Good Reads 09.10.15 (on: hope, going to church, prayer, and more!)

Here is a collection of good reads gathered from across the internet this past week:

On having a greater hope in the midst of our difficulties: Words of Unnatural Comfort in the Midst of Unrelenting Conflict by Miles Morrison

Wars without worry, famines without fretting, disaster without distress. Jesus’ words of unnatural comfort in the midst of unrelenting conflict are a stark contrast to our own desires for self-protection and self-preservation. But with the promise of problems comes another guarantee: the end is not yet. Jesus doesn’t want us to feel overwhelmed by the troubles of this world, because they haven’t overwhelmed him. (click here to read more)

On the church’s mission: The Most Important Thing Your Church Is Probably Missing by J.D. Greear

All of Jesus’ promises about the greatness of the Church, you see, are tied to sending out, not gathering in. Jesus once promised His disciples that they would do greater works than Him (John 14:12). That’s a staggering promise. How many pastors claim to do greater works than Jesus? But Jesus didn’t mean that our works would be greater in quality. He meant that the reach and extent of His works would be greater when His Spirit rested on every believer than when that power was concentrated upon one person. Churches that understand this will devote themselves not to gathering and counting, but empowering and sending. Sending capacity, not seating capacity, ought to be the measure of success for any New Testament church. (click here to read more)

On battling against pornography: 7 Good Reasons to Stop Looking at Porn Right Now by Tim Challies

By making light of pornography you are making light of the death of Jesus Christ. If you are a Christian, you acknowledge in your profession of faith that the cost of forgiveness was nothing less than the death of God’s beloved Son. Jesus suffered and died for your sin. How can you, as a Christian, then toy with your sin and take it lightly? How can you cling to it? (click here to read more)

On the importance of regularly gathering as a church: Why I Go to Church Even When I Don’t Feel Like It by Trudy Smith

I’ve benefitted from the sacrificial commitment and consistency of countless people who have welcomed me into community over the years, and now I recognize the invitation for me to do the same thing for others: to hold that space even on days when I don’t seem to personally benefit from it. When the songs don’t do anything for me, when I don’t want to talk with people about the difficult week I’ve had, or when I’d rather sleep in instead—it is then that I am invited to go to church anyway. Not because God or anyone else is judging me by my attendance, but because it is a chance for me to be church to the people who are sharing this journey with me. (click here to read more)

On prayer and political leaders: Do You Pray for the President As Much As You Complain About Him? by Mark Altrogge

Sure, we don’t like our taxes going up. We don’t like spending more on healthcare for less benefits. But do my taxes even compare to peace and the gospel advancing? Go ahead and pray for lower taxes. Pray for God to give our leaders wisdom with the economy. Vote. Get involved in politics if God calls you to do that. But don’t complain about our government. Don’t call your leaders idiots. Pray for them. Pray that God would move upon our leaders to work for righteousness and life. (click here to read more)

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