Formation Teams

Formation Teams

The Grandeur and Grief in Losing Tyler

In the span of a few short hours, I felt the tension of Christianity: God is good, but life is hard. I marveled at God’s grandeur and mourned the presence of grief. When my heart is overwhelmed with this uncomfortable paradox, I’m grateful the Bible has a language I can use: lament.

What Made “#TylerStrong” ?

“The gravitational pull of Tyler’s winsome spirit, his interest in others, and his unflappable courage attracted fans from all walks of life. …People marveled at his attitude and wondered, How is he so strong?  As Tyler’s pastor for 10 years, I can tell you. It’s simple but profound: Tyler loved Jesus. That’s it. And it made him #TylerStrong.”

A Declaration of Faithful Disobedience from a Chinese Pastor

Over 100 members of Early Rain Covenant Church in Chengdu, China, were arrested beginning Sunday, December 9. At the time of publication of this translation, arrests are still being made. Among those taken away were Pastor Wang Yi, senior pastor of Early Rain, and his wife, Jiang Rong, who have not been heard from since Sunday. Foreseeing this circumstance, Pastor Wang Yi wrote the declaration below to be published by his church should he be detained for more than 48…

“I Was Far Too Easily Pleased”

From Desiring God and John Piper — “…These felt like competing motives. I could aim to make God look great, or I could aim at my own satisfaction. I did not have a framework of thought where these two motives fit together. They seemed like alternatives….”

When the Future You Planned for Never Comes

Here is a mature Christian perspective, dealing with Real People having to deal with the brokenness of our Real World, in utter dependence upon the Real Jesus.  No pablum here…  

The Doctrines of Graciousness

It is a great shame when good theology has a bad reputation because of poor conduct. Yet however we’ve failed, we can take heart that the sovereign God in whom we trust is at work in us (Philippians 1:6; 2:13) by the power of his sovereign Spirit. With him in view, Paul prays that we would be “strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy” (Colossians 1:11). This is the kind of…

The Psalms: Real Feelings About The Real World…

“The Psalms keep us from being naïve, from having a naïve optimism about the emotional possibilities of fallen people. And they help us navigate the seas of embattled emotions…  The Psalms, more than any other book in the Bible, illustrate the sobering fact that our vision of God is often obscured. The psalmists’ joy in God is often conflicted and embattled….”  

3 Things American Citizens Could Learn from Christian Missionaries

A Christian missionary typically moves overseas to minister among a group of people who differ from him or her linguistically, religiously, socially, culturally, and politically. …But in spite of—even because of—these deep differences, good missionaries are known for refusing to caricature the people’s religion, mock their culture, or impugn their motives. Instead, missionaries generally do three things that we—everyday Americans—ought to imitate in our coffee shop conversations… 3 Things American Citizens Could Learn from Christian Missionaries  

How a Christian Relates to the State

Our blood-bought rights and freedoms as citizens of heaven are not the same as American freedom of religion, freedom of worship, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly. Christ did not die to guarantee these rights for this age. All these freedoms — precious as they are — can be taken away without any essential loss of our Christian freedom! Therefore, when we seek to use the power of the state to secure these civic freedoms, as if their loss would…

Budgeting Together for the Gospel

This past spring, Chuck preached a sermon series on money. In one of the sermons, “Gospeling One Another Every day,” Chuck posed a challenge: we’re too private with our money. One should be careful, of course, in using one’s finances to brag (Matthew 6:1-4), but one can also use their giving to encourage others. Take the example of the poor widow from Mark 12:42. Jesus praised her for what she gave, and how many people through history would have seen…

A People of Signs, Seals, and Salves

In our modern world, medications—and indeed all medical interventions—compete with the sacraments of the church by means of imposing symbolic authority over how we conceive of our health, life, suffering, and dying. By ingesting a medication, we can be unified with what it symbolizes. Medications can act as both a sign of the working of this empty promise and as a seal, setting apart this person as one who faithfully awaits the fulfillment of this promise. Read more at Fathom…

What Does God Require?

Q39. What is the duty which God requireth of man? The duty which God requireth of man, is obedience to his revealed will. (Mic. 6:8, 1 Sam. 15:22) We pray, “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” I admit, I confess, I’ve found myself scanning over the words without praying them. My mouth forms sounds without meaning as my sleepy mind drifts amidst thought. In my more cogent moments, though, I struggle with not knowing God’s…

Reforming the Healer’s Vocation

All work in one’s daily life is done for the glory of God. Being a priest, monk, or nun does not get one any closer to God, and in fact, may draw one further from God. The consecration of one’s work is not a little comfort to ingest along with some chamomile tea at the end of a long day in the clinic or hospital. There are at least three practical ramifications of Luther’s reclamation and reformation of “vocation.” Read…

Useful Approaches to Reading Through the Bible (Reprinted from TGC)

The link below is to a TGC article which first appeared in December of 2015.  If you are interested in reading through the Bible on a consistent basis and at a pace that is appropriate for your daily life, this article provides a choice of reading plans, some of which  may prove particularly well adapted to your rhythms: . . Reading the Whole Bible in 2016: An FAQ