Friday, September 30, 2011

bloodlines

Bloodlines by John Piper is one of the three books I just got on my new iPad. I look forward to reading it on this trip.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

growing unease

How's it going at your place of worship?


what about kids

Without turning out rigid rules, David Fitch does a nice job out-lining a few simple push-backs to the age-old "our children don't get anything out of the service" line ...
  1. There’s an encounter with the living God here at our worship service. Your son/daughter need to be coached into that reality. They need to be prepared for the reality that we gather into His presence so that we might in turn know His presence in every area of our everyday lives. Let us join together then, we the church and the parents, to help our children become people sensitive to the encounter with the Almighty Forgiving and Saving/Renewing God in our lives and in our daily walk.
  2. But Discerning God is Rarely Immediately Obvious. God is hidden. So your son and/or daughter and our church need to learn and be sensitized to discerning the presence of God. If we put God into sound bites or hyped up worship experiences, then your child will learn instinctually that church is the only place he or she can find God. And this simply isn’t true. In our world, especially given the dominant educational and media frameworks, God has been framed out of our sightlines. God has become a privatized internal experience. Part of being in worship together is the place for all of us, including our children, to learn how to discern God. It takes subtle encouragement, asking questions, nurturing in the right direction, not pushing too hard. We the church and the parent must come together to help our children or else they will become moral therapeutic deists (I love that nomenclature).
  3. Children Ultimately Will Follow/Imitate Their Parents and Adults They Can Respect – therefore one’s children and how they are progressing can function as an excellent diagnostic for our own level of engagement with God. I must be careful to not overstate this because children all develop differently. But let’s face it, eh? If we are forcing our children to do something we are ourselves are disconnected from, it ain’t going to happen. If we send our children to a more “passive” entertaining form of worship service, they will ultimately learn to become observers of the Christian faith not livers of the way of Jesus and His Kingdom. If they see our life with God as something we do when it offers us something pragmatically advantageous to the American life, it will become something to be used when helpful, put on a shelf when not, they too will do this. Any differential between what we do and how we live as a family could prejudice them for a lifetime against Christianity as a false form of ideological existence.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

love v. wrath

As those in error try to reduce the sum of God to their concocted incorrect notion of "love", Tim Challies rightly posts:

It is good and useful to consider the relationship of God’s love to his wrath. Are they equal characteristics or is one greater than the other? How can God both love and hate? Michael Wittmer’s book Don’t Stop Believing is a very good, popular-level look at some of the hard questions facing Christians today and it offers a powerful response. One of those questions concerns the cross and whether, as some have suggested, a traditional Christian understanding of the cross is tantamount to cosmic child abuse.

In this chapter Wittmer explains how we can (and must) reconcile God’s wrath with his love. “Scripture says that God is love and that he has wrath. This means that love lies deeper than wrath in the character of God. Love is his essential perfection, without which he would not be who he is. Wrath is love’s response to sin. It is God’s voluntary gag reflex at anything that destroys his good creation. God is against sin because he is for us, and he will vent his fury on everything that damages us.”

Love is at God’s very core. 1 John 4:8 says, “Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.” Through all of eternity, God has been love; he has existed in a state of love of Father to Son, Son to Spirit, Spirit to Father. There has never been a time that God has not been expressing love; nor will there ever be. But God’s wrath is far different. God has not always been wrathful. He has not always had to express anger. His anger is a reaction to a lack of love—a lack of love for him or a lack of love to others. Wrath is a response to sin. Therefore wrath did not exist until sin began to exist. And as sin came to be, God had to respond to it in a way that is consistent with his holy character. God’s response to sin is wrath. How could it be otherwise? Sin is cosmic treason against the Creator of the universe. He must respond.

