Surely God is in this place

Parked automobiles lined the road in all directions! Around five hundred people packed into the Meeting House and adjoining buildings! They had assembled with love and kindness to express their sympathy and care. A grieving godly family was there to welcome and receive comfort and prayers from sorrowing friends – the pervading sense was one of calm hope, trusting peace and confident joy – at what was for all, I think, an unexpected funeral service.

After a number of tributes from close family and their young minister, a call to worship was given and the precentor stood to lead. As his arms undulated gently, and his sweet voice rebounded from rafters, a grave and glad sweet melody united loving hearts. Ministers and members stood in earnest to seek, and call on, God. A close friend, and minister, then read the Holy Scriptures, his cadences marked by affection, reverence, gravity and warmth. Again a Psalm was sung that summed up God’s servant’s life! Fruitful, full, well-planted, full of sap: all the self-evident outcome in God’s oaks rooted in His House by grace.

The ministers stood in the midst! Surrounding the man of God was a sea of solemn worshipers – here hearts were […]


Browse Worthy: Abuse in the Church

The Apostle Peter said, “For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?” (1 Peter 4:17) As our culture awakens to the problem of sexual abuse, surely the church will be held to even greater account by her Lord. Signs of his judgment have already been seen, as recent years have shown one evangelical leader after another falling because of these sins. As you read the following articles, pray that the Lord would purify and revive His church.

 

My Larry Nassar Testimony Went Viral. But There’s More to the Gospel Than Forgiveness. | Morgan Lee Interview of Rachael Denhollander

After her powerful, Christ-honoring testimony in a courtroom (you can see it here) regarding the sexual abuse she endured as a gymnast by doctor Larry Nassar, who was accused and convicted of abusing scores of girls and women, Rachael Denhollander spoke to Christianity Today of the problem of abuse and its cover-up in the church. Clearly as a lawyer, advocate for the hurting, and lover of Christ and His church, Rachael is determined to see the church exercise justice as well as mercy […]


Is Your Church Pro-Life?

Is your church pro-life? Almost everyone reading this blog would say “Yes. Of course.” If, by “pro-life”, we mean that a church has a stand against abortion tucked away in its confession somewhere and that they pray against abortion on the Sanctity of Life Sunday, then yes, many protestant churches could be called pro-life.

But what if we saw the calling to be pro-life as something more foundational to our identity as gospel-preaching churches? What would it look like to be–in the biggest possible sense–pro-life? 


What Will Amazon Think?

Amazon.com, Inc. created one of the most recognizable and meaningful logos ever. The  curved arrow points from the “a” to the “z” under the word “amazon.” The smirk it creates reminds you that Amazon can make you happy by delivering everything from “a” to “z.” The cardboard box smiles at you when the delivery man hands you whatever you ordered, and you usually smile back with excitement.

Amazon deserves credit for a brilliantly simple mark. It works to make good on its promise. Indeed, I benefit regularly from its services.

We should receive the good things of this life with joy. As Christians, we should remember with every Amazon package that lands at our doorstep that Jesus is the Alpha and the Omega (the first and last letters in the Greek alphabet). He is the first and the last, the beginning and the end. He alone can make all things new. He alone can make us smile for eternity.

Our trouble begins when we look to any earthly provider for our ultimate happiness. That can become a temptation for us as Amazon consumers. And, the problem can be magnified as such suppliers grow. When we are beholden to someone to supply our happiness, we […]


3GT Episode 71: Man in the Iron Cage (No, Not the MMA Kind)

Talk about a man in an iron cage today, and people will think of mixed martial arts. But there was a time when all that would have come to mind is the scene of a character in John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress.

The man was trapped in an iron cage because, as he said, “I have so hardened my heart, that I cannot repent.” So the 3GTers discuss this mysterious character. Who is he and what does he represent? To answer, they turn to the Scriptures for help. Tough passages such as Hebrews 6:4-6 and Matthew 12:31-32 are raised. Concepts such as reprobation and the unpardonable sin are defined. Characters such as Judas and Esau are referenced. Warnings are issued.

Wow – a heavy topic! Yet tune in and hear also the gracious hope it brings!

https://threeguystheologizing.files.wordpress.com/2018/01/3gt-episode-71.mp3

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You can also subscribe to 3GT on iTunes!


