Toronto Events

Toronto Greenhouse


On March 23 to 25, Church Multiplication Associates will be holding Greenhouse Intensive Training in Toronto. Here's a description:

The "FIRST Story" is a 3-day intensive that focuses on missional living resulting in new "organic" churches. An initial "download" if you please, of the philosophy and concepts of organic church planting.

ORGANIC Church Planters GREENHOUSE- The First Story: Starting organic churches that reproduce

The sessions in the FIRST STORY Training will be:

Session 1: Foundations for Organic Church Planting
Session 2: Cultivating the Soil of People's Hearts
Session 3: Sowing the Kingdom Seed
Session 4: Growing the Life of the Kingdom
Session 5: Organic Church Planting Q&A--Go & DO it

These sessions focus on "organic" strategies for reproductive discipleship and church planting in all sorts of ministry contexts. These sessions are not only for pastors, professional church planters and missionaries. They are intended for anyone who is passionate about "making disciples of all nations" and seeing the church of Jesus Christ grow and multiply everywhere.

Follow this link to register. Scroll and look for Toronto. Early registration ends March 2.

Simeon Trust

Simeon Trust is holding a workshop on May 2-4 on preaching the book of Exodus. I've attended their workshops before, and they're excellent. Details and registration are here.

Hell Is Real (But I Hate to Admit It)

Leave a book like this lying around, and you're sure to get reactions.

On one hand, my twelve-year-old son loved the title of this book, Hell Is Real (But I Hate to Admit It). "That title tells the truth," he said. On the other hand, I was turned off. It sounded like a grudging acknowledgement of the reality of hell. As Kevin DeYoung puts it, it's okay in a sense to admit that we don't like hell, but we need to guard against grudgingly accepting what God has revealed about himself.

It turns out I was wrong about this book and its title. It's not a book about grudgingly accepting the reality of hell. It's a book that recognizes that hell is real, and that confronts us with our tendency to try and pretend that it's not.

The book is written by Brian Jones, pastor of Christ's Church of the Valley near Philadelphia. While on a spiritual retreat, Jones became convicted about his lack of belief and teaching on hell. He spent the next five hours reading the New Testament, discovering:

…hell is not an ambiguous topic supported by a few hard-to-understand passages. It is inescapable: Virtually every book in the New Testament underscores the reality of hell. Jesus taught it; Paul, Peter, and every early church leader taught it, but I wasn't teaching it. I realized that I had a decision to make. Could I discount what Jesus taught on hell if I based my belief in heaven on similar passages in the same books?

Jones returned to his church and repented before his congregation and asked for their forgiveness. "Hell is real," he writes. "Deciding whether or not hell exists isn't an intellectual exercise; it's a matter of eternal life and death."

Jones tackles a number of important areas in this book. First, he covers the biblical teaching, and answers some common questions and objections. Second, he talks about our own struggles to deal with the reality of hell and act accordingly. He does this with a sense of urgency. Finally, he gives us practical encouragement on how to share the gospel appropriately. This is a book that's informative, passionate, and practical all at once.

Jones is a skillful writer. He somehow manages to make a book on hell enjoyable to read.

One note: There were a number of books that came out last year in reaction to Rob Bell's book Love Wins, such as Erasing Hell, Christ Alone, and God Wins. While I'm grateful for the books that were written in reaction to Bell's book, I'm also grateful for this book that deals with the topic without even referencing Bell. There's a place for both kinds of books.

Before the entire controversy last year, my son encouraged me to preach about hell. "We don't hear enough about it," he said. I agree. The subject of hell isn't a comfortable one, but it's important. This book reminds us of its importance, and does a good job of encouraging us to live accordingly.

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Are You Bruised?


Richard Sibbes in The Bruised Reed:

Are you bruised? Be of good comfort, he calls you. Conceal not your wounds, open all before him and take not Satan's counsel. Go to Christ, although trembling, as the poor woman who said, `If I may but touch his garment' (Matt. 9:21). We shall be healed and have a gracious answer. Go boldly to God in our flesh; he is flesh of our flesh, and bone of our bone for this reason, that we might go boldly to him. Never fear to go to God, since we have such a Mediator with him, who is not only our friend but our brother and husband.