At the cross, God’s love met God’s wrath. Wittmer says, “Jesus endured God’s wrath when he bore the curse of sin, but he also experienced God’s love, for the cross was a necessary step in crowning Jesus as Redeemer and Ruler of the world, the Lord whose exalted name forces every knee to the ground. Similarly, though we receive unmerited grace from Jesus’ passion, our old self of sin must die in order to rise to his new life of love.” And so wrath is closely tied to love. If God did not love, God would not be wrathful. It is because of his love that God has to feel and express his wrath. We cannot neatly separate the two. “Every act of God flows from his love, even—and especially—those that demonstrate his wrath.”

Is he a God of love or of wrath? God expresses both love and wrath, but where wrath is demonstrated, love is personified. God is love.

community

Real, authentic community is about God not us ...

test post

Testing new app.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

jesus is not a therapist

Some sound bites from Mark Driscoll ...

We all failed God and God fails none of his children!

The question is not have I lost my salvation but rather has Jesus lost a Christian?

We are not about giving you good advice, we are about giving you good news!
 

grace distinctive

Is your church known for its grace?


flesh and spirit


Some words for contemplation by my friend Geoff Hill.

The Method
Now we know the many ways the human soul differs and battles the human flesh, for scripture makes clear the anatomical conclusions of the two. But, how often do we look at the synonymous relationships? One primary metaphorical example is the digestive system. When a person eats, physically, the act of mastication, then swallowing, followed by the body absorbing all the nutrients, dispersing them to the proper respective places in the body, digesting the material and then expelling the bad. Now, I beg you to bare with me; the soul does a very similar set of actions. It receives the "information", masticates it, swallows it (or contemplates what it has received), proceeds to disperse the "nutrients" to the various aspects of life, thus digesting it, and it properly rejects the bad, and hopefully, disabling it from our use in life.

When the body and soul, respectively, receives "fruitful" (no pun intended) food or information, the routine is a positive one. The human body receives, and cutting to the chase, disperses the nutrients to the appropriate parts of the body - the soul the same. When the soul receives, it will share the information, or apply it to the life of the human, hopefully also allowing outworking of that information (wisdom).

The Benefits
Nutrients from the food are given to the body - giving energy, a healthy lifestyle, proper blood flow, and more importantly, increasing the effectiveness and strength of the immune system. The soul disperses the nutrients also producing fruitful, healthy, productive, moral lifestyle. On the contrary, when the body receives bad, expired or poisonous food, the body will generally do one of two things. (I am no doctor of this process, so forgive me if I am way off) If the body has a healthy immune system, upon detection of poisonous intrusion, the body will reject the food (or poison) and vomit the sometimes partially digested material, and fight back, thus enabling the body to cleanse itself of such poison.

The Dangers
Now, if the body has a poor or weak immune system, this could mean a very dangerous thing. The poison can/will infiltrate the body, be sent to the organs, over-taking the "good" cells, thus making you sick. And, depending on the poison, possibly leading to death. Now, again, let's apply this pattern to the soul. If we are able to discern fruitful wisdom, from poisonous lies (having a good "immune system"), we are able to properly reject the poison: our soul is so able to detect fraudulent words that it will refuse it from digestion and vomit it out.

Now, here lies the danger. If our soul's "immune system" is weak, oh the tragedy! We will digest the poison, dispersing it into our blood stream, to the organs, thus making us sick. That plays out in our soul in many ways depending on the poison. It can lead to living a sinful life; un-clean, impure, being deceived with lies, and so on. Another danger in this is not only becoming sick, and that playing out in our lives, but also our soul's "immune system" becomes weaker and weaker. Our discernment from fruitful goods versus poisonous bads becomes out of order, losing strength. And we are much less likely in the future, the more and more poison we intake, to be able to reject it! Thus, eventually, as the book of James speaks of, when is conceived gives birth to sin, and when accomplished- is fatal!

The soul, again, is similar! It must steer clear of poison at all costs, ingest only fruitful wisdom, and most importantly, remain in the Word of God. Then, when that "bad apple" is spotted, the soul quickly and hastily rejects it, and you can see it from a mile-off.

