December 29, 2010 by
Categories: Books | Resources
Now that the Christmas gifts are unwrapped and the toys are assembled (hopefully), you may be thinking about family devotions for the new year. If that’s you, here’s a new book to consider.
Long Story Short is a family devotional designed to take your family through the Old Testament in ten minutes a day, showing how each story points forward to Jesus Christ. Each day’s entry includes Scripture reading, questions to help your kids think about the passage, and suggestions for praying together. For a sample, check out this free PDF of chapter 1, courtesy of New Growth Press.
Author Marty Machowski has six kids and has been a pastor at Covenant Fellowship Church (Glen Mills, PA) since 1988. He currently leads Covenant Fellowship’s children’s ministry. Here’s how he describes the book in the introduction:
Few Christian parents would disagree with the importance of passing on the truth of the gospel to their children, yet we live in a busy world… Just getting all the tasks of the day checked off our list can leave any parent exhausted….
That is where I hope Long Story Short will help. The Bible can seem like a long story, but when you break it down into short devotions, teaching the Bible to your family is easy to do. The goal of this devotional is to, day by day, pass on a clear gospel message showing our children how every story in the Bible points forward or back to the gospel of Jesus Christ and God’s story of salvation….
As you faithfully lead your children through the devotions in this book, don’t just read it as history. It is history, but it is so much more! Lead with expectation that the God of history will visit with your family. Wait and watch to see what God will do! Cling with faith to this hope, that through the gospel proclamation in your home, the Holy Spirit will regenerate the hearts of your children and lead them to faith alone, in Christ alone, by grace alone!
Long Story Short is available for $14 at our store.
December 22, 2010 by
Categories: Sovereign Grace staff
Pat Ennis, who has served on our board and as our Executive Director since 2003, announced last month that he will be transitioning to a new job starting January 1, 2011, at Sentinel Wealth Management in Reston, Virginia. He and his family will remain in Gaithersburg as members of Covenant Life Church, and Pat will continue to serve on our board of directors until his term ends in early 2011.
C.J. Mahaney sums up the situation well:
Like everyone else here at Sovereign Grace I am personally saddened Pat is leaving. I will miss my friend. Pat didn't do a good job here, he did an exceptional job. And we will still feel his ongoing influence having secured his services as a consultant. Sovereign Grace is a happier, more effective, more fruitfuil ministry because of Pat, and we will always be grateful for his unique contribution.
Those of you who are familiar with Pat know well what C.J. means. In addition to leading our day-to-day operations, Pat made a number of lasting contributions:
- managing our growth as we added 35 churches and forged new international relationships
- creating a culture of generosity and excellence among the staff
- improving our annual Mission Presentation films
- significantly improving the level of service that our administrative staff can give to our churches
Pat also has a gift for developing staff’s potential and launching new initiatives. In the last few years, several Sovereign Grace employees have left to start successful companies, and the ministry of Gospel Translations was launched with his help in 2007.
Feel free to leave a comment here if you would like to send Pat a note of encouragement or thanks—we’ll make sure he gets it.
December 21, 2010 by
Tim Shorey is senior pastor of Trinity Fellowship Church in Toms River, New Jersey. At our Pastors Conference in November, Tim took about ten minutes to tell the story of how and why his church joined Sovereign Grace Ministries in 2005.
If you’ve ever wondered how established churches go about joining Sovereign Grace (a process we usually call “adoption,”) here’s an example of how it worked for one church. As Tim explains, the process usually involves building ministry relationships with Sovereign Grace pastors and churches over time.
(RSS readers, you may need to click through to the post to see the video.)
For more stories of church adoptions, check out…
December 18, 2010 by
Categories: Weekly roundup
For the whippersnappers in your life, CrossWay Community Church (Charlotte, NC) shared some gift ideas for youth and children. And for everyone else, Bauer Evans (senior pastor at Crossway Church in Attleboro, MA) highlighted some gospel-centered Christmas music.
On C.J.'s blog, Tony Reinke shared some practical tips from Charles Spurgeon on sharing the gospel with family and friends over Christmas.
You might also want to check out the blog post "Liberty, Legalism, and Christmas" by Mark Lauterbach, senior pastor at Grace Church (San Diego, CA), which has gotten some attention online this week.
