Posts filed under ‘Thoughts’

The Salvation of the Church (1 Peter 1:1-2)


I recently began a sermon series on 1st Peter at Fairview Baptist Church. This is an excerpt from the first sermon in the series. To listen or watch the whole thing, visit our website.

“Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who are elect exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood: May grace and peace be multiplied to you.” (1 Peter 1:1-2)

At first glance, this seems to be a customary greeting for a New Testament letter. However, there is beautiful theological depth in every sentence of these first two verses.

Peter categorizes the recipients of this letter as God’s chosen people, spiritual exiles who are scattered throughout the world. Notice that Peter starts this letter by immediately celebrating the work of God in their salvation. They are elect exiles according to God’s foreknowledge.

Peter is not using these words to stir up a theological controversy. These words have the affectionate action of God wrapped in them. God’s has decidedly shown his favor and affection towards them in salvation.

To a church facing struggles and persecution, this greeting is a powerful reminder of reassurance. You are God’s people according to His foreknowledge!

Moreover, He has sanctified them according to His Spirit. Set apart by the Spirit, namely, for obedience to Jesus Christ no matter what circumstance life may bring. Therefore, God has not only called them out, but has also separated them out for His purposes.

Christians who are troubled by their circumstances might be tempted to doubt God’s love and care. In the midst of an uncertain and hostile world – we can rest in the certainty of the love of a sovereign God.

Don’t ever lose the wonder of your salvation. Salvation is a miraculous work of our Trinitarian God. The Father foreknows. The Spirit sanctifies. The Son cleanses. This is the ultimate foundation for our hope and encouragement.

It is no wonder that Peter then says (v.2), “Grace and peace be multiplied” to you.

What a greeting! Do not worry about the uncertainty of your circumstances, but rest in the certainty that God has called you. Moreover, God has sanctified you for a purpose.

August 25, 2015 at 9:36 am Leave a comment

The SBC, Pastors, and Politics


I was recently interviewed by Christine Wicker for an article titled “Younger Southern Baptists seek a less partisan approach to political engagement”. The piece was originally posted at RNS and The Washington Post picked it up soon after. Here is one quote:

Like a lot of Southern Baptists who are struggling to keep believers and attract new ones, Capps would like to see a “convictional kindness,” an approach that’s more winsome than confrontational.

“This generation is not going to be known for standing outside abortion clinics with picket signs,” he said. “I want us to be the generation that says, ‘We will adopt these children or we’ll stand beside you and help you raise those children.’”

You can read the whole thing here or here. I am thankful for the opportunity to contribute!

August 5, 2015 at 9:57 am Leave a comment

Resources on The Book of Revelation


One of my church members recently emailed me and asked if I could recommend a few additional resources on the book of Revelation. Right now several of our Life Groups are studying the book of Revelation using LifeWay’s Explore the Bible curriculum.

Revelation is a complicated book, however it is not impossible to understand. Even though conservative evangelical Bible scholars differ on certain passages in this great book, there is great wisdom in examining these different perspectives. Here is a list of resources that teachers and small group leaders can benefit from using.


  • The Message of Revelation – This commentary by Michael Wilcock is a good teaching and devotional commentary from a series that I have often found helpful.
  • Triumph of the Lamb – This is an easily accessible commentary on the the text of the book written by Dennis Johnson.
  • Revelation – This is a shorter commentary from G.K. Beale, one of the most trusted NT scholars today.
  • Revelation: The Spirit Speaks to the Church – This is a collection of sermons written in a commentary form by Jim Hamilton.

Study Bibles



  • The Gospel Coalition has built one of the best resource libraries available online. You can search articles, sermons, courses, and lectures through the left side navigation.
  • Desiring God has a wonderful resource library from the sermons and teachings of John Piper and others.
  • Daniel Akin has a large selection of sermons available on the book of Revelation.
  • Vern Poythress has made his book on Revelation available for free online.
  • G.K. Beale delivered a series of teachings on Revelation at the Clarus Conference in 2007.
  • David Platt has an entire sermon series on Revelation available at Radical.

I hope you find these helpful. May God increase your hope and longing for Christ’s return, and for the new heaven and earth where we will dwell for eternity.

July 22, 2015 at 11:35 pm Leave a comment

300 Gospel-centered Quotes from #TGP15


On Monday (May 11th, 2015) The Gospel Project hosted a free online event titled Gospel. Life. Ministry. You can watch the videos from the event for one more week here.

I collected around 300 quotes from the speakers and have included their twitter handle. Enjoy!

DERWIN GRAY – The Gospel and Religion

  • Good advice is what humans need to do to fix their lives, but good news is an announcement of what Jesus has done to rescue us. @DerwinLGray
  • The church is to represent the future in the present world as His resurrection life is in us. @DerwinLGray
  • The gospel is about what Christ has done for us, what He is doing in us, and what He wants to do through us. @DerwinLGray
  • Performanced-based religion always ends in either pride or despair because it’s all about you. @DerwinLGray
  • Every act of Christ’s obedience was a declaration of love for us. He did what we could not do. @DerwinLGray
  • Jesus is not a life coach. Jesus is life. @DerwinLGray
  • Jesus isn’t a blessing ATM. Jesus is God. Jesus is King. @DerwinLGray
  • The more we dwell on the good news of the gospel, the more we are conformed to Christ’s image. @DerwinLGray
  • There are a lot of people who love the Bible but don’t know the God of the Bible. @DerwinLGray

