Sunday, May 31, 2009

Happy Birthday Grace Church

That's right - Grace Church has finally been born!

Today was our sendoff Sunday at Sovereign Grace Church and we are officially a church. It has been amazing to watch God take people from all different walks of life and bring us together on this mission. As we go into the summer, my prayer is that God continues to deeper our understanding of the gospel and its impact on our lives

We begin our "soft" launch next Sunday at 4pm at my house, where we will meet for the next three months prior to going to the Rio Vista Community Center. Please continue to pray for us - we are barely a couple of hours old and will need lots of help!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Building Gospel Community

We've talked a lot about building a community that treasures the gospel and lives it out corporately. I came across a great section in The Gospel Primer that says just that:

"The more I experience the gospel, the more there develops within me a yearning affection for my fellow-Christians who are also participating in the glories of the gospel. This affection for them comes loaded with confidence in their continued spiritual growth and ultimate glorification, and it becomes my pleasure to express to them this loving confidence regarding the ongoing work in their lives.

Additionally, with the gospel proving itself to be such a boon in my own life, I realize that the greatest gift I can give to my fellow-Christians is the gospel itself. Indeed, I love my fellow-Christians not simply because of the gospel, but I love them best when I am loving them with the gospel! And I do this not by merely speaking gospel words to them, but also by living before them and generously relating to them in a gospel manner. Imparting my life to them in this way, I thereby contribute to their experience of the power, the Spirit, and the full assurance of the gospel."

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

How To Read The Bible

Here's a follow-up post, with another fantastic section from The Gospel Coalition:

II. How should we read the Bible? (The hermeneutical issue)

1. Reading “along” the whole Bible. To read along the whole Bible is to discern the single basic plot–line of the Bible as God’s story of redemption (e.g., Luke 24:44) as well as the themes of the Bible (e.g., covenant, kingship, temple) that run through every stage of history and every part of the canon, climaxing in Jesus Christ. In this perspective, the gospel appears as creation, fall, redemption, restoration. It brings out the purpose of salvation, namely, a renewed creation. As we confess in CS–(1), [God] providentially brings about his eternal good purposes to redeem a people for himself and restore his fallen creation, to the praise of his glorious grace.

2. Reading “across” the whole Bible. To read across the whole Bible is to collect its declarations, summons, promises, and truth–claims into categories of thought (e.g., theology, Christology, eschatology) and arrive at a coherent understanding of what it teaches summarily (e.g., Luke 24:46–47). In this perspective, the gospel appears as God, sin, Christ, faith. It brings out the means of salvation, namely the substitutionary work of Christ and our responsibility to embrace it by faith. As we confess in CS–(7), Jesus Christ acted as our representative and substitute, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

3. How this reading of the Bible shapes us:

1. Many today (but not all) who major in the first of these two ways of reading the Bible—that is, reading along the whole Bible—dwell on the more corporate aspects of sin and salvation. The cross is seen mainly as an example of sacrificial service and a defeat of worldly powers rather than substitution and propitiation for our sins. Ironically, this approach can be very legalistic. Instead of calling people to individual conversion through a message of grace, people are called to join the Christian community and kingdom program of what God is doing to liberate the world. The emphasis is on Christianity as a way of life to the loss of a blood–bought status in Christ received through personal faith. In this imbalance there is little emphasis on vigorous evangelism and apologetics, on expository preaching, and on the marks and importance of conversion/the new birth.

2. On the other hand, the older evangelicalism (though not all of it) tended to read across the Bible. As a result it was more individualistic, centering almost completely on personal conversion and safe passage to heaven. Also, its preaching, though expository, was sometimes moralistic and did not emphasize how all biblical themes climax in Christ and his work. In this imbalance there is little or no emphasis on the importance of the work of justice and mercy for the poor and the oppressed, and on cultural production that glorifies God in the arts, business, etc.

3. We do not believe that in best practice these two ways of reading the Bible are at all contradictory, even though today, many pit them against each other. We believe that on the contrary the two, at their best, are integral for grasping the meaning of the biblical gospel. The gospel is the declaration that through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, God has come to reconcile individuals by his grace and renew the whole world by and for his glory.

Amen. Amen.

Monday, May 25, 2009


Here's a great prayer from The Valley of Vision:

"When I hear of disagreeable things amongst Christians, it brings an additional weight and burden on my spirit; I come to Thee in my distress and make lamentable complaint;
Teach me how to take reproof from friends, even though I think I do not deserve them; Use them to make me tenderly afraid of sin, more jealous over myself, more concerned to keep heart and life unblameable; Cause them to help me to reflect on my want of spirituality, to abhor myself, to look at myself as unworthy, and make them beneficial to my soul....

Give me such vivacity in religion, that I may be able to take all reproofs from other men as from thy hands, and glorify thee for them, from a sense of thy beneficent love and of my need to have my pride destroyed."

That is my prayer this morning for my own heart. I want to take correction as a means of God's grace to both humble me and exalt Him.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

What is the Gospel?

We talk a lot about the gospel at Grace Church. It's the cornerstone of our body; it's the epicenter of the Christian faith. Without the gospel, you don't have Christianity. You may have Christian ethics and rules, but that is not good news for sinful people who have failed to live accordingly.

So, we must make sure we understand the gospel. The Gospel Coalition puts it this way:

"We believe that the gospel is the good news of Jesus Christ—God’s very wisdom. Utter folly to the world, even though it is the power of God to those who are being saved, this good news is christological, centering on the cross and resurrection: the gospel is not proclaimed if Christ is not proclaimed, and the authentic Christ has not been proclaimed if his death and resurrection are not central (the message is Christ died for our sins . . . [and] was raised"). This good news is biblical (his death and resurrection are according to the Scriptures), theological and salvific (Christ died for our sins, to reconcile us to God), historical (if the saving events did not happen, our faith is worthless, we are still in our sins, and we are to be pitied more than all others), apostolic (the message was entrusted to and transmitted by the apostles, who were witnesses of these saving events), and intensely personal (where it is received, believed, and held firmly, individual persons are saved)."

They are right on. To be even more explicit, the cross is the wisdom of God in propitiating the sins of man. Without the cross, the just and righteous wrath of God has not been appeased. It is there, on the cross, that Jesus makes atonement for our sin, bearing the full weight of the penalty we deserve. It is on the cross that God's punishment for sin is taken and done away with, so that anyone who places faith in Christ will find forgiveness for sins. Anyone who responds will be given a new heart and will be credited Christ's righteousness, leading to geniune change in the life of the believer. Ultimately, the cross promises eternal life with the true and living God - which is the great news within the good news.

May we never be a people who lose their awe for the glory and wisdom and power of the gospel.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Denver Here We Come

Tara and I are sitting in the airport, enjoying the last few minutes together before our plane takes off for Denver. I was invited to speak at the North Denver church by my friend Glynn. This is going to be a great joy for me! I'll miss Grace Church on Sunday and will be praying that the Lord meets each of you with great power as CJ preaches.

Well, off we go! Please pray for us in our travels and endeavors to bring the gospel clearly at Grace Community Church.

Saturday, May 02, 2009


Yes, its moving day! The mixture of dread and excitement has descended upon our house, as we anticipate the exhaustion of moving all of our junk (again). But its for a great cause! If you're not busy, stop on by and say hi (ie give us a hand)!

  © Blog Design by Simply Fabulous Blogger Templates

Back to TOP