July 28 and No Kidding this Time

The Blog will be on vacation for a week. Here's some fodder for your thought life in the mean time..

Church as Ark, Hospital, or training center?

Human community is based upon

1. the commons or common people, as distinguished from those of rank; 2. a state of organized society, in its later uses relatively small; 3. the people of a district; 4. the quality of holding something in common, as in community of interests, community of goods; 5. a sense of common identity and characteristics.

Senses 1-3 indicate actual social groups. Senses 4-5 indicate a particular quality of relationship. Summary of contemporary uses:

* 1. Local groupings based on proximity and sometimes face-to-face relationships (as in local community, community work); * 2. Community of interests (as in research community, business community); and characteristics (as in ethnic community). * 3. Quality of relationships - sharing of common goals, values, identities; participatory decision-making and symbolic production; and connected with these - emotional and moral investments.

Howard Rheingold sez Virtual communities are: "social aggregations that emerge from the Net when people carry on those public discussions long enough, with sufficient human feeling, to form webs of personal relationships".

This is where the old is the church an ark, a hospital or a training center debate attains... It's all three I think. The fat baby or hungry hippo mentality happens in churches of every ilk. I have recently read many threads where postmoderns are spending kingdom time taking potshots at churches they see as enemy territory. I am not against megachurches per se as I see them playing a kingdom role- there needs to be discourse between two extremes I think. I will continue to operate under the rubric that I will not knowingly enable codependent traits in the church no matter it's definition of itself. What do you think?

July 21, 2003 Happenings

Sometimes trailers are more powerful than the movies they hawk- I get indications from "The Passion" trailer at Movie Box that this movie might actually work in Aramaic with or without subtitles. It is visually stunning and the soundtrack score snippent is riveting- Guess I'll have to wait like everyone else as the release date is not yet firm. Sometime in "2004?" is the best estimation I have seen.

One thing I hope- that with the graphic portrayal of the crucifixion that the deeper obscenity of the spiritual war that was wagerd on the cross will not be obfuscated. The visceral physical images of the passion so many times do this and leave the suffering on the level of fleshly pain. What do you think?
July 22- Short Cut Capo Voicings á lá Chris Tomlin et al...

Check here for my pages on Cut Capo chords

July 23 On Knowing God's Will- Some lists to live by...

This is a timeless subject- what I will post here draws from some of the content of Communication Breakdown- a lesson I prepared previously in Disciple's Bootcamp on learning to listen to God.

How Can I know God's Will for my life?

God's will is not some secret to be discovered, some  goal to be attained, or some mountain to ascend. God's makes his will clear to those who live and move and find their being in Him, for from him and through Him and To Him are all things.  If one seeks God's will with an obedient , contrite heart that anticipates his sovereign action , it becomes obvious.

The purpose of the Bible is  to reveal God's heart and mind and character to fallen men.We will not see Him as He is until we attain the Blessed Hope.Yet he reveals all we need to know for life and obedience in this world in the Bible.

This list is from an early MacArthur study I did in 1982...If you honestly apply these precepts to your life it will be transformational. I come back to these continually and commend them to you...

The Bible Reveals that it is God's will for us to be

  • Saved  2 Peter 3:9
  • Spirit-Filled  Ephesians 5:17-18
  • Sanctified  1 Thess 4:3-7, Romans 8:29-30
  • Submissive to authority 1 Peter 2:13-15
  • Suffering in the name of Christ 2 Tim 3:12

My comments: Romans 12:1-2 says that if we offer ourselves as living sacrifices we will prove what is the good, perfect, pleasing will of God. Yet even saved men retain propensity to rationalize their desires and gratify the flesh. There is a tendency to impose God's name upon man's desires in order to sanction them before men.

If all these are in order, you may do whatever the Spoirit leads you to do. Heed Jeremiah 17: The heart is deceitful above all things- who can know it? It is therefore imperative that we lead an examined life, holding up our decisions to the light yielded by the answer to the simple question: 'What would Jesus do?'

Psalm 37:4 says 'Delight yourself in the Lord; and he will give you the desires of your heart. That means if you are breing conformed to the likeness of the Son and God;s will in the ways listed above, He will place in your heart desires that reflect His will.

Dealing with difficult decisions. Notes from a John MacArthur sudy in 1981...

There are certain things in the Bible that are unequivocal commands for us to do. Extracting and exercising the imperatives of the New Terstament alone will keep you busy for a lifetime. There are certain things the scriptures also forbid. These are negative imperatives.

Then there are the so called 'gray areas' -matters that the Bible does not expressly forbid or even address such as entertainments, listening to certain kinds of music or determining what kinds of actities are appropriate on Sunday. These can even ewtentd to the ability to discern between the Good and the Best things of God. How are we to decide what to do in the gray areas? The following principles will help you in decision making:

Expediency 1Cor. 6:12

Will it be spiritually profitable? Some things can be wrong if they keep you from doing things that enhance your spiritual life. These can even include things that seem to be spiritual  themsrelves. The inability to say no to good things to leave oneslef open and available for God's best is a mark of maturity

Edification 1 Cor. 10:23

Will it put you on the path to greater spiritual maturoity? We need to learn self discipline, beginning with basic things like doing the hard things first, and being on time or obeying the speed laws.  Often the mundane or difficult will of God gets relegated to optional status when it is exactly here that God does his greatest work. Crops grow in the valley, not on the mountaintop.