PAUL TRIPP – The Gospel and the Heart

  • My deepest problems exist inside of me, not outside of me. @PaulTripp
  • If you are able to convince yourself that your biggest problems are outside of you and not inside of you, you are no longer interested in God’s grace. @PaulTripp
  • The gospel rescues me from me. @PaulTripp
  • There is a spiritual connection between what’s in our hearts to what comes out in our behavior. @PaulTripp
  • What we value most will control our hearts. What controls our hearts controls our behavior. @PaulTripp
  • If I watched the last six weeks of your life, what would I say that you truly value? @PaulTripp
  • We need to be rescued from ourselves. The mess inside of us is connected to the mess outside of us. @PaulTripp
  • We cannot ask the law to do in peoples lives what only grace can do. @PaulTripp
  • If the law were able to deliver us from sin, Jesus wouldn’t have needed to come. @PaulTripp
  • We don’t believe in a system of redemption. We believe in a Redeemer. His name is Jesus. @PaulTripp

TREVIN WAX – The Gospel and Repentance

  • Repentance is central to the Christian life. @TrevinWax
  • As Christians, we must believe that all of life is repentance. @TrevinWax
  • Repentance and faith must be together for genuine Christianity. @TrevinWax
  • We must have repentant faith and faithful repentance. @TrevinWax
  • There is no Christian life apart from repentance. @TrevinWax
  • Repentance is controversial because it presupposes that there is something wrong with us. @TrevinWax
  • The world’s way of dealing with sin is redefinition. God’s way of dealing with sin is redemption. @TrevinWax
  • When we downplay repentance in the church, we create religious people who are on the way to hell. @TrevinWax
  • The beauty of repentance is that it gives us an authenticity about who we are and who we are before God. @TrevinWax
  • The closer you get to Jesus, the more you realize how much you need to repent. @TrevinWax
  • You don’t repent less as you grow in holiness, you repent more! @TrevinWax
  • The victorious Christian life isn’t the sinless life; it’s the repentant life. @TrevinWax
  • We cannot call people to repentance when we are not repenting ourselves. @TrevinWax

JD GREEAR – The Gospel and Family Discipleship

  • Good parenting techniques are awesome, but God is the only One who can shape and change our kids’ hearts. @JDGreear
  • When we externally conform our kids’ hearts to the laws of God without heart change, they’ll either break spiritually or become hypocrites. @JDGreear
  • We must depend on God’s Spirit to conform our kids to the gospel. @JDGreear
  • The gospel changes the affections of the heart. @JDGreear
  • By learning of God’s deep love for us, a deep love for God is produced in us. @JDGreear
  • Children are given to us to shape for the mission of God. @JDGreear
  • We need to release our children to serve on mission with God—either across the street or across the world. @JDGreear
  • We are to shape our children as arrows, pull them back on the bowstring of faith, and launch them into the world for the kingdom of God. @JDGreear
  • There are two gardens that God grows a child in: the home and the church. @JDGreear
  • When you grasp the gospel in parenting, you can rest and say, God…I’ve done what You asked me to do, I now leave it to You. @JDGreear
  • When it comes to parenting, we need to trust in God’s mercy and not our ability. @JDGreear

GLORIA FURMAN – The Gospel and Motherhood

  • The gospel transforms motherhood as we are transformed by God’s Word. @gloriafurman
  • Motherhood was God’s idea to glorify Himself. @gloriafurman
  • If motherhood is about us, it ends with us. If motherhood is about God, it ends in worship. @gloriafurman
  • Motherhood is an act of worship because we are utterly dependant on God. @gloriafurman
  • Our source of hope as mothers is found in the promises of Christ. @gloriafurman
  • As mothers, we need to treasure Christ when our hands are full. @gloriafurman
  • Our hope as mothers is not found in development milestones but in a person—Jesus. @gloriafurman
  • Our children are precious gifts made in the image of God. @gloriafurman

ERIC MASON – The Gospel and Fatherhood

  • Fatherlessness is in jeopardy throughout our culture. The church needs to engage this issue. @pastoremase
  • We need men who reflect God’s design for fatherhood. @pastoremase
  • Men, Jesus came to restore us to a new humanity, or a “newmanity.” @pastoremase
  • When God redeems a man, the gospel permeates every area of his life—especially fatherhood. @pastoremase
  • As men, we need to grow in our understanding of what it means to grow as a gospel-centered father. @pastoremase
  • Every area of our lives needs to be permeated by God’s Word. @pastoremase
  • Fathers, love in response to the sacrificial love of Christ for you. @pastoremase
  • The church is the place where manhood is clear. @pastoremase
  • We need to intentionally focus on biblical manhood in our culture. @pastoremase
  • The gospel permeates and transforms manhood and fatherhood. @pastoremase

BEN TRUEBLOOD – The Gospel and Student Ministry

  • Student pastors, you are called to be the watchman over the students God has entrusted to you. @bentrueblood
  • We are charged to sound the alarm of God’s salvation as the watchmen over our students! @bentrueblood
  • Jesus is pointed to from cover to cover. He is throughout the Bible. @bentrueblood
  • We need to consistently call our students to respond to the gospel. @bentrueblood
  • Our role is to blast the trumpet of the gospel to students at every opportunity. @bentrueblood
  • The gospel is not just for our salvation moment but for our entire life. @bentrueblood
  • We can’t pay Jesus back for the free message of grace. @bentrueblood
  • The gospel is not about us trying; its about us dying. @bentrueblood
  • We live life in light of who God has declared us to be in Jesus. @bentrueblood
  • If we just focus on behavior, we give our students a yoke of burden that will crush them. @bentrueblood
  • Students can’t will themselves to live for Jesus. @bentrueblood
  • We need to point students to Jesus, not to a list of do’s and don’ts. @bentrueblood

