - Bruce Zachary
  4. Building Unity and Friendship Among Elders - Bob Johnson
  5. Are You Addicted to Ministry? - Rick Warren
  6. 8 Obstacles to Making Disciples  - J. R. Miller
  7. One Sanctifying Trail After Another: A Wise Leader, Part 1 - Jamie Munson
  8. Why Pastors and Elders Need Your Prayers - Kevin DeYoung
Here are some wise words by Paul Tripp that all who serve Jesus should take to heart:
I am more and more convinced that what gives a ministry its motivations, perseverance, humility, joy, tenderness, passion, and grace is the devotional life of the one doing ministry. When I daily admit how needy I am, daily meditate on the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and daily feed on the restorative wisdom of his Word, I am propelled to share with others the grace that I am daily receiving at the hands of my Savior. There simply is no set of exegetical, homiletical, or leadership skills that can compensate for the absence of this in the life of a pastor. It is my worship that enables me to lead others to worship. It is my sense of need that leads me to tenderly pastor those in need of grace. It is my joy in my identity in Christ that leads me to want to help others live in the middle of what it means to be “in Christ.” In fact, one of the things that makes a sermon compelling is that the preacher is worshiping his way through his own sermon. (Dangerous Calling, 35)

Related Links
Pastoring Related Posts - January 8

Saturday, January 26, 2013

If God is Good Why is There Evil and Suffering?

The fact of evil and suffering is probably the most used objection given for not believing in God. While for some this may indeed be a real concern it has been my experience in talking to people is that many are using this as an excuse for not believing in God because they don't want to believe in God. Others project evil onto God because then they don't want to deal with their own evil. Whether they realize it or not the reasons they do these things is because they are rebellion against their creator and their hearts are hard. 

But there are good answers to the question of evil and suffering if one's heart is open to God. Ultimately the reason, which may seem strange, is because God is love. Here are two excellent short videos that explain if God is good why there is evil and suffering

Related Links
The Problem of Evil - William Lane Craig

Friday, January 25, 2013

What Did Jesus Accomplish for Us? Part II - Slides & Notes - English & Romanian

09. What Did Jesus Accomplish for Us? Part II from William Anderson

Here are the slides I will use during our weekly outreach to the young people in Nouă area of Brașov tonight. It is the ninth teaching in a series I am doing on the gospel with them. Down below the slides you will find the notes from the teaching as well. 
The teaching each week will include the following:
  1. Review of previous weeks teachings
  2. Teaching for the current week
  3. Review of the main points

Gospel Quotes - The Two Dimensions of Gospel-Centeredness

"Being gospel-centered has two dimensions. First, it means being word-centered because the gospel is a word. The gospel is good news. It is a message. It is a message that can be summarized in simple gospel outlines or even the three-word confession, 'Jesus is Lord.' Yet is is also a message that fills the entire Bible. It is the story of salvation from creation to new creation. It is a word that has become incarnate in Jesus Christ. It is this word that brings new life to people and shapes the life of the church.

Second, being gospel-centered means being mission-centered, for the gospel is a missionary word. The gospel is good news. It is a word to be proclaimed. You cannot be committed to the gospel without being committed to proclaiming that gospel." -- Tim Chester and Steve Timmis, Total Church, pg. 32.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Monday, January 21, 2013

Gospel Quotes - Why the Gospel Doesn't Make Sense

"The gospel is unintelligible to most people today, especially in the West, because their own particular stories are remote from the story of creation, fall, redemption, and consummation that is narrated in the Bible. Our focus is introspective and narrow, confined to our own immediate knowledge, experience, and intuition. Trying to desperately to get others, including God, to make us happy, we cannot seem to catch a glimpse of the real story that gives us a meaningful role." -- Michael Horton, The Gospel-Driven Life, pg. 71.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Iran & Israel & Bible Prophecy - 100 Huntley (Parts 6-10)

Mark Hitchcock, author of the book Iran & Israel, Wars and Rumors of Wars continues sharing about  Iran and Israel in light of End Times prophecy.

