Saturday, January 28, 2012

Devotional Books Not Doing It For You?

C. S. Lewis:

For my own part, I tend to find the doctrinal books often more helpful in devotion than the devotional books, and I rather suspect that the same experience may await others.

I believe that many who find that ‘nothing happens’ when they sit down, or kneel down, to a book of devotion, would find that the heart sings unbidden while they are working their way through a tough bit of theology with a pipe in their teeth and a pencil in their hand.

HT: Justin Taylor

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

What To Do With God's Money?

On Sunday I spoke from 2 Corinthians 9 on the Stewardship of Giving. You can listen to the message here. In addition here are some other things from the message to provoke your thinking.

Global Rich List
A great site to help you see how rich you are in comparison with the rest of the world.

C.S. Lewis
I do not believe one can settle how much we ought to give. I am afraid the only safe rule is to give more than we can spare. In other words, if our expenditure on comforts, luxuries, amusements, etc. is up to the standard common among those with the same income as our own, we are probably giving away too little. If our charities do not at all pinch or hamper us, I should say they are too small. There ought to be things we should like to do and cannot do because our charitable expenditure excludes them.

Hudson Taylor
The less I spent on myself and the more I gave to others, the fuller of happiness and blessing did my soul become.

Principles for Christian Giving (2 Cor. 9)
  • Giving is all about investing in what really matters (v. 6)
  • Giving should be planned with joy (v. 7)
  • Givers rest in God's provision (v. 8-9)
  • Givers are made rich in order to be generous (v. 10-11)
  • Givers receive back much more than they give (v. 11-15)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Jesus & Religion (A Dialogue)

If you aren't among the 14 million+ people who have viewed Jefferson Bethke's You Tube video, check it out here:

Then, check out a helpful critique of the video by Kevin DeYoung here. There is much to commend in the video, and I think the overall intent is right on. However, there are some things that could be clarified better (as Bethke admits).

What I appreciate about the dialogue between DeYoung and Bethke is their mutual love for Christ, the church, and the Gospel and their desire to sharpen each other. We should all be open to helpful critique from other brothers and sisters in Christ, and if we happen to be the one offering critique, we must remember to "speak the truth in love." Our goal should never be to rip someone apart or win an argument, but to advance the Gospel and love others through the process.

This reminder from John Stott is helpful:

The proper activity of professing Christians who disagree with one another is neither to ignore, nor to conceal, nor even to minimize their differences, but to debate them.

We are “to maintain the truth in love,” being neither truthless in our love, nor loveless in our truth, but holding the two in balance.

—From John Stott, Christ the Controversialist (Downers Grove, Ill.:
InterVarsity Press, 1970), pp. 22, 19. HT: Justin Taylor

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Talking with Your Neighbors about Jesus

The Resurgence website offers up a short post on 7 Tips for Talking with Your Neighbors about Jesus. The author's opening story is a great example of how some simple conversation can lead to an opportunity for the Gospel, but don't get discouraged if some of your efforts don't seem as easy. Love, engage, and speak the truth. The Spirit will handle the rest in His time.

Here are the 7 Tips:

1. Find a road that leads to Jesus.

In the course of conversation, be thinking of how Jesus intersects with the discussion, because Jesus intersects and touches everything in our culture: sports, music, art, politics. Look for bridges to introduce Jesus into the conversation. It should be just as casually or passionately as you talk about everything else.

2. Donʼt be weird and awkward.

“, Iʼd like to talk with you about Jesus.” If all of a sudden you put on your "Jesus" hat and you are talking to them like a project and not a friend, then you're entering awkward territory. Now, there will be times it becomes awkward because talking about Jesus and sin can be that way, but don't let it be because you are socially weird.

3. Be winsome.

Included in that word is the word “win.” Be “winning” friends and the conversation by being engaging, friendly, and kind. For more on being winsome, check out Soul Winner by Charles Spurgeon.

4. Counter stereotypes and caricatures of Christians.

Many urban, secular folks have a particular caricature of a Christian, which is not very flattering (judgmental, harsh, the “morality police”), although many don’t personally have any Christian friends. Be gracious and talk with them, serve them, and love them.

5. Host an open house.

When my wife and I moved into a new apartment building we hosted an open house for the whole building and went over the top with really good food and wine. Dozens of our neighbors came out and it was the foundation for future gospel-centered conversations.

6. Be honest about your struggles and failings.

We all fall short. We all struggle and fail. The credit has to be given to Jesus in your life. Many non-Christians donʼt want to talk with Christians as they will feel guilty regarding their own problems.

7. Actions also communicate.

Serve your neighbors. Serve your neighborhood. Look for opportunities without being an attention-getter. Your neighbors are watching you and just as James said, faith without works is dead.

Read the beginning of the post here.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Hockey & Jesus

Former Miami hockey player and OBF member Gary Steffes was recently featured on Tulsa's Fox News. Gary now plays hockey for the Tulsa Oilers and God continues to use him to light up the hockey world. He's also playing great for his current club.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Some Post-Holiday Stuff To Check Out

I've taken a little break from the blog over the holidays, but thought I'd get back to it by posting some things I've enjoyed reading. Here you go: