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Archive for the ‘Discipleship’ Category

I’ve sort of put this blog on hold, but I had to “break out” for once and post this link. Its Justin Moffatt at it again, with a great quote about Tim Chester and Steve Timmis about an “Ecclesiology of the Cross”.

Read it here.

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I’ve been here in Belfast only six months, but there are quite a few things I have learnt here already, praise God. Here, I’ve tried to summarise 10 basic pastoral principles that I’ve been taught or shown. I hope they will be useful.

1.- Keep fighting for Holiness

Don’t assume sanctification becomes easier
Know thyself
Be accountable to at least two other people
Deliberately avoid “tempting” scenarios
Watch life and teaching
Follow the Puritan example: see Satan and hell as very real
Spend as much time in prayer as possible

2.- Don’t abandon your family

3.- Don’t exploit people; don’t be exploited.

4.- Balance preaching-prep with people-time

don’t just share the Gospel, share your life (1 Thess. 2.8)
Time management important: get admin and prep work done, -spend time with people!
Learn to prioritize

5.-Practice what you preach (e.g.- also wash the dishes, serve coffee; don’t think you’re too good to do that work!)

6.- Disciple Christians and train new leaders

7.- Practice Hospitality, and encourage others to do so.

8.- Expect the unexpected: for better or for worse, people will always surprise you

9.- Be compassionate, but carry out discipline

10.- Don’t teach “mere application”, teach and (attempt to) model a world view, a counterculture in direct contrast to the secular and neopagan ideologies that surround us

Any more? Go ahead and discuss in comments.

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How is the resurrection of dead and final judgement as the Christian hope supposed to affect the Christian life now? There is certainly the risk of Christians using the salvation in Christ almost as a “insurance payment”: they’re happy they’ve been ‘saved’ and then go about their lives as if nothing happened.

But I think we could draw an analogy from football. What would happen if you suddenly withdrew both goals from the field in the middle of a game? It would be chaos. There’s no “end goal” (no-pun intended), no point. The result is that the game loses any direction, shape or form. But put the goals back in and the result would be a full-on football game, with both teams banding together with a same “goal” in mind.

Resurrection surely should function in a similar way for the Christian life. It isn’t a “far off” hope that we look for wistfully every once in a while but put it in the back of our minds most of the time. Neither should it merely function as some sort of comforting “mantra” in times of trouble (“this sucks, but at least Jesus is coming back some day”), but rather as the final end that shapes, forms and informs our christian life, relationships and worship now. It reminds us that as Christians we don’t have to full blessings in this life (avoiding shallow triumphalism) but also shouldn’t allow us to despair in the midst of failure and frustration: Jesus is coming, resurrection and judgement will happen, we will live forever with Him in a (re)New(ed) Creation.

…and this barely scratches the surface… lets not forget about our “already” participation with the Resurrected Christ -as in Col. 3:1-4.

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Thanks to Felipe Chamy:

“Because of the gospel’s power, you can be completely free of all condemnation.

Not mostly free; completely free.

Don’t buy the lie that cultivating condemnation and wallowing in your shame is somehow pleasing to God, or that a constant, low-grade guilt will somehow promote holiness and spiritual maturity.

It’s just the opposite! God is glorified when we believe with all our hearts that those who trust in Christ can never be condemned. It’s only when we receive his free gift of grace and live in the good of total forgiveness that we’re able to turn from old, sinful ways of living and walk in grace-motivated obedience.”

– C.J. Mahaney, The Cross Centered Life, 39, 40

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Sin…exceedingly sinful

Thanks to Cristóbal Cerón, who shared with me this little from Spurgeon:

Beware of light thoughts of sin. At the time of conversion, the conscience is so tender, that we are afraid of the slightest sin. Young converts have a holy timidity, a godly fear lest they should offend against God. But alas! very soon the fine bloom upon these first ripe fruits is removed by the rough handling of the surrounding world:
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the sensitive plant of young piety turns into a willow in after life, too pliant, too easily yielding. It is sadly true, that even a Christian may grow by degrees so callous, that the sin which once startled him does not alarm him in the least. By degrees men get familiar with sin. The ear in which the cannon has been booming will not notice slight sounds. At first a little sin startles us; but soon we say, “Is it not a little one?” Then there comes another, larger, and then another, until by degrees we begin to regard sin as but a little ill; and then follows an unholy presumption: “We have not fallen into open sin. True, we tripped a little, but we stood upright in the main. We may have uttered one unholy word, but as for the most of our conversation, it has been consistent.” So we palliate sin; we throw a cloak over it; we call it by dainty names. Christian, beware how thou thinkest lightly of sin. Take heed lest thou fall by little and little. Sin, a little thing? Is it not a poison? Who knows its deadliness? Sin, a little thing? Do not the little foxes spoil the grapes? Doth not the tiny coral insect build a rock which wrecks a navy? Do not little strokes fell lofty oaks? Will not continual droppings wear away stones? Sin, a little thing? It girded the Redeemer’s head with thorns, and pierced his heart! It made him suffer anguish, bitterness, and woe. Could you weigh the least sin in the scales of eternity, you would fly from it as from a serpent, and abhor the least appearance of evil. Look upon all sin as that which crucified the Saviour, and you will see it to be “exceeding sinful.”

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Schaeffer quote

“[…]remember throughout our lives that in God’s sight there are no little people and no little places. Only one thing is important: to be consecrated persons in God’s place for us, at each moment. Those who think of themselves as little people in little places, if commited to Christ and living under His Lordship in the whole of life, may, by God’s grace, change the flow of our generation”.– Francis Schaeffer

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Some random thoughts, based on the first chapter of the book “Developing a Christian Mind“.

Obedience in the Bible is not merely about “external acts”. Most people can do that. Its the essence of “religion”. There are plently of philanthropic people acting out ethical lives. Acting is a key word here. I’m not saying this to excuse disobedience on the basis of feelings. However, God wants our full devotion: body, soul, hearts and mind, in devotion unto Him.

If I disklike my brother, it shouldn’t be enough to merely “be nice” to him externally. I should evaluate myself and my relationship to him. I should be asking questions like “why does he/she bug me”? (see also Matthew 5:21, 22, 27, 28)

Usually these are ego-testers. This is an interesting thing to think about for those of us in positions of leadership. Does “this person” threaten my position, my authority, my control? We are not called to be Wolves —tyrants, but Shepherds (thanks Becka).

Lets learn to learn in these situations, learn to humble ourselves, and learn to allow the Spirit, through God’s Word and Prayer, to renew our thinking, so that our emotions and actions correspond to the will of God.

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