Saturday, August 31, 2013

Holy Flotsam

Here are a few things that deserve to be shared:

  • Mike Milton's prayer for the Church in Syria.
  • Carl Trueman's reflections on what non-believers learn about our faith in our gatherings. I truly loved this. I am reminded of something I once read in Leon McBeth's Baptist history textbook (I'm not getting this perfectly, so apologies): to be Baptist is to be on the quest for a biblical Church. I am still on that journey as a Baptist...the older I get, the more important Scripture reading in the gathering becomes in my conviction...and Paul's (1 Timothy 4:13).
  • I'm currently reading Michael Kruger's Canon Revisited. Well organized, very thoughtful. It's in preparation for a time of study through the 1689, which begins with Scripture.
  • I'm currently listening to Benjamin the Equire's Lyrical Catechism. For you hip-hop fans out there, this is very good.Good enough to get shai linne fans through until volume 2 of his Lyrical Theology comes out.
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Every once in a while I work up the courage to listen to a sermon (?!) on church growth or outreach. Yesterday's attempt reminded me why I don't often do this. The speaker always spends 40% of the message giving us his church's story, 50% of the message giving us bullet points backed up by more stories from his ministry, and 10% reflection on Scripture that is more often than not self-admittedly dubious in its exegesis. Then there's the ubiquitous, "I'm not trying to get you to copy my church...many of these may not work in your context..." Sigh. I remember a heart-breaking moment in seminary in a missiology class when the professor said, "we mission guys figure out how to reach people - you MDiv guys figure out how to make it biblical."
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Speaking of Scripture-twisting man-centered religion, I actually recently heard someone use a selective paraphrase of Proverbs 11:14; 15:22; 20:18 to justify gossip! How is it that if I were to behave as gossipers do, it would ruin the ministry in my temporary stewardship? Yes, I realize ministers are held to a different standard...I've often wondered how much they would have to be paid to observe a scriptural Christian lifestyle?
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I was given a mandolin this year by a dear saint whose paralysis keeps her from playing it. I've recently started using it when playing the Westminster Shorter Catechism questions with my children (Holly Dutton's songs of the W.S.C.). It's inspired my oldest son to get back to his ukulele practice. I've also started reading them The Jesus Storybook Bible. Short, sweet, very well done.
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Week one of a two-week fast from Face Book is over. We were relatively late getting on the FB bandwagon, but got in deep just like everyone else pretty quickly. It's been a good Kingdom tool and helpful to keep in touch with far-off family members, but it's been good to be able to walk away from it for a while. I Just before I shut it down, I thought of Aragorn's quote: "One who cannot cast away a treasure at need is in fetters" (Lord of the Rings: the Two Towers). It's not been a treasure, but a handy I am not interested to see turn into chains.
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One evening last April I was sitting outside with a Filipino team member in Toledo, Cebu, Philippines, talking about the need for an adaptable, cheaply reproducible discipleship guide. I just finished writing it for the churches over there. They've been heavily on my heart during the final editing and re-writing. It is a rich thing to have been blessed with a life in which I have left parts of my heart in places far and wide. God is good to me, far better than I deserve.

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