Wednesday, April 13, 2016
As you read through the book of Daniel, you’re struck by the number of difficult situations and decisions faced by Daniel and his friends (known to us as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego). They are seeking to live in a pluralistic culture with a singular devotion to God. They are seeking to live in a polluted world and yet remain undefiled. Easier said than done … especially in the face of lions, fires, and powerful pagan kings.
As they consistently chose to maintain their distinctive identity and commitment to God, I can imagine how alone they must have felt. Everyone else was bowing, everyone else was eating, everyone else was seeking to get ahead. But I also imagine that reality brought these four men closer to each other. The more they seemed to be the only ones standing, the more I suspect they leaned on and encouraged each other. I imagine Daniel praying for his three friends as they faced the fiery furnace. I imagine them returning the favor as he entered the lions’ den. I imagine they must have wrestled together through how to handle the issues of serving in the king’s court – how to be “in the world but not of the world” at the same time.
It’s a good picture of what small groups can be for each other in our day as well. Many of us day in and day out enter contexts where others around us discourage a distinctive commitment to God. The more alone we feel in those arenas, the more we need each other in our small groups – to pray, to support, to encourage, to counsel. May we help each other to stand for God when all others bow to idols. And may we remind each other as we do that we are not alone even when we feel like it; we have a God who is with us in the fire and who is himself our great hope.
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You'll find most of my recommended books available in the Guest Center at Southwood.
You Can Change
How do we mortify sin? How do we address the sin in our lives that reignite like a trick birthday candle we thought we had already blown out of our lives? This is a careful and thoroughly theological book that is hopeful without avoiding honesty. It is practical without being legalistic. It gets to the root of the sinful areas of our lives without offering a prescriptive regimen to hide behind avoiding the grace that has the only true power to teach “us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.” Titus 2:11-14
Relationships: A Mess Worth Making
Timothy Lane & Paul Tripp
Small groups would be easy if weren’t for the people in the group! This book will help equip you to see your own sin first and provide the courage and humility to address it in others.
The Heart of a Servant Leader
This is a collection of letters written by Jack Miller to people experiencing real-life concerns and struggles. Through these gracious and honest letters you will learn how to humbly offer to others (and yourself!) hope, repentance, and courage that flows from the truth of the gospel of grace. Though this isn’t a “how to” book full of nifty steps to Your Best Gospel Life Now. It’s a glimpse into the heart of a person who has found food at the Cross, and you watch (and learn) as he humbly points others to the feast.
Comforts From The Cross
Elyse M. Fitzpatrick
This 31 day devotional will bring you to the foot of the cross to remember and celebrate the truth of the gospel of grace, and develop skills that will help “inform, free, gladden, and enliven your soul every day.” Becoming proficient in applying the Gospel of grace to our own hearts is a key skill that is well worth our effort to develop.
- Christ PCA - Nashville
Scott Sauls and CPC Staff
Listen to sermons from Senior Pastor Scott Sauls and other CPC pastors at a sister church.
- Lookout Mountain PCA
Joe Novenson and LMPC Staff
Check out sermons by Senior Pastor Joe Novenson and other LMPC pastors at a sister church.
- Steve Brown Etc.
Steve Brown’s unique blend of orthodoxy and controversy, humor and profundity, and a refusal to play religious games will give you permission you have needed to stop being so uptight. And even if it’s for 30 minutes, you just might experience radical freedom, infectious joy and maybe even a bit of surprising faithfulness.
- Tim Chester: reformed spirituality and missional church
Tim has an incredible way of applying the Gospel of grace that is both practical and honest with a consistent skillful affinity to point us to Jesus. He is director of The Porterbrook Institute; a church planter with The Crowded House in Sheffield, UK; and the author of over a dozen books including Total Church and You Can Change.
- Of First Importance
Living Each Day in the Good of The Gospel
Here you will find a growing collection of gospel-centered quotes to help reorient your thoughts toward the splendor and grandeur of the person and work of Jesus.