About Joey Cochran

http://www.jtcochran.com

I was raised in Texas and graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington with a Bachelors of Business Administration in 2004 and completed my Master of Theology from Dallas Seminary in 2009. I served as the General Manager of Campus Dining Services for Dallas Seminary during my seminary years. I currently serve as the High School Pastor at Fellowship Bible Church Tulsa. Before joining the Fellowship Bible Church staff, I volunteered in youth ministry for ten years. I am married to Kendall, the most amazing woman I've ever met. She is a graduate of Dallas Baptist University with a Bachelors of Arts in Psychology. We are blessed with one daughter, Chloe born October 2008 and one son Asher born June 2011. I enjoy analyzing music and movies, and I also enjoy making social and cultural observations and commentary. I have an incredible passion for youth ministry, and I have a scholars heart. I really enjoy reading and studying about the New Testament, Old Testament, Theology, Pastoral Ministry, and Youth Ministry.

Posts by Joey Cochran:

Quotes from Brothers, We Are Not Professionals by John Piper

broswearenotprosOne of the pivotal reads in my pastoral calling has been Brothers, We Are Not Professionals by John Piper. This book has been an ongoing comfort and sharpening to me when I’ve become pastorally dull-minded, which all pastors experience.

In 2013 B&H Publishers released an updated and expanded edition of this present-day classic. This new edition includes six additional chapters: 4, 6, 13, 18, 22, and 27. These are welcomed additions to this book.

If you’ve never read Brothers, We Are Not Professionals, I heartily commend it to you. John Piper’s passion for the pastorate and the building of heathy churches brims throughout this book.

1. “We Pastors are being killed by the professionalizing of the pastoral ministry” (1).

2. “Many people are willing to be God-centered as long as they feel that God is man-centered” (6).

3. “An appeal to God’s righteousness is at root an appeal to His unswerving allegiance to the value of His own holy name” (13).

4. “The aim has been to help people relocate that bottom of their joy — the decisive foundation of their joy — from self to God” (17).

5. “The ultimate end of the gospel is coming home to God” (48).

6. “God is not looking for people to work for Him but people who let Him work mightily in and through them” (56).

7. “God was the workman in our justification and he will be the workman in our sanctification” (58).

8. “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him…My life is devoted to helping people make God their God, by wakening in them the greatest pleasures in Him” (61).

9. “A cry for help form the heart of a childlike pastor is a sweet praise in the ears of God” (70).

10. “The importance of prayer rises in proportion to the importance of the things we should give up in order to pray” (77).

11. “Brothers, beware of sacred substitutes. Devote yourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the Word” (78).

12. “The domestication of God is a curse on preaching in our day” (87).

13. “The difference between an entertainment-oriented preacher and a Bible-oriented preacher is whether there is a manifest connection between the preacher’s words and the Bible as what authorizes what he says” (90).

14. “One of the greatest tragedies in the church today is the depreciation of the pastoral office” (101).

15. “If you feel dependent on God to help you see the meaning of a text, then you will cry to Him for help” (115).

16. “Pursue the tone of the text. But let it be informed, not muted, by the tonal balance of Jesus and the apostles and by the gospel of grace” (121).

17. “The eternal life of the elect hangs on the effectiveness of pastoral labors” (127).

18. “When the heart no longer feels the truth of hell, the gospel passes from good news to simply news” (134).

19. “The first spiritual step on the Calvary road of radical obedience to Jesus is repentance” (138).

20. “So preaching that aims to produce true evangelical remorse and contrition must devote itself to making God and His holiness look alluring attractive and satisfying, so that, by the grace of regeneration and illumination, people will come to love it so much that they feel intense remorse over falling short of it” (143).

View-Worthy: 10.23.14

Preview

Archbishop Ditches Mansion, Seeing God in Suffering, God in the Grocery Aisle, Justin Buzzard and Sabbath Rest.

Headliner

Daniel Burke. New Chicago ArchBishop Ditches $14 Million Mansion. (CNN)

Chicago’s new archbishop does not plan to live in the $14 million mansion that housed many of his predecessors but was seen by some Catholics as out of touch with Pope Francis’ emphasis on simplicity.

