Rewards in heaven

But, if rewards are clearly presented as a motivation in the Christian life, why don’t we hear more about rewards in our modern pulpits? I am sure there are many answers to that question, but let me suggest one: we have been convinced that our obedience doesn’t matter. While we are rightly told that only Christ’s obedience can secure our justification, and that he has kept the law perfectly for us, our own obedience receives far less attention in the pulpit. Justification is center stage, and sanctification is peripheral.

Michael Kruger writes more about the heavenly rewards that await the godly here.

The course of your life

Here’s a video from St.Mary’s Church Wootton, reflecting on The Course of Your Life, by Tony Payne.

After having run the course at our church last year, with plans well under way to run it again in a few months time, what I like about the video is how much it reflects our own assessment of how helpful the course is in challenging individuals about their faith and encouraging them towards servant-hearted, word based ministry to others.

Raising kids the world will hate

Just what do we want most for our kids?  Good health, material success, a happy family, a fulfilling career?

Or to be world-opposing slaves of King Jesus.

A dose or reality in our hopes for raising children here from Adam Griffin.

If you’re like me and hope for your kids to be fully devoted followers of Christ, then we need to be raising up a generation who is ready to be distinctly different from their peers. In a lot of ways, that’s the opposite of my natural inclination in how to raise my son. Raising kids who are ready to be hated means raising kids who unashamedly love God even in the face of loathing and alienation. Regardless if the insults of the world are naive or legitimate, I pray our children will be ready to stand firm in the midst of a world that hates them.

Free ebook of readings for Advent

John Piper has a new ebook, Good News of great Joy, available over here which is full of devotional readings to take you through advent.

Over the next few weeks there will be all kinds of preparations being made for Christmas, but what about preparing our hearts to celebrate God’s Son taking on flesh and becoming a man.

I’m sure  making use of the Bible readings along with Piper’s comments would be a great way of spending some time each day over the next month.

The book is available in various formats and it’s free.  What’s not to like?

 

Legalism or Obedience

In his post here, Fred Zaspel addresses the accusation that Christians who focus  a lot on obedience to God’s Word as it applies to their lives are guilty of legalism – living by law and not by grace.

But legalism has nothing to do with the amount of obedience to God’s law, it’s putting God’s law in the wrong place.  Or as Zaspel says,

To make the point another way, I have never yet met a parent who complained that his child was a legalist because he obeyed too much. In fact, it would be impossible for any parent to imagine how his child could obeytoo much.

Yet, find a Christian who is careful to obey God in everything, and we won’t have to look far to find another Christian to call him a legalist. What do we make of this?

Simply put, we needn’t fear that we may obey our Lord too much. Jesus said that if we love him, we will obey him

Porn Free Church

Do you think your church is a porn free zone?

A life-with-porn versus a life-without-porn is a poor choice. If you set it up in these terms then you won’t produce lasting change. We need to set it up (as it truly is) as a choice between life-with-porn versus life-with-God. We need to show how God always offers more than porn.

Tim Chester writes here how finding lasting satisfaction in an awesome God through the good news of a crucified, risen Saviour, is the only means of creating deep rooted heart based change that shows pornography up to be what it really is – a cheap, unsatisfying, imitation.  We need to overwhelmed by the fact that Christ is better.

Sadly our churches are often far too respectable for us to face up the the reality of the problem of porn.

The quote above is taken from Tim’s contribution to a book, Porn Free Church: Raising up gospel communities to destroy secret sins, that’s free to download – at least for now, from the CovenantEyes Internet Accountability web site

Like firewood in a fireplace

Over here, Tim Keller and The Gospel Coalition are about to launch the New City Catechism.

In the article Keller notes,

Superficial smatterings of truth, blurry notions about God and godliness, and thoughtlessness about the issues of living—careerwise, communitywise, familywise, and churchwise—are all too often the marks of evangelical congregations today.  (J. I. Packer and Garry Parrett, Grounded in the Gospel)

How can we reshape the lives of people who have grown to breath the evangelical air that Packer and Parrett describe above?

Since May this year we have been looking through the Westminster Shorter Catechism on Sunday evenings and we are now three quarters of the way through the one hundred and seven questions.  During that time I’ve heard comments like, Why are we looking at this again?, and Westminster Shorter Whatichism?

Catechisms are however  a great tool for learning the basic Biblical plot-line, Christian doctrine and practice and have been used throughout the last 500 years of the church with both young children and new adult converts.

Keller lists a number of reasons why catechesis can be a particularly helpful in understanding better the faith once delivered to the saints, but I particularly like what he says concerning catechising children.

Catechesis done with young children helps them think in biblical categories almost as soon as they can reason. Such instruction, one old writer said, is like firewood in a fireplace. Without the fire—the Spirit of God—firewood will not in itself produce a warming flame. But without fuel there can be no fire either, and that is what catechetical instruction provides.

I’ve mentioned before that a great way of getting children to know great gospel truths found in the WSC are the 4 Questions with Answers CD’s that are available for download from Songs for Saplings.