If you're considering adoption, you may be encouraged by the adoption testimony that Sovereign Grace Fellowship (Bloomington, MN) posted on their blog this week.
Portuguese publisher Editora Tempo de Colheita is translating our book Worldliness: Resisting the Seduction of a Fallen World, and have posted excerpts from the chapter "God, My Heart, and Clothes" at their blog.
If your Portuguese is a little rusty, you may enjoy this English excerpt from The Power of a Humbling Gospel, a forthcoming book from Bill Farley. Bill is the senior pastor at Grace Christian Fellowship (Spokane, WA).
Dave Harvey's audio from the CCEF National Conference in November is now available. The messages are based on his material from When Sinners Say 'I Do' and cost $19 for a two-disc set.
Last but not least, please note that our next Pastors Conference has been pushed back a week to November 8-10, 2011.
December 16, 2010 by
Categories: Conferences | International
At our Pastors Conference in November, Doug Hayes gave a brief update on how one church is carrying out Scripture’s commands to care for the poor, in a way that keeps the gospel of Christ central.
In 2002, Covenant Fellowship Church, where Doug is a pastor, established an organization called Covenant Mercies. Their goal was two fold: meet practical needs and preach the gospel to the needy. Today, with Doug as director, Covenant Mercies operates an orphan sponsorship program that provides care for about 950 children in Ethiopia, Uganda, and Zambia, through partnerships with local churches in those countries.
In this 10-minute update, Doug outlines how Covenant Mercies provides gospel-centered, local-church-based orphan care amid the HIV/AIDS epidemic in eastern Africa.
(RSS readers, you may need to click through to the post to watch the video.)
For more about Covenant Life Church Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian church Doug references, watch this 8-minute film produced in 2008.
Doug’s update followed Kevin DeYoung’s excellent message “Rethinking the Mission of the Church.” Read a brief excerpt at C.J. Mahaney’s blog, or listen/download here.
Photo, top right: Doug Hayes with Hanna, whose story he tells in the video above. From Covenant Fellowship Church's blog.
At our Pastors Conference in November, Al Pino gave a brief update on ministry in south Florida and the Spanish-speaking Caribbean.
Al is senior pastor of Palm Vista Community Church, a multicultural and multilingual church in Miami Lakes, Florida. Al and his church believe this city, which is 74% Hispanic, represents a unique opportunity to reach the Hispanic world with the gospel.
In this eight-minute video, Al describes how Sovereign Grace pastors and churches are teaming up to provide training and care for pastors and churches in the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and Cuba. He also describes their hopes to plant a Spanish-speaking church in south Florida in early 2012.
Watch Al’s update below. (You’ll also hear a few off-camera comments from C.J. Mahaney.)
Will you pray with us for these churches? Please pray…
- that many will hear and respond to the gospel throughout Florida, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and Cuba
- that God will provide for us to plant a Spanish-speaking church in south Florida within the next two years
December 11, 2010 by
Categories: Books | Weekly roundup
In lieu of our usual weekly roundup, here’s a list of all the books C.J. Mahaney recommended on his blog this year. If you’re still looking for the perfect gift for a pastor, church planter, or anyone else, one of these may be what you’re looking for. (The books are listed in order from least technical to most technical.)
And if the person you’re shopping for already has all of these, may we suggest a Christmas lawn ornament?
What Is the Gospel? by Greg Gilbert. This book “provides a biblically faithful explanation of the gospel and equips Christians to discern deviations from that glorious message,” as C.J. noted in his endorsement. You can browse a free PDF of chapter 7 at Crossway.org.
Just the Way I Am: God’s Good Design in Disability by Krista Horning, with a foreword by Joni Eareckson Tada. C.J. calls it “a unique and valuable resource for parents and pastors who get asked the honest questions from children with disabilities.”
The Essential Edwards Collection, written and edited by Owen Strachan and Doug Sweeney, with an introduction by John Piper. Contains five volumes, subtitled Lover of God, On Beauty, On Heaven and Hell, On the Good Life, and On True Christianity. C.J.’s endorsement says, “Strachan and Sweeney provide a doorway into the life and teaching of one of the church’s wisest theologians.”
Scandalous: The Cross and Resurrection of Jesus by D.A. Carson. C.J. writes that this book is “destined to serve readers in their appreciation of the gospel as [Carson] expounds on both the death and resurrection of the Savior.”
