Are You Preaching Christ?

Great article by Tony Carter from http://thefrontporch.org about the need to preach Christ.  He describes three types of sermons that are quite common but lack Christ-centered content.

  1. Prosperity Gospel
  2. Self-Esteem Gospel
  3. Motivational Gospel

Here are a few excepts…

 Motivational preaching is more prevalent than many people realize. Two of the most prominent and popular preachers in America are purveyors of this message. It encourages people to reach for their potential. It takes principles of the Bible, builds a brand around a personality and gets people to buy into the latest catch phrase and fad. The preacher is positioned as a high achiever, and tries to convince you that you can be one too…..

 

The Bible warns us that as the days go on people will want less and less of Christ-centered preaching and more and more flesh-enticing and itch-scratching preaching (2 Tim. 4:3). Nevertheless, the call to faithfulness in preaching remains. We are to preach Christ.

Preaching Christ is to preach salvation in him and him alone. It is to call men and women to repent of sin; sin the world doesn’t want to call sin such as homosexuality, fornication, abortion, greed, anger, racism, injustice, selfishness, pride, et al. It is to remind men and women that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God (Rm. 3:23).

Preaching Christ says that though you are a great sinner, Christ is a greater Savior. It declares that Christ is sufficient to forgive you of all your sin, and to fill you with his satisfaction even as you live in an unsatisfying world.

Preaching Christ understands the Bible is not about your or me, but about Christ (Lk. 24:27Col. 1:28) and his life for our life and his death for our death.  It calls men and women to die so that they may live in Him (Gal. 2:20). In other words, preaching Christ builds esteem in Christ and not in self (Jn. 3:30).

Preaching Christ is universal. It translates and transforms with power in the slums of Calcutta just as it does on the streets of Manhattan. It causes men and women not to long for more of this world but to long for more of Jesus.

 

Read the whole article here http://thefrontporch.org/2014/07/are-you-preaching-christ/

 

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4 Principles On Prayer…

Just came across a brilliant article by Tim Keller on prayer based on a letter written by the early church father Augustine.  Augustine describes four principles when it comes to prayer…
The first rule is completely counterintuitive. Augustine wrote that before anyone can turn to the question of what to pray and how to pray it, he or she must first be a particular kind of person. What kind is that? He writes: “You must account yourself ‘desolate’ in this world, however great the prosperity of your lot may be.” He argues that no matter how great your earthly circumstances, they cannot bring us the peace, happiness, and consolation found in Christ. The scales must fall from our eyes. If we don’t see that truth, all our prayers will go wrong.
Second, Augustine says, you can begin to pray. And what should you pray for? With a bit of a smile (I think) he answers you should pray for what everyone else prays for: “Pray for a happy life.” But, of course, what will bring you a happy life? The Christian (if following Augustine’s first rule of prayer) has realized that comforts and rewards and pleasures in themselves give only fleeting excitement and, if you rest your heart in them, actually bring you less enduring happiness. He turns to Psalm 27 and points to the psalmist’s great prayer“One thing have I desired of the Lord, one thing will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord to behold the beauty of the Lord.” This is the fundamental prayer for happiness. Augustine writes, “We love God, therefore, for what he is in himself, and [we love] ourselves and our neighbors for his sake.” That doesn’t mean, he quickly adds, that we shouldn’t pray for anything else other than to know, love, and please God. Not at all. The Lord’s Prayer shows us that we need many things. But if God is our greatest love, and if knowing and pleasing him is our highest pleasure, then we’ll be transformed both in what and how we pray for a happy life.
He quotes Proverbs 30 as an example: “Give me neither poverty nor riches: Feed me with food appropriate for me lest I be full and deny you . . . or lest I be poor, and steal and take the name of my God in vain.” Ask yourself this question. Are you seeking God in prayer in order to get adequate financial resources—or are you seeking the kind and amount of resources you need to adequately know and serve God? Those are two different sets of motivations.
Check out the rest of the article here 4 Principles On Prayer

Why Johnny Can’t Preach

Good review on the book “Why Johnny Can’t Preach”

Captive105

Why Johnny Can’t Preach  is a book written by David Gordon stirred with a concern for the decline in preaching today. The goal of the book is directed toward this. As he says, “… my thesis: that many ordained people simply can’t preach.” As such he does offer some good critique and suggestions for today’s ministers and even aspiring preachers and seminarians.

In the first chapter titled “Johnny Can’t Preach”, Gordon begins by saying “Part of me wishes to avoid proving the sordid truth: that preaching today is ordinarily poor.” He recounts the numerous experiences that he and his wife have had where they listened to sermons and wondered what the sermon was about at the end of it. He calls such sermons “religiously useless” because his family would be unable to have an intelligent conversation about the sermon. Because of a lack of good preachers, the churches have settled for…

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Music and Meaning

Thought provoking article on music from http://www.9marks.org/blog answering the questions:

  • Can God employ any musical form for redemptive purposes?
  • Even if God can employ any musical form redemptively, are some musical forms spiritually or morally “better” than others?
  • Are some musical forms “better” for the sake of the gathered church?

In short, if we were to stop our speculations about ideal forms, moral content, and good taste (as if we from our Western, post-Enlightenment duck blind had the only bead on them); if we were to get back to the simple wonder of the sheer fact of music, offered temperately, humbly, imaginatively, servingly, discerningly and in complete surrender to the sovereign Word of God, the conversation would be radically different.

Continue reading here:  Music and Meaning.

Foolish: The Hard Verdict Against Young Men

Great post from my friend Mpumelelo on the foolishness of youth…

Captive105

There is an excellent illustration in the English language that I find very effective in illustrating the power of ignorance, and that illustration is this: a fish does not know that it is wet. The reason I think this illustration is almost flawless is because it presents two perspectives; one, the perspective of the fish in water, and the perspective of the reasoning person who is outside of water. Think with me for a second; if a fish could talk, and you were to inquire of it, it would probably tell you that it knows it’s in water, it knows that it gets its food and living from here, and it probably knows that if it were to exit water it would die, but it wouldn’t use the word wet as you would use it; it would use the word wet to explain the sphere of its existence, the very…

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