Matt Chandler: Gravity-The Weight of Pastoring and the Knowledge of Christ

This was the first message I’d ever heard from Matt Chandler and remains one of the most profound. Delivered in 2006, Chandler shares the weight of pastoring, his own struggles as a pastor at the time and how the knowledge of Christ—experiencing the person of Christ—is essential to surviving.

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more about “Matt Chandler – Gravity: The Weight o…“, posted with vodpod

Download Audio or see more messages from this series at The Resurgence.

HT: Adrian Warnock

Around the Interweb (12/20)

The Many Ways of Destroying the Church

The ways of destroying the church are many and colorful.  Raw factionalism will do it.  Rank heresy will do it.  Taking your eyes off the cross and letting other, more peripheral matters dominate the agenda will do it–admittedly more slowly than frank heresy, but just as effectively over the long haul.  Building the church with superficial ‘conversions’ and wonderful programs that rarely bring people into a deepening knowledge of the living God will do it.  Entertaining people to death but never fostering the beauty of holiness or the centrality of self-crucifying love will build an assembling of religious people, but it will destroy the church of the living God.  Gossip, prayerlessness, bitterness, sustained biblical illiteracy, self-promotion, materialism–all of these things, and many more, can destroy a church.  And to do so is dangerous: ‘If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple (1 Cor. 3:17).  It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

D.A. Carson, The Cross and Christian Ministry: Leadership Lessons from 1 Corinthians (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1993), 83-84.

HT: Timmy Brister


In other news

5 things the Church can learn from the fall of Myspace

Tim Keller on dealing with harsh criticism

Russell Moore—Avatar: Rambo in Reverse

An update on Pastor Matt Chandler’s condition


In case you missed it

Here are a few of this week’s notable posts:

A review of Alexander Strauch’s Leading with Love 

Vintage Jesus is Vintage Driscoll—a review of the Vintage Jesus DVD Curriculum

This is War (a Christmas Carol from Dustin Kensrue)

A biographical sketch of Charles Wesley

Prayer for Matt Chandler

Update: An update from the Village Church on the pathology report that Matt and Lauren Chandler received yesterday:

Dear church,

In the first chapter of Philippians, the Apostle Paul writes that whatever imprisonments, beatings and trials he may have suffered, they all “serve to advance the gospel” of Jesus Christ. We implore you to keep the gospel of Christ as the main focus as we walk with Matt and Lauren through this trial.

On Tuesday, Dr. Barnett informed Matt and Lauren that the findings of the pathology report revealed a malignant brain tumor that was not encapsulated. The surgery to remove the tumor, the doctor said, was an extremely positive first step; however, because of the nature of the tumor, he was not able to remove all of it.

Matt, who is being released from the hospital today, is meeting with a neuro-oncologist this week to outline the next steps of the recovery process. There is a range of treatment possibilities but the exact course of action has not yet been determined. He will continue outpatient rehab.

The Lord is calling Matt and Lauren and The Village Church body to endure this trial. It will be a challenging road for Matt, his family and our church body. The gospel is our hope and the Lord is our strength. Matt and Lauren continue to find solace and hope in Christ. They weep facing this trial, but not as those without hope and perspective. The gospel clarifies their suffering and promises more of Christ through it all.

You have done a wonderful job respecting the family, and we ask that you continue to do this. They are processing all of this together and need you to give them precious space. Please do not visit them at their house unless personally invited by the Chandlers. The best way to serve the family is to continue to be faithful in prayer. Specifically, pray for the following:

  • Wisdom for all the coming decisions
  • Strength and peace to endure
  • The kids’ (Audrey, Reid and Norah) hearts; pray the Lord is merciful as they process and that their little hearts do not grow embittered
  • The Chandlers and The Village would suffer well because of the gospel and for the sake of Christ’s name

As you hurt and weep for the family, do not do it alone. Gather with your home group and with other believers in homes and pray together. This is a time to walk together with others and to endure this trial in community. If you wish, send cards and letters to Matt and Lauren at 2101 Justin Road, Flower Mound, TX 75028.

