What Are You Reading? 23-03-2018

After a bit of a break, we’re back with some great recommendations!

  • Am I a Christian? “The Bible is clear about two things — that salvation must be through grace and faith in Christ, and that God is always fair and just in all his dealings. What it doesn’t directly tell us is exactly how both of those things can be true together. I don’t think it is insurmountable. Just because I can’t see a way doesn’t prove there cannot be any such way. If we have a God big enough to deserve being called God, then we have a God big enough to reconcile both justice and love…p”
  • The Whole in Our Holiness (Video): This sermon by Ligon Duncan is just brilliant and a must listen
  • The Whole in Our Holiness (Text): This is an adapted transcript of the sermon above. Also very good but seriously listen to that sermon!!! “Often, Christians assume that obedience conditions God’s blessing: “If I obey, God will bless me.” This logic is not in Genesis 1. Obedience does not condition God’s love, but is the sphere in which we enjoy God’s love. Adam and Eve enjoy God by being fruitful, multiplying, and ruling over creation. They experience God’s blessing by being who God created them to be. Adam and Eve were made to find true freedom, fulfillment, and joy as they rightly imaged the Creator
  • A White Evangelical Responds to “Divided by Faith: Evangelical Religion and the Problem of Race in America”: This is a review of the book “Divided by Faith: Evangelical Religion and the Problem of Race in America” by sociologists Michael O. Emerson and Christian Smith. Based on this review I’m looking forward to reading this book. I think that Divided by Faith is remarkably well-written and well-organized. “I found it easy to follow, and I appreciated the variety of information—historical, sociological, personal interviews, etc. In other words, I was never bored. I appreciated that this work was neither a puff piece nor a hit piece, instead seeking balance and honesty, focusing on facts over value judgments…”

WHAT ARE YOU READING? 12-03-2018

  • 5 Tips for Engaging with Scripture: 1.Rewrite individual verses and passages 2.Create your own study notes alongside passages of Scripture 3.Journal through or meditate on the meaning of passages 4.Record sermon notes at church 5.Pray through the Bible…
  • What do You Mean by Asking Me to Meditate on Scripture!?: How do you really meditate on a passage of Scripture? Someone has said, “Christian meditation is ‘thinking hard’ about a passage.” Well, how do you actually “think hard” about a passage of Scripture? What follows is a simple method of Scripture meditation for your consideration…
  • Faithful Evangelism: Jesus’ Parables Remind Us That The Gospel Is A Message Of Salvation From The Wrath To Come: Many people regard Jesus’ parables as nice accessible stories that provide a model for our preaching and teaching. I have recently been reading through the gospels and have been reminded that this is a fundamental misunderstanding…
  • Look to the Interests of Others: What does it mean to “look . . . to the interests of others”? Do you do this with people in your life?…
  • Discerning Truth From Falsehood: How do you know is something is true or false? How do you discern whether a teaching is true or false? We are called in various parts of the Bible to stand firm in the gospel and denounce false teaching. But how do we go about doing that?…

 

What Are You Reading? 12-03-2018

  • 5 Things Singles Wish Married Couples Knew: 1. God settles the solitary in a family—and it might be yours 2. Marriage is sanctifying, but so is singleness 3. Our singleness doesn’t define us. You can help us remember that 4. Culture lies to us a lot 5. Don’t expect all your single friends to get married.
  • Why We Don’t Serve in the Church: 1. We believe that our life is our own 2. Our view of being gifted is shaped by the world 3. We think too narrowly about gifts 4. We are not encouraged to discover our gifts.
  • 3 reflections after my first year as a Christian: I recently asked my friend “what are some things you’ve learnt and stuff that’s helped you in your first year as a Christian?” This is what she said…
  • Four ways to God: While nearly all Christians uphold the authority of the Scriptures, in reality there are other authorities that compete with the Bible for supremacy, other sources of truth about God and our world. Most commonly, there are four claimants to religious authority: Bible, Institution, Experience, Reason

What Are You Reading? 26-02-2018

  • 9 Things You Should Know About Billy Graham (1918–2018): Graham has preached the gospel to more people in live audiences than anyone else in history—nearly 215 million people in more than 185 countries and territories.
  • Why do Churches cover up sin?: This is a very thoughtful article on why sometimes churches cover up complaints about individuals in the church. Complaints that are sometimes criminal in nature including sexual abuse etc. I hope that more people in church leadership think through these issues.
  • The Missing Word in Our Modern GospelBut let’s preach the gospel the way Jesus and the apostles did. Theirs was not a message of unconditional affirmation. They showed no interest in helping people find the hidden and beautiful self deep inside. They did not herald the good news that God likes you just the way you are…There’s a word missing from the presentation of our modern gospel. It’s the word repent.
  • The Sinfulness of Cinderella ThinkingSin is not just the bad that you do but the good that you do not do. ‘Not strengthening the hand of the poor and needy’ is considered sin by God just like arrogance and homosexuality.
  • The Black Panther as Afrofuturist Womanist Vision: I confess, I’m a huge comic book fan. I also find any article by Thabiti Anyabwile to be very thought provoking and challenging. His writings on race are simply brilliant. So when I saw that he had written an article on Black Panther, I had to add it. This is quite a deep take on womanhood.

