Tuesday, September 10, 2013
As we start (or start again) meeting with our small groups this fall, we have the great privilege of enjoying and deepening relationships. Remember that small groups are about relationships, so we have the privilege of leaving the natural tendency some of us have toward isolation and instead living life in community. The following are some excerpts from Paul Tripp’s book Dangerous Calling, which is about the challenges of pastoral ministry but highlights the daily need that every member of the body of Christ has for meaningful relationships. I hope this is an encouragement to you of the importance of investing in relationships as we are doing in small groups! Sharing part of this with your small group as you start meeting might encourage them as well.
Tripp quotes Hebrews 3:12-13 and then comments on these verses. “Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called ‘today,’ that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.”
“This passage,” Tripp writes, “puts before us a critical warning and an essential call that together reinforce the presence and power of remaining sin and the need for the daily ministry of the body of Christ in the life of every member of the body of Christ. … Sin is deceptive … but spiritually blind people are not only blind; they are blind to their own blindness. …
So, all of us are blind to our blind spots, but what’s the biblical solution for this? Tripp continues, “The blinding ability of sin is so powerful and persuasive that you and I literally need daily intervention. What the writer of Hebrews is crushing with this warning and call is any allegiance we might have to an isolated, individualized, “Jesus and me” Christianity. He is arguing for the essentiality of the ministry of others in the life of every believer. … None of us is wired to live this Christian life alone. None of us is safe living separated and unknown. Each of us … needs the eyes of others in order to see ourselves with clarity and accuracy. … The grace of having our private conversations interrupted by the insight-giving ministry of others is protecting us from becoming spiritually blinded to the point of hardening our hearts. … How can we realistically expect anyone in the middle of the sanctification process to live outside of one of God’s most important means of personal insight and growth and be spiritually healthy at the same time?”
I need relationships like this. You need relationships like this. Every member of your small group needs relationships like this. Let’s commit to the hard but rewarding work of diving into each other’s lives for the sake of each other’s hearts!
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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.