Part 6

Part 7

Part 8

What Did Jesus Accomplish for Us? Part I - Slides & Notes - English & Romanian

08. What Did Jesus Accomplish for Us? Part I from William Anderson

Here are the slides I used yesterday during our weekly outreach to the young people in Nouă area of Brașov. It was the eight teaching in a series I am doing on the gospel with them. Down below the slides you will find the notes from the teaching as well. 
The teaching each week will include the following:
  1. Review of previous weeks teachings
  2. Teaching for the current week
  3. Review of the main points

Friday, January 18, 2013

New Graphic - Kingdom Quote | Paul Tripp - English & Romanian

Here are the newest graphics I made based on a quote by Paul Tripp. They are HD sized (1920 x 1080). You can download them here: English  Romanian. If you click directly on the photo Blogger will open it and you can right click and download it that way as well but they will be smaller.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Gospel Quotes - The Story the Gospels are Telling

"What I miss, right across the Western tradition, at least the way it has come through to the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, is the devastating and challenging message I find in the four gospels: God really has become king - in and through Jesus! A new state of affairs has been brought into existence. A door has been opened that nobody can shut. Jesus is now the world's rightful Lord, and all other lords are to fall at his feet. This is an eschatological message, not in the trivial sense that it heralds the 'end of the world' (whatever that might mean), but in the sense that it is about something that was suppose to happen when Israel's hopes were fulfilled and Israel's hopes were not for the demise of the space-time universe, but for the earth to be full of God's glory. It is, however, an inaugurated eschatological message, claiming that this 'something' has indeed happened in and through Jesus and does not yet look like what people might have imagined. This is the story the gospels are telling." -- N. T. Wright, When God became King, pages 37-38.

Multiply Gatherings - Francis Chan and David Platt

David Platt and Francis Chan held "Gatherings" in Birmingham, Alabama and San Francisco, California in November 2012 to encourage people to become better disciple makers. Above is the video from Birmingham Gathering and below is the link to the San Francisco Gathering. They discuss the same things in both cities so you can choose which one you would like to watch.

In addition to these videos their discipleship ministry, Multiply Movement, has released free materials to use in discipling others. Just yesterday they made available all their materials in one PDF which can be downloaded here: One Big PDF

Related LInks
Multiply Gathering San Francisco

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

What is the Gospel? Skye Jethani (43:50)

This is an excellent teaching on explaining what the gospel is and I encourage you to take the time to watch it. During this teaching Skye answers five questions:
  1. What does the word gospel actually mean?
  2. How is the gospel explained in the New Testament?
  3. How was the gospel proclaimed or preached in the New Testament?
  4. What are the implications of this?
  5. How do we respond to this gospel?
So what do you think about what Skye shared about the gospel? What are the strengths and weaknesses of his explanation of the gospel?

Related Links
How to Understand the Gospel Better
What is the Gospel? D. A. Carson
What is the Gospel? Mike Mercer
What is the Gospel? Bryan McWhite
What is the Gospel? Jonathan Pennington
What is the Gospel? Mark Stevens
What is the Gospel? Scot McKnight
What is the Gospel? Trevin Wax
The Heart of the Gospel

What is the Gospel? Darrell Bock
3-2-1: The Story of God, the World and You

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Is There a Problem with the Way We Evangelize?

Michael Metzger recently wrote a post on his blog DoggieHeadTilt titled Scracth-Off Faith which talks about the role of discovery in learning in the ancient world and how the Enlightenment distorted this. He then goes on to show how this infected the church looking at what it did to evangelism. Though Mike focuses on evangelism what he says applies to other things as well, especially teaching. So I encourage you to read what he says below then if you are interested go to his blog and read the rest of the post. Good "food for thought"!
Jesus said the kingdom of heaven is “treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid again; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field” (Mt. 13:44). This is an older sense of discovery, “of finding something that was there,” writes Iain McGilchrist. In ancient times, it was believed truth is covered and we dis-cover it. It’s similar to setting out to see one thing and stumbling upon something entirely different. It’s the combination of surprise, discovery, and joy – exactly what Augustine meant when he said the soul delights in particular in what it learns indirectly.

McGilchrist believes the Enlightenment distorted this ancient view. It instead fostered a “grandiose sense” of discovery, with truth as “something we make, rather than something we uncover.” Enlightenment experts constructed theories, principles, and concepts that were presented to inquirers as truth. The ancient sense of discovery was dulled. To assess the damage done to education, catch Sir Ken Robinson’s critique of the Enlightenment and how it crimps students’ enthusiasm for learning.