Application
So what does this all mean? Well, for the body to buildup, strengthen it's immune system it must do a few things. It must steer clear of any poison at all costs, it must only ingest healthy food, and it must exercise. Then, in that unknowing occasion when a bad apple is eaten, the body detects it right away, rejecting the poison and vomiting it out. The soul, again, is similar! It must steer clear of poison at all costs, ingest only fruitful wisdom, and most importantly, remain in the Word of God. Then, when that "bad apple" is spotted, the soul quickly and hastily rejects it, and you can see it from a mile-off.

The Word of God is our sure way of not only building and strengthening our soul's "immune system", discerning fruitful wisdom vs. deadly poisons, but also ingesting healthy, pure, positive soul food to give our soul the strength, energy and wisdom it needs as a Christian, to then play out in our lives displaying of faith, sharing the Gospel, and enduring the race. So, in conclusion; keep your body healthy by eating right - but more importantly; keep your soul from poison by diving into the Word of God.

what is love

I frequently posit that the postmodern is often redefining love and god in their own image. As believers we need to continue to renew our minds in the truth of God's word. In regard to love, I recently read John 11.5-6 and coincidently tumbled upon the following from John Piper.

It was love that moved Jesus to let Lazarus die. It was the love of Jesus for this family and for his disciples—and for you, reading this text—that caused him to choose to let Lazarus die.

Look again at the connection between verse 5 and 6: “Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. Therefore [because of this love], when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was.” He did not hurry to his side.

And in writing John intends—and Jesus intends—for everyone seeing this to ask: How is that love? John has gone out of his way to set this up. Jesus loves them. He loves them. He loves them. Therefore, he does not heal him but lets him die. Why is this love?

Jesus has given the answer loud and clear and will give it again in verse 15. He said in verse 4: “This illness does not lead to death [in other words, the point is not death]. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” This illness will turn out for the glory of God, and the glory of the Son of God. This illness will put the glory of God on display. It will make Jesus look amazing.

Therefore (verse 6) love lets him die. Love lets him die because his death will help them see, in more ways than they know, the glory of God.

So what is love? What does it mean to be loved by Jesus? Love means giving us what we need most. And what we need most is not healing, but a full and endless experience of the glory of God. Love means giving us what will bring us the fullest and longest joy. And what is that? What will give you full and eternal joy? The answer of this text is clear: a revelation to your soul of the glory of God—seeing and admiring and marveling at and savoring the glory [of] God in Jesus Christ. When someone is willing to die—or let your brother die—to give you (and your brother) that, he loves you.

Monday, September 26, 2011

election is ugly?

To many the doctrine of election is ugly. Election, they think, keeps people out of heaven. No, election keeps people out of hell.

The following is from Mark Altrogge:


The doctrine of election really troubled me when I first began to wrestle with it. It seemed unfair.

It seemed like those who weren’t chosen were doomed from the start. That they never really had a chance. This illustration changed my whole view of the doctrine.

“After giving a brief survey of these doctrines of sovereign grace, I asked for questions from the class. One lady, in particular, was quite troubled. She said, ‘This is the most awful thing I ever heard! You make it sound as if God is intentionally turning away men and women who would be saved, receiving only the elect’ I answered her in this vein: ‘You misunderstand the situation. You’re visualizing that God is standing at the door of heaven, and men are thronging to get in the door, and God is saying to various ones, ‘Yes, you may come, but not you, and you, but you, etc.’ The situation is hardly this. Rather, God stands at the door of heaven with His arms outstretched, inviting all to come. Yet all men without exception are running in the opposite direction toward hell as hard as they can go. So God, in election, graciously reaches out and stops this one, and that one, and this one over here, and that one over there, and effectually draws them to Himself by changing their hearts, making them willing to come. Election keeps no one out of heaven who would otherwise have been there, but it keeps a whole multitude of sinners out of hell who otherwise would have been there. Were it not for election, heaven would be an empty place, and hell would be bursting at the seams. That kind of response, grounded as I believe that it is in Scriptural truth, does put a different complexion on things, doesn’t it? If you perish in hell, blame yourself, as it is entirely your fault. But if you should make it to heaven, credit God, for that is entirely His work! To Him alone belong all praise and glory, for salvation is all of grace, from start to finish.” –Mark Webb 

