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Archive for March, 2007

Here’s the scenario:

You’re sitting in your small group or a Bible study and you’ve come to a difficult verse or passage. One person says they’ve studied the passage using commentaries, lexicons, and the like and have thought a lot about (comparing Scripture with Scripture). They then offer their understanding of the verse or passage. After that, someone else says, “Well, I prayed about it and I think this is what it means. I didn’t need to read all those books.”

What you’ve come to in your group is an unnecessary collision between thinking/reasoning/rationality and prayer/faith. One side we have those who seem to believe that the truth of Scripture can be mined without prayer (or at least very much of it). On the other side we have those who operate under the assumption that thinking and reasoning aren’t even needed to understand God’s Word. In the evangelical church today, the second group is by far the largest. For many, the study of Scripture comes down to asking the Lord to “whisper the answer in your ear,” so to speak. Study, therefore, and the use of your mind, has very little place in our Christian life and may even be dangerous. (I’m confident that I’m not overstating the last statement because I’ve heard it personally a number of times.)

This kind of dichotomy is wrong! Thinking and prayer are not enemies to us as Christians. We can find proof of that in the Scriptures themselves. “Consider what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.” The apostle Paul made that statement to Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:7. Paul is telling his young mentee Timothy to consider (or as the ESV puts it, “think over”) what he says and writes, for (or “because”) the Lord would give him understanding and insight in everything. Notice that both thinking and prayer are emphasized by Paul – not one or the other!

Should we think – and think hard – about what we find in the Bible? Of course we do! Especially whne we come to hard passages. Should we pray and ask God to give us understanding in everything? Of course we should!

Are thinking and prayer opposed to each other? No, not according to the Bible!

How about this: study the Word of God with all the faculties of your mind while on your knees – hard and good thinking that is soaked in prayer.

You think about that (to use a phrase from Steve Brown).

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How to be Humble

C.J. Mahaney gives seven daily practices that will develop our humility:

1. Starting every day by acknowledging your complete dependence upon God.

2. Express gratefulness to God throughout the day.

3. Begin your day practicing the disciplines of prayer, study, and worship.

4. Use your commute as a means for meditation and memorization of God’s Word.

5. Cast your cares and anxieties upon Him continually throughout the day.

6. Transfer all glory to God at the end of every day.

7. Receive and acknowledge the purpose of sleep.

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John Fischer writes on the influence Francis Schaeffer has had on him (not to mention a generation of evangelicals). It’s worth a read.

Scaheffer’s The God Who Is There and He Is There And He Is Not Silent were two of the first Christian books I read after God saved me (at almost 19 years old).

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Have a great St. Patrick’s Day! Raise a pint, but don’t get carried away!

I’ll be watching Washington State University play basketball today (Go Cougs!) and am still bummed that Gonzaga lost. One of my favorite times of the year, in terms of sports, is the first two weekends of March Madness.

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"Interperometer"

Introducing the Interperometer!

This device gives us the “real meaning” of a word or a phrase (sarcasm mode is on here). The Apostle John used an earlier version of the Interperometer when he would ention something in his Gospel and then say, “which interpreted means…”

In light of that, here goes!

“Community” as in “I’m looking for a community in which to live out my faith in Christ,” or “Community is very important to me.”

According to the Interperometer, “community” means “I want to be around people who are just like me – my age, my socioeconomic background, my family status (or lack thereof), and agree with me on just about everything.”

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Operation World

I’ve added Operation World to the list of links on the right side of the blog.

I first encountered a great big book called Operation World in a class on missions in seminary. Fantastic! Absolutely fantastic! I can’t recommend it highly enough. It gives fact, figures, and statistics on every country in the world. What makes it so helpful for us as Christians is that it also contains a lot of information about the religious condition of the people in that country. Incredible information all in one place.

Operation World’s website features on country every day, complete with prayer requests. Check it out – you’ll be glad you did.

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St. Patrick

Who was St. Patrick? William Federer gives a quick biography. Be informed when you have a pint, eat corned beef, or wear green on Saturday!

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