How Black Friday Forms Us

Black friday

As soon as the thanksgiving meal ends, the ads come out and the preparations for the next morning’s shopping begin.  Once we’ve eaten our fill, it is time to plan out our Black Friday adventures.  We read the ads, find the best deals, and plot out our day in order to get the door-busters and complete our shopping lists.  And now the deals begin even earlier than ever.

And I’m all for the deals; I’ve partaken in the Black Friday rituals in order to snag doorbuster deals for myself.

But here’s what I want us to consider.  This practice shapes us.  Because everything we do and participate in forms us in some way.  And repeated practices (the ones that we do every single year) are important in how they form us.

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Hammers, Mirrors, and the Work of the Law

Hammers

It has long be said that God’s Word is made up of two words.  God’s first word of the law, which reminds us of our inability to save ourselves.  And God’s word of the Gospel, which makes clear that are only hope is found in Christ alone.

The law often automatically gets categorized as bad.

While in some senses the law does deconstruct and even kill, the law is in fact good.  Because even when the law functions for the purpose of showing our sin, it sets us up for the Gospel.  This sense of the law is not the only way of course that the law functions, but it is hugely important in our understanding of God’s Word.

There are two descriptions of the law that I find helpful when thinking about the way in which the law shows our sin.  These are the descriptions of hammer and mirror.  In Preaching Law and Gospel by Herman Stuempfle he describes these two understandings of the Law.

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A New Definition for Expositional Preaching

New definition

There are a variety of ways that people talk about and describe preaching, especially when it comes to the purpose and design of a sermon.  Some people argue for a strict exegetical style of preaching, others argue for a more topical approach to preaching.

One such approach has commonly been described as expositional preaching, which Mark Dever defined as:

“An expositional sermon takes the main point of a passage of Scripture, makes it the main point of the sermon, and applies it to life today.” – 9Marks

While not necessarily in disagreement with that definition, in a conversation with Tullian Tchividjian, Tullian suggested an expanded definition for expositional preaching.

Exposing the sin.  And exposing the savior.

“What I’ve come to understand expository preaching to be now: in and through every text of Scripture we expose the sinner by preaching the Law and we expose the Savior by preaching the Gospel.”  – Tullian Tchividjian

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You Are What You Eat

Healthy doctrine

Paul writes in Timothy, “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions.”  Another translation translates sound teaching as “healthy doctrine.”

A time is coming when people will not endure healthy doctrine.

There’s a doctrine, or teaching, that is healthy.  And then there’s one that isn’t healthy.  There’s the stuff that’s good for you and feeds your soul.  And there’s the stuff that just makes you fat, lazy, and on the verge of a heart attack.

You are what you eat.

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Creating a Culture of Mission: Interview with Jon Dansby

Culture of mission

I recently got the chance to talk to Jon Dansby, one of the pastors at the Austin Stone Community Church in Austin, Texas.  Austin Stone is a community centered on the person and mission of Jesus.  I first heard Jon speak at the Lutheran Hour Conference in Detroit and immediately wanted to hear more about what he had to say about being a missionary in our culture.

Jon is passionate about equipping people to delight in the Gospel so much that they are sent on mission for God.  In a day and age where it has become abundantly clear that we are often foreigners in our own culture, we have an important task of cultivating a missionary mindset within our own congregations.

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God Hidden in Our Suffering

Hidden in suffering

It does take much living to realize that life is hard.  And no matter the strength of our faith, we would be liars if we said that life doesn’t have intense seasons of pain and difficulty.  We have the struggles of everyday life and we have the life-altering kind of struggles like a diagnosis, a betrayal, divorce papers, an accident, or something else.

And often times in Christian circles, these situations get turned into something that they aren’t.  It is easy to lie about the pain in our suffering and minimize.

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Liberate 2015 Giveaway

speaker-tullian

Everywhere we turn in our world wants to tell us, ”Do more” and ”Try harder.” It’s because of this that we need the liberating message of ”It is Finished.”  Tullian Tchividjian is one of my favorite preachers and writers and so I wanted to find a way to promote some of the work he’s doing, especially knowing that much of his work resonates with the readers and subscribers to this blog.

So I’m giving away two free conference tickets and a couple books.   This is going to be a conference that you will not want to miss.

Enter now for a chance to win a free ticket to Liberate 2015, Tullian’s One Way Love, and Paul Tripp’s New Morning Mercies.  By entering, you will be joining my e-mail list, which will get you additional freebies, news, and articles I’m writing.  I’ll send you about 1 e-mail per week, which you can unsubscribe from at any time.

Enter for a chance to win. 

Disclosure: The Liberate conference tickets were donated for the sake of this giveaway. 

Confession and Absolution in the Home

Confession

We have a two and a half year old at home.  And on top of that he’s super affectionate, both in wanting give lots of hugs and kisses and in a desire to hit, push, or just smother his sister.  Since we have a toddler who does this, we are no stranger to time outs in our house.

And this becomes very evident when Elijah gets hurt by a toy and puts his toys in time out.

Whenever we do a timeout with Eli, we always do the same thing.  And its super intentional, incredibly important, and rooted in hundreds of years of church tradition.  Our timeouts are mixed together with what has historically been known as Confession and Absolution.

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You Are a Missionary

Missionary

You are a missionary.  As a Christian, part of your calling as a disciple is a mission assignment.  You are given a mission to be a missionary in the places that God has placed you.  Charles Spurgeon actually suggested, “Every Christian is either a missionary or an impostor.”

Because if you are a Christian; you are a missionary.

And as a missionary, you’re either on the mission of God or you’re on some self-proclaimed mission that you made for yourself.

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Should We Call Little Girls Pretty?

Pretty girl

I recently heard someone suggest that we shouldn’t call little girls pretty because it perpetuates a problem where little girls see their own worth based solely on their waist line.  As a dad, I do appreciate the desire for my daughter to learn the value of both brains and beauty, but I also couldn’t help but wonder, “Is me calling my daughter ‘pretty girl’ really the problem?”

If as she gets older, I only tell her how intelligent she is, we don’t really solve any problems.

The worst thing that we can do for our daughters is teach them to find their worth outside of their relationship with Christ.  I want my daughter first of all to know her worth as a child of God and want that worth to be imitated in every interaction she has a my own child.

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