Whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy -- meditate on these things.
"Francis of Assisi is alleged to have said, 'Preach the gospel always; if necessary use words.' That may be a great medieval sound bite, but it falls short of what the Bible teaches about evangelism."
I used to like that quote, and the evangelism models it leads to, and felt comfortable in thinking that the street preachers (and other more direct evangelism models) had no place in actually making a difference in people's lives.
I won't do a whole review, as I probably wouldn't do all that good of a job, but I'm re-reading it because a friend from church asked to borrow it, and I thought I would read through it again before I loaned it to him, so I could better recommend it appropriately.
Dave Skiles recommended the book to me, and added his own subtitle, What's Wrong with your Marriage, and Why it is Your [the husband's] Fault, and while some might end up in condemnation thinking about that title, I have found it quite good, and when I'm tempted to wonder why Heather is doing such-and-such, I can think back on this, and realize (or if I don't realize it, Heather can tell me, like she did yesterday) how my attitude and how I am leading the family is affecting everyone.
I read the chapters on "Effacacious Love" and "Keeping Short Accounts" this morning, and was thinking that there was so much good stuff that I should write a blog post about it, but now when I go back, I think perhaps there is too much to quote, and I'm having a hard time picking which things to mention.
He has a section on beauty and speaks about the bad tendencies in our culture to place focus on outward things (one example he gives is the difference between playing with dolls with the girl in the role of the mother versus playing with Barbie dolls with the girl playing the role of the doll) but goes on to say that some in the church react to that by saying beauty is only inward, and ignoring the outward beauty that God has created. He quotes various Old Testament scriptures that speak of the outward beauty that the women had (Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, Abigail, Bathsheba, Tamar, Esther) He humorously says that you may be saying, "Duh, everyone knows there are pretty women..." But, he also says, "a man who marries biblically should expect his wife to be visibly lovelier on their tenth anniversary - and if she is not, he knows that he is the one responsible. But as the one responsible, he has to know where true beauty begins." As Heather and I approach our ninth anniversary, I can say with confidence that Heather definitely is on the right track, despite my failings.
"When a woman is lovely in her spirit, that loveliness cannot be contained. It enchants her husband."
"As he loves her, she bears fruit. As she bears this fruit, it delights him. In this delight he loves her more, and she bears more fruit. The wife is to cooperate fully, receiving his love, but he is the one responsible to give it."
Another challenging and convicting quote:
"A husband cannot say, 'All my behavior notwithstanding, I still honor my wife, even though I never show it.' Husbands must honor their wives. This is a demonstration within marriage of an attitude which we should see elsewhere in the church."
In the "Keeping Short Accounts" chapter, I found a good analogy in picking things up off the carpet and confessing sin immediately. That while the end result looks the same, picking things up immediately, rather than letting them sit for 6 months is quite different.
"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." -- 1 John 1:9
He says that while our justification is not affected by confession of sin, "refusal to confess sin does affect the quality of a person's enjoyment of his justification." And reminds us of Psalm 51, "Restore to me the joy of Your salvation".
It's definitely a telling commentary on my life that the first chapter of Total Church, "Why Gospel?" was less exciting to me than the following chapter, "Why Community?". I think the former is in my head only, where the latter is in my head and heart.
I've just started reading a book I ordered from the library. I don't remember who recommended it - probably either someone at Jubilee, or else a blog I read.
Based on the number of things I've liked so far, and I'm only through the introduction, I suspect I'm going to really like this book. They start out by giving four people with different stories. I'll quote this one because it is exactly me:
"Cathy became a Christian in her first year at university. It was great. She spent hours hanging out with her Christian friends, talking through their faith, praying together, sharing the gospel with other students. But two years after graduation she feels spiritually flat. She goes to church each Sunday and attends a home group on Wednesday evenings. But she misses the intimacy of the relationships she had at university. She misses the discussions, the enthusiasm, and the late night prayers. She laughs to herself at how immature they were sometimes. But she can't help wondering whether 'grown-up' Christianity is any better. If only there were a different way of doing church."
"Oh, why are we not more holy!", he would exclaim with loving insistence. "Why do we not live in eternity, walk with God all the day long? Why are we not all-devoted to God, breathing the whole spirit of missionaries?
"Alas, we are too much enthusiasts, looking for the end without faithfully using the means. Do we rise at four or even five in the morning to be alone with God? Do we fast once a week, once a month? Do we even know the obligation or benefit of it? Do we recommend the five o'clock hour for private prayer, at the close of the day? Do we observe it? Do we not find that 'any time' is no time?
"Oh let us stir up the gift of God that is in us. Let us no more sleep as do others. Let us take heed to the ministry that we have received in the Lord, that we fulfil it. 'Whatsoever thy findeth to do, do it with thy might.'"
-- John Wesley, as quoted in Hudson Taylor's biography, "In the Early Years".
Hide 'Em In Your Heart scripture memory CDs by Steve Green gets my hearty recommendation for anyone with or without children who wants to memorize scripture in a fun and easy way. We heard about them from our pediatrician (who is a Christian father of young children) and got the first CD from Grandma and Dad-o for Noah's birthday. (More)
"Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain." Exodus 20:7 (KJV)
I've been thinking more recently about what this means. I grew up thinking that it pretty much just meant don't use "God" or "Jesus" as swear words. But surely to be one of the Ten, God meant it to mean something much deeper than that. (More)
| You scored as NASB - New American Standard Bible. You are intelligent, responsible, and understanding. You strive to do your best possible in all areas of life and are generally quite successful. You do not mind being different and sometimes taking risks, but you simultaneously find no virtue in completely doing away with the past.|
What version of the Bible are you?
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From Talking Out Of Turn
"Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein."(More)
A good post on judging, and making sure to clarify between judging the sin of the world and of the brethren. Do we let people be happy, and not say anything, in order to not rock the boat, or do we speak up?
Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13
A blog I have recently started reading, Following Judah's Lion, had this to say today:
"What person takes one spoonful of the greatest ice cream they’ve ever tasted and puts the spoon down never to taste it again? And what sinner has tasted of the glorious grace of God through Jesus Himself, been forgiven of his sins and had the weight of eternal condemnation lifted from his spirit, only to never desire to drink again from that living fountain?"
I was at a small conference last weekend, which I suppose deserves another post entirely, but in summary, God used that conference to stir up and provoke me to love and seek him more.(More)