• 7 Great Quotes About the Resurrection

    Jesus is Risen! Hallelujah!

    Here are some of my favourite quotes about the resurrection of Jesus. Hope you enjoy them!

    “If Jesus rose from the dead, then you have to accept all that he said; if he didn’t rise from the dead, then why worry about any of what he said? The issue on which everything hangs is not whether or not you like his teaching but whether or not he rose from the dead.”
    ― Timothy Keller

    “I know the resurrection is a fact, and Watergate proved it to me. How? Because 12 men testified they had seen Jesus raised from the dead, then they proclaimed that truth for 40 years, never once denying it. Every one was beaten, tortured, stoned and put in prison. They would not have endured that if it weren’t true. Watergate embroiled 12 of the most powerful men in the world-and they couldn’t keep a lie for three weeks. You’re telling me 12 apostles could keep a lie for 40 years? Absolutely impossible.”
    ― Charles Colson

    “Indeed taking all the evidence together, it is not too much to say that there is no single historic incident better or more variously supported than the Resurrection of Christ. Nothing but the antecedent assumption that it must be false could have suggested the idea of deficiency in the proof of it.”
    ― Brooke Foss Westcott

    “If the truth is that after there comes a negatively spiritual life, an eternity of mystical experience, what more misleading way of communicating it could possibly be found than the appearance of a human form which eats boiled fish? Again, on such a view, the body would really be a hallucination. And any theory of hallucination breaks down on the fact (and if it is invention, it is the oldest invention that ever entered the mind of man) that on three separate occasions this hallucination was not immediately recognized as Jesus.”
    ― C.S. Lewis

    “The Bible says he was raised not just after the blood-shedding, but by it. This means that what the death of Christ accomplished was so full and so prefect that the resurrection was the reward and vindication of Christ’s achievement in death.”
    ― John Piper

    “The appearances of Jesus are as well authenticated as anything in antiquity…There can be no rational doubt that they occured, and that the main reason why Christians become sure of the resurrection in the earliest days was just this. They could say with assurance ‘We have seen the Lord.’ They knew it was he.”
    – Michael Green

    Because Christianity’s influence is so pervasive throughout much of the world, it is easy to forget how radical its beliefs once were. Jesus’ resurrection forever changed Christians’ view of death. Rodney Stark, sociologist at the University of Washington, points out that when a major plague hit the ancient Roman Empire, Christians had surprisingly high survival rates. Why? Most Roman citizens would banish any plague-stricken person from their household. But because Christians had no fear of death, they nursed their sick instead of throwing them out on the streets. Therefore, many Christians survived the plague. – Kenneth L. Woodward

     

     

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  • An Aussie Poem For Good Friday

    And a Good Friday Was Had by All

    You men there, keep those women back
    and God Almighty he laid down
    on the crossed timber and old Silenus
    my offsider looked at me as if to say
    nice work for soldiers, your mind’s not your own
    once you sign that dotted line Ave Caesar
    and all that malarkey Imperator Rex
    well this Nazarene
    didn’t make it any easier
    really-not like the ones
    who kick up a fuss so you can
    do your block and take it out on them
    Silenus
    held the spikes steady and I let fly
    with the sledge-hammer, not looking
    on the downswing trying hard not to hear
    over the women’s wailing the bones give way
    the iron shocking the dumb wood.

    Orders is orders, I said after it was over
    nothing personal you understand -we had a
    drill-sergeant once thought he was God but he wasn’t
    a patch on you

    then we hauled on the ropes
    and he rose in the hot air
    like a diver just leaving the springboard, arms spread
    so it seemed
    over the whole damned creation
    over the big men who must have had it in for him
    and the curious ones who’ll watch anything if it’s free
    with only the usual women caring anywhere
    and a blind man in tears.

    Bruce Dawe

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  • What Everybody Ought to Know About God’s Judgement

    Why does God judge? Is it because he is capricious or judgmental? And how can we reconcile a loving God with a God of judgement. This quote from Miroslav Volf goes a long way to to answering these and more questions about God and judgement:

    God will judge not because God gives people what they deserve, but because some people refuse to receive what no one deserves; if evildoers experience God’s terror it will not be because they have done evil, but because they have resisted to the end the powerful lure of the open arms of the crucified Messiah.