Election keeps no one out of heaven, but guarantees that those God has chosen will be there. Election is meant to be a comfort and encouragement to believers. Never are unbelievers encouraged to try do discover if they are elect. The message for unbelievers is you are all are invited. Come one, come all. Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved!

If you know Jesus, praise him for rescuing you from your headlong rush toward hell. If you don’t know him, turn to him today. He awaits you with open arms.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

jesus tweets?

Jesus wasn't talking about twitter ...


a risky gospel?

Chris Brauns continues to bring excellent words from D. Martyn LLoyd-Jones:

"If we tell Christians that their past sins, their present and their future sins have already been put away by God, are we not more or less telling them that they are free to go out and sin? If you react in that way to my statements I am most happy, for I am obviously a good and true interpreter of the Apostle Paul. It was because he preached such things that people said, “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? (chapter 6:1). That is the very charge they were bringing against him, and if we do not preach and represent the gospel in a way that sounds dangerous at first, we are not preaching it truly. The true preaching of the gospel is always liable to be misunderstood by people in that way. The Apostle has already given the answer in chapters 6 and 7, proving that there is no risk at all, but the opposite.” D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Romans 7.1-8.4, Banner of Truth, pages 273-273.

discipline of grace


We could not take one step in the pursuit of holiness if God in His grace had not first delivered us from the dominion of sin and brought us into union with His risen Son. Salvation is by grace and sanctification is by grace. ~ Jerry Bridges, The Discipline of Grace

HT:OFI

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

why i love other things

This is a great statement by John Piper:
I speak of love for [Reformed Theology] the way I speak of loving a cherished photo of my wife. I say, “I love that picture.” You won’t surprise me if you point out, “But that’s not your wife, that’s a picture.” Yes. Yes. I know it’s only a picture. I don’t love the picture instead of her, I love the picture because of her. She is precious in herself
The picture is precious not in itself, but because it reveals her. That’s the way theology is precious. God is valuable in himself. The theology is not valuable in itself. It is valuable as a picture. That’s what I mean when I say, “I love reformed theology.” It’s the best composite, Bible-distilled picture of God that I have (quoted from Bloodlines, 129-130).
I love this because first, I easily identify. I am going through some very old family photos I got from my Dad. I am bothered that so many are physically damaged. I don't throw any away. I find many that are duplicate photos of ones I already have - I don't throw those away either, I keep them with the others. They are precious. Why? In and of themselves they are not of value but I love deeply the what they represent that in that sense, they do have value. As Piper said, I love them not instead of who they represent but because of who they represent.

The application is this is the way I also love Reformed Theology. More so, this is the way I love Theology and the Bible and ...

Is it possible to love these things over the God behind them? Yes. Would that be error? Yes. But loving them for the God behind them, no - that's good. Don't reject the good because some who don't love Him love these.

serious org charts

Seth Godin shows some pretty serious organizational charts ...


HT:GR

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

jesus is not my religion

Great encouragement from Bill Reichart.


What does this mean? It means Jesus is a living person, who was raised from the dead, and who personally guarantees eternal life to all who put their trust and faith in Him.

Jesus said this:


“Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life." - John 5:24

and He left everyone this invitation:

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
 - Matthew 11:28-30


Put aside mere "religion" that is too often our human attempt to be found acceptable and pleasing to God but rather come and cling to Jesus and the real life He has to offer.



ot law

Why the law? How do I synchronize my understanding of the law with the gospel?

