Worthwhile: May 24, 2019

Long weekend ahead. Which means either you will have more time for delighting in great reading or you will be busy with burgers and hotdogs on the grill. Either way, breathe deep, find some people you like, and enjoy the gifts we have been given.

Four nuggets of good if you missed them earlier in the week. Grace, devices, discipleship and a place for all of us. Cheers!

First up, Sam Storms in a surprisingly short post for him, helps us think through ways we don’t fully embrace or understand the grace of God. It is a helpful list to think through and not meant as a guilt trip but an invitation into the true grace of Jesus.

I even found myself on the list, needing more embrace and understanding of grace. Help Lord!

Check the list for yourself, find grace and be free!

Are you reading this on your phone? Well, don’t put it down just yet… John Thomas has a review of Competing Spectacles on Christianity Today. Tony Reinke wrote the book encouraging discipline in our media age and seeing Christ as our treasure.

If you are hesitant to tackle the whole thing perhaps the review is a good place to start and be stirred to something less screen driven.

When we seek out glory in the passing spectacles of this world rather than in Christ, the culprit isn’t an ever-expanding buffet of shallow entertainments; our own sinful hearts are to blame. Adam and Eve didn’t have an endless selection of forbidden fruits tempting them to reject their Maker; they only needed one. And our spectacle-craving eyes have been looking elsewhere ever since.

Read the review, think it through, look to Jesus.

Next up, how should we approach the church, as consumers or as disciples? Matt Chandler punches our expectations in the face and calls for an end of consumeristic Christianity. Don’t go to church to be entertained or coddled, go to be equipped for ministry!

This is an important perspective from a large church pastor and it is helpful for all believers as we envision the future of the church in increasingly more hostile environments. The gimmicks won’t work, mission will.

Faithwire essentially unpacks Chandler’s sermon, which you can also watch. It is worth hearing and strategizing through. Check it for yourself.

Coming in last this week, among the least… is an encounter with neighbors we don’t always expect. Earlier this week I tweeted that I wanted to be a pastor for those that eat at McDonald’s and drink cheap coffee wherever they find it. Mostly because I want to pastor myself!

We live in a far too stylized world and the mess of artisan hipness has a stranglehold on the church. But it is the church that is the remedy to the mess.

David Zahl shares stories from Chris Arnade’s upcoming book chronicling his journey to highlight the back bench and back roads of America.

But he went further than mere surprise. “Soon I saw my atheism for what it is: an intellectual belief most accessible to those who have done well.” Woah! I couldn’t believe his guts then, and I can’t believe them now. In a world in which ‘de-conversion’ narratives seem to grow sexier with each passing day (just peruse latest issue of the New Yorker if you don’t, er, believe me), no one wants to surface the privilege component—to say nothing of social class. But it’s getting harder and harder to ignore.

How can we be more accepting and welcoming of the least? How can we recognize the effort to keep up the facade isn’t worth it? Take up and read. Be encouraged.

That’s it folks. Have a splendid weekend.

Taking the Seatbelt Off

It is always encouraging to hear Matt Chandler share how his church is pressing into the gifts of the Spirit, and clinging to the Word of God. There is much from The Village Church, their intentionality as elders, and the testimonies they have, that all of us can glean from.

Here Matt sits down with the guys form The Remnant Radio to talk about it all. It is a good hour-long conversation of his thinking and story of pursuing the gifts of the Spirit.

Be encouraged.

We don’t need better slogans we need to better understand grace

Admit it, you, like me have wasted entirely too much time thinking of new acronyms and poster ideas that will launch us into holiness. And all that we have achieved is lame preaching on being “better” and trying harder and the realization that we fail time and time again. We don’t get grace.

Matt Chandler is staring this problem in the face and calling it out.

“The problem as I perceive it as a Pastor is that most of those who claim to know and love God want to see sin lose its power in their lives and walk in greater intimacy with Christ; most are exhausted and have been trying to mortify sin by promises and threats rather than through the weapons grace provides. By “promises” I mean they believe that they will have life to the “full” and get a great house in heaven if they behave in this manner or that manner…”

“Another very popular sport… is fighting residual sin with our own vows and resolution—these become our defense.  In the end, you are simply pitting sin against sin and in that scenario you lose.  We fight sin and grow in godliness by using the weapons grace provides.”

Chandler goes on to describe three grace weapons: Scripture, the Blood of Christ and the Promises of the Covenant. Read his whole post here.

Keep up the “Grace Driven Effort” just don’t get the effort confused with the source of grace. Talk less about what you do, talk more about what Jesus has done, live in response accordingly.

History’s Hot Button Issue

It seems like this blog is becoming a sounding board for Matt Chandler sermons and while that is not the intention he just keeps preaching about some hard issues with clarity and grace that I have to share them.

Justin Taylor has highlighted a recent seminar that Chandler held at his Texas church on homosexuality. There is arguably no more divisive and difficult issue in our culture and in Christianity. But it is not a new one. While it may seem that its prevalence is growing it has been in play since the fall and how we react to it has to match how God’s grace does.

I personally know how difficult of an issue this is. Everyone is affected by it either directly or through friendships or family relationships. It is not easy but we are called to relentlessly pursue God and his glory alone and anything that stands in the way of that must be recognized, repented of and turned from.

In Justin Taylor’s post there is close to two hours of video that every Christian should attentively watch and prayerfully respond to. Chandler looks biblically and culturally at the issue and then fields questions via text on all facets of the issue. It is well worth the time. Watch it here.