What I Read Online – 07/19/2012 (p.m.)

20 Jul
    • Most of our people have no idea what two or three new messages a week cost us in terms of intellectual and spiritual drain. Not to mention the depletions of family pain, church decisions, and imponderable theological and moral dilemmas. I, for one, am not a self-replenishing spring. My bucket leaks, even when it is not pouring. My spirit does not revive on the run. Without time of unhurried reading and reflection, beyond the press of sermon preparation, my soul shrinks, and the specter of ministerial death rises. Few things frighten me more than the beginnings of barrenness that come from frenzied activity with little spiritual food and meditation.
    • The great pressure on us today is to be productive managers. But the need of the church is for prayerful, spiritual poets. I don’t mean (necessarily) pastors who write poems. I mean pastors who feel the weight and glory of eternal reality even in the midst of a business meeting; who carry in their soul such a sense of God that they provide, by their very presence, a constant life-giving reorientation on the infinite God. For your own soul and for the life of your church, fight for time to feed your soul with rich reading
    • Alan Thompson’s The Acts of the Risen Lord is no exception. He breaths a fresh air into Acts studies by giving the reader a view of the theological structure, not simply the theological flash-points, of Luke’s follow-up historical sketch of the early church.
    • Acts is meant to be read in light of Old Testament hopes for the arrival of God’s salvation in the age to come and the inauguration of that saving rule in the life, death, resurrection, and ascension of the Lord Jesus described in Luke’s Gospel.
    • A basic rule of interpreting Scripture, however, is that we ought to find out what the author is saying and what his primary arguments are first before we relate these to our own questions
    • In Acts, therefore, the “already” aspects of the age to come are seen especially in the provision of the new covenant blessings of the forgiveness of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit for all who come to the risen Lord Jesus in repentance and faith
    • The reference to the kingdom here has a future orientation; it has yet to be entered and there “must” be suffering beforehand.  Thus the fullness of the kingdom is still “not yet” as the reign of the Lord Jesus remains contested. 
    • I think it is nevertheless true that he intends us to notice what he is saying about the way the gospel is proclaimed. 
    • First, they are all God-centered in the sense that they all emphasize God’s initiative, who he is, how he is active and personal and that we are accountable to him.
    • Second, the speeches are audience-conscious in the sense that what they say about God varies from context to context.
    • Third, they are all Christ-focused.
    • Fourth, the evangelistic speeches are always response-oriented in that they include warnings (of judgment) and promises (of salvation, forgiveness, justification, eternal life) and urgent appeals to respond to the good news of God’s saving action in Christ with repentance and faith (demonstrated in baptism). 
    • On the one hand, Luke and Acts use terms like Savior, kingdom, Lord, salvation, peace, etc., with their Old Testament contexts firmly in view.  These Old Testament contexts and the teaching of the Lord Jesus define what Luke means by these terms and why he uses them.  In Acts, salvation is forgiveness of sins, not freedom from the empire.  Jesus reigns on the Davidic throne as Lord in fulfillment of promises about a king in the line of David that were made long before the Roman Emperor arrived on the scene.
    • My own understanding is that Acts emphasizes the lordship of Jesus in contrast to all other claims of authority. 
    • Thus, God’s people can know that the word of his grace will continue to spread and that local churches will continue to be formed in spite of, and even because of persecution, because the Lord Jesus is continuing to accomplish his saving purposes.
    • The question also applies to us, especially to those of us who are considered religious leaders, who faithfully serve and obey God. Have we entertained the same kinds of warped notions about God? Do we secretly feel that serving the Lord is duty that deserves some sort of reward? If so, are we dangerously close to a soul-stifling legalism? When a sinner repents after a lifetime of dissipation, are we happy about a new brother or sister in Christ, or are we unhappy that he or she “got away with it”?
    • Abusers are full of excuses, rationalizations, and justifications. They play the blame game by projecting on others responsibility for their actions.
    • They can be “masterful at manipulating words and actions to confuse, confound, and put others on the defensive.”
    • “This harsh judgmentalism is also a godless method for unrepentant abusers to deal with their own shame, much of which is a gracious, God-given, internal witness to their sin,”
    • Abusers often target people who are needy or come from difficult homes.
    • An abuser often has an inordinate need for affirmation and praise.
    • Deep fear of rejection makes abusers unpredictable and volatile.

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

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Posted by on 20/07/2012 in Current Issues


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