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A House Of Prayer (via Jason Helopoulos)

Jason Helopoulos provides counsel to guard against prayerless worship services, which will contribute toward prayerless Christian lives.

…worship services should be filled with prayer. It’s insufficient to sing a few songs, read a text of Scripture, sing another song, and close the service. Though songs can be understood as a form of prayer, they’re not enough. Without formal prayer throughout the service, we are robbed of opportunity to learn and participate in the prayers of God’s people.

Read the whole post here.

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Holding Fast: Songs Of Grace For Rebel Hearts – A Free Compilation Album From The Gospel Coalition

Holding Fast: Songs Of Grace For Rebel Hearts
A compilation album featuring some musicians I know and others I’m going to get to know.
The blurb from the Gospel Coalition:

Songs shape our theology. Curated specifically with TGCW18 and the book of Deuteronomy in mind, the songs of Holding Fast will help you remember God’s faithfulness and respond in obedience and worship. As God holds fast to us in covenant love, we are compelled to hold fast to Him.

As a compilation (drawn from existing releases, it appears) there are stylistic differences, but thematic unity.
Download for free at Bandcamp or listen on Spotify.

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The Comforting Church (via Christina Fox)

True Gospel comfort is meant to be shared.
From Christina Fox at the Gospel Coalition:

This story of gospel comfort in 2 Corinthians reminds us that we’re all united to Christ, and that when he is at work in one of us, it affects all of us. God’s grace multiplies as it works through the life of a local church.
The comfort God gives, however, isn’t for us alone. We can’t hoard it. The ways the gospel has changed us must be shared; the truth of who Christ is and what he has done must be voiced.
Based on this truth, the comfort we give to one another in the church isn’t the “you can do it” and “everything will be okay” comfort of the world. No, this comfort is honest about sin and its effects. It doesn’t sugarcoat or wish things away. Instead, it seeks hope and help outside of our own strength and in the only One who can save. It’s grounded in the glad news of who Christ is and what he descended to do.
What does such comfort look like in the church?

  • When the Spirit helps us put sin to death, we share that joy with other believers so they too can rejoice in the gospel’s power at work.
  • When we’ve endured a season in which God met us in our pain, we share it with other believers so they too can see God’s faithfulness.
  • When God provides what we need in the eleventh hour, we share that joy so others can know that God is Jehovah-Jireh, our provider.

When God strengthens us in weakness, when he heals and brings redemption, when he teaches us through discipline—in all these ways and more—we share that comfort for another’s spiritual good.
May our friendships in the church be unique. May they be marked by gospel comfort. And just as Paul, Titus, and the Corinthians experienced God’s comfort, may the gospel come full circle in our own churches as we witness and testify together to what our King has done.


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When Your Partner Is Down And Can’t Get Up (via Glen Scrivener)

Glen Scrivener writes ten thoughts that have sustained him as he supports his wife through mental illness.
They are his perspectives, shaped from his experiences, and he offers them for whatever others may gain from them.

Here’s one:

Your Oneness Is Deeper Than This Problem
It’s never “you vs. your problem spouse.” It’s always “you and your spouse vs. this problem.” Never allow the enemy to cast your beloved as the problem. A major way of maintaining this truth is to keep practicing truth number six: keep repenting, and openly so. It encourages your partner — and your oneness — if you’re also transparent with your struggles.

Read the rest of the article at the Gospel Coalition.

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The Reformation And Preaching (via Timothy George)

In this year of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, much will be written about the theological emphases of that era in church history.
Timothy George writes about the way in which reformation theology transformed worship and the place and function of the sermon.
From his article, two ways in which preaching was transformed by the reformers:

First, they made the sermon the centerpiece of the church’s regular worship. Prior to the Reformation, the sermon was mostly an ad hoc event reserved for special occasions or seasons of the liturgical cycle, especially Christmas and Eastertide. Most sermons were preached in town squares or open fields. The reformers brought the sermon back inside the church and gave it an honored place in the public worship of the gathered community. The central role of preaching in Protestant worship can be seen in the way pulpits were raised to a higher elevation as families gathered with their children to hear the Word proclaimed.
Second, the reformers introduced a new theology of preaching. They were concerned that the Bible take deep root in the lives of the people. The Word of God was meant not only to be read, studied, translated, memorized, and meditated on; it was also to be embodied in the life and worship of the church. What might be called the practicing of the Bible—its embodiment—was most clearly expressed in the ministry of preaching. Martin Luther believed that a call to the preaching office was a sacred trust and shouldn’t be used for selfish purposes. “Christ did not establish the ministry of proclamation to provide us with money, property, popularity, honor, or friendship,” he said.

George includes some quotes from the Reformers and more material on the subject in this article at the Gospel Coalition.

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Confessions Of An Angry Pastor – Part 3 (via Ray Galea)

The final post in Ray Galea’s three-part series Confessions Of An Angry Pastor speaks about dealing with the damage anger causes and offers basic ideas about remedial self-care.

Galea closing words:

My identity is that I am first and foremost a child of God and not an angry man. The good news is that by God’s grace, I’m making progress. My daughter in law of five years said recently that she has never seen me lose my temper. God is doing what he promised in transforming me from one degree of glory to the next.
So I join with many other sulking, sarcastic, intimidating, anger addicts and say, “I may not be what I want to be, I may not be what others want me to be and I may not be what God always wants me to be, but I know that I’m not what I used to be.”
Come Lord Jesus!

Read the whole post at Gospel Coalition Australia.