Bought by the Blood

May 9, 2011

A Review of The Greener Grass Conspiracy by Stephen Altrogge

As I was reading “The Greener Grass Conspiracy: Finding Contentment On Your Side Of The Fence,” by Stephen Altrogge my first thought was that this is a book that the devil does not want you to read.  Satan is the father of lies and he has created a conspiracy based on the lie that God is not good and that someone else has a better life then you.  Stephen Altrogge’s aim in this book is to equip the reader with gospel truths to be on guard against Satan’s lies.  Altrogge does not write as someone who has it all together or as someone who has vanquished the sin of discontentment in his life.  The attitude of Altrogge is that of a seasoned soldier who has been to war with discontentment and has the battle scars to prove it, as well as strategies from battle that have kept him alive.

The truths that Altrogge presents the reader with to help them fight for contentment are not psychological, self-help, therapeutic answers to tickle your ears.  The key to contentment is found in worship and understanding how the great the God is that we are called to worship and how little we are. “Content is created in the shadow of the majesty of God. I become content when I see and treasure and embrace the glory of God. I find contentment when I grasp the fact that life is not primarily about me and my comfort and my happiness. My soul is satisfied when I stop trying to elbow my way to the center of the universe and instead rejoice in and worship the God who really is at the center of all things (P.23)”

Altrogge goes on in the book to flesh out what contentment is and what contentment is not.  Using the example of King Solomon, the man who had every reason to be content Altrogge presents a character study of how all in this life is vanity and can provide no true satisfaction.  Later on Altrogge presents another character study using the apostle Paul and how he learned contentment.  Learning contentment isn’t easy, but it is a requirement for all who have Heaven as their home and desire to be transformed to be like Christ.

For those unfamiliar with Altrogge, definitely pause from reading this to get familiar with him through his blog, twitter and facebook.  Blog: www.theblazingcenter.com/ twitter: twitter.com/stephenaltrogge facebook: www.facebook.com/StephenMAltrogge One of the first things you notice as you become familiar with him is his amazing use of wit and humor.  Sometimes he may appear over the top, but if you like Brian Regan and Jon Acuff then you will definitely appreciate his musings.

This book is written in an accessible fashion for anyone to be able to grasp and benefit from.  Each chapter ends with application questions that make it great for a group study or to read in your own personal devotional times.  A chapter that is worth its weight in gold is the one on the sin of complaining.  Complaining is a fruit of discontentment and does not get enough discussion in most Christian circles.  That chapter is worth the price of the book alone.

Here are a couple more prize quotes from this book to whet your appetite:

“True contentment is found in a Person. It’s not found in getting what we want or in having difficulty removed from our lives. Contentment isn’t the result of the absence of pain or the presence of material blessing.  It’s found in Jesus Christ. Period. Without Christ we can never be truly content, regardless of the blessing that surround us. And with Christ we can be content in the midst of every circumstance. (P. 87) “

“Every event that occurs in our lives has been ordained by God for our good. God is moving all things – singleness, sickness, riches, poverty, children, and infertility – toward one destination: our good and his glory. God is using your constant headaches for good. He’s weaving together your recent job promotion, sick daughter, and inability to fix your flooding basement into something glorious and good. There is nothing us to us that God won’t use for our good. In fact, the very things that tempt us to be discontent are being used by God for our good (P. 92).”

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November 27, 2010

Gospel Centered Living

Jesus came to shows us that the gospel explains success in terms of giving, not taking; self-sacrifice, not self-protection; going to the back, not getting to the front.  The gospel sows that we win by losing, we triumph through defeat, we achieve power through service, and we become rich by giving ourselves away.

In fact, in gospel-centered living we follow Jesus in laying down our lives for those who hate us and hurt us.  We spend our lives serving instead of being served, and seeking last place, not first.  Gospel-centered people are those who love giving up their place for others, not guarding their place from others – because their value and worth is found in Christ, not their position…

When we understand that our significance and identity are in Christ, we don’t have to win – we’re free to lose. The gospel frees us from the pressure to generate our own significance and meaning.  In Christ, our identity and significance are secure, which frees us up to give everything we have, because in Christ we have everything we need…

“God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise. God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong” (1 Cor 1.27). The gospel is good news for losers.  Jesus lived the life we losers couldn’t live and died the death we losers should have died.

-Tullian Tchividian

March 22, 2010

Despite Obamacare Passing, God Is In Control

Filed under: 1st Corinthians,Health Care,Russell Moore,Trusting God — cubsfan1980 @ 10:43 am
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Here are some encouraging and convicting words from Dr. Moore about last nights about House vote and the proper Christian response.

If we were half as outraged by our own sin and self-deception as we are by the follies of our political opponents, what would be the result? If we rejoiced as much that our names are written in heaven as we do about such trivialities as basketball brackets, what would be the result?

So if what you’re afraid of is a politician or a policy or a culture or the future of Western civilization, don’t give up the conviction but give up the fear. Work for justice. Oppose evil. But do it so that your opponents will see not fear but trust, optimism, and affection.

“So now faith, hope and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love” (1 Cor. 13:13).

Fear God and, beyond that, don’t be afraid.

Read the rest at: Moore to the Point by Russell D. Moore.

January 19, 2010

Evangelism Is Not Something We Do

Filed under: evangelism,Matt Chandler,Missions,Suffering,trials,Trusting God — cubsfan1980 @ 3:03 pm
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Matt Chandler recently preached on missions and evangelism.  His perspective on how missions relates to his recent diagnoses of brain cancer is really convicting.

