A Sermon for Sarah

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As many of you know, last week one of my former students from St. Paul’s in Maumee, Ohio took her own life.  Below is the transcript of the sermon I gave at her funeral this morning.  I’m sharing it as a word of hope for those who are mourning the loss of Sarah this Christmas or for anyone who has suffered from the suicide of a loved one… Continue reading

Tullian Tchividjian on the Theology of the Cross

Really needed to hear the last part of this quote today, but I thought I’d quote it in context:

“In the church, one hallmark of a theology of glory is the unwillingness to acknowledge the reality of ongoing sin and lack of transformation in Christians.  A sign that you are operating with a theology of glory is when your faith feels like a fight against these realities instead of a resource for accepting them…

A theology of the cross, in contrast, understands the cross to be the ultimate statement of God’s involvement in this world on this side of heaven.  A theology of the cross accepts the difficult thing rather than immediately trying to change it or use it.  It looks directly into the pain, and ‘calls a thing what it is’ instead of calling evil good and good evil.  It identifies God as ‘hidden in [the] suffering.’  Luther actually took things one key step further.  He said that God was not only hidden in the suffering, but he was at work in our anxiety and doubt.  When you are at the end of your rope–when you no longer have hope within yourself–that is when you run to God for mercy.”

Tullian Tchividjian “Glorious Ruin

Tullian Tchividjian on Contemporary Preaching

“Preachers these days are expected to major in “Christian moral renovation.”  They are expected to provide a practical to-do list, rather than announce, ‘It is finished.’  They are expected to do something other than, more than, placarding before their congregation’s eyes Christ’s finished work, preaching  a full absolution solely on the basis of the complete righteousness of Another.  The irony is, of course, that when preachers cave in to this pressure, moral renovation does not happen.  The focus on how I’m doing, more than on what Christ has done, is Christian narcissism–the poison of self-absorption which undermines the power of the gospel in our livesContinue reading

The Gospel in Suffering

“The good news of the gospel [for sufferers] is not an exhortation from above to ‘hang on at all costs,’ or ‘grin and bear it’ in the midst of hardship.  No, the good news is that God is hanging on to you, and in the end, when all is said and done, the power of God will triumph over every pain and loss.”

Tullian Tchividjian “Glorious Ruin

PS: Sorry couldn’t resist the Dawson’s Creek crying gif for this one…

John Dink, Cheap Law, and WWJD

“Cheap law weakens God’s demand for perfection, and in doing so, breathes life into… [our] quest for a righteousness of [our] own making…  It creates people of great zeal, but they lack knowledge concerning the question ‘What Would Jesus Do?’  Here is the costly answer: Jesus would do it all perfectly.  And that’s game over for you.  The Father is not grooming you to be a replacement for his beloved Son.  He is announcing that there is blessing for those who take shelter in his Beloved Son…  Therein lies the great heresy of cheap law: it is a false gospel.  It cheapens–no–it nullifies grace.”

John Dink’s post “Hallelujah, What a Savior” quoted in Tullian Tchividjian’s “One Way Love

Lust and Christ’s Active Obedience

This spring, I’m taking St. Paul’s High School students through Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount.  A couple weeks ago we came across this doozy:

Matthew 5:27-28  “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’  But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

Here Jesus up’s the ante and shows us the true intent of God’s law and it’s terrifying.  Purity rings, “TV Guardian,” and Ted Mosby’s “Sensory Deprivator 5000”  are of no help here because Jesus is dealing with our hearts. Continue reading

More From Tullian

“Jesus doesn’t need perfect vessels to accomplish his will.  He needs broken ones–men and women who have been slain, humiliated, disillusioned of all their ‘I can do it, really I can!,’ ‘This time I’ll try harder!’, ‘Just give me a little more time and some secret steps, and I’ll get it together!’ self-deception…  The one-way love of God meets us in our failures.  Our failures make His one-way love that much more glorious.  What qualifies us for service is God’s devotion to us–not our devotion to Him.  This is as plainly as I can say it: the value of our lives rests on God’s infinite, incomprehensible, unconditional love for us–not our love for Him.  Such relief!  We can finally exhale!”

Tullian Tchividjian “One Way Love