h/t Justin Moffatt
I am speaking particularly to those good, honest, spiritually-minded men and women of any age whatsoever who are longing for revival and reawakening . . . For it is your very anxiety to know the fullness and the baptism of the Spirit that constitutes your danger and exposes you to this possibility of not using your critical faculties as you should. . . .
Do not rely only upon your inward feelings . . . that is entirely subjective, and while I do not discount the subjective altogether, I say it is not enough. You must not rely solely upon some inner inward sense, because that is the very thing the devil wants you to do. That means you are not using your full critical faculties; deciding in a purely emotional and subjective manner.. . .
do not be swayed even by the fact that something reported to you makes you feel wonderful . . .You may say, ‘I have never known such love, I have never known such peace, I have never known such joy’ . . . do not say ‘I feel this is right, everything in me says this is right . . .’ It is not enough. The devil is as subtle as that . . .
Lastly, do not base your judgment on the people who are . . . making their report to you . . . It is often some of the best, most honest and sincere people who can be most seriously led astray . . . The devil does not waste any of his time and energy with your smug formalist — he is safely asleep, already under the drug of the devil, though he is sitting in a Christian church.
Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Joy Unspeakable, (Eastbourne UK: Kingsway Communications, 1995) 193-195.
Chrisitians bent on maturity should work hard at gratitude. Thankfulness to friends, parents, senior believers who have helped us on our way, and abpve all to God himself, is not only common courtesy, it is something more, much more: it is simultaneously a powerful antidote to bitterness and malice, and potent acknowledgement that we stand by grace. What else could ever displace gratitude as the appropriate response to grace, whether the special grace that brings us salvation or the grace mediated through fellow believers, friends and events? Grace gives; what more can we do than give thanks? What response to grace could be more vile than ingratitude?
D.A.Carson, From Triumphalism to Maturity, 160.
We’re trying something new for St Paul’s this year. It’s a bookclub.
Now, that’s not new in itself. But its not quite the typical ‘Jane Austen’ style bookclub.
Here’s how it works:
– I pick 4 books for the year, 1 per school term (since that is the way the church year is generally structured). The aim is to cover a range of topics and interests, including 1 which is a ‘classic’ author. People can choose to opt in for 1,2,3 or 4 books.
– people sign up, and we source the books for them. The bookclub members pick up their books from our College of Ministry table after church, or from our office during the week.
– once people have the books, they can interact with each other in 2 ways
* a Facebook bookclub group. It is a ‘secret’ group, so all members know that their
comments can only be seen by others in the bookclub’.
* 1 supper during the term at someone’s house. This provides both an avenue to interact
for those who aren’t online, as well as an opportunity to explore theology together in
face to face relationships.
The idea behind this initiative was to provide another opportunity to stretch people who may have been Christians for a while, in a self-guided educational model. It also serves as a means for people to get into reading Christian books. Lots of people have said to me that they have wanted to get into reading, but didn’t know where to start. One the advantages of this system is that someone else has chosen the book for you, and you have the extra incentive to read it in that you know that others are reading it with you and you can chat with them about it.
The books for this year are:
Term 1 – 666 and all that, Greg Clarke and John Dickson
Term 2 – On Christian Liberty, Martin Luther
Term 3 – Living with the Underworld, Peter Bolt
Term 4 – The Reason for God, Tim Keller
We had 75 for the first term. A few teething problems with te Facebook and the suppers, but a pretty good start.
Thoughts, comments, questions, suggestions?
Lucid, intelligent, readable, with good humour.
An excellent series of thoughtful and measured posts on the first few chapters of Genesis here:
Worth a look.