The Daily Discovery (February 27, 2015)
Recovering Joy In Seminary
A young man goes to Seminary bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. Having sensed God’s call to the ministry, he’s not only excited about preparing for future service but also about growing in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. He expects that the next 3-4 years are going to be some of the best in his life. Fast forward a semester or two, or three, and the eyes are dull and the tail is sagging and dragging.
6 Rules of Cultural Engagement
Engaging the culture in this way demands great personal conviction. Like Jesus and the apostles, preaching the gospel in word and deed will both lead to you being favored as a helper, and hated as a meddler. It just depends on the issue. Everyone who labors in such work will encounter fear. Comfort and courage will only come from God who has promised that the we are blessed when persecuted, and the gates of hell will not prevail against his church.
Correctly Understanding Jesus’ Condemnation of the Pharisees
A common idea that people have is that a morally pure person who condemns the impure is self-righteous. To the contrary, such a person would have been made pure by God. If one is in fact impure, but condemns impurity in others, then that of course is hypocrisy, and indeed was what Jesus was condemning in the Gospels. But condemning impurity, even condemning impurity in others, is not necessarily Pharisaical or self-righteous.
If Everyone Consents, Why Not “50 Shades” or Incest?
As one professor of psychiatry recently wrote, consent is “a very thin and insufficient defense against sexual coercion and sexual abuse.” Why? Because people sometimes consent to things that they are not really comfortable with. Sometimes they even agree to do things that are harmful to them. Sometimes their consent isn’t always informed. There are a number of reasons that consent alone is an insufficient moral criterion, yet the sexual revolutionaries are claiming otherwise.
Three Hopeful Truths in the Midst of Suffering
As I sat in the chair with various instruments in my mouth and unappealing sounds ringing in my ears, I closed my eyes and pictured being at home. I considered that soon this temporary discomfort would be over and I would be back at home, going about my day. In a similar way, afflictions teach us to long for our heavenly home. The longer we live and the more trials we endure, the greater our hope for our eternal dwelling. Losing faith in this world propels us to hope in the world to come. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 encourages us in the midst of suffering:
Worry & Happiness
From this point of view, the struggles and uncertainty of this present age fizzle out. They don’t go away. But they seem as if one thing to do among many. No longer will they cause the worry monster to rear its head. They become less worrisome. “Can any of you add a single cubit to his height by worrying?” (Matt 6:27). Not even one millimeter.
Truth and Idolatry: Call Theological Error What It Is
Theological innovation is the fruit of theological rebellion, not biblical Christianity. Or to put it more precisely, theological innovation grows directly from the theologically rebellious. False teaching does not float in abstraction. It always has a face; it always has a mouth. It flows out a defiant heart.
Openly Gay Athlete Speaks Out After School Calls Homosexuality A Sin
“The release of this statement makes me disappointed because I have never received anything but kind treatment from everyone at this school, and my sexual orientation is no secret. So it took me by surprise,” Varona told Outsports … Erskine is affiliated with the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church, a small Christian denomination based in the South.
The Just-World Phenomena and Victim Blaming
But in our attempts to cope, are we turning the tables on the victim and blaming him or her to ease our own discomfort? What scriptures do we have to ignore to do this? Are we in denial? Are we minimizing, excusing, and over-spiritualizing the suffering? Does the victim matter as a person made in the image of God? Or are we dehumanizing the victim by seeing them as merely an example or a display of a theological ideal?
The Bible continually discusses God’s faithfulness and the need for us to have complete faith in Him. But what exactly does the Bible say about the faith we are to have in God? And what about God’s faithfulness? Does His faithfulness extend to all people? All believers unconditionally? Or is God’s faithfulness conditional at […]
Worry & Happiness
It’s pretty easy to worry when choices confront us. Worry can cripple, wound, or otherwise prevent us from experiencing the joy of our salvation. And sometimes there are no clear answers in the murky world in which we all live.
In 1931, Montagu Norman, the head of the Bank of England, had to decide how to save the economy: would he drop the gold standard and adopt bill economy or keep the gold standard and risk running out of it? Both options were possible, but the stress got to him and Montagu had a nervous breakdown. While vacation, his office made the decision and killed the gold standard. While none of us will have the same responsibility, we can easily fall into the sways of anxiety and depression due to stress, to the crippling effect choices have on us.
Stress happens and there is no easy escape, but Christians have a unique way to deal with it, overcome it, and live a stable life. At the get-go I want to be clear, some worry is not sin. You need to worry about finances, family, health, and all the rest of life or else you would dive headlong into ruin. But much worry is sin, because it trips into anxiety, and anxiety crushes us into depression, and depression makes us the walking dead.
So what happens when you don’t know what to do and just want to do what is right, and how do you overcome much worry, anxiety, and depression due to this?
I’d like to suggest that you will overcome much worry by practicing righteousness–that you walk by the Spirit–and your answer will come and your worry will die. By doing before knowing, and by doing before feeling, you are freed up to live the happy life, and when you are happy, worrisome decisions seem so much less debilitating.
