Sunday, April 20, 2008
Friday, April 18, 2008
If you're thinking about buying a study Bible...WAIT! The ESV Study Bible is due out October 2008 and, from the looks of it, will stand to be one of the most important possessions a Christian could ever own. Why?
- Because it's the Bible, God's Word, Holy-Spirit inspired truth. That's enough right there.
- Because it's the ESV, the best English translation available for both serious study and daily reading.
- Because the mammoth amount and stellar quality of all of the study notes available at your finger tips.
- Because the contributors are some of the most oustanding, truth-saturated scholars, pastors, and teachers alive today (J.I. Packer, Wayne Grudem, T. Desmond Alexander, Tom Schreiner, Scott Hafemann, John Piper...)
- Because of the trust-worthy endorsements:
- “The ESV Study Bible is the most important resource that has been given to the emerging generation of Bible students and teachers. The ESV Study Bible is the best. Period.”
- Mark Driscoll, Preaching Pastor, Mars Hill Church; President of the Acts 29 Church Planting Network
- “The ESV Study Bible is the finest study tool I have seen in fifty years of Bible teaching. The notes, articles, maps, and illustrations are all of the highest quality. It is a great achievement!”
- Jerry Bridges, speaker, bestselling author of The Pursuit of Holiness
Or...you can begin to read or listen to the ESV online, too.
Friday, April 11, 2008
"The Story Behind the Song: "The First Place" by Matthew Westerholm.
Thursday, April 10, 2008
The Value of Gathered Worship:
Why God’s People Must Worship Together
Gathered worship strengthens and informs scattered worship (and vice versa).
- “Worship is a subject that should dominate our lives seven days a week. Vitality and meaning will not be restored to Christian gatherings until those who lead and those who participate can recover a biblical perspective on their meetings, seeing them in relation to God’s total plan and purpose for his people.” 
- By gathering for encouragement. (Hebrews 10:24-25)
- By scattering for mission. (Romans 12:1; 1 Corinthians 10:31)
Gathered worship fuels a God-glorifying passion in all things.
- By sharing God’s passion for His glory. (Romans 11:33, 36)
- By exposing God’s competitors—our idols.
Gathered worship shapes a Christ-centered, gospel-driven community.
- By knowing the gospel.
- “We never “get beyond the gospel” in our Christian life to something more “advanced.” The gospel is not the first “step” in a “stairway” of truths, rather, it is more like the “hub” in a “wheel” of truth. The gospel is not just the A-B-C’s but the A to Z of Christianity. The gospel is not just the minimum required doctrine necessary to enter the kingdom, but the way we make all progress in the kingdom. The main problem, then, in the Christian life is that we have not thought out the deep implications of the gospel, we have not “used” the gospel in and on all parts of our life. 
- By reading the gospel. (1 Corinthians 15; Philippians 2:5-11; Colossians 1:15-20)
- By singing the gospel.
- By praying the gospel. (Colossians 1:9-14)
- By studying the gospel.
- By celebrating the gospel. (1 Corinthians 11:26)
Gathered worship motivates a Spirit-empowered mission.
- By being the church instead of merely going to church.
- By seeing our mission as a call to worship.
- “There can only be one call to worship, and this comes at conversion, when in complete repentance we admit to worshipping falsely, trapped by the inversion and enslaved to false gods before whom we have been dying sacrifices.”
 David Peterson, Engaging with God: A Biblical Theology of Worship, p. 21.
 Tim Keller, “The Centrality of the Gospel”, p. 1-2.
 Harold Best, Music through the Eyes of Faith, p. 147.
Wednesday, April 09, 2008
C. S. Lewis’ advice to children on writing is good advice to pastors on preaching, or anybody on talking.
- Always try to use the language so as to make quite clear what you mean and make sure your sentence couldn't mean anything else.
- Always prefer the clean direct word to the long, vague one. Don't implement promises, but keep them.
- Never use abstract nouns when concrete ones will do. If you mean "More people died" don't say "Mortality rose."
- In writing, don't use adjectives which merely tell us how you want us to feel about the things you are describing. I mean, instead of telling us the thing is "terrible," describe it so that we'll be terrified. Don't say it was "delightful"; make us say "delightful" when we've read the description. You see, all those words (horrifying, wonderful, hideous, exquisite) are only like saying to your readers "Please, will you do my job for me."
- Don't use words too big for the subject. Don't say "infinitely" when you mean "very"; otherwise you'll have no word left when you want to talk about something really infinite.