People from church often ask me how I know what I know about the Bible—what books I read, what resources I use, what websites I go to. For those who are asking, here’s a quick rundown of my answers. There’s more but consider these the basics.Continue reading Bible Resources I Personally Use
Evangelicals are not heretics, at least not consciously. If we ask whether the Bible is the authoritative and inerrant Word of God, most will answer affirmatively, at least if the question is asked in traditional ways. Is the Bible God’s Word? Of course! All evangelicals know that. Is it authoritative? Yes, that too. Inerrant? Most evangelicals will affirm inerrancy. But many evangelicals have abandoned the Bible all the same simply because they do not think it is adequate for the challenges we face today. They do not think it is sufficient for winning people to Christ in this age, so they turn to felt-need sermons or entertainment or “signs and wonders” instead. They do not think the Bible is sufficient for achieving Christian growth, so they turn to therapy groups or Christian counseling. They do not think it is sufficient for making God’s will known, so they look for external signs or revelations. They do not think it is adequate for changing our society, so they establish evangelical political groups and work to elect “Christian” congressmen, senators, presidents, and other officials. They seek change by power politics and money.
—James Montgomery Boice
“Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested; that is, some books are to be read only in parts; others to be read, but not curiously; and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention.”
We must never think that godliness will insulate us against pain. Love does not make us numb; it makes us feel losses all the more. We are wrong to think that submission means no tears, no breaking of the heart, no inward struggles, and no troubling questions. Job did not tear his clothes and shave his head merely out of custom. He tore his robe because his heart was torn to pieces. He cut his hair because all his hopes for his children were cut off. Can you imagine what it would be like to bury all your children in one day?
—Terry Slachter, Joel Beeke: Encouragement for Today’s Pastors
Faithful ministers may expect from the Lord Jesus Christ all those supplies of both skill and strength that they need in order to fulfill their ministry…. He will teach their fingers to fight, and the arms of their hands shall be made strong by the mighty God of Jacob. He will anoint them with fresh oil, and renew their bow in their hand. He will give them a new heart and a new spirit, give power to them when they are faint, and when they have no might he will give an increase of strength. They who wait upon the Lord, who wait on their ministry, shall renew their strength as the eagles and mount up with wings [Isa. 40:31]…. Ministers are his ambassadors, and as long as they act by His authority and keep to their credentials, He will bear them up and bear them out.
— Thomas Foxcroft
CS Lewis, Mere Christianity:
No man knows how bad he is till he has tried very hard to be good. A silly idea is current that good people do not know what temptation means. This is an obvious lie. Only those who try to resist temptation know how strong it is. After all, you find out the strength of the German army by fighting against it, not by giving in. You find out the strength of a wind by trying to walk against it, not by lying down. A man who gives in to temptation after five minutes simply does not know what it would have been like an hour later. That is why bad people, in one sense, know very little about badness — they have lived a sheltered life by always giving in. We never find out the strength of the evil impulse inside us until we try to fight it: and Christ, because He was the only man who never yielded to temptation, is also the only man who knows to the full what temptation means — the only complete realist.
Eugene Peterson. Run With Horses: The Quest for Life At Its Best. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press. 2009
One of the supreme tasks of the faith community is to announce to us early and clearly the kind of life into which we can grow, to help us set our sights on what it means to be a human being. Not one of us, at this moment, is complete. In another hour, another day, we will have changed. We are in the process of becoming either less or more. There are a million chemical and electrical interchanges going on in each of us this very moment. There are intricate moral decisions and spiritual transactions taking place. What are we becoming? Less or more?
New birth does not simply change us by giving us a new power to do the same things we always wanted to do. It changes us by getting down underneath even the very level of our desires and changing what we want. Sovereign, regenerating grace does not enable us to do what we don’t want to do. More deeply, it brings us to want to do what we should want to do. Regenerating grace is grace that softens us way down deep at the core of who we are. This is taste-bud transformation. In a miracle that can never be humanly manufactured, we find ourselves, strangely, delighting to love God. We are changed. The will itself is renovated. We see things as they really are.
How does a man who never typed an e-mail or drove a car or swung a golf club or watched a Super Bowl or blogged or tweeted or Skyped help me live my twenty-first-century Christian life? Not much if what matters essentially in Christian living is what we do. A lot if what matters essentially in Christian living is what we are.
Edwards walks us through the wardrobe into Narnia. We are given glasses– not sunglasses, which dim everything, but their opposite: lenses that brighten everything.
January 1. It’s that time of the year again when people sit down to list down goals that need to be accomplished in the next 365 days. These are my reading goals for this year. I don’t want to burden myself with unrealistic expectations so I’d just aim for a few books:
1.) Read my ESV Bible from cover to cover. I know I haven’t been successful at doing this in the past but I still want to do this anyway. I am choosing Jason DeRouchie’s Kingdom Bible Reading Plan this year. If you are using OliveTree Bible App on iOS, you can download the reading plan on your mobile device. If you need other options, Justin Taylor’s post might be helpful to you. Continue reading Dare to Read Difficult Books