Morning Mashup 10/12

Morning Mashup

A daily mashup of book recommendations, articles, and videos for your information, edification, and enjoyment.


Growing Young: Six Essential Strategies to Help Young People Discover and Love Your Church | Kara Powell, Jake Mulder, and Brad Griffin | $15.69


The Disciple-Making Parent: A Comprehensive Guidebook for Raising Your Children to Love and Follow Jesus Christ | Chap Bettis | $13.99



20 Surprising Ways a Believer Can Be Self-Deceived | Out of the Ordinary

Diane BucknellEvangelicals en masse believe they will inherit eternal life because they have “asked Jesus into their heart”,  even though many know nothing of  what it means to test themselves to see if their faith is genuine.

Why Are So Many Evangelicals Condoning Sexual Assault? | TGC

Joe CarterRecent events have shown that many evangelicals—especially prominent conservative defenders of family and public morality—side with the powerful oppressors over the vulnerable oppressed. Many have shown they are willing, even eager, to overlook admissions of sexual assault if it will lead to their preferred political outcome.

Seven Simple Daily Prayers | Desiring God

Marshall SegalAs we walk through the valley of the shadow of rut, many of us just put our heads down and hope for better days. But the Bible speaks too often and too highly of prayer for us to stay here long.

Churches Reaching Millennials | TGC

Trevin WaxYou don’t have to be the flashiest church in town, have the coolest pastor, or the most contemporary music to reach young people. The churches in this research come in all shapes and styles and sizes. There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ model.

Why Does Friendship at Times Feel One-Sided? | Grace Covers Me

Christine Hoover It’s so disheartening when we make ongoing efforts to extend friendship to other women and find them met with what appears to be apathy or, worse, disinterest.

Why It’s Pivotal to Make Room for Reading | Club 31 Women

Jen ThornReading is important. This is the primary way we learn about God. God did not inspire a TV series about himself. He gave us a book that is inspired by the Holy Spirit. A book that when read and studied brings about a change that lasts forever.


What Is It Like to Be a Missionary? | IMB


Mark Dever on Sermon Preparation | For the Church


The Prophet, Priest, and King of Nazareth

In school plays, acting skills are limited. Many times, the best actor has to play multiple roles. He may play the role of the main character, but he also probably plays other roles in scenes that do not include the main character. The same is true for mediocre sports teams. When I played baseball in Little League, I played for a team that was so bad that only two of us could throw and catch without running all over the field after the ball. Because my friend and I were the only two players who could successfully throw and catch, we had two roles—pitcher and catcher. Whenever I pitched, my buddy would be the catcher. Whenever he pitched, I was the catcher. Our team desperately needed us to play these roles every game, or else we would lose by 20 runs instead of only 5.

As our redeemer, Jesus also plays certain roles that are crucial to the victory of his team—his people. In his life, death, and resurrection, Jesus performs the roles of a prophet, a priest, and a king. It feels strange to think of Jesus as a prophet, priest, and king because these are all roles that were played by people in the Old Testament, but not so much in the New.

In the Old Testament we learn about prophets like Moses, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel. We learn about priests like Aaron and his sons. We learn about kings like David and Solomon. But when it comes to Jesus we seem to only think of him as a Savior. God’s people in the New Testament seem to be much different from God’s people in the Old Testament. The church, so it seems, doesn’t have prophets, priests, or kings the way Israel did. However, all of those prophets, priests, and kings were like shadows of the greatest Prophet, Priest, and King. They were like arrows pointing to Jesus who would be what all the prophets, priests, and kings of old failed to be.

For hundreds and even thousands of years, the people of God anticipated the coming of the Messiah, or Savior, who would perfectly reveal God’s will, provide for their sins, and rule over them. In Jesus’ perfect life, death, and resurrection, he perfectly revealed God’s Word to us, offered himself as a sacrifice for our sins, and ruled over us in power. Jesus saves us by being a prophet who reveals God’s Word to us, a priest who sacrifices himself for us, and a king who brings us into his kingdom under his eternal rule.