Peter Cockrell posts a quote from Heman Bavinck's Our Reasonable Faith:

So far from being opposed to the promise, the law serves precisely as the means in God’s hand to bring the promise constantly nearer to its fulfillment. The law put Israel under restrictions, as a prisoner is put under restraint and denied the freedom of movement. Like a ‘pedagogue’ the law took Israel by the hand, accompanied her always and everywhere, and never for a moment left her out of its sight. As a guardian and supporter, the law maintained a strict watch over Israel in order that Israel might learn to know and to love the promise in its necessity and its glory.

Without the law, so to speak, the promise and its fulfillment would have come to nothing. Then Israel would quickly have fallen back into paganism, and would have lost both her revelation of God with its promise and her own religion and her place among the nations.

But now the law has fenced Israel in, segregated her, maintained her in isolation, guarded her against dissolution, and has thus created an area and defined a sphere in which God could preserve His promise purely, give it wider scope, develop it, increase it, and bring it always closer to its fulfillment. The law was serviceable to the fulfillment of the promise. It placed everybody under the wrath of God and under the sentence of death, it comprehended everybody within the pale of sin in order that the promise, given to Abraham and fulfilled in Christ, should be given to all believers, and that these all should attain to the inheritance as children (Gal. 3:21 and 4:7).

christian sinning


Regarding the difference between an unbeliever sinning and a Christian sinning ...

"We can put it in the form of an illustration. The difference between an unbeliever sinning and a Christian sinning is the difference between a man transgressing one of the laws of England or any other State, and a member of a family doing something that is displeasing to another member of the family. In the one case a man commits an offence against the State; in the other a husband, say, has done something that he should not do in his relationship with his wife. He is not breaking a law, he is wounding the heart of his wife. That is the difference. It is no longer a legal matter, it is a matter of personal relationship now, and that, a relationship of love. The man does not cease to be the husband of the woman, nor the woman to be the wife of the husband. Law does not come into the matter at all; it lies outside that realm. In a sense it is now something much worse than a legal condemnation. I would rather offend against a law of the land objectively outside me, then hurt someone I love." Romans 7:1-8:4, Banner of Truth, page 278.

From the good doctor, D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones by way of Chris Brauns.

encourager?

"Encouragement means highlighting the evidences of God’s grace in the gospel or in a gospel-centered person to the glory of God." ~ Kevin DeYoung

Read the rest of DeYoungs post on how Paul encourages here and then get out there and edify someone.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Sunday, September 18, 2011

made holy

“The greatest miracle Almightily God can do is to take an unholy man out of an unholy world, make that unholy man holy, put him back in an unholy world and keep him holy! It takes all the power of the Atonement to do that, plus the indwelling of the Spirit of God and all the promises of God.” ~ Leonard Ravenhill

Thanks JB

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

church from scratch

So you wanna start a church?

 

 HT:ProvocativeChurch

scripture and christ

"From the outset of my Christian walk I have treasured the Book that speaks of the God of ultimate beginnings and ends, and illumines all that falls between. . . . An evangelical Christian believes incomparable good news: that Christ died in the stead of sinners and arose the third day as living head of the church of the twice-born, the people of God, whose mission is mandated by the scripturally given Word of God. The term evangelical—whose core is the “evangel”—therefore embraces the best of all good tidings, that on the ground of the substitutionary death of Christ Jesus, God forgives penitent sinners and he shelters their eternal destiny by the Risen Lord who triumphed over death and over all that would have destroyed him and his cause. That good news as the Apostle Paul makes clear, is validated and verified by the sacred Scriptures. Those who contrast the authority of Christ with the authority of Scripture do so at high risk. Scripture gives us the authentic teaching of Jesus and Jesus exhorted his apostles to approach Scripture as divinely authoritative. There is no confident road into the future for any theological cause that provides a fragmented Scriptural authority and—in consequence—an unstable Christology. Founded by the true and living Lord, and armed with the truthfulness of Scripture, the church of God is invincible. Whatever I might want to change in this pilgrim life, it would surely not be any of these high and holy commitments." ~ Carl F.H. Henry

D. A. Carson and John D. Woodbridge, eds., God and Culture: Essays in Honor of Carl F. H. Henry

HT:BEW

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

christian hipster

This is how I roll ... Christian hipster ...



