James MacDonald – SPURGEON AND THE SHOPPING CART Sermon Illustration | Pulpit Stories | 2019

James MacDonald – THE STADIUM Sermon Illustration | Pulpit Stories | 2019

Natura fundamentală a comunicării Evangheliei

„În pregătirea pentru invazia din 2003 a Irakului, armata Statelor Unite a efectuat cea mai masivă și mai costisitoare simulare de război din istorie“, povestește Dr. Hershael York.

„Necesitatea de a examina inovațiile și legăturile tehnologice dintre diversele ramuri ale armatei a determinat Pentagonul să-l implice și pe Generalul Paul Van Riper. Fost președinte al Universității Marine Corps, aceasta nu era cadru activ în acel moment. A acceptat însă să comande în acest exercițiu forțele „inamice”.

Rezultatele au fost istorice și catastrofale. Înfrângerea virtuală pe care a suferit-o armata americană din pricina lui Paul Van Riper a fost echivalentul a pierderii a 20.000 de militari într-o singură zi, devenind subiectul multor articole, cărți și documentare.

În timp ce Pentagonul s-a bazat pe tehnologii avansate, Van Riper s-a angajat într-un război de tipul primului război mondial pentru a comunica în afara rețelei prin care putea fi detectat cât și alte metode neprevăzute.

Într-un interviu, Van Riper a susținut că natura războiului este imutabilă. ‘Tehnologia poate schimba modul de desfășurare al războiului’, a susținut el, ‘dar în realitate, natura sa fundamentală nu s-a schimbat, nu se va schimba și de fapt, nu se poate schimba. Ceea ce se schimbă și este mereu schimbător, este caracterul și forma războiului, iar tehnologia influențează acel caracter și formă. Trebuie să înțelegem asta și să fim atenți, dar nu asta este ceea ce ar trebui să ne conducă.’

Putem învăța multe din analiza generalului. Tehnologiile și inovațiile au schimbat felul în care ne prezentăm mesajul, felul în care decurge predica, programul din Biserica etc.

Cine știe ce forme noi vom mai vedea în generația noastră.

Cu toate acestea, ar fi o prostie și o nebunie să abandonezi simplitatea mandatului biblic al predicării Cuvântului de dragul îmbrățișării noilor tehnologii. Natura fundamentală a comunicării Evangheliei nu s-a schimbat, nu se va schimba, și de fapt, nu se poate schimba.

Paul Tripp: God doesn’t call people to be parents because they are able

Foarte adevărat este faptul că nu sunt un tată capabil, competent. Este perfect ok să mă simt inadecvat în acest rol incredibil de frumos. 

Sunt un păcătos ce creşte o mică păcătoasă. 🙂 

Sunt dependent 100% de mila şi îndurarea lui Dumnezeu.

Sunt perfect conştient de slăbiciunile mele şi mă rog să mă port cu milă şi har cu fetița mea. Nu doar acum când slăbiciunile ei sunt adorabile, ci şi peste ani când ele vor fi, poate, deranjante.
„Like everything else God calls people to, God doesn’t call people to be parents because they are able. If you read your Bible carefully, you will understand that God doesn’t call able people to do important things. Abraham wasn’t able. Moses wasn’t able. Gideon wasn’t able. David wasn’t able. The disciples weren’t able, and the story goes on. The reason for this is that there are no able people out there. They just don’t exist. And they surely don’t exist as parents. God did not create human beings to be independently able; he designed us to be dependent. It is not a sign of personal weakness or failure of character to feel unable as a parent. The reason you feel this is because it’s true! None of us has the natural storehouse of wisdom, strength, patience, mercy, and perseverance that every parent needs in order to do his job well. Independent ability, like independent righteousness, is a delusion. So quit beating yourself up because you feel inadequate; you feel that way because it’s true!

But there’s something else to be said here. No child really wants to be parented by parents who think that they’re able. “Able” parents tend to be proud and self-assured parents. Because they are proud of their ability, they act too quickly and with too much self-confidence, and because they do, they lack patience and understanding. “Able” parents tend to assume that their children should be able too, so they tend to fail to be tender when the weaknesses of their children get exposed.”