JANA MAGRUDER – The Gospel and Kids Ministry

  • If the gospel is not at the center of your kids ministry, you could be missing the whole point. @jana_magruder
  • The gospel is not an attachment to the end of a lesson. The gospel is central to every lesson. @jana_magruder
  • Teaching partial biblical truth is dangerous. @jana_magruder
  • Kids can understand biblical truth when we teach them the whole story. @jana_magruder
  • We need to teach kids that the Bible is a story about God, not a story about us. @jana_magruder
  • The story of the Bible is not about what kids should or should not do; it is a story about what God has done and is doing. @jana_magruder
  • The Bible is about God and His plan to redeem us. @jana_magruder
  • We must teach kids the whole story of redemption from beginning to end. @jana_magruder
  • Trust God to give kids the faith to understand the Bible. @jana_magruder
  • Teach the Bible to kids well, but trust in God to transform their little hearts. @jana_magruder

ERIC GEIGER – The Gospel and Groups

  • The gospel should have massive impact on our group ministry. @ericgeiger
  • The good news of Jesus must be applied to our groups. @ericgeiger
  • If there is not a deep connection between the gospel and groups, our people will form community on something other than the gospel. @ericgeiger
  • Community is only as strong as the foundation it is built upon. @ericgeiger
  • We need our groups built around something eternal, namely, Jesus Christ. @ericgeiger
  • People mature when the truth of the gospel is applied to their hearts, while they are in a receptive posture, from leaders they love and trust. @ericgeiger
  • The Bible calls us to gather regularly, to encourage one another regularly. @ericgeiger
  • Those who are in a small group confess sin, give, and share the gospel more regularly than others. @ericgeiger
  • Feed your people the truth. The content of our groups needs to point to Jesus. @ericgeiger
  • We will not see transformation happen when our groups are shallow. @ericgeiger
  • When people are in community, the posture of their heart is more receptive to the gospel. @ericgeiger
  • We need to launch groups to connect the unconnected. @ericgeiger
  • Leaders, develop other leaders. There is no such thing as an omni-competent leader. @ericgeiger
  • Groups can make a significant impact as the gospel is applied to people’s hearts while they are in community. @ericgeiger

RAY ORTLUND – The Gospel and Revival

  • The gospel is God’s power generator in this world to create a new community. @rayortlund
  • Only God can bring us back into God’s good graces through the work of Christ on the cross. @rayortlund
  • Only God can impart new life to spiritually dead people through the agency of the Holy Spirit. @rayortlund
  • The gospel is all about what God alone can do in power to make people new. @rayortlund
  • The primary impediment to biblical revival is our pride, self-assurance, and the thought that “we can build the church!” @rayortlund
  • We cannot do the Lord’s work in the power of the flesh. It must be done in the power of the Spirit. @rayortlund
  • We need to fail so badly, so painfully, so frequently that we depend on God alone. We need to hurl ourselves at Him for His grace. @rayortlund
  • We don’t cause revival. Revival is a gift from above. @rayortlund
  • We need to surprise people with how honest we are about our sin and struggles. @rayortlund

JOHN PIPER – The Gospel and the Glory of God

  • The holiness of God is His intrinsic, infinite, transcendent purity and worth. @johnpiper
  • When God goes public with His holiness, that radiance is His glory. @johnpiper
  • The glory of God is God going public with His holiness. @johnpiper
  • The glory of God is the public radiance of His infinite beauty and worth. @johnpiper
  • God does everything for His glory—for people to see and enjoy. @johnpiper
  • God does everything for His glory, not because He is an egomaniac but because He’s doing it for our joy! @johnpiper
  • God’s seeking to be glorified is virtually the same as Him seeking to satisfy me. @johnpiper
  • God is most glorified in me when I am most satisfied in Him. @johnpiper
  • I was made to enjoy the glory of God. @johnpiper
  • On the cross, God displays His glory and is glorified by purchasing our ability to enjoy His glory. @johnpiper
  • We have to slay the false promises of pleasure from sin with a greater pleasure, namely, the superior pleasure of knowing and loving God. @johnpiper

DAVID PLATT – The Gospel to the Nations

  • It is the pastor’s responsibility to fan a flame for God’s global glory in the local church. @plattdavid
  • We cannot organize revival, but we can set our sails to catch the wind from heaven when God chooses to move. @plattdavid
  • There are 6,000+ unreached people groups, and billions of people in the world who have no access to the gospel. @plattdavid
  • There are no unreached people in your office or neighborhood—because God has placed you there. @plattdavid
  • Unreached people are born, live, and die without ever hearing the good news. This must change. @plattdavid
  • Mission is the heartbeat behind all of Scripture. @plattdavid
  • Mission is in the Word, and the Word calls us to mission in the world. @plattdavid
  • As we pray for the world, God will give us His heart for the world. @plattdavid
  • How can you free up your church’s resources in order to give more to missions? @plattdavid
  • Wise short-term missions should fuel long-term disciple-making. @plattdavid
  • Is there anyone among your church right now that God is raising up to send to the nations? @plattdavid
  • With a steady diet of the Word and a steady exposure to the world, God will call people to mission. @plattdavid