HT:Z

circumcision v. healing


Even today, legalists prefer the law over healing. Like circumcision, they promote pain over life and place others under it. They even speak out against healing ... on any day.

Moses gave you circumcision ... and you circumcise a man on the Sabbath. ... [A]re you angry with me because on the Sabbath I made a man's whole body well? - John 7:22-23

jesus and limited atonement



I'm not discouraged, even Jesus had trouble with his disciples in regard to limited atonement.

And he [Jesus] said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.” After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. - John 6.65-66

Monday, September 12, 2011

harold camping

Best picture of available of Harold Camping ...



HT:THMC

righteousness

There is no righteousness that makes us right with God except for the righteousness of Christ. But for those who have been made right with God through faith alone, many of our righteous deeds are not only not filthy in God’s eyes, they are exceedingly sweet.

Obedience is possible, prescribed, and precious. — Kevin DeYoung "Obedience is Possible"

HT:OFI

ban all religion

Can you refute these advertisements to ban all religion?

 

 HT:PC

on babies

Some thoughts on babies ...


HT:KDY

Sunday, September 11, 2011

preaching prep

Sadly this seems to be how some preachers prepare ...


when worlds collide


These quotes are from R.C. Sproul's When Worlds Collide as posted by Tim Challies. I added only emphasis.

The events of 9/11 were a mortal blow to relativism, because the response of Americans and the response of people the world over, after looking at this heinous attack on human life, was the very “unrelativistic” declaration that “This is evil.”

One cannot have such a shocking encounter with pure evil and walk away, saying, “Well, it’s a relative thing.”

If we look carefully at the biblical understanding of God and construct our worldview on this basis, we see that God in His providence is a sovereign God, who not only governs nature and the laws of nature but who raises nations up and brings nations low.  Within His providence come both blessing and calamity

I do not know why God ordained 9/11, but I know that He did ordain it because if He did not ordain it, it would not have happened. Since it happened, I know for certain that God ordained it in some sense. That is one of the most difficult concepts even for devout Christians to deal with. Yet the concept is found on almost every page of sacred Scripture. It is at the very heart of the Christian faith. 

The word “tragedy” presupposes some kind of order or purpose in the world. If the world has purpose and order, then all that occurs in it is meaningful in some respect. The idea of a “senseless tragedy” represents a worldview that is completely incompatible with Christian thought. It assumes that something happens without purpose or without meaning.

We often see the wrath of God as somehow being an impediment to our view of God’s character. That’s because, in present-day America, our view of God’s character is an idol. It is an idol of a God who has been stripped of His true attributes. He’s a God who is defined in terms of love and mercy and grace, but we have thrown out any idea of His being just and holy and wrathful. If we are going to be faithful to the biblical understanding of God, we have to understand that He is, among other things, a God of wrath.

If God were to examine my life, He would find enough ungodliness and unrighteousness to be inclined to pick me up, use His sickle to cut me from the earth, and throw me into the winepress of His wrath. That would be completely consistent with His perfection, His holiness, and His glory. But thanks be to God that He has given us a way of salvation by which we can escape His fury.

Friday, September 09, 2011

poop-splash

I agree that this can be a solution to poop-splash but I find it contributes to toilet clogging. I'm already a two-flush minimum: one for poop and one for paperwork. Another method that works is a pre-flush doing your business before the bowl fills again with water. The downside here is (1) precision timing and (2) the consequence of leaving skid marks.

