I’ll admit it — I have a man-crush on RC Sproul. What an awesome teacher! Last week RC took on a favourite hot-topic among Christians – predestination. Every time I have an Ask The Pastor night this question comes up over and over. It is clearly close to people’s hearts and people want a good answer. Maybe you avoid the issue because you think there isn’t a good answer. I believe everyone needs to understand the doctrine of predestination and I want to point you at the best teacher I know who can explain it.
In RC’s words:
“The doctrine of Predestination is so profoundly important to the complete perspectives that we have, in terms of our relationship to God and to our salvation, that it would be a matter of wicked neglect to ignore or to denigrate in any way the importance of this doctrine.”
1. The Inevitable Question – “Would it be an exaggeration to say that the doctrine of predestination is at the core of the Christian faith?”
2. What is Predestination? – “With all of the disagreement and controversy surrounding predestination in the church, is there common ground on which we can all stand together?”
3. The Golden Chain – “How many weak links do you need before the chain breaks? Dr. Sproul exposes the weak link in the “Golden Chain” of the prescient view of predestination.”
4. The Divine Choice – “Why are you a Christian? Is it because you chose to be one? Where was God in that decision? Dr. Sproul discusses the basis upon which God chooses.”
In my heart of hearts I’m a student. I loved school and now I love learning about Jesus and His Church. For me, being a teacher, preacher, leader, vision-caster, etc. isn’t a job but a natural expression of the things God built me to be interested in and impassioned by. I’m energized by reading books, articles, blogs, listening to sermons and other online teachers. I know God built us differently, and that some people can only take so much book-learnin’, but I do hope that learning about Jesus is a passion of yours as well.
So, since I’m sharing (as Julie Andrews would say) “a few of my favourite things”, I thought I’d share my favourite podcasts. Again, I’ll share a link and the description from the website.
Andy Stanley Leadership Podcast – “Welcome to the Andy Stanley Leadership Podcast, a conversation designed to help leaders go further, faster. Andy Stanley is a pastor, communicator, author, and the founder of North Point Ministries in Alpharetta, Georgia. For additional information, visit northpoint.org.”
Desiring God Sermons Audio – “John Piper is pastor for preaching and vision at Bethlehem Baptist Church in the Twin Cities of Minnesota. He grew up in Greenville, South Carolina, and studied at Wheaton College, Fuller Theological Seminary (B.D.), and the University of Munich (D.theol.). For six years he taught Biblical Studies at Bethel College in St. Paul, Minnesota, and in 1980 accepted the call to serve as pastor at Bethlehem. John is the author of more than 40 books and more than 30 years of his preaching and teaching is available free at desiringGod.org. John and his wife, Noel, have four sons, one daughter, and twelve grandchildren.”
The Gospel Coalition – “The Gospel Coalition is a fellowship of evangelical churches deeply committed to renewing our faith in the gospel of Christ and to reforming our ministry practices to conform fully to the Scriptures.”
Grace to You – “This powerful broadcast will boost your spiritual growth by helping you understand and apply God’s Word to your life and the life of your family and church. John MacArthur, pastor-teacher, has been offering his practical, verse-by-verse Bible teaching through Grace to You for 40 years.”
Mars Hill Church: Mark Driscoll Audio – “It’s all about Jesus. Pastor Mark Driscoll is the Preaching Pastor for Mars Hill and regularly distributes audio content via this channel, including sermons, event teaching and the occasional one-off audio created for our internet audience. You can find more content like this by visiting our web site at http://www.marshillchurch.org”
Renewing Your Mind with R.C. Sproul – “Since 1994, Renewing Your Mind with Dr. R.C. Sproul has provided accessible, in-depth Bible teaching to millions around the world. As the principal outreach of Ligonier Ministries, this radio broadcast has instructed listeners in the life-changing truths of historic Christianity and has kept the church community informed about pertinent issues facing believers today.”
Resurgence – “TheResurgence.com is a Missional Theology Cooperative. Resurgence means to rise again, or to surge back into vibrancy. We believe that the gospel of Jesus Christ must resurge in every generation to meet the needs of people and their continually changing cultures. Missional means that we believe Jesus Christ is on a mission to seek and save people, change their lives, and transform their cultures. Because of this we believe that Christians, Christian organizations, and Christian churches exist to join Jesus on His mission by immersing themselves in whatever culture Jesus has placed them. Theology means that we believe that personal and cultural transformation is only possible by meeting the living Jesus Christ of the Bible through His gospel. Because of this we believe that culturally accessible mission also requires biblically faithful theology. Cooperative means that we believe a team of missional theologians working together as friends and peers, sharing ideas, and correcting errors is the best way for learning to occur. Because of this we are a network of various Christian leaders, ministries, churches, and networks seeking to work together in providing the most culturally effective and biblically faithful missional theology.”
I’ve shown you my favourite Leadership and Christian Living Blogs, but today I want to show you something different. These blogs are more inline with my personal interests, but I think you may find them interesting — I certainly do.
These are not Christian bloggers, but they are intelligent, insightful and entertaining. Some of them do, on rare occasion, use potty-words, so if you’re sensitive to that read no further.
Frugal Dad – “This site was created for the average family to find financial resources with a conservative slant. By “conservative slant” I’m not referring to politics, rather the “conservative” approach to personal finances.”
The Art of Manliness – “The Art of Manliness is authored by husband and wife team, Brett and Kate McKay. It features articles on helping men be better husbands, better fathers, and better men.”
Freakonomics – “Steven D. Levitt is an economist. Stephen J. Dubner is a writer. They co-authored Freakonomics, a book about cheating teachers, bizarre baby names, self-dealing Realtors, and crack-selling mama’s boys. They figured it would sell about 80 copies. Instead, it has sold 4 million, in 35 languages.”
Kottke.org – “”he editorial direction of the site is all over the place but clusters around a pair of hand-wavy ideas: the liberal arts 2.0 and people are awesome.
What if? – “Answering your hypothetical questions with physics, every Tuesday.”
TED – “TED is a nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, Design. Since then its scope has become ever broader.”
Discernment When my daughter Eowyn was very little, she took it upon herself to simplift the alphabet. She’s replaced all the C’s, G’s, and K’s with the letter D. It was cute, (and if it caught on, would have made spelling a lot easier) but it made her difficult to understand at times.
“Daddy, dan I have some dum or dandy in de dar?”
That one’s easy, but I remember the time when she wanted me to “dade a pidder.” She was very insistent that I “dade a pidder” right away! “DADDY, DADE A PIDDER!” It took about 5 minutes of my wife and I playing 20 Questions / Charades until we figured out that she wanted me to “take her picture.”
As amazingly smart as my little girl is, and as good as she was at getting her point across most of the time when she was very small, I really had to listen extra hard to discern what she’s trying to say.
Which brings me to today’s topic: Discernment. Figuring out what is right, wrong, good, bad, wise, foolish, helpful, distracting, kind, unkind, unimportant, important or urgent. There are so many competing voices and choices around us that to find what is right and good takes work, focus and often, help from others. I came across some great links about discernment that will hopefully be of help to you if you are trying to figure something out.