The Enlightenment infected the Western church as well. Enlightenment evangelists set out to present truth rather than assist others in discovering it. This fostered new methods of evangelism. One is the direct method – sermons, speeches, and canned presentations like The Four Spiritual Laws. Another is the erudite approach, lamented by Roger Parrott, president of Belhaven College. It relegates evangelism to the domain of gifted apologists who present “biblical worldview.” The therapeutic method presents a “safe” God. The consumerist approach presents a God dying to “meet your needs” – but allows individuals to determine those needs, turning them into consumers.

The problem with these methods is not that they don’t work. They do. But they ignore the Enlightenment paradox. Presenting truth in modern ways “simultaneously makes evangelism infinitely easier, and discipleship infinitely harder,” writes Os Guinness. In not having to dig a little and discover truth, conversion becomes infinitely easier. But discipleship becomes infinitely harder, since Christian formation is arduous, requiring discipline. The effect of the Enlightenment approach “is not that Christians have disappeared,” writes Guinness, “but that Christian faith has become so deformed.” The solution is restoring the ancient sense of discovery.
So what do you think about what Michael says? What are some of the ways we can restore the "discovery" method to evangelism? How about to other topics?

Monday, January 14, 2013

Gospel Quotes - Where Our Problems Come From

"Most of our problems in life come from a lack of proper orientation to the gospel. Pathologies in the church and sinful patterns in our individual lives ultimately stem from a failure to think through the deep implications of the gospel and to grasp and believe the gospel through and through. Put positively, the gospel transforms our hearts and our thinking and changes our approaches to absolutely everything. When the gospel is expounded and applied in its fullness in any church, that church will look unique. People will find in it an attractive, electrifying balance of moral conviction and compassion." -- Tim Keller

Pastoring Related Posts - January 14

Here are some more blog posts related to pastoring that I have come across recently. If you are serving others or discipling someone you may find some good "food for thought" as well.
  1. 16 Thing I Look For In a Preacher - Mark Driscoll
  2. The Best Way to Welcome People to Church - Steve Kryger
  3. Why Spurgeon Thought the Plain Preaching of the Gospel Was Sufficient to Grow a Church - Justin Taylor
  4. Top Leadership Coaching Videos of 2012 - Mark Driscoll
  5. My Top 12 Quotes from Tim Keller’s “Center Church” - Eric McKiddie
  6. Avoiding Mistakes in Ministry - John Johnson
  7. From the Shepherd's Nook - John Frye

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Iran & Israel & Bible Prophecy - 100 Huntley (Parts 1-5)

Mark Hitchcock, author of the book Iran & Israel, Wars and Rumors of Wars shares about how what is going on between Iran and Israel today fits into End Times prophecy.
Part 1


Part 2

Part 3

Part 4 

Part 5

How to Understand the Gospel Better

One of the things I enjoy doing is writing out my own definitions and explanations of the gospel as the process of writing makes me think and that helps me to better understand the gospel for myself. I like to write out one sentence, one paragraph, three paragraphs and a full page versions in order to express the gospel in different ways. Once I even wrote a 35 page booklet titled The Gospel in Detail - Letter and A4.

By doing this on a regular basis it also helps me to be able to explain the gospel verbally to others better. How do you understand the gospel? Can you write it out? Can you explain it to others? I encourage you, if you are a Christian, to write out your own definitions and explanations of the gospel and then go out and tell it to others. The process of doing these two things will really help you grow in your own understanding of the gospel and over time you will be better at sharing with others as well.

Here is an full page explanation of the gospel that I wrote today. Check it out and see what you think.
What is the Gospel?
The gospel is not advice for self-improvement or how to be good but rather a declaration that Jesus is King of the universe, that you are in rebellion against God and that there is nothing you can do to restore your relationship to God on your own.

What makes the gospel “good news” is that though you deserve to be cast into hell for all of eternity for your rebellion against God, Jesus has made it possible for you to be reconciled to God through His sinless life, sacrificial death on the cross and resurrection. What is even more amazing is that not only can you be reconciled to God but you can be made a part of His family and live with Him forever in the new heavens and earth for all eternity!

Realize that the purpose of the gospel is not just to get you out of hell but to reconcile and restore you to God whom you were created by and for. If you don’t want God on His terms that means you would rather be your own god and He will honor your desire as He will not force Himself upon you. But realize if you don’t want God after you die you will not only not have God but you will not have anything that He created. You will have desires but nothing to fulfill them.

