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Category Archives: CHRISTIAN LIVING

Living for Jesus in an Un-Christian World (Part 1)

Friends:
Please remember me in prayer for my conference in Detroit, Screen Shot 2015-10-11 at 9.03.37 AMNov. 6-8. The theme we have chosen is “Living for Jesus in an Un-Christian World.” We’ll be working our way through the little epistle of Jude.

In this series of posts I would like to touch on several of the issues we will be discussing during our weekend together.  I’m working on a booklet with the title of the conference that I hope can be done by the November weekend.

Introduction:

Before we look at the little letter from Jude to a group of Jesus-followers, let’s think about the issue of life in this world.  How is the Christian to conduct himself or herself in this God-forsaking, Bible-rejecting, Jesus-ignoring culture?

Although we could multiply such negative descriptors of our world, we must first acknowledge that there is much good in the universe that God has made, and we are commanded to enjoy His physical blessings with thanksgiving (I Tim. 6).  However, we find ourselves in a progressively unchristian or post-christian or even anti-Christian environment.   The Supreme Court decision on June 26, 2015, legitimated same-sex marriages, forbidding all states from banning such unions.

The 1973 Roe v. Wade SCOTUS decision, one which has cost the lives of an estimated fifty-five million children made in the image of God, rocked the Christian world — and we have been unable to do anything to have that ruling overturned.  The third most populous country in the world with 321 million people, the United States, one might argue, has systematically executed almost 1/6 of its citizens.

What are the believer’s options in living for Jesus in such an un-Christian world?  There appear to be only four possible choices that a Christian can make.  The first option is:

CONFORMITY:  The believer in Jesus can choose to not rock the boat, to Screen Shot 2015-10-11 at 9.09.04 AMbecome exactly like the world around him, holding the same ethical values as his culture, and live a relatively conflict-free life in comfort.  The world will then see no discernible differences between believers and unbelievers, but will also have no reason to persecute those who claim to be Jesus-followers.  They will be seen as people who have nothing better to do on Sundays than attend half-empty churches, sing ancient songs to each other, and occasionally enjoy a pot-luck meal together.  The Christian can choose to conform.  (to be continued)

 
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Posted by on October 14, 2015 in CHRISTIAN LIVING

 

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Anti-Woe Cologne? (compassion)

 

The Bible says that we are to “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ” (Gal. 6:2).

Questions:
1. Do we sometimes suffer from compassion-fatigue and lose our interest in really listening to each other’s burdens?

2. What steps can we take in the local church to become a place where people are free to share their woes?

 
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Posted by on June 25, 2015 in CHRISTIAN LIVING

 

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Time for a Great Cartoon! Religious Principles!

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We’ve spent a number of posts on the issue of SPIRITUAL EXERCISE.  When one asks the question, “What are my religious principles?”, does spiritual growth show up at the top of the list?

We can use “religious principles” as an excuse for not doing anything that we ought to do.

Questions:

1.  What do you do when you find yourself drifting as a believer in Jesus?

2.  What role does the local church play in helping you get back on track?

3.  What friends do you have who will hold you accountable for not moving on as a believer?

 
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Posted by on September 29, 2014 in CHRISTIAN LIVING

 

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Messin’ with God? (time for a great commercial)

Do we “mess” with God? Have we lost the fear of the Lord which is the beginning of wisdom? These questions came to me as I watched a recent commercial . . .

Questions:

1.  Where are you “messing” with God, not appropriately fearful of His holiness?

2.  How does a fear of God relate to His love?  (please note:  Screen Shot 2014-09-06 at 6.32.25 AMWe are not thinking of a terror of God here).

 
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Posted by on September 24, 2014 in CHRISTIAN LIVING

 

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What about your WILD SIDE? Part 1 (time for a great commercial)


G.K. Chesterton put it this way:  “. . . the more I considered Christianity, the more I found that while it had established a rule and order, the chief aim of that order was to give room for good things to run wild.”

Questions:

1.  Something can be wild without being evil.  What wildness in your life has been domesticated, muted, tamed?

2.  What good things in your life are allowed to “run wild” if you are a believer in Jesus?

 

 
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Posted by on September 21, 2014 in CHRISTIAN LIVING

 

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Ten Steps to Spirituality! (Part 2)

In our course, “The Integration of Theology and Psychology,” Dr. AllanKeynoteScreenSnapz002 McKechnie andI have been discussing the doctrine of salvation and its implications for counselors who are Christians.  One aspect of salvation is the continuing work of God the Holy Spirit in making us like Christ.  This doctrine is called SANCTIFICATION.  The word means “being set apart” or “being made holy.”

I believe I Timothy 4 presents us with ten very specific steps we may take to advance in our becoming like Christ.  Let’s look at that passage and continue investigating those ten steps.

I Timothy 4 says,

Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance. 10 That is why we labor and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, and especially of those who believe.

11 Command and teach these things. 12 Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. 13 Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. 14 Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through prophecy when the body of elders laid their hands on you.

15 Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. 16 Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.

The FIRST STEP we saw in this text was simply:  PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT YOU AVOID (v. 7)

The SECOND STEP we notice is:  TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR OWN SPIRITUAL LIFE (v. 7)

Verse 7 reads: “rather, train yourself to be godly.”  Self-training is lacking these days in the lives of many followers of Jesus.  Some expect spiritual growth to happen, uh, magically.  Others look for a perfect church or an omni-competent pastor to meet their every spiritual need.  Paul puts the burden of sanctification, of becoming more like Jesus Christ, squarely on the shoulders of the individual believer.

Years ago I read a controversial, but helpful, book entitled The Gospel of Coincidence by John Boykin.  He basically said that most of what happens to us in life is a result of choices we make, choices which come out of the priorities which we set for ourselves.  Are you taking responsibility for your own spiritual life?  How’s the training going?

Questions:

1.  In physical training, there are exercises which must be practiced.  What would be some of those exercises in “spiritual” training?

2.  How do we even know what “godly” looks like?  Why is studying the earthly life of the Lord Jesus so critical here?

 

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Ten Steps to Spirituality!

In our course, “The Integration of Theology and Psychology,”KeynoteScreenSnapz001 Dr. Allan McKechnie andI have been discussing the doctrine of salvation and its implications for counselors who are Christians.  One aspect of salvation is the continuing work of God the Holy Spirit in making us like Christ.  This doctrine is called SANCTIFICATION.  The word means “being set apart” or “being made holy.”

I believe I Timothy 4 presents us with ten very specific steps we may take to advance in our becoming like Christ.  Let’s look at that passage and begin investigating those ten steps.

I Timothy 4 says,

Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance. 10 That is why we labor and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, and especially of those who believe.

11 Command and teach these things. 12 Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. 13 Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. 14 Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through prophecy when the body of elders laid their hands on you.

15 Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. 16 Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.

The FIRST STEP I see in this text is simply:  PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT YOU AVOID (v. 7)

Verse 7 reads: “Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales . . .”  Growing in grace and holiness involves choosing what we won’t give our attention to!  Paul challenges TImothy not to give his attention to “godless myths” and “old wives’ tales.”

Now, the few women who might read my blog should not be upset by the 2nd expression.  It is not meant in a misogynistic way.   Paul is not anti-women.  He is simply giving two examples of material that should not dominate the believer’s thinking, concentration, time.  (to be continued)

Questions:

1.  What “godless myths” are you aware of which should be avoided?

2.  Why should we avoid such myths and old wives’ tales?

 

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