    The violence of the Rider on the white horse (Revelation 19), I suggest, is the symbolic portrayal of the final exclusion of everything that refuses to be redeemed by God’s suffering love.

    Should not a loving God be patient and keep luring the perpetrator into goodness? This is exactly what God does: God suffers the evildoers through history as God has suffered them on the cross. But how patient should God be? The day of reckoning must come, not because God is too eager to pull the trigger, but because every day of patience in a world of violence means more violence and every postponement of vindication means letting insult accompany injury. – Miroslav Volf,  Exclusion and Embrace, 298

    God judges because he hates violence and injustice. That is why he will judge the world because he will rid the world of anything that can and will harm people.

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  • 6 Books That Will Grow You As A Leader

    Leadership books are extremely hit or miss. I love to read books that help me with my leadership but it seems like for every book I read on leadership there is another book I read that is a waste of time.
    With that in mind I thought I would compile my list of leadership books that I have read that I highly recommend. Buy them, read them and change your leadership because of what you learn!

    Conviction to Lead, The: 25 Principles for Leadership That Matters – Albert Mohler. Mohler is the President of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. The big idea of this book is that all leaders lead out of their convictions and that a Christian leader leads out of convictions borne out of the gospel. This book is a very refreshing take on leadership!

    Fierce Conversations: Achieving Success at Work and in Life One Conversation at a Time – Susan Scott. Do you find it hard to confront someone when you need to? Then buy this book and read it! Scott’s book teaches you to have Fierce Conversations that help you and the other party explore truth in a way that is not emotionally charged. This book was revolutionary for me. Yes it is that good!
    Necessary Endings: The Employees, Businesses, and Relationships That All of Us Have to Give Up in Order to Move Forward – Henry Cloud. Pruning needs to happen in churches, lives and organisations for them to flourish. Cloud shows you how to to know if a necessary ending is required and how to bring relationships, employment, businesses etc. to a necessary ending well when needed
    Replenish: Leading from a Healthy Soul– Lance Witt. All pastors have a danger of burning out because they aren’t taking care of themselves. In this book Lance Witt does some real work on our souls and lives. It can be a painful read but it is a necessary one.
    Take the Lid Off Your Church: 6 Steps to Building a Healthy Senior Leadership Team – Tony Morgan. Tony Morgan has written a very short e book on senior leadership teams. He says that the senior leadership team is the determining factor whether the church is healthy or not. In the book Tony gives us hard questions to ask about our current senior leadership teams and helps us think about who should be on them in the future.
    Dangerous Calling: Confronting the Unique Challenges of Pastoral Ministry– Paul Tripp. Paul Tripp has written a book that all pastors should read. Reading Dangerous calling  is like having someone open up your soul and making you assess where you are at emotionally, spiritually and physically. This should be required reading for every pastor, bible college student and ministry apprentice/ intern
    What leadership books have you found helpful lately?
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  • What Everybody Ought to Know About Jesus

    It is very easy to think that Christianity is for a certain kind of person. Someone who is weak willed or someone who is a moral outcast or someone down on their luck. There are people who think Christianity is not for them. They are the people who are, in their own eyes at least, strong, successful, morally reputable and because of these qualities they think they don’t need Jesus. But if Christians are honest we have two groups of people in mind too and they accord with the two groups of people mentioned above.

    It is interesting as we read the biography of Jesus entitled John that we come across two people in two adjacent chapters who couldn’t be more different. In John chapter 3 we meet Nicodemus. Nicodemus is a person who has got it together in almost every way. He knows his Bible, he is moral and he is a well respected leader. In John chapter four we meet an unnamed woman who is almost the opposite of Nicodemus. She is a moral failure, a person with no influence who has a broken life. But here is the thing. Jesus shows that they both need to trust him. As Don Carson puts it:

    “John may intend a contrast between the woman of this narrative and Nicodemus of chapter 3. He was learned, powerful, respected, orthodox, theologically trained; she was unschooled, without influence, despised, capable of only folk religion. He was a man, a Jew, a ruler; she was a woman, a Samaritan, a moral outcast. And both need Jesus.”

