A Part of This Great Story

On Sunday we talked about Our Role in God’s Story, the Story about the redemption of God’s Kingdom. The following quote about God’s Kingdom Story was posted this morning on a blog called Of First Importance: Living Each Day in the Good of the Gospel.

    “The kingdom of God is the new and final age that began with the coming of Jesus. His kingdom is not part of the present age — an age where the flesh reigns; where people are divided, relationships are broken, and suspicion and competition dominate; where money, sex, and power are abused; where leaders are first and servants are last; where behavior is controlled by laws, and identity is defined by race, gender, or social standing; and where gifts and resources are used for the advancement of oneself.

    Rather, the kingdom of God is the new age. It is the age of the Spirit (Matt 12:28). It is the age of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit (Rom 14:17). The kingdom of God is about the renewal, restoration, and reconciliation of all things, and God has made us a part of this great story of salvation.”

– Neil H. Williams, Gospel Transformation (Jenkintown, Pa.; World Harvest Mission, 2006), iii.

Every day Of First Importance posts a thoughtful quote intended to help its readers set their minds on what is of first importance: the Gospel. It’s a good place to visit regularly.

Listen Up!

“Why on earth does anyone need a guide on how to listen to sermons? Don’t we simply need to ‘be there’ and stay awake? Yet Jesus said: ‘Consider carefully how you listen.’ The fact is, much more is involved in truly listening to Bible teaching than just sitting and staring at the preacher. Christopher Ash outlines seven ingredients for healthy listening. He then deals with how to respond to bad sermons – ones that are dull, or inadequate, or heretical. And finally, he challenges us with ideas for helping and encouraging our Bible teachers to give sermons that will really help us to grow as Christians.”

    • Where does the authority of a Bible teacher come from?
    • Why is Bible teaching offensive?
    • Why is it important to hear Bible teaching in church?
    • How can we actually enjoy Bible teaching more?

    These (and more) are the questions answered by this practical guide, which includes effective, hands-on suggestions for implementing each idea. All with the aim of helping us learn how to listen properly, so that through His word, God will make us more and more like Christ.

We will be going through this book together within the McQuinn/Jackl Life Group. However, even if you are not attending this Life Group, I would encourage anyone to read this book.

How to Fight against the Pull of the World

In a world full of God-ignoring philosophies, how can we remember who we really are in Christ?  How can we actively fight against the pull of the world that begs for us to ignore God and focus on the things that will fade away?  Listen to this less-than-2-minute excerpt from a sermon John Piper preached on “How Aliens Keep the Identity of Their Homeland”. [audio:|titles=How Aliens Keep the Identity of Their Homeland – John Piper]