The only hope my Little League team had for even smidgen of success was in the arms and gloves of my friend and me. We had to perform our roles perfectly or our team would lose spectacularly. In the Bible, there are many examples of cowardly prophets, impious priests, and rebellious kings. None of them adequately fulfilled the role to which they were called. The prophets, priests, and kings in the Old Testament are a litany of disappointments. But in Jesus we will never be disappointed. Jesus perfectly fulfilled the roles of a prophet, priest, and king, which is our only hope for knowing, loving, and living for God.

Mathew Gilbert (B.A. Boyce College) is Associate Pastor for Children and Preschool at The Church at Trace Crossing in Tupelo, MS. He is the author of Come to the Well: 50 Meditations to Fuel Your Joy in God (Westbow Press, 2016). He is an M.Div student at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Mathew is married to his high school sweetheart, Erica. Mathew and Erica live in Tupelo with their sons, Jude and Jack. You can follow him on Twitter @mat_gilbert.

Proper Posture and the Great Commission

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20 ESV)

This is the Great Commission of Matthew’s gospel, given by Jesus as a final command to his disciples. It is a command to make disciples and uses three participles to designate the manner that is to be accomplished: going, baptizing, and teaching. This passage is extremely integral to the church, since it is a command to spread the good news of Jesus so that it may save souls and transform lives by making men and women into disciples of Jesus Christ.

However important the contents may be for the commission, though, the authority given to it is what determines its importance. It may be a good command, but if there is no authority behind it, it is not as important of a command. For example, If a young child tells another child not to eat a lot of sweets, that child is not likely to obey that command. By the same token, if that same child’s mother tells him not to eat a lot of sweets, he is likely (or at least more likely) to abstain from them. This is why Jesus prefaces the Great Commission with, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” The weight of the command is determined and accentuated by the the magnitude of the greatness of the one proclaiming it. Therefore, since Jesus has been given categorically all power in heaven and on earth, his command bears immeasurable weight.

This is where the posture of the disciple’s heart enters consideration. Even if the weight of the command is immeasurably heavy, keeping it still requires submission. If a man desires discipleship under Jesus, he must submit himself humbly to Christ’s authority. I believe that the way a person submits to Christ is divided generally into two ways.

  1. Understand that Jesus is greater than you.

There are many people who treat Christ flippantly: “Jesus is my BFF.” “Jesus and I are tight.” This attitude shows a true disassociation with who Jesus is. He is God the Son, the Second Person of the Trinity. He has been given all power in heaven and on earth. He will return to judge the entire world in absolute righteousness. He is mighty, and he demands worship. Yes, we have a friend in Jesus, but do not forget that he is God.

In Mark chapter 4, Mark writes of Jesus’ disciples meeting a great storm on the sea. They wake Jesus up, he rebukes the storm, and it ceases. The disciples respond thus: “And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, ‘Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?’” They were filled with great fear. Jesus’ closest companions felt great fear when confronted with his greatness, yet we might have the audacity to treat him flippantly? God forbid.

This means you must realize that Jesus supersedes you. He is greater than you. He was sinless; you are sinful. He is powerful; you are weak. He is wise; you are foolish. If you want to fulfill the Great Commission, it is fundamentally true that you must submit to Christ and understand that he is greater than you.

  1. Value Jesus’ will as greater than your own.

This is an integral part of submitting to Christ. Valuing Jesus’ will this way is important, because it both reveals a true love for him (by keeping his commandments and valuing his word) and a respect for his wisdom by understanding the perfections of his will.

Submitting t0 Christ means surrendering your will, and Christ is clear about this. He says quite famously that anyone who loves their mother or father more than him is not worthy of him (Matthew 10:37). You must deny yourself of your own desires and your own view of perfection in favor of Christ’s. You cannot serve both yourself and Christ.

