Monday, March 18, 2013

Relevant Links II

Advance 13 Live Stream: Watch this conference from the comfort of your living room (or office) on how to have faithful and effective churches.

Lab Grown Meat: This is has the potential to revolutionize the meat industry with quite a few caveats. If it tastes good, if it is nutritionally equivalent, if the price can be reduced, and if people can get over the fact that its lab grown. Still cool any way you look at it.

Faith in humanity is misplaced. Humanity (and individual humans, including myself) are wicked. Thankfully our God is good.

On the Pope: I do not necessarily agree with this author that the Pope in the anti-Christ, but I do believe that many protestants have forgotten that the Pope in the head of one of the largest cults in the world and that the Catholic church adds works to salvation among teaching many other false doctrines.

Spoiler Alert: The only foundation for ministry, youth or otherwise, is Jesus.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Music Spotlight: Made Alive by the Citizens

The Citizens is one of the worship bands at Mars Hills Church in Seattle Washington. This video ("Made Alive") is a fantastic song with rich, theological lyrics. I have listened to this song repeatedly in the last several days. The album can be purchased on Amazon. It is so refreshing to hear modern music with spiritual and theological depth; check them out.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Righteously Relevant Reading Reviews

You may remember that a while ago I posted Righteously Relevant Reading Previews, wherein I gave a quick thought on the books that I was currently reading at the time. I have finished  two of those three books, and the third I have given up on, so here are some concluding thoughts on each of those books.

Surprised by Grace by Tullian Tchividjian

I whole-heartedly recommend this book. It is a fantastic book focused on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is my conviction that the whole Bible is about Jesus, and Tullian shares this conviction. This book connects the story of Jonah to the Gospel in a profound and God-glorifying way. God pursues sinners.  He pursued Jonah with a whale, and he pursued me by sending Jesus to die for my sins.

Two Years Before the Mast by Richard Henry Dana Jr.

Apparently at sea nothing happens. The first half of this book was incredibly exciting. It was a page turner story that also explain in detail how sailors lived during the time period in which it was written. The second half tells of the return voyage in real time. Almost every detail of every single monotonous event is spelled out for the reader. I am not saying this to discourage reading, I sometimes think that I have the attention span of a fruit fly, but this book just stopped being interesting. Life is to short to read books like that since so many interesting and good books are out there.

90 Days of God's Goodness by Randy Alcorn

We read this book for dinner time devotions, and we found it really focused us on the goodness of God. We all need constant reminders that despite our situation and despite the bad things that happen to us, God is still good. Randy Alcorn time and time again in this book reminds us of the primary reason that we know God is good: He sent His Son to die for us. That is love, and that is goodness. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a devotional to use individually or as a family.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

What the Name Means

Righteously Relevant ... so what could this cleverly alliterated title possible mean?

Did I just slap two words together that sounded good?

The answer to the above question is no. In fact, I believe the being righteous is relevant.

I believe that all people are unrighteous by birth, and unrighteous in actions, thought, and motive. I believe because of this unrighteousness that I, and everyone else, deserve the just punishment of God. This punishment is eternal death in the lake of fire.

But I believe that before time began, God set in motion His sovereign plan to save humanity from their rebellion against Him. The culmination of this plan hinges on the singular event to which all of history is turned. This event is the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

On the cross Jesus received your punishment and you received His righteousness. So if you are a Christian, you are righteous by the grace of God. We, as Christians, are called to spread this message of God's salvation, of how to become righteous.

If you are not a Christian than repent (turn from your sin and turn to Jesus) and believe and you will be made righteous by the cross of Christ.

This righteousness, not the righteousness of tradition, moral ability, or kindness to others, is relevant because it is the only way to gain eternal life.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Catechisms Are Not Dead

Catechisms are not dead. Some today think that if we want to educate our children we must forego the use of catechisms and find some other means of instruction. And while the systematic theology taught through catechism cannot replace teaching directly from the Bible, it can be a big help to understanding God and His word.

Recently The Gospel Coalition in partnership with Timothy Keller's church released The New City Catechism. This catechism is shorter than the catechisms that it was based on, and has both a children's and an adult version. This is a doctrinally solid catechism, though it does not go into detail on some issues of secondary importance, such as mode of baptism or eschatology.

There are fifty-two questions and answers and I think that it would be great if a church built its children's curriculum around these fifty-two questions and answers. The parents could work with their children through the catechism and then the church could then reinforce each question and answer.

It is great to see that this tradition, which has been practiced by many different denominations (even baptists like Charles Spurgeon have written catechisms), is continually being updated. The website for this catechism has an interactive viewer with both written and video commentary. Take a look at the New City Catechism and consider teaching it to your children!