christ

Crosetto: What Evangelists Do

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From "Empowering Evangelists: InterVarsity's Ignite Conference," Beau Crosetto taught a seminar about turning everyday conversations into spiritual ones. He discussed five things evangelists do (using Philip in Acts 8)...

  1. They listen to the Holy Spirit and follow Him no matter the cost
  2. They are willing to be put in awkward situations for the Lord
  3. They are good listeners and find places of conversation
  4. They are bold and speak up inside that awkward moment
  5. People come to faith when they get involved.

Go read the rest of the post for more.

Tim Keller | Center Church Releases Tomorrow!

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I'm very excited to have Center Church by Dr. Timothy Keller in my library. It's nearly 400 pages and is packed full of good stuff. It's hard to describe how "packed full" it is until you see it. You can see pieces of it here...

Check out some of the praise it's receiving...

I'm not exaggerating when I say that Center Church is my favorite book Tim Keller has written thus far.
- Scotty Smith, Christ Community Church

This is not simply curriculum content; it is exactly the kind of life-giving, generative gospel theology our churches need.
- Stephen Um, CityLife Presbyterian Church, Boston

This book will help you if you are serious about seeing your city transformed by the gospel of grace.
- Darrin Patrick, Vice President of the Acts 29 Network

In Center Church, one of the great missionary statesmen of our times lays out a vision of the church vigorous enough to transform entire cities through its agency of the gospel.
- Alan Hirsch, Founding Director of Forge Mission Training Network

Watch this video. Note that Keller says, "Things that work in cities often we find work outside of cities as well." This is more than a book for city-center church planting, and as I have said several times, the best books on the church (regardless of where you are located) are urban church books. 

Buy Center Church at 35% off (or 34% off at Amazon, if you prefer).

Tim Keller: "Losing My Religion" Open Forum

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If you want to listen to what Tim Keller does when he holds Open Forums for non-Christians, skeptics, seekers, etc...listen to "Losing My Religion: Why Christians Should Drop Their Religion." Redeemer has audio from 44 Open Forums, though I haven't checked if audio for others is offered free like this one. MP3s are typically $2.50, but this one is free.

I listened today. Instructive for us as missionaries and preachers, evangelists and apologists, disciples and strugglers with religiosity. He confronts religion, truths, psychology, philosophy, and truth-claims respectfully, yet still directly. 

How can we as pastors and ministers speak to our city, our culture, with intellect, wisdom, courage, and charity? Keller's example helps me, and I hope it will help you too.

Keller | Preaching in a Secular Culture

Keller preachingFrom Tim Keller's new article, "Preaching in a Secular Culture," on some practices for preaching to secular people...

  • Solve all problems with the gospel
  • Beware of assumptions
  • Engage in apologetics
  • Provide applications for both parties
  • Be authentic
  • Be conscious of alienating language
  • Expect, and respect, doubt
  • Address the wider community
  • Draw on cultural references
  • Read across the spectrum

For more on these 10 practices and a lot more on preaching in a secular culture, go read the whole article.

Calvin: Six Purposes of Prayer

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Joel Beeke & Brian Najapfour in Taking Hold of God: Reformed & Puritan Perspectives on Prayer list what John Calvin (Institutes: book 3, chapter 20) sees as the six (at least) purposes of prayer.

  1. To fly to God with every need and gain from Him what is lacking in ourselves to live the Christian life
  2. To learn to desire wholeheartedly only what is right as we place all our petitions before God
  3. To prepare us to receive God's benefits and responses to to our petitions with humble gratitude
  4. To meditate on God's kindness to us as we receive what we have asked for
  5. To instill the proper spirit of delight for God's answers in prayer
  6. To confirm God's faithful providence so that we may glorify Him and trust in His present help more readily as we witness His regularly answering our prayers

"All of these purposes are designed to foster communion with God so that 'the promises of God should have their way with us.'" (quoting Niesel, Theology of Calvin, 157)

From Taking Hold of God, pg 31-32.

Blaspheme Your Idols

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Gospel wakened people feel swept off their feet by their romancing God. (If you're a man, and this sort of "church as feminine" language bothers you, you will have to get over it. This is how God draws our character. You will have to nail your machismo to the cross and stop thinking you're more of a man than your Groom.) When the power of the gospel saps the power of idols from our veins, when we have really tasted and seen that the Lord is good, we are so smitten we can't help but ditch every back door Johnny we ever messed around with. How pathetic they are! And how pathetic we were for ever giving in to their two-bit come-ons.

A bride joined to her groom forsakes all others. She writes the spiritual equivalent of Dear John letters to her idols. When God's love captivates you, you go around spurning all your other lovers. I call this "blaspheming" your idols.

Blaspheme them. Tell them they have no appeal to you anymore. Tell them you don't need their damage, their pain, their anti-glories. Tell them you have no desires to use and abuse them anymore. Tell them your heart, mind, soul, and strength belong wholly to God now. And then don't speak as a love to them ever again. Sinful relationships must end.

From Jared Wilson's Gospel Wakefulness, p 70, bold emphasis mine.

T4A, Soma Communities, & Jeff Vanderstelt

Molly and I had a great talk with Jeff Vanderstelt of Soma Communities while at Together for Adoption in Phoenix. Jeff and I have talked a couple of times, and I find his love for Jesus, the Gospel, the church, and the lost world compelling. In our talk at T4A we covered stuff on church life, preaching, evangelism, family, community and a lot more. He pastored us, and encouraged us, and answered our questions, and honestly, he just loved on us and longed to help us. We've been talking about that discussion every day since, multiple times a day. It's the most important thing that happened at T4A for us. And let me add, the best things of every conference I've ever attended have happened in the margins, not in the sessions and breakouts. Those can be amazing, but talking one on one with people has been best for me.

Let me introduce you to Jeff Vanderstelt and Soma Communities in Tacoma, Washington through this video. It's done well, and tells a story of what a Jesus community should look like. Let me know what you think.

The Dismissal of Open-Air Preaching

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I FEAR that in some of our less enlightened country churches there are conservative individuals who almost believe that to preach anywhere except in the chapel would be a shocking innovation, a sure token of heretical tendencies, and a mark of zeal without knowledge. Any young brother who studies his comfort among them must not suggest anything so irregular as a sermon outside the walls of their Zion. In the olden times we are told "Wisdom crieth without, she uttereth her voice in the streets, she crieth in the chief places of concourse, in the openings of the gates"; but the wise men of orthodoxy would have wisdom gagged except beneath the roof of a licensed building. These people believe in a New Testament which says, "Go out into the highways and hedges and compel them to come in," and yet they dislike a literal obedience to the command

Lectures to My Students (pdf) | Charles Spurgeon

Other posts in this series...