What you have to do to be reconciled and restored to God is first recognize and confess that you are in rebellion against Him. That you, in your unbelief, have turned from Him to be your own god and that you seek to find happiness, fulfillment, and purpose on your own terms in created things rather than in your Creator. You are spiritually dead and the proof of this is that you continually sin by breaking God’s laws. You lie, you steal, you cheat, you manipulate, you gossip, you covet, you lust, you fornicate, you love pleasure rather than God just to name a few.

You try to convince yourself that you are a good person by comparing yourself to others but deep down in your heart you know the truth because you sense the darkness and emptiness that is there. Don’t try to make excuses in order to justify your sins but rather admit them and take responsibility for all the choices you have made in your life and the things you have done.

After you confess your rebellion and sin then you need to surrender and turn back to God in your heart and put your trust in Jesus and all that He did for you in order for you to be restored to God. When you do this Jesus takes your sin and you get His righteousness then the Holy Spirit comes inside you to empower you to live the life God wants you to.

From this point on your life is not your own since you were bought with the price of Jesus’ life. You life is now His to do whatever He pleases to do with it. But don’t be afraid, Jesus loves you! He is King of kings and Lord of lords. So follow Him, obey Him, serve Him and worship Him. If you do, you will experience life to the full as God intended. Not an easy life but a life that brings God glory and you joy and blessing both now and in the life to come.
Maybe for you this is something you never heard before. If so I would encourage you to open your heart up and consider carefully what it says. Ask God if what this says is true and to help you understand it as well.

Maybe you have considered yourself a Christian but now you realize that you are not. This happens to many people who grow up in a Christianized culture. They try be good and go to church and expect that to save them. But it doesn't! Many are going to be shock when they find themselves cast out of the presence of God. Stop playing games, especially the church game, repent, put your faith in Jesus and follow Him.

If you have any questions or thoughts I would love to hear from you. Please add them in the comments section.

Related Links
Why Do We Need Jesus? 
Definition of the Gospel - September 12, 2007
Growing Deep in the Gospel - video of teaching series I am doing on the gospel
(The following links are from workshops I've done on understanding the gospel)
Why is the Gospel Important?  Slides   Notes
What is the Gospel?  Slides  Notes
What isn't the Gospel?  Slides  Notes

What Did Jesus Do for Us? Slides & Notes - English & Romanian

Here are the slides I used yesterday during our weekly outreach to the young people in Nouă area of Brașov. It was the seventh teaching in a series I am doing on the gospel with them. Down below the slides you will find the notes from the teaching as well.
The teaching each week will include the following:
  1. Review of previous weeks teachings
  2. Teaching for the current week
  3. Review of the main points

Friday, January 11, 2013

Gospel Quotes - The Point of Being Forgiven Your Sin

"We tend to preach the Gospel as if it’s only about the forgiveness of sins. But, in fact, the whole point about having your sins forgiven is to reconnect you to God so that you can live the life He’s designed you to have. So, the gift of the Spirit is the enabler in that. And that was the missing dimension in the Hebrew Scriptures in the Old Testament and the Mosaic Covenant, is that God was working with the law, but, He wasn’t working inside the heart. So, He promised a New Covenant in Jeremiah. He says, “I’m gonna put the law in your heart, I’m gonna bring it inside of you. That’s the Gospel and that is the message of Acts 2." -- Darrell Bock 

HT -  Zach Nielsen

Thursday, January 10, 2013

New Graphics - Psalm 113:3 - English and Romanian

Here are the newest graphics I made based on Psalm 113:3. They are 1500 x 1000. You can download them here: English  Romanian. If you click directly on the photo Blogger will open it and you can right click and download it that way as well.

Related Links

What is the Gospel? Daniel Strange (9:43)

Daniel Strange suggests that Paul's speech to the Areopagus (Acts 17) is not the good news but rather the bad news. What he says gives those whom he is speaking to a context for understanding the gospel.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Pastoring Related Posts - January 8

Here are some blog posts and one video related to pastoring I have come across recently. If you are serving others or discipling someone you may find some good "food for thought" as well.
  1. Sensing Jesus - Zack Eswine (21:13)
  2. How to Start a Pastoral Training Program in Your Church - Mark Rogers
  3. 3 Signs You Are Not a Kingdom Leader - David Finch
  4. From the Shepherd’s Nook: Facing a New Year - John Frye
  5. 3 Resolutions for Preachers - David Helm
  6. Five Temptations Leaders Face - TJ Addington
  7. When the Cause Replaces the Cross - Trevin Wax

Gospel Quotes - What Exaclty is Belief?

