Foundations

About Foundations

Foundations CoverWhich god is God?  
What is a human?  
What is sin?  
What is salvation?
You may never have thought much about these questions. But the fact is we all have a working version of the answers. Our answers to these questions shape our lives. So it makes sense to give some time to thinking about these issues more explicitly. Nothing matters more than getting them right. But where to start?
Instead of speculating about who God is, Peter Mead invites us to begin with the claim that God has revealed himself in Jesus.
You may not be a Christian. And you may not like the answers proposed in this book. You may not be convinced. But it’s worth exploring. It’s worth giving it a go. You’ve got nothing to lose – except an hour or so of your time – and possibly everything to gain.
Or you may be a Christian. Perhaps you take the answers for granted. But Mead invites us to push beyond our assumptions and discover a deeper, richer reality. He suggests we start with the triune God. And if the answer to the god-question is Father, Son and Holy Spirit, then everything else changes.  (Taken from the Foreword by Tim Chester.)
[ Learn more at fourbigquestions.com ]

Endorsements

Having the right answers is one thing but Peter Mead goes deeper – he explores the right questions – questions of God, humanity, sin and salvation. By turning to Scripture this book gives us a surprising, satisfying and compelling foundation for life. – Glen Scrivener, Evangelist, Speak Life
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A great little primer about the world, ourselves and – most importantly – God. This short, easy to read, helpful book will help you get to know Him better. – Marcus Honeysett, Director of Living Leadership
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Peter’s love of scripture, and his desire to see lives transformed bleed through the pages of this book. Explore the foundations of Christianity and engage anew the true story of a relationship between a human race whose sin is greater than we think, and a God whose grace is more amazing than we could imagine! – Rick McKinley, Lead Pastor of Imago Dei Community, Portland OR.
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Many people build their lives on a weak foundation of sand.  In Foundations, Peter Mead introduces you to the one concrete foundation poured deep enough to hold your life steady! – Tony Reinke, Writer for Desiring God and Author of Lit!
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The book of Acts tells of God’s plan for us to have relationship in the context of his grace.  Foundations fills out this picture beautifully. Read and enjoy! – Darrell Bock, Senior Research Professor of New Testament, Dallas Theological Seminary
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Peter Mead points to the preaching in Acts to provide the important foundational questions—and answers—that we want people to be asking when it comes to faith in Christ.  This concise book is just what is needed to build belief and believers! – Scott M.Gibson, Haddon W. Robinson Chair of Preaching, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary

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Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 96
Vendor: Christian Focus Publications
Publication Date: 2015
ISBN: 1781916411
ISBN-13: 9781781916414
About Peter Mead
Pleased to Dwell and Foundations were written by Peter Mead.  Peter is a mentor with Cor Deo, a small ministry that exists to multiply ministry that shares God’s heart.  He is also on the leadership team of Trinity Chippenham, a new church launched in 2014. Peter leads the Bible Teachers & Preachers Networks at the European Leadership Forum.  He studied at Multnomah Biblical Seminary and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.  Pleased to Dwell was his first book, although he contributed to the Ministry Essentials Study Bible (Hendrickson, July 2014), and blogs regularly at BiblicalPreaching.net and CorDeo.  Peter is married to Melanie and they have five children – this is their family ministry website.

~ Peter

Sin is Simple?

 

Or is it?

 

sin is complicated or simpleEveryone assumes they know what sin is.  It is what bad people do, or what normal people do if they are being bad.  Sin is about breaking laws and hurting others and stealing and being unethical.  But is sin that simple?

Consider the story of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15.  There you have one of the best-known stories of the Bible.  One man, two sons, and what a story!  The contrast is obvious between the boys.  One is bad, the other is good.  The younger goes away and lives the brief life of squandering wealth in a far country, while the older one stays home and gets on with the family business.

There are obviously differences, but perhaps we would do well to ponder what they have in common.  They are much more alike than most of us realize.

They were both seekers.  The younger brother came home seeking to be a paid servant in the home of someone he knew would pay more than a room-only wage.  The older brother was also seeking something from the same man.

