Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Real Jesus: Books

There are many good (and many not so good) books available on Jesus. Here are the ones I am using for the teaching series on The Real Jesus. They fall into two categories. First, books that deal with the life of Christ or his teachings at a popular level, meaning they are for the average person who doesn't need to have a seminary degree. The second list is for students and those looking for something more substantial to prove the reliability of the Gospels and the life of Christ.

Popular Reads
  • Your Jesus is Too Safe: Outgrowing a Drive-Thru, Feel-Good Savior by Jared C. Wilson
  • Vintage Jesus: Timeless Answers to Timeless Questions by Mark Driscoll & Gerry Breshears
  • Jesus: The Greatest Life of All by Charles R. Swindoll
  • The Jesus I Never Knew by Philip Yancey
The Reliability of Jesus and the Gospels
  • Can We Trust the Gospels by Mark D. Roberts
  • The Historical Reliability of the Gospels by Craig L. Blomberg
  • The Case for the Real Jesus by Lee Strobel
Check them out on Amazon by clicking the links in the right sidebar.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Real Jesus

I'm starting a new teaching series at OBF this Sunday called "The Real Jesus." My desire is to dispel the many misconceptions about Jesus from both outside and inside the church. I hope to challenge and be challenged to stop molding a Jesus in our own image, but rather to let Jesus be who the Scriptures reveal him to be. I fear that many of us have made Jesus into a mascot that cheers for our cause or supports our hot-button issue. A Jesus like this one below that one of my girls received as a gift:


Do you worship a Jesus in your own image? Have you made him simply a mascot?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Purity or Porn?

Justin Taylor recounts a great message from Al Mohler on the corruption of pornography:

In 2004 Albert Mohler gave a talk to the male students of Boyce College, entitled “The Seduction of Pornography and the Integrity of Christian Marriage”—available in manuscript and audio form.

I encourage young guys in particular to read it and listen to it.

Here is an excerpt, where he talks about two pictures of male sexuality:

The first picture is of a man who has set himself toward a commitment to sexual purity, and is living in sexual integrity with his wife. In order to fulfill his wife’s rightful expectations and to maximize their mutual pleasure in the marriage bed, he is careful to live, to talk, to lead, and to love in such a way that his wife finds her fulfillment in giving herself to him in love. The sex act then becomes a fulfillment of their entire relationship, not an isolated physical act that is merely incidental to their love for each other. Neither uses sex as means of manipulation, neither is inordinately focused merely on self-centered personal pleasure, and both give themselves to each other in unapologetic and unhindered sexual passion. In this picture, there is no shame. Before God, this man can be confident that he is fulfilling his responsibilities both as a male and as a man. He is directing his sexuality, his sex drive, and his physical embodiment toward the one-flesh relationship that is the perfect paradigm of God’s intention in creation.

Mohler then asks us to consider the picture of another man:

This man lives alone, or at least in a context other than holy marriage. Directed inwardly rather than outwardly, his sex drive has become an engine for lust and self-gratification. Pornography is the essence of his sexual interest and arousal. Rather than taking satisfaction in his wife, he looks at dirty pictures in order to be rewarded with sexual arousal that comes without responsibility, expectation, or demand. Arrayed before him are a seemingly endless variety of naked women, sexual images of explicit carnality, and a cornucopia of perversions intended to seduce the imagination and corrupt the soul.

This man need not be concerned with his physical appearance, his personal hygiene, or his moral character in the eyes of a wife. Without this structure an accountability, he is free to take his sexual pleasure without regard for his unshaved face, his slothfulness, his halitosis, his body odor, and his physical appearance. He faces no requirement of personal respect, and no eyes gaze upon him in order to evaluate the seriousness and worthiness of his sexual desire. Instead, his eyes roam across the images of unblinking faces, leering at women who make no demands upon him, who never speak back, and who can never say no. There is no exchange of respect, no exchange of love, and nothing more than the using of women as sex objects for his individual and inverted sexual pleasure.

By logical consequence, he achieves sexual gratification at the expense of women who have been used and abused as commodified sex objects. He may imagine a sex act as he fulfills his physical pleasure, but he almost certainly does not imagine what it would mean to be responsible for this woman as husband and accountable to her as mate. He can sit in his soiled underwear, belching the remnants of last night’s pizza, and engage in a pattern of one-handed sexual satisfaction while he “surfs the net” and forfeits his soul.

Here’s the point:

These two pictures of male sexuality are deliberately intended to drive home the point that every man must decide who he will be, whom he will serve, and how he will love. In the end, a man’s decision about pornography is a decision about his soul, a decision about his marriage, a decision about his wife, and a decision about God.

Pornography is a slander against the goodness of God’s creation and a corruption of this good gift God has given his creatures out of his own self-giving love. To abuse this gift is to weaken, not only the institution of marriage, but the fabric of civilization itself. To choose lust over love is to debase humanity and to worship the false god Priapus in the most brazen form of modern idolatry.

You can read it and listen to it online.

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