TONY EVANS – The Gospel of the Kingdom and the Christian Life

  • God is glorified through the expansion of His kingdom. @drtonyevans
  • God has empowered us to be His kingdom representatives in history. @drtonyevans
  • The kingdom agenda is the comprehensive rule of God over every area of life. @drtonyevans
  • When God rules all of life, all of life becomes ordered. @drtonyevans
  • We are called to be full-time followers of Christ, not part-time visitors to His kingdom. @drtonyevans
  • Our lives are to be oriented and re-oriented to God’s kingdom. @drtonyevans
  • We are called to expand the kingdom of God to all of our lives, and throughout the world. @drtonyevans
  • The church is called to equip one another to make kingdom impact in the world. @drtonyevans
  • Many of our problems are related to seeking the culture rather than the kingdom. @drtonyevans
  • As Christians, we need to be committed to the King and His kingdom. @drtonyevans

ED STETZER – The Gospel and Missional Living

  • We are called to join Jesus on His mission to glorify God. @EdStetzer
  • The mission is rooted in God’s desire for His glory. God is a missional God. @EdStetzer
  • God is glorified by making Himself known. @EdStetzer
  • God sends the Son into this broken world to establish His kingdom. @EdStetzer
  • Jesus saves by defeating sin and death, forgiving and redeeming His people. @EdStetzer
  • Jesus came and served the broken and hurting. @EdStetzer
  • We are called to share the love of Jesus to a lost world and to show the love of Jesus to a hurting world. @EdStetzer
  • Jesus came to save and to serve. Jesus was sent and sends. @EdStetzer
  • The church is called to gospel proclamation and gospel demonstration. @EdStetzer
  • God sends His Spirit to empower the church for mission. @EdStetzer
  • God sends the Spirit to gather and scatter the church to live on mission. @EdStetzer
  • We are called to share the love of Jesus and show the love to the world. @EdStetzer
  • We are kingdom ambassadors sent into the world to declare the good news! @EdStetzer
  • The gates of hell will not hold back the advance of the gospel when the church is on mission with God. @EdStetzer
  • The church is redeemed for God’s glory; God is glorified when the church is on mission. @EdStetzer
  • The mission will be completed for God’s glory, and all things will be restored for God’s glory. @EdStetzer

RANDY ALCORN – The Gospel and Future Hope

  • Our glorification will ultimately be in resurrected bodies on the new earth. @randyalcorn
  • The new earth is our final destination, where we will be with the eternal King of kings. @randyalcorn
  • In the new earth, we will be with Jesus, we will serve Him, and we will worship Him. @randyalcorn
  • The redemptive work of Christ is far more expansive than we imagine it. @randyalcorn
  • Jesus is going to redeem and renew all things. @randyalcorn
  • The glory of God is manifested in all of creation. @randyalcorn
  • This is not the only time we will live on this earth. The new earth will be another chance to live life to the fullest. @randyalcorn
  • We will dwell in the new earth as embodied persons, enjoying the experiences of new life to the fullest. @randyalcorn
  • Jesus not only saves our souls, He will save our bodies as well as the entirety of good creation. @randyalcorn
  • We are to look for a new heaven and earth in which righteousness reigns. @randyalcorn
  • We are called to be so heavenly minded that we can be of earthly good. @randyalcorn
  • An eternal perspective is our reference point for all of our life. @randyalcorn

DA HORTON – The Gospel and Cultural Engagement

  • When it comes to cultural engagement, the Bible needs to be our final authority. @da_horton
  • We need a biblical filter that lets us know what we can leverage in culture for God’s glory and what we need to leave alone. @da_horton
  • 3 ways to engage culture: isolation, accommodation, intersection. @da_horton
  • If we isolate ourselves from culture, we are dealing with our sin in a very surface way. @da_horton
  • We cannot disciple sinners to be competent followers of Christ; we need the gospel to transform their hearts. @da_horton
  • Asking people ‘How can I pray for you?’ is a very simple way to be missional in day-to-day life. @da_horton
  • Scripture must shape our worldview, not culture. @da_horton
  • As we intersect with culture, we need to make sure we do not dive in and sink. @da_horton
  • We need to inject biblical truths into cultural situations. @da_horton
  • We can speak to a social issue, advance justice, and at the same time, point to God. @da_horton
  • We need to relate heavenly truths to the heart language of the people who are not living holy lives. @da_horton

TRILLIA NEWBELL – The Gospel and Race

  • We should have a childlike delight in the God-given diversity of humanity. @trillianewbell
  • Jesus Christ died on a cross for every tribe, tongue, and nation. @trillianewbell
  • The gospel reconciles us first to God and then to one another. @trillianewbell
  • God did not have to send His son to die in our place, but He did! @trillianewbell
  • The gospel is a race transcending gospel. It is the good news for all people. @trillianewbell
  • The church should mirror the diversity that we see in Revelation, where every tribe and tongue worships before the throne. @trillianewbell
  • How can we reflect God’s delight in diversity if we are not communicating with those who are not like us? @trillianewbell
  • We are more the same than we are different. We are one in Christ. @trillianewbell
  • The diversity of our churches displays that the gospel is race transcending. @trillianewbell