What Are You Reading? 19-02-2018

  • 5 Ways Pastors Can Prepare Their Churches for SufferingPastors, keep preaching expositionally. Pastors, don’t forget to preach the Old Testament. Pastors, make the church a safe place to open up about pain. Pastors, talk about heaven a lot. Pastors, build a culture of care—starting now.
  • I Learned It the Hard Way: Our Best Life Is Later: …the apostle spends ample time encouraging this full-orbed hope in the congregations he loved and prayed for (e.g., Rom. 8; Col. 1:21–27; 1 Thess. 4:17–18). Without hope we live aimlessly (Eph. 2:12), lacking God’s provision for living in this world and the next. Without hope, we give way to sin and despair. But a living hope subdues the flesh, animates desire for Christ, calms the heart, steadies the resolve, and gives strengthen amid weakness and opposition (1 Pet. 1:3–9). Hope reminds us that present circumstances—however difficult—are not the end (Rom. 8:18, 28). Life in Christ is.
  • How Does ‘Willful Sinning’ Threaten My Salvation? Answering the question 1. Do these verses ( Hebrews 10:26–29) teach that we can lose our salvation? 2. What does Hebrews 10:26 mean by referring to “sinning deliberately” or “willingly,” since in one sense all sin is an act of the will and thus deliberate?
  • New Planter Spotlight: Musa Ntinga: Musa is a friend of mine who is heading a church plant in Soweto, South Africa. It is always encouraging to read about people who are committed to faithfully preaching the Gospel. “We named our plant Christ Central Soweto because we want to see Christ at the center of everything we do and to tell Soweto that he is enough, as the saying goes “Christ + nothing = everything ”. As a launch team we are young and so feel specially placed to reach out to young adults and young families of Soweto with this simple moto: KNOW CHRIST – LOVE EACH OTHER – REACH SOWETO.”
  • Don’t Just Preach!Sister, they must not just hear your preaching, they must see your good deeds! Brother, it is not just about quoting scriptures, let them see your good deeds! Pray that God will give you true compassion that cares not only about the soul of people but about their material well-being and practically helps them out.

What Are You Reading? 12-02-2018

  • When Not to Believe an Angel:The truth that underlies Galatians 1:6–10 is that there is only one gospel. Growing up out of this truth are three statements which are very crucial for us to hear and believe, because nothing has happened to change them between Paul’s day and ours…
  • The Rise of a Parallel, Post-Biblical Christianity: I had the pleasure of sitting under the headship of Grant Retief for a few years. He is faithful minister of the gospel and passionate teaching the next generation of Bible teachers. In this article he gives an analysis of Christianity in South Africa. I think a lot of parallels can be made with Ghana. He says this about what churches are beginning to look like: “In short … these churches offer motivational talks, not biblical sermons; proof-texts, not biblical theology; applications of the gospel, not the gospel; moral improvement, not conversion; calls to social justice and giving, not evangelism; status in the community, not accountability-affording membership; flattery, not discipline; lessons in getting busy, not discipleship; professionalism, not leadership. All this produces nice people instead of godly people. They don’t come to read, mark, and learn the Scriptures, they come to learn self-help. They don’t encounter God in his Word, they encounter themselves. The Bible is seldom more than a stage prop, and atmosphere takes the place of a real redeemed community, grappling with the loving and wounding word of God.
  • Avoiding Pride in a World of Selfie Sticks and Social Media Platforms: “God gave us a self, not so that we would have something to exalt in, but something to exalt with. He gave us a self, not to be the object of our joy, but the subject of joy. That is, not to be the focus of happiness in front of the mirror or the selfie, but the furnace of happiness in front of Jesus…”
  • You are the Salt of the Earth: “We affect the world just as salt affects whatever it’s put into. If the world is too tasteless then it is because too many of us have lost our saltiness”

What Are You Reading? 05-02-2018

  • Pray Shorter Prayers“When you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” (Matthew 6:7–8)…
  • Do You Love the Church?The Apostle Paul explains the doctrine of the church so that we might understand what God has done and so that we may understand who we are. And in calling us to understand who we are and what we’re called to do, Paul says that we’re the church. We’re the church that God ordained from the foundation of the world. We’re His people; we’re His household, so let the church be the church…
  • What Makes a Good Sermon? Five Questions to AskIs God’s Word the most important part of this sermon? Do you leave understanding the main point of the text? Did the preacher preach Jesus? Did the preacher apply the sermon to my life?Does he speak as one who knows God or knows about God?…
  • Jackie Hill Perry on Why God Gives Artists to the ChurchJackie Hill Perry—speaker and hip-hop artist—discusses why God gives artistic talents to members of his church…

