Pastor Alex was the planting and lead pastor of Four Corners Church in Newnan, Georgia before leaving for Mars Hill Church. Prior to church planting Alex has received his Masters in hermeneutics at the London School of Theology, as well as having received a M.Div. from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and is currently a Doctoral Candidate at Reformed Theological Seminary. Alex and his wife Jana have been married for eight years and have two kids.
Here are some things that jumped out from his talk:
If you want your life to remain unchanged and your church to remain unmotivated or have people sing about Jesus with their hands in their pockets, ignore the bible.
The nature of the Bible is that it takes over our lives.
Jesus is called a friend of gluttons, drunks, tax collectors and sinners (Matthew 11:19). That’s how we should be described.
No one should ever have a bigger vision for the world than the men and women of God.
Who in the city you live in is beyond the saving grace of God?
The only hope you have as a missionary is to embrace the reality and reminded daily of the grace of God.
The gospel is for those who have been crushed by legalism.
The gospel is for the slut and for those who are offended that a pastor would say the word slut.
The gospel is for everyone, no matter where they stand or what they do. All of us need the gospel.
The gospel is the most inclusive message you will ever hear and so exclusive in how it saves people.
The Bible is written mostly by 3 murderers, so don’t say God can’t save anyone.
If you anchor your identity in the fact that you are the prodigal that the father has forgiven, living on mission isn’t something you have to work at, but something you work out.
If you want to preach effectively or understand grace, remember where you were the night before you met Jesus.
As a pastor, I need Jesus as bad as the people I preach to.
The gospel is God saves sinners.
The mission is very simple: make disciples who make disciples who make disciples.
The art of hermeneutics is the art of interpretation.
Being a student of culture means understanding it. Understanding why people do what they do.
I’m at the Preach the Word conference through Acts 29 today and as always, posting my notes to the sessions I attend.
One of the speakers is Justin Holcomb. His topic was an incredibly important theological topic when it comes to preaching: preaching God’s 2 words – law and gospel. Justin used Galatians 3:1 – 3, 10 – 14 as his text.
It is important to understand how law and gospel relate as both are from God.
If we mess up the relationship between the law and the gospel, we are corrupting the core of the Christian faith.
When we miss this, we miss the core of the gospel.
We know from Scripture that Christ died to set us free.
Christ fulfilled the law perfectly.
Christ was raised from the dead for our justification.
We have been set free from the bondage of sin, the fear of death. We are called what Jesus was, pure and perfect.
The gospel has no condemnation.
Thesis 1: the doctrinal contents of the Holy Scripture, both of the Old Testament and the New Testament are made up of two doctrines different fundamentally from each other – the Law and the Gospel.
The law condemns and the gospel comforts.
The law is everything that commands, the gospel is everything that promises favor in Christ.
The problem is not with God’s law, but with us.
The law directs and the gospel delivers.
The 10 commandments are the summary of the law.
The law can’t heal what it diagnosis.
The law of God is perfect, true and righteous. It is holy, right and good.
The law can do nothing to create what it commands (Romans 7).
The function of the law is not to generate obedience, grace is.
God’s law and God’s gospel are two different words with two different functions.
The law tells us the truth but fails to convey the power to fulfill what it commands.
The gospel is the good news is that Jesus’ burden is light and there is no more “no” as that went to Jesus on the cross.
The gospel reveals God’s goodness, his mercy and his benefits.
Jesus took the law very seriously. He came to fulfill it, not abolish it.
Jesus summarizes the law in Matthew 22 by telling us to love God with all of us and love our neighbor as yourself.
Jesus commands love of God all the time.
Jesus doesn’t just summarizes the law, he intensifies it. The sermon on the mount (Matthew 5-7) is a great example of this. “You have heard it said…”
Jesus goes past the outward evidence of obedience to get to our heart.
Jesus’ call to be perfect is to give up what we worship so we can worship Jesus.
Thesis #2: Only he is an orthodox teacher who not only presents all articles of faith in accordance with Scripture, but also rightly distinguishes from each other the Law and the Gospel.
Law and gospel go together and in that order.
When we use the law to look good, it isn’t to get what Jesus gives us.
We can’t have the law without the gospel, but we can’t have the gospel without the law.
Forgiveness means never bringing it up.
Don’t replace the ministry of the Holy Spirit with law or exhortations motivating the human spirit.
Your goal in preaching is not to motivate someone.
Exhortation is not yelling or shaming.
Thesis #3: Rightly distinguishing the Law and the Gospel is the most difficult and the highest art of Christians in general and of theologians in particular. It is taught only by the Holy Spirit in the school of experience.
The only appropriate response to law and gospel is repentance.
I’m watching the online conference Preach Better Sermons today and wanted to share some of the learnings I picked up. One of the speakers is Mark Driscoll. Mark is the founding pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, Washington, and is one of the world’s most downloaded and quoted pastors. He and his wife, Grace, co-authored Real Marriage, which became a #1 New York Times best seller. His audience, fans and critics alike, spans the theological and cultural left and right. He was named one of the 25 most influential pastors of the past 25 years by Preaching magazine in 2010, and his audio sermon podcast is regularly #1 on iTunes’ Religion & Spirituality chart and has been among the Top 50 of all podcasts at times.
Here are some things that jumped out from his segment:
It’s impossible to take the Bible and not see mission.
Being sent is everywhere in the Bible.
God’s people are on mission to see more people become God’s people.
People showed up at your church, they expect to hear from the Bible.
To preach to men you have to say hard things.
Churches have this opportunity to teach men how manage money, be married, raise kids, work hard. Nowhere else will teach them all that.
Let God speak through your personality and who you are.
Give yourself grace to find out who you are and grow into who you are meant to be.
There is a difference between a flock and an audience, shows the difference between a pastor and a speaker.
So many things I’m thankful for right now and blown away by
Can’t believe we’ve been at Magee on Sunday mornings as Revolution Church for 6 weeks now
We continue to have more guests than ever before and the excitement among our churches continues to grow and the expectation that God is moving continues every week
We’ve been in our new house for 8 days now and it feels like home
We’ve already met almost half of our street and had some great gospel conversations with people
We were definitely more strategic in our thinking about where we moved this time around and it is showing
Yesterday was a great day at Revolution
I took the last 2 weeks off from preaching because of our family’s move and I’m glad I did
Forgot how much energy moving takes
Grateful for the way Mike and Dave stepped up and how well they did
If you missed yesterday, you can listen to it here
You can also listen to Mike’s great sermon on Ephesians 3:1 – 13here
Really excited to preach this Sunday on Ephesians 4:1 – 10 and look at what separates the churches and people that God uses from those that don’t get used and consequently, cease to be worthwhile to the movement of the gospel
Got an advanced copy of Mark Driscoll’s new book Who do you think you are to blog a review for, really excited to dive into it
As a pastoral team, we spent some time this past week in Los Angeles with the elders of Mars Hill Church and learned a ton in terms of being a multi-church movement
Really excited to continue to move forward in this way
Today, me and the rest of our pastors are at Mars Hill Connect Day. Really enjoying the time with the team and what we’re learning. The second session was with the Network Pastor of Mars Hill Church, Dave Bruskas.
Here are my notes:
Jesus loves his church
Jesus holds the title of Senior Pastor
This is not a personality profile or spiritual gift assessment
The goal of triperspectival leadership is How do we as a team lead the church well?
If Jesus is the Senior Pastor of the church, how does that play out in the life of the church?
Jesus leads his church through 3 primary functions: prophet, priest, and king
Ephesians 4:11 – 13
Jesus doesn’t just give gifts to leaders, he gives gifted leaders to the church he loves
Jesus gives leaders to the church so that in collective unity would know Jesus, we get full knowledge of Jesus when Jesus gives gifted leaders to the church so that He can lead the church
Jesus leads his church by giving his church gifted leaders, so that those gifted leaders might proclaim him so that the church in unity grows
We grow up in truth through love
Leaders help people move in the direction of becoming more like Jesus
No one man can best fill all the offices of Senior Pastor Jesus
Leading the church on mission with Jesus is a team project
You have everything and everyone you need to reach everyone God wants you to reach
Your leadership team is most likely imbalanced or incomplete if you are not making progress on mission
The best way to build your team is to key off of the lead pastor
Your team will progress from prophet, to priest, to king
The best team is the one that best reflects the leadership of Senior Pastor Jesus
Today, me and the rest of our pastors are at Mars Hill Connect Day. Really enjoying the time with the team and what we’re learning. The first session was with the Executive Pastor of Mars Hill Church, Sutton Turner.
Here are my notes:
It’s all about Jesus
2 Corinthians 8:9
1 Peter 5:4
Everything that we do is all a response to what Jesus has done
Jesus is our senior pastor
Board of advisors and accountability
Hold elders accountable, pray for the elders, they pastor the executive elders
Ask about the elders marriage, how their kids are doing
Day to day oversight
Prophet, priest, and king
Full council of elders
Alter doctrinal statement
Approve Board of Advisors nominees
60+ current elders
Board of elders
3 executive elders + 4 elders at large
Annual audit and budget process
Senior ministry council
Oversees all ministry at mars hill
3 EE + Executive directors
3 EE + Lead pastors
Input on new initiatives & policy changes
Approve new elders
The executive pastor must complete the lead pastor, not compete with the lead pastor
Executive pastors love Jesus, love the church, and love their lead pastor
Guys that burn out as lead pastors, they are doing things that God has not gifted them to do and someone needs to step up and do those things
We are one church and we’re 14 churches
2 Corinthians 8:13 – 14
Take the abundance of one church to offset the need of another church
The amount of staff a church gets is based on how many people attend, not based on money
Sowing and reaping
2 Corinthians 9:6
Core Four – this is what Mars Hill focuses on
Equipping & Training
2 Corinthians 8:20 – 21
Stewardship starts with Jesus
We give because Jesus gave
Jesus calls us to be good stewards
How are you doing?
Stewardship of people
Budget based on people, not church affluence
Staffing based on people, not church affluence
Compensation based on responsibility and external studies