TRIP LEE – The Gospel and Life Ambition

  • God has expectations for us. God’s expectations for us are rooted in why He created us. @TripLee
  • God created us to bring praise, honor, and glory to Him! @TripLee
  • Our expectations for life should be shaped by Scripture. @TripLee
  • Scripture reorients our expectations for life. @TripLee
  • When it comes to directing your ambitions, think about your gifting, desires, and opportunity. @TripLee
  • Dream big for God’s glory, not for your glory. @TripLee
  • Our ambition can’t be about people seeing us; it needs to be about people seeing Jesus more clearly. @TripLee
  • What are you shooting for? What is your goal? Life is much more than getting through the day. @TripLee
  • Work to the glory of God. Love others for the glory of God. @TripLee
  • In the mundane routines of life, we need a bigger vision for God’s glory! @TripLee

JEN WILKIN – The Gospel and Women’s Ministry

  • Women’s ministry is vital to the mission of the church. @jenniferwilkin
  • The teaching burden of raising disciples falls to men and women. @jenniferwilkin
  • There is something that women bring to other women that is unique when it comes to discipleship. @jenniferwilkin
  • There is something unique that happens when women gather with other women for the study of God’s Word. @jenniferwilkin
  • Women’s ministry facilitates gatherings where women can just be women. @jenniferwilkin
  • Women’s gatherings allow women to build synergy and shared interest in the insights of life. @jenniferwilkin
  • Women’s ministry can help facilitate the input of women into the direction of the church. @jenniferwilkin
  • We need to leverage the gifts and insights of women so that men and women can serve side by side in the mission of the church. @jenniferwilkin
  • Women’s ministry is not about creating events that generate a certain emotion. Women are craving a deeper ministry. @jenniferwilkin
  • Women are not a nice but unnecessary addition to the church. Women are essential to the mission of the church. @jenniferwilkin
  • The Great Commission happens as women contribute in meaningful ways, which they were created for. @jenniferwilkin

DHATI LEWIS – The Gospel and Discipleship

  • Discipleship involves our capacity to lovingly embody the person and work of Jesus and transfer that to His followers. @dhati
  • Jesus was the only person ever to walk the earth who had all the gifts of the Spirit. @dhati
  • In order to see the fullness of the gifts of the Spirit, we need the entire church. @dhati
  • It takes a church to raise a Christian. @dhati
  • We proclaim Christ in order to bring people into maturity. @dhati
  • Discipleship is not a “me” responsibility; it’s a “we” responsibility. @dhati
  • My fear is that we have reduced discipleship to mentorship. We don’t need people to look like us; they need to look like Jesus. @dhati
  • As the church, we need to mobilize the entire body for discipleship. @dhati
  • Discipleship is not a ministry of your church; it is the ministry of your church. @dhati
  • We need to ask every person in our church, How are you making disciples? @dhati
  • We need to establish a culture of discipleship in the local church by unleashing an army of people intentionally making disciples. @dhati

JEFF VANDERSTELT – The Gospel and Community

  • In order to really understand the gospel, we need to be in a community where we can see the impact of the gospel. @JeffVanderstelt
  • The community that believes the gospel and lives in light of that gospel is one of the most powerful apologetics. @JeffVanderstelt
  • In the gospel we are reconciled with God and work out that reconciliation with other people. @JeffVanderstelt
  • The gospel is good news that actually changes things. @JeffVanderstelt
  • The community that believes the gospel gets to show the impact of the gospel to the world around them. @JeffVanderstelt
  • The community is the place where your need for the gospel is powerfully revealed. @JeffVanderstelt
  • Whatever God does to us, He intends to do through us. @JeffVanderstelt
  • The community not only reveals our need for the gospel, it is also through community that we express how the gospel changes us. @JeffVanderstelt
  • As Christians, we have become a new person and part of a new community. @JeffVanderstelt
  • The gospel imperative of loving others cannot happen in isolation. @JeffVanderstelt
  • The gospel indicatives (who God is, what He has done) lead to the gospel imperatives (how we love one another). @JeffVanderstelt
  • Jesus came to serve us so that we could become the servants of God. @JeffVanderstelt
  • Jesus serves us; now we serve others as an act of worship to Him. @JeffVanderstelt
  • Jesus laid down His life for us. We are to lay down our lives to serve others. @JeffVanderstelt
  • We have the same power that raised Jesus from the dead to enable us to live a new life. @JeffVanderstelt
  • My need for the Holy Spirit is most revealed when I am on mission serving others. @JeffVanderstelt
  • Being on mission leads us to the end of ourselves so that we begin to walk in the power of the Spirit. @JeffVanderstelt
  • God wants His people to live as a community on mission in all of life in such a way that they need the power of the Spirit. @JeffVanderstelt

LOUIE GIGLIO – The Gospel and Worship

  • Worship is our response, both personal and corporate, to who God is and what He has done, expressed in and by what we say and how we live. @louiegiglio
  • Worship is all of life lived for the glory of God in response to the grace of God. @louiegiglio
  • Worship happens when God’s people respond to the greatness of God! @louiegiglio
  • Worship is bigger than the songs we sing on Sunday; it’s a way of life. @louiegiglio
  • The gospel is the essential hinge to our worship. @louiegiglio
  • Where there is no gospel, there is no worship. @louiegiglio
  • Jesus came to earth not to make bad people good people but to make dead people alive. @louiegiglio
  • We were dead. But now, because of God’s grace, we are forever alive! This is where worship begins. @louiegiglio
  • Worship doesn’t start with singing. Singing starts with seeing. Until our eyes are opened to see the beauty of the gospel, there will be no song in the church. @louiegiglio
  • I don’t serve God because I should or ought but because I may serve God. It is a privilege. @louiegiglio
  • I couldn’t worship because I was dead. But now I am alive. I have God’s breath, and that allows me to worship. @louiegiglio
  • God breathes life into us, and when we exhale in worship, we say, Thank You, God! @louiegiglio
  • The gospel gets deep down inside of us and carries us upward in worship. @louiegiglio
  • If we want people to worship, we have to continue to show them the beauty of the gospel. @louiegiglio