Instead, Archbishop Blase Cupich, a moderate in the mold of Francis, will live in the rectory of Holy Name Cathedral, the archdiocese of Chicago announced Wednesday.

Deal of the Day

Church Elders by Jeramie Rinne $0.99

Book Review

Peter Enns. The Bible Tells Me So. Reviewed by Michael Kruger. (TGC)

Links

Eric McKiddie. 3 Ways to See God in Your Suffering. (Christianity.com)

Horatio Spafford didn’t know it, but he was about to face incredible suffering. He planned a family vacation to Europe for the fall of 1873, but a business emergency kept him from traveling with his family. Intending to join his family after he attended to the situation, he sent his wife, Anna, and their four daughters ahead of him. During his family’s voyage their ship collided with another vessel. Although Anna survived, their four daughters drowned.

Lindsey Carlson. God Is in the Grocery Aisle. (DG)

Should we write-off healthy eating? Of course not! But neither do we need to anxiously obsess over every morsel on our plates, lest our fixation with our food consume us. Jesus tells us we shouldn’t worry about what we eat or drink (Matthew 6:25). “Is not life more than food?” Our heavenly Father is sovereign over our health, our bodies, and the number of our days, so we’re free to seek first hiskingdom and his righteousness (Matthew 6:33), not our meal plan. When worries about food cause me to shrink back in fear and forget God’s kingdom, I need the gospel to remind me time and again: Jesus is the one who makes me clean, not my food.

Gavin Ortlund. Our Neglected Practice: An Interview with Justin Buzzard on Sabbath Rest. (TGC)

Do you know what its like to experience a “deep reservoir of refreshment that continually rejuvenates you”? Or (like me) do you too often feel hurried and distracted? Could it be that our frequent neglect of Sabbath rest reflects a gap in our trust in the gospel?

To learn more about Sabbath rest, and its roots in the gospel, I corresponded with Justin Buzzard, lead pastor at Garden City Church in Silicon Valley, California, and author of books like The Big StoryDate Your Wife, and Why Cities Matter.

Edify

2 Samuel 22:50 “For this I will praise you, O Lord, among the nations, and sing praises to your name.”

“Worship is the adoration of a redeemed people, occupied with God himself.” A. W. Pink

Five New Testament Introductions

Finding the best books to read on a subject of theology can be a challenge. This series provides suggested resources for topics of Theology. Each title is linked to Amazon, if available. If you have another title to suggest for this area of study, please comment. I’m always happy to add another work to my library.

Here are 5 books that will launch you into studies on an introduction to the New Testament.

1. An Introduction to the New Testament by D A Carson and Doug Moo

2. An Introduction to the New Testament by Raymond Brown

3. An Introduction to the New Testament by David deSilva

4. The New Testament A Historical and Theological Introduction by Donald Hagner

5. The Cradle, the Cross, and the Crown: An Introduction to the New Testament by Kostenberger, Kellum, and Quarles

View-Worthy: 10.22.14

Preview

School Prayer, Begrudgingly Affirming God’s Word, Real Friendship, Pastoral Ministry Slump.

Headliner

Caryn Rivadeneira. School Prayer Doesn’t Need a Comeback. (CT)

This conception of God, though, is not one that I can get behind. I object to any mission to bring prayer “back” to school because I can’t support the faulty theology—downright heresyof implying God is only around to hear our prayers when the building sanctions his presence.

Prayer never left schools. And God never did either. To suggest otherwise should make us shudder. And yet, that’s what campaigns full of good God-fearing folks seem to be saying

Deal of the Day

What Is a Healthy Church Member? by Thabiti Anyabwile $0.99

Book Review

Mike Cosper. The Stories We Tell. Reviewed by Kevin Halloran.

Links

Aaron Armstrong. Christian, Don’t Begrudgingly Affirm God’s Word.

Public personalities like these aren’t alone in doing the dance. At some point or another we all do it. And as I’ve watched it happen (and occasionally been caught in it myself) time and again, one of the inevitable pieces of fallout is we wind up just having to come out and say what we were trying to not say.

