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Archive for December, 2009

Glory to God in the Highest

Isn’t it interesting how in Christmas cards and on public displays we often see the words, “Peace on earth, good will toward men”? But how seldom we see the prior words, “Glory to God in the highest”! But there is no peace, there is no good will, unless there is glory to God in the highest first. We forget to put God’s glory first. Fortunately, he does not. God will be glorified.

Would you or I have begun this announcement the way the angels did, with glory to God first? Obviously, the angels did not understand the importance of relevance and contextualization and meeting felt needs. They started with God, not with peace on earth! Why? Because the most relevant message to this sin-ruined world was, is, and always will be, “Glory to God in the highest.” Our whole problem is our God-neglect. But the best news for sinners like you and me is that, whatever we might do, God is still God, God is glorious, and God’s glory is supreme over all other realities. And when his glorious kingdom is finally consummated, then there will be perfect peace on earth, good will toward men.

Raymond C. Ortlund Jr. from Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus.

December 23, 2009 | Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Holidays,Life / Doctrine,The Christian Life | Author: Crossway Staff @ 9:00 am | 0 Comments »

Getting to the Heart of Materialism

9781433502804‘Tis the season to celebrate the advent of Christ. But it’s also the season of shopping, gifts, commercials, and a culture that tempts consumers that they need and deserve stuff.

In Worldliness (edited by C. J. Mahaney), contributor Dave Harvey gives some practical warnings and advice:

Materialism is fundamentally a focus on and a trust in what we can touch and possess. It describes the unchecked desire for, dependence on, and stockpiling of stuff. In some people it’s more painfully obvious than in others. But it pervades every heart.

Materialism is a far deeper problem than having stuff. It’s an expression of worldliness with incredibly persuasive force . . .

Covetousness is a glutton for stuff. Through covetous attractions and distractions within the heart, our stuff takes on meaning in our lives far beyond what God intends. In fact, the apostle Paul makes the point that covetousness is a form of idol worship (Eph. 5:5; Col. 3:5). Idolatrous cravings maneuver our hearts away from God and affix them to things of this world. Hence the ultimatum from Jesus recorded for us later in Luke:

No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. (Luke 16:13).

Covetousness is choosing earthly trinkets over eternal treasure.

Dave continues to describe the chains that bind our hearts to the world:

  1. My stuff makes me happy
  2. My stuff makes me important
  3. My stuff makes me secure
  4. My stuff makes me rich

Ideas of what your guard against these things should look like:

  1. Consider your true riches
  2. Confess and repent
  3. Express specific gratitude
  4. De-materialize your life
  5. Give generously
  6. Parents: Guard and guide your kids

Check out Worldliness: Resisting the Seduction of a Fallen World to learn more!

December 22, 2009 | Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Holidays,Life / Doctrine,Money,The Christian Life | Author: Crossway Staff @ 9:00 am | 0 Comments »

How One Church is Bridging the Gap to Share the Gospel this Christmas

“We sit here in a building, but we can be very separate from our community. . . we’re never satisfied with the level of outreach that we’re doing. We want to be engaging with our neighbors. Sometimes that’s difficult because of the multicultural setting and sometimes our background presents difficulty in bridging that gap. This is a bridge for us.”

December 21, 2009 | Posted in: Uncategorized | Author: Crossway Staff @ 2:36 pm | 1 Comment »

Shopping for Time

9781581349139Holiday parties, shopping, and less than a week until Christmas! Here are some helpful thoughts from Carolyn Mahaney (Shopping for Time):

We don’t often manage the time God has granted us on this earth with the same intentionality or skill that we bring to shopping. Think for a minute:

  • Do you plan ahead to maximize your fruitfulness each day, or do you simply let life happen?
  • Do you make choices based on Scripture or on what feels good at the moment?
  • Do you strategize to use your talents to bless your family and church, or do you employ them primarily for your own personal fulfillment?
  • Do you evaluate every opportunity in light of biblical priorities, or do you do whatever it takes to get ahead?
  • Do you consider whom God would have you serve, or do you try to please everyone all the time?

While we constantly—almost unconsciously—plan, evaluate, strategize, and make wise choices when shopping, we often neglect to do so with the most important matters of our lives. We wouldn’t dream of going to the grocery store without a shopping list, or buying a car without haggling over the sticker price, or purchasing new shoes without checking the price tag, but we throw away our time as if we had an endless supply.