Mission is about the reign and rule of God…Evangelism isn’t something we do, it is the lenses by which we see the entire world.  We don’t do evangelism, our whole lives are about the rule and reign of God almighty…Six weeks ago when I found out malignant brain cancer I began a whole new set of relationships that in the end are about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the rule and reign of God.  I met a neurosurgeon and I am not going in thinking, “This is a neurosurgeon,” but instead I think, “The Lord is crossing my path with a neurosurgeon.  If he is a brother I will try to encourage him.  If not, I will try to reveal faith in Christ and the cross of Christ to him.”

-Matt Chandler

January 3, 2010

Being Fully Surrendered to God

I have never read a daily devotional for a year straight, so I decided that this year I want to work through “My Utmost for His Highest.”  The reading for yesterday was on surrendering fears and worries to God.  It was definitely helpful for me as I want to grow in dependence on God.  You can read part of it here.

Have you been asking God what He is going to do? He will never tell you. God does not tell you what He is going to do; He reveals to you Who He is. Do you believe in a miracle-working God, and will you go out in surrender to Him until you are not surprised an atom at anything He does?

Suppose God is the God you know Him to be when you are nearest to Him – what an impertinence worry is! Let the attitude of the life be a continual “going out” in dependence upon God, and your life will have an ineffable charm about it which is a satisfaction to Jesus. You have to learn to go out of convictions, out of creeds, out of experiences, until so far as your faith is concerned, there is nothing between yourself and God.

Read the rest at Oswald Chambers’ “My Utmost For His Highest”: January 2nd..

December 13, 2009

He Does All Things Well

Filed under: J.C. Ryle,Mark,trials,Trusting God,Will of God — cubsfan1980 @ 12:28 pm
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“And they were astonished beyond measure, saying, “He has done all things well.” Mark 7:37

Let us remember it as we look forward to the days yet to come.  We know what they may be, bright or dark, may or few.  But we know that we are in the hands of Him who “doeth all things well.  He will not err in any of  His dealings with us.  He will take away and give – He will afflict and bereave – He will move and He will settle, with perfect wisdom, at the right time, in the right way.  The great Shepherd of the sheep makes no mistakes.  He leaves every lamb of  His flock by the right way to the city of habitation.

We shall never see the full beauty of these words till the resurrection morning.  We shall then look back over our lives, and know the meaning of everything that happened from first to last.  We shall remember all the way by which we were led, and confess that all was “well done.”  The why and the wherefore, the causes and the reasons of everything which now perplexes, will be clear and plain as the sun at noon-day.

-J.C. Ryle

November 29, 2009

Being Where Jesus Would Have Us to Be

“The place that Christians wish to be in, is not always the place which is best for their souls…What we like best is not always best for our souls, that the seed of grace needs winter as well as summer, cold as well as heat, to ripen it for glory…That place and position is most healthful for us in which we are kept most humble-most taught our own sinfulness-drawn most to the Bible and prayer-led most to live by faith and not by sight.  It may not be quite what we like. But if Christ by His providence has placed us in it, let us not be in a hurry to leave it.  Let us therein abide with God.  The great thing is to have no will of our own, and to be where Jesus would have us to be.”

J.C. Ryle

November 22, 2009

Compelled by love

The ground of all our comfort and holiness, and perseverance in both, is laid in the shedding abroad of the love of God in our hearts; it is this which constrains us, 2 Cor. 5:14.  Thus we are drawn and held by the bonds of love.  Sense of God’s love to us will make us not ashamed, either of our hope in him or our sufferings for him.

– Matthew Henry on Romans 5:5

November 9, 2009

My Grace is sufficient for you

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. – 2 Corinthians 12:9

“God never allows pain without a purpose in the lives of His children.  He never allows satan, nor circumstances, nor any ill-intending person to afflict us unless He uses that affliction for our good.  God  never wastes pain.  He always causes it to work together for ultimate good, the good of conforming us more the the likeness of His Son (see Romans 8:28-29)…In this passage, God equates  His grace with His power as specifically displayed in our weakness.  This power infusing our weakness is a  concrete expression of His grace: His power comes to our aid through the ministry of His Spirit in our lives.  This is the mysterious operation of the Holy Spirit on our human spirit through which He strengthens us and enables us to meet in a Godly fashion whatever circumstances we encounter.
Notice I said that the Holy Spirit strengthens us and enables us to meet in a godly fashing whatever circumstances cross our paths.  God’s grace is not given to make us feel better, but to glorify Him.  Modern society’s subtle, underlying agenda is good feelings.  We want the pain to go aways.  We want to feel  better in difficult situations, but God wants us to glorify Him in those circumstances.  Good feelings may come, or they may not, but that is not the issue.  The issue is whether or not we honor God by the way we respond to our circumstances.  God’s grace – that is the enabling power of the Holy Spirit – is given to help us respond in such a way…
John Blanchard said, ‘So he [God]supplies perfectly measured grace to meet the needs of the godly.  For daily needs there is daily grace; for sudden needs, sudden grace; for overwhelming need, overwhelming grace.  God’s grace is given wonderfully, but not wastefully; freely but not foolishly; bountfiully but not blindly.” Jerry Bridges.

November 6, 2009

Fighting Anxiety With Scipture

“When you think about your life or your food or your clothes — or your spouse or your or your job or your mission — don’t fret about them.  Instead, make God the King in that affair and in that moment.  That is, hand over the situation to his kingly power, and do his righteous will with the confidence that he will work for you and meet all your needs.  If we believe in the kingship of our heavenly Fathers, we do not need to be anxious about anything…the more primary and central his kinship becomes in our live, the less anxiety we will  have.” John Piper

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