This almost begrudging acceptance of the truth—we really do have to say what the Bible says.

Jen Thorn. 6 Costs of Real Friendship. (Christianity.com)

While doing a study on accountability I came across a few articles about the seriousness of friendship, and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since.

We tend to use the word “friend” quite carelessly. Any person we have a few conversations with, work with, or “like” on Facebook we call “friend.” This is not necessarily bad, but through it, I believe, we are losing the real meaning of Biblical friendship.

Thom Rainer. Eight Causes of Pastoral Ministry Slump.

Sure, the pastoral ministry slump is subjective if not vague. But it’s real. And every pastor experiences it. So I asked several pastors what they viewed to be the causes of slumps they experienced. Here are their top responses in the form of direct quotes.

Edify

1 John 5:2 “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments.”

“The beginning and perfection of lawful worship is readiness to obey.” John Calvin

John Calvin on the Snares of Worldly Success

CalvinICRGodly men must not only seek God’s blessing alone but must credit him for all blessings. We’re all tempted to strive and make our own fortunes. In fact, this has been the popular narrative of our culture since the Industrial Revolution. Unfortunately, self-made men cannot be God’s men, because they take credit where no credit is ever due. Even the self-made man has what he has from God’s mercy and grace alone. This is a healthy reminder to each of us, regardless of what and how success finds us or we find it. Any success comes only by the blessed hand of the Lord’s. And all chastisement is made for our discipline, to make us godly men, not self-made men.

This excerpt is taken from Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion. This quotation is from the end of section 8 and the beginning of section 9 in Book 3, Chapter 7.

In order not to be caught in such snares, godly men must hold to this path. First of all, let them neither desire nor hope for, nor contemplate, any other way of prospering than by the Lord’s blessing. Upon this, then, let them safely and confidently throw themselves and rest. For however beautifully the flesh may seem to suffice unto itself, while it either strives by its own effort for honors and riches or relies upon its diligence, or is aided by the favor of men, yet it is certain that all these things are nothing; nor will we benefit at all, either by skill or by labor, except in so far as the Lord prospers them both. On the contrary, however, his blessing alone finds a way, even through all hindrances, to bring all things to a happy and favorable outcome for us; again, though entirely without it, to enable us to obtain some glory and opulence for ourselves (as we daily see impious men amassing great honors and riches), yet, inasmuch as those upon whom the curse of God rests taste not even the least particle of happiness, without this blessing we shall obtain nothing but what turns to our misfortune. For we ought by no means to desire what makes men more miserable.

Therefore, suppose we believe that every means toward a prosperous and desirable outcome rests upon the blessing of God alone; and that, when this is absent, all sorts of misery and calamity dog us. It remains for us not greedily to strive after riches and honors — whether relying upon our own dexterity of wit or our own diligence, or depending upon the favor of men, or having confidence in vainly imagined torture — but for us always to look to the Lord so that by his guidance we may be led to whatever lot he has provided for us.

View-Worthy: 10.21.14

Preview

Driscoll’s Board, Pastor’s Wife Effect, Redemption and Rap, Reasons to Attend Worship.

Headliner

Morgan Lee. Was Driscoll’s Board a Problem? (CT)

A deeper question raised by the Mars Hill saga asks if nondenominational churches can better govern their congregation and disciple their pastors with elders drawn from within the church body, or if they should seek outside expertise.

Deal of the Day

Nine Marks of a Healthy Church by Mark Dever $1.99

Book Review

Oliver Crisp. Deviant Calvinism. Reviewed by Paul Helm. (Ref21)

Links

Joanna Breault. The Pastor’s Wife Effect. (CT)

In a recent interview in Rolling Stone, Taylor Swift recounts a conversation with her brother about a man he’d seen walking around with a cat on his head. She was torn between wanting to respect the man’s privacy and wishing she had a photo. After all, she said, “That guy is asking for it – he’s got a cat on his head!”