     Don Carson, The Gospel According to John, 216

    There is application for all of us here.

    Those who don’t call ourselves Christians. Have you really checked Jesus out? Have you examined the reasons why you think you don’t need him and the reasons why he says you do? What if you chose to read 1 chapter of John’s biography of Jesus every day for the next 21 days and really come to grip with who Jesus is and what he did? I promise you it will enrich your life. You can start reading John’s biography of Jesus here

    For those of us that do know him lets not think of two different categories of people, those that obviously need Jesus and those that don’t, because in John Chapters 3 and 4 we see that all people need Jesus.

    What else hits you from John chapters 3 and 4 as you read it?

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  • How to Make Announcements in Church Without Boring Everyone to Tears

    I remember being at a church where anyone who had an announcement could get up and share. Because people were giving their own announcements they all had to justify why everyone in the congregation should go to the the thing being announced. One time, I kid you not, the announcements went longer than the sermon!

    Good announcements in church very rarely happen without thinking about how and what we are trying to communicate. In fact good communication doesn’t happen in church unless there is a lot of thought put into it. I have been helped in thinking through church communication by a book called Less Clutter. Less Noise.: Beyond Bulletins, Brochures and Bake Sales by Kem Meyer. Here are some pointers that I found helpful when thinking about announcements and communication in church:

    “Stick to the facts. Don’t over-sell, over-explain or overcontrol. Just provide the information someone needs to self-sort and self-decide. People don’t need a page on the philosophy of each ministry, activity or event. They do need to know who it’s for, what it is, when it happens and how to get there or sign up.

    Stick to the point. Start with the end in mind before you’re about to do something. If you know the purpose behind your letter, brochure, meeting, etc., it makes it easier for you to stay on track and focused. Otherwise, it’s hard to recognize your own excess. Do you want people to show up or respond? What are you asking them to do? If you can’t answer that question easily, they won’t be able to either.

    Consider the crowd. Does your announcement (bulletin or verbal) apply to everyone or just a handful of people? If it’s not affecting the masses, it’s just going to land like dead weight. Don’t punish the crowd to keep a few people happy (even if they are the most vocal). Find a way to deliver your news in appropriate venues.”

    What have you found works and doesn’t work for you in communicating to your church?

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  • Does Knowing Theology Make you a Mature Christian?

    Have you ever met a person who knows a bunch of theology but hardly lives it out? Does knowing theology make someone a mature Christian? How can some people (even some pastors) seemingly know the Bible cover to cover and know a lot of theology but don’t seem to love like Jesus or live like him?

    I think Paul Tripp in his great book A Dangerous Calling nails these questions in this quote:

    Since seminary tends to academize the faith, making it a world of ideas to be mastered (I will write about this at length later in this book), it is quite easy for students to buy into the belief that biblical maturity is about the precision of theological knowledge and the completeness of their biblical literacy. So seminary graduates, who are Bible and theology experts, tend to think of themselves as being mature. But it must be said that maturity is not merely something you do with your mind (although that is an important element of spiritual maturity). No, maturity is about how you live your life. It is possible to be theologically astute and be very immature. It is possible to be biblically literate and be in need of significant spiritual growth.

     

    Paul Tripp A Dangerous Calling

    What do you think?

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  • Where Should Christian Generosity Come From?

    I have just finished Jamie Munson’s free E-Book called Money. You can get it for free here. Matt Chandler calls it “The best book on money. Period.” Matt’s assessment is pretty close. It is a gospel centered book which goes through everything from giving money to budgeting. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. 

