Saturday, April 30, 2011

How to Find a Good Church

Living in a university town means living in a transient community. One of the bitter-sweet realities we face each year comes at the end of the school year as many students and university people head on to a new community and new opportunities. My hope is that Oxford Bible Fellowship has helped these individuals love the church as Christ loves the church, and prepared them to find a good church as they move on.

For some biblical help on finding the right church, check out my message What the Church Should Be. The gist of the message is to look for a church that is a teaching church, a relational church, and a missional church.

In addition, here are some practical suggestions:
  • Visit the church website before attending. Spend some time googling for churches and use the church-finder sites listed below. You can find out a lot about what a church values and emphasizes. If they don't have a website they may not be very relevant, and if they don't talk about Jesus and the Word they probably aren't worth your time.
  • Contact a staff member to ask some questions. You can do this through e-mail, phone, or by setting up a meeting. A few simple questions will give you a good sense of where the church is at.
  • Be patient as you look for a church. If you have been a part of a great church community with great teaching realize your expectations are high, and they should be. But you may not find the exact same fit. Don't compromise on your church choice, but recognize that everything may not be perfect. Focus on the most important things - the teaching, relationships, and being on mission with Jesus.
  • Pray. If you're seeking to walk with Christ, He has a place for you to be engaged. Or maybe He wants you to help plant a new work in your new community. Either way, seeking him in prayer will make things clear.
Here are some great websites for finding a solid church. I don't personally know all of these churches, but they're a great place to start.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Why the Resurrection Matters

What a great weekend remembering the death of our Savior and His glorious resurrection. Here is Sunday's message where we focus on 4 reasons why the resurrection matters (and 4 reasons for joy!).

Resurrection Sunday from Oxford Bible Fellowship on Vimeo.

Monday, April 25, 2011


My brother, Chris, relates a great story and truth from his son, Ty:
Sometimes my kids amaze me. This seems to particularly occur with my youngest, seven year-old Ty. Most of his time is spent messing around and trying (often successfully) to make us laugh. However, every once in a while he also shows an uncanny intelligence and even spiritual insight. This afternoon we had one of those moments.

As his mother related how Ty was friendly with a new child in his class at church this morning, and that this was a great example of hospitality, he simply replied that it was 'gospeltality.'

Now, I have to admit that I don't think he really knows what he is talking about, but even if he does just a little bit, I am amazed at his insight. Whether he realizes it or not, he's right: when we show hospitality to others, we are simply reflecting how God has been hospitable to us.

Hospitality is being friendly and generous to strangers. Through the cross, God has generously offered us his friendship (John 15:14; James 2:23). Even when we hated and reviled Him, he showed his love by sending his Son to die for us (Romans 5:8).

Therefore, as those who have received the ultimate act of hospitality, we are called to show hospitality to others (Romans 12:13; 1 Peter 4:9). When we do, we practice 'gospeltality' - giving a little picture of God's hospitality towards us.
Check out Chris' Blog.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Power of the Cross

If you haven't heard of Keith and Kristyn Getty, you have to check out their music. The Gettys are modern day hymn writers, and you've probably sung their most famous song In Christ Alone. But this is just one of their many truth-filled, Christ-centered lyrics.

My favorite song from the Gettys is perfect for this weekend in which we remember the death of our Savior. It's called The Power of the Cross.
Oh, to see the dawn
Of the darkest day:
Christ on the road to Calvary.
Tried by sinful men,
Torn and beaten, then
Nailed to a cross of wood.

This, the pow'r of the cross:
Christ became sin for us;
Took the blame, bore the wrath—
We stand forgiven at the cross.

Oh, to see the pain
Written on Your face,
Bearing the awesome weight of sin.
Ev'ry bitter thought,
Ev'ry evil deed
Crowning Your bloodstained brow.

Now the daylight flees;
Now the ground beneath
Quakes as its Maker bows His head.
Curtain torn in two,
Dead are raised to life;
"Finished!" the vict'ry cry.

Oh, to see my name
Written in the wounds,
For through Your suffering I am free.
Death is crushed to death;
Life is mine to live,
Won through Your selfless love.

This, the pow'r of the cross:
Son of God—slain for us.
What a love! What a cost!
We stand forgiven at the cross.
Visit the Getty's website here.

Friday, April 22, 2011

It's Friday, But...

You've heard it before, but it's just so good. S.M. Lockridge's sermon combined with footage from The Passion of the Christ.

HT: Justin Taylor

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Gospel & Social Justice

Sunday's message from Dr. Mike Wittmer on the Gospel and Social Justice:

The Gospel and Social Justice from Oxford Bible Fellowship on Vimeo.

About Dr. Wittmer
Mike is Professor of Systematic Theology at Grand Rapids Theological Seminary. He is the author of Heaven is a Place on Earth, Don't Stop Believing, and the soon to be released, Christ Alone: An Evangelical Response to Rob Bell's Love Wins. Mike lives in Grand Rapids with his wife and three children. You can find Mike's blog at

Sunday, April 17, 2011

God: Abounding in Love, Punishing the Guilty

Here's another session from The Gospel Coalition Conference on a response to Rob Bell's new book Love Wins. From TGC's blog:

Prompted by recent events that have cast doubt on evangelical teaching about the love of God, Jesus' sacrifice on the cross, and judgment for sin, Don Carson delivered a special address, "God: Abounding in Love: Punishing the Guilty," at The Gospel Coalition's 2011 national conference in Chicago. You can now download audio from this talk.

After Carson finished, he was joined for a panel discussion moderated by Kevin DeYoung that also included Tim Keller, Stephen Um, and Crawford Loritts.

You can also read Jonathan Parnell's recap at the Desiring God blog.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Gospel Coalition

This week I'm at The Gospel Coalition Conference in Chicago along with 6,000 other pastors and leaders that are seeking to be energized by the Gospel and Jesus Christ. The theme is "Preaching Christ from the Old Testament."

You can listen to all the messages here. I recommend the talks from Tim Keller and Matt Chandler.

If you haven't been on the website for TGC, check it out here. There are tons of free print, audio, and video resources along with a number of helpful blogs from people like Justin Taylor and Kevin DeYoung.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Missional Vocation - God and Your Work

On Sunday, I spoke on work from a biblical perspective. I fear this is something we Christians have not thought much about, that God really does care about our vocation and that he has a lot to say about it. Below is the outline and video of the message along with some resource recommendations and a video on vocation we showed on Sunday.

Outline & Message: Missional Vocation

A Brief Theology of Vocation
00+ God works, so we work (Gen 2:1-3, 15; Gen 1:26-28)
00+ The Fall complicated work (Gen 3:17-19)

Right Thinking about Vocation
00+ Work is Worship (1 Cor 10:31; Col 3:23-24)
00+ Work is Service (Mk 10:45)
00+ Work is Missional (Matt 5:14-16; 1 Pet 2:12)
0oo0:: By developing intentional, Gospel relationships
0oo0:: By modeling Christian ethics
0oo0:: By redeeming what is lost and creating what is good

Missional Vocation from Oxford Bible Fellowship on Vimeo.

Recommendations from Christian Workers in our Church

Video on Missional Vocation
What does it look like to be missional with your vocation? Check out the stories of 6 people seeking to be on mission with Jesus in their work.

Missional Interview 1 from Oxford Bible Fellowship on Vimeo.