THABITI ANYABWILE – The Gospel and Church Leadership Development

  • Leaders are a blessing, a gift to the church. We must receive them with gladness and recognize them when they exist. @ThabitiAnyabwil
  • In a sense, the entire lifeline of a church depends upon faithful leadership. @ThabitiAnyabwil
  • We need leaders who are saturated in the gospel! @ThabitiAnyabwil
  • We need leaders who are biblical theologians, who understand how the Bible fits together as a whole. @ThabitiAnyabwil
  • Almost every heresy of our day is an error in biblical theology. @ThabitiAnyabwil
  • Having leaders who know the Bible protects the church by guarding doctrine. @ThabitiAnyabwil
  • A leader should be a biblical evangelist, committed to that good news for themselves and for making that good news known to others. @ThabitiAnyabwil
  • A good leader is a humble follower of Jesus. @ThabitiAnyabwil
  • With all the authority in heaven and earth, Jesus uses His authority for the good of sinners. @ThabitiAnyabwil
  • As leaders, we live in love and live in service. @ThabitiAnyabwil
  • A leader embraces good discipline. @ThabitiAnyabwil
  • A good leader submits himself to God’s Word and receives correction from others. @ThabitiAnyabwil

MATT CHANDLER – The Gospel-Centered Church

  • Most churches consider themselves to be gospel-centered; however, many churches walk in a type of moralism that is counter-gospel. @MattChandler74
  • A gospel-centered church consistently reminds their people of the gospel. @MattChandler74
  • A gospel-centered church consistently reminds their people of who they were before they heard the gospel. @MattChandler74
  • A gospel-centered church consistently celebrates the present power of the gospel for daily life. @MattChandler74
  • Are you, in your philosophy and practice, reminding people of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ? @MattChandler74
  • Is there a disjoint in your doctrinal statements and what you actually do in your church? @MattChandler74
  • What do the words of the songs you sing in worship reinforce and teach? @MattChandler74
  • Do your sermons consistently point to the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ? @MattChandler74
  • If you are not reminding people of who they were before they were saved, you will establish an us vs. them mentality. @MattChandler74
  • Are the people in your church on mission? @MattChandler74
  • Is there an us vs. them mentality in your church? @MattChandler74
  • Are the people in your church afraid of sinners or do they sinfully judge sinners? @MattChandler74
  • The gospel is the very fuel by which our lives are lived and our obedience is driven.
  • The gospel brings forth our fruitfulness. @MattChandler74
  • Does part of your discipleship process teach people to preach the gospel to themselves? @MattChandler74
  • Is there an acknowledgment of struggle and weakness? A freedom to repent? @MattChandler74
  • Confession and repentance is an ongoing ethic in the Christian life. @MattChandler74
  • Our weakness reveals the strength of Christ. @MattChandler74
  • Our theology drives our philosophy of ministry, which drives our practice. @MattChandler74

May 15, 2015 at 12:52 pm Leave a comment

Free Online Event: Gospel. Life. Ministry

Over the past few months, Andrew Hudson and I have traveled extensively in order to capture 24 teaching videos from some of the most respected pastors and church leaders of our generation. It has been a great joy to work on this project because we know that this free event is for the encouragement and enrichment of the Church.

On May 11th, set aside some time in order to take part in this free online event sponsored by The Gospel Project. Check out the list of speakers, their topics, and sign up at:

April 24, 2015 at 10:10 am Leave a comment

Win A Pastor’s Library Set!

IMG_5542Enter To Win!

Sign up to preview a full month of The Gospel Project’s Christ-centered curriculum for kids, students, and adults and you will be entered in a contest to win a pastor’s library set from B&H Publishers (valued at $275)

  • Theology: A Theology for the Church edited by Daniel Akin
  • Old Testament: The World and the Word by Eugene Merrill, Mark Rooker, and Michal Crisanti
  • New Testament: The Cradle, The Cross, and The Crown by Andreas Kostenberger, Scott Kellum, and Charles Quarles
  • Missions: Introduction to Global Missions by Zane Pratt, David Sills, and Jeff Walters
  • Ethics: Introduction to Biblical Ethics by David Jones
  • Apologetics: Tough-Minded Christianity, edited by William Dembski and Thomas Schirrmacher
  • Philosophy: The Love of Wisdom by Steven Cowan and James Spiegel

This would be a great addition to your library, or a great gift for your pastor. Enter to win here. 

December 10, 2014 at 8:28 am Leave a comment

50 Quotes from Will Metzger’s “Tell the Truth”

TelltheTruthI first read Will Metzger’s Tell the Truth: The Whole Gospel Wholly by Grace Communicated Truthfully & Lovingly at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. Will Metzger has been a campus minister at the University of Delaware since 1965, where he serves with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship and Christian InterAction. Here is an introduction to the main points of his book Tell the Truth:

“Witnessing is confined to a rehearsal of a few gospel facts in the hearing of a nonbeliever. Broadly defined, it is whatever we do as Christians before the watching world.”[1]

“The airplane of Christian witnessing has two wings: our lives (conduct) and our lips (conversation).”[2]

“The content of our message is Christ and God, not our journey to faith. Our personal testimony may be included, but witnessing is more than reciting our spiritual autobiography. Specific truths about a specific person are the subject of our proclamation. A message has been committed to us- a word of reconciliation to the world.”[3]

“Martyn Lloyd-Jones has drawn the following foundational principles for evangelism:

  1. The supreme object of the work of evangelism is to glorify God, not to save souls.
  2. The only power that can do this work is the Holy Spirit, not our own strength.
  3. The one and only medium through which the spirit works is the Scriptures, therefore, we “reason out of the Scriptures” like Paul did.
  4. These preceding principles give us the true motivation for evangelism- a zeal for God and a love for others.
  5. There is constant danger of heresy through a false zeal and employment of unscriptural methods.