In fact, this is part of any real relationship. Wills between parties conflict in relationships, and part of the resolution to this conflict is that one party must show deference to the other. This is true of a Redeemer-redeemed covenant relationship too. Jesus’ words and ways will conflict with your will. Yet, this conflict is a true test of discipleship. Will you be stubborn, or will you yield to the immaculate Christ? If you will not, do not pretend that he is your God. Christ will not be bent to the will of men, perpetually permitting their behavior. If you will not bend to the will of Christ, he is not your God; he is an therapeutic idealization of a god, an idol of the mind.

Therefore, it takes both understanding Christ’s surpassing greatness and valuing his will over your own. If you do not think he is greater than you, his words are unlikely to inspire any real change in your thought or behavior. If you do not value his will over your own, you are unlikely to carry out any of those commands. But if you submit to him by realizing his greatness and valuing his will, his words will be like sweet honey and you will be in a great hurry to fulfill his commandments.

This summary returns us then to the Great Commission. It is obvious that there is a direct relationship between submission to Christ and following his commandments. This is a commandment of Christ. Now that you have evaluated your love for him and the value of his will, it is time to ask: Will you fulfill this commandment?

Avery Thorn is from Belmont, MS. He is a junior at Blue Mountain College, where he is a Biblical Studies major and a History minor. He is a member of Belmont First Baptist Church. He has a passion for preaching and studying Scripture. Avery’s hobbies include exercising, music, politics, reading, writing, and making and enjoying coffee. You can follow Avery on Twitter @Avery_thorn.

Abundant Grace: Big Problems Demand Bigger Solutions

When you have a big problem, you need an even bigger solution. At the end of the basketball season my senior year of high school, I tore a ligament in my right foot. It was a really small injury, but the consequences were devastating. Two weeks before our District Tournament, I could barely walk from my bed to the bathroom. The easy solution was surgery. A couple months after surgery, I would be as good as new. But that solution didn’t solve the biggest problem I had. I wanted to play in the postseason.

I visited a physical therapist who had a crazy idea. He believed he could create an insert for my shoe that would relieve pressure from one side of my foot allowing me to play, as long as I could endure the pain. Was it the safest solution? Probably not. But I would have done anything to play for championships. In the end, he successfully created an insert that allowed me to play. There was no way I should have been able to play in two weeks, but his solution was far greater than my problem.

Our condition before God in sin is a major problem. Not only are we guilty of sin because of our union with Adam, but we commit millions of sins in our lifetime. It makes total sense for us to receive judgment from God because of even one sin. But in Christ we receive a gift of righteousness credited to our account despite the mountain of sin we have recorded. This is grace unimaginable. One writer said God’s grace in the gospel is a “miracle of miracles, utterly beyond human comprehension.”

The law increases the seriousness of our sin, but “where sin increased, grace abounded all the more.” Sin leads to condemnation and death. Christ sets us free from the chains of sin and death by taking our sin and giving us his righteousness. We are declared righteous before God because of the work of Christ in our place. God’s grace is far greater than his judgment. His judgment followed only one sin. Yet after countless sins, his grace still overflowed in Christ. Problem. Solved.

Mathew Gilbert (B.A. Boyce College) is Associate Pastor for Children and Preschool at The Church at Trace Crossing in Tupelo, MS. He is the author of Come to the Well: 50 Meditations to Fuel Your Joy in God (Westbow Press, 2016). He is an M.Div student at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Mathew is married to his high school sweetheart, Erica. Mathew and Erica live in Tupelo with their sons, Jude and Jack. You can follow him on Twitter @mat_gilbert.

Practical Lessons From Gethsemane

The Garden of Gethsemane is both a place of sorrow and triumph for a person traveling through the Gospels. It is a place of sorrow, because he sees the focus of the Gospels, Jesus, “being in agony [as] he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground” (Luke 22:44). This Jesus that he has witnessed perform many miracles and healings, while proclaiming the good news that the kingdom of God had come, is now suffering under the burden of the sin of all those who he would save. He watches this same Jesus drink the cup of the will of God down to the last drop.