I find the appropriate method is a function of toilet type, environment, what I've eaten, and other factors.


warring


The Christian is to carry on his warfare in faith. You will be vanquished, indeed, if you attempt it by any other method! Brethren, there is not a sin in your heart which will not master you if you seek to fight it by resolutions of your own. Faith in the precious blood of Christ must win you the victory. ~ Charles Spurgeon, Jesus Meeting His Warriors

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

propitiation



Some years ago, in a faculty devotional at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Dr. Murray Harris proposed this line of thinking:

What is the most important Book in the universe? The Bible. Which book within the Bible is the most important? Romans. Which chapter in Romans is the most important? Chapter 3. Which paragraph in Romans 3 is the most important? Verses 21-26. Which verse in that paragraph is the most important? Verse 25. Which word in verse 25 is the most important? Propitiation: “. . . whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith.”

Therefore, the most important word in the most important verse in the most important paragraph in the most important chapter in the most important book within the most important Book in the universe is propitiation.

Worthy of our reverent contemplation.

Friday, September 02, 2011

filled with the spirit


The “filling of the Spirit” (Eph. 5:18ff) has to do with the Spirit’s control of our lives. (In Scripture, to be filled by something means “to be controlled by.”) We are commanded to be filled, and we can be if we yield all to Christ and ask Him for the Spirit’s filling. This is a repeated experience, for we constantly need to be filled with spiritual power if we are to glorify Christ.

To be baptized by the Spirit means that we belong to Christ’s body. To be filled with the Spirit means that our bodies belong to Christ. The evidence of the Spirit’s baptism at conversion is the witness of the Spirit within (Rom. 8:14–16). It is not “speaking in tongues.” All of the believers in the Corinthian assembly had been baptized by the Spirit, but not all of them spoke in tongues (1 Cor. 12:30). The evidences of the Spirit’s filling are: power for witnessing (Acts 1:8), joyfulness and submission (Eph. 5:19ff), Christlikeness (Gal. 5:22–26), and a growing understanding of the Word (John 16:12–15).

Because of the gift of the Spirit, which is received at conversion, we are all members of the body of Christ. Race, social status, wealth, or even sex (Gal. 3:28) are neither advantages nor handicaps as we fellowship and serve the Lord.

Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (1 Co 12:1). Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books.

silt

Ephesus location today

From Wayne Stiles in Walking in the Footsteps of Jesus:

What I had found fascinating about Ephesus was at the end of the road that began just outside the theater. Called the Arcadian Way, this street served as the main thoroughfare from the harbor to the city; Ephesus lay along major caravan routes from the east its harbor provided shipping routes to the west. I paced down the street toward the ancient harbor, past the usual right turn toward the exit, and walked as far as the street would allow. I looked in every direction … but no sea. Centuries of silt from the Cayster River had accumulated in the harbor and gradually pushed the waterfront away from the city. The citizens had tried to restrain the silting, but they eventually had given up. Today the ruins of Ephesus sit about five miles from the Aegean Sea! Grain after grain of silt, year after year of deposits, finally reduced a city of great influence to insignificance … I began to relate that silting to the spiritual life – the silting of the heart, not the harbor. Grain after grain of busyness, year after year of neglected devotion to Jesus, had finally reduced a church of such doctrinal strength to devotional attrition. The Ephesian Christians had lost their first love by allowing the silt of spiritual indifference to accumulate over the years. It can happen to anyone. Even to you and me … As believers, we never outgrow the basics. We either build on them or abandon them. We can wake up after a number of years and discover that our lack of passion for Jesus has gradually silted Him five miles away from our hearts. We then find ourselves living in the ruins of once-vibrant spiritual lives.

HT:My Dad

Thursday, September 01, 2011

gotta move

If you need to move ... perhaps this will motivate ...

gospel announcement

The gospel announcement births people into God’s kingdom, and God makes His kingdom visible through the formation of His church. — Trevin Wax, Counterfeit Gospels

HT:OFI

reftagger