The Benefits of Listening to the Elderly

A few weeks ago I was driving in the car with an elderly gentleman, recently widowed, as my traveling companion. He’s a lovely, Christian neighbor who never looks at a computer. So he will not read this article. Yet what follows I would not mind at all if he knew. Unknowingly that day, he was teaching me much more than he realized.

For as we spent time in the car, you can imagine quite easily what transpired. He told stories about his life, his family, his work, and the community. Yes, because we have been friends for a number of years, many of these stories I had already heard. Some of them I have even heard numerous times before. And one or two of them were even repeated during the same car trip.

That day got my pastoral wheels turning. Why might the Lord, in his grace, cause the aged to repeat themselves as they do? What is the Lord showing us through it? Rather than rolling our eyes or thinking “Here goes Grandma again,” what can be gained from these times? Here are five brief thoughts for you to consider.

Listening to the elderly reminds them of their legacy in our lives. Typically […]


Browse Worthy: A Miscellany of Interests

Usually more thematic than today, this edition of Browse Worthy has an assortment of resources. But you should find something that will interest you!

My Larry Nassar Testimony Went Viral. But There’s More to the Gospel Than Forgiveness | Rachel Denhollander

Her Christian testimony went viral as she says. But she has more to tell us than we might want to know: sadly, often the church is the worst place for someone to go who has suffered abuse.

Missionary to the Cannibals of the South Seas | Tim Challies

I love the story God wrote through the life of missionary John G. Paton, who came out of the congregation that William Symington pastored in Scotland. Here’s a good review of a new book about him.

Sensus Divinipodcastis | Austin Brown and Dennis Louis

Former 3GTer and contributor to this blog Austin Brown started up a new podcast with his pastor where “theology intersects with movies, books, and big idea.” You can give it a listen at the link above.

Headlines & Happenings (John Piper and Female Seminary Professors…)| Tim Challies

John Piper stirred up the hornet’s nests with respect to comments he made about how women should not teach at seminaries. Here’s a helpful compilation of responses.

Enneagram: The Road […]


The Antidote to Our Political Addiction

Americans—including American Christians—are a bunch of political addicts.

Every time our phone buzzes with a news or Twitter alert, we get high on excitement or outrage.

Even the Russians realized they could mess with the 2016 U.S. election by posting fake news all over Facebook and watching millions of Americans trip out in angry paroxysms.

But there is an antidote. It was brilliantly presented in a recent speech from, of all people, a rabbi from Britain’s House of Lords.

“Freedom requires not just a state, but also and even more importantly a society,” Lord Jonathan Sacks told the American Enterprise Institute in October. “A society built of strong covenantal institutions, of marriages, families, congregations, communities, charities, and voluntary associations.”

 

Sacks drew a useful distinction between a social contract—which emphasizes the rights citizens cede to government in exchange for certain protections—and a social covenant, which like a marriage isn’t about rights but about mutual commitment and identity.

“The social contract creates a state but the social covenant creates a society,” Sacks said. “In America,” he added, “the social contract is still there, but the social covenant is being lost.”

Sacks’ speech—filled with humor—is worth watching or reading in full.

It’s also worth quoting at length:

 

“And because half […]


3GT Episode 70: Super Duper Sunday

The so-called Super Bowl Sunday is coming soon. But these three guys don’t seem too excited about it. Why?

Are they just nerdy mama’s boys? Partially. Fuddy-duddy Sabbatarians? Probably. Legalistic killjoys? Careful!

Just tune in and listen to why you might want to tune in and listen in a whole different way this coming Sunday!

https://threeguystheologizing.files.wordpress.com/2018/01/3gt-episode-70.mp3

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You can also subscribe to 3GT on iTunes!


Giving Glory to the Immutable God

As we gather in the church sanctuary to worship God, we know one purpose is to give glory to him. The minister may even call us to worship this way from the Psalms, such as “ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness” (Ps. 29:2). We may ask the Lord to glorify himself as we praise him. “Be exalted, O God, above the heavens! Let your glory be over all the earth!” (Ps. 108:5).

Further, Jesus said our Christian testimony can bring glory to God when he instructed his disciples, “Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 5:16). Giving glory to God is our chief of duties as the answer to the first question in the catechism states: “Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever.”

Yet we need to be clear what giving glory to God really is. More precisely, we should realize what giving glory to God is not.

It is easy for us to conclude that giving glory to God means we are adding something to him. We can come to worship and think that by glorifying the Lord we […]