Yet, it is a moment of monumental victory. Christ faces his supreme temptation of disobedience of the Father with obedience to the will of the Father. As Adam fell in the original garden, the greater Adam is victorious in his garden. The person reading the gospels goes on to see exactly what that will is: nothing short of the salvation of those who would believe on him by the death of Jesus taking upon himself all of the wrath of God. There are a few important lessons to learn from Christ’s time in Gethsemane.

  1. God’s will for you probably does not always include earthly prosperity.

One of the common distortions of the truth of God is that he always wills that you have earthly success. One of the reasons that this is a true misrepresentation of God’s character is found at Gethsemane. Christ prayed there that the cup he was about to drink from would pass from him. Yet, Christ prayed that what God had willed be done. What God had willed for Christ is that he suffer torture and death by crucifixion. By this example, it is obvious that our prayers should not be, “Lord, please give me success in my earthly endeavors.” This is a violation of Christ’s example here and in Matthew 6, where he taught his disciples to pray, “Your kingdom come, your will be done.”

Part of the good news of Christianity is that God works together good things for all those who love him (Romans 8:28). We could probably express this teaching like this: A lack of a perfect life means that God has planned for you something greater than a perfect life, assuming you are his. Whether, then, it is prosperity or hardship that God sends to you, sing his praises with joy, for, no matter the earthly circumstances, at his right hand are pleasures forevermore (Psalm 16:11).

  1. Violence to other people has no place for followers of Christ.

There was a battle won in Gethsemane, and it had nothing to do with physical struggle. Jesus struggled against a greater enemy than that of man. Jesus struggled with the temptations of Satan and the weight of an unimaginable spiritual burden, and Christ overcame those enemies triumphantly. Yet, when the religious leaders entered the garden to take Jesus, he did not lift one hand against them. They came for his life, and he did not defend it. In fact, when one of his disciples tried to attack one of those leaders, Jesus rebuked him. Yet, somehow people seem to forget Jesus’ meek and mild nature.

There seems to be a growing idealization of violence among Christians towards others they do not agree with, especially against Muslims. Many people fantasize about what they would do if a jihadist walked into their room. They fantasize about violence to that person. They plan to do violence to those who want to do violence to them. This is categorically contrary to the teachings of Jesus. Jesus said that harboring this anger and hatred is as if you have murdered him (Matthew 5:21-22) and commanded his disciples to not resist the one who is evil (Matthew 5:38-42). This romanticization of violence against others is abominable and deplorable. Christianity is not a religion of violence against others. It is a religion of violence against violence against others.

  1. Trusting God means submitting to his authority.

Jesus prayed an impassioned plea that he might not drink from the cup that was coming to him. Yet, God did give Christ the cup, and Christ did drink it. Christ evidently, in his desire, did not want to take of the punishment of the cross. Yet, despite this, he humbly submitted himself to the will of the Father. Jesus regarded the Father’s authority as greater than his own desire to be free from the cup of death.

This is trusting God: placing your desires under the authority of the Lord. He is good, and his decrees are good. Your opinion of the best life for you will often be different from God’s declaration of what is actually your best life. There is only one way to live your best life now, and it is by submitting to the authority of the Father.

Gethsemane is the place where Christ sacrificed his will to the plan of the Father. In that plan, he reconciled his church to himself. He extended unmitigated grace to his beloved. He vindicated his name in righteousness. He promulgated his glory for the whole world to see. Yes, in Gethsemane, we see love in humility, and we see a model for the kind of self-sacrificing, dependent life to which Christ calls his followers.

Avery Thorn is from Belmont, MS. He is a junior at Blue Mountain College, where he is a Biblical Studies major and a History minor. He is a member of Belmont First Baptist Church. He has a passion for preaching and studying Scripture. Avery’s hobbies include exercising, music, politics, reading, writing, and making and enjoying coffee. You can follow Avery on Twitter @Avery_thorn.

