Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Family Worship Faithfulness

Don Whitney has a great little book on Family Worship. I recommend it, but if reading a 60 page book on the topic sounds a little too daunting, Crossway Publishers is offering a bite-size primer ("Family Worship 101") in the form of a 5 day email course. You can sign up here.

If a "testimony" of the cumulative impact of family worship in a child's life would be helpful, read Don Whitney's post entitled, "Family Worship and the Day I Made My Daughter Cry." And just so you don't think family worship is for those other families whose kids sit with rapt attention for hours, here's an except:
Now before you imagine something that isn’t true, I want you to know that I cannot recall once in the thousands of nights before Laurelen wrote these words when we concluded family worship and I had some atmospheric sense of the presence of God. Not one time did we finish family worship where I would have said afterward, “The Lord evidently moved in great power among us tonight.”
On the contrary, most nights our family gathering was more like, “Will y’all pay attention; I’m reading the Bible here. . . . Please put down your phone. . . . Are you listening?”
Read the whole thing and be encouraged to persevere in your calling to live out Deuteronomy 6:4-9:
"Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Must Bethel Be Multi-Ethnic?

Given where the Lord has planted us, I say, "Yes!" I hope you agree.

Jesus died for it.
Revelation 5:9-10 And they sang a new song, saying, "Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth."
Heaven will be gloriously, beautifully diverse in its God-centered unity.
Revelation 7:9-10 After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, "Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!"
I'd encourage you to watch the following video where John Piper asks Pastors Stephen Um and Trip Lee if every church must be multi-ethnic. If you want God's kingdom to come, and his will to be done, on earth as it is in heaven (Matthew 6:10), let's all embrace our responsibility (and opportunities!) to help Bethel become a better foretaste of Heaven.

Must Every Church Be Multi-ethnic? from The Gospel Coalition on Vimeo.

Monday, February 1, 2016

What Does The Bible Mean By "The Flesh"?

The Bible often uses the term, "flesh," to refer to something other than the skin on our bodies. What is it actually referring to? For example, what exactly is it that is against the Holy Spirit in Galatians 5:17?
For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.
This "flesh" has desires. It wants things. It's almost like it's alive. Some translations go with "sinful nature." That helps some.

In his book, Dynamics of Spiritual Life, Richard F. Lovelace says,
...the flesh might be called a "God complex." 
A "complex," in psychological terms, is "a core pattern of emotions, memories, perceptions, and wishes in the personal unconscious organized around a common theme, such as power or status."

He goes on to show how our "God complex" always backfires on us, because,
...the unconscious awareness of our independence from God and an unrelieved consciousness of guilt create a profound insecurity in the unbeliever or the Christian who is not walking in light. This insecurity generates a kind of compensatory egoism, self-oriented but somewhat different from serious pride. Thus much of what is called pride is actually not godlike self-admiration, but masked inferiority, insecurity and deep self-loathing. (90)
The flesh often rules. We side with the flesh all the time and stiff-arm the Spirit. If Lovelace is right, how ironic that our desire to be our own gods (strong and capable and satisfied!) is what makes us so pathetically fragile and insecure.

The flesh is alive and kicking. No doubt about it. And it's killing us. But we don't owe the flesh anything. We don't have to bow the knee to its desires. We need to kill it...and we will live...for (the True) God.
Romans 8:12-13 So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.