Archive for the ‘gospel-centered’ Category

The Gospel Coalition New England

By Pastor Mark

It has been a pressing desire of mine to see the gospel grip the hearts and minds and lives of people in New England for the past two decades – I know I am not alone. And we are seeing that happening in our region, and across our state, and throughout New England. Praise God!

One great sign of gospel saturation in our region was The Gospel Coalition of New England’s Regional Conference that took place October 19-20, 2012 in Boston. Now this may not seem all that amazing, but it really is. A little more than 1,000 men and women from across New England (and beyond) gathered for two days to listen to John Piper, Tim Keller, D.A. Carson, and Stephen Um preach and teach. We worshiped God together, encouraged each other, and forged relationships. It was a significant time – as some of you remember from some of the Congress conferences that were held in the mid ’90’s.

I had the privilege of attending and moderating a breakout session on church planting in New England. I was also able to act as a representative of the Gospel Alliance of New England along with Josh Cousineau. We met some amazing church planters, pastors of existing churches, and people from every walk of life. But even if you were not able to attend, we can save you the $100 registration costs and connect you with the teaching that went on. Just click on the images below or go to The Gospel Coalition: New England site.

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The Best Book I’ve Read All Year–Gospel Deeps

Gospel Deeps: Reveling in the Excellencies of Jesus is by far the best book I’ve read all year. I recently wrote “An Exulting Review” of it for the Gospel Alliance. Here’s a snippet that I hope will tempt you to read the whole book. (Be sure to read the whole review so you can enter for a chance to win a FREE copy!)

Gospel Deeps is a 200-page “Amen! Yes! Hallelujah!”  I’ve never filled a book’s margins with so many exclamation points! Page after page I found myself singing and soaring and exploring and exulting in the unending, immeasurable depths of the good news of Jesus.

Plus it doesn’t hurt that the book is a blast to read. Jared Wilson is witty and funny and has literary ninja skills. Some authors struggle to combine humor and honor. Not Jared. And I think it’s his playfulness and humility that make his worship and his theology so compelling. There is no doubt that Jared is mesmerized by Jesus and his gospel. Gospel Deeps is a call to worship. It is gospel-centered doxology.

Taking my cue from the subtitle– “Reveling in the Excellencies of Jesus”– let me share some of my revelings. Come exult in the gospel with me!

O the Deep, Deep Gospel of Jesus!

When you think of “going deeper” in your faith what do you think of? Theological debates like Calvinism vs Arminianism? Figuring out the End Times? Endless word studies?  We should all want to go deeper, but deeper into what? Awe, of course. Because theology should fill not only our minds but also our hearts!

“Our look into the depths of the gospel cannot be merely to know more information, as if deciphering some secret code, but instead to seek more and more to be awed by what God has done for us in Christ, what God is doing for us in Christ, and what God will do for us in Christ. Plumbing the depths of the gospel is an exultational pursuit, or it is a pointless one. Come, let us reason together. And worship God.” (p. 22)

Read the rest, here.

Raise $25 for a School in Kenya with a Single Tweet

Here’s a note from Beth Shively about a Twitter-based fundraiser for an organization she worked with on City Project. On behalf of the mission team, I highly recommend you read on and learn more about UhuruChild!

Hi All,
The non-profit that I went to Kenya with for 2 1/2 weeks this summer is starting a fundraiser that I would love for you all to consider being a part of.  It is completely free and only requires you to get on the internet and set up a Twitter account if you don’t have one!

The non-profit is UhuruChild, you can check them out at uchild.com and their campaign at 750.uchild.com. They are a great group that focuses on social development of extreme poverty communities by starting social businesses in which they employ the people of the village.  They also use their involvement in the community to meet their spiritual and emotional needs through the truths of the Gospel.  The profits from the businesses are used to start new businesses and fund schools for the impoverished children. The money from this campaign will go toward fixing up a school that UhuruChild just bought that will be educating impoverished girls in the community.  This way the profits from the businesses can go towards moving into a new village in Kenya!

So here’s what you can do. Get on your twitter and tweet this:
This tweet raised $25 toward building an @UhuruChild school in Kenya.  RT to raise $25. Join the #7fifty Campaign. Video:750.uchild.com

Tweet it exactly as it is written and it will raise $25, without costing you a penny!  You can retweet it up to 4 times and raise $25 each time, but keep tweeting it after that to get the word out!  Not only is UhuruChild trying to raise funds, but even more importantly raise awareness.

Thanks so much, and let me know if you have any questions about UhuruChild, the 7fifty campaign, or anything else. Also, if you go to the campaign website they have a documentary free online about the campaign and their mission that we’re trying to get people to see all over the country or even the world.  So spread the news and maybe you could show the documentary in your missional communities or with friends or during lunch break at work; anything to get the word out about how to help save Kenya from the clenches of poverty! Thanks so much!

With much love in Christ,
Beth Shively

One of the Keys to Revival

I’m praying for revival for WBC, the Lakes Region, for Maine, for New England! Are you?! Ray Ortlund offers some encouraging words here about what we should be looking for.

Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.  Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you.  Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap.  For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”  Luke 6:36-38

Surely, this is one of our Lord’s ordained pathways into revival.

He is not saying we can earn a good measure of divine blessing.  But his grace leads us into more than a position of mercy before God.  His grace also leads us into participation in the mercy of God: “Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.”

A merciful heart feels for the offender.  A merciful mind enters the experience of the offender, to understand his or her weakness.  A merciful will chooses a generous outlook.  Our Father is like that.  That is what we believe and teach.  And gospel doctrine always creates a gospel culture.

Revival might not be as remote and mysterious and inaccessible as the inscrutable decrees of God.  It might be inches away, just on the other side of the walls of relational aloofness we ourselves create and tolerate.  But our Father didn’t tolerate them.  He broke them down by the mercies of the cross.  And Jesus is insisting on the obvious implications: “My gospel is the end of your self-justifying condemnations.  It is a new beginning of all-encompassing mercies.  I want you to be living proof of that.  I want you to experience the abundant blessings packed inside it.”

Jesus did not bring to us a reconciliation with God that goes no further.  There is nothing minimalist about the gospel.  He brought to us a reconciliation with God that creates hopeful new possibilities with everyone around, especially those who have wronged us.

What if we were to elevate Luke 6:36-38 to one of the major themes of our lives and churches and movements?  What if, rather than be mystified by these verses and hold them at arm’s length, we let them move toward us and redefine us?  Inevitably, the walls between us would start falling down by the overruling power of the Father’s mercy.  Then, Jesus says, we would experience increased blessing from above.  And not just a little blessing, but “good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over.”

That’s revival.

HT “Christ is Deeper Still”

Walking it Out–Sinful Humanity

Here’s this week’s Walking It Out: Week 2 to help you live out what we learned together this past Sunday in gathered worship. Together we explored “Sinful Humanity: Two Brothers and The Flood” from Genesis 4 and 6-9.  If you missed it, you can listen here.

This coming Sunday, we’re exploring “A People of God”. It’s from Genesis 11-18, 22, 26-50 and Exodus 1 (so we can read ahead). This part of God’s Word is so hopeful-God is looking for and creating a family to trust him, his word and to walk in his ways!

Powerful! Ryan Ferguson Recites Hebrews 9-10

God’s Word is powerful. Just listen!! Here’s Ryan Ferguson reciting all of Hebrews 9-10. Great way to prepare for Gathered Worship on Sunday.

Money Money Money & the Gospel

I wish Dave Ramsey gave away a free copy of Randy Alcorn’s, The Treasure Principle, with his own book. It’s a must read because it relentlessly and winsomely leads us to see our money through God’s eyes. Here’s a few good quotes:

“Financial planners tell us, ‘When it comes to your money, don’t think just three months or three years ahead. Think thirty years ahead.’ Christ, the ultimate investment counselor, takes it further. He says, ‘Don’t ask how your investment will be paying off in just thirty years. Ask how it will be paying off in thirty million years.’”

“Christ’s grace defines, motivates, and puts in perspective our giving: ‘For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.’”

“The greatest passage on giving in all Scripture ends not with ‘Congratulations for your generosity,’ but ‘Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!’” (2 Corinthians 9:15).

“…I’m convinced that the greatest deterrent to giving is this: the illusion that earth is our home.”

“The act of giving is a vivid reminder that it’s all about God, not about us. It’s saying I am not the point, He is the point.”

“Giving doesn’t strip me of vested interests; rather, it shifts my vested interests from earth to heaven – from self to God.”

“I’m not saying that it’s easy to give. I’m saying – and there are thousands who will agree – that it’s much easier to live on 90 percent or 50 percent or 10 percent of your income inside the will of God than it is to live on 100 percent outside it.”

“Like piano playing, giving is a skill. With practice, we get better at it.”

HT JD Grear