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Gathering To Hear The Word Of What Has Been Done For Us (via Trevin Wax)

Christians gather week by week. Our gatherings are centered on the Bible as the Word of God. This is both a testimony to the world about our belief that God communicates with us through that which is written, and a testimony that we all need to constantly hear that message lest we drift from its truths.
It is a word that demands a response, but it is a message that our response is not what saves us.

From Trevin Wax.

But the gospel is different. It’s not trying to get something from us. It’s a message about Someone trying to give something to us. It’s not a message of personal flattery; it shows our personal failures. It’s a message about human sin and divine salvation. The Word doesn’t point the spotlight at us, but turns our attention to Jesus, the Son of God, the Word in flesh, given for us. The gospel is a message for us, but it’s from God and it’s about God: who he is, what he is like, what he has done to rescue us.

source


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Subversive Habits And Spiritual Growth (via Trevin Wax)

Spiritual life is a struggle between the true narrative of who we are in Christ and the lesser narratives that seek to impose themselves as our identity.
We seek to nurture the true narrative, and we can adopt habits that deflate or subvert the lesser narratives from growing.

From Trevin Wax.

For years, people close to C. S. Lewis shook their heads in consternation over his habit of answering every letter that crossed his desk. How many books might he have written had he put aside those interminable interruptions and focused on his work!
Not every writer or thinker is called to answer every letter in the way Lewis did. There’s no divine command when it comes to well known Christians answering letters. This is another example of a “subversive habit.”
Lewis’s early letters (before his conversion) are suffused with snobbery. To put it bluntly, the guy was a prig. Pride, haughtiness, and condescension show up often.
Contrast the early letters with those that came later in life. There, we see a man who, when asked about spiritual matters, took time to respond to individuals with words rich in spiritual insight and devotion. Lewis’s decision to devote so much time to letters placed him in the role of a servant to his readers. By carefully answering others’ questions, he allowed them to set the agenda for much of his writing, and this discipline subverted the instinct of Lewis to call the shots.

source.


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Unreal Christian Quotes (via Trevin Wax)

Trevin Wax examines quotes wrongfully associated with various Christians.
I hadn’t heard of a couple of these quotes, but was familiar with most.
Given how often you read some of them, i.e. “You do not have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body” often attributed to C.S. Lewis, or the phrase attributed to Francis of Assisi, “Preach the gospel at all times; when necessary, use words”, it is helpful to know what is true and what is not.
Read the post at Waxs’ blog at the Gospel Coalition.


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A Guide To The Music Of Andrew Peterson (via Trevin Wax)

With a new Andrew Peterson record coming, and that record being Resurrection Letters Volume 1 – which has been promised for over ten years since the release of Resurrection Letters Volume 2 – there’ll probably be a bit of fuss at this blog over the next month or so.
Trevin Wax has done you all a favour (to borrow an Australian music phrase) and produced a massive overview of all Peterson’s album releases, from first to most recent.
Head over and have a read.
After the wonder that is Behold The Lamb Of God, I too, like Counting Stars and then Resurrection Letters Volume 2, but they’ve all got something to say.

Go and have a read, but most importantly, if you haven’t before


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Repentance – Hearing The Call To Return Home (via Trevin Wax)

The call to repent is a call to acknowledge I’m going the wrong way.
It’s not a punishment, it’s a gracious invitation to stop, turn and come home.
It’s a bittersweet familiar companion.
There’s a grief of heart that comes from the conviction of wrong, a grief of heart that is amplified when offence to God and hurt caused to others (whether intentional or unintentional) is acknowledged.
But ultimately there’s also a sense of relief and anticipation.
Home is a wonderful place.
It will be good to be there again.
I’m on my way.

Trevin Wax writes how repentance can never set against grace, because it is intrinsic to experiencing grace.

The call to repentance is the call to return home. It’s the call to be refreshed by our tears. It’s the call to be cleansed from all our guilty stains. We need the scalpel of the Spirit to do surgery on our diseased hearts, so that we can be restored to spiritual health.

Full article here.


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Does It Bother You That God Barred Moses From The Promised Land? (via Trevin Wax)

Some helpful thoughts from Trevin Wax on a biblical narrative that seems troubling.

Moses did not enter the promised land, because God’s true deliverer fully embraces and fully embodies the mercy and love of God for his people.
And God’s dealing with Moses amply demonstrates mercy and grace in judgment.

From the article:

God told Moses to speak to the rock, but Moses struck it instead. The rock had always been a picture of God’s grace and generosity. And in an earlier account, God told Moses to strike it, as if God himself would take abuse in order to provide water for his people.
But now, in this case, Moses struck the rock twice, without God’s command. His anger, frustration, and self-pity overtook him and led him to lash out at God. He was doing what the faithless Israelites did when they complained and grumbled.
All our sins come down to this: we don’t trust that God is for us. We don’t depend on him as our rock. We stand in judgment over others. We get frustrated and impatient. We resent God’s grace toward others. We think that God doesn’t love us or want the best for us. Trace the sin of disobedience backward and you’ll arrive at the sin of faithlessness.
But even here—even though Moses was sinful, and the people were undeserving—God still gave them water. And he still allowed Moses the chance to look out over the Promised Land before he died. Even in judgment, God shows mercy.

Read the whole post here.


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Praying For A Discontented Church (via Trevin Wax)

Trevin Wax writes about the deadly temptation of desiring a church where everyone is happy with things exactly as they are.

…we are right to pursue unity and peace in the church. But we are wrong to assume that the absence of conflict or complaint indicates that things are going in the right direction. The satisfaction of church members may be a sign not of faithfulness, but of widespread complacency.
Imagine this scenario. You’re a pastor in a congregation where there has been division and disunity over the years. Right now, things are better. Attendance is up. The number of complaints has fallen. People regularly encourage the staff and speak highly of the church. Every now and then, someone says: “Don’t change a thing. We love everything!”
Now, the temptation is to say, “Wonderful! Finally, everyone is happy” as if making everyone happy is the goal of your church. But that temptation is deadly. The mission of the church is not to satisfy the preferences of church members, but to spread the gospel of Jesus so that sinners are saved and find their satisfaction in him.
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We don’t want churches full of people dissatisfied due to their personal preferences going unfulfilled. Neither do we want churches full of people who are satisfied because everything is running smoothly. No, we want people who are satisfied with God but dissatisfied with the state of the world because they live and breathe the mission. They’re driven by the gospel and the mission on behalf of King Jesus and his kingdom.
As one of the pastors at my church, I am praying for more holy discontent. Our goal is not to make things satisfactory for our members, but to encourage and empower more members to be on mission together.

Read the whole article here.