10 Ways to Read Your Community
By Chuck Lawless
I have the privilege of hanging out with missionaries, men and women who have learned how to exegete their communities in order to proclaim the gospel in contextualized and relevant ways. I also hang out with local church leaders, though, who often know far too little about the communities they serve. Here are ten ways to “read” your community:
- Do a demographic study. I doubt this option is surprising, but I’m amazed by the high percentage of church leaders who don’t know current data about the people in their ministry area. As a church consultant, I often quiz leaders based on our company’s demographic findings – and seldom have I met leaders who know their community well.
- Talk to public school officials and teachers. Few people in a community see the reality of life like teachers do. Some daily see the products of crippling poverty, broken homes, and poor choices. Others work with students whose successful families have little need for God. Let these teachers give you a glimpse into the lives around you.
- Get to know local government officials. Even if you disagree politically with the leaders, develop friendships with them; you need to know these influencers in your community. They can be reservoirs of information about past community struggles, current needs, and future plans. Plus, they will likely need a pastor at some point in their own lives.
- Intentionally spend one day per week in the community. Eat in the restaurants. Visit the local stores. Read in the library. Study at the coffee shop. Volunteer in the school system. Prayerwalk the downtown area. Get out of your office into the community, and what may sound like a wasted day can become pivotal in your ministry.
- Talk with other church leaders. Church leaders often offer years of community experience and knowledge, but too many local church shepherds never get to know each other. Competition, distrust, and “lone ranger” mentalities keep us disconnected. Push against those tendencies, and invite a veteran pastor to lunch. Find out what obstacles other churches are facing in reaching your community.
- Read your community’s history. Even if no one has written a full history, many communities have published at least a brief record of their story. Learning that story will not only help you understand the history better, but it will also show others your interest in being a genuine part of the community.
- Ride with a police officer. Officers who have been in the community for some time will know the streets well. They may not use this language, but they know the sin strongholds in a region. Hang out with an officer for even one shift, and you may see more of your community than you have ever seen.
- Interview people. Walk the streets, and interview people about the community’s needs. Question them about their own spiritual walk. Discover how they define “success.” Ask how churches might make a difference in the community. Just talk to people with intentionality – while you listen and learn.
- Map your faith community. As a church leader, you should know the area where your church folks live. Using a paper map or a computerized process, map the homes of your regular attenders. See where God has already placed believers, and build on that foundation. Find the “holes” where your church has no testimony, and go there. Pray. Look for ministry opportunities. Extend your witness.
- “Prayer-drive” the community. Begin to use your driving time to see the area with God’s eyes. Pray for Christian congregations that meet in buildings you pass. Watch for places of worship for other world faiths, and pray others will hear the gospel of Jesus Christ. Be alert for, and pray for, people caught in addictive bondages, abusive relationships, and sinful lifestyles. Watch and pray more intentionally as you drive, and your burden for your community will grow.
What other ways to “read” your community do you recommend?
Catching Up on A Pile Of Stuff on Today’s Dividing Line
Had a ton of articles in Evernote to catch up on, including a bunch the continued crusade of the LGBT revisionists to demand Christianity change its fundamental beliefs so that they can feel better, and the fundamental degradation of our culture in promoting human autonomy (hmm—isn’t that a theological issue too?). Then I moved on to some interactions with Roman Catholics, read a section on Mary in response to a Roman Catholic article, etc. Wide range of topics today to be sure!
Here is the audio player for the show:
Here is the YouTube link:
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NEW PODCAST: Cult Evangelism In the Church
Radio Interview with Cindy Hartline of Love For The truth Radio
The following text is part of the description from a recent Interview that I did with radio show host Cindy Hartline, of Philadelphia’s Love For The Truth Radio.
- Is My Church Acting Like A Cult? Have some seemly “Bible believing Churches” become Cults? Many people have been hurt by these type of churches because of their cult-like operation and attitude…Read more
Some of the topics that Cindy and I discussed include:
- Introduction to Cult-Evangelism
- The Evangelizing of cultic belief systems
- Hindrances of discerning and leaving cults
- False gospels being taught
By way of illustration, we also discussed the tragic and ungodly merchandising of the body of Christ that is taking place through the endless sale of occult, mystical and heretical literature found in many so-called “Christian” bookstores.
Radio Program links:
- Direct download MP3 Podcast (Chris’s audio archive & Podcast Feed)
- Direct link to SoundCloud (Love For The Truth Radio Show)
- YouTube (Love For The Truth Radio)
- Love For The Truth Radio (Audio Archive)
I do hope that these audio links can be of help to you. We are certainly living at a time when earnestly contending for the Christian faith (Jude 3) is increasingly unpopular, and quote a few of the trusted discernment ministires are either compromising, or the Lord is graciously taking His Watchman home, one-by-one! Please pray for our ministry and the resources to carry on as there is much that goes on behind the scenes that greatly hinders us – and many others – from time-to-time.
Chris Lawson, Director
Spiritual Research Network
Our Time is Short
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