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The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Evangelists: Introduction

God Centered Life Ministry Council member Rob Wolgemuth has written about seven habits of highly effective evangelists. Over the next week, we will share his article in eight parts, first by way of introduction, and then with the seven habits that he identifies.  In this article, I want to discuss the biographies of two men that have influenced me. Specifically, I want to provide a summary of seven characteristics or habits shared by the two men on whom the books are based. The first book is Arnold Dallimore’s excellent biography of George Whitefield, George Whitefield: The life and times of the great evangelist of the 18th century revival, Vol. 1. Dallimore’s biography of the 18th century evangelist was painstakingly written over a number of years and finally published in 1970. It is a superb book, and incredibly thorough; it is perhaps the best written, most edifying biography I have read (and I’ve read a...

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From Our Ministry Council in the New Year

God Centered Life Ministries is grateful for the Ministry Council that God has brought together. We regularly try to bring articles and resources to you from this group of godly men who are serving God in various arenas. This year, we hope to periodically bring collective pieces with several of the members contributing. Book Recommendations As we continue to move into the new year, Dr. Philip Ryken provides us with two book recommendations from 2016: On Larry Alex Tarrant, The Faith of Christopher Hitchens: The Restless Soul of the World’s Most Notorious Atheist (Thomas Nelson, 2016). “Larry Tarrant’s intimate portrait of a Christian apologist’s personal encounter with the soul of avowed atheist Christopher Hitchens is more than a thoughtful exploration of faith and unbelief. It is a model for befriending Christianity’s cultured despisers as they search for truth and grace in their struggle with the realities and ambiguities of life, death, and eternity.”   On Makoto...

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Thankful

  Today I woke up, knowing that I am supposed to be feeling thankful, but mostly feeling put out. It was quite early, everything was still dark, and so I laid in bed for a long time replaying in my mind why I am right and others are wrong, why I'm justified in my irritation, why pastoring is so tough. Those words that were said, they hurt. Besides, it's my birthday, and I can cry if I want to - or something like that. We are only four days out from Thanksgiving, and I'm sure I should be thanking God for something. But this morning, I'm an Israelite. I'm a grumbler. It is cold outside, but warm under these covers, and just as I am cozying up to my own self-righteousness, Dietrich Bonhoeffer begins to intrude on my lonely, early birthday morning pity party: Only those who are thankful for small things also receive...

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How Good of God

A few years ago I received an anonymous card that instructed me to go to a nearby bicycle shop to pick up a gift. It felt a little strange, but I followed the instructions and went to the shop. Fortunately, the man knew what I was talking about, and he instructed me to wait and told me that he would be right back. In a few minutes, he brought out a beautiful new road bike. It was far nicer than any bike I had ever owned. I was stunned. I didn’t know what to say. I also didn’t know whom to thank, so I tried to get the man to give me a hint of who had purchased the bike. He wasn’t willing to share that with me, so I headed home with this amazing gift. As I headed home with this new bicycle, I had an interesting mixture of thoughts...

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Psalm 46 in a World Gone Mad

There is a place in Acadia National Park, in Maine, where you can see the ocean’s strength displayed, see the forces that batter and smash. It is called Thunder Hole, and is so dramatic that visitors to the park flock dutifully to stand a moment and watch. Dark water, surging into a hidden cave, collides with a pocket of air, creating a roar like thunder, splashing as high as 40 feet into the air. We visited Acadia, paused there and watched the waves crash angrily against the rock. Who is mightier than the thunder of the sea? Who is mightier than the raging nations? God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling...

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A Primer on Justification: Part 10

This article is the tenth in a ten-part series by Dr. Ryken that we have gradually made available. Find the other articles: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, and Part 9.   Our Response One of the most beautiful affirmations of the biblical doctrine of justification comes from the Heidelberg Catechism, which asks, “How are you righteous before God?” (Q. 60). The answer is: Only by true faith in Jesus Christ. In spite of the fact that my conscience accuses me that I have grievously sinned against all the commandments of God, and have not kept any one of them, and that I am still ever prone to all that is evil, nevertheless, God, without any merit of my own, out of pure grace, grants me the benefits of the perfect expiation of Christ, imputing to me his righteousness and holiness as if I had never committed a single sin or had ever...

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A Primer on Justification: Part 9

This article is the ninth in a ten-part series by Dr. Ryken that we are gradually making available. Find the other articles: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part. 7 and Part 8.   The Goal of Justification It is sometimes thought that the doctrine of justification by faith alone is contradicted by the apostle James. After all, James contended that “a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone” (Jas. 2:24). What James is really saying, however, is something like this: “A person is proven to be justified by his works, and not merely by his faith.” Unlike Paul—who needed to oppose the popular notion that sinners can be saved by good works—James was combating the misconception that believers can dispense with works altogether. To put the difference between them in theological terms, Paul was dealing with people who wanted to make sanctification part of the basis for their justification, whereas James...

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A Primer on Justification: Part 8

This article is the eighth in a ten-part series by Dr. Ryken that we are gradually making available. Find the other articles: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6 and Part 7.   Faith, and Faith Alone When Jesus explained the true way of justification to his disciples, he was careful to distinguish between faith and obedience. The disciples asked, “What must we do to do the works God requires?” Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent” (John 6:28-29). The Philippian jailor put the same basic question to the apostle Paul: “What must I do to be saved?” Paul gave the same answer Jesus gave: “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:30-31). In other words, there is nothing we can do to justify ourselves to God. The only righteousness he accepts comes “apart from law” (Rom. 3:21). Thus the only thing we...

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A Primer on Justification: Part 7

This article is the seventh in a ten-part series by Dr. Ryken that we are gradually making available. Find the other articles: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5,  and Part 6.   The Means of Justification Earlier we defined justification both legally and biblically. Now we are in a position to clarify justification theologically: “Justification means a permanent change in our judicial relation to God whereby we are absolved from the charge of guilt, and whereby God forgives all our sins on the basis of the finished work of Jesus Christ. Apart from Christ, our judicial relation to God is one of condemnation—we stand condemned on account of our sins, both original and actual. When we are justified, our judicial relation to God is changed from one of condemnation to one of acquittal.”1 The Westminster Shorter Catechism offers a more concise definition: “Justification is an act of God’s free grace, wherein he pardoneth all our sins,...

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