It’s sexy among young people — my generation — to talk about ditching institutional religion and starting a revolution of real Christ-followers living in real community without the confines of church. Besides being unbiblical, such notions of churchless Christianity are unrealistic. It’s immaturity actually, like the newly engaged couple who think romance preserves the marriage, when the couple celebrating their golden anniversary know it’s the institution of marriage that preserves the romance. Without the God-given habit of corporate worship and the God-given mandate of corporate accountability, we will not prove faithful over the long haul.

What we need are…

an excerpt from The Glory of Plodding, an article Kevin DeYoung wrote for Tabletalk back in May, 2010


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The Glory of Plodding by Kevin DeYoung

Runtime: 5:41 Words saved: 925 Size: 1.62 MB

The "Βασιλεια του Θεου" [Kingdom of God] as a Clue to the Social Program of the Apostles: Acts on the Kingdom of God

Article summary:

Sunday night I heard a sermon on Acts 28 during which my attention was drawn to the way Luke uses the expression, ‘βασιλεία τοῦ θεοῦ’ (Kingdom of God). I was struck by eschatological …

The church exists for unchurched people. Does the Bible teach this idea? Yes and no. “Yes” in the sense that God’s evangelism plan involves congregations that display his gospel as they embrace his rule (Jn. 13:35, Eph. 3:10-11) and cling to an unshakeable hope (1 Pet. 3:15). We should want every person to hear the gospel, and so everyone should be welcome to attend.

But “No” in the sense that the Bible places the focus of the church’s corporate gatherings on building up Christians (1 Cor. 14:4, 12, 17, 26). The church is made of people who are born again. Non-Christians are welcome to come when the church gathers, but in a very important sense, they don’t belong: they are not part of the body (1 Cor. 12), or part of the new creation (2 Cor. 5:17), or part of the people of God (1 Pet. 2:10). They come to witness these supernatural realities, yes, but not to be lulled into thinking they are part of something supernatural when they are not.

Zach Schlegel’s book review:

Image of Deep & Wide: Creating Churches Unchurched People Love to Attend Deep & Wide: Creating Churches Unchurched People Love to Attend

Church membership is a commitment of holy love. It’s a commitment to love other sinners,… to love one another. It’s not just any love with which we love. It’s not what Hollywood calls love, it’s not what two homosexual men call love, it’s not what parents who spoil their children call love, it’s Christ-like love, holy love, I want to look like Jesus and help you look like Jesus love. Because I have a Godward affection for you, beloved! I want you to look like Him cause I know that’s the most satisfying way to be.

Jonathan Leeman

(from The People of God Conference)

The People of God Conference
(November 9 – 10, 2012)
What Every Christian Needs to Know about
Love, Authority, and Church Membership

River City Grace Community Church of Sacramento (Greg Stoever, Pastor-Teacher) hosted “The People of God: What Every Christian Needs to Know About Love, Authority, and Church Membership”. Our speaker was Jonathan Leeman, Editorial Director of 9Marks ministries. The topic focused on the importance, privilege, and responsibility of local church membership for every Christian – for the display of God’s glory.

About the Speaker
Jonathan edits the 9Marks series of books as well as the 9Marks Journal. He is also the author of The Church and the Surprising Offense of God’s LoveReverberation: How God’s Word Gives Light, Affection, Freedom and Action to His ChurchChurch Membership, and Church Discipline. Since his call to ministry, Jonathan has earned a master of divinity from Southern Seminary and has worked as an interim pastor. He is also working on his Ph.D. in ecclesiology. He lives with his wife and three daughters in Cheverly, Maryland.

Audio Recordings:

  • Love (Friday Evening Nov. 9)
    • Session 1: The Idolatry of Love [download]
      Leeman discusses our culture’s idolatry of love, and what this looks like in the local church. Then he contrasts this with the Bible’s own view of love. 
    • Session 2: The Display of Love [download]
      God means to display all the attributes of his character, including his holy love, in the life of the church. This means that church membership is a commitment to such love and a witness of it. 
    • Q & A [download]
      Q&A Session on Love
  • Membership (Saturday Morning Nov. 10)
    • Session 3: A Vision of Membership [download]
      Church membership is not about joining a club; it’s about being recognized as a citizen of Christ’s kingdom. 
    • Q & A [download]
      Q&A Session 1 on Membership 
    • Session 4: The Submission of Membership [download]
      How should we submit ourselves to the local church? We should submit publicly, physically, socially, affectionately, vocationally, ethically, and spiritually. 
    • Session 5: The Discipline of Membership [download]
      Church discipline is a tough topic, but it’s critical for protecting the gospel, the good of the saints, and the reputation of Christ in the world. Here’s a guide to the basic of what church discipline is, and how to practice it. 
    • Q & A [download]
      Q&A Session 2 on Membership 
  • Authority (Saturday Afternoon Nov. 10)
    • Session 6: The Power and Preaching of the Word [download]
      It’s tempting for church leaders to put their trust in their own ideas and ingenuity. But God’s Word alone gives life, and the power of ministry depends on exposing people to God’s Word, whether inside or outside the church 
    • Session 7: The Reverberation of the Word [download]
      The ministry of the word may begin in the mouth of the evangelist and preacher, but that Word should reverberate through the church’s music, prayers, and relationships. The echoing word gives life to the church in all its parts. 
    • Q & A [download]
      Q&A Session on Authority 
  • Sermon by Jonathan at RCG (Sunday Morning Nov 11) [download]
    Psalm 68 - “God’s Good Authority and the Church” 
  • Evening Service Q & A (Sunday Evening Nov 11) [download]
    General Q&A

