Church


Yes, it’s Halloween and it’s also… Reformation Day!  Last year, I dressed up as Martin Luther (head shaved like a monk and the whole shabang), but no promises this year!

If you don’t know what Reformation Day is, well then, if you’re a Christian, you better get to know your roots!  It was on this day October 31st, 1517 that is credited as the unofficial start of the reformation of the church, the recovery of the gospel, and a call back for the church to stand alone on the authority of the Scriptures, when Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses (or concerns) to a church door (a common practice by the way for public community announcements).

Justin Holcomb from the Resurgence has a great overview of the 95 theses and the hammer heard around the world… Read it here.

So when the devil throws your sins in your face and declares that you deserve death and hell, tell him this: “I admit that I deserve death and hell, what of it? For I know One who suffered and made satisfaction on my behalf. His name is Jesus Christ, Son of God, and where he is there I shall be also!”

— Martin Luther

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Very thorough post by the Resurgence on the origins of Halloween and good advice in helping you decide how you should respond as a Christian to this nationwide event.  Here’s a quote from the article…

Halloween has an uneasy history with the church; Christians have not always been sure what to do with a holiday of apparently pagan origins. Is Halloween unredeemable, such that any Christian participating in the holiday will necessarily compromise their faith? Is it something Christians can participate in as a cultural celebration with no religious ramifications? Or is there the opportunity for Christians to emphasize certain aspects of our own faith within the holiday?

Read the whole article here.

John R.W. Stott, at the age of 90, went to be home with the Lord today.  If you don’t know who he is, then you should read Justin Taylor’s brief, yet honoring, post commemorating his life.

In last month’s aLife magazine (C&MA publication), there was a very helpful article on frequently asked questions on Great Commission Sunday 2011.  I have placed it below for you to read.

 

 

GREAT COMMISSION SUNDAY 2011

Frequently Asked Questions

By Office of Communications, C&MA

1) What is Great Commission Sunday?

Great Commission (GC) Sunday is a celebration of what God is doing through the worldwide work of The Alliance. The practice of giving sacrificially to build Christ’s Kingdom—in times of abundance and of scarcity—has been an Alliance distinctive from the very beginning. GC Sunday is an opportunity for the U.S. Alliance family to express its commitment to pushing back the darkness in the remaining unreached parts of our world.

2) What is meant by “pushing back the darkness,” and how will GC Sunday help accomplish this?

Pushing back the darkness is a term recently adopted by The Alliance to describe our strategy for the final chapter of world evangelization. It refers specifically to taking the light of Christ to countries with little or no access to the gospel. A portion of the funds received from the 2011 GC Sunday offering will be used to send Alliance workers to places like North Africa and North and Central Asia, where less than 1 percent of the population has heard the liberating truth of salvation through Jesus Christ.

3) I regularly support Alliance missions. Why should I participate in GC Sunday?

On behalf of the thousands of Alliance workers and churches throughout the world, thank you for your faithful giving! You are making a powerful difference in people’s lives. GC Sunday challenges us to come together as the Alliance family to help initiate something that will change the face of our world for eternity. It’s an opportunity not only for those who have long supported Alliance work but also for those who may not yet have been challenged to help build Christ’s Kingdom here in the United States and half a world away.

4) What if my church recently held its Missions Conference? Do I still need to participate?

GC Sunday complements your church’s Missions Conference. It demonstrates the Alliance commitment to make the gospel accessible to all people. In North Africa and North and Central Asia, access to the gospel is hard to find. A person can travel for weeks—even months—and never see a church or meet a believer. By participating in GC Sunday 2011, church members will maintain their “Missions Conference momentum” by helping to bring the Bread of Life to those living in spiritual poverty.

5) What about Alliance work in other parts of the world? Is it on the decline?

Not at all! Alliance workers and churches in Europe, the Middle East, West Africa, Latin America, Southeast Asia and the United States continue to “push back the darkness” in urban centers, rural areas and well beyond their own borders. In these regions, the Church has been established and continues to grow and mature—all because, years ago, the Alliance family sent and supported pioneer workers who answered the call to take Christ deep into these spiritually uncharted territories. Today, North Africa and North and Central Asia are among the new frontiers for the gospel.

6) What are the C&MA’s current financial realities and how could GC Sunday impact them?

Since July 2010, we have struggled to meet our reduced budget. Great Commission Fund (GCF) revenues from churches have declined by nearly $1.6 million during the first eight months of the fiscal year compared with the same period in fiscal year 2009. We are currently projecting a GCFshortfall of more than $1.3 million.

Because we are committed to meeting our current ministry objectives, the “first fruits” of the GC Sunday offering will be applied to the current shortfall. The National Office and field teams continue to work feverishly to reduce operating expenses wherever possible. Once our current ministry funding obligations are met, the remaining funds will be used to push back the darkness in some of the most spiritually desolate countries in our world, including parts of our own.

Please use the enclosed envelope for your GC Sunday Gift, or participate through you local Alliance church.

Collin Hanson writes an excellent article (“Anxious Nation, Trustworthy Savior“) in light of recent events concerning the death of Osama bin Laden, the U.S., truth, and the Savior.  Well worth your time to read and right interpretation of recent events and the times we live in.

Read the whole thing here.

The Gospel Coalition will be simulcasted live—including the two concerts.  The video and audio will all appear on this page.

Here is the schedule below. All times are Central time zone.

Tuesday, April 12

2 PM R. Albert Mohler Jr. Studying the Scriptures and Finding Jesus (John 5:31-47)
4 PM Tim Keller Getting Out (Exodus 14)
5:30 PM White Horse Inn Live Recording: The Great Commission and the Great Commandment
7 PM Alistair Begg From a Foreigner to King Jesus (Ruth)
8 PM Tim Keller, John Piper, Crawford Loritts, Don Carson, Bryan Chapell Preaching from the Old Testament
9 PM Hymn Sing Sing Them Again: An Evening of Old and New Hymns

Wednesday, April 13

 

9:30 AM James MacDonald Not According to Our Sins (Psalm 25)
12:30 PM Matt Chandler, Kevin DeYoung, Trevin Wax, Jonathan Leeman Gospel, Mission, and the Church
7 PM Conrad Mbewe The Righteous Branch (Jeremiah 23:1-8)
8 PM Matt Chandler Youth (Ecclesiastes 11:7-12:14)
9 PM Keith and Kristyn Getty Concert

Thursday, April 14

 

7:30 AM Don Carson, Tim Keller, Crawford Loritts, Kevin DeYoung, and Stephen Um God: Abounding in Love, Punishing the Guilty
9:30 AM Mike Bullmore God’s Great Heart of Love Toward His Own (Zephaniah)
11 AM D. A. Carson Getting Excited about Melchizedek (Psalm 110)

 

[HT: Justin Taylor]

Tim Keller, pastor of Redeemer in NYC, will be blogging a couple of posts expanding on an introduction he has been slated to write to Martyn Lloyd-Jones re-issue of the classic, Preaching & Preachers.

He writes,

I recently was asked to write a short essay on D.M. Lloyd-Jones’ book of lectures Preaching and Preachers which Zondervan is slated to re-issue in 2012. This afforded me an opportunity to re-read the book and to discover that I had been more helped and shaped by it than I had remembered. Most of what I discovered would not fit in the essay and so I decided to spread a bit more of it out in some blog posts.

The first thing that struck me was how this nearly 70 year old Welsh minister (called “the Doctor” by his followers), lecturing in 1969, could have anticipated and addressed so many of the questions surrounding preaching that we are wrestling with in our own culture today.

Read the whole thing here.

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