The Church at Brook Hills • Radical Series

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The Church at Brook Hills • Media

I am hearing from more and more folks that this series by David Platt at Brookhills has really impacted them. It is powerful! The other month I posted one of the sermons from this series here. I encourage you to listen/watch that sermon and the rest as they address what the gospel says concerning the poor, oppressed, orphaned and widowed.

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AIDS, the Social Gospel, and the Gospel

The other day, Thabiti Anyabwile posted some powerful reflections on his time in Africa. He was in an area where 85% of people there–men, women, and children–are HIV positive and dying of AIDS. What he said about the ministry he worked with I could say the same for Africa Renewal Ministries in Uganda. Here is a powerful must-read section explaining the important relationship between the gospel we declare in words and the gospel we demonstrate in our deeds:

Today, we visited a ministry called Lily of the Valley. It’s a very comprehensive effort to try and address this pandemic: gospel preaching and Bible teaching, housing for AIDS orphans, medical clinic, cottage industry/business. They’re doing a valiant work. Please pray for them.

As we toured the place and heard more about the ministry, I was left with a couple thoughts:

1. These people are trying to re-engineer an entire society. The problem and the work are massive. For example, just how do you re-introduce fatherhood to a culture when virtually none are known or exist?

2. The implications of the gospel are enormous for this re-engineering effort. Not only must these dear people in God’s image come to believe in Christ and be saved, the outworkings of gospel life must be freshly imaged and lived as the only reconstructive force powerful enough to address this plague. If the succeeding generation isn’t swept up in a revival, a supernatural enlargement of God’s converting and sanctifying work through His Spirit, then the catastrophic effects of sin will destroy them. And this sin attacks at the very point where promiscuity meets reproductive hope.

3. This makes squabbles about the social gospel almost irrelevant. I say “almost” because anything that obscures or supplants the gospel that saves cannot be completely irrelevant and must be avoided. The social gospel dooms people to hell. But in the final analysis, so too does a so-called “biblical” gospel that gets penal substitution, justification, repentance and faith correct but never moves us to preach it, teach it, spread it, apply it, and risk it and ourselves in caring for the needs of people perishing in sin and disease and hunger and war and poverty and illiteracy.

Please take the time to read the whole post.

Why the Gospel is Necessary for Racial Reconciliation

Richard J. Mouw in The Kings Come Marching In writes:

“…an appeal to the fact of God’s creation of the human race is, in itself, inadequate to establish a basis for racial justice. The perpetuators of injustice can argue that God did indeed create all people out of ‘one blood.’ But, they can go on to argue, sin has altered the original situation. In response to human rebellion, God has decided to keep people within their own ethnic and racial groups [speaking of Babel in Genesis 11]…. The only effective way of countering this kind of theology, it seems to me, is to point to the work of the Cross….We cannot ignore the Babel account or the provisional divisions of the race that God introduced in response to the pretensions of the tower builders. But through Calvary and Pentecost God has begun to ‘lift the veil.’ In Jesus Christ the barriers of race and clan and tribe and tongue are being abolished. Redemption restores the work of creation, and in doing so it also repairs the damage done by sin.”

[HT: Danny Slavich]

Family Leaving for Ethiopia Today

It is a joy when we see families travel to pick up their adopted children! Today the Rush family from Desert Springs Church (one of our church adoption fund partners) leaves to pick up their new adopted daughter from Ethiopia. I love what one of their pastor’s wrote to them to encourage them:

Hey Guys,

Just wanted to write a quick note to say how proud of you I am today (I know that sounds dumb and paternal, but it’s really how I feel) as you embark on this journey to the other side of the world. You are helping our church see a picture of the Gospel that we need to see much more of. I praise God for this. You are laying down your lives for “the least of these” and this is one of our primary callings in this broken world. You have taken a great step of faith that will change her life, but also yours and those who watch you with eyes of faith. As you live out the promise that it is more blessed to give than receive, know that God’s Spirit goes with you and will never leave you nor forsake you. Always remember that God is holding your precious daughter with a much tighter grip than we ever could. I know we both share great comfort in this truth and may it give you rock solid confidence as you look into the future with your beautiful new family member. Know that we love you and will be praying for you earnestly in these next seven days.

We love you,

z

Turn Us Inside Out

Screen shot 2009-09-03 at 10.14.44 AMI just started reading Richard Lovelace’s ‘Renewal as a Way of Life’. The first few pages have been worth the price of the book. Here is a great quote from p. 10:

“We cannot attain he fullness of the Spirit without being turned inside out so that our central focus is no longer our own growth, but the glory of God and the growth of Christ’s kingdom.”