As a result, we often miss out on the best deals life has to offer and end up paying big time in guilt, anxiety, and a lack of confidence that we’re really doing the will of God. More often than not, we’re overwhelmed by life’s choices and demands. Perhaps most unfortunately, we lack fruitfulness in Christ’s kingdom.

But it doesn’t have to be like this. We can know—with absolute certainty—that we are doing all God wants us to do. Peace and joy and rest can be an everyday experience. We can live a life worthy of the calling to which we have been called (Eph. 4:1). And we can anticipate that future day when we will hear those words—“Well done, good and faithful servant. . . . Enter into the joy of your master” (Matt. 25:21).

How? By becoming shoppers of time. This isn’t our bright idea. It comes straight from Scripture. Ephesians 5:15–16 tells us how to live like we shop: “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.”

Read the introduction and chapter 1 of Shopping for Time.

| Posted in: Uncategorized | Author: Crossway Staff @ 12:30 pm | 0 Comments »

Holy Subversion: Allegiance to Christ in an Age of Rivals

9781433507021In August, Trevin Wax said, “For me, the blurbs for my book mean much more than book sales. They represent a personal stamp of approval from the people whose opinion matters to me – people whose theology or ministry has influenced me.”

And now, here is what people are saying about the upcoming release of Holy Subversion:
(*Note: Please follow links for full endorsements)

Ed Stetzer says, “Wax looks at issues of idolatry and stronghold and, one by one, show us how the gospel of the Kingdom requires a new loyalty.”

Kevin DeYoung says, “ There is pastoral wisdom, balance, and conviction in these pages. Trevin Wax helps us remember what really matters.”

Dr. Radu Gheorghita says, “The author’s creative and persuasive proposal invites the readers to ponder what they might plausibly hear if the biblical imperative against idolatry were given to us today.”

“Wax calls us to come face to face with the ‘Caesars’ in our life. Only once we have understood the dire effect of these allegiances can we then hope to subvert the kingdoms vying for our localities.” —Dr. Nicholas Perrin

“Trevin Wax issues a wide-ranging invitation for believers to rethink what it means to be a Christ-follower in a culture that offers rival ways of thinking and living at every turn.”—David Dockery

“Trevin Wax delivers a sober challenge for the church to live up to her lofty calling. By God’s grace, may Christians heed his warning and follow the narrow path prepared by Jesus.” —Collin Hansen

“Trevin Wax faithfully sounds the call for world-changing, Christ-exalting Christian practice. By unmasking contemporary ‘Caesars,’ he reveals the true dangers, and points to pitfalls of which many believers are completely unaware.” —Al Mohler

“This is a timely and prophetic book for our generation. I highly recommend it to pastors, evangelists, missionaries, Sunday-school teachers, and all believers in Jesus Christ.”—Dr. Paul Negrut

“How should God’s American people put the lordship of Jesus Christ on display in their lives? Trevin Wax’s searching answer is biblical, basic, businesslike and blunt.”— J.I. Packer

“Wax takes up the question of how to be both a rebel—against the false authorities of this time—while simultaneously being submissive—to the divine authority of the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”—Russell Moore

“In an age where there are many ‘gods’ and many ‘lords’ bidding for our allegiance, Trevin Wax calls the church to throw down these idols and to order their lives according to the story, symbols, and values of the Lord Jesus Christ.” Dr. Michael F. Bird

“Trevin Wax provides good advice on how to turn away from the idols of success, money, leisure, sex and power.”—Marvin Olasky

“Trevin Wax in this incisive, convicting, and elegantly written book considers the false gods that insidiously corrupt our lives.” —Thomas R. Schreiner

“I highly recommend this for anyone seeking an authentic relationship with the God who transforms our lives, our passions, and our world.”—Christian George

“He blazes a trustworthy trail for those who yearn to make a long lasting difference in the world by showing that Christians make a difference by being different; they don’t make a difference by being the same.”—Tullian Tchividjian

“Read this fine book if you wish to live as the true Savior and Lord Jesus Christ would have you live.” —Gregg R. Allison

“Trevin Wax provides medicine for the heart in this short, powerful study. Read it and be blessed.”—Danny Akin

“Wax deftly uses Scripture and his cross-cultural experience in Romania to convict North American Christians of the subtle ways that we conform to our culture’s idols. His tough love inspires us to surrender to Jesus’ ownership of the world, and his bold plan for change shows us how.”—Michael Wittmer

December 18, 2009 | Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Book News,News | Author: Crossway Staff @ 8:49 am | 0 Comments »