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The Simple Life

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Posted by Jason Rigby | Posted in | Posted on 4:02 PM

The Simple Life: "

As we are anticipating our first Christmas with no gifts (from parents.....kids are still giving to each other) we (ok, I) am dealing with a bit of guilt for not buying presents for our children. While it is fairly easy during the year to resist the temptation of spending on useless crap....it's much harder during the holidays. Especially when said useless crap gets beautifully wrapped up and set under the Christmas tree....I kind of miss it. But on the other hand, I have never been more relaxed about the celebration of Jesus' birth. I've never been more focused on what the day means and what it definitely doesn't mean. This could become a habit....finally.


Recently we were introduced to yet another reason for choosing our sustainable lifestyle. As I was perusing the sidebar of one of my new favorite blogs, Consciously Frugal, I found a wonderful site with a decidedly Christian bent. Alternatives for Simple Living mission statement reads (in part) ....Alternatives is a non-profit organization that equips people of faith to challenge consumerism, live justly and create meaningful celebrations.....Sounds good to me.


This is one of the Posts I found most meaningful.......


Simple Living is living in a way that is outwardly simple and inwardly rich. This way of life embraces frugality of consumption, a strong sense of environmental urgency, and a desire to return to living and working environments which are of a more human scale.

The practice of voluntary simplicity is advocated in the teachings of Jesus, the early Christian Church, St. Paul, St. Francis, and many others. It also has it roots in the teachings of other world religions, the teachings of Gandhi, and the writings of Thoreau. The American Friends Service Committee (The Quakers) define simple living as a “non-consumerist lifestyle based on being and becoming, not having.'


Seven Reasons for Choosing a Simpler Lifestyle:

1. As an act of intentional living performed for the sake of personal integrity and as an expression of a commitment to a more equitable distribution of the world’s resources.

2. As an act of creation care for ourselves and especially for our children and grandchildren against the earth destroying results of over-consumption such as pollution, climate change, and resource wars.

3. As an act of solidarity with the majority of humankind, which has little choice about material affluence.

4. As an act of celebration of the riches found in God’s creation, and the riches of community with others, rather than in the “poverty” of mindless materialism.

5. As an act of spiritual discipline ordering our lives to reflect the values of simplicity and just living taught by Jesus and teachers in other world religions.

6. As an act of advocacy for changes in present patterns of production and consumption.

7. As an act of provocation (ostentatious under consumption) to arouse curiosity leading to dialog with others about affluence, and sustainable “green” living to redirect the production of consumer goods away from the satisfaction of artificially created wants toward the supplying of goods and services that meet genuine social needs.

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The Gospel Story: the Story of Community

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Posted by Jason Rigby | Posted in | Posted on 10:17 PM

The Gospel Story: the Story of Community: "

There is a summary of the gospel message which runs like this: ‘God made you to know him, but your sin cuts you off from God. God sent his Son to die in your place and reconcile you to God. Now you can know God and look forward to being with him after death.’ It is the story of an individual out of relationship with God brought back into relationship with God. This version of the story is true. But it is not the whole truth. At the heart of the Bible story is the story of a community. The foundation of missional church is an understanding of the Bible story. The Bible is the story of God saving not individuals, but a people, a community, a new humanity. The Christian community is not an add-on. It is integral to the gospel.


Creation We are made in the image of the communal God as relational beings to live in community. (Genesis 1:26-27)


Fall Our rebellion creates conflict both between us and God and between one another.


Abraham The promise to Abraham is ‘the gospel announced in advance’ (Galatians 3:8), setting the agenda for the while Bible story and at its heart is God’s promise of a people (Genesis 12:1-3).


Exodus Because of his promise to Abraham, God sets his people free to know him. Through Moses he says: ‘I will take you as my own people, and I will be your God’ (Exodus 6:7). God lives among his people (the pillars of cloud and fire and the tabernacle), but the people keep their distance and offers sacrifices because of their sin and God’s holiness.


Israel ‘The people of Judah and Israel were as numerous as the sand on the seashore; they ate, they drank and they were happy’ (1 Kings 4:20; see Genesis 22:17; 32:12). But the people turn from God and the nation divides.


Prophecy God promises a new people: ‘I will be their God, and they will be my people’ (Jeremiah 31:31). He promises a faithful remnant (Zechariah 13:7-9).


