Gospel culture

It’s entirely possible for your ministry to have a “Christian” or “evangelistic” culture, but not a gospel culture. The former say, “If you like or do the right things, then you belong here.” Giving the right appearance or sharing your faith become the standard for acceptance. A gospel culture says, “If you know that you’re not okay, then you belong here.” Authenticity becomes the standard for acceptance. In a gospel culture, your students know they don’t have to hide because they know Jesus came to save sinners. What is more, they begin to desire the right things and share Christ with others. When this is achieved, students can be reminded that their identity is in Christ, not in what happened over break.

From When Semester Breaks Attack over at collegiatecollective.com

Having dealt with students in deep regret and turmoil over what happened when they drifted during a break,  I really appreciate these words. Gospel Culture,  challenging but worth it.

"The gospel is no failure"

“I have to say, with Paul, ‘What if some did not believe?’ It is generic cialis no new thing; for there have always been some who have rejected the revelation of God. What then? You and I had better go on believing, and testing for ourselves, and proving the faithfulness of God, and living upon Christ our Lord, even though we see another set of doubters, and another, and yet another ad infinitum. The gospel is no failure, as many of us know.” – Charles Spurgeon

Quoted in Guzik’s commentary on Romans 3.

Lions and Snakes

This morning I read Psalm 91. Below are verses 11 and 12.

For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.
On their hands they will bear you up,
lest you strike your foot against a stone.  – Psalm 91:11-12

This passage may be familiar to you; this is one of the scriptures that Satan tried and failed to use against Jesus in the wilderness temptation (Matthew 4). He hoped that Jesus would cast himself from the pinnacle of the temple and be rescued by angels. He tried to appeal to Jesus’ pride and short-circuit and destroy Jesus’ mission.

Of course, Satan failed. You can’t appeal to the “pride” of the One who had humbled himself far beyond anything we can imagine (Philippians 2).

Satan’s choice of this passage also demonstrates either Satan’s utter lack of irony or God’s sense of humor, or both. Satan, whom the Bible calls a “roaring lion” (1 Peter 5:8) and who took the form of a snake in the temptation of Adam and Eve (Genesis 3) picked Psalm 91:11-12.

I guess he forgot to look at verse 13:

You will tread on the lion and the adder;
the young lion and the serpent you will trample underfoot.

Our enemy, in any literal or metaphorical form he chooses to manifest himself, is no match for Lord Jesus.

Good Sunday morning

This was a great Sunday morning. In the College and Young Singles we planned on starting a series Charles T has recommended on basic discipleship (having just finished Habakkuk last week). The first week of this series was, fittingly, on the Gospel.

This morning our pastor started a series on 1 John (aw yeah!), and had a heavy Gospel and Christ-centric focus this morning. It fit perfectly with the CYS class.

Good Sunday.

(and my Texans won a squeaker today too. That just added to the awesomeness).

More wildness

More posts that strike themes similar to my last post:

Russell Moore, as quoted at The Spyglass:

Where the Wild Things Are isn’t going to be a classic movie the way it is a classic book. But the Christian discomfort with wildness will be with us for a while. And it’s the reason too many of our children find Maurice Sendak more realistic than Sunday school.

Too many of our Bible study curricula for children declaw the Bible, excising all the snakes and dragons and wildness. We reduce the Bible to a set of ethical guidelines and a text on how gentle and kind Jesus is. The problem is, our kids know there are monsters out there. God put that awareness in them.

They’re looking for a sheep-herding dragon-slayer, the One who can put all the wild things under His feet.

My friend Danielle, up on her soapbox:

During class we were supposed to get in groups and discuss what we thought kids need to know by that stage in their lives, and honestly, I was kind of appalled by the answers I heard. I mean at face-value they were all okay answers, but they just really struck me as complete garbage.

Here are some of the first ones I heard…

– actions speak louder than words

– how to be a good person

– how to be obedient

I mean seriously, are you kidding me?! One girl had the audacity to call me “harsh” because I said that they need to know that they are sinners. How can anyone have an appreciation or understanding of salvation without first knowing what sin is and that they are a sinner?

. . .

I guess the reason it frustrated me so much was because I was thinking of my own (future/potential) children. I don’t want my ten/eleven/twelve year old thinking that “being a good person” or being “obedient” means anything without having a personal, intimate relationship with Christ. I mean sure, I want obedient children ;), but in the grand scheme of things that would not be on the top of my list.

My group mentioned Jesus once (minus my submissions) . And the one time they mentioned Him, the exact words were “…to know Jesus died on a cross”. Seriously, that was it. No explanation of His life and why He had to die on a cross, no emphasis on salvation or the Gospel…just flat historical facts.

. . .

I’m not saying every church should try to scare their kids, or anything like that, but if the thought of Hell scares them…well, it should! Children can be taught all kinds of things as long as they are taught in love and kindness. Give kids the opportunity to understand, instead of withholding Truth from them. Offer them the whole Gospel, not just cartoons or cut-and-dry facts. I know I probably sound like some hardcore beat-truth-into-them type of lady, but I hate the thought of kids wasting what can be the most influential years of growth on pointless trivia or partial Truth.

Why are we losing the kids?

Jack Hammer asks “Why are we losing the kids?”

The whole post is good, and his many reasons are all spot-on, I believe. Some hit me a bit too close to me as a parent, actually.

But this one really jumped out at me. It applies to all, not just young people:

11. Many young people have heard very little of the “fear of God.” They have a warped image of God that magnifies his love and mercy while almost completely ignoring his holiness, majesty, and wrath. Subsequently, they walk in pride and rebellion.

This attitude manifests itself in irreverence, but that’s just a symptom of a deeper symptom.

So many of us don’t fear God. And yet that fear is so vital, so good, such a doorway to wisdom, to obedience, and to a real relationship with the Lord.

Good reminder for me . . .

[H/T Milton]

A great rant on an Evangel-less Evangelicalism

Just read a great and heart-felt post by Jared Wilson. I recommend you read the whole thing. Here’s an excerpt.

Hey, how about we don’t “hope” that to happen, but we just actually do it? If the Jesus in your preaching is subliminal, you’re failing. I don’t care how many people are in your church or buy your books or watch your videos. An implied Jesus is a FAIL.

And this is why this shade of the emerging thing — and I know I can’t lump them all in together; in some eyes, I’m a part of the emerging church and so is Mark Driscoll and so are McCoy and Thorn up there in Chi-town and so is Neil Cole, et.al. — is really just our Boomers’ seeker church metrosexualized. And why many of the seeker church guys are now embracing this shade of the emerging thing. It’s their deal, only cooler. The feel-good legalism is still there and Jesus makes cameo appearances. That’s an ecclesiological reconstruction FAIL. (Thank you, Jim Belcher.)

Jesus doesn’t need you or me to be embarrassed for him or his followers. He doesn’t need our help. We don’t have to butter people up before we bring him out. He’s not a time share or Amway or something.

If I get hit by a bus just after preaching a Jesusless exhortation to hold hands and be sweet to change the world with positivity, you have my permission to wish the bus had hit me before I preached.

Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! And woe to you too, Rob Bell.

Pascal’s Memorial

Found in the lining of Pascal’s coat after his death.

The year of grace 1654,

Monday, 23 November, feast of St. Clement, pope and martyr, and others in the martyrology.

Vigil of St. Chrysogonus, martyr, and others.

From about half past ten at night until about half past midnight,


GOD of Abraham, GOD of Isaac, GOD of Jacob

not of the philosophers and of the learned.

Certitude. Certitude. Feeling. Joy. Peace.

GOD of Jesus Christ.

My God and your God.

Your GOD will be my God.

Forgetfulness of the world and of everything, except GOD.

He is only found by the ways taught in the Gospel.

Grandeur of the human soul.

Righteous Father, the world has not known you, but I have known you.

Joy, joy, joy, tears of joy.

I have departed from him:

They have forsaken me, the fount of living water.

My God, will you leave me?

Let me not be separated from him forever.

This is eternal life, that they know you, the one true God, and the one that you sent, Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ.

I left him; I fled him, renounced, crucified.

Let me never be separated from him.

He is only kept securely by the ways taught in the Gospel:

Renunciation, total and sweet.

Complete submission to Jesus Christ and to my director.

Eternally in joy for a day’s exercise on the earth.

May I not forget your words. Amen.

[H/T The Anchoress]