Book Recommendation from a Pastor
Author, pastor and missionary, Francis Chan writes “Letters to the Church” because of his love for Christ’s bride. He has lived through the unique challenges of pastoring Cornerstone Church in Simi Valley in the 1990s and early 2000s. He saw the excitement of growing from a church that met in a home to becoming a megachurch, starting a Bible school, partnering with global organizations, and becoming a bestselling author. In 2010, he left. This helps provide the framework for the purpose of the book. Chan writes, “Since the beginning of time, there has been worship God loves and worship He rejects. As I examine the state of the Christian Church today, I can’t help but think that God is displeased with many of the churches in America.” (24)
The book has nine chapters or nine “letters” to the American Church that address different challenges the church faces. The author’s observations and at times critiques are based on his reading of how the New Testament church lived out their faith. You may not agree with everything he writes, but you will be challenged as you read God’s Word and examine your heart and how you view the church.
Here are a few quotes that will remind you of the tremendous blessing and challenge of being a part of Christ’s bride.
- “You are a part of something much bigger than yourself, something sacred. Through Jesus’ sacrifice you have been joined to His Church. Because of this, you are not only a part of God’s sacred temple but also a part of the heavenly community.” (39)
- “Too often we add in our own voices, thinking if we offer just the right services or package the gospel in just the right way so no one gets offended, we can convince people to stay. By catering our worship to the worshippers and not to the Object of our worship, I fear we have created human-centered churches.” (53)
- “We have to stop viewing church leaders as people who minister to us. God clearly explained their role. It was not coddle you but to equip you.Think personal trainer, not massage therapist.” (91)
- “May God forgive us for building our church empires on the foundation of our own arrogance!” (164)
We live in an era where everyone has an opinion on the current events. Vast amounts of information is readily accessible on our phones or at the click of a mouse. The temptation is to turn to experts, scholars, and leaders for their take on latest issues. But there’s no source of wisdom better than from the One above. Seek Him first.
Our hearts are broken by the brokenness of this world. As we consider what we are to do and how we are to respond, Ed Welch offers some practical suggestions on where to begin.
“A Thinking Person’s Checklist,” by Alan Jacobs
In light of the previous article, this one provides some wise balance on how we should think and process before we act. Justin Taylor synthesizes the main points of Alan Jacob’s popular book.
However you may feel about George Floyd and racial injustice, Shai Linne’s sharing allows us to understand and empathize more while encouraging us to place our ultimate hope in the God gracious enough to create us in His image and provide salvation through His Son.
Pandemics, Digital Media, and Anxiety
We ought to be cognizant of all the benefits and detriments of digital media. Like any tool, in order to leverage its benefits, we also need to be cautious of potential pitfalls and how it can harm us. This article does a fair and good job of presenting considerations we should have on our relationship with digital media in this season of coronavirus.
What If Marriage Isn’t Making Me As Holy As I Had Hoped?
While written to the married, there’s much in this article for all of us to consider, because it deals with holiness. Challies does a good job in setting our expectations and framing our understanding of growing in godliness this side of eternity. May we strive for holiness individually and in the relationships entrusted to us.
Can We Weep With Those Who Weep
We need to be thoughtful and critical as we navigate through droves of information, both data and anecdotes. This article is longer, but I believe it’s worth the read. The author draws a balanced and helpful conclusion.
Sarah Groves captures timeless truths that have sustained saints of old as well as today. During times where we’re unsettled by what’s going on around us, we need to be planted on the firm foundation of God and His truth. This collection of songs help us find our footing on Him.
What I appreciate about this classic is the large swath of people involved. This arrangement took 5 months to complete with contributions made by 48 singers from 14 countries. Such is a small picture of the unity we have in Christ, a lesson we need to remember when many are divided.
Been blessed by Sunday service praise? If you aren’t aware, we’ve parsed out worship sets into individual YouTube videos and placed them in a playlist for your enjoyment and encouragement.
I haven’t seen this TV show myself, but it’s received glowing reviews for faithfully yet creatively portraying Jesus’s life. Some of the first season episodes are free to watch through their app.
This might qualify as an article, but it’s really made up of inspirational quotes from heroes of the faith. May the words of these saints engender you to labor more in prayer.
Ronni Kurtz on What Doctrine Brings the Most Joy
Doctrine is not supposed to be stale or merely intellectual. Doctrine is to culminate in doxology, a greater worship of God. In this video clip, Ronni Kurtz shares which doctrine stirs his soul to delight in Christ.
How Do We Respond in Times of Division?
Many of us are quick to think of social reform, how to advocate for justice, listening better, what to do–all which can be appropriate and good. But let’s never forget the foundational power of the gospel and our identity is in the Lord Jesus Christ. In this short clip, Alistair Begg encourages us to this.
Christ and Calamity: Grace and Gratitude in the Darkest Valley
Two words: Free. Ebook. In our suffering and uncertainty, God is near and at work. Harold L. Senkbeil provides pastoral insights on how to view and respond to this global pandemic.