The breathtaking love we tend to forget (Trillia Newbell): Each day, each hour is a worthy fight to remember our greatest love in the world. One way for you and me to fight our temptation to wander toward lesser things is to remember the love and pursuit of God. The love and the pursuit of any human pales in comparison to the love and pursuit of God. And one of the clearest demonstrations of God’s pursuing character is written for us to see in Paul’s praise in Ephesians 1:3–14. Read more at Desiring God.
Lord, free me from pride: three ways to escape self-importance (Isaac Adams): Pride is thinking more highly of yourself, or the things about yourself, than you should. It’s a posture that stands in resolute opposition to Jesus, who humbled himself “by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Phil. 2:8). Jesus calls all who follow him to carry their crosses, which includes putting to death our exaggerated, false sense of self-importance. How can we do that practically? As I have prayed for God to mortify my pride, I have learned three valuable habits. Read more at Desiring God.
7 reasons why “just OK is not OK” in God’s work (Chuck Lawless): Maybe you’ve seen the AT&T commercials that point out why “just OK is not OK.” The point is that there are some situations where “just OK” is not sufficient. These commercials don’t speak about the church, but the principle’s the same: “just OK” is not adequate in God’s work—even though too many churches tolerate less than their best in much of what they do. Here’s why. Read more at ChuckLawless.com.
How even a biblical vision statement can rob us of community (Mike Leake): I’ve worked with a couple of churches now to move toward what I believe is healthier church polity. Part of this is making sure to have mission and vision that flow out of timeless biblical truths. “Gospel-saturated community” is a phrase that I’ve tried to see adopted in a few communities where God has placed me. I could care less what phrases people use, but the concept is absolutely vital to being a faithful and healthy church. But there is a way in which a passion for community can actually rob you of that very community. Read more at MikeLeake.net.
The church is more like a bus ride than a motorcycle ride (Bob Johnson): Life in the church is like life on a bus. We are in this together and are called to make room for others, defer to others, help others, even to serve others. But in our efforts to make the church as convenient as we can, we have tried to market her more as a motorcycle instead of the bus that she really is. Keeping everyone in one service limits the options that people have. They do not get to pick the times, the style, or even the crowd. When they get on the bus, they are on it with the whole group. But, isn’t that the point of the church (1 Cor. 12:14–20)? If we organize the life of our church by empowering our tendencies to think like a motorcycle, we shouldn’t be surprised when our people resist life on the bus. Read more at 9 Marks.
8 reasons why many churches don’t have an outward focus (Chuck Lawless): It’s no secret that many—if not most—churches are not outwardly focused. In my judgment, here are 8 reasons that’s the case. Read more at ChuckLawless.com.
PREACHING / TEACHING
12 reasons to pray more as you prepare your sermon or lesson this weekend (Chuck Lawless): Many of you are pastors, elders or teachers who are putting finishing touches on your sermon or lesson for this weekend. In too many cases, we prepare hard and pray little over our sermons or lessons. For the rest of this week, I challenge you to spend more time praying before you preach or teach. Here’s why. Read more at ChuckLawless.com.