Understanding that God, not us, is the evangelizer (the one who brings the results) is wonderfully liberating.”[4]

Principles for Evaluating ‘Evangelism Methods’

  1. What truth was taught?[5]
  2. Was the nature of God defined clearly and its implications impressed on the mind and the heart lovingly and firmly?[6]

“I have found three questions helpful to guard against this aberration:

  1. Were the truth points of the gospel elaborated on clearly so that a meaningful response was possible?
  2. Did appropriate Scripture probe the conscience, or only reinforce sinful desires?
  3. Was the impression given that they can decide for Christ by their own abilities whenever convenient?”[7]

“Our evangelism needs to stress a God of holiness, not just a God who exists to give us good times and pleasant feelings. We gained redemption through a sovereign Savior rather than through a relationship to him as a mere friend.”[8]

“There is a ‘truth bomb’ ticking away in evangelical Christianity that could explode misconceptions in evangelism. This bomb’s ingredients are the sovereignty of grace, dependence on prayerful pleading, truth-centered witnessing, genuine love and friendliness.”[9]

The Five Primary Points of the Gospel

1. God: Our Owner, Father, Judge.

“We must give people a thorough grounding in the character of God as the self-sufficient Creator as part of our basic Gospel.”[10]

2. God-Centered Living: The Two Rules of the Road.

“It compels conviction of sin and reveals a compassionate Savior, guilt (law) and forgiveness (love).”[11]

“Repentance before God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ are the goals of the gospel.”[12]

“God has designed a way for us to live.”[13]

“It is essential that they measure themselves by God’s requirements.”[14]

3. Self-Centered Living: Separated and Enslaved

“The corruption of what is best will lead to the worst results.”

“How can human beings be so inconsistent? At one time they display self-sacrifice, at the next moment they are all selfishness and pride. This point of tension is explained by the Christian view of human nature. When people are able to see a reason for the human paradox, they may begin to admit sin is in their nature and a radical solution is therefore needed. Man plays God and man fights God.”

Bring back to God’s holiness;

“God’s rules requiring perfect obedience to see how powerless we are.”[15]

“If we don’t treat people as persons when we witness to them, we deny a basic tenet of the very gospel in which we believe. If we turn this outline into a formula, we have depersonalized those we encounter.”

“In explaining what it means to be human, we must vividly contrast Genesis 2 and 3 (creation and Fall) and personally punctuate Romans 1:18-23 (Creature tries to be Creator).”[16]

“to admit I am sinful in my nature (not just that I make mistakes or am imperfect), and by simply not loving God (vertical relationship) I have offended his holiness, making me liable for punishment.”[17]

4. Jesus Christ: The Way back to Life.

“The law convicts but is powerless to convert a person.”[18]

“It is the dying Savior on a cross who causes us to hate sin and surrender to love.

  1. The cross shows us how heinous sin is. (The innocent Son was punished)
  2. The cross reveals a way of forgiveness consistent with the justice of God.
  3. The cross demonstrates the love of God.”[19]

“grace is costly but free.”[20]

“Much of witnessing is bringing people to understand and feel the extent of their helplessness and corruption.”[21]

Christ “provides for us two things his Father required of us:

  1. Our obligation to live a morally perfect life.
  2. The punishment we deserve for disobeying God’s holy law.”[22]

“The fire of God’s wrath has touched down at one particular point in history. And when it did, it utterly consumed a man as he hung on the cross.”[23]

5. Our Necessary Response: Coming Home to Jesus.

“If God is sovereign, and if the person’s conviction is of the Holy Spirit, then God can finish what he has begun.”[24]

Assurance: “The first pillar of assurance is a trust in the promises of God as being promises to you. You count them true and take them personally. The second is the beginning of a change in your attitudes and actions corresponding to the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5) and the marks of salvation (1 Jn). The third is the inner witness of God’s Spirit to your spirit that you are his child (Rom 8).[25]

“When we sin it is to be expected that our assurance of salvation will be weakened.”[26]

“Remind them of the three tenses of salvation: I have been saved (Eph 2:8), I am being saved (1 Cor 1:18), I will be saved (Rom 5:9). The basis of assurance of salvation is threefold: the promises of God made real to the heart, the inner testimony of God’s Spirit to our Spirit, and the production of attitudes and actions congruent with the fruit of the Spirit and God’s commandments.