Both sought benefits.  The younger sought the benefit of pay, presumably so that he could pay off his shameful debt.  The older son sought the benefit of a bonus payment – if not the fattened calf, at least a goat.

Both wanted relationships elsewhere.  It was friends over family for these two.  The younger brother wanted to be a servant, which meant living away from the home and perhaps building up the necessary wealth to leave again.  The older son wanted at least a goat so that he could celebrate, not with his family, but with his friends.

Both viewed their father as a boss, a benefactor by contract, but not an Abba.  The younger planned to ask for a job.  The older son referenced his work and the lack of appropriate pay.

Both were lost, its just that their sin looked different.  Jesus had set up the story with two other stories.  One about a sheep lost in the far country, the other about a coin lost in the home.  Then come the two sons.  One lost in the far country, the other lost in the home.

Until we grasp that both sons were sinners and lost, we are in a very dangerous place.  Where is the danger?  The danger lies in the misunderstanding of sin.  If we think of sin only as covenant breaking and lawlessness, then we will only see the younger brother as a sinner.  His Las Vegas / Amsterdam-weekend lifestyle certainly reeks of the sin we tend to recognize as sin.  But what if sin goes deeper than extravagant licentiousness?

There is one difference that is clear between the two.  As the story ends, one of the brothers is in the home, accepted, loved, and fully alive to relationship with his Abba.  However, the other is still stood outside, face like flint, refusing to accept his father’s attempt to rescue him by self-humiliation as he begs him to come in.  The humility of the father melted the heart of the younger son, but there is no hint the older one will allow himself to be won over.

That’s the danger of not grasping the real depth of sin.  What if sin is actually about rejection of real relationship with the father?  What if sin is birthed out of self-absorption and self-rule?  What if sin is about the heart and consequently can manifest in different ways?  The sinful heart loves itself and makes itself out to be god, and does not want God to be god.

We are in a dangerous place if we think sin is always manifested in certain ways.  We could spend our whole lives being very self-righteous and religious and avoiding all overt rebellion.  Yet we would be as lost as the obvious sinner.  His rebellion and self-love is demonstrated in gross behaviour, but ours can be masked in great behaviour.

How many in the church are working their way to respect and acclaim in this life, only to face a lost eternity because they always saw God as one who owed them something in return for their “goodness,” but never accepted His self-humiliation to melt and win their hearts into the fullness of life found only in his embrace?

Sin can be extravagant.  Sin can be most respectable.  The offer of God’s grace is there for all, if only we will accept the embrace of Him who laid aside all respectability to bring us home.  Sin might be extravagant, but God’s grace is more extravagant still.

~ Peter
You are invited to comment on Peter’s article at Cor Deo
 
[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://christmycovenant.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/Peter-Mead.png[/author_image] [author_info]Dr Peter Mead is a Bible teacher and ministry trainer, based in southern England. His main ministry is as co-director and mentor of Cor Deo, a full-time mentored study and ministry training program.  Peter leads the Advanced Bible Teachers Network at the European Leadership Forum.  He holds degrees from Multnomah Biblical Seminary (MDiv/MA), and the Doctor of Ministry degree in homiletics from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, where Dr Haddon Robinson was his mentor.  For more information on Cor Deo, including the weekly theological blog, please visit www.cordeo.org.uk. Peter also authors the BiblicalPreaching.net website for preachers.[/author_info] [/author] [button link=”http://www.biblicalpreaching.net” newwindow=”yes”] Visit Biblical Preaching[/button] [button link=”http://www.cordeo.org.uk/” newwindow=”yes”] Visit Cor Deo[/button]  

Judging

 

Judging others is a controversial subject.

 

judgingOur culture dictates, judgmentally, that we are wrong to critique anything that is different from us.  Individually, none of us like the feeling of being judged by other people in the church.  And yet within the church, judging can feel like a defining characteristic at times.

There are more than a few preachers who seem to define their primary role as offering biblical critique of contemporary culture.  They take their stand and rail against this or that issue, and believe that in doing so the church is being salt and light.