Excess Hebrews 12:1 

Will it hinder you as you run the Christian race and press toward the mark? Being out late on Saturday night is not a sin but it may not be the best choice if it leads you too tired to concentrate at church Sunday morning. Also saying yes to every opportunity at church may take time away from your family fellowship abnd relationships. Keep the main things the main things.  Far too many who minister in Christ's name are ignoring the basics of their family responsibilities in the name of God.

Enslavement 1 Cor 6:12

Will it bring you under its control? We all know it is wrong to be controlled by drink or drugs but it is also wrong to be controlled by money, music, sports or TV. We can extend this to dysfunctional relationships as well. There is only one Lord- you cannot serve two masters in the name of serving one.

Equivocation 1 Peter 2:16

Are you using your freedom in Christ as a cover for catering to evil, sinful desires? Honestly evaluate your motives.

Encroachment Romans 14: 2-8

Will it violate the Lordship of Christ in your life? Do not let others talk you into doing what you do not think the Lord would have you do. Also God has an order in the family by which decisions are to be made. The Father  as the spiritual leader of the household is to take the lead and have the final say before God in decision making.

Example 1 Cor 8:9

Will doing this set a good example for others to follow? Make no mistake- others are watching your decision making process and they should always bring glory to God.this is espoecially true in raising children to seek God's face.

Evangelism Will it cause non believers to see a difference in my life? Everything we do- whethewr we eat or dring, do all to the glory of god. This is a primary way God extends his Kingdom- by ruling in the matters of your life.

Emulation 1 John 2:6 ;Romans 14:28

What would Jesus do? Would he do it now? Remember that  not done in faith is sin-

Exaltation 1 Cor 16:10:31

Will it glorify God? God's will  must be done in God's way and in God's time.

Nine applicational questions to ask when  seeking God's will in His Word: from notes from a Howard Hendricks seminar...
Is there an example for me to follow? Draw parallels between your situation and that of the character you are studying. What does righteous living look like in scripture?

Is there a sin to avoid? Let the Bible raise your consciousness in regard to moral issues

Is there a promise to claim? God's word is full of promise made be One who cannot lie and who is fully capable of fulfilling them- do you take this seriously? For instance ' we are the righteous that the Promises of Proverbs apply to.

Is there a prayer to repeat? As you study passages relating to prayer ask yourself 'What is there in these prayers that I need to be praying?'  Then just do it.

Is there a command to obey? Ninety five percent of the will of God is revealed inscripture. If you spend your life attending to these, you won't have much trouble working out the other five percent.

Is there a condition to meet? Many of God's promises are based on conditions set forth in the text.  Look for if'then statements and be sure not to ignore the 'if'.

Is there a verse to memorize? Some passages will be more significant to you than others depending on how god is at work in your life. The bnefits of meditating day and night on scripture is immeasurable.

Is there an error to mark? Concentration on relationships is the outworking of Biblical truth. But  the loss  of Biblical and Doctrinal knowledge is fundamental to building those relationships. What changes do you need to make in your thinking in order to bring it in line with what the scriptures teach?

Is there a challenge to face? When the Bible convicts you, act upon it. Respond to his prompting. Are you open to such changes? The scriptures are for our transformation, not just information.

Prayer that yields the fruit of Conviction and assurance.

1. Get in your Bible and pray according to His Word- 1 John 5:14-15

2. Pray in faith- James 5:15

3. Realize you are always to pray, never giving up! Luke 18:1

4. Come boldly into the throne room -Hebrews 4:16

5. Pray 'in Jesus's name' -John 16:23-24

6. Know God is hearing you -1 Peter 3:12

7. Claim power in earnest prayer- James 5:16

8. Recognize that ower is released in prayer- Isaiah 55:11

9. Recognize whom you are fighting- Ephesians 6:12

10. Realize your power through Jesus over Satan- 1 John 4:4

11. Put your armor on- Ephesians 6:13-17

12.Purge yourself of uncleanliness and unforgiveness- Matt 18:21-35, Mark 11:25

How to Listen- a summary

Listening to God is an active experience- an attitude is involved. Learn to listen:

Expectantly- expect God to answer.

Quietly- Be still and let God speak

Patiently- Use God's timetables, not yours

Actively- meditate on the Word and let it dwell richly within you- apply it to your heart.

Confidently- that God will tell us what we need, not what we want!

Humbly- recognize our dependence on Him

Openly- Be open to chastisement and correction, not just assurance and comfort

Attentively- Listen to all the ways God speaks

Carefully- The word is powerful and a fire in your bones- handle with respect!

Personally- The living letter is written to you

Submissively- When you don't like God's answer, listen carefully and submit

Gratefully- Come and listen with thanksgiving in your heart for the priviledges of grace

Reverently- the God of the universe is willing to listen and direct your paths- He will give you His mind!

When God doesn't answer'

Hindrances to being Heard by God- Reasons for unanswered prayer

Check out this list on week ten postings near bottom of page...

When God says 'No'Here is some good advice from Chuck Swindoll on this issue

When we are the cause:

What to do:

Unconfessed Sin -Psalm 66:18, Isaiah 1:15; Proverbs 28:9

Think before you pray- if god brings sins to your attention, confess them and claim forgiveness- keep a short account. Proverbs 28:13; 1 John 1:9, 2:1-2; eph. 6:18

Unclear conscisnce- Matthew 5:23

First go and make it right with your brother or sister