So here’s a sentence I never thought I’d write: Being a pastor’s wife is a little like having a cat on your head. Are we really asking for it? We have our private, everyday lives just like everyone else, yet we happen to be married to men whose jobs—whose ministries—are public.

Dan DeWitt. My Journey in Rhythm, Rhyme, and Redemption. (TGC)

I spent the summer of 1992, or at least a good portion of it, on a school bus. The drive from my small town in central Illinois to a small town in central Ohio seemed to take forever. It was a blistering summer day, and there was no air conditioning. We had been on the road since early in the morning, and the sun had finally risen to the perfect angle where it was directly cooking me through the window. I felt like a turkey on Thanksgiving Day. I wasn’t sure what would melt first, my skin or the vinyl seat it was stuck to.

I put my headphones on and stuck a cassette tape into my Walkman (the old school equivalent of an iPod—kind of).

I wanted to escape: The bus. The youth group. The world.

Matthew Westerholm. Three Reasons to Attend Corporate Worship. (DG)

“Why do we have to go to church again?”

Children ask this question on a semi-regular basis. I know my three boys have given me many opportunities to answer it. As a worship pastor, I am embarrassed to admit that I have found myself facing another service and asking the same question: Why again? Did we fail last week, or do it wrong? Was last week’s service not enough?

Edify

2 Corinthians 11:3 “But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.”

“Devotion is not an activity; it is an attitude toward God.” Jerry Bridges

Basil of Caesarea: His Life and Impact by Marvin Jones

Basil of CaesareaBibliography

Marvin Jones. Basil of Caesarea: His Life and Impact. Fearn: Christian Focus, 2014. 166 pp. $11.99.

Category

Theology

Summary

“The Church Fathers are a forgotten heirloom from the past.”

Your response to that statement reveals what you will think about Basil of Caesarea: His Life and Work. Too few have read the Church Fathers or about them. Often, pastors do not know where to start.

This is why I highly anticipate the Early Church Fathers series edited by Michael A. G. Haykin. This series recovers yesterday’s treasures for today’s readers. So far two books have released: St. Patrick of Ireland by Haykin and this work by Jones. Forthcoming titles include: Athanasius by Carl Trueman, Cyril of Alexander by Steve McKinion, Augustine by Brad Green, Irenaeus of Lyons by Ligon Duncan, and Tertullian by David Robinson. What a line up!

Jones’s book, Basil of Caesarea, alongside Haykin’s, prove to be pacesetters for this series. Marvin Jones is an Assistant Professor of Church History and Theology at Louisiana College and chairs the Christian Studies department.

Basil of Caesarea first sets the contextual political and theological setting along with a biographical overview of Basil’s life in chapter one. Chapter two delves into his conversion and a broadly sweeping understanding of Basil’s theology. In chapters three through seven Jones scrutinizes critical contexts that incite Basil’s pivotal works. Chapter three discusses the monastic movement, Basil’s contribution of the Moral Rules, and his favor towards a communal (coenobitic) structure for monastic living. Chapter four sets up chapter five. Jones sets the scene that leads Basil to write his magnum opus, On the Holy Spirit, which chapter five considers in detail. Chapter six explores Basil’s homiletical leanings, centering on his unexpected literal interpretation of Genesis 1 in the Hexaemeron, a move contrary to the allegorical method popularized by Origen and prevalent for the time. Chapter seven summarily concludes Basil of Caesarea by bringing together and refreshing many uncannily applicable points for which pastors and leaders profit from Basil’s life.

Benefit for Pastoral Ministry

Jones’s work, Basil of Caesarea, is no dessicated biography; his expressive energy imbues this book. From the opening anecdote of Basil’s defiance against Modestus (19-21) to his unlikely conversion tale kindled by his beloved sister, Macrina’s, witness (41-42), the narrative of Basil’s life will entrance readers.

Yet, don’t presume that Basil of Caesarea is mere arresting biography. This book amplifies your understanding of pastoral ministry and theology.

