Wednesday, August 9, 2017

A Theology of Vacationing

A Nice Place To Sit
By Mark Johnston
August 8, 2017

This summer has been no different than those which proceded it. At this time of year, you are possibly continuing to see references to the usual litany of 'Summer Reading recommendations for Pastors.' As end-of-summer vacations loom, men in the ministry feel the need to catch up on those weighty tomes of theology that have been gathering dust somewhere but which a guilty conscience tells them ought to be read. (Though their wife and children may have other ideas!)

Despite the title, these paragraphs are not intended to add to this ministerial guilt trip; but, rather, they are intended to relieve it! Instead of offering yet more theology to take on vacation, I wish to offer a theological justification for viewing a vacation as being a good thing - and this, not just at 'vacation times' when they happen to occur...   the rest image
Flowing out of this we can't help but notice Jesus' appreciation of the rhythm of life. Built into the fabric of the created order, God has embedded the principle of Sabbath. It is the cycle of a 7-day week that cannot be explained by planetary or lunar alignment; only by the words of Genesis. (How astonishing that this has shaped the entire history of a humanity most of whom have never read it.)

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Friday, August 4, 2017

When on the mount the Lord appeared...

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When on the mount the Lord appeared
Transfigured to the sight,
His countenance was like the sun,
His raiment glistened white.
 
But dull the minds, and dark the eyes,
On whom such glory shone;
They saw not God upon the mount,
They saw but man alone.
 
And when the dark and cloudy days
Of death and sorrow came,
What were their thoughts of Him who hung
Upon the cross of shame?
 
They knew not that the God of Life
An offering yielded there,
And of His will endured for all
The load of sin He bare.
 
Lord, to the mount where Thou art seen
In all Thy glory bright,
Thy servants now would wend their way
To gaze upon the Light,
And there behold, in glory clad,
The Light to mortals given,
That in the night that hid the cross,
Shone with the light of heaven.”
-Hymns from the Morningland: tr. John Brownlie image

Monday, July 24, 2017

Walk A Life Unnoticed

Wednesday, June 28, 2017
by Paul Tripp

We don't know much about the man Enoch.

The Bible doesn't divulge any details of his life, amazing feats, battles won, or journies taken by faith like it does with other biblical characters. All we know is that he was the seventh generation between Adam and Noah, that his father was Jared, and that his son was the famous long-living Methuselah (see Genesis 5:18-24).

Despite his unremarkable life (in terms of historical prominence and biblical detail), Enoch is the second character enshrined in the famous "Hall of Faith" - Hebrews 11.

What's the reason for Enoch's inclusion among men like Noah and Abraham and Moses? I have a theory: like Enoch, we will live unnoticed.

Don't get me wrong - I'm not saying that we won't have influence or that people will ignore us. I simply mean that the majority of Christians will never make their way into history books. We'll only have a small following on Twitter Facebook. Most of us won't have a million people reading our blogs, and when we die, apart from a loyal circle of family and close friends, the details of our lives will be largely forgotten by those who knew us.

Are you discouraged by that reality? Be honest: it's tempting to think that we can't make a difference. It's easy to think that who we are, what we believe, and how we live won't impact others. Aren't we just biological blips on the huge universal radar of space and time?..... The rest image

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Exchange Your Dreams for God’s Plans

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by MaryLynn Johnson
July 5, 2017

God’s plans for my life have almost never been my plans for my life.

When I was thirteen, I knew what college I wanted to attend even before I started high school, what career I wanted to pursue afterward, what age I thought would be ideal to get married, and even what life might look like well into my twenties. I held onto these plans for a long time, until real life happened — and not like I thought it would.

Sometimes it felt like I had no control at all over plans that fell apart. I tried to make my timeline fit, but my plans just weren’t working. Despite all my dreams and efforts, almost nothing on my list happened in the way or timing I expected. It was quickly evident that the Lord had something else in mind for my life.

As God redirected my life at each step, often against my will, he also changed my heart. With each delayed or unfulfilled plan, I began to learn what it meant to willingly, even joyfully, exchange my personal dreams for God’s good plans for me. the rest image

Monday, July 3, 2017

No matter what we pray for...

No matter what we pray for, whether it be temporal or spiritual things, little things or great things, gifts for ourselves or for others, our prayers should really resolve themselves into a quiet waiting for the Lord in order to hear what it is that the Spirit desires to have us pray for at that particular time.
...O. Hallesby

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

I realised that the deepest spiritual lessons...

