Daily Download: October 4, 2013 (Atheist church, Democrats will likely win, drunk on grace, Chuck Smith)

Analysis: Why Obama Will Win the Gov’t Shutdown Fight With Republicans — This article lays out some good thought process from the Christian Post along with a little history lesson. According to the author’s reasoning, the structure of the United States government was designed to create a dysfunctional Congress to avoid an overwhelming power center focused in the legislative branch. Thus, as Republicans only control one half of an intentionally dysfunctional entity, their efforts will end up being in vain when they’re against the other half of their own branch plus another branch of the government that is wholly controlled by the Democrats. When the score is 1-1/2 to 1/2 with the third branch being an unknown quantity, the Republicans are fighting an uphill battle.

Billy Graham’s grandson takes Christians to task: An interview with Tullian Tchividjian — Tullian Tchividjian is senior pastor at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, the former home pulpit of D. James Kennedy. He’s written a new book titled One Way Love: Inexhaustible Grace for an Exhausted World, and this interview is focused on the key points in that book. But key to the discussion is his call for the church to get “drunk on grace”:

While attacks on morality will always come from outside the church, attacks on grace will always come from inside the church because somewhere along the way we’ve come to believe that this whole thing is about behavioral modification and personal moral improvement. We’ve concluded that grace just doesn’t possess the teeth to scare us into changing. As a result we get a steady diet of “do more, try harder” sermons; we get a “to do list” version of Christianity that causes us to believe the focus of the Christian faith is the life of the Christian. So we end up hearing more about “Christian living” than the Christ.

Honestly, there are too many great quotes in this interview to pull them out and talk about them. Just read it. It’s the real deal. OK, I can’t help it … here’s one more great quote:

So, it doesn’t surprise me at all when I hear people react to grace with suspicion and doubt. It doesn’t surprise me that when people talk about grace, I hear lots of “buts and brakes”, conditions and qualifications. That’s just the flesh fighting for its life, after all. As Walter Marshall says, “By nature, you are completely addicted to a legal method of salvation. Even after you become a Christian by believing the Gospel, your heart is still addicted to salvation by works…You find it hard to believe that you should get any blessing before you work for it.”

But while I’m not surprised when I hear venomous rejoinders to grace (the flesh is always resistant to “It is finished”), I am saddened when the very pack of people that God has unconditionally saved and continues to sustain by his free grace are the very ones who push back most violently against it.

Godless Megachurch Breaks Into U.S. — I’m very confused by this article and video.  By the look of things, an atheist group in the UK has created a Sunday morning gathering (Sunday Assembly) that acts like a church and smells like a church and sounds like a church but isn’t church because they’re only celebrating life and how to live it better.  And now it’s going on the road to become a worldwide concept.  Seems almost … competitive with church?  I’m sure every atheist would assure you that they have no need to “do church” and that this isn’t an attempt to compete with those who do have faith or an attempt to feel somehow included in the weekly gatherings that Christians and other people of faith hold.  Why have it on Sunday?  Why emulate what is otherwise known as church?  I can come up with all the arguments that would be made as to why it isn’t how it looks, but it’s still very strange.

Muslim-Born Man Testifies: ‘I’ve Never Seen This Type of Love Before’ After Church Unites to Save His Local Business — Here’s a cool story about the difference a local church can make when they team up to do good in their community.

Chuck Smith Has Died: Some Thoughts on the Amazing Life of Chuck and the Improbable Story of Calvary Chapel — Pastor Chuck Smith and his ministry at Calvary Chapel in Costa Mesa, California, were great catalysts for what became the evangelical movement in American Christianity. If you participate in a church with contemporary, relevant worship that is passionate about evangelism, is passionate about planting church, or believes in all of the spiritual gifts and pursues them (not just signs gifts) actively in your church body, you have Chuck Smith and Calvary Chapel as predecessors of your pursuits. This link to Ed Stetzer’s blog gives proper credit to this great pastor of the 20th century and links to other sites where you can learn more.

You will not stop believin’ how much fun this SM East video is to watch — I posted this video on Facebook as well, but I find it really fun so I wanted to post it here as well. I spent lots of time with high schoolers from Shawnee Mission East High School during my time in Kansas City. I was a volunteer with the local Kansas City K-Life during law school, and we had a whole hoard of kids from Shawnee Mission East who were part of our ministry. We went to their football games, basketball games and baseballs and got to know them and their friends and family. I also had many friends who grew up at Shawnee Mission East in my Kanakuk days thanks to the Kansas City K-Life ministry of Bruce Morgan in the late 1980s and his influence in the lives of all of those kids who ended up working at Kanakuk when they went to college. Shawnee Mission East holds a special place in my heart even though I never went to school there. The school created the video below, singing Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin'” while featuring over 1600 students who came to the school outside of schools to be a part of this video to promote their alma mater. It’s a very fun video and must have been quite an effort to produce. Great job, Lancers!

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