For instance, Jones draws us into the political context with which Basil found himself embroiled. This is instructive for pastors. When tensions mount between young Basil and his overseer Eusebius, Basil diffidently withdraws into monastic life. Jones comments:

Regardless of the specific reason, Basil left Caesarea in order to prevent further division that would overflow into the church. He honored the pastor, Eusebius, by not being a continual source of contention, thereby showing great respect for the Lord’s church and the Lord’s pastor at Caesarea. (67)

What a first-rate example for young leaders!

Meanwhile, Basil of Caesarea reacquaints you with subjects such as the Arian Heresy, the divinity of the Holy Spirit, and the ripening of Trinitarian doctrine. These discussions leave you grateful that Basil contended for precise theological language.

Callouts define terms like ousia, hypostases, tropikoi, andthe filioque clause, which clarify orthodox articulation. Distantly past heresies, like Sabbelianism, keep you weary of permitting similar, present day, expressions from hooking their claws into the church.

Jones does not leave us with a flawless, rose-tinted, presentation of Basil. He presents a realistic and relatable portrait. We recognize Basil’s brash attempt to enlist Athanasius’s political support for what it is: sensational and misrepresentative. Basil wishing to see Meletius installed as Bishop of Antioch instead of Marcellus, misconstrued Marcellus’s theological views beyond orthodoxy. Basil’s six letters to Athanasius – convincing him of these views – warrant no reply.

Despite the brouhaha with Athanasius, Basil’s writing possesses a classy mettle. There is a thing or two to learn from him about blogging, email, and public address. Read this excerpt from Basil’s, Against Eunomius, a work going toe to toe against Arianism: “So, on account of Your Charity, who enjoins us to do this, and for the sake of our own well being, it is necessary for us to accept the responsibility of allying ourselves with the truth and refuting this falsehood” (50). Basil imbibes social grace, excels in rhetoric, and champions sound doctrine with stoic conviction, even when the cause against Ariansim looks bleak.

There is a lot more to be said about this excellent primer on Basil. May this review put you on a trajectory, not just to read Basil of Caesarea, but to study his other writings as well.

Rating 

Essential            Recommended            Helpful            Pass It By

Recommendation

Basil of Caesarea is a strategic biographical and theological reconnoiter of a remarkable figure and thinker in the early church.

View-Worthy: 10.20.14

Preview

Hillsong’s Brian Houston, Church in Exile, Help Someone Change, This Coke, Sexuality and Silence.

Headliner

Sarah Pulliam Bailey and Jonathan Merritt. Brian Houston Defends Handling of Abuse Case, Sidesteps Questions on Gay Marriage. (RNS)

The founder of Hillsong, one of the most influential religious brands across the globe, on Thursday (Oct. 16) denied allegations that he had tried to cover up his father’s sexual abuse, saying the victim asked him not to go to the police.

Deal of the Day

Accidental Pharisees by Larry Osborne $3.79

Book Review

Todd Wilson. Real Christian. Reviewed by Matt Perman.

Links

Andrew Walker. A Church in Exile. (First Things)

Religion, and maybe Ebola, owned the news this week. From the confusion and public relations nightmare at the Vatican over the Synod’s Relatio, to the Caesarism of Annise Parker and the City of Houston subpoenaing sermons from pastors, it has been a busy week for the religion beat.

Then yesterday, coverage about a Hillsong press conference came out, indicating that the global evangelical enterprise is triangulating on homosexuality, particularly about whether it should publicly hold what the Bible teaches in light of culture’s rapid change on the subject.

Stephen Altrogge. How To REALLY Help Someone Change.

You’ve got this person in your life, and they really need to change. For years your husband has struggled with anger. For years your wife has struggled with self-control. For years your son has struggled with laziness. For years your daughter has struggled with body image issues. At this point, you don’t know h0w to help them move forward. You don’t know how to help them overcome the sin that has beset them for so long. You’re fed up, worn out, and pretty much hopeless. You’ve resigned yourself to things always being the way they are.

What the heck are you supposed to do? Fortunately, the Bible gives us straight forward wisdom on how to really, actually help a person change. And odds are, the Bible’s wisdom probably runs contrary to your own ideas of how to help a person change. It certainly runs contrary to mine!

So how can you help a person change?

