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Time for a Great Quote: A.W. Tozer on Bible Reading and Study

 
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Posted by on October 10, 2017 in Bible reading, Bible study

 

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STUCK! Ten Areas That Will Bury You as a Believer and How to Dig Your Way Out! (Area #8- SERMONS!) (con’t)

Is preaching passé?  Some would say that SERMONS are no longer needed by the saints.

Bible studies, discussion groups, casual conversations are all well and good — but we need the authoritative proclamation of God’s Word!  The saints should be committed to good SERMONS, but sometimes we get STUCK!

We get STUCK with poor preaching, with inadequate study, with irrelevant sermonizing.  [I’ve put together some suggestions for improving one’s preaching in my small booklet “Ten Specific Steps You Can Take To Make Your Sermons and Preaching Better!”  Just send me your email address and I will send you that pdf.]

Let’s think a bit more about our text from Acts 17:

10 As soon as it was night, the believers sent Paul and Silas away to Berea. On arriving there, they went to the Jewish synagogue. 11 Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. 12 As a result, many of them believed, as did also a number of prominent Greek women and many Greek men.

Paul and Silas preached in the synagogue!  They preached Jesus and gave evidence that He, indeed, was the promised Messiah.  We often confine our preaching to our churches, to our turf.  How about proclaiming the good news about Jesus in other forums?

There is one other point that this text is making that we dare not miss.  We don’t get even a hint that Paul objects to the Bereans’ examining the Scriptures to see if what he said was true!  He was not afraid of his message being biblically evaluated.  And we should not fear that either.  It is a noble act for others to compare what we say (even in the context of a sermon delivered from a podium at the front of the church) with the rest of the Word of God.  And that will keep us preachers from getting STUCK in our own opinions!

 

 
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Posted by on October 3, 2017 in christian growth

 

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STUCK! Ten Areas That Will Bury You as a Believer and How to Dig Your Way Out! (Area #8- SERMONS!)

The American humorist Will Rogers (I think) once said, “I refuse to accept my religion from anyone who earns his living only by the sweat of his jaw!”

Jesus-followers sometimes get STUCK in the area of SERMONS!  How?  Well, we believe that one of the primary ways that God communicates His truth to His people is through preaching.  And sometimes that preaching is poor, or unorganized, or just ho-hum.

What is the believer’s responsibility when it comes to this area of SERMONS?  How can we get UN-STUCK in this major aspect of life among other Christians?

We want to think about a text from Acts 17 for our next two posts:

10 As soon as it was night, the believers sent Paul and Silas away to Berea. On arriving there, they went to the Jewish synagogue. 11 Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. 12 As a result, many of them believed, as did also a number of prominent Greek women and many Greek men.

There are a number of steps that a preacher can take to improve his preaching (drop me an email and ask for my short booklet “Ten Specific Steps You Can Take To Make Your Sermons and Preaching Better!”).  But we want to focus on the listener.  How can those of us who listen to sermons improve?  Here are some specific suggestions that might help:

1. Come to church prepared to hear from God!  The preacher may not be your favorite, but pray that the Lord will speak through him.
2.  Take notes on what you hear!  Don’t be afraid to ask him about his message.  The very fact that you are jotting things down will encourage him to work harder in preparing his messages!
3.  Prepare your heart to “receive the message with great eagerness”!  God’s Word is true — and we can be changed and encouraged IF our hearts are right and ready.
4.  Examine the Scriptures daily to see if what you are hearing is true to the rest of the Word of God!  I’ve sometimes fantasized about pastoring a small church and saying to the congregation:  “You all need to become Berean believers who examine what I teach with the rest of the Bible.  So once every month I’m going to preach a sermon that has some heresy in it.  I won’t tell you which one.  You’ll have to figure that out for yourselves!”  I could never do that, but you get the point.  (to be continued)

 

 
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Posted by on October 1, 2017 in christian growth

 

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Psalms of the Salter: Some Thoughts on Really Living for the Lord (Psalm 119): Part 17

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129 Your statutes are wonderful;screen-shot-2016-11-26-at-7-03-57-am
    therefore I obey them.
130 The unfolding of your words gives light;
    it gives understanding to the simple.
131 I open my mouth and pant,
    longing for your commands.
132 Turn to me and have mercy on me,
    as you always do to those who love your name.
133 Direct my footsteps according to your word;
    let no sin rule over me.
134 Redeem me from human oppression,
    that I may obey your precepts.
135 Make your face shine on your servant
    and teach me your decrees.
136 Streams of tears flow from my eyes,
    for your law is not obeyed.