Morning Mashup 08/29

Morning Mashup

A daily mashup of Kindle deals, articles, and videos for your information, edification, and enjoyment.


Weakness Is the Way: Life with Christ Our Strength | J.I. Packer | $3.99


Finishing Our Course with Joy: Guidance from God for Engaging with Our Aging | J.I. Packer | $3.99


Disability and the Gospel: How God Uses Our Brokenness to Display His Grace | Michael Beates | $2.99



On David Gushee’s Dishonesty | Jake Meador

In Gushee’s world, no one is acting to promote a certain social agenda premised on redefining marriage and transforming sexual ethics into an exclusively consent-based system. It’s just happening like magic. Because #history.

Attention Students, Put Your Laptops Away | NPR

As laptops become smaller and more ubiquitous, and with the advent of tablets, the idea of taking notes by hand just seems old-fashioned to many students today. Typing your notes is faster — which comes in handy when there’s a lot of information to take down. But it turns out there are still advantages to doing things the old-fashioned way.

Christianity and the American Founding | Thomas Kidd

 For all of our arguments about religion’s role in the American Founding, we may not have considered the possibility that the Christianity of the American Founding could have produced watered-down “bad religion.”

Why Men and Women Are Not Equal | Glenn Stanton

Man and woman are not equal. He owes what he is to her. That is hardly her only power, but it is among her most formidable. Christianity has always known this. The Savior of the world chose to come to us through a wife and mother.

The Beautiful Gift of Gospel Community | Brandon Smart

It’s a gift that we even have someone to share our lives with. It’s a gift that we can confess sin and met with grace and restoration. It’s a gift to be able to look at your brothers and sisters and with tear filled eyes say “I’m not okay” and have them love us well enough to shower us with the gospel.

Welcome to the Big Time | ESPN

The implosion of the daily fantasy industry is a bro-classic tale of hubris, recklessness, political naïveté and a kill-or-be-killed culture.


The Worst Kind of Approval

handI have found it true that when you struggle with certain sins, you are more sympathetic with others who struggle with that sin. But if you don’t struggle as much with a certain sin, you will tend to be more impatient with those who do. For example, kids who struggle to obey their parents think it is hilarious when other kids disobey their parents. They get it. But for kids who always follow the rules, their gasps at their friends’ disobedience can be heard for miles. We sadly tend to take the sins of others more seriously than our own. But when we are stuck in a pit of repetitive sin, we more easily give our approval to those who are in the pit with us.

One of the cardinal sins in the current stream of American culture is the sin of non-approval or non-acceptance. People of all lifestyles desire to be accepted for who they are and what they do. The deep desire for approval was a major driving force for the LGBT agenda in the same-sex marriage narrative and it continues through a similar push for the legalization of polygamy from the Sister Wives. It has become increasingly difficult for Christians to navigate the waters of pluralism while having to dodge the bullets of accusations of bigotry and intolerance. Refusing to approve of a particular lifestyle, behavior, or identity is seen as prudish and regressive.

But the worst kind of approval is that which approves of what kills. The Bible teaches that sin in all its expressions leads to death. To approve of what God has condemned serves no one. It is self-condemning. It is the opposite of love. Who in love for his friend refuses to call out to him as he walks blindly toward the edge of a cliff? As easy and comfortable as it is to approve of cultural permissible sins, God’s people must not be found in the position of cheering their neighbors as they march gladly toward eternal death. In the words of Landon Dowden, “Sin should produce tears, not cheers.”

Paul closes his scathing section of Romans 1 by saying, “Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them” (Rom. 1:32). Probably the greatest evidence and most serious result of God giving us up to ourselves is when we not only sin, but give our approval of sin in others.

People know that certain actions like the ones listed in Romans 1:29-31 are deserving of death. This moral code is written on the heart of every person under the sun. But they are so lost in their sin that they not only commit those sins anyway, they also give a thumbs up to others who commit these sins and more.

