When Christ Calls A Man He Bids Him Come and Die

Follow Jesus to the Cross – Luke 9:57-62

What does it cost to follow Jesus? Even more important: What will it cost to not follow Jesus? Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, “When Christ calls a man, He bids him come and die.” If we are going to follow Jesus on the same path that He walked, it will cost us everything. If we want to pursue the mission He has given us, we can’t look back.

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Top Three Posts (so far) on the Mission of the Church

Here are a few posts from the archives focusing on the mission of the local church that I want to highlight. If you haven’t had a chance to read them, please read and add your thoughts to the conversation.

 

The Mission of the Church

The mission of the local church, then, is to make disciples of all nations.

I don’t think we can improve on that “mission statement” from Scripture. This is the purpose of every local church body and pursuing this mission together brings glory to God. To reject this mission and pursue another is to actively disobey our Lord Jesus.

Pursuing Jesus’ Mission With Jesus’ Means

Somehow I don’t think that Easter eggs or Oprah-like bribery is exactly what Jesus had in mind when He told us to make disciples of all nations. Jesus has given the church a specific mission and He has also given us the means to pursue that mission.

In order for the local church to bring glory to God and be obedient to Jesus’ commands we must use Jesus’ means to pursue Jesus’ mission.

Would Jesus Do Multi-Site?

Is it possible, as MacDonald suggests that the video venue is less about the celebrity speaker than a one campus venue is about the live pastor? Are Driscoll and MacDonald suggesting that Dever’s congregants are more consumeristic than the congregants of their multi-site campuses? That’s unsubstantiated and slightly offensive, isn’t it?

 

Eight Christian Books on the Amazon Kindle for A Dollar

Do you use a Kindle or a Kindle app? Do you enjoy reading notable Christian authors? Do you love a good deal?

Today I was scanning through some .99 Kindle eBooks and found a number of Christian authors that I highly recommend. Of course, you can scan through the 1.99 and the 2.99 deals or the religion & spirituality section for yourself but check out what I found in the “less than a dollar” section (sorted by bestselling):

Do you recommend any of these books? Do you use an eReader? Found any other good deals? Join the conversation in the comments section below.

Bible Translations, Tools and Tech for the 21st Century: HCSB

Translating, studying, and sharing the Bible has never been easier thanks to the technology that is available to us today. There are plenty of innovations out there but in this series of posts I want to share with you some of the tools I’m using and why. Welcome to the 21st century of studying the Bible!

The first part of this series will highlight the translation I use and why I believe modern advancements in linguistics, technology, archaeology, research and collaboration make it the best English translation available.

The Holman Christian Standard Bible is the most balanced version of the Bible that exists today thanks to contemporary scholarship, technology, and archaeology.

21st Century Translation – The HCSB is a contemporary, readable, English translation that is based on the earliest manuscripts. Other popular translations are actually revisions of previous translations (such as the NKJV and the ESV).

Rob Bell, Harold Camping, and Deviations from the Truth

According to Harold Camping: Judgment Day is this Saturday. According to Rob Bell: Don’t worry about it because “love wins”.

Camping and Bell both leave me scratching my head wondering if these men (and others like them) are reading from the same Bible as me. Have they found a new insight no one else has found? Or did they both come down with a bad case of exegesis?

I’ve been studying 2 Timothy 2:14-26 for the past few weeks and I think there are several insights in this passage about how to handle those who “deviate from the truth”.

Diligently Study the Word

The best way to understand if a false teaching needs to be challenged (or even if it is a false teaching) is to know the truth.

2 Timothy 2:15 says,

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who doesn’t need to be ashamed, correctly teaching the word of truth.

I won’t be held accountable for Rob Bell or Harold Camping’s teaching but I will be held accountable for my own. Will my teaching gain man’s approval or God’s? Will I eventually be ashamed of my teaching?

Before I respond to someone to correct, instruct, or teach, have I thoroughly sought to understand them? Have I carefully considered what the Bible says about the issue? As we read and study and memorize the real thing it’s easier to spot the counterfeit and know how to appropriately respond.

How to Effectively Plan Sermons

I’m currently developing a workflow for my sermon preparation and thought I would share my plan here. I’ve always had a pretty good informal system for sermon preparation but I am wanting to become more effective and consistent. This post is kind of a ‘note to self’ but perhaps others will get something out of it. I would love to hear your ideas as well.

Step #1 Gather Relevant Information [ongoing]

Before even developing a workflow for sermon preparation, it’s important to pray and think about the needs of the congregation and spend time listening to God. Are there specific themes or deficiencies in the body that need to be addressed? Is God giving you a message that has become a “fire burning in your heart” that you can no longer hold in? (See Jeremiah 20:9)

Keep an ongoing journal or a computer file of ideas for series, titles, illustrations, insights, etc.

What topics and books of the Bible have already been preached in recent months/years? It’s good to have some sort of spreadsheet that includes sermon text, topic, main idea and any illustrations used so that you don’t keep preaching the same thing over and over. The idea is to “declare the whole plan of God” (See Acts 20:27)

Are there other resources that could be useful here like a church-wide survey or a discussion with others in leadership?