Tuesday, April 17, 2007

"Chosen For Life" by Sam Storms

Oftentimes I am asked, "What are you reading?" Well, I wanted to start a new "category" of blog entries on that.

Right now, one of the books I am presently reading is Dr. Sam Storms' book, "Chosen For Life." Friends, this is an outstanding introductory book on the controversial topic of election and predestination. If this topic is new to you, you need to read this book! If you feel like you know a lot about this topic and are firm in your convictions about it...you still need to read this book! There are many things that are impressive about it, but here are just a few:

1. Dr. Storms, does not set up "straw men" of Arminianism and then knock them down. He deals honestly and respectfully with the many nuanences that Arminian thinkers believe.

2. His demeanor is not only commendable and an example to follow, but necessary when dealing with this subject. He deals with those who hold an Arminian postion respectfully and pastorally, while unapologetically cherishing God's sovereign grace in election. As a pastor, I have looked for several years to find a book on election that would respectfully and humbly explain this topic for someone who is new to it...this is that book!

3. It is sound biblically and it will drive you back into the text of Holy Scripture, causing one to love God's word more deeply.

Listen to some of these endorsements:

"This extraordianarily clear and courteous book makes its case without stooping to caricature...It is a fine model of exactly how theological disagreements should be resolved: with respectful listening, careful distinctions, historical awareness, deep reverence for Scripture, and patient exegesis." - D.A. Carson

"This new edition of Chosen for Life has everything one could want on the topic of election. Those who agree will be heartily encouraged; those who disagree will be respectfully challenged; the hearts of all will marvel at the glorious grace of God in the gospel." - C. J. Mahaney

Highly recommend it! It will be on our resource table soon!

Friday, April 6, 2007

C.J. Mahaney & John MacArthur on the Basketball Court

Well folks...I thought you might enjoy this. Many folks thought they would never see C.J. and MacArthur on the same platform speaking...but now we have proof of them playing basketball together. How refreshing to see these men not only in their humble pursuit of Gospel purity and rallying other men around it, but also their genuine friendship and affection they have for one another. Start here at Joshua Harris' blog and then follow the links... http://www.joshharris.com/ And likewise...me being the great athelete that I am I also appreciated this as well...

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Living Out Matthew 18

Having Conflict? I can't recommend more highly to you the material from our friends at Peacemaker Ministries! Ken Sande's book, The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide To Resolving Conflict, is outstanding. We have gone through this book a couple of times in our Care Groups, and I was just reviewing it again this last week and found myself freshly reminded of God's grace in the midst of conflict. Below is a "clip" from the Peacemaker book. As you read this blog, I would encourage you to have your Bible open to Matthew 18 to follow along.
For more information about Peacemaker Ministries log on to: www.peacemaker.net

((Taken from The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflictby Ken Sande, Updated Edition (Grand Rapids, Baker Books, 2003) pp. 144.))

Living out Matthew 18

When Christians think about talking to someone else about a conflict, one of the first verses that comes to mind is Matthew 18:15: "If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you." If this verse is read in isolation, it seems to teach that we must always use direct confrontation to force others to admit they have sinned. If the verse is read in context, however, we see that Jesus had something much more flexible and beneficial in mind than simply standing toe to toe with others and describing their sins.

Just before this passage, we find Jesus' wonderful metaphor of a loving shepherd who goes to look for a wandering sheep and then rejoices when it is found (Matt. 18:12-14). Thus, Matthew 18:15 is introduced with a theme of restoration, not condemnation. Jesus repeats this theme just after telling us to "go and show him his fault" by adding, "If he listens to you, you have won your brother over." And then he hits the restoration theme a third time in verses 21-35, where he uses the parable of the unmerciful servant to remind us to be as merciful and forgiving to others as God is to us (Matt. 18:21-35).

Food for Thought
Jesus is clearly calling for something much more loving and redemptive than simply confronting others with a list of their wrongs. He wants us to remember and imitate his shepherd love for us--seeking after others, helping them turn from sin, and helping them be restored to God and those they have offended. Have you ever heard others in a conflict say, "We followed the Matthew 18 process"? Have you said it yourself? Read all of Matthew 18 and ask the Lord to give you the heart of a shepherd who seeks and gently restores the lost sheep.