An Evening with Tullian Tchividjian

 

Pastor Tullian signing copies of his book, St. Martin’s Episcopal Church, Houston, Texas.

 

Tullian Tchividjian recently visited six cities to kick off a tour that celebrates the launch of his acclaimed new book, Glorious Ruin: How Suffering Sets You Free, published by David C. Cook. Joined by musical guests (Aaron Ivey, Michael Bleecker, 33 Miles, Finding Favour) and partners, Logos Bible SoftwareFood for the Hungry, and LIBERATE, Pastor Tullian offered an encouraging and disarmingly honest approach to discovering a loving God in and through our suffering.

Everyone hurts. But no one in the church wants to talk about it. Pastor Tullian admits, “The mandatory happiness that characterizes many churches produces a suffocating environment of pat, religious answers to suffering that perpetuates the pain…promoting dishonesty and mask wearing.” Suffering is more than the crises of death and disease; it is the slow burn of anxiety, addiction, stressed relationships, and pressure at the office.

Pastor Tullian preaching at The Journey, St. Louis, Missouri.

There are two ways to deal with suffering. We can go through law or through grace.

Pastor Tullian showed that when we approach suffering through the law, which is our natural inclination, we strain to maintain control by doing more and working harder. We also moralize suffering, trying to explain it and digging for “causes” because we’re convinced that good people get good stuff and bad people get bad stuff. What comes around goes around. Pastor Tullian reminded us that this response, which we often attribute to God’s judgment on our bad behavior, is not Christianity. It is Karma. It is the approach of Job’s comforters. It is not the gospel.

But when we approach suffering through grace, we recognize that Jesus has cut the chord between our behavior and God’s favor, for “while we were still weak, at the right time, Christ died for the ungodly” (Rom 5: 6-8). “Through Christ’s suffering,” Pastor Tullian declared, “the bad get the best, the worst inherit the wealth, and the slave became a son.” This is very good news, indeed, and as sufferers, exactly what we need to hear.

What do we learn when we suffer? Suffering exposes our idolatry. Pastor Tullian asks his audience, “How is your present disappointment, discouragement or grief a window on what has actually captured your heart?” Stripped of our pretenses to control, we find in the crucible of our pain that we pray and lean on God more, depending on him for everything, even for our next breath. Pastor Tullian concludes, “The good news of suffering is that it brings us to the end of ourselves, there is nothing like suffering to remind us how much we need God.” And this is exactly where God intends us to be all along.

We will suffer, but God who suffered for us in his Son, Jesus Christ, will be there walking through it with us. Pastor Tullian reminds his audience, “When it comes to suffering, if we do not go to our graves in confusion we will not go to our graves trusting. Explanations are a substitute for trust.” He adds, “In our suffering, God is not giving us what we deserve, or abandoning us. He is simply there with us. And like Job, we discover that this really is enough.”

To spend the evening with Pastor Tullian is to be reminded of God’s grace, which we too often forget when we suffer, not to be given an abstract theological explanation of suffering. It is to receive comfort from a pastor who is also a fellow sufferer, and his honesty with his own struggles creates an open atmosphere where we are free to take off the masks we usually wear among other Christians in order to hide our pain, fear, and doubt.

Attendees and volunteers, City Lights Fellowship, Greenville, South Carolina.

If you suffer Pastor Tullian’s book is for you. I’ve heard the stories at each of the six events. Those who attend the event and those who volunteer to help, young or old, love Jesus, but they struggle with estranged or rebellious children and siblings or have lost loved ones to disease or suicide, are out of work, suffer from addictions, broken relationships, and fear for their future. They suffer because they can’t fix their own much less their loved ones’ problems. And they wonder why they suffer. Have they sinned? Are they being disciplined? Has God abandoned them? For these few hours, they can relax with Pastor Tullian and receive the good news that Christ has come to free the captives (Luke 4: 18), that God is for us, and that his promises are true. And that God is never closer to us than when we suffer.

And really, that is all we need.

 

Pastor Tullian will continue his in 2013. If your church or organization is interested in hosting this event, email The Hub at <info@gotothehub.com>.

To purchase Glorious Ruin, go here.

To watch Pastor Tullian discuss his book, go here and here.

 

Daniel A. Siedell serves on staff at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale and is curator of www.liberatenet.org, Pastor Tullian’s online resource ministry.

 

By |November 2nd, 2012|Uncategorized|1 Comment

A Word from Mark Driscoll to Athens, GA Conference Attendees

We are so excited that you have decided to join us on October 8th at The Classic Center in downtown Athens. It is going to be a great investment of your time. Please post this video on your Facebook or forward to your small group, church, or anyone you might have been praying for to attend this event.

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By |September 25th, 2011|Uncategorized|Comments Off on A Word from Mark Driscoll to Athens, GA Conference Attendees

What's The Difference? Feedback

We love to hear what you have to say about our studies. If you have something to say about John Piper’s series “What’s the Difference?” then tell us!

By |August 30th, 2011|Uncategorized|0 Comments

iPhone 4 Winner!

From our Winner Jennifer McCormack: I was first introduced to the Song of Solomon study by my roommate a few years ago (the older version). We have watched it together numerous times, invited our friends to watch with us and have even loaned it to many of our engaged friends over the years.

I volunteer as youth staff at my church and mentor several young ladies, even beyond graduation. We have accountability meetings and have used Song of Solomon to do a Bible study about purity and relationships at a practical level. We have had many fascinating deep discussions that have challenged the girls and myself.

sosforstudentsIt has been wonderful having a tool that can lay out the word of God so clearly…especially on a subject that many don’t really want to talk about. I have even watched SOS with my younger siblings, and my brother who graduated from HS last year told me that he wanted his own copy for graduation so he could share it with his friends….I have been wanting to preview the specific SOS for Students for a long time and decided to finally get it – on sale. The iPhone is a bonus!

Praise the Lord for the work He is doing though your ministry!

Jenn McCormick

From The Hub: iPhone winner, Jennifer McCormack, uses The Hub’s resources for a small home-based ministry – Awesome! With The Hub’s easy bible study solutions, anyone can have their own ministry with the push of a button. Thanks Jennifer for being a light in your community. We hope you enjoy your new iPhone 4!

Are you interested in starting your own in-home Bible Study? If so, check out our resources that are perfect for singles, couples, men’s or women’s groups and even students!

By |July 23rd, 2010|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Jesus' Easter

Jesus cried out, “It is finished.”

Darkness fell over the whole land.
The veil in the temple was split from top to bottom.
The earth shook.

“Certainly this man was innocent.”

“Woman, why are you weeping?”….she turned and Jesus was standing there…..

“Peace be with you.” He showed them His hands and His side.

“Blessed are those who did not see, and believed.”

“Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.”

“For by grace you have been saved thru faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;not as a result of works, that no one should boast.” Ephesians 2:8

Jesus was crucified on the very cross that He carried. He allowed it. He allowed it for you.

Jesus rose from the dead. He rose for you.

Believe Today

By |March 30th, 2010|Uncategorized|1 Comment

The Prayer at Gethsemane

When we look at Christ’s prayer in the garden of Gethsemane, we can’t help but notice the anguish that Jesus is going through. Christ in these dark hours, with the cross looming before Him. We can learn so much from His prayer, but His words,”not My will, but Yours be done,” is where we always need to land.
We can pray and ask God for the desires of our heart, but in this, we must come to the end of ourselves. With this, we embrace His hand and allow His will to become our will. He always desires to lead us. We only must be willing to submit to make His will our will. Then, we have the privilege of watching Him be glorified.

By |March 22nd, 2010|Uncategorized, Weekly Devos|0 Comments