Here is a collection of good reads gathered from across the internet this past week. Enjoy!
On remembering Martin Luther King, Jr., and racial reconciliation: Dear Dr. King by John Piper
Today, as I look at the gospel-weak white and black churches, I would say that both need a transcendent reference point in the sovereignty, supremacy, and centrality of God, expressed supremely in the gospel of Jesus Christ. God-centered, Christ-exalting, Bible-saturated churches where the gospel is cherished — these are the birthplace of the kind of racial harmony that give long-term glory to God and long-term gospel-good to the world. (click here to read more)
On the nature of the church: The Church Is an Embassy, not a Social Club by Greg Gilbert
The answer, to put it simply, is that the church isn’t just an invention of Christians who were trying to fulfill certain needs—fellowship, teaching, and so on. It’s much more than that. In fact, the Bible seems to hold the local church out as a unique organization, one unlike any parachurch organization, any other ministry, or any other institution in the world. It is, by Jesus’s own royal prerogative, the embassy of the kingdom of heaven to this rebellious world. This reality is mostly lost on Christians today, and yet that’s essentially how the Bible describes it. (click here to read more)
On the mission of the church: One Thing Every Church, Ministry, and Christian Should Focus on this Year by Neil Reynolds
The whole “I love Jesus but not the church” sentiment isn’t new but it’s just as wrongheaded now as it’s ever been. I’ve written it before but it’s worth repeating: we learn to follow Jesus by watching someone closely as they follow Jesus.
Jesus modeled this. He spent three years with 12 guys and it changed the world. He impacted the masses by focusing on a few. If we’re going to experience a renewed focus on discipleship, it will happen in community, not in isolation. (click here to read more)
On the goodness of God: God is Good by Mike Leake
God is perfection. Whatever virtues he possesses are there in the absolute sense. What I mean by that is his attributes are his absolutely and not in relation to anything else. He alone is the sole possessor of absolute goodness, purity, knowledge, and love. Our apprehension of those qualities is always relative to him. He is the source. Saying “God is good” is not saying equating him with usefulness in a favorable or utilitarian way. Saying “God is good” is quite literally saying “God is the good.” He is goodness itself. (click here to read more)
On true faith: 3 Warning Signs You’re Drifting from Faith into Superstition by Mike Kelley
Several years later, I started seriously pursuing the spiritual discipline of having a daily quiet time – reading, praying, journaling, every morning. It occurs to me, though, that I have at many times in my life treated that discipline very similarly to the rabbit’s foot. I made sure when I had a tough day coming to put in some extra Bible time. And when I had a bad day, I could look back and see that surely it was because I had not read my Bible that morning.
My Bible had become more like a rabbit’s foot, something I clipped onto the backpack of life to try and make sure things were going well. We have the tendency to do this, I think – for faith to drift into the realm of superstition, which is really no faith at all. (click here to read more)