It is dangerous to both human souls and human societies when people begin to approve of sin. When we justify sin in ourselves and in others we are approving of the things God justly pours his wrath against. It may sound obvious to you that it is wrong to approve of sin, but it is very easy to fail in this way. How easy is it to join in gossip? How easy is it to justify your friend’s gossip in a large group? For the sake of perceived unity with friends and family, many Christians have capitulated on many hotbed issues. But it should be remembered that while capitulation on social or sexual issues God condemns may make you friends with men, it will cause you to stand in stark opposition to God.

When you ignore sin in your heart, you will ignore sin in your neighbor’s heart. Only when you confess sin in your own heart will you be able to helpfully confront sin in your neighbor’s heart. Deal seriously with sin in your life. See it as a deadly disease that callouses hearts to goodness and truth and joy. If you truly love your neighbor, you cannot offer your support and approval for their sin.

Only in Jesus do we find life and freedom from the curse and power of sin. Indeed, “those who practice such things deserve to die.” Jesus never practiced such things. He never sinned. Yet, he died the death we deserve, so we can have life with him. Jesus never approves of that which kills. Instead, he died to kill the disease of sin so we can have approval with God.

Mathew Gilbert (B.A. Boyce College) is Associate Pastor for Children and Preschool at The Church at Trace Crossing in Tupelo, MS. He is the author of Come to the Well: 50 Meditations to Fuel Your Joy in God (Westbow Press, 2016). He is an M.Div student at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Mathew is married to his high school sweetheart, Erica. Mathew and Erica live in Tupelo with their son, Jude. You can follow him on Twitter @mat_gilbert.

My 5 Favorite Christian Podcasts

pexels-photo33I used to think I would never enjoy listening to radio shows because I was raised on TV. Who has the stamina, time, or enough coffee to listen to a couple of guys, or even one guy, ramble on and on about anything? Why listen to Mike & Mike on the radio when you can watch their show on ESPN2? Why listen to sermons when you can watch them on Vimeo, Youtube, or a church website?

My addiction to the screen and video came to a screeching halt when I was introduced to the world of podcasts. I’m extremely late to the party, but podcasts have become my new obsession. Other than the occasional The Office binge on Netflix, I really don’t watch that much TV anymore. I have fully entered the world of podcasts, and I’m not going back.

Shows I used to watch regularly, like First TakePTI, and The Herd, I now stream through podcast. I’ve found my sports intake to be much more satisfying without commercials or distracting video footage. Sure, if the hosts of any given sports podcast are talking about an awesome game or play, I’d love to see the highlights. But for the most part, listening to sports debate and discussion has become increasingly enjoyable in the form of podcast.

There is a therapeutic element to podcast listening. Podcasts seem to be more engaging, and people who do it right are in many ways more entertaining than other forms of media. I love listening to The Briefing with Al Mohler on my way to work. I can’t imagine Mondays and Thursdays without listening to Joe and Jimmy with Doctrine and Devotion. Podcasts have become a part of the rhythm of my life. As I listen, I’m able to unwind or pause to engage a particular cultural, biblical, or theological issue.

I also find podcasts to be sanctifying. Solid Christian podcasts are just another means the Lord is using to grow his people into the likeness of Christ. To be sure, there are many bogus and unhelpful Christian podcasts to say the least. But, there are also greatly edifying podcasts that are well worth your time.

If you have not dipped your toes into the pool of podcasts, I would encourage you to jump on in! The water’s fine! In podcasts, I believe you will find superior satisfaction to TV, as well as a therapeutic and edifying listening experience. To help you get started in the world of podcasts, I want to list some of my favorites. This list does not include all of the podcasts I listen to, but instead lists out my absolute favorites. I listen to each of these podcasts every day new episodes are released.

1. Doctrine and Devotion

I would say this is currently my favorite podcast. They deal with biblical, theological, cultural, and ecclesial issues from a Reformed Baptist perspective. Joe Thorn is lead pastor of Redeemer Fellowship in St. Charles, Illinois. He is a gifted preacher, teacher, and author who brings tons of experience, wisdom, and knowledge to D&D. His co-host, Jimmy Fowler, is an elder-candidate at Redeemer Fellowship. Jimmy also brings great insight to the show. I love the way Joe and Jimmy bring together humor, candor, humility, and conviction. I highly recommend giving these guys a listen.

