30 September 2013

The Gospel Transformation Bible

Today the Gospel Transformation Bible releases from my favorite publisher.

What is it?

It's a Bible with running notes that help us read Scripture with a pair of glasses the lenses of which are tinted with Luke 24:27. So that the deadening and burdening ways of reading the Bible we tend to grow up with might be shed. To help believers read the Bible for what it actually is. The tagline is 'Christ in all of Scripture, grace for all of life.' That pretty much sums it up.

Bryan Chapell is General Editor. And a bunch of outstanding church leaders wrote the notes.

(When, you might ask, is Crossway going to release an obedience-focused Bible to complement this grace-focused one? The answer is that the GTB is the obedience-focused one. We obey from the heart no further than we taste free grace.)

I hope the GTB helps you as you read it. It has helped me.

Here is its website.

If you'd like to download a free PDF sampler of the content, you can do so here. Our brother Tony Reinke lists his favorite 20 quotes from the GTB here.

Brief promo from a few of the contributors:

Interview with one of the dearest men I know:

27 September 2013

Consider the Outcome

Reflecting today on this photo that my dad recently shared (click to enlarge). He is receiving his seminary degree at Dallas Seminary in 1975, just a bit younger than I am now. John Walvoord, president of the seminary from 1952 to 1986, is handing the diploma to Pop. In the background you see Haddon Robinson's distinct face. On the far left, displaying his typical joyous seriousness, is my dad's dad.

In the face of both my dad and granddad you see a glimpse of Psalm 34:5--'those who look to him are radiant.' I can't read that mysterious and wonder-full text without thinking of these guys.

Granddad had just preached the sermon, from Romans 15:13, his life verse.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. 
Gramps lived that verse. So does my dad. Dad preached this very text at Granddad's funeral in California in 2007.

Looking at this photo reminds me how short life is. And how much sense joy makes, as a Christian. And what an adventure walking with Christ is. And how silly it is for me to mope through my day feeling sorry for myself. And how significant theological training is, and doctrinal integrity, and the biblical languages. And how grateful I am that God has not let me derail my life through any number of things of which I am fully capable. And how much I like Lord of the Rings. And burgers--good burgers, and shakes, in Newport Beach, California, with my family, throughout the 90s. And how nice it will be to expire some day, but also how I look forward to joy-filled, pain-filled, grace-filled life first. And how much I love my three boys.

26 September 2013

'...the righteous for the unrighteous...' (1 Peter 3:18)

Hillsong can get a bit frothy at times. Not this one--can't get a clearer articulation of penal substitutionary atonement. No hope without it.

24 September 2013

Where Feet May Fail

He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” 
--Matthew 14:29-31

23 September 2013

Make Your Meetings Better

I'm really enjoying and benefiting from Patrick Lencioni's book The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else in Business (Jossey-Bass, 2012). The first chapter is genuinely new and extremely useful, the rest of the book pretty much rehashes what he says in previous books.

I suspect that much of what he prescribes for business practice will only be truly and lastingly achievable by those with a heart-sense of the gospel (e.g., vulnerability with one another, admitting personal weakness, resisting envy). But the book is chock full of common sense, and I am getting a ton of help. One way he helps me is in how to lead and participate in meetings. Here's a 20-minute video that gets at some of what Lencioni says in the book. Good stuff, for leaders of all kinds.

Union with Christ and Imputation: Not Mutually Exclusive

Con Campbell:

HT: Marc Cortez

20 September 2013

10 Tips for Becoming a Better Writer

Michael Mungor at The Chronicle of Higher Education:
In my nearly 30 years at universities, I have seen a lot of very talented people fail because they couldn't, or didn't, write. And some much less talented people (I see one in the mirror every morning) have done OK because they learned how to write.

It starts in graduate school. There is a real transformation, approaching an inversion, as people switch from taking courses to writing. Many of the graduate students who were stars in the classroom during the first two years—the people everyone admired and looked up to—suddenly aren't so stellar anymore. And a few of the marginal students—the ones who didn't care that much about pleasing the professors by reading every page of every assignment—are suddenly sending their own papers off to journals, getting published, and transforming themselves into professional scholars.

The difference is not complicated. It's writing.
Read the rest, which includes ten tips for improving as a writer, especially as an academic writer. 

05 September 2013

04 September 2013

Obeying vs. Relishing

Thomas Chalmers (1780-1847), Free Church Scottish pastor known for his sermon 'The Expulsive Power of a New Affection':
There are a thousand things which, in popular and understood language, man can do. It is quite the general sentiment, that he can abstain from stealing, and lying, and calumny—that he can give of his substance to the poor, and attend church, and pray, and read his Bible, and keep up the worship of God in his family. 
But, as an instance of distinction between what he can do, and what he cannot do, let us make the undoubted assertion, that he can eat wormwood, and just put the question, if he can also relish wormwood. That is a different affair. I may command the performance; but have no such command over my organs of sense, as to command a liking, or a taste for the performance. . . . I may accomplish the doing of what God bids; but have no pleasure in God himself. The forcible constraining of the hand, may make out many a visible act of obedience, but the relish of the heart may refuse to go along with it. . . . 
The poor man has no more conquered his rebellious affections, than he has conquered his distaste for wormwood. He may fear God; he may listen to God; and, in outward deed, may obey God. But he does not, and he will not, love God; and while he drags a heavy load of tasks, and duties, and observances after him, he lives in the hourly violation of the first and greatest of the commandments.
--'An Estimate of the Morality that is Without Godliness,' in Thomas Chalmers, Sermons and Discourses, Vol. II (New York: Robert Carter, 1846), 34.

03 September 2013

A Portrait of Joy

As the final battle of Middle Earth wanes, Aragorn tends to a wounded Faramir.
Then taking two leaves, he laid them on his hands and breathed on them, and then he crushed them, and straightway a living freshness filled the room, as if the air itself awoke and tingled, sparkling with joy. And then he cast the leaves into the bowls of steaming water that were brought to him, and at once all hearts were lightened. For the fragrance that came to each was like a memory of dewy mornings of unshadowed sun in some land of which the fair world in Spring is itself but a fleeting memory.
--J. R. R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, p. 847

02 September 2013