Posts Tagged ‘spirituality’

I read a good article in Table Talk magazine this month by Jonathan Leeman, titled Listening to God’s Word in the Church. The article is about the importance of the preached word of God in the church gathering. He gives seven reasons why it is important to actually be a part of the church rather than practice private religion at home. In our modern era it is so easy to simply stay home and listen to a great preacher on the internet. However, being a part of the church as a child of Christ is much more than punching your religious time clock to satisfy God’s demands. Take the time to read the article by Leeman, you will be edified and encouraged.

Calvin & Listening

Listen

Posted: January 18, 2013 in Blog
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After six frustrating hours, of laptop updates, I finally had to concede to the bitter-sweet loss of information. On the sweet hand I can more readily blog and upload sermon audio, but on the bitter hand this week’s sermon audio is lost. So much for continuity of information. Nevertheless, I press on. Literally I press on, as in I’m going to post–or ‘press’ in the WordPress world–a little bit of edification for you, the reader.

If one cannot listen to my sermon, then I want to provide an article that is especially useful. The article is written by Dr. Ted Tripp. It can be found here on the Ligonier Ministries website.

listenThe subject of Dr. Tripp’s article is on Listening at Home. To listen is truly a lost skill in our culture. We hear many things, but often at the expense of those to whom we should listen to the most, our family. Proverbs 18:2 teaches that, “A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion. ” The problem with much of what we hear is that it’s a fool’s expression from those whom listen little and give many opinions. In turn we are conditioned to listen poorly; thus much information is spewed out at record breaking levels without much true listening. Don’t get me wrong, we’re not innocent victims, but willing participants in this cycle. Also, I’m rather sure I’m the pot calling the kettle black as a pastor and writer.

Take the time today to listen before offering up opinions, especially to those whom you love. The art of listening is something that must constantly be worked on. It is only shameful folly to hear and not listen, or to speak before really considering what the other person has to say. That same chapter of proverbs v. 13 reads, “If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame. ” To write no more, take the next few minutes and read, Listening at Home. 

 

At the end of each year heading into the New Year, people make resolutions seeking change. Some resolutions are necessary components for living a better life. Other resolutions simply serve to satisfy vain, proud, or covetous desires. Mostly, resolutions seem to come from a sense of new beginnings boding, well… something new. All too often though resolutions fall flat. A New Year resolution carries the infamy of the Chicago Cubs; failure is inevitable.

Conventional wisdom might say, regarding resolutions then, that less is more. If a resolution is made, it needs to be small and attainable. But if you are going to go for gold don’t hold any hopes of keeping resolved. Sadly this seems to be the popular manner of making resolutions, which garners well-deserved mockery.

How then should resolutions be regarded? Are they even necessary?DownloadedFile Are they to be taken lightly without the real intent to follow through? Are they simply the moralist’s path to greater self-righteousness? Or do they serve the purpose of working toward your best life now? Is a resolution meant to achieve the peace of full self-actualization? (The peace of self-actualization is nothing more than the western ideological equivalent to the eastern concepts of Nirvana). What are we to do with this New Year tradition?

The answer is relatively simple, make resolutions and resolve to do something good. Everyone must come to grips with pledge making on their own terms, deciding when, how, where, and why, or even if any will be made at all. Resolutions are simply goals, pledges, promises, commitments, and things of the like. In the end it is important for yes to be yes, and no to be no. A resolution could be a beneficial thing, but it also must not be regarded as the moralist’s shovel of redemption. The commit to achieve the best life now, apart from the only One who can give life, will only bring judgment in the end.

A resolution can be beneficial if it is used in proportion to faith in Jesus Christ. Jesus doesn’t desire the work yielded from a resolution. Jesus wants you to trust in him for all things. He desires that you trust in what he resolved to do upon the cross over 2000 years ago, he wants you to trust him now. If a resolution stands for the purpose of making you a better person, so that you might have more good in your ledger than bad… you need a different plan.

However, a resolution can be a tool used by faith. By faith you can resolve to walk in a manner worthy of your calling in Jesus Christ. Ephesians 4:1, urges the believer, “to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called.” What calling is this? It is the effectual calling of the Lord Jesus upon his children, whereby he saves them. It is the calling of effectual grace upon the believer’s life. This calling of God upon a person is evident by the exercise of genuine faith in Jesus Christ. Because of this calling, by faith, you can resolve to walk in a particular manner. Making a pledge, a commitment, a resolution to do such has the potential to facilitate the desire to walk in the obedience of faith.

A New Year resolution carries the potential for harm or for good. Like many things in life, they often have the potential for becoming disproportionate to faith in Jesus Christ. In the end, let your yes be yes, and your no be no; trust in Christ Jesus alone and not your resolve to improve. Shoulder the purpose in life to workout your salvation with fear and trembling, resolving to do all to the glory of God while you still live.