We will continue to keep you informed as new information is made available. Please be patient with the frequency of the updates. May God strengthen us all and may His glory shine brightly through this.

Please continue to pray for our brother, his family, and his church.

Yesterday he wrote on his Twitter account: “Path report is 2ndary at best…good report doesn’t mean much, bad report doesn’t mean anything…my days r numbered and nt by ths report.”

Collin Hansen recently wrote in CT about Chandler’s trials: “When the Pastor Suffers.”

HT: JT [Read more…]

Prayer for Pastors

It’s been a rough week for pastors.

Thursday, Pastor Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church in Seattle sent out a call to pray for Pastor Matt Chandler of The Village Church in Texas. Chandler suffered a seizure Thursday morning while at home; he hit his head when he suffered the seizure and was taken to the hospital by ambulance where doctors ran several tests. Thursday afternoon, he posted the following on Twitter:

Thanks for all the prayers…I have a small mass in my frontal lobe…[date] with the neurosurgeon early next week…I am His and confident.


Saturday night, Pastor Scott Thomas of the Acts 29 network sent out the following on Twitter:

My dear friend and Acts 29 planter Thomas Young tragically died last night. Hurting for his family and church.

The Sanctuary Fellowship, Pastor Young’s church, released at statement on their website:

As many of you reading this already know, last night Pastor Thomas was called to go home to be with his heavenly father. Erin and the children are physically ok and we ask that you fervently lift them up in prayer and surround them with love from our church family. We are grieved in this whole process. Many leaders from the Sanctuary Fellowship have been working hard since late Friday to minister to Erin and the children. Pastors and churches from across the country are calling, sending people to minister, and offering every kind of help possible. We are eternally grateful and count our Father faithful for all of it.

His last tweet:

God: He is so vast, that all our thoughts are lost in His immensity; so deep, that our pride is drowned in His infinity!

Amen.


The pastors and leaders of a small Chinese house church were unjustly imprisoned this week, according to the Examiner.com

In the article, China Aid President Bob Fu is quoted, saying:

“To punish an innocent house church leader for 7 years imprisonment is the most serious sentence since 2004 when the senior Henan house church leader pastor Zhang Rongliang received a similar length.” He added that, “We strongly condemn these unjust sentences, which are based on trumpeted charges. This case clearly shows the serious deteriorating situation of religious persecution in China. We call upon the Obama administration and international community to speak up unequivocally its concern about this case.”


And these are just the stories I’ve come across.

Please be in prayer for your pastor—and all pastors—today. Their calling is hard and too often thankless.

They and their families all need our support.

The regular Sunday Round-up resumes next week.

Sunday Shorts (11/22)

“”You will be hated by all for my name’s sake”

Video footage of house church raid in Vietnam:

Voice of the Martyrs provided this report from church members:

On Sunday, August 23, 2009, we were still gathering together for service meeting since this is necessary spiritual need. At 3 p.m., many district security officers came into my house. At that time, we were having service meeting, they came and stopped and dismissed us. We stopped and explained to them we had made the application of permission already, but they still blustered. Several of them towed Brother — out to the house and had him sit on their motorbike. They did the same way to —. They oppressed him ruthlessly and towed him; they did not allow for him to speak a word. And other women were towed away also. They did take away one guitar but they did not make a report to taking away guitar. After arriving at the district police station, they made the report with the accusation:  “They are gathering together illegally.” They used the abuse words and threatened Brother —: “If you came back this place again; you will be beaten.” … and at 6:30 p.m. they released us.


Ray Ortland’s Blog Joins The Gospel Coalition

Pastor Ray Ortland has joined the Gospel Coalition as their newest blogger. Fellow TGC blogger Justin Taylor describes Ortland’s blog as “edificiation on steroids.”

If that’s not a ringing endorsement, I don’t know what is.


