Friday, April 16, 2010

A Summary of the Gospel  
from Jeremiah Burroughs

The gospel of Christ is the good tidings that God has revealed concerning Christ. As all mankind was lost in Adam and became the children of wrath, put under the sentence of death, God, though He left His fallen angels and has reserved them in the chains of eternal darkness, yet He has thought upon the children of men and has provided a way of atonement to reconcile them to Himself again.

The second Person in the Trinity takes man’s nature upon Himself, and becomes the Head of a second covenant, standing charged with sin. He answers for it by suffering what the law and divine justice required, and by making satisfaction for keeping the law perfectly. This satisfaction and righteousness He tenders up to the Father as a sweet savor of rest for the souls that are given to Him.

And now this mediation of Christ is, by the appointment of the Father, preached to the children of men, of whatever nation or rank, freely offering this atonement unto sinners for atonement, requiring them to believe in Him and, upon believing, promising not only a discharge of all their former sins, but that they shall not enter into condemnation, that none of their sins or unworthiness shall ever hinder the peace of God with them, but that they shall through Him be received into the number of those who shall have the image of God again to be renewed unto them, and that they shall be kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.

That these souls and bodies shall be raised to that height of glory that such creatures are capable of, that they shall live forever enjoying the presence of God and Christ, in the fullness of all good, is the gospel of Christ. This is the sum of the gospel that is preached unto sinners.

From Gospel Conversation (1657) and reprinted by Soli Deo Gloria. 

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Tension Over Doing It All
Why are women more unhappy than ever?
Halee Scott

I began with the best intentions. A few weekends ago, while my husband was working out-of-town, I planned to work at least 10 hours on my dissertation, crank out a 1,500-word article plus two blog posts, prep for some upcoming interviews, dissect a single chapter of John Paul's Theology of the Body with a friend, and finally read (and write a book review of) three other books in preparation for an upcoming speaking engagement. While this schedule may seem crazy and chaotic to some, for me this break-necked speed felt normal until just a little less than a year ago. Anything less and I felt unaccomplished and downright bored.

Enter my daughter, Little Miss Marathon, who, on her very best days, slept three to four hours straight and ate only the minimum required for her age. For the past six months (i.e. her whole life), we'd been trying to figure out ways to get her to sleep and eat—but it seemed that all she wanted to do was go, go, go. Her energy levels made even me feel like a century-old centipede. And all this came to a roaring head that particular weekend.

After 24 hours of my baby screaming, not sleeping, and fighting food at every turn, I finally decided to step back, relax, and let her decide how much she was going to eat and when. By Sunday, she was a new baby—both her eating and sleeping had regulated themselves into a more normal pattern. On one hand, I felt successful in my role as a mother because my baby was now comfortable and content; in another sense, I felt like a failure for not doing every single thing on my to-do list.

Read more at Kyria

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

10 Things to do to Help Your Marriage Feel Less Stressed

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.” - The Serenity Prayer, attributed to Reinhold Niebuhr

Stress is fingered for a lot of health issues in America, among them heart disease, depression, hair loss, obesity, sexual dysfunction, ulcers and hypertension. Possibly its biggest negative impact, though, is felt in marriages where stress can cause interpersonal tension and dysfunctional relationships.

But there is good news! A lot of the stress we experience in marriage is avoidable - if only we understand what’s going on. Here are 10 things we can do to reduce the amount of stress in marriage:

  1. Always put your spouse first: This is a HUGE principle and key to reducing relationship stress. Ideally, husband and wife both put the other first. But the only aspect you can control is you.

Read more at All Pro Dad

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Good to Great to Godly
Corporate wisdom means "getting the right people on the bus," but spiritual leadership requires something more.
Mike Bonem | posted 4/05/2010
"We need more structure in our decision making. Without that discipline, we'll never accomplish anything."

"We're a church, not a business. We need to rely on God. We can't operate like the corporate world."

Ever been on one side or the other of this argument? Or perhaps in the middle? The tensions are present in most churches in America today. As corporate "best practices" are applied to church life, church leaders struggle to make sense of it all.

When I worked in business, Built to Last by Jim Collins and Jerry Porras was one of a handful of keep-at-my-fingertips references. It identified factors that enabled organizations to achieve superior performance over the long haul. So it was with great anticipation that I went to a Leadership Network event where Collins was to speak. In his presentation, he described the research findings that led to his second book, Good to Great. He emphasized the importance of getting "the right people on the bus and the wrong people off the bus." Collins discovered that strategic direction was less important than having the right leadership team. If you have the right people, they will help define the future direction of the organization. If they're in the wrong positions but have great potential and fit well, you can move them to a "different seat on the bus." But when someone is wrong for the organization, whether due to personality clashes or lack of ability, hanging onto that person can drag the entire enterprise down. Collins concluded that we should focus on senior staff as a top priority.

I nodded my head in agreement. Even though my job was in the marketplace at the time, I was also consulting with churches on pastoral leadership issues. I knew the tendency of many churches to make excuses rather than confront underperforming staff members. I remember thinking, Wouldn't the church be much more effective for the Kingdom if we got the wrong people off the bus?

Little did I know that within a year I would join a church staff and gain first-hand opportunities to test this and other business principles as a church leader. I did not foresee the challenges I would encounter.