mgpcpastor's blog


Leave a comment

On Stuff And Stinginess (via Jared Wilson)

I knew a lady who hated the word ‘stuff’. When we meet as one of the small groups that she belonged to and one of us uses the word we all fall silent for a second and then, having heard her remonstration about using that word echo in our minds, all laugh and try to think of a better word to describe what it is that we’re referring to.
Jared Wilson wouldn’t know that, of course, so he’s forgiven.
Here he writes about what it is to have a God shaped hole in our hearts, and how futile it is to try and fill that hole with anything less.

…in Ecclesiastes 3:11, God has put eternity into our hearts. This is that God-shaped hole we hear so much about. Because we are made in God’s image, we were made for eternity, to carry the glory of the infinite. Because of sin, we are fallen. The glory is obscured; the hole is a wound. We feel the ache, but we don’t know how to heal ourselves. And yet we try. With pleasure, with achievements, even with religion! But especially with stuff. We throw anything and everything into that God-shaped hole, the eternity inside of us, but none of it will fill the void. You cannot satisfy the infinite with the stuff of earth. No, only eternal glory can fill an eternal space.

Read the whole post at For The Church.


Leave a comment

The Legalist’s Spirit (via Sam Storms)

Legalism among Christian disciples is the product of misplaced or misundertood trust that diminishes grace.
From Sam Storms:

Legalists feel good when they can identify another person’s errors. It reinforces their feelings of superiority. They actually think themselves more spiritual, more godly, and more favored and loved by God.
There’s a flip side to the legalistic spirit. In addition to being quick and dogmatic in identifying the small and rare failures of others, the legalist never acknowledges his own faults and failures. To admit and confess to sin or misjudgment is to run the risk of losing power, losing face, or losing prestige.
What drives this spirit? It is the belief that one’s own efforts and achievements merit acceptance with God and approval from men. Instead of resting in Christ’s achievements, confident of what he has done for us, legalists redouble their own works and take pride in what they do in view of what others don’t.
Look again at Mark 2:24: “And the Pharisees were saying to him, ‘Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the Sabbath?’” Or again, Mark 3:2: “they watched him closely” (niv). That’s the legalists’ spirit: always on the lookout for someone else’s sin; always scanning the horizon for someone’s failure to measure up to their rules, rules that aren’t in the Bible; always spying on the behavior and beliefs of the other person to root out the slightest deviation from their traditions. They nitpick and judge, nitpick and judge, nitpick and judge!

Read the whole post at the Crossway Blog.


Leave a comment

There’s Always A ‘Next’ When You’re Following Jesus (via Michael Kelley)

The maturity of disciples of Jesus shows in a consciousness that expresses humility about of how far we have to go, not pride in how far we have come.
From Michael Kelley:

We are on this road – on this walk – not because of our achievement but because of God’s grace in the gospel. And we continue on this road – on this walk – not from a sense of achievement but empowered by that same gospel. That’s why there is always a “next” when it comes to following Christ.
When we first start following Jesus, the “next” might be that we need to attack some moral impurity. Then the “next” might be the easier-to-hide sins of greed and pride. Then the “next” becomes how to live like a Christian in marriage. Then the “next” is how to die to our own preferences and desires as we seek to raise and lead our children. Next, next, next all the way until the “next” is how to die like one who follows Jesus. There is always a “next.”
But the gospel transforms this ever-present “next” of following Jesus. See, our “next” is not to merit favor. It’s not that with each “next” we think, Perhaps now at last I will at last be good enough to warrant the love of God. No, the gospel transforms our “next” in that we are growing into what we have already become.

Read the whole post at Forward>>Progress.


Leave a comment

The Day Jesus Said “I’ve Got This” (via Stephen McAlpine)

Stop whatever you’re doing and read Stephen McAlpine’s post The Day Jesus Said “I’ve Got This”.
No excerpts, no quotes, the whole thing is a highlight.
Really.
Read it.


Leave a comment

Seeing Bruised Reeds And Smouldering Wicks As Jesus Sees Us (via Tim Counts)

Tim Counts reminds us of the way Jesus looks at people, the way he looks at us, the way we should look at those around us.

Isaiah, in his expressive word pictures and poetic prophecy, describes hurting people as bruised reeds and smoldering wicks.
Bruised reeds were useless. Shepherds would make small musical instruments from reeds and once they were cracked, they would no longer make music. So they would be thrown out. Nobody would blame the shepherds for that. But when it comes to people who are like bruised reeds, Jesus does not despise or reject them. He will not break them, but he welcomes them and offers them healing if they will but come to him.
Smoldering wicks were useless. In a time that people depended on lamps for light, smoldering wicks did nothing but create smoke in the house and give little or no light. So they would be snuffed out. This made sense. But when it comes to people who are like smoldering wicks, people who create more smoke than light, people who seem to create more problems than they are worth, Jesus does not despise or reject them. He will not snuff them out, but he welcomes them and will make them a light for him if they will but come to him.
Reflecting Jesus’ heart towards broken and hurting people does not mean that we are never appropriately firm with someone who needs boundaries, and this does not mean that we believe in a squishy love that does not love someone enough to tell them the truth. Jesus was perfect truth and perfect grace all the time. But it does mean that we will see broken and hurting people as people who need Jesus like the rest of us.

Read the whole post at For The Church.


Leave a comment

The Hardest Thing For Anyone To Swallow, Especially The Winners, Especially You, Or Me, Is That We Are Objectively Loved (via Duo Dickenson at Mockingbird)

A post at Mockingbird by Duo Dickenson that contains phrase after phrase that I turn over and over in my mind.

But later, for many of us, maybe most, who have defined ourselves not by love but by demonstrating an ability to be lovable, failure is guaranteed. If perfection is your standard of lovability, you are doomed to an unloved life.
+++
We are judged by everything we are given. Every paycheck, every gift, every look from a stranger conveys more than the moment (but, also, is completely confined to it).
+++
If the world can reveal our worth or confirm our legitimacy or celebrate our value, it can also display our terminal inability to perform. And it is terminal.

Read Who You Are You When You Don’t Win at Mockingbird.


Leave a comment

Church Is A Slow-Cooker, Not A Microwave (via Aaron Earles at Facts And Trends)

A simple reminder from Aaron Earles that the a very significant part of the enduring fruit of Christian discipleship happens in the context of relationships and takes time.
The conclusion:

Because conversion, discipleship, relationships, and leadership all take time, it’s no wonder that change usually takes time in a church as well.
When we see new people come to Christ, grow in their faith, form committed relationships with others, and develop into new leaders for the church, change and institutional growth will happen.
In the meantime, however, progress and change can seem to be moving so slow. But it’s worth the wait.
You could probably microwave a pot roast and cook the meat, but the results taste much better with a slow cooker.
You can’t rush everything in church—and we are better off for it.

Read the article at Facts And Trends.