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I realised that the deepest spiritual lessons are not learned by His letting us have our way in the end, but by His making us wait, bearing with us in love and patience until we are able to honestly to pray what He taught His disciples to pray: Thy will be done. -Elisabeth Elliot
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Random links: June 21, 2017

College of DuPage STEM Professional Development Workshop Teaches the Art of Escape Games 2017 6
4 Promising Opportunities in University Evangelism
 By Tim Keller & Michael Keller
Excerpt: 
" We hope realism concerning the challenges of university evangelism doesn’t give the impression we think the prospects for university missions and evangelism are bleak. Not at all. The current climate, for all its challenges, also provides promising opportunities..." image

Podcast: Five Big Problems for Small Churches
Highlights include:
  • Small churches are not a problem, virtue, or excuse.
  • Just because your church is small does not mean you can’t do good ministry.
  • There’s not a single command to the New Testament church that can’t be accomplished by a small church.
  • The sooner you can assess a Sunday service or church event the better.
  • Churches should purposefully and intentionally equip members for ministry.
  • It is a pastor’s job (according to the New Testament) to equip others to do the work of ministry.

  • How to Remember the Bible Verses You Memorize
    The discipline of memorizing Bible verses pays great dividends in the life of a Christian. Having Scripture stored up in our hearts helps us to remember God’s promises in tough times, flee from sin in moments of temptation, possess greater confidence in sharing the Gospel, and give fresh words of encouragement to struggling Christians. The problem for us is that while memorizing a verse presents a challenge, remembering it in three months is a great difficulty. We often find ourselves wanting to quote something that we spent two days memorizing but cannot remember the exact wording of the verse or the precise reference to save our lives. How can we remember the Bible verses that we memorized a week, a month, or a year ago?...

    Why are there so many Different Interpretations of the Bible?


    Why are there so many Different Interpretations of the Bible? The Problem of “Pervasive Interpretive Pluralism”  Back in April of this year, at the national conference of the Gospel Coalition, Kevin DeYoung addressed the question of why there appear to be so many different interpretations of the Bible? If the Bible is inspired and sufficient, why do so many Christians disagree with one another on particular texts and topics? The language of “pervasive interpretive pluralism” was first used by author Christian Smith, who recently converted to Roman Catholicism. Kevin’s message was excellent, but I thought I would add to what he said with a few observations of my own.

    Let’s begin with the important concession that this is a problem that all people face, regardless of their religious affiliation. It is not solely a Protestant problem. Anyone who thinks there is monolithic and always unified interpretation in the Roman Catholic Church is simply uninformed. Not only is this a problem in all families of the Christian faith, it is a problem in all spheres of earthly existence. In other words, this isn’t simply a religious problem, it is a human problem that infects every discipline of study and every work of literature that we read. Nevertheless, it is especially present in Christianity because we affirm that our “work of literature”, the Bible, is inspired, inerrant, authoritative, and sufficient...

    Is the ESV Literal and the NIV Gender Neutral?
    ...There actually are five methods on translation with three sub-categories for the handling of gender language. Translations are all on a continuum, overlapping one another, and hence it is misleading to picture them as different points on a line. I am guessing, but for example, about eighty percent of the ESV and the NIV are the same, once you account for different translations of individual words...

    Friday, April 21, 2017

    Jesu, be endless praise to Thee...

    Jesu, be endless praise to Thee,
    Whose boundless mercy hath for me—
    For me a full atonement made,
    An everlasting ransom paid.
     
    O let the dead now hear Thy voice;
    Now bid Thy banished ones rejoice;
    Their beauty this, their glorious dress,
    Jesu, Thy blood and righteousness.
    ...Nicolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf image

    Thursday, April 20, 2017

    The Resurrection narratives...

    The Resurrection narratives are not a picture of survival after death; they record how a totally new mode of being has arisen in the Universe. Something new had appeared in the Universe: as new as the first coming of organic life. This Man, after death, does not get divided into “ghost” and “corpse.” A new mode of being has arisen. That is the story. What are we going to make of it? ...C.S. Lewis image

    Tuesday, April 18, 2017

    It can be so easy for Easter to be a moment in time...

    Easter Morning 05
    It can be so easy for Easter to be a moment in time and not a moment that changes time. Our experience with Christ should change our lives. We shouldn’t experience the resurrection and then just go back to the day to day lives we lead unchanged. Life should be different because of the grace of Christ. Did Easter change you, or are you back to the daily grind? Jesus wants more from us than to just experience the joy of the resurrection - He wants us to live changed lives! ...Don Crane image