Dangerous Calling

Confronting the Unique Challenges of Pastoral Ministry

Narrator: Maurice England
Runtime: 8.4 Hrs. - Unabridged
Publisher: christianaudio
One Sentence Review:
Gleaned from his speaking at hundreds of churches, the author not only reveals issues surrounding pastoral ministry, but offers strategies to guard one’s heart and fight to honor God as a pastor.

This book exposes many of the issues surrounding the pastoral culture. From their seminary training to their preaching to their day to day life, it shows the many things we get wrong and what we need to do to fix it.
This book is very thorough in its examination and just as thorough in offering help and hope.
I can’t see how this would be helpful for those in the ministry or those thinking about going into the ministry. BUT, I also believe that if a layman read this it would give them more compassion and patience with their pastor at it reveals alot of the daily struggles they go through. Thus, I can’t see how this book wouldn’t benefit any church member.

The narrator has a slower, deeper, “grandpa” style voice. It is very comforting and sounds like he would be best reading children’s books. Perhaps this is just because I have heard the author speak and they are just so different. Either way, he is clear and articulate and if the speed is TOO slow for you (like it was for me) I just used software to make his voice @ 1.6x speed.

I’m convinced that the big crisis for the Church of Jesus Christ is not that we’re easily dissatisfied but that we’re all too easily satisfied. We have a regular and perverse ability to make things work that are not and should not be working. We learn to adjust to things that we should alter. We learn to be ok with things we should be confronting. We learn how to avoid things we should be facing. We would rather be comfortable than to hold people accountable.

- Paul Tripp

from his book, Dangerous Calling: Dealing with the Unique Challenges of Pastoral Ministry”

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John Owen, Gospel Church Government

by Jeffrey T

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Article summary:

Book Review John Owen, Gospel Church Government, simplified and abridged by Jeffrey T. Riddle (Grace Publications, 2012):  110 pp. Reviewed by W. G. Crampton, Th.D.  Gospel Church Government[1] is …

What is the Mission of the Church?

Making Sense of Social Justice, Shalom and the Great Commission

AuthorKevin DeYoung & Greg GilbertNarratorAdam VernerRuntime8.9 Hrs. – UnabridgedPublisherchristianaudio

“Christians today define mission more broadly and variably than ever before. Are we, as the body of Christ, headed in the same direction or are we on divergent missions?

Some argue that the mission of the Church is to confront injustice and alleviate suffering, doing more to express God’s love for the world. Others are concerned that the church is in danger of losing its God-centeredness and thereby emphasize the proclamation of the gospel. It appears as though misunderstanding of mission persists.

Kevin DeYoung and Greg Gilbert believe there is a lot that evangelicals can agree on if only we employ the right categories and build our theology of mission from the same biblical building blocks. Explaining key concepts like kingdom, gospel, and social justice, DeYoung and Gilbert help us to get on the same page—united by a common cause—and launch us forward into the true mission of the church.”

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Worship as a Body: 8 Reasons We Should Rejoice In Weekly Worship Services

The psalmist declares, “I was glad when they said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the Lord!’” (Ps. 122:1; emphasis mine). Worldly distractions, bad theology, or indwelling sin can cause us to lose sight of why we should be glad about meeting together on the Lord’s Day. We might even start to think private devotions are an adequate substitute for, if not superior to, gathering with the church.

Of course, both private and corporate worship are vital to our relationship with God. But there are reasons the writer of Hebrews admonishes us not to follow “the habit of some” by neglecting to meet together (Heb. 10:25). Here are eight of them…

What’s the Greatest Ecclesiastical Threat Facing the Church Today?

Article summary:

No one has to be convinced that evangelicalism has about the lowest ecclesiology since the Quakers. It is an ecclesiology based on the individual’s decision for Christ, rather than God, from from eternity past, making a blueprint for the church and executing it in His Son by His Spirit…WE ARE INCREASINGLY UNCHURCHING THE CHURCHED.

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