Happy New Year from Gerhard Forde

Here is some much needed grace-centered theology on Christian growth from Gerhard Forde that will forgive us for not being better people in 2013 and remind us that we probably won’t be much better in 2014.  In doing this he points us to the source of true life for Christians: God’s one-way love found in the Gospel.  Enjoy: Continue reading

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Can (or should) a Church be Marketed?

The title for this post was inspired by a quote I came across in John Z’s “Grace in Addiction” from a Franciscan Monk named Richard Rohr.  In it he expresses frustration in sharing the sober viewpoint of Christianity with others.  Rohr exclaims:

“How do you make attractive that which is not?  How do you sell nonsuccess?  How do you talk descent when everything is about ascent?  How do you talk about dying to a church trying to appear perfect?” Continue reading

Martin Luther on Christmas

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“In my sin, my death, I must take leave of all created things.  No; sun, moon, stars, all creatures, physicians, emperors, kings, wise men and potentates cannot help me.  When I die I shall see nothing but black darkness, and yet that light, “To you is born this day the Savior” [Luke 2:11], remains in my eyes and fills all heaven and earth.  The Savior will help me when all have forsaken me.”

-Martin Luther “Sermon on the Afternoon of Christmas Day 1530

The Preacher’s Job

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“The preacher’s job is not making Christ relevant to us but helping us to see his beauty–so that we may know what is glorious, wonderful, and joyous about our Beloved”

“The kind of sermon that gives us real help living the Christian life is not about us but about Christ.  It does not tell us what to do, but what Christ does.  It tells the story of who he is and what he has done for us and our salvation: he is the eternal Son of God who came down from heaven, the baby born of the virgin Mary, the rabbi from Galilee who taught in parables and went to Jerusalem where he died on the cross under Pontius Pilate, then rose from the dead on the third day and ascended to sit at the right hand of the Father, where he now intercedes for us and pours out his Spirit upon his Body, and who will come again in glory as judge of all nations and king of creation.  That’s the gospel.”

Phillip Cary “Good News For Anxious Christian

The “Wish Dream” vs. Christian Community: thoughts from Bonhoeffer

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“Innumerable times a whole Christian community has broken down because it had sprung from a wish dream.  The serious Christian, set down for the first time in a Christian community, is likely to bring with him a very definite idea of what Christian life together should be and to try to realize it.  But God’s grace speedily shatters such dreams.  Just a surely as God desires to lead us to a knowledge of genuine Christian fellowship, so surely must we be overwhelmed by great disillusionment with others, with Christians in general, and, if we are fortunate with ourselves.

By sheer grace, God will not permit us to live even for a brief period in a dream world.  He does not abandon us to those rapturous experiences and lofty moods that come over us like a dream…  Only that fellowship which faces such disillusionment, with all its unhappy and ugly aspects, begins to be what it should be in God’s sight, begins to grasp in faith the promise that is given to it.  The sooner this shock of disillusionment comes to an individual and to a community the better for both. Continue reading

tired of the hype…

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“Awesome…”  “Passion…”  “Unique…”  “Radical…”  “Relevant…” “Missional…” “Life Changing…”  “Transforming…”  “Growing…”  “Life-equipping…”  “Living-Your-Purpose…”

Is anyone else tired of Church hype?  Above are a scattering of words picked out from some church websites.  Judging from each page you’d think that these churches are individually ushering in the second coming of Christ.  Is anyone else growing weary? Continue reading