It Is Well: Expositions on Substitutionary Atonement by Mark Dever and Michael Lawrence. C.J. suggests that it “can provide a pastor with a sermon series on the gospel.”
By Grace Alone: How the Grace of God Amazes Me by Sinclair Ferguson. C.J. writes that this “book on the gospel of the grace of God is a gem—showing us why we should be amazed by it.”
For the Fame of God’s Name: Essays in Honor of John Piper edited by Sam Storms and Justin Taylor. Twenty-seven essays on theological topics relating to Piper’s life and ministry, most of them from scholars, and a chapter from C.J., who says his chapter was “not written by a scholar, in case you were wondering.”
God the Peacemaker: How Atonement Brings Shalom by Graham Cole. “A wonderful book that explains why God's intention to restore shalom (peace) to his creation requires the death of Christ.” More info available here.
Atonement by various authors, edited by Gabriel N.E. Fluhrer. A compilation of messages delivered over the years at the Philadelphia Conference on Reformed Theology. As Fluhrer writes, “This is a book about blood and it soaks every page."
December 9, 2010 by
Categories: Pastors College
Please join us in praying this week for 19 senior pastors who are attending our second Preaching Practicum, hosted by the Pastors College. The Preaching Practicum started yesterday and ends tomorrow around noon.
We believe that as preaching goes, so goes a church. So one of our priorities is to train pastors to "preach the word" faithfully, passionately, and humbly (2 Timothy 4:2). The three-day Preaching Practicum is set up as a lab: ten pastors preach a sermon to the class. After each sermon, Jeff Purswell, C.J. Mahaney, and the rest of the class evaluate its strengths and weaknesses and give pointers for improvement.
Our prayer is that these 19 men experience what Ian McConnell did at our last Preaching Practicum in January: "I was surprised that although it was in an academic environment, it was so much more than that," he said. "It turned out to be an environment where God's Spirit met with us through the preached Word and ministered grace to our lives in some very dynamic and discernable ways."
Will you join us in praying for these pastors? Specifically, please pray:
- that these senior pastors will be encouraged and strengthened for the task of preaching
- that Jeff and C.J. will have wisdom to lead the practicum well
- that these three days will bear long-term fruit in the 19 churches represented
Photo: Zac Martin, senior pastor of Sovereign Grace City Church (Brooklyn, NY)
December 4, 2010 by
Categories: Weekly roundup
Some of our Minnesota churches got shut down by snow on November 21. Meanwhile, the same day at Sovereign Grace Church of Orange County...
As promised, here is a link to C.J. Mahaney's sermon at University Reformed Church on November 21.
Dave Harvey's When Sinners Say "I Do" is now available in e-book and Kindle formats.
CCEF posted this 6-minute video interview with Matt Mason, a pastor at Lakeview Christian Center (New Orleans, LA), who led worship at their annual conference. Matt also taught at our WorshipGod09 conference on worship and suffering.
Pastor, author, and seminary professor Tullian Tchividjian preached on Colossians 1:9-14, "Jesus + Nothing = Everything," at Covenant Life Church (Gaithersburg, MD).
Dave Harvey's recent article in the Leadership Journal, "The Glory Drive," is now available for free online.
This week, pastors and members from Grace Community Church (Souderton, PA) and Grace Community Church (Kingsville, MD) are visiting one of our partner ministries in India. While there, they'll be training and caring for 40 church leaders and their wives who represent a network of more than 500 churches. This type of international leadership training is part of what our annual Mission Fund makes possible, and is also a great example of how churches in Sovereign Grace can serve overseas. It’s amazing to think that we get to be involved with leadership training in different parts of the world.
Before the team left for India, they sent in some prayer requests. We're sharing them here to enlist your prayers and encourage you about the work that God is doing through our family of churches.
Please pray for these events:
- Teaching on the life and ministry of Jesus Christ
- Teaching and discussion on church membership
- Teaching and discussion for the wives of the leaders
- Six days of Vacation Bible School for more than 100 children living in slums
Please pray for these individuals:
- The 40 leaders and their wives wives who are being trained this week, and will then try to pass on the teaching to the hundreds of other pastors they serve
- The teaching team, who will need energy and clarity as they teach 20 sessions in five days, and hope to model biblical values throughout the trip
- The children attending Vacation Bible School, who desperately need the hope that only the gospel offers