  1. Test of Consciousness of Sin (1 Jn 1:8, 10)
  2. Test of Obedience (1 Jn 2:3-5, 29)
  3. Test of Freedom from Habitual Sin (1 Jn 3:9; 5:18)
  4. Test of Love for Other Christians (1 Jn 3:14; 4:7-8)
  5. Test of Belief (1 Jn 5:1)
  6. Test of Overcoming the World and Satan (1 Jn 2:13-14; 5:4)”[27]

Note: The Biblical mandate to ‘examine yourself’ can be found in 2 Cor 13:5

“Regeneration and conversion are words to describe two different ways of viewing salvation. Regeneration is viewing salvation from God’s side; it is an instantaneous impartation of new life to the soul…Conversion, on the other hand, is viewing salvation from our perspective. It is a process of the entire work of God’s grace from the first drawing of understanding and seeking to final closing with Christ in new birth…We respond in time to God’s action in eternity.”[28]

F.W. Faber once said, “Deep theology is the best fuel of devotion; it readily catches fire, and once kindled it burns long.”[29]

“In witnessing we must be emotional. How can we not? We’re talking of the deepest love in the world. We’re pressing on the conscience the awful anger of God against personal sin and social injustice. We’re communicating the reconciled peace of God. Our theme is the liberating joy of no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus, the Jesus who wept over Jerusalem’s unbelief.”[30]

“It is a mistake to appeal to the unbelievers will directly if we do not accompany such an appeal with biblical content. Why? Because such content is needed to instruct the mind in its choice and humble its sinful desires.”[31]

“A compulsion to earn salvation is deeply rooted in the nature of fallen mankind.”[32]

“Our first parents, acting as our representatives, made a choice to disobey their maker, and their sin has affected every human since them except one. When Adam and Eve sinned, the image of God was defaced but not erased.”[33]

Three Myths That Obscure Grace

  1. The myth of my inalienable rights.
  2. The myth of human goodness.
  3. The myth of [absolute] freewill.[34]

“Grace to the Rescue

  1. Human beings crash, We are ‘totaled’ and ‘dis-abled’
  2. Re-creation (new life) is needed.
  3. Alien (from outside ourselves) aid is needed.
  4. Our maker devises a salvation plan involving his Son and the Holy Spirit.
  5. The Father, unobligated to save any, chooses to save many, not because of any quality in us but because it pleases him. He thus sends his Son.
  6. Jesus, the God-Man, provides redemption via keeping perfectly the Father’s law and through his death as our substitute sin-bearer and resurrection for those given to him (chosen) by the Father.
  7. The Holy Spirit, following God’s plan, regenerates those given to the Son, granting Christ’s benefits to them.
  8. Having spiritual new birth, they wholeheartedly respond in repentance and faith.
  9. They willingly and freely love God because he first loved them, and they choose to do his will.”[35]

“We hear the outward call offering good news, but we are unwilling, Then the Holy Spirit enters…I become willing and choose Christ because what I desired in my mind was changed by God’s empowering, evocative grace!”[36]

“The Holy Spirit regenerates people because it pleases God (Gal 1:15). It is according to his good will or purpose. “God…has saved us and called us to a holy life- not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time.” (2 Tim 1:9).[37]

“The new meaning of tolerance has expanded to include the necessity to approve all beliefs, opinions, values, and lifestyles. “To be truly tolerant…you must agree that another persons position is just as valid as your own…you must give your approval, your endorsement, you sincere support to their beliefs and behaviors”…Now evangelizing is called proselytizing. Although the dictionary definition of this term is mild, meaning to convert or change beliefs,” it is now linked with actions that are manipulative, pressuring, and bigoted.”[38]

“Christianity’s distinctive features can be summarized under three headings;

  1. Ruin: Christ teaches that we are helpless and lost, wholly unable to save ourselves.
  2. Redemption: Christ is risen, we serve a living savior who bore the Father’s judgment on our sins.
  3. Regeneration: Christ recreates a new heart in us, and we live united with him in newness of life. Our nature is changed.”[39]

Conversational Evangelism

  1. Common Interests
  2. Immediate Questions
  3. Abstract Questions
  4. Christian Explanations[40]

“Practical Effects of Grace Centered Evangelism

  1. Pray for God’s will to be done, since his purposes are best.
  2. Are bold and less fearful of others.
  3. Are quietly confident, for God has promised to use them.
  4. Are humble, for they know God is taking the lead.
  5. Are filled with love, for it is God’s love that motivates them.
  6. Speak to the conscience, knowing it is our point of contact.
  7. Are expectant, for God’s purposes will come to pass.
  8. Are patient, trusting in God’s timing to bring new life.
  9. Are persistent, realizing conversion is a process.
  10. Are honest, not hiding any of the hard parts of the gospel.
  11. Emphasize truth, not just subjective experiences
  12. Lift up Jesus, knowing that he will draw people to himself
  13. Use the law of God to expose peoples inability to save themselves
  14. Wait for the Holy Spirit to give assurance of salvation[41]

God-Centered Goals in Evangelism

  1. “Disciples (not decisions), conversion of the whole person, conscience moves them to call on God for mercy in their own words.
  2. Responsibly teach the gospel clearly, forcefully, patiently.
  3. Balance the benefits of the gospel with the sacrificial demands of the gospel.
  4. Allow time for prayer in their own words. (Not standardized prayer)
  5. Face them with the impossibility of saving themselves or exercising faith on their own.
  6. Emphasize baptism, partaking of the Lord’s Supper to proclaim his death, changing sinful ways of life.
  7. Present truth to the mind, call on the will to obey, expect heartfelt emotions to follow.
  8. Let the Holy Spirit give assurance via subjective inner witness and objective biblical evidence of changed life.”[42]


November 24, 2014 at 7:05 am Leave a comment

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My annual #Thanksgiving picture with Gary Chapman. The Fairview Baptist Thanksgiving Feast! Jake.


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