 
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Posted by on April 20, 2017 in pastoring

 

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Time for a Great Cartoon: Spiritual Leftovers?

screen-shot-2016-09-21-at-8-08-44-pmDo you and I live on spiritual leftovers?  What I mean is, do you and I expose ourselves to God’s Word directly?  Personally?  Individually?

Granted, it will be “expensive” to order off the menu.  It will cost us our lives, our wills, our priorities, our dreams.  Letting God’s Word get into our hearts will change us from the inside out!

Stop living on the leftovers of others’ study!  Get into the Word for yourself — and let God nourish you!

 
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Posted by on December 30, 2016 in Bible study

 

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Time for a Great Cartoon! (achieving a lower consciousness)

Screen Shot 2014-12-14 at 7.57.43 AMHow might you and I achieve a HIGHER CONSCIOUSNESS in this New Year?  May I suggest that we must, absolutely must be into God’s Word every day.

What Bible study practices help you to stay in God’s Word every day?  What practical benefits are you deriving from such a discipline?

 
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Posted by on January 23, 2015 in higher consciousness

 

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How Does One Theologically Quench the Spirit? Let Me Count the Ways . . .

In his book Joy Unspeakable, Dr. Martin Lloyd-Jones FirefoxScreenSnapz448made the following comment:

“Our greatest danger, I feel today, is to quench the Spirit. This is no age to advocate restraint; the church today does not need to be restrained, but to be aroused, to be awakened, to be filled with a spirit of glory, for she is failing in the modern world.”

How do we theologically quench the Spirit?  I want to suggest five areas in which we are (or might be) quenching the Spirit of God and attempt to respond to each biblically.

The first way that we quench the Spirit is —

I.  WE FAIL TO BE BEREAN BELIEVERS!

We read of the Berean believers in Acts 17:

10 As soon as it was night, the believers sent Paul and Silas away to Berea. On arriving there, they went to the Jewish synagogue. 11 Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. 12 As a result, many of them believed, as did also a number of prominent Greek women and many Greek men.

When we allow other fallible, fallen, finite men and women to do our theological thinking for us, we are failing to be like the Berean believers.  Notice that their eagerness to receive the message Paul was preaching was not eliminated by their commitment to check out his teachings with the Old Testament Scriptures.  It is always right to test what we hear, read, or see with what God’s Word actually says.

In a fascinating essay entitled “There Is No Substitute for Theology,” A.W. Tozer compels us to be engaged with the Word of God.  He writes:

“Whatever keeps me from the Bible is my enemy, however harmless it may appear to be.  Whatever engages my attention when I should be meditating on God and things eternal does injury to my soul.  Let the cares of life crowd out the Scriptures from my mind and I have suffered loss where I can least afford it.  Let me accept anything else instead of the Scriptures and I have been cheated and robbed to my eternal confusion.”

Confusion is a pretty good description of much that marks today’s contemporary church.  FirefoxScreenSnapz433We are often blown hither and yon by every new book advocating someone’s experience of visiting heaven or hell (or somewhere inbetween), by the latest video series which challenges us to our best life now (instead of being willing to suffer for Jesus), by the latest Christian celebrity de jour who is attacking Christian orthodoxy and never seems to lack a receptive audience.

Like the Bereans, we need to utilize the Word of God as our touchstone for all we believe, for all we teach, for all we embrace.  If the Word of God is the Spirit’s primary tool of sanctification (see John 17), then it must be our primary tool of evaluating all ideas, systems of thought, pronouncements of “truth.” (to be continued)

Questions:

1.  Why do Christians fail to test what they hear and read with the Scriptures?  Is it simply because it is work to do such testing?

2.  How central in your thinking are the Scriptures?  When you hear a new idea or a innovative thought, do you ask, “What does God’s Word say about this?”  Why or why not?

 

 

 
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Posted by on April 23, 2014 in Martin Lloyd-Jones

 

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