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Book Review- Prayer

This was one of the best books I have ever read on prayer. Practical – Theological – Historical — It made me want to pray.

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Striving for a More Intentional Life of Prayer

To avoid stagnation in prayer consider being more intentional with scheduling your times to pray and using the Bible as your prayer book.

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Interview with Andy Mineo

Andy Mineo’s hip hop career has taken off. After signing with ReachRecords in 2011 he appeared on Lecrae’s Rehab and Gravity. In 2013 he released Heroes for Sale and then in 2014 he released the EP Neverland. One song from that album You Can’t Stop Me was voted the number 1 “walk-up” song for professional baseball (below). Then last month he released his newest album, Uncomfortable.

I had the chance to sit down and talk with Andy about his music. Before going to the interview I have to include a couple of observations. First, he is thoughtful. In a brief conversation he demonstrated that he has thought deeply and continues to think deeply about his faith, music, and how God will use him. Second, he is committed to making much of Christ. Andy was a member at Redeemer Church in New York before being sent with some other church members to plant a church. He loves Christ and endeavors to see him made much of. Third, he is himself. I think one of the appeals about Mineo is how he seems to be having fun and is very creative. In this conversation all three of these things came through loud and clear.

How do you want people to think of you as an artist?

I obviously want people to enjoy and appreciate my music, but ultimately, I want them to see my voice as necessary and respected voice, not just a niche voice.

Talk about how your musical perspective and style has evolved over the …

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Next Week and The TGC Conference

Next week I will be in Orlando at The Gospel Coalition conference. As a result I will not be posting new content to this blog. Instead, I’m going to have some of my favorite older articles come through as a repost. I like them because they come from some times of rich discovery of the centrality, beauty, and sufficiency of the gospel. Most are from a number of years ago so I am doubtful that they will seem like reruns for you. I just wanted you to know in case you see comments from 2006 or something.

Also, if you are headed to Orlando and you read the blog, I’d love the chance to say hello. I’ll be teaching a breakout session on Tuesday at 3pm on Evangelism and then a discussion on Wednesday morning (more info here). It is always great to meet folks and put a face with a name.

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TGC Panel Discussion on Evangelism with Tim Keller

If you are attending The Gospel Coalition conference in Orlando next week you may want to make plans to attend this panel discussion and Q & A on Evangelism that I will be sitting on.

The panel will be moderated by Tim Keller and will include author Rebecca Manley Pippert (Out of the Saltshakerand author and pastor Rico Tice (Honest Evangelism, and Christianity Explored). 

I have found that when Christians make a point to talk about evangelism there is usually something that I can take away that is very helpful and immediately applicable. I would anticipate the same from this meeting. Plan to join Tim, Rebecca, Rico, and me from 8-8:55am in Wekiwa 3-5 on Wednesday April 15th.

There is more information available here.

 

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You Can’t Pack Everything Into Your Sermon

Recently my family of 8 packed into our mini-van for an early Spring vacation. When I say “packed in” you may be thinking in terms of seats (i.e. a Honda Odessy only has 8 seats, therefore, we were packed in). This is not what I mean. We were packed in. The trunk was filled to the top, the floor had shoes, books, bags, and blankets. The front seat was full of distractions for the little kids as well as entertainment for adults and big kids. We were packed in. But then when we got closer to our destination (10 hours away from home), we went to Costco to buy food for the week. In this we were now officially fully packed in. Kids balanced cartons of eggs, coffee, vegetables, and milk while we finished our course.

The vacation ended and my normal duties resumed last week. I prepared a sermon and then delivered it on Sunday. After I was finished I was reflecting upon it and critiquing various elements of it and I was drawn back to our road-trip.

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Book Review- The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness

Some books are too long and say too little. Other books seem too brief but still say quite a bit. Tim Keller’s book The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness falls into this latter category.

The book is small enough to read over your lunch hour but will need to be digested over a lifetime. Keller walks uses 1 Corinthians as lenses to understanding how the gospel had gripped and transformed the Apostle Paul. The result: gospel humility. Or, in other words: self-forgetfulness.

The book is more like a sermon that gets after you. With probing application that pulls the gospel-train into town, Keller helps show pride and chase it away with gospel.

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Atonement Grammars

Christians are always working hard to faithfully communicate the gospel to the people around them. In a diverse community there are diverse people with diverse backgrounds. If you are like me then you have scratched your head mid conversation as you have wondered how to speak gospel truth to them in a way that compellingly and winsomely intersects with their worldview and value system.

In his book Center Church Tim Keller provides some “atonement grammars” or languages by which the work of Christ on the cross can be presented. I find them to be helpful for me in my own effort to be clear with the gospel and pass them on to you for the same purpose.

    The language of the battlefield. Christ fought against the powers of sin and death for us. He defeated the powers of evil for us.
    The language of the marketplace. Christ paid the ransom price, the purchase price, to buy us out of our indebtedness. He frees us from enslavement.
    The language of exile. Christ was exiled and cast out of the community so we who deserve to be banished could be brought in. He brings us home.
    The language of the temple. Christ is the sacrifice that purifies us and makes us acceptable to draw near to the holy God. He makes us clean and beautiful.
    The language of the law court. Christ stands before the judge and takes the punishment we deserve. He removes our guilt and makes us righteous.
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Pastoral Essential: Having the Guts to Ask Hard Questions About Your Ministry

I am currently reading through Tim Keller’s masterful new book entitled Center Church. In so many ways it is a textbook for church leaders. Keller has spent many hours at the whiteboard planning and evaluating ministry. We are the beneficiaries of his prayerful and faithful ministry for these many decades.

He draws one particularly helpful contrast early on. He writes of how some church leaders simply evaluate their ministries by their faithfulness. Without discounting the priority of faithfulness he cautions that ministers might feel too much security to question ministries that are bearing little fruit.

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What is Morality Other Than Harm?

The common good requires some laws that limit personal freedom. This conversation between Tim Keller, Al Mohler, & Collin Hansen is very helpful.

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