Matt Chandler on Celebrity, Burnout and Diversity

Dustin Neeley, an Acts 29 pastor, interviewed Matt Chandler during a recent A29 event in Louisville. Here’s one of two videos from that interview:

HT: The Resurgence


In Case You Missed It…

Here are a few of this week’s notable posts:

The Seed of the Woman and the Seed of the Serpent: Consequences, continuing the Saturday series featuring George Whitefield’s classic sermon

It: How Churches and Leaders Can Get It and Keep It, reviewing Craig Groeschel’s very interesting book on church growth

What do you appreciate about your pastor, looking for ways to encourage our pastors

The Ultimate Christian Novel, Tim Challies’ satirical take on Christian fiction—Cassidy: Amish Vampiress of the Tribulation

Sunday Shorts (09/13)

Book Review: Fearless by Max Lucado

Tuesday was the official release of popular author Max Lucado’s latest, Fearless, and I, along with a few hundred other bloggers, published our reviews—some overly positive, some in the middle and some… well, less than pleased. Mark at HereIBlog.com wrote a wonderful review that I appreciated a great deal:

While Lucado does present life’s fears and difficulties it is almost as if man is a victim. Although he does use the language of choosing to live for God which shows some level of responsibility. What is not stressed is the sinfulness of man as the reason for his hopelessness. It is not just that people do not trust God and sin. It is that people actively rebel against God. People are much worse than they think.

Read the rest for yourself at Mark’s blog.

Matt Chandler: On Calvinism and the New Reformed

Leadership Journal released a wonderful interview with Matt Chandler, lead pastor of the Village Church. In it, he pulls no punches, speaking about issues of sanctification, the Calvinistic bend of his teaching, and the New Reformed Movement. Here’s a couple excerpts:

Your teaching is deeply rooted in Calvinism. How does that play into becoming more Christ-like? What is God’s role and what is ours?

I believe the sovereign God of the universe justifies us freely, and then we are called to run with him in sanctification. In the book of Philippians, Paul tells us to toil, strive, move, and press on. Paul is unbelievably aggressive when it comes to putting sin to death.

That is what drives me mad in evangelical circles, including some young Reformed circles. There is often a sit-on-the-couch-and-wait-for-God-to-do-something mentality that is unbiblical and wicked. It’s probably been true of every generation, but I can see it most clearly in the younger crowd. There seems to be so little war when it comes to sin. Like the guy who comes to home group every week and dismissingly says, “Oh, I looked at porn again,” “Oh, I looked at porn again,” “Oh, I looked at porn again.” That drives me insane. I don’t even know what to do with him. Where’s the war? Where’s the hate for sin?

The New Reformed movement is sometimes seen as a belligerent group. Do you think that perception is accurate?

I’m unapologetically Reformed, but nine times out of ten I cannot stand the Reformed community. I don’t want to be around them. I don’t want to read their blogs. They can be cannibalistic, self-indulgent, non-missional, and angry. It’s silly and sad at the same time. Reformed doctrine should lead to a deep sense of humility and patience with others. How it produces such arrogance baffles me.

New Calvinism is a young movement, and young people are often arrogant. Life hasn’t had a chance to beat the trash out of them yet. I’ll tell the young people in my sermons, “You can’t get into theological battles while you still live with your mom.” Or, “You can nail your 95 theses to the door once you own one.” Before these 20 year olds begin passionately defending their view of Scripture, I want to see that they are being obedient to it.

Do yourself a favor and read the whole thing as it’s all brilliant.

HT: JT

In case you missed it

Here are a few of this week’s notable posts:

Book Review: Fearless, my take on Max Lucado’s latest book.

The Difference is Jesus, a new website focusing on the shared passion of myself and Compassion: The Gospel

The 30 Minute Challenge, what would happen if you spent 30 minutes a day for the next week reading a book?

De-Churched

From Matt Chandler’s message Preaching the Gospel to the De-churched at Advance 09:

Advance: The Resurgence of the Local Church

The Advance conference begins Thursday in Durham, N.C. Speakers include Matt Chandler, John Piper, Mark Driscoll, Ed Stetzer, Eric Mason, JD Greear and more.

