Manspeak


Foundations of Grace: A Long Line of Godly Men by Travis Evans
December 31, 2006, 4:06 pm
Filed under: Evangelism

by Travis Maples

I’ve been reading a book my brother David gave me for Christmas called Foundations of Grace: A Long Line of Godly Men by Dr. Steve Lawson. It traces the roots of the doctrines of grace (T.U.L.I.P) to the Bible beginning with Moses himself in Genesis. The book is apart of his “A Long Line” series, which will continue revealing the doctrines of grace from the early church through to the modern giants of the faith (the others have yet to be published). Few things have encouraged my personal evangelism as the doctrine of the sovereignty of God in the salvation of the lost. Lawson ties the sovereignty of God in the creation of man to the necessity of God’s sovereignty in our spiritual rebirth. He writes,

“God formed the physical body of the first man, Adam, from the dust of the earth, then breathed the breath of life into him–and he became a living being. Adam certainly could not have formed his own body. Neither could he have caused himself to come to life. God alone could do this…God does a similar life-giving work in His regeneration of lost sinners. God breathes spiritual life into those whom He saves, each at his appointed time…No spiritually dead sinner can cause himself to come alive. God alone can perform this work of regenerating grace.”

It is this truth of the sovereignty of God in the salvation of sinners that should shape every facet of our evangelism. It builds our faith to continue sharing, by oftentimes repelling discouragement and doubt when people aren’t responding as we think they should when we think they should. Salvation is from the Lord. Therefore, humility, compassion and grace should adorn the way we share the gospel. Self-righteousness is decimated in the presence of such truths. Lastly, it’s freeing to be reminded that we weren’t meant to bear that burden of changing hearts. It is the responsibility of the Holy Spirit to waken the spiritually dead. Ours is to faithfully proclaim the gospel of Christ. God made man and it is he alone who must give the re-birth of man today.



For Christians There is No Mundane by Travis Evans
December 27, 2006, 9:41 am
Filed under: Evangelism

    by Travis Maples

    Over the Christmas break I was fortunate to spend a few days with my wife’s family near Chicago.  I love being around them because they challenge and encourage me in my walk with Jesus.  Here is just one example of such an instance.  On the night before Christmas eve we all have dinner at the Wildman’s(close friends of the family).  Following dinner all the guys(cousins & brothers)  go on a walk through a forest preserve.  It was nasty, muddy and alot of fun.  After the hike (if you can call a walk through a forest preserve in the flat lands of Indiana a hike) we all go to a cabin (if you can call an luxury addition to a garage with a massive fireplace, bunks and animal heads a cabin)  and talk about what God has done during our year and what we’d like to see him do in the upcoming year.  On the way to the cabin my brother Donnie and I were picking up some snacks at a gas station.  The cashier was complaining and growling about something when on our way out Donnie says “Merry Christmas!” with a joyful smile.  I didn’t hear the cashier say “Thanks, I needed that.” but Donnie must have.  So as I am getting in the car to leave Donnie told me he’d be right back.  I knew what he was going to do.  Cause that’s what Donnie so often does.  He seeks opportunities throughout his day to share the truth of Jesus with people.  He went inside and continued what it seemed God had begun.  He asked her “Ya know why you can have a Merry Christmas?” He continued “Because God sent his only Son Jesus Christ into this world to live a sinless life and die for your sins”  He went on to invite her to his Church.   “That’s where it’s at ” I thought to myself. 

    That’s where the evangelistic life is supposed to be lived for all of us.  Donnie saw the opportunity because he was looking.  As were going about our day there shouldn’t be a mundane.  We are to be constantly looking for and asking for opportunies.  I was inspired and provoked together to share the gospel more.  There are dying people all around and I say “Put $20 on pump five” and go on about my way.  I’m reminded by Donnie that every person I’m next to is my neighbor every place I am in is my field.  Thanks Donnie, Love you Bro! 



Christmas Break by Travis Evans
December 24, 2006, 4:35 pm
Filed under: News

The Manspeak bloggers will not be posting anything this week because of Christmas.

We wish you all a very merry Christmas! See you in 2007.



What is the Missional Life? by Travis Evans
December 23, 2006, 4:56 pm
Filed under: Evangelism

by Travis Maples

Here’s an article by Eric Simmons on evangelism and the mission field:

“Many Christians have been giving a lot of attention to places like the ’10/40 window,’ for which we should praise God.  We should also keep praying that the Lord would send more workers into overseas harvest fields.  But in our own post-Christian society in America there is an emerging unreached people-group.  They’re not in a foreign country.  They live right down the street.”

Close your eyes.  Imagine yourself standing in the middle of a wheat field.  The wheat is up to your chest as far as the eye can see, it’s white for harvest, the sun is shining, and there’s work to do.  We all have a mission that God has given us in a field that he has prepared for us.  You’re in a mission field even now; find it, prepare for it and labor in it.



Bob Kauflin Thinks about Christmas by Travis Evans
December 20, 2006, 3:09 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

 

by Jonathan Oldacre

Well, let’s keep my pattern of linking to posts going with this excellent addition from Bob Kauflin:

bkauflin.jpg

“During my private worship this morning I was reading Mark Dever’s commentary on the New Testament, Promises Kept, transcribed from messages he’s given at his church. This morning I happened to be reading his sermon on 1 Timothy. Providentially, it was a message he first gave on Dec. 19, 1999, so it contains numerous references to Christmas. I wanted to share some of his comments with you, along with my thoughts.

1. Christmas isn’t about who’s been “naughty or nice.”

“The news we have to declare as Christians is not fundamentally about our law-keeping or our obedience. The glad tidings we bear are not for ‘good people.’ It is ‘for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly, and sinful, the unholy and irreligious; for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, for adulterers, and perverts, for slave traders and liars and perjurers’ (1 Tim. 1:9b-10a NIV). I doubt you have received many Christmas cards like that. Yet have you realized this is who the Christmas message is for? The Christmas message is not for a bunch of well-dressed, respectable people who attend church to celebrate a cultural holiday. The Christmas message is a message that brings joy to people like father-killers and slave-traders!” (p. 345-346)

To truly find joy in Christmas, I have to acknowledge that Jesus didn’t become a baby because I’m so good. He came because I’m so evil and needed a Savior. He didn’t come to reward us for what we’ve done, but to save us from what we’ve done.

2. Christmas isn’t merely about good feelings.

“A Christmas card theology of ‘holiday cheer’ or of angels with trumpets singing ‘Peace on earth, good will toward men’ is simply not good enough in a world that includes real tragedies like the Columbine High School shootings, the terrorist threat of nuclear weapons, or, truly, the contents of your heart and mine. If you regard evil only as what those ‘bad people out there’ do, you will not understand Jesus at all. You must understand this truth first: there is far more to the Christian gospel than celebrating the mean remnants of goodness that may remain in us” (p. 348).

The expressions of “Merry Christmas!” and “Happy Holidays!” that I’ve heard so often recently are in one sense a sign of common grace. Many people tend to be kinder and more thoughtful at Christmas time. However, to think that’s all Christmas is about is to miss the point. We need more than a temporary respite from the real tragedies, problems, and fears that plague our lives. We need more than good feelings. We need a Savior. And Christmas tells us that he’s come.

3. Christmas is only one part of a greater story.

“To think that Christmas is more about the stable in Bethlehem than about the cross in Jerusalem is to regard the acorn as more important than the oak…The Christmas message is not merely the fact that God became man by being born of the virgin Mary; the Christmas message is the reason for the Incarnation: ‘Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners'” (p. 353-354).

Jesus held by the wood.
Delivered and delivering,
Jesus held by the wood.

Witnesses on either side.
Mary silhouetted,
quietly gazing
with great feeling
on her son,
the sky dark above.
As at the beginning,
so at the end.

Jesus held by the wood.
Delivered and delivering,
Jesus held by the wood.

The scene of Christmas
and of Calvary,
of the cradle
and the cross.
(Mark Dever, p. 354-355)

While the mystery of God becoming man stretches the boundaries of our comprehension, his coming can’t be separated from the reason he came. May the two stories – the cradle and the cross – always remain inseparable in our meetings, our relationships, and our hearts.”



What kind of crush? by Travis Evans
December 19, 2006, 12:07 am
Filed under: Humor

It’s been two weeks since I have posted anything, and I have a serious topic I want to cover. But, before we dive headlong into deep theological matters, I need to do some “clean-up”, if you will, from my last post on Man Dates. After several suggestions, intense prayer and fasting, and significant theological consultation, I have a final name for this phenomenon/practice. It’s a name that I think gets to the heart of what we as men should be after when we spend intentional time together and also avoids any kind of homosexual connotations: Fella-ship. Now, let’s move on.

