Me: “It’s impossible”
God: All things are possible! But he said, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.” (Luke 18:27, ESV)
Me: “I’m too tired”
God: I will give you rest! Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30, ESV)
Me: “Nobody really loves me”
God: I love you! “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16, ESV)
Me: “I can’t go one”
God: My grace is sufficient! But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (2 Corinthians 12:9, ESV) Continue reading
“There aren’t enough hours in a day.”
It’s a near-constant refrain. Many of us are masters at double-booking, multi-tasking, and over committing—and then, when we’re too tired to stand, we look back and wonder where all the time went. Just a short while ago, almost everything in Western society stopped one day a week. Gas stations, banks and grocery stores locked their doors at night and on Sundays. Sunday was the day when shop signs flipped to “Closed” and people got dressed up and drove to church. Those without particular religious convictions simply took the day off. Jews marked Saturday as a holy day and called it “Sabbath.” Seventh Day Adventists did likewise. Most Baptist, Methodist and Presbyterian clergy relaxed on Mondays. Irrespective of faith, society was given—and even guaranteed—a day each week when it could rest.
But not anymore.
This day went missing in the metamorphosis to a 24/7 world—and all the benefits of intentional rest and margin went with it. We’ve seen a cultural treasure stolen. Despite reassurances of convenience, safety and choice, we’ve been conned.
Today, we are charged and running 24/7. In the last 20 years in America, work is up 15 percent and leisure is down 30 percent. And things are only going to continue this path if we don’t re-learn the value of margin.
If there is to be any hope for recovering space for rest in this fast-paced life, we must first admit something is missing. Continue reading
Pastor Mark talks with J.D. about his latest book, Stop Asking Jesus into Your Heart: How to Know For Sure If You Are Saved.
Mark Driscoll: In the book you talk about how you “asked Jesus into your heart” countless times. Why so many false starts, and how did the truth finally click for you?
J.D. Greear: I never was sure I had gotten it right. Had I really been sorry enough for my sin that time around? Some wept rivers of tears when they got saved, but I hadn’t done that. Was I really sorry? And there were a few sins I seemed to fall back into over and over again, no matter how many resolutions I made to do better. Was I really sorry for those sins? Was that prayer a moment of total surrender? Did I really get grace?
So I would pray the sinner’s prayer again. And again. And again. And maybe get baptized again. Every student camp, every spring revival. Rinse and repeat.
I know it sounds a little poetic, but things really clicked for me my freshman year of college, when I read Martin Luther’s commentary on Romans. Luther points out that salvation comes by resting on the facts God revealed about the death of Christ. Just as Abraham was counted righteous when he believed that God would deal with his corruption, we are saved by believing that he has. Continue reading
The assembly of believers from Jewish and Gentile into one spiritual body (the Church) is called by Paul a “mystery”, meaning a truth that hasn’t been revealed clearly to people in antiquity, but has now been revealed to the children of God. For this reason I, Paul, a prisoner for Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles—assuming that you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace that was given to me for you, how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly. When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit. This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel. (Ephesians 3:1-6, ESV)
In the New Testament all differences between Jewish and Gentile disappear. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:28, ESV) Like all nations, to obtain the salvation, Jews must accept Christ. For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. (Romans 1:16, ESV)
Of course all believers must overcome the ethical standard of the Old Testament and live now at height of the teachings of Christ. What Christ told us is not a contradiction of the teaching of the Old Testament, but rather a complement and a deepening of them. Christ came not to abolish but to fulfill. Continue reading
WHAT DEFINES YOU?
WHAT IS YOUR IDENTITY?
How you answer those questions affects every aspect of your life: personal, public, and spiritual. So it’s vital to get the answer right.
Pastor and best-selling author Mark Driscoll believes false identity is at the heart of many struggles—and that you can overcome them by having your true identity in Christ. In Who DoYou Think You Are?, Driscoll explores the question, “What does it mean to be ‘in Christ’?” In the process he dissects the false-identity epidemic and, more important, provides the only solution—Jesus.