Perhaps we should see this as the church shooting itself in the foot.  Salt and light are positive influences.  But this kind of society critique preaching can feel more like acid and bleach.

Don’t get me wrong here, I believe there is a place for the church to influence society for good.  Yet sometimes the judging tone from the pulpit and in conversation can feel like the complaints about food quality at a restaurant as the guests grumble to each other, but then when the waitress comes to check how things are, everyone smiles and mumbles nice words.  Why complain to each other?  For most of us, what is preached in our pulpit does not get reported on in the local press.

So what effect does our in-church moaning about society have on society? 

Nothing positive.  Any visitors are not going to leave the church gripped by the amazing love that is transforming this community of Jesus followers.  They are just going to leave with critique ringing in their ears.

It is like coming just inside the door as Jesus was receiving sinners and eating with them, but only hearing the complaints of the Pharisees about his terrible endorsement of societal ills.  Jesus responded to these critiques with the parable of the prodigal son.  The older brother was lost in his self-righteous rejection of relationship with the father.  Yet some believers today seem intent on pressuring society to stop being so like the younger brother and become more like the older brother.   The older brother may have never run away, but like the woman’s coin, he was lost right there at home.

Even if the critique of the sins of society were, bizarrely, published by the national press and everyone took the complaint onboard and there was a wholesale nationwide transformation in morality, where would that leave us?  Exactly the same number of people would still be on the road to hell as before.  And perhaps more people would feel self-righteous too! People are saved by the gospel, not by behavior modification.

We recently had a discussion about this in our housegroup.  In 1 Corinthians 5 Paul explains that the believer’s role is not to judge those outside the church.  At the same time, Matthew 18 talks about the lost sheep and clearly affirms the believer pursuing a fellow believer who is destructively drifting in sin.  How do we put these things together?

1. If I am sinning, love me enough to pursue me.  If appropriate please judge my sin and win me back to a close walk with Christ.  That is one important way to love a fellow believer.

2. If I bring a colleague or neighbor to church who is overtly a sinner, love them enough not to make an issue out of their sin.  I want them to be won by what they experience of the community of Jesus’ followers, not put off by your self-appointed judgment of their life decisions (they never agreed to be evaluated by your standards).

So love the believer and love the non-believer, but do so appropriately in each case.  And what do I want the preacher to do?

3. Preach the gospel.  Don’t offer a poor after dinner speech about what is wrong with society and how we need to get back to the good old days (because it was so much better when everyone acted like Christians in the past!?)  Offer the gospel, that is what society needs.

There is more to explore here.  For instance, when we “judge” fellow believers, how do we make sure we are loving them rather than legalizing them?  How do we make sure we get planks out of our eyes before engaging with the specks in other peoples’ eyes? And how do we keep a gospel tone in any efforts we choose to make to influence society for good?

Love seems to be the overriding need here.

Loving the lost enough to not critique their life choices, but offering them hope in the gospel to win their hearts.  Loving each other enough to be alert to sinful drift and lovingly winning each other back to Christ with a gospel-saturated pursuit.

When we let go of love in our pursuit of influence, both inside and outside the church, and choose an alternative tool to try and get the job done, we will always go backwards.

~ Peter
You are invited to comment on Peter’s article at Cor Deo
 
[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://christmycovenant.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/Peter-Mead.png[/author_image] [author_info]Dr Peter Mead is a Bible teacher and ministry trainer, based in southern England. His main ministry is as co-director and mentor of Cor Deo, a full-time mentored study and ministry training program.  Peter leads the Advanced Bible Teachers Network at the European Leadership Forum.  He holds degrees from Multnomah Biblical Seminary (MDiv/MA), and the Doctor of Ministry degree in homiletics from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, where Dr Haddon Robinson was his mentor.  For more information on Cor Deo, including the weekly theological blog, please visit www.cordeo.org.uk. Peter also authors the BiblicalPreaching.net website for preachers.[/author_info] [/author] [button link=”http://www.biblicalpreaching.net” newwindow=”yes”] Visit Biblical Preaching[/button] [button link=”http://www.cordeo.org.uk/” newwindow=”yes”] Visit Cor Deo[/button]