Paul David Tripp, Parenting

Subdivisions within conservative Protestant Christianity


There are subdivisions within conservative Protestant Christianity. These include especially “the prosperity gospel” and “the second coming is soon gospel, even as some conservative Christians resolutely reject both.
The former proclaims that being Christian leads to a prosperous life here on earth. A blatant form is inscribed over the door of a mega-church with more than twenty thousand members: “The Word of God is the Way to Wealth.”
The latter emphasizes that Jesus is coming again soon for the final judgment and thus it is important to be ready. Books proclaiming this have been bestsellers for decades; forty years ago, we had Hal Lindsey’s The Late Great Planet Earth and more recently the bestselling Left Behind novels by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins. How many Christians believe that the second coming and last judgment are at hand? The one relevant poll I have heard of suggests that 20 percent of American Christians are certain that Jesus will come again in the next fifty years and that another 20 percent think it is likely.

Marcus J. Borg, Convictions: How I Learned What Matters Most

The heart of John’s “high Christology”

With this as our framework, we should be able to read right through John and discern what he is actually doing. His Jesus is a combination of the living Word of the Old Testament, the Shekinah of Jewish hope (God’s tabernacling presence in the Temple), and “wisdom,” which in some key Jewish writings was the personal self-expression of the creator God, coming to dwell with humans and particularly with Israel (see Wis. 7; Sir. 24). But this Jesus is no mere ideal, a fictional figure cunningly combining ancient theological motifs. John’s Jesus is alive; he moves from one vivid scene to another, in far more realistic dialogue with far more realistic secondary characters than in most of the synoptic gospels. In particular, he goes again and again to Jerusalem, not least for various festivals—but in each case he appears to trump the festival itself, declaring at the Festival of Tabernacles that he is the one who provides the real living water (John 7), at Hanukkah that he is the true (royal) shepherd, and ultimately at the final Passover that he has overcome the world and its ruler, like YHWH himself overthrowing Pharaoh in Egypt, in order to liberate his people once and for all. John describes Jesus not only as the Temple in person, but as the one in whom everything that would normally happen in the Temple is fulfilled, completed, accomplished. That is why, in the incomparable final discourses of chapters 13–17, generations of readers have had a sense of entering the real Temple, the place where Jesus promises, as God promised in the ancient scriptures, to be with his people and they with him, climaxing in the prayer of chapter 17, which has often, with good reason, been called the High-Priestly Prayer. All the functions of the Temple—festival, presence, priesthood, and now sacrifice—have devolved onto Jesus. This is the heart of John’s “high Christology.”

How God Became King: The Forgotten Story of the Gospels by N. T. Wright

Speaking about overcontextualization, Richard Halverson writes…

“When the Greeks got the gospel, they turned it into a philosophy;
when the Romans got it, they turned it into a government;
when the Europeans got it, they turned it into a culture;
and when the Americans got it, they turned it into a business”
Frank Viola, Reimaging Church, Kindle

Pastor, Stop Lying

There are many pastors that are showing something in public and a totally different stuff in their private life. Some call this a double life. Spiritual schizophrenia.
I was very surprised, taking a break from my reading of Paul Tripp’s, Dangerous Calling, to see an article on Gospel Coalition by Ronnie Martin, written nearly on the same topic. He is speaking about a fellow pastor that „lost his way”, to use Tripp’s words. He describes the following scenario:

It was nothing „scandalous” at all, really. It was that he lied.
When asked how he was doing, he always replied, „Great!” When asked what he needed prayer for, he always offered some generic request.
He kept things guarded, impersonal, and close to the vest, even when others around him shared the depths of their heart. I don’t think I ever heard him apologize to anyone for anything, ever.
Yet he smiled a lot. He laughed heartily and kept things as „positive” as possible. But I saw how the people closest to him were positively crushed by his lack of vulnerability. I was one of them

The unbelievable aspect in this story is that Ronnie himself soon realized that is very tempted to lie also about his condition. Mentoring a young man, he was challanged to be honest.

I repented to him, praying that God would destroy the pride that kept me from sharing my heart to others. Pride is always the root problem. I wanted people to see me as someone who didn’t need the gospel as bad as I was telling them they needed it.
Praise God that the Holy Spirit faithfully reveals what our hearts conceal. Praise God that those no one hidden in Christ needs to hide anything any longer.

Now, this has a happy ending and it’s quite a gentle story compared with the painful and scary things you’ll find in Tripp’s book. It’s quite an embarrassing, humbling book and you may feel tempted to say that it’s speaking to a small number of ministers, but from his experience(and mine) that’s not true. Citește în continuare „Pastor, Stop Lying”

Why Moralism Is Not the Gospel – And Why So Many Christians Think It Is. by Albert Mohler

The basic structure of moralism comes down to this – the belief that the Gospel can be reduced to improvements in behavior.
Read the full article here