2. Word Matters

Hosted by Brandon Smith and Trevin Wax, Word Matters deals with biblical and theological dilemmas. I’ve never come away from a Word Matters podcast without learning something. It is an incredibly insightful and practical podcast. At times it can be a little heady, but it’s solid content. If you love tough questions, Word Matters is for you!

3. The Briefing

Al Mohler is one of the most important evangelical voices of the 21st century. His podcast is a daily commentary on news and events from a Christian worldview. Mohler can at times soar high above our heads, but his comments on current events helps Christians better funnel what is happening in the world through a Christian worldview.

4. Ask Pastor John

Questions answered by John Piper. It doesn’t get better than this. What I love about the way Piper responds to each question is the way he processes. Even if I end up disagreeing with his conclusion, I always learn something along the way. The clarity and intentionality with which he speaks is edifying and refreshing in itself.

5. Renewing Your Mind

R.C. Sproul’s Renewing Your Mind examines biblical and theological issues. Sproul is always exegetically careful and theologically insightful.

I listen to many other podcasts, especially sports podcasts and Serial. But among the Christian podcasts I listen to, these five stand out from the pack.

Do you listen to podcasts? If so, what are your favorites? How have they helped you learn and grow?

Mathew Gilbert (B.A. Boyce College) is Associate Pastor for Children and Preschool at The Church at Trace Crossing in Tupelo, MS. He is the author of Come to the Well: 50 Meditations to Fuel Your Joy in God (Westbow Press, 2016). He is an M.Div student at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Mathew is married to his high school sweetheart, Erica. Mathew and Erica live in Tupelo with their son, Jude. You can follow him on Twitter @mat_gilbert.

No Moody Deity: Why the Wrath of God is Unlike the Wrath of Man

fire-orange-emergency-burningIf you’ve ever seen the movie The Lion King, then you’ll surely remember the scene where Mufasa, king of the lion tribe, gazes out at his entire kingdom with his young son, Simba. Mufasa is trying to help Simba see that one day he will be gone and the kingdom will belong to him. The royal lions are gazing out into their dominion of the African safari, which is marked by a glorious and booming sun shining down. Mufasa’s words are, “Look, Simba. Everything the light touches is our kingdom.” Then, little Simba notices another part of the kingdom that is untouched by the sun. He curiously asks his father, “But what about the shadowy place?” Mufasa responds, “That’s beyond our borders. You must never go there, Simba.”

Romans 1 is much like this scene from The Lion King. The first 17 verses shine with the glorious light of the gospel. However, picking up in verse 18 until the end of the chapter, Paul goes to a very dark place. The first half of Romans 1 is the domain of light we not only want to walk in, but all we want to talk about. The second half of Romans 1 is the domain of darkness we would rather ignore. Indeed, we stay away from this shadowy place in thought and action. But as New Testament scholar Douglas Moo has said, “Only when we have really come to grips with the extent of the human dilemma will we be able to respond as we should to the answer to that dilemma found in the good news about Jesus.”

Romans 1:18-32 really is a shadowy place filled with the wrath of God, the power and curse of sin, idolatry, depravity, and judgment. Paul seems to move from the light of the gospel to the darkness of sin and judgment to answer one question: “Why do we need the gospel, which is the power of God for salvation?”

There are few topics or truths in the Bible that ruffle feathers quite like the wrath of God. Even saying, the wrath of God, sounds scary. It’s not something we like to talk about much. In fact, I’ve heard non-Christians say they could easily believe in a God of love, but they could never believe in a God of wrath. In other words, they can believe in a John 3:16 God, but not a Romans 1:18 God.