Tyler Glodjo. This Cokes [Not] For You: Life on the Margins. (CaPC)

 A few weeks ago my wife sent me a picture of a Coke bottle with my name on it. “Even when away, you’re with me,” I could hear her say. There is a unique simplicity in encountering a product with your name on it. It’s a simple, short-lived experience of validation. Did Coca-Cola have me in mind when printing “Tyler” on their labels? Surely not. But when my wife came across it in the grocery store, lonely from a summer without her husband while I was away at school, those five letters represented me. The name “Tyler” on the Coke bottle flooded her memory with a love she had been missing. Five simple letters represented not a word, but a name; and not a name shared by many, but the name of one. My name. What a beautifully simple phenomenon—outside the fact that such feelings originated from a massive marketing ploy.

Andrew Wilson. Sexuality and Silence. (9M)

I’ve heard rumours of a silent trend beginning to take hold in some city churches in the UK and the US. I don’t just mean a trend that takes hold silently; presumably most trends do that. I mean a trend toward silence: a decision not to speak out on issues that are considered too sticky, controversial, divisive, culturally loaded, entangled, ethically complex, personally upsetting, emotive, likely to be reported on by the Guardian or the New York Times, uncharted, inflammatory, difficult, or containing traces of gluten. Since I do not attend a city church, but am a proud member of the backward bungalow bumpkin brigade, this is coming to me secondhand, and it may turn out to be a storm in the proverbial teacup, or even (for all I know) entirely fictional.
But let’s imagine that there were such things as well-written booklets which had been discontinued simply because they were about sexuality, and leaders who were avoiding making any public comments at all on controversial ethical issues, or churches whose lectionaries or sermon series were systematically avoiding passages which addressed pressing contemporary questions, presumably in the name of being winsome or wise or likeable or culturally sensitive, because of the number of Influencers and Powerful People in the area. Without knowing any of the behind-the-scenes discussions that had taken place—all well-intentioned, I’m sure—what would I say then?

Edify

“God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him, and we are most satisfied in him in worship.” John Piper

Romans 12:1 “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.”

Three Things to Remember When Visiting Christian Websites

Every day I pilfer numerous articles and scope out what the Christian community says on the internet. Like anyone else, I gravitate to particular websites, ones that have my interest and loyalty.

These websites are marked by quality journalism and literary writing. Their editors are qualified, usually not just as writers or editors, but as scholars and pastors. Typically, these sites are loosely connected or aligned to a pastoral figure, a church, denomination, or are a collection of the aforementioned.

And every day, as I read these Christian websites, I give myself a subtle reminder. I rehearse it quietly to myself. Here is what I say: “This is not the Word, not my local church, not an ordinance.”

Why do I give myself these reminders? I remind myself because I am prone to wander from priorities and authorities. What follows are reasons for these cautions.

This is Not the Word

Sure enough, the Word of God is frequently the base of Christian articles. Yet, just like other forms of journalism, even the best Christian websites veer towards sensational op-eds. You have to carefully read and categorize every article. Ask yourself: “Is this exegetically driven? Or opinion driven?” This helps you determine what authority level you permit an article to have. Still, even if it is exegetically driven, you have to ask: “Does this interpretation or reading of the Word hold true?”

The Word is authoritative over your life. As the psalmist confesses, “Your righteousness is righteous forever, and your law is true” (Ps. 119:142). Measure every article read against God’s truth. Likewise, don’t allow websites or articles to supplant time in the Word. They are no substitute for pulling out the Scripture and hearing directly from God.

Though they may bring you to the Word, Christian websites are not the Word.

This is Not Your Local Church

Community develops around Christian websites. You’ll connect with others that enjoy the same websites. Likewise, you’re bound to cross the same people in comment threads and develop friendships. These interactions, though genuine, are displaced by space. They are no substitute for your local church.

An aspect of local church community is that your local church sees you for who you are. In turn, you see them and submit to them, because the Scripture calls you to this, saying: “Submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ” (Eph. 5:21).