Another phenomenon has risen in the church that needs to be addressed, defined, and have any confusion removed. Again, every man has had one before. It’s obvious when some guy has one. I’m talking about a Man Crush. (Disclaimer: I am in no way trying to be “Lightheartedly gay” or make light of homosexuality. I am not talking about crushes in a romantic or sexual sense.) Be honest. You know what I’m talking about. A buddy of yours starts talking about some other guy a little more than anybody else. It goes kinda like this; You and the guys are sitting around and one of the guys says something like, “I was talking to Bill the other day and he said …” The conversation turns toward a new topic, and, again, your buddy says, “Oh man, one time I was talking to Bill, and we both agreed that…” Then, while the conversation is still taking place, your buddy’s phone buzzes. Guess who it is. Yup, it’s Bill. Over the course of a few weeks, occurrences start to multiply.

We need to bring definition to this phenomenon and decide what is a good man crush and what is a dangerous man crush.

Man Crush:
An inordinate fascination with or admiration of another guy; usually a guy that has just recently become an acquaintance.

Symptoms:
-Your buddy repeatedly recounts the initial interaction he had with his man crush
-Your buddy talks about the guy all the time: What they say, do, believe, etc.
-Your buddy spends an unreasonable amount of time hanging out with the guy (If they are alive. I will explain later.)
-Your buddy’s reading list becomes dominated, or even monopolized by a single guy/author. (This is the form that man crushes usually take when the dude is dead.)

Healthy Man Crush

If the man crush is on a guy that is just very godly and you desire to learn from him and emulate his example (i.e., 1 Corinthians 11:1) then that is healthy. Or if you observe major works of God’s Spirit in the life of someone, and you are excited about the transforming effects of the Gospel in their lives; conforming them more into the image of Christ, that is fine too. Even dead men are “Man Crush” worthy. It may be a dead preacher or theologian that really serves your soul and leads you to love God and His word more. In short, if the dude causes you to love God more, crush away! (Personally, I have huge man crushes on Herman Bavinck, Geerhardus Vos, and J. Gresham Machen. Laugh all you want, these dudes were the bomb.)

Unhealthy Man Crush
If your man crush is on a man who is not commendable or is not a man as biblically defined; unhealthy. If your love and passion for some dude is greater and, in essence, “trumps” your love and zeal for the Savior, then that is a super unhealthy man crush, too. Or, if your talking about or hanging out with that dude just gets annoying to your other brothers, then it is unhealthy.

Conclusion
Man crush away, as long as you do so responsibly and in a way that is beneficial. NOTE: any kind of man crush, whether healthy or unhealthy, provides a jackpot of material for jokes with one another. So, realize this: If you choose to have man crushes, you choose to open yourself up to jokes. Man crushes are so much fun to use in our “making fun” with other guys, and will inevitably lead to more man crushes.

Your thoughts?



Hold fast the Gospel by Travis Evans
December 18, 2006, 10:19 am
Filed under: Devotions

by Jonathan Oldacre

Good stuff on gospel application from Tim Keller, a pastor in New York:

We never “get beyond the gospel” in our Christian life to something more “advanced.” The gospel is not the first “step” in a “stairway” of truths, rather, it is more like the “hub” in a “wheel” of truth. The gospel is not just the A-B-C’s of Christianity, but it is the A to Z of Christianity. The gospel is not just the minimum required doctrine necessary to enter the kingdom, but the way we make all progress in the kingdom.
WE are not justified by the gospel and then sanctified by obedience but the gospel is the way we grow (Gal. 3:1-3) and are renewed (Col 1:6). It is the solution to each problem, the key to each closed door, the power through every barrier (Rom 1:16-17).

It is very common in the church to think as follows: “The gospel is for non-Christians. One needs it to be saved. But once saved, you grow through hard work and obedience.” But Colossians 1:6 shows that this is a mistake. Both confession and “hard work” that is not arising from and “in line” with the gospel will not sanctify you—it will strangle you. All our problems come from a failure to apply the gospel. Thus when Paul left the Ephesians he committed them “to the word of his grace, which can build you up” (Acts 20:32).

The main problem, then, in the Christian life is that we have not thought out the deep implication of the gospel, we have not “used” the gospel in and on all parts of our life. Richard Lovelace says that most people’s problems are just a failure to be oriented to the gospel—a failure to grasp and believe it through and through. Luther says (on Gal. 2:14), “The truth of the Gospel is the principle article of all Christian doctrine… Most necessary is it that we know this article well, teach it to others, and beat it into their heads continually.” The gospel is not easily comprehended. Paul says that the gospel does its renewing work in us as we understand it in all its truth. All of us, to some degree live around the truth of the gospel but do not “get” it. So the key to continual and deeper spiritual renewal and revival is the continual re-discovery of the gospel. A stage of renewal is always the discover of a new implication or application of the gospel—seeing more of its truth. This is true for either an individual or a church.

(HT: Justin Taylor)