What I Read Online – 01/24/2012 (a.m.)

    • ‘I wonder if we have so over-reacted to the mystical and the subjective-emotional in preaching, that we see it now in terms of dispensing Biblical knowledge rather than pleading with God in prayer and men in proclamation to change lives in time for eternity. ”Preach the Word” has become ”Explain the Bible”. There is a difference. Systematic Theology is essential. Biblical Theology in the whole sweep of the Bible’s big picture from Genesis to Revelation, in Kingdom and covenant, is deeply enriching. But they are not the way God wrote the Bible and to let them govern the sermon, rather than the text of Scripture as written is to end up speaking about the Bible rather than letting the Bible speak. One is the words of men; the other the Word of God. Not observing the text, but listening to God; not cool analysts, but passionate hearers.”
    • Every day there is a war fought for control of your heart. But your jealous Savior, with the zeal of gorgeous redemptive love, will not share your heart. He will not rest until your heart is ruled by him and him alone.
    • God really is your refuge and strength. Only he rules every location where your trouble exists. Only he controls all the relationships where disappointment will rear its head. Only he has the power to rescue and deliver you.
    • Keep the Bible First
    • Respect the Creeds
    • In the interest of “free thinking,” some groups might have the goal of being open at all points. As noble as this approach sounds, it is neither biblical nor helpful (3). Those who claim to have “no creed but Christ” overlook the fact that as soon as you say what you believe about Christ, you are articulating an unofficial, informal creed. Groups which have not clarified their basic biblical assumptions may find themselves debating core, settled, biblical issues and derailing the study for others.
    • Stick to the Plan
    • Be Prepared
    • Write it Down
    • Study as a Group
    • Apply the Word
    • Too many faithful Bible study attendees silently wonder, as they pack up their materials and prepare to leave another study, “What am I supposed to do with this information?” 
    • First of all, it’s beyond dispute that God is gracious and that the law is an expression of his character—as well as the norm for what it means to have loving relationships to him and to each other. In other words, the God whose law it is, is gracious.
    • Second, God uses the law for gracious purposes
    • The gospel does not remove the obligation to obedience. Far from it! It is only because we are justified and given a new heart, with the law written on it by the finger of God, that we are able to love God’s moral will and follow it. Yes, and follow it. We fall and fail. Nevertheless, we do follow Christ—and anyone who doesn’t is not a believer.
    • You can find those passages in abundance, but when someone has already allowed his or her heart to become engaged with a person outside the faith, I find that the Bible has already been devalued as the non-negotiable rule of faith and practice.
    • “It won’t work, not in the long run. Marriage is hard enough when you have two believers who are completely in harmony spiritually. Just spare yourself the heartache and get over it.”
    • “If you think you are lonely before you get married, it’s nothing compared to how lonely you can be AFTER you are married!”
    • In order to be more in sync with your spouse, the Christian will have to push Christ to the margins of his or her life.
    • Alternatively, if the believer in the marriage holds on to a robust Christian life and practice, the non-believing PARTNER will have to be marginalized.
    • So either the marriage experiences stress and breaks up;
    • I only mention the above personal history because so many of our friends in the ministry have seen different outcomes—children who marry outside the faith. The takeaway lesson for me is that even in pastoral homes, where the things of God are taught and discussed, and where children have a pretty good window on seeing their parents counsel broken marriages, believing children toy with relationships that grow deeper than they expect, ending in marriages that don’t always have happy endings. If this is true in the families of Christian leaders, what of the flock?
    • In a very real sense, that’s what the Christian life is about. We all have points of vulnerability, areas of susceptibility to sin and self-destruction. There are beings afoot in the universe who watch these points and who know how to collaborate with our biology and our environment to slaughter us.
    • What you need is not a sinless man. You need a man deeply aware of his sin and of his potential for further sin. You need a man who can see just how capable he is of destroying himself and your family. And you need a man with the wisdom to, as Jesus put it, gouge out whatever is dragging him under to self-destruction.
    • There’s not a guarantee that you can keep your marriage from infidelity, either digital or carnal, but you can make sure the man you’re following into it knows the stakes, knows how to repent, and knows the meaning of fighting the world, the flesh, and the devil all the way to a cross.
    • This means that your marriage is a portrait of the marriage of Christ to his church, which in turn means that marriage is all about the gospel. This is true whether you know it or not, whether you are a Christian or not. Marriage is not ultimately about relational fulfillment or sexual fulfillment or procreation. All of those things are tied up in it, but the ultimate purpose of marriage is to serve as a portrait of the real marriage.
    • The relationship of Christ and the church, the gospel, is all about the marriage of a bride and groom; we, Christians, are the bride and Christ is the groom. This union of Christ and the church is the real marriage and our marriages are to serve as that portrait, that image of the ultimate reality.
    • Our marriages get to be a portrait of Christ and the church. What a privilege! Marriage is a display of the gospel. This means that whatever we do in marriage is meant to bring glory to Christ, and that is the happiest ending of all. Now that we know that, we can read those scary words like submission and headship and see that it is all going to work out really, really well.
    • The person who has learned to read well is never dependent on living teachers to educate him.
    • as a good reader and as one who is not enslaved to the television and radio, he has a lifetime of growth ahead of him.
    • It is of the utmost importance that college students stop trying to fill their head with facts and start trying to form the habit of fruitful, active reading. Almost all the facts will be forgotten. But the skill and discipline and love of good reading will go on bearing fruit 30, 60, 100 fold.
    • It is a dreadful deception that learning and mental growing are strictly associated with school. Good reading should be the vocation of a lifetime.
    • Clarify the issue.
    • Defend your pro-life position with science and philosophy.
    • Challenge your listeners to be intellectually honest.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

About Joe Fleener

Lover of Christ & His Gospel, Husband to Mandy, Father to three wonderful children, Servant to the Local Church, Bible College Lecturer
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