“This book will give you an unshakeable, biblical understanding of who you are in Christ. When you know who you are, you’ll know what to do.”
—Craig Groeschel, Senior Pastor of LifeChurch.tv and author of Soul Detox, Clean Living in a Contaminated World
“I spent years in ministry for Christ without understanding my identity in Christ. I know now that I was not alone. When, by the grace of God, we understand who we are in Christ, everything else can crumble and we will still be standing. I highly commend this book to you.”
—Sheila Walsh, speaker and author of God Loves Broken People
If you’re single, Satan is after you.
Okay, he’s after all of us, but there are some unique dangers in singleness — especially in unwanted singleness. He loves to deceive and discourage single people in the church and derail our devotion and ministry. But God intends to use you, your faith, your time, and your singleness in radical ways right now, as you are.
You might come away from a reading of 1 Corinthians 7 with two categories in mind: those who will live, serve, and die single and those who must marry. Paul sings singleness’s praises, listing the spiritual benefits of being spouse-free. The single life can be (relatively) free from relational anxieties (7:32), worldly distractions (7:33), and wide open for worship, devotion, and ministry (7:35). So, Paul concludes, skip the ceremony, literally, and enjoy “your undivided devotion to the Lord.”
Most say, “More power to you, Paul… but I’m getting married.” Maybe temptation overwhelms you, and you need a God-honoring way to satisfy that longing (7:2). Maybe it’s abundantly clear that you need a helper to carry out God’s call on your life (or it’s abundantly clear to others that you do). Maybe you want to have kids and realized that you need help with that. Maybe you just have a deep, undeniable desire for a loving, committed companion. In each case, it is good for you to get married.
While it may seem like two categories at first, we soon discover in application that there are three: the single, the married, and the not-yet married. After all, as any single person knows, a desire for marriage does not a marriage make. My hope in reflecting on Paul’s words is to restore hope and ambition in the hearts of the not-yet married and set them solidly on mission in their singleness. Continue reading
Just as we have shown that the law and grace are also found in both Old Testament and New Testament, we must emphasize now that a Christian can not restrict only to the New Testament. The Apostle Paul taught us that: “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17 ESV)
God’s revelation we have in the New Testament is not splintered from the on received through the Old Testament, but derives from it, as a natural continuation. Everywhere in the New Testament we are reminded that the Old Testament was the Word of God. There is a continuity not only regarding the content of the two testaments, but also in the characteristics of God’s people which are found in them. Approximately two thousand years before Christ, God called Abraham and chose to turn him into a numerous people through which bestow to the world His two greatest blessings : The Scriptures and Messiah. Continue reading
Some two thousand years after he walked the earth, Jesus Christ is still a hot topic. And for all the ridiculous, twisted, Da Vinci Code-esque conspiracy theories and lies about Jesus that have permeated popular culture and even the academy over the years, the truth about his character, nature, and work has not changed. So what exactly is the truth about Jesus Christ?
That’s the question the authors of Vintage Jesus seek to answer by breaking it down into a number of sub-questions about Jesus, including Is Jesus the only God? Why did Jesus come to earth? Did Jesus rise from death? Why should we worship Jesus? and others. Nonbelievers and new Christians looking to sit down and delve into the topic of Jesus, asking the toughest, most confounding questions they can think of, will find solid, biblical answers presented in a relevant, accessible way.
The Scripture emphasizes again and again that in front of God’s Law all men are sinners. The Law, any kind it would be, is not able to save anyone. “Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it—the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith. For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law. Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, since God is one—who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith. Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law.” (Rom. 3:19-31ESV) However the Law is important. It shows people that they need a Savior. Paul says that he would not have known what sin is, if the Law would not tell him : “You shall not covet” (Rom.7: 7ESV) Continue reading