    Here is a section of the book which hit me. It deals with where my motivation for generosity comes from. It also encourages me as a pastor to remember what will change people is not may telling them to be more generous but the gospel:

    “Often books and speakers tell Christians that they should help the needy because they have so much . . . Ultimately it produces guilt. It says, “How selfish you are to eat steak and drive two cars when the rest of the world is starving!” This creates great emotional conflicts in the hearts of Christians who hear such arguing. We feel guilty, but all sorts of defense mechanisms are engaged. “Can I help it I was born in this country? How will it really help anyone if I stop driving two cars? Don’t I have the right to enjoy the fruits of my labor?” Soon, with an anxious weariness, we turn away from books or speakers who simply make us feel guilty about the needy. The Bible does not use guilt-producing motivation. . . . The deeper the experience of the free grace of God, the more generous we must become. This is why Robert Murray M’Cheyne could say: “There are many hearing me who now know well that they are not Christians because they do not love to give. To give largely and liberally, not grudging at all, requires a new heart.”

    If I want to be generous and I want those who I lead to be generous I will preach the gospel and let the gospel affect our wallets.

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  • What Everybody Ought to Know About Atheism

    A lot of atheists think all religious people would be better off if we ditched our religious beliefs and became atheists. Not only would we be using our brains for once but we would see freedom from religion as ultimately freeing.

    But there is an ugly side to atheism that many new atheists don’t really talk about. Whether or not it is true, atheism is an extremely bleak outlook on life, humanity and the world. Damon Linker wrote a piece called Where are the Honest Atheists? in which he sums up the bleakness of atheism perfectly:

    If atheism is true, it is far from being good news. Learning that we’re alone in the universe, that no one hears or answers our prayers, that humanity is entirely the product of random events, that we have no more intrinsic dignity than non-human and even non-animate clumps of matter, that we face certain annihilation in death, that our sufferings are ultimately pointless, that our lives and loves do not at all matter in a larger sense, that those who commit horrific evils and elude human punishment get away with their crimes scot free — all of this (and much more) is utterly tragic.

    Atheism therefore may free us from the constrains of religion but this freedom it gives is not really freedom at all. Because it is freedom to despair whereas the freedom that Christianity gives is the freedom to be joyful! Not only does reason and evidence favour Christianity over atheism but Christianity also gives the greater life.

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  • How to Preach a Great Sermon on Mission

    Preaching on college mission is a huge privilege and responsibility. Think about it, this may be the one time this year that a person at the church you are going on mission to brings a non christian friend or family member to the event you are speaking at. What a privilege! What a responsibility! What an opportunity!
    In my experience, mission sermons either go over great or fail miserably. So if you are preaching on mission here are some things I would suggest you do:
    1. Preach from one of the gospels. The mission sermons that I have seen fail were the ones that were preached from an obscure part of the Bible. These sermons were usually a rehash of a sermon from church or a sermon based exegetical essay the person had just done for college. If you are thinking or saying something like “I think I make this passage/ sermon be evangelistic” you are better off starting again and choose an easy passage where you can preach the gospel easily to a non Christian. Remember you are there to preach the gospel not show how you can preach the gospel from a obscure text and impress everyone.
    2. Preach the text! If you are preaching from a passage that emphasizes the divinity of Jesus preach about the divinity of Jesus! If the passage talks about Jesus death preach Jesus death! The two mistakes that I have seen here are: 1. Trying to say everything you can about Jesus. You don’t have to say everything about Jesus for it to be evangelistic. Preach Jesus as he is revealed in the text and trust God. 2. Trying to preach an aspect if the gospel that is not clearly in the text. I once heard a guy spend most of the sermon talking about penal substitution from the story of Jesus calming the storm which is a story that is clearly about faith in Jesus who has power over sin and death. Now is it wrong to mention penal substitution when you preach this text? Not at all but we are there to preach what the text emphasizes and leave the rest up to God.
    3. Know your audience.  If you are preaching to blue collar workers you are going to have to preach differently than if you are preaching to a group of uni students. The mission sermons that I have heard  that nailed it were ones where the preacher knew who he/she was talking to so well and who worked hard to communicate to them at their level. This is hard work but it is work that is eternally worth it!
    What would you add to this list?
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