Too often, you have the freedom to project what you wish to others on Christian websites. Substituting digital community for local church community creates a vacuous space that lacks accountability. Furthermore, digital space caters to individuality. You visit what sites you wish and are not a holden to anyone for your behavior. This individualism is dangerous.

Jonathan Leeman in The Church and the Surprising Offense of God’s Love, reminds us that the dangers of individualism are not countered by community, digital or otherwise. He says, “The solution to individualism is not community. The solution — one fears to say it without pages of qualification — is to reintroduce a conception of submission to God’s revealed will as it’s located in the local church.” The local church requires you to submit to elders, other members, and to Christ when a Christian website cannot.

Likewise, though many websites have pastors writing and editing, none of them argue that they function as pastors in this role. These men do not have the capacity to cover you with authority nor the ability to do so because of the digital space that lies between you two.

Though Christian websites are a great place to learn about the church and fellowship with the wider church community, they are not your local church.

This is Not an Ordinance

This one is a surprising reminder. If you’re like me, you like to create laws for yourself. You like routine and gravitate towards it. But Jesus never said, “Thou shalt log in and read Christian articles daily.” This isn’t something you have to do; this is a freeing realization.

Though you enjoy checking out what’s being said by the Christian community on the internet, you have to remind yourself that it’s not part of your identity. Being adopted into sonship with Christ, calls you to baptism, the Lord’s supper, prayer, the Word, and the local church community. It doesn’t call you to keep up with what is being said on the web.

At times you may feel out of place because other Christians know what’s going on in the blogosphere and you don’t. But that knowledge doesn’t shape you like the ordinances Christ gave you. You’re shaped by taking in bites of the Lord’s body, not bytes of data from Christian websites. You’re washed in the stream of Christ’s blood through the waters of baptism, not by the stream of your twitter feed.

Though Christian websites are a great place to learn what Christ ordained, you’re not ordained to go to them.

 

View-Worthy: 10.17.14

Preview

Sia v. Swift, Mars Hill Postmortem, Pain in Christian Marriage, Young Blacks Leaving Church?

Headliner

Steve McCoy. Sia vs. Swift: A Pop Battle for Our Hearts. (CaPC)

I recently expressed my love for pop music despite being a bit of an indie music snob. I must also confess that I regularly listen to pop radio. You know, that thing with knobs on the dash of the car that deciphers audio waves rather than a wifi signal. Lately two voices familiar to most of us who enjoy pop music have been competing for radio time–and their messages couldn’t be more different.

Deal of the day

Forever: Why You Can’t Live Without It by Paul David Tripp

Book Review

Hunter Baker. The System Has a Soul. Reviewed by Douglas Wilson.

Links

Trevin Wax. The Mars Hill Postmortem.

The news of Mark Driscoll’s resignation closes a painful chapter in the life of Mars Hill Church in Seattle. This is a time to pray for the Driscoll family, Mars Hill Church, and those who have suffered through various forms of spiritual abuse.

What can we learn from this situation? We should consider four lessons to take away, but I want to preface these remarks with two caveats.

Jason Helopoulos. Pain in Christian Marriage. (Christward Collective)

Marriage can be painful–and Christian marriage is no exception. When two sinners are in a relationship as intimate as marriage, there is bound to be some measure of hurt. Our flesh will balk at the demands of self-sacrifice, service, and humility affecting one another for ill. There will be sins committed, wounds aggravated, and injuries inflicted. The extent will vary with each relationship. Some will be more challenging than others, but every Christian marriage experiences some pain.

Anthony Carter. Why Are Young Black Leaving the Church? (9M)

Are “black millennials” leaving the church? Is this something about which we should be alarmed? In recent times much has been written on this subject seeking to interpret and analyze what some are saying is a disturbing trend. Some of the discussion has taken place on the website The Front Porch (see here and here), and some has taken place at other online outlets.

One article in particular, Six Reasons Young Black People are Leaving Church, has raised the question and offered reasons why young black men and women are either leaving or not going to church.

Edify

Psalm 99:5 “Exalt the Lord our God; worship at his footstool! Holy is he!”

“If we want to know God and to be blessed by God, we must start by worshipping him.” D Martyn Lloyd-Jones