Here's a sampling of some of the things I've been reading and reviewing this week. The hope is that these bite-sized sections of books, articles, blog posts, etc will stand on their own and be beneficial (or at least thought-provoking!) in-and-of-themselves. But I also hope that some of you will like these excerpts enough that they pull you into the larger work from which they've been taken.
Let's start sampling:
D. A. Carson, "Why the Local Church is More Important Than TGC, White Horse Inn, 9Marks, and Maybe Even ETS." Themelios 40/1 (Apr 2015). Article available online here (last accessed May 28, 2015).
A healthy "vision of the local church becomes progressively more important as our culture loses whatever Judeo-Christian moorings it held in the past. It was not that long ago that the Ten Commandments were widely viewed as healthy societal norms. Marriage between one man and one woman, with a vow to preserve it 'as long as we both shall live,' were seen as good things, and the laws of the state tended to back such ideals. But just as Dorothy is no longer in Kansas, we are no longer in the 1950s. Even then, we needed more biblical teaching than we sometimes thought we did, but now the urgency is even more pressing. We need to build a Christian counter-culture, local churches that, however much they preserve lines of civility, courtesy, and communication with the larger world, nevertheless live differently, radically differently. And it takes teaching, lots of it, to shape a faithful, fruitful, gospel-centered, Bible-shaped counter-culture."
Jon Bloom, "When God Mercifully Ruins Our Plans." Blog post at www.desiringGod.org. Posted May 25, 2015:
"The story of the tower of Babel contains a gospel treasure: Even our disorienting disappointments and failures in making a name for ourselves have redemptive purposes. God loves us and knows what is best for us and in mercy he will not allow any achievement that we pursue for our own glory to rob us of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:8)."
Click here to see the full post from which this excerpt was taken. Please note the usual disclaimer, that my recommendation of this post is not necessarily an endorsement of everything else on the site where this was posted.
Matt Perman, What's Best Next? How the Gospel Transforms the Way You Get Things Done. Zondervan, 2014, p. 318:
"...Paul sees an essential and profound connection between the arena of our everyday lives and the advancement of the gospel. This is evident in Ephesians 5:7-17, which provides the fuller context in which Paul commands us to 'walk as wise' people who are 'making the most of the time.' / ...Peter O'Brien nails it in his commentary on Ephesians when he shows that Paul is essentially saying that through living in a Christ-honoring way among unbelievers in the world - in the context of our jobs, communities, trips to the grocery store, and everything else we do in everyday life - the light of the gospel shines through our behavior, with the result that some people come to faith."
Christian. Husband. Father. Pastor. Learner. Contributor. Reader.