Last week I preached on Our LIFE Together at LBC.  It was Part 3 of a series on the mission of our church.  My particular message was aimed at how we can grow in our relationships with believers.  I spent a little time in John 13:34-35 to show how this passage is the foundation for all the other “one another” passages in the Bible.  From there I challenged our people to be involved in a LIFE class to practically do life together so others may live.

(LISTEN or WATCH here)


survey_post_it__small__gisi1.jpgI am doing a short survey in preparation for a message this Sunday.  Here’s the two big questions:

Why do we avoid, or at least not pursue, deep relationships with other Christians? 

How would you encourage someone to take a step and grow in their relationships with other believers?

Don’t be shy.  Post your comment.  I’m curious to know your thoughts on this.

Jonathan Dodson:

9 Marks is running an interview series with the British, insightful Steve Timmis, co-author of Total Church. Steve’s quotation of David Fairchild regarding the pastoral advantage of dialogical preaching is worth the whole interview:

Extended monologue can cause me to think about the sermon more than I think about the gospel and the people the gospel is for.  If I think of the people, I think about how I’m going to communicate the gospel to them.  If I think of the gospel, I think about how I am going to communicate the gospel to a particular people.  If I think about a sermon, I don’t much think about either of them at worst; at best I think about them as a sort of homiletical box to check.

Too often evangelism is seen as an individual burden instead of a community project.  No one has shown me this truth more clearly than John Dickson.  He is the author of the book, Promoting the Gospel, and speaker at our recent PTG Pastor’s Conference.  Below is the audio titles of his messages with a brief summary of each.  If you long for your church to be a missional community, you would do well to listen to these messages.

One for the Many – Main point: The mission equation of the Bible is “There is one Lord, to whom all people belong and owe their allegiance, and so the people of the Lord must promote this reality everywhere.”  Proclaiming Christ is a reality mission not just a rescue mission.

Silently Seeking the Lost – probably the message I’d recommend the most … good introduction to our self consciousness in reaching out and that there’s a wide range of gospel promoting activities – he hits on prayer and giving here.

The Beautiful Life – this one is probably second … speaking of the unpredictable power of the Christian life lived as a community. You can tell he’s a historian with all his references to the early church and beyond.

Three Dimensions of Evangelism – Some to be evangelists, all to declare his praises, each to give an answer.

The audio itself is not that great … but John’s teaching is excellent and refreshing. I’d love to hear your thoughts. His book, Promoting the Gospel, really influenced me.

Al Mohler recently preached at Southeastern Seminary on “How Not to Raise a Pagan” from Deuteronomy 6.  The audio and video are available here.

Justin Beadles with some helpful thoughts on why it’s better to internalize rather than memorize your message (sermon, speech, etc.):

Unless you are a student competing in a division that requires such, there is no need to memorize your speech. You simply need to internalize it. This means you think through the flow and main idea enough that it becomes natural to recall. Memorizing and manuscripting are both unnecessary in my book. They take a colossal amount of time and, with rare exception, come off stilted and unfeeling.

Here is a tactic from the ancients that might help you internalize your next speech:

I think through all my speeches in terms of taking people on a tour of my house.

1. The Front Door: This is my introduction
2. The Living Room: My first point
3. The Dining Room: My second point
4. The Play Room: My conclusion

At any time I need only remember what room I am in and am then able to recall easily where the speech is headed. Try it and see.

Bird's Nest florid at night

The National Stadium in Beijing, China

As we begin the Opening Ceremonies of the 2008 Summer Olympics, John Piper, in a sermon he preached 24 years ago, reminds us of how little man can do in comparison to God’s opening ceremonies each morning and his closing ceremonies in the end.

During the Summer Olympics one of the camera maneuvers taught me something about the greatness of God. The opening and closing ceremonies were thrilling to most of the people who saw them. The sheer magnitude of the crowds and fireworks and music were a once-in-a-lifetime experience of bigness and grandeur.

Those of us who watched it on television could feel some of the thrill when the camera was high enough to take in the whole great sweep of the coliseum. But then something strange happened. The camera continued to recede into the sky where it was perched in the helicopter, and the coliseum became smaller and smaller until it was just a blurry dot on the ground.

As I watched that happen I was filled with joy in the greatness of God. I said to myself, “Look how thrilled we are with a coliseum full of color and sound. Look how we stand in wonder. Look how we shout and clap and feel excitement at the splendor of it all. But look again from God’s perspective. Compared to his power and splendor, it’s a blurry dot on the ground.”

God puts on a minor display of his strength and splendor every morning as he brings the sun up over the horizon—865,000 miles thick, 1.3 million times heavier than the earth, blazing on its cool edges at one million degrees Centigrade! Every morning has its opening ceremonies to thrill us with the power and the glory of God and fill us with hope that one day we will enter a land where all the wonders that have inspired us on this little earth will be like blurry dots in comparison with the magnificence of God’s eternal closing ceremonies.

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