The mission of the church: centripetal to centrifugal, and why it matters (Trevin Wax): The victory of the cross leads to the claiming back of territory; the people of God are the “vanguard” of a new redeemed humanity. Our identity as the people of God is inextricably tied to our purpose in being sent out. Here’s why this matters. If you see the mission as primarily centripetal, you’ll see your purpose primarily as bringing others in to your services. If you see the mission as primarily centrifugal, you’ll see your purpose primarily in going out to others. Both matter, but the New Testament stresses the latter more than the former. Read more at The Gospel Coalition.
11 questions for prideful pastors (and those who think they’re not)(William P. Farley): Pride is a set of spiritual blindfolds we’re born with. They blind us to the spiritual world and our real relationship to it. Pride keeps us from seeing our own sin—especially pride. That’s why a proud person can genuinely think they are humble. Read more at The Gospel Coalition.
10 spiritual benefits of journaling (Reagan Rose): There are many blessings to be gained from the simple act of jotting down one’s thoughts each day. I thought about the ways in which journaling has benefitted me spiritually and so, in the hopes of inspiring you to begin journaling or encourage you to keep going, I here offer 10 spiritual benefits of journaling. Read more at Redeeming Productivity.
Walk the endless shore of his smile: Why God delights to love you (Greg Morse) He delights in you. He smiles at you — and not because he sees someone smarter, taller, better looking, or holier standing just behind you. He looks each redeemed child in the eye and tells him of his love for him in his Son. This is who our God is towards us. Not because of our worth, but because of Christ’s. Read more at Desiring God.
How pornography makes us less human and less humane (Matthew Lee Anderson): Pervasive consumption of pornography dulls the mind: if we delightedly give ourselves over to falsehoods, we lose our ability to sort truth from fiction. Read more at The Gospel Coalition.
If I share the gospel it might ruin our relationship (Jordan Standridge): I know that every situation is different and that it takes a lot of wisdom, but generally speaking, I think that Christians wait too long to share the Gospel with loved ones. I want to encourage you to consider the following points to see if these are reasons why you haven’t pulled the trigger yet, and if they are, I encourage you to overcome your fear and to obey Christ by sharing Him with your friend. Read more at The Cripplegate.
The source of biblical boldness (Alex Kocman): Men wiser than I have already spilled much ink extolling the graces of pastoral gentleness, and we should heed their warnings, every now and then shutting off our phones and marveling at one of those sunsets. At the same time, I would contend that the season to be unduly nuanced is not in wartime, when Western society is diving headlong off the cultural cliff with hordes of well-meaning evangelicals in tow. In such cases, Scripture, not emotion, determines what is truly loving speech: “Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy” (Proverbs 27:6). Read more at AlexKocman.com.
7 steps towards a greater gospel focus in your church (Thom Rainer): Eighty percent of churchgoers believe they have a personal responsibility to share their faith, yet 61% of them had not told another person about Christ in the last six months. The vast majority of Christians believe they should share their faith, but few actually do. Christians should be eternal optimists. The good news should compel us outward with love. If you’re leading a church, what can you do about the fact that most believers don’t share their faith? Read more at ThomRainer.com.
How to fall again (Jared C. Wilson): If you’re a restored church leader—or simply a church member walking in repentance after a fall—you may have some obvious boundaries in place to keep you from the explicit routes back to your old sins. But there are some ways your new life might make you vulnerable to new sins. The Devil is cunning and is perfectly willing to cut you in the left side while you protect your right. How might this happen? What are some ways you might fall again? Here are four. Read more at The Gospel Coalition.
Are you schismatic? Examining your heart for the sin of schism (Jenny-Lyn de Klerk): The author gives 11 questions to ask of ourselves based on John Owen’s view of schism in the church. Read more at Historical Theology.
And now, the star of the show: How we inadvertently create a culture of personality around our preachers (Mark Galli): “Preaching is one time in the week when we have the opportunity to hear about something other than ourselves, other than the horizontal. It’s the time to hear about God and the wonder and mysteries of his love, of what he’s done for us in Christ. But more and more, evangelical preaching has become another way we talk about ourselves, and in this case, to learn about the preacher.” Read more at Christianity Today.
9 questions to ask before addressing cultural issues at your church (Jason Allen): The preacher must assess both the culture and the congregation in order to determine whether to engage certain concerns that arise. Clarity in this matter is essential, but how does the preacher gain such clarity? Let’s consider nine questions that will serve as indicators for the expositor, helping you discern the extent of the concern and whether it should impact your upcoming sermon. Read more at Facts & Trends.
Should women preach in churches? (Kevin DeYoung): Here is the question I want to address:Is there biblical justification, given basic complementarian convictions, for the practice of women preaching sermons in a Sunday worship service? Most people reading this column understand the immediate relevance of this question. I’m not going to rehearse the cases where this question has been raised or sift through recent responses online. Instead, I’m going to interact with what I think is the best case, from a complementarian perspective, for allowing women to preach. First, I’ll explain the argument for women preaching as fairly as I can. Then I’ll make a case why the argument—no matter how plausible it may sound at first—fails to convince. Read more at The Gospel Coalition.