Here is a quote from J. D. Greear's new book Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart: How to Know for Sure You are Saved which will be coming out on February 1 this year.
Here is how many Christians think of “getting saved:” You realize you’re a sinner and you need Jesus to save you. So you approach Him and ask. Of course He says, “Yes,” writes your name in the Lamb’s book of life, and gives you a “certificate” of salvation. If you begin to doubt whether or not you are really “saved,” you go back and replay the moment of your conversion.

Wrong image, I believe. Here’s the problem with it: What if you begin to ask, as I did, “Did I really feel sorry enough for my sin? Did my life change enough after I asked Him into my heart? Did I understand enough about Jesus, or my sin, or grace, when I prayed?” Uh-oh. Better ask again. Back you to go to Jesus, asking Him again to save you, and you feel better for a while. You can do this as much as you want until you meet Jesus in heaven, at which point you might finally be absolutely assured that you’re going to heaven.

That’s not how the Bible depicts salvation. Re-imagine the above example, but this time when you come to Jesus, instead of asking Him for a “certificate” of salvation, you tell Him that you believe what God’s Word says about His Lordship and His completed work at the cross. You then hop up into His arms, now depending on Him to carry you to heaven. You are leaning your weight on what He did, not on what you will do, to get you there.

If you begin to doubt whether or not you really belong to Jesus, what should you do? Do you go back in your mind to that moment when you first hopped up into His arms? You could. But perhaps it would be easier simply to think about where you are currently resting your weight. “Belief” is resting your weight on Christ’s finished work, and that is something you never stop doing. The way you know you are doing it now is not by remembering when you first started doing it, but by reflecting on the present posture of your heart. Your present posture is better proof than a past memory.

Related Links

What Exactly is Belief?

Monday, January 07, 2013

What is a Real Christian? Tim Keller

"A real Christian is a person who says, "it is an absolute miracle that God's loves me. "It's just a miracle that I am a Christian." This is actually an acid test; let me just lay it on you here at the end. There are two kinds of people that go to church: there's religious people and real Christians. And the way you can tell the difference is that a Real Christian is somebody who sees everything that comes as a gift.  In other words a real Christian sees that you are totally in debt to God, but a religious person is someone who is working hard and making an effort and trying to be good, going to Bible studies and just saying "no" everywhere, and denying themselves a lot of pleasures, and so forth, and a religious person is someone who is trying to put God in their debt. That is the difference.  A religious person is someone who is trying to save themselves through their good works. A religious person is somebody who thinks they are putting God in their debt since they have tried so hard. A Christian is somebody who sees themselves as in God's debt." -- Tim Keller

Saturday, January 05, 2013

Who is Christianity For? Tim Keller

“Christianity is… for everyone, but especially for people who admit that, where it really counts, they’re weak. It is for people who have the particular kind of strength to admit that their flaws are not superficial, their heart is deeply disordered, and that they are incapable of rectifying themselves. It is for those who can see that they need a savior, that they need Jesus Christ dying on the cross, to put them right with God.” -- Tim Keller

Related Links
What is Christianity? Matt Slick
What is Christianity? Christianity Explored  (3:12)
What is Christianity? Christianity Explored (6:09)  

What is Christianity? Max Lucado
Christless Christianity - Dr. Michael Horton (5:03)

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

What is Christianity? Max Lucado

"Christianity, in its purest form, is nothing more than seeing Jesus. Christian service, in its purest form, is nothing more than imitating Him who we see. To see His Majesty and to imitate Him, that is the sum of Christianity." -- Max Lucado

Related Links
Christless Christianity - Dr. Michael Horton (5:03)

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

What is Christianity About? Michael Bird

"According to the Gospels, Christianity is not a system of neo-platonic philosophy lodged inside a Jewish casing; Christianity is not German existentialism waiting to be set free from its religious mythology; Christianity is not a conservative or liberal political program looking for legitimation in religious tracts; rather, the Gospels show that Christianity is about following Jesus the Christ. Finally, the Gospels are reminders that the words and deeds of Jesus must be uppermost in the minds, hearts, prayers, thoughts, and devotion of the church. The Gospels urge that those who bear Christ’s name must be willing to believe in him and to follow him, through Galilee and Judea, through Gethsemane and Golgotha, through to the empty tomb and one day into the kingdom of heaven." -- Michael Bird

Related Links
Christless Christianity - Dr. Michael Horton (5:03)