What Are You Reading? 29-01-2018

  1. Public Faith: How to Share the Hope You Have in Christ: We remember what it is like not to believe, and we do not expect people to believe simply by being told what is true. People want to know why
  2. Why Young Christians Need Old Books: At times, the church can be guilty of thinking that young Christians need something new. A new app, new Bible translation, new style, or new truth for modern times. But what young Christians need is tremendously and radically old. We need faithful wisdom from ages past. Instead of newer, cooler, faster, edgier, we need simple, beautiful gospel. Growing young Christians need mature old Christians to help guide, curb, and correct…
  3. 5 Lies Christians Tell About Money: Money is an important part of our lives, so it’s important that we clearly grasp what the Bible teaches about it. Take time to study the Scriptures for yourself and see how they apply to your situation … Above all, strive to be a faithful steward of all that your King has entrusted to you…
  4. How Christian Is Self-Improvement? You might go running to your Bible looking for “self-improvement” verses. You will be hard pressed to find any command (or even license) to pursue your own growth and maturity in a way that does not directly and immediately affect other people. Instead of self-care, you will find self-control and self-denial. The Christianity we find in Scripture is not about self-improvement; it’s self-abandonment. Jesus says, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” …

 

What Are You Reading? 22-01-2018

  1. Love One Another: …Since Christ sacrificed all he had for our sake, we as his followers are called to do the same for our fellow brothers and sisters.
  2. Warning Concerning Prayer: …I need to sound a warning. In our day, many people have rediscovered the power of prayer… However, some carry this to an extreme and jump to the conclusion that prayer is something of a magic wand, that if we do prayer with the right sound, in the right manner, with the right phrases, and in the right posture, God is obligated to answer.
  3. Dissect Your Discouragement: …It’s one thing to feel a wave of discouragement; it’s another to sit in a puddle of self-pity. Dissecting our discouragement paves a way to Christ that neither denies discouragement nor allows it to dictate.
  4. Have Bible Quoters Replaced Bible Readers?: …“They have the capacity to recall a relevant biblical text in support of a particular doctrinal point, or in opposition to a hot spot in the cultural wars, or in hope of emotional support when times get tough. They approach the Bible as a sort of reference book, a collection of useful God-quotes that can be looked up as one would locate words in a dictionary or an entry in an encyclopedia.”
  5. Making Sense of Scripture’s ‘Inconsistency’: …“If I believe Jesus is the resurrected Son of God, I can’t follow all the ‘clean laws’ of diet and practice, and I can’t offer animal sacrifices. All that would be to deny the power of Christ’s death on the cross. And so those who really believe in Christ must follow some Old Testament texts and not others.”
  6. Can we really know what the Bible means?: The bonus for today is a short video that answers this simple question.

What Are You Reading? 15-01-2018

  1. The Day I Made My Biggest Mistake in Evangelism: “… Friends, never underestimate the power of God’s Word. It is a fire that can melt and a hammer that can break even the hardest hearts… We can schedule meetings—but thanks be to God, he schedules conversions
  2. Moralism is Not the Gospel (But Many Christians Think It Is): “…We are justified by faith alone, saved by grace alone, and redeemed from our sin by Christ alone. Moralism produces sinners who are (potentially) better behaved. The Gospel of Christ transforms sinners into the adopted sons and daughters of God
  3. Why repentant pastors should be forgiven but not restored to the pulpit: A very good take on what it means for a pastor to be “above reproach”. “… To be a pastor, you at least need to meet the qualifications Paul gave to his disciple Timothy … “Above reproach” doesn’t mean a pastor is sinless. It means that if everything about his life is brought into the light, people would still trust him and follow him in the way of godliness.
  4. What Does “Gospel” Mean? Philippians 1:27–28: Grab your Bible, a notebook and some highlighters. “… How do you define ‘the gospel of Christ’ in Philippians 1:27–28? If all you had was the Bible, how could you find the definition?

What Are You Reading? 09-01-2018

On this week’s list:

  1. Fragmentary Notes on Mark’s Gospel (Mark 1): Thabiti Anywabile puts together some of his thoughts on the first chapter of Mark’s gospel.
  2. 12 Principles on How to Disagree with Other Christians: How do you go about disagreeing with other christians. These principles are very helpful
  3. Keep Technology in Its Proper Place in 2018: The technology space is rapidly evolving the way we live our lives and interact with each other. Knowing how to use technology in a beneficial way is something we all need to learn. “The proper place for technology won’t be exactly the same for every family, and it isn’t the same at every season of our lives. Figuring out the proper place for technology in our particular family and stage of life requires discernment rather than a simple formula. But almost anything is better than letting technology overwhelm us with its default settings, taking over our lives and stunting our growth in the ways that really matter…”
  4. How To Make Your Church Uncomfortable: Comfortable churches are common. In a comfortable church, people come from the same class, are the same color, live in similar neighborhoods, enjoy the same kinds of music and worship styles, get their news and political ideas from the same sources, and welcome more people like themselves…”