Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Book: Can these dry bones live?

Churches are closing today at an alarming rate. Pastors are disillusioned, church members are discouraged, and the world has lost interest. Can this disturbing tide be stemmed?
Bill Henard believes that there is hope for the established church – for your church. Some people may have already pronounced the church “dead,” but these dead bones can live. Whether your church is seven years old or one-hundred and seventy, you may be seeing evidences that your church needs vision, direction, and revitalization.
Don’t lose hope. Your church can live.
Chapters  

  1. Why Church revitalization?
  2. Assessment
  3. The Church does not recognise the need for revitalization.
  4. The Church does not want to grow
  5. Barriers to Growth
  6. The gifts do not match the church
  7. Community Demographics differ from the Church
  8. Church turns inwards
  9. External factors
  10. The Church has lost its vision
  11. Operating through inadequate ministry structures
  12. Failure to increase the impact of ministry

Friday, April 29, 2016

Book: The Spirituality of Wine

In The Spirituality of wine, Gisela Kreglinger offers a fresh, holistic vision of the Christian life that sees God at work in all created things, including vineyards, the work of vintners, and the beauty of well-crafted wine shared with others around a table. Kreglinger begins by examining wine in the Bible, in the history of the church, and in the Lord’s Supper, and these reflections culminate in a theology of joy and feasting that celebrates the human senses as gifts for tasting the goodness of God.
In the second part of the book Kreglinger brings Christian spirituality and the world of wine together in new ways, exploring such matters as technology and wine-crafting, the health benefits of wine, alcohol abuse, consumerism, and soul care. Her discussion is enriched by interviews with thirty vintners from around the world as well as her own experience growing up on a family winery in Bavaria.

Contents

  • Wine in the Bible
  • Wine in the History of the Church
  • Wine in the Lord's Supper
  • Wine and communal feasting
  • Wine and attentiveness
  • The vintner as (practising) theologian
  • Technology, spirituality and wine
  • Wine and its health benefits
  • Wine and the abuse of alcohol
  • Wine, viticulture and soul care

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Artilce: Three ways to encourage peace between generations

In this article Ed Stetzer explores that diversity in a congregation or denomination can be a real blessing, however it will take work....
He suggests that congregations and denominations looking to encourage peace need to:

  1. Refrain from arrogant attitudes
  2. Respect God's varied ministry callings
  3. Reinforce a culture of peace
He concludes with the following:

In the end, it is important to remember that substance is more valuable than style. We can and should be aggressive when it comes to issues of substance. There are things you cannot be and still be considered within the boundaries of your theological tribe—it isn’t a free-for-all.
If you are going to be in a family, value what the family values.
But we should be generous when it comes to style. There is more space for variations. When it comes to flexible issues that will change according to context, intentionally work in and toward peace.
Denominations and networks must have common beliefs with diverse applications across ethnicity, languages, and cultures. That's a given. What is harder for some is to see that diversity across generations.

Book: Compelled - Living the mission of God

Understand what it means to be compelled by love.
Ed Stetzer and Philip Nation challenge readers to look at love within the context of God, the church, and the lives of individual believers.  Compelled provides readers a basic theological grounding and a platform for personal application as they understand what missional living is all about it is simply the calling to love others.  Look at the love of God; begin to truly understand what is at the center of the church’s foundation, commission, and direction; but most importantly, understand your role within the mission of God as you integrate love into all aspects of your missional calling.

Contents
Part I—Death by Love: God and Mission
Searching Love: The Father’s Heart for Us
Dying Love: Love in the Life of Christ
Indwelling Love: The Spirit’s Living Love
Part II—Identifying Love: the Church In the World
Identified by Love: Having a Mission That Shows
Commissioned by Love: Living with Jesus’ Mission
Directed by Love: Giving Up on Our “Needs”
Sent to Love: Delivering What the World Needs Most
Joined by Love: Loving the Church and Being Loved in Church
Part III—Formed by Love: Believers and the World
Obedient Love: Intersection of Two Ideals
Guided by Love: Seeking to Do the Will of the Father
Called to Love: Living a Missionary Passion for the Lost

Friday, April 22, 2016

Book: The difficult doctrine of the love of God

At first thought, understanding the doctrine of the love of God seems simple compared to trying to fathom other doctrines like that of the Trinity or predestination. Especially since the overwhelming majority of those who believe in God view Him as a loving being.

That is precisely what makes this doctrine so difficult. The only aspect of God's character the world still believes in is His love. His holiness, His sovereignty, His wrath are often rejected as being incompatible with a "loving" God. Because pop culture has so distorted and secularized God's love, many Christians have lost a biblical understanding of it and, in turn, lost a vital means to knowing who God is.

The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God seeks to restore what we have lost. In this treatment of many of the Bible's passages regarding divine love, noted evangelical scholar D. A. Carson not only critiques sentimental ideas such as "God hates the sin but loves the sinner," but provides a compelling perspective on the nature of God and why He loves as He does. Carson blends his discourse with discussion of how God's sovereignty and holiness complete the biblical picture of who He is and how He loves.

In doing away with trivialities and cliches, this work gets to the heart of this all-important doctrine from an unflinching evangelical perspective. Yet it does so without losing its personal emphasis: for in understanding more of the comprehensive nature of God's love as declared in His Word, you will come to understand God and His unending love for you more completely.

Chapters
On distorting God's love
God's love
God's love and God's sovereignty
God's love and God's wrath