The folks at Matthias Media have put six books on sale for the next couple of days. You won’t go wrong with any of these:
- The Trellis and the Vine by Colin Marshall & Tony Payne—99¢
- The Vine Project by Colin Marshall & Tony Payne—$2.99
- How To Walk Into Church by Tony Payne—99¢
- The Archer and the Arrow by Philip Jensen & Paul Grimmond—$1.99
- No Guts No Glory by Alan Stewart—$2.99
- The Thing Is by Tony Payne—Free
Crossway’s entire Reclaiming the Christian Intellectual Tradition Series is on sale for $2.99 per volume: Arts and Music, Christian Worldview, Ethics and Moral Reasoning, The Great Tradition of Christian Thinking, History, The Liberal Arts, Literature,The Natural Sciences, Philosophy, Political Thought, Psychology.
Recently I was talking with a new friend about his church background. I asked him if he went to church. “No” he said, “I’ve not been to church in quite awhile.” As I pushed a bit deeper he told me a number of things that helped me get to know him a bit better, but he also said some things that helped me to see how unbelievers view evangelical churches. This is particularly enlightening because my friend had been to a mega-church in a metropolitan midwestern city. From the outside looking in this church seems to be reaching all kinds of people. The parking lot is full, they have multiple services, and an annual budget in the millions. But my new friend hasn’t been back since.
Before I had kids, I told myself that I would not be the kind of parent who lived vicariously through them should they play sports. Having coached basketball and baseball, I’ve had moments where I wanted to call down fire from heaven on some parents. So I swore, by the grace of God, I would not do that. Needless to say, when he came home jumping up and down excited to play, I saw visions of him being a top pick in the NFL draft.
As our kids have gotten older, I’ve found remnants of that old fear coming back again and again as we try the best we can to make decisions for our family. In the midst of all of them, I am finding that active, gracious, intentional, consistent parenting is not for the faint of heart. It takes strength, resolve, and most of all, faith.
London is full of tourists seeing sights, but I felt more like a pilgrim giving thanks, on a quest to devote time and effort to a couple of men whose gifts have blessed me: C. S. Lewis and G. K. Chesterton.
Edwards wrote a lot about the threat of English Deists, who often questioned the authorship and reliability of various books of the Bible, including those of the Pentateuch. But for Lee, Edwards maintained an important distinction about spiritual knowledge and revelation, a balance that later defenders of the Bible tended to forget. Edwards did “make the case that the proofs for the reliability of the Bible were rational and based on universally accessible evidence.” That is, any fair observer could appreciate that there was a strong probability that the books of the Bible were what they purported to be.
Teenagers ask the best questions. I was serving as a pastoral intern during my second year in seminary, working primarily with middle school, high school, and college students. I received all kinds of questions from them. Some of these questions were what you’d expect: “Why is it wrong to have sex before marriage?” Some of them were humorous: “Is it a sin for me to troll people on the internet?” But one question came up more frequently than I expected: “Is it a sin to smoke marijuana?”
While I absorbed many of its lessons—clear communication, ministry excellence, community outreach—I began to have some questions about an approach that shapes the Sunday gathering exclusively around the unbeliever. I say “exclusively” because every pastor should have, in his mind, the image of a lost soul when he steps up to the pulpit to preach. He shouldn’t assume his audience is entirely made up of believers, and his preaching should be clear enough so the lost know how to repent and believe. Paul counseled Timothy to “do the work of an evangelist,” after all (2 Tim. 2:5).
There are, however, three vital questions to ask ourselves about our worship services.
A favorite from the archives:
There’s a sense in which we all (even introverted weirdos like me) love attention—and on the Internet, it’s surprisingly easy to get it. Now, the best way to get people to pay attention to what you’re saying is to have something worth saying… but sometimes that takes too long. Here are a few ways you can get attention on the Internets (even if they’re not the right way).