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I found this at Justin Taylor’s site and found it helpful.

From Peacemakers Ministries:

As God opens your eyes to see how you have sinned against others, he simultaneously offers you a way to find freedom from your past wrongs. It is called confession. Many people have never experienced this freedom because they have never learned how to confess their wrongs honestly and unconditionally. Instead, they use words like these: “I’m sorry if I hurt you.” “Let’s just forget the past.” “I suppose I could have done a better job.” “I guess it’s not all your fault.” These token statements rarely trigger genuine forgiveness and reconciliation. If you really want to make peace, ask God to help you breathe grace by humbly and thoroughly admitting your wrongs. One way to do this is to use the Seven A’s.

1. Address everyone involved (All those whom you affected)
2. Avoid if, but, and maybe (Do not try to excuse your wrongs)
3. Admit specifically (Both attitudes and actions)
4. Acknowledge the hurt (Express sorrow for hurting someone)
5. Accept the consequences (Such as making restitution)
6. Alter your behavior (Change your attitudes and actions)
7. Ask for forgiveness

See Matthew 7:3-5; 1 John 1:8-9; Proverbs 28:13.

I had heard about Rachel Barkley’s testimony but had not taken the time to listen to it until today – the day that God laid her down to die…and live. I wept out loud in celebration for the Gospel and goodness of God demonstrated through Rachel’s faith as she embraced her cancer, defiantly stating that death is not dying. Rachel was 37 years old. Listen to her testimony. It will take an hour of your day, but it will be an hour well spent. You won’t regret it.

How should a biblical community respond to one another when redeemed sinners sin? This is my topic for bible study tonight. Here’s the OUTLINE.

  1. TEST CASE
  2. TWO KINDS OF SIN: Omission and Commission
  3. THREE THINGS WE MUST REMEMBER: Everyone sins, everyone needs grace, and the Gospel is sufficient for both our righteousness and wickedness
  4. CONFRONTATION IS NOT ONLY BIBLICAL, BUT IS A NECESSARY EXPRESSION OF LOVE FOR GOD (Leviticus 19:15-18
  5. WE MUST BEAR ONE ANOTHER’S BURDENS, INCLUDING OUR WEAKNESS TO SIN (Gal 6:1-2)
  6. UNREPENTANT SIN NECESSARILY ALTERS THE LANDSCAPE OF OUR RELATIONSHIPS (1John 1:5-11; 2Thessalonians 3:14-15; 1Corinthians 5:5; 2Corinthians 12:20-13:10)
  7. WHERE REPENTANCE IS PRESENT, FORGIVE ALWAYS (2Corinthians 2:1-5; Colossians 3:13)

Today The Baptist Press ran an article (be warned, if you read the article, the language is explicit) by Don Hinkle about The Bott Radio Program’s decision to interrupt one of its programs mid-show out of concern that the featured guest, Pastor Mark Driscoll, might respond with inappropriate or vulgar comments on the syndicated show “Family Life” hosted by Dennis Rainey. The reason for the concern was the topic: sex. For those of you unfamiliar with Driscoll, he was labeled as the “cussing pastor” in Donald Miller’s Blue Like Jazz. This decision is newsworthy because the national radio program has an audience of over 40 million people in 10 states. Bott Network founder Dick Bott made the unilateral decision to pull the interview mid-show as well as a scheduled second interview out of concerns “of what he saw as Driscoll’s penchant for using vulgarity in his sermons, especially his questionable interpretation of the Song of Solomon in a Nov. 18, 2007, sermon preached in Edinburgh, Scotland, and subsequently in a multi-part series entitled “The Peasant Princess.”

This is where the “news” in Mr. Hinkle’s article ends and the propaganda begins. Read the rest of this entry »

We live in an “impress me” culture. We evaluate things – particularly in the Western church – in terms of their excellence, eloquence, and sadly, their entertainment value. Think about it. How often do you leave a worship gathering thinking, “That wasn’t one of pastor’s best sermons” or “The music just wasn’t very good today” or “I just didn’t get anything out of worship today (even though God’s Word was faithfully proclaimed”?

Yesterday I read a post on Justin Taylor’s site with this quote: “The mature Christian is easily edified.” You can read the rest of Justin’s thoughts here, but in short, what this post means is that it is a sign of spiritual maturity when we are encouraged by the simple truths of the Gospel, even when someone struggles to communicate those truths to us in the most winsome, polished or helpful way. Are you easily edified?

The psalmist declares, “In your presence there is fullness of joy” (Psalm 16:11). This means that we can find unrivaled satisfaction in the Gospel, a deep satisfaction whose essence cannot be tainted or colored by our circumstances, no matter their heights or depths. However, I don’t always feel the fullness of joy in the presence of God, even though I cannot alter the reality that such joy is accessible to those who come to God through the mediating, sufficient work of His Son, Jesus Christ.

So what is the joy-killer in life? Read the rest of this entry »

In a recent interview with Christianity Today, Rob Bell, popular author, pastor, and face of the Nooma video series was asked how he would present the Gospel on Twitter. Here is Bell’s response:

I would say that history is headed somewhere. The thousands of little ways in which you are tempted to believe that hope might actually be a legitimate response to the insanity of the world actually can be trusted. And the Christian story is that a tomb is empty, and a movement has actually begun that has been present in a sense all along in creation. And all those times when your cynicism was at odds with an impulse within you that said that this little thing might be about something bigger—those tiny little slivers may in fact be connected to something really, really big.

This is the Gospel? Sure, Bell has been limited to a contextual sound-byte with the challenge of saying something substantive about the Gospel via Twitter. Twitter is reductionistic by its very nature. But, sorry, this is no where close to a lucid explanation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. What’s missing? How about sin, sacrifice, substitution, rescue and redemption – and that is just for starters. This is what our hope must be rooted in, not in some innate superstition or gut-feeling that there might be something bigger than us out there.

Christianity Today didn’t ask me, but if I were going to explain the Gospel via Twitter I might start here:

For our sake God made him (Jesus) to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him (Jesus) we might become the righteousness of God (2Cor 5:21).

“The same fire that melts the wax hardens the clay; the same sun which makes the living tree grow, dries up the dead tree and prepares it for burning. Nothing so hardens the heart of man as barren familiarity with sacred things…it is not privileges alone which make people Christian, but the Grace of the Holy Ghost.” – J.C. Ryle

I have really enjoyed the opportunities that God has given me to provide pastoral leadership and counsel to couples entering into marriage. The first wedding ceremony I led was for my sister and brother-in-law ten years ago. I have to admit that I had very little understanding of the significance of my role at the time. While I took my responsibilities seriously, my thoughts about the significance of marriage in relationship to the Gospel had only recently been conceived in my own heart and mind. I saw my role in their wedding as a mere formality. Yes, it was a privilege because it was, after all, my sister getting married. But I was ignorant of how I might be used my Redeemer as an instrument in their marriage. It wasn’t until I got married myself that I really began to understand the profound significance of covenant marriage between a man and a woman. Consequently, as I have been embracing the implications of the Gospel on my own marriage, it has significantly shaped the pastoral counsel and wisdom I’ve sought to pass down to couples about to enter into marriage.

I enjoy counseling with couples prior to the wedding, but one of my great joys in being a part of the wedding celebration is the God-given opportunity to present a charge to the bride and groom. A charge is an opportunity to encourage the couple and point them to God’s Word as the source of authority and wisdom for their marriage. My goal in every charge is two-fold: 1) Make it personal; and 2) Center it on the Gospel. Read the rest of this entry »