I attended the monthly meeting of The Greater Columbus Gospel Coalition this morning. What a blessing it is to spend time in fellowship with several gospel-oriented church leaders. I cherish these times of fellowship, study, discipleship and worship and I'm grateful to be a part of God's work in the greater Columbus area.
Today we read, meditated upon and discussed 1 Thessalonians 2 & Proverbs 29...
Some of the themes that stood out to me in this passage of Paul's epistle to the church at Thessalonica are: suffering & conflict, boldness & purity of heart in gospel proclamation, love for the flock (vv. 1-8); the balance of administration, proclamation and application in ministry leadership (vv. 9-12); the origin, efficacy & authority of the word of God, perseverance in persecution, the manifestation of God's wrath in the present evil age (vv. 13-16); and the proper posture of a minister's heart & reason for joy in servant-leadership (vv. 17-19).
In Proverbs 29, the main theme appears to be wise leadership/discipleship. Besides the traditional use of "parallelisms" in wisdom literature, the theme is also highlighted by interweaving various relational themes such as king/subject (vv. 2; 4-14; 18; ), father/son (vv. 3; 15-17 & vassal/servant (vv. 19-21) roles. There also seems to be general observations and exhortations that transcend these relationships (vv. 1; 22-25; 27).
After our time in the Scriptures, Greg Blosser of Grace Central Presbyterian Church in the Short North shared with us their long-term ministry vision for a six location multi-site assembly in the heart of Columbus. Currently, Grace Central is expanding their ministry of the gospel of Jesus Christ to Grandview Heights; a church plant lead by elder Joe Haack. Please pray for the Blosser and Haack families as well as the power of the gospel being manifest in the city of Columbus in and through the efforts of Grace Central.
Steve Resch of Walnut Creek Presbyterian Church in Gahanna, OH provided positive book reviews/endorsements of three books authored by women. I appreciate his reasoning in selecting these books... most of his books are written by dead guys; but most of the books the women in his assembly read are not systematic theologies or exegetical commentaries, but rather books written from a feminine perspective. These are the books he commended to us:
The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones: Even adults love to read this Christological children's bible. Lloyd-Jones, using a redemptive-historical presentation of the truths of the grand narrative of the Bible, helps you to share Christ to children in a clear and simple way.
From Fear to Freedom by Rose Marie Miller: An honest account of one woman's spiritual crisis presents the transforming power of God's grace in the midst of weakness. Readers will be encouraged to relinquish the role of spiritual "orphan" and embrace a forgiving heavenly Father.
Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers: An adaptation of the book of Hosea, this novel about a prostitute and the upright and kind farmer who marries her also functions as a reminder of God's unconditional love for his people.
We closed by discussing The Gospel Coalition vision for ministry...
The Integration of Faith and Work (Article V; Section 4):
"The good news of the Bible is not only individual forgiveness but the renewal of the whole creation. God put humanity in the garden to cultivate the material world for his own glory and for the flourishing of nature and the human community. The Spirit of God not only converts individuals (e.g., John 16:8) but also renews and cultivates the face of the earth (e.g., Gen 1:2; Psalm 104:30). Therefore Christians glorify God not only through the ministry of the Word, but also through their vocations of agriculture, art, business, government, scholarship—all for God’s glory and the furtherance of the public good. Too many Christians have learned to seal off their faith–beliefs from the way they work in their vocation. The gospel is seen as a means of finding individual peace and not as the foundation of a worldview—a comprehensive interpretation of reality affecting all that we do. But we have a vision for a church that equips its people to think out the implications of the gospel on how we do carpentry, plumbing, data–entry, nursing, art, business, government, journalism, entertainment, and scholarship. Such a church will not only support Christians’ engagement with culture, but will also help them work with distinctiveness, excellence, and accountability in their trades and professions. Developing humane yet creative and excellent business environments out of our understanding of the gospel is part of the work of bringing a measure of healing to God’s creation in the power of the Spirit. Bringing Christian joy, hope, and truth to embodiment in the arts is also part of this work. We do all of this because the gospel of God leads us to it, even while we recognize that the ultimate restoration of all things awaits the personal and bodily return of our Lord Jesus Christ (CS–)."
For the Sake of the Gospel 2011: "The Nowism of the Gospel" w/ Paul David Tripp
Simeon Trust Workshop: The Gospel of Matthew w/ Doug O'Donnell & Sparky Pritchard