Thursday, February 06, 2014

Resources for Reaching Out

This past Sunday in our young adult group, we discussed how evangelism is a means of grace that works to conform us to the image of Christ.  I referenced several books during our discussion and also some questions put together by Don Whitney to move a conversation toward the Gospel. 

The books I referenced (and a few more I did not) are listed and linked below.

Tactics, Greg Koukl
Questioning Evangelism, Randy Newman
Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God, J. I. Packer
Tell the Truth, Will Metzger
Come and Welcome to Jesus Christ, John Bunyan

Here are the questions by Don Whitney.

If you know of any other good resources, please do not hesitate to share in the comments.

Why stay in the SBC?

During our focus on Life in the Local Church at Sylvania last month, one of the questions that arose was concerning our continued association with the Southern Baptist Convention given our understanding on the nature of grace, faith, and the implications that follow, especially in light of the hostilities by some against that understanding. 

Although I cannot speak for the other Elders on this, for my own part, I find this article by Tom Ascol to be helpful in looking at the big picture and why those who hold to the doctrines of grace should see cooperation with the SBC as an asset, not necessarily a liability. I hope you will as well.

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Mohler: The Central Worldview Clash of the Ham-Nye Debate

Al Mohler gives his take on the Ham-Nye Debate from his view on the front row.
In this light, the debate proved both sides right on one central point: If you agreed with Bill Nye you would agree with his reading of the evidence. The same was equally true for those who entered the room agreeing with Ken Ham; they would agree with his interpretation of the evidence.

That’s because the argument was never really about ice rods and sediment layers. It was about the most basic of all intellectual presuppositions: How do we know anything at all? On what basis do we grant intellectual authority? Is the universe self-contained and self-explanatory? Is there a Creator, and can we know him?

On those questions, Ham and Nye were separated by infinite intellectual space. They shared the stage, but they do not live in the same intellectual world. Nye is truly committed to a materialistic and naturalistic worldview. Ham is an evangelical Christian committed to the authority of the Bible. The clash of ultimate worldview questions was vividly displayed for all to see.
I have not watched the debate as of yet, but I will. I will be interested to compare the approach taken by Ham versus that of Wilson in Collision or the debates done by James White. I suspect Ham is an evidentialist, but that is a presupposition on my part...(ba-dom ching!) In my view, an evidential approach often leads to people talking past each other without getting to the root of why they interpret evidence a certain way. Get at the foundation of the belief system, then demonstrate the weaknesses.

UPDATE: Um, yeah.  Ham sure was making a presuppositional argument.  How does Nye account for the law of logic, etc.?  Waiting to see answers from Nye...

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

We Don’t Have to Read the Book or See the Movie to Know Heaven Is Real

I remember a quote by someone famous about trading a holiday at sea for making mud pies in a slum...This is a great response.

Nancy Guthrie gets to the heart of the issue...

People sometimes say these stories encouraged their faith or the faith of someone they know. But I think they actually diminish biblical faith by elevating claims of a supernatural experience over the substance of the Scriptures. Most of these claims of seeing into heaven focus on earthbound concerns and stunted human desires that lack what the Bible describes as the heart of heaven—the glory of God, the Lamb who was slain, on the throne of the universe. In embracing these stories we're saying the Bible is simply not enough, that someone's mystical experience is needed to verify or "make real" what God has said. But saving faith is putting all our hopes in who God is and what God has said as revealed in the Bible. It is being confident of what we can't see (John 20:29; Hebrews 11:1), not being convinced by something someone else supposedly saw.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Life in the Local Church

I love the Church.  I love the anticipation of gathering.  I love the smell of coffee on Sunday morning.  I love kneeling together to pray. I love walking down the hall to my young adult group and hearing the laughter, the prayer requests, the earnest teaching that is beginning in the other rooms in that building.

I love the buzz of noise just before the music begins to call us all to worship.  I love how every one around me seems to find their own key in which to sing the selected songs for the morning service and yet it still sounds like the sweetest choir.

I love the announcements at the beginning as we proclaim our intention, whether as a whole or part, to be together again in different contexts and scenery, but to intentionally focus on Christ in thinking and action.

I love it when we all stand for the reading of God's Word.  I love it when we open our Bibles, ready to hear what has been burning on our pastor's heart all week (or longer) as he studied the next passage in the book we are on. I love the familiar faces of those who have encouraged me and my family in Jesus.  I love the new faces that come forward to link with us to serve and be served.

It is an amazing thing God does to save us individually, but put us into a body, a family really, sharing life in Christ together.

In January, the Elders at Sylvania Church decided to teach and preach through our understanding and vision for life in the local church body, particularly at Sylvania.  We have explored several different areas of church life in both morning and evening Sunday services.  Some of our members have expressed that they have found these helpful. Maybe you will also.

1. Being Part of the Local Church - Phillip Dancy
2. Spiritual Gifts from God - Len Teague
3. The Importance of God's Word - Paul McClung
4. Prayer in the Local Congregation - Kevin Rhyne
5. Why We Do What We Do at Sylvania - Phillip Dancy
6. The Missional Overflow: When the Church Pours Out into the World - Dave Rowlett

7. When to Leave and When to Let Go - Phillip Dancy
8. Round Table discussion on Life at Sylvania Church - Elders

I've enjoyed the focus in January. It is refreshing to think through these things rather than just live on assumptions and habit.  I hope you find these useful and that they drive you to faithfulness in your own local body.  I hope it drives you to love the local church, like He does. (Eph. 5:29-30)

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Worth reading

Reading Mohler on reading...yep, worth the time.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Al Mohler asks - Can Evangelical Chaplains Serve God and Country?—The Crisis Arrives

Can Evangelical Chaplains Serve God and Country?—The Crisis Arrives:

If religious liberty is denied to evangelical Christian chaplains in the military, if they must surrender their convictions or their commissions, then religious liberty is lost in America, and the chaplains will be but the first casualties of this loss.

Southern Baptist chaplains have been singled out in this call for mass resignation, but they will not be alone. Thousands of Roman Catholic chaplains are committed by their church to the same moral convictions. Chaplains representing other evangelical churches and denominations will find themselves facing the same moment of decision. Muslim and Jewish chaplains who cannot endorse homosexuality and same-sex marriage will face the same challenge.

In reality, it is the entire nation that now faces this crisis. Is America ready to demand that military chaplains choose between serving God and serving their country? We will soon know the answer to that question.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Yep...strike a match, make some smoke...

Read the opinion here. Then, just burn a little incense and say, “Caesar is lord.” It is the price of citizenship, American.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Doug Wilson: Who Is P.G. Wodehouse, and Why Should It Matter to Us?

Doug Wilson knows a little about P.G. Wodehouse. It was an incidental segment in Collision where Wilson and Christopher Hitchens were trading Wodehouse lines that got me started on the Jeeves books.

Here are Doug’s reasons you should read Wodehouse.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Why 27, 39 & 66 is the right combination

I am quickly becoming a fan of Michael Kruger.

Why You Can Rely on the Canon

Friday, July 19, 2013

The Sexual Compatibility Idol

Great post at TGC on The Problem with Sexual Compatibility:
[T]his selfish objectification, which involves viewing another as a tool made to meet our sexual standards, has never been God's design for finding a spouse.

In the first marriage account, God declared it's "not good for man to be alone" (Gen. 2:18). So he gave Adam a wife. He didn't give him his own reality show where he could meet Erin, Erica, Emma, and Eliza in order to discover which one would be sexually compatible. He gave Adam one woman, with whom he'd never had sex, and called him to love her for the rest of his life. Why did God do this? Because, in his perfect wisdom, he didn't design the purpose of marriage to be about great sex with the perfect person but about a lifetime of serving and staying with the inevitably imperfect person you've vowed to love.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Here's a link often missed: food, drink, and the glory of God

In an ongoing series called “Fooling Ourselves,” my pastor posted this today.
One of the key points in Galatians 5 is self-control. It is set over against drunkenness in the previous verses. Overeating usually leads to obesity; overdrinking usually leads to drunkenness or alcoholism. Neither of these are very easy to hide from public view. While (sadly) many sins are easy to conceal, these usually are not. Christians are called to be people of discipline. Self-control, particularly as it relates to our reflection of Jesus to the unbelieving world, is crucial to a solid platform for the gospel. It is a sad commentary that many who would decry public drunkenness have little to say about public gluttony, given that the two are often intimately linked together in Scripture (Proverbs 23:20-21 being an example).
Have you ever thought that our gluttony displayed is just as much a reproach to the Gospel as drunkenness displayed? I admit, it’s not high on my radar either. Maybe it should be.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

You all do this...remember.

Paul wrote to the Corinthians a warning concerning what we call “Communion” that stands as a call to examine ourselves before we take the cup and bread.
Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. (1 Corinthians 11:27)
Rather than argue about how long the grape juice should sit in the vat before it is used, Mike Hyatt asks some great questions for us to reflect upon as we heed that warning in a post entitled, “Questions to ask as you prepare for the Lord’s Supper.”  Copy those five questions on a page and put it in your Bible.

How often do you ask yourself prior to drinking the cup, “Since I have last participated in the Lord’s Supper, how has the Lord worked in my life to make me more like Jesus? Am I gaining ground or sliding backwards?” Or, “Do I love others more? Am I more eager to serve and help others in the body of Christ?” This is focusing on the Me in “remembrance of Me” rather than the this of “Do this.” (1 Corinthians 11:23-26) That’s where we need to be.

I am pretty pitiful at instituting goals for the discipling of my children. I think this is an area fathers can take the lead on Saturday nights with their families prior to Communion on Sunday. Ask these questions of each member and then pray for each other. What a great way to teach our children to discern between what is common and holy and that what makes it so is Christ, not the type of elements used.