From Advance09.com:

Christ promises to build the Church, and that no force will prevail against it. Yet, the local church has been heavily battered in battle. Sadly, churches in America are in steady decline, with over 4000 closing their doors and 500,000 members leaving each year–never to return. This is not what the Lord desires. The Apostle Paul tells us that ” . . . through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places”. The local church is called to lift-up Jesus so that all the world might see Him. The local church is called to make known the Gospel and to be the vehicle of redemption for the world. Led by local churches, Advance09 is a conference committed to the resurgence of the local church for the glory of God. Our aim is to equip attendees with the Gospel so that the local church might become all that Jesus calls it to be. At this conference, we hope to ensure that on our watch and in our time we honor Jesus and see the resurgence of the local church. Advance09 is open to anyone: pastors and lay-leaders; church members and regular-attenders. We invite you to join us in this Great Cause.

Sunday Shorts (05/24)

5 Distortions of the Gospel in Our Day

James MacDonald offers up and responds to five of the most common distortions of the gospel in our day. From the article:

Our oldest son Luke, sent me a link a while back that quoted A.W. Tozer and James Kennedy (both wonderful Christian leaders in their day). Both men believed that many, if not most, professing believers they encountered around the country were not actually saved. They were deeply troubled by the distortions of the gospel that were the result of trying to get the gospel to more people—well-intentioned, yes, but eternally dangerous for the souls of men and woman who had not heard the whole message.

Read the rest at James’ blog.

Church gives Fresh Meaning to “Offering” Plate

The pastor of a non-denominational church in Argyle, Texas, passed around the collection plate to his congregants earlier this year — and asked them to take money from it.

Donations at the Cross Timbers Community Church had slumped because of the economic downturn. Pastor Toby Slough thought that his congregants had to be hurting, too.

His gesture, instead, was met with an unexpected response: The church had its highest offering ever.

Read the Rest at CNN.com

Matt Chandler: Shepherding to Truth

There is a big difference between shepherding people to truth and wielding it over others. I have been grieved lately with people whose doctrine is correct but whose methodology in engaging others with those beautiful truths has been nothing short of wicked. Let me explain the difference between shepherding to truth and wielding truth as a blunt force tool. In 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Paul, coaching Timothy through the Ephesian Controversy, says “And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth.”

Read the rest at The Village Church Pastors’ Blog. Part two is also available.

Compassion: What Pastors Say

Two days ago, Compassion International saw its one millionth sponsored child. In honor of that, I’d invite you to see what pastors say about Compassion.

If you want to sponsor a child, do so at compassion.ca

Transit Delays

So our plane was delayed by an hour and we missed our flight home on Friday night. Right now, Adam, John and I are sitting in a sketchy sports bar waiting for something to eat at midnight (we’re still running on Pacific time). Our new flight leaves at 9:50 am and we’re all looking forward to seeing our wives and sleeping in our own beds.

Since there won’t be much else to post here due to the travel schedule, enjoy a good word from our friend Matt Chandler:

Sunday Shorts (04/19)

Should you Talk About the Gospel in Every Sermon?

Piper at Desiring God:

The Gospel Coalition—Entrusted with the Gospel: Living the Vision of 2 Timothy

The Gospel Coalition’s 2009 Conference runs from this week, April 21-23, in Chicago. Speakers include D.A. Carson, Tim Keller, John Piper, Mark Driscoll and more.

If you’re unfamiliar with the Gospel Coalition, here’s a brief introduction:

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And Now for Something Completely Different…

So, Compassion decided it would be a good idea to team up with Rob Bell for a Nooma video called “Corner.” It’s okay as far as Nooma goes, but it’s nothing ground-breaking.

That, and I find Bell’s glasses distracting.

(I should note that while I work in Compassion’s Canadian office, my views should not be taken as always reflective of the organization.)

I’m Leaving on a Jet Plane…

I’m off to ad:tech San Francisco until Friday, much to my excitement. I’ve never been to the left coast before, so I’m a wee bit excited. Ad:tech has a great line-up of speakers and break out sessions, and I’m looking forward to learning a lot while I’m there.

more about “The Gospel Coalition“, posted with vodpod

Inoculated to Jesus?

Another clip from Desiring God:

Jesus wants the rose

Matt Chandler illustrates the difference between moralism and the gospel:

HT: Trevin Wax