The problem with this concern is that the John 3:16 God is also the Romans 1:18 God. There aren’t multiple gods revealed in Scripture. There is only one true and living God revealed in Scripture, and he is both loving and holy. Actually, because he is loving and holy, he pours out his wrath against unrighteousness and the unrighteous. But an important question for us to ask is, “What is the wrath of God?”

Wrath is just an intense word that basically means anger. God is angry at unrighteousness and ungodliness. But it is important to remember that God’s anger is not like our anger. It is possible for us to be angry in a righteous or holy way. For example, it is good to be angry at murder, injustice, and evil of all kinds. But most of the time we are angry in sinful ways. Our motivations and actions fueled by anger are usually sinful.

God is never angry in an unrighteous or sinful way. His anger is pure, holy, and right. It is also wrong to think about God’s wrath as the attitude and action of a moody deity. God doesn’t have mood swings or a temper. Instead, in the words of John Stott, “God’s wrath is his holy hostility to evil, his refusal to condone it or come to terms with it, his just judgment upon it.”

God’s righteousness is the origin of his wrath. If he did not hate and destroy that which is unrighteous, he would rob himself of glory and his people of joy. It is amazing news that God opposes unrighteousness and sin because he also absorbs the very wrath the unrighteous deserve. God’s wrath and God’s love are not enemies. The enemy of God’s wrath is neutrality. If God just ignored our sin, he could not save us from our sin. Instead, God’s wrath is against sin and sinners. And in God’s love he sent Jesus to fully bear his wrath in our place. In the finished work of Christ, God saves us from himself, to himself, and for himself.

Mathew Gilbert (B.A. Boyce College) is Associate Pastor for Children and Preschool at The Church at Trace Crossing in Tupelo, MS. He is the author of Come to the Well: 50 Meditations to Fuel Your Joy in God (Westbow Press, 2016). He is an M.Div student at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Mathew is married to his high school sweetheart, Erica. Mathew and Erica live in Tupelo with their son, Jude. You can follow him on Twitter @mat_gilbert.

Morning Mashup 08/17


A daily mashup of Kindle deals, articles, and videos for your information, edification, and enjoyment.


Mere Apologetics: How to Help Seekers and Skeptics Find Faith | Alister McGrath | $2.99


On Guard for Students: A Thinker’s Guide to the Christian Faith | William Lane Craig | $1.99


Church History 101: The Highlights of Twenty Centuries | Sinclair Ferguson, Joel Beeke, and Michael Haykin | $3.99



Patience Isn’t Passive | Barnabas Piper

But my understanding of “waiting” has been sorely lacking. The description above is hollow. Waiting is an experience full of careful thought and action, at least if one is doing it well. If your waiting experience is one of sitting by until something happens then you’re doing it wrong.

How Does a Pastor Deal With Awkward Silence With Visiting Folks? | Brian Croft

This is a question that came to me by a young and introverted pastor who is struggling to know how to make conversation with elderly folks when he goes to visit them.  I wish more and more young pastors knew their weaknesses and desired to grow like this young brother.  Because I think this is a growing struggle among young pastors especially, here was my response to this brother for your consideration…

What Do You Do If the Sunday Sermon Was Bad? | Scott Slayton

The Sunday sermon is important because we understand that this is how God has ordained for his word to be taught to his people. So when the Sunday sermon falls flat and is unhelpful, what should we do?

A Playboy for President | Ross Douthat

But in the year of Donald Trump, the religious conservatives who fought many of those transformations find themselves reduced to a hapless rump. The best have retreated to rebuild; the worst have abased themselves before a sybaritic, irreligious presidential nominee.

Golden Moments in Rio | Boston Globe

More than halfway through the Summer Olympic games in Rio, over 150 gold medals have been awarded. Here are some of the winners whose performances during competition earned them the top spot on the podium.

Your First Breath After Death | Marshall Segal

Think about your first breath after death. That moment has everything to do with this one (and every moment between now and then) — that first newborn inhale in heaven. Why will that gasp of air be any better than your last breath before death?