Jesus Jesus is God with us (Matthew 1:23; John 1:18; Colossians 2:9-10). But he is also the faithful people of God, the true vine who bears fruit for God (Isaiah 5:1-7; John 15:1).


The church In Christ we are God’s faithful people and the true children of Abraham (Galatians 3:7, 27). The cross reconciles us to God (Mark 15:38) and to one another (Ephesians 2:11-3:13). Christ did not die for ad hoc individuals, but for his people, his bride (Ephesians 5:25-27).


New creation ‘Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God …’ (Revelation 21:1-4)


The individualistic version of the gospel makes the church a useful help to individual Christians, but not an identity. But community is central to the Bible story. People are invited to not simply to an individual relationship with God (though that is one implication), but to become part of the new people of God, the bride of Christ. You become a Christian when by faith you become part of the people for whom Christ died.


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Jonathan Edwards: Scripture Points to the Glory of God in Jesus Christ

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Posted by Jason Rigby | Posted in | Posted on 12:49 PM

Jonathan Edwards: Scripture Points to the Glory of God in Jesus Christ: "

What Is Scripture series: Click | View Series



“It seems to me that God would have our whole dependence be upon the Scriptures, because the greater our dependence is on the Word of God, the more direct and immediate is our dependence on God himself. The more absolute and entire our dependence on the Word of God is, the greater respect shall we have to that Word, the more shall we esteem and honor and prize it; and this respect to the Word of God will lead us to have the greater respect to God himself.” (Jonathan Edwards, The Miscellanies)


Although many scholars consider Jonathan Edwards the finest philosophical mind that America has ever produced, Edwards’ primary allegiance was to the God revealed through the Bible, and not philosophy. When one examines the writings of Edwards, every page reflects a mind that was saturated in Scripture. In particular, Edwards viewed of Scripture as accomplishing four tasks:


1. To Correct Errors


First, Scripture is given to correct errors. This correction is especially evident in the ministry of preaching: “One great use of the word of God is correction of errors, with regard to which use ministers are commanded to study it” (Sermons and Discourses).


2. To Interpret Experience and Emotions


However, the Scripture does not simply correct error, but secondly, it teaches how to interpret our experience and even our emotions: “All that can be argued from the purity and perfection of the Word of God, with respect to experiences, is this, that those experiences which are agreeable to the Word of God, are right, and can't be otherwise; and not that those affections must be right, which arise on occasion of the Word of God, coming to the mind” (Religious Affections).


3. To Redeem Us


Third, the scriptures are God’s tool for redemption: “The written word of God is this main instrument Christ has made use of to carry on his Work of Redemption in all ages since it was given” (A History of the Work of Redemption).



4. To Testify of God’s Glory


Fourth, above all else, Edwards saw the Bible as a testimony to the glory of God in Jesus Christ. “Truly to see the truth of the Word of God, is to see the truth of the gospel; which is the glorious doctrine the Word of God contains, concerning God, and Jesus Christ, and the way of salvation by him, and the world of glory that he is entered into, and purchased for all them who believe; and not a revelation that such and such particular persons are true Christians, and shall go to heaven. Therefore those affections which arise from no other persuasion of the truth of the Word of God than this, arise from delusion, and not true conviction; and consequently are themselves delusive and vain” (Religious Affections).


God’s Glory in Jesus Christ


For Edwards, the center of Scripture was the revelation of God through Jesus Christ. The aim of Scripture is to point us to the glory of God in Jesus Christ and increase our longing to enter into his glory.


From beginning to end, the Word of God is sufficient for all things related to life and faith. For Jonathan Edwards, the ultimate aim of such things was to see God’s glory in the face of Jesus Christ.


To be continued.


For a more in-depth treatment of what the theological giants in the Christian tradition have taught about Scripture, check out Christian Theologies of Scripture. You can also read the introduction online.




Re:Sound


Re:Sound


The musical arm of the Resurgence offers music that is theologically unified, stylistically diverse, and musically excellent. Find out more.




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The Removal of Our Blindness

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Posted by Jason Rigby | Posted in | Posted on 12:42 PM

The Removal of Our Blindness: "

There was a blind girl who hated herself because she was blind. She hated everyone, except her loving boyfriend. He was always there for her. She told her boyfriend, ‘If I could only see the world, I will marry you.’


One day, someone donated a pair of eyes to her. When the bandages came off, she was able to see everything, including her boyfriend.


He asked her, ‘Now that you can see the world, will you marry me?’ The girl looked at her boyfriend and saw that he was blind. The sight of his closed eyelids shocked her. She hadn’t expected that. The thought of looking at them the rest of her life led her to refuse to marry him.


Her boyfriend left in tears. Days later he wrote a note to her saying: ‘Take good care of your eyes, my dear, for before they were yours, they were mine.’


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Free Resurgence Poster: Incarnation

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Posted by Jason Rigby | Posted in | Posted on 12:10 AM

Free Resurgence Poster: Incarnation: "

Your people could benefit tremendously from having a solid grasp of key theological terms. We at the Resurgence came up with the idea of creating posters that succinctly explain the most important theological ideas.



Incarnation


This poster explains the doctrine of the Incarnation, which means “becoming flesh.” This doctrine is important for us to understand as we prepare to celebrate the birth of Christ, the second person of the Trinity entering into human history.



If you need ideas for how to use the posters, click here.




Mars Hill Global


Mars Hill Global


Serving the church and spreading the gospel. Help support this effort by giving to the Global Fund. More info at MarsHillGlobal.com.




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False saviors

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Posted by Jason Rigby | Posted in | Posted on 11:45 AM

False saviors: "

“If we are deeply moved by the sight of his love for us, it detaches our hearts from other would-be saviors. We stop trying to redeem ourselves through our pursuits and relationships, because we are already redeemed. We stop trying to make others into saviors, because we have a Savior.”


- Timothy Keller, Counterfeit Gods (New York, NY: Penguin Group, 2009), 45.




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It is Christ’s glory to pass over sins

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Posted by Jason Rigby | Posted in | Posted on 9:29 PM

It is Christ’s glory to pass over sins: "

“Let us take comfort in the thought that the Lord Jesus does not cast off His believing people because of failures and imperfections.


He knows what they are.


He takes them, as the husband takes the wife, with all their blemishes and defects, and, once joined to Him by faith, will never leave them. He is a merciful and compassionate High priest. It is His glory to pass over the transgressions of His people, and to cover their many sins.”


- J.C. Ryle, The Gospel of Mark, 1857




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This Week with Henri Nouwen – The Meal That Makes Us Family and Friends

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Posted by Jason Rigby | Posted in | Posted on 11:23 PM

This Week with Henri Nouwen – The Meal That Makes Us Family and Friends: "

Van GoghWe all need to eat and drink to stay alive. But having a meal is more than eating and drinking. It is celebrating the gifts of life we share. A meal together is one of the most intimate and sacred human events. Around the table we become vulnerable, filling one another’s plates and cups and encouraging one another to eat and drink. Much more happens at a meal than satisfying hunger and quenching thirst. Around the table we become family, friends, community, yes, a body.


That is why it is so important to “set” the table. Flowers, candles, colorful napkins all help us to say to one another, “This is a very special time for us, let’s enjoy.” – Henri Nouwen


I hope you had a great meal with someone yesterday.




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Regard For The Soil: A Poem by Peter Maurin

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Posted by Jason Rigby | Posted in | Posted on 5:39 PM

Regard For The Soil: A Poem by Peter Maurin: "Regard For The Soil by Peter Maurin



1. Andrew Nelson Lytle says:

The escape from industrialism

is not in socialism

or in sovietism.



2. The answer lies

in a return to a society

where agriculture is practised

by most of the people.



3. It is in fact impossible

for any culture

to be sound and healthy

without a proper regard

for the soil,

no matter

how many urban dwellers

think that their food

comes from groceries

and delicatessens

or their milk from tin cans.



4. This ignorance

does not release them

from a final dependence

upon the farm."

Do you really believe in the deity of Christ?

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Posted by Jason Rigby | Posted in | Posted on 4:41 PM

Do you really believe in the deity of Christ?: "

A guest post by Wesley Hill


If he came to earth tomorrow, would your God go out partying with sinners?


If not, then Jesus must not be him.




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The only thing that makes you differ

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Posted by Jason Rigby | Posted in | Posted on 4:36 PM

The only thing that makes you differ: "

“Christian! the only thing that makes you differ from the vilest being that pollutes the earth, or from the darkest fiend that gnaws his chains in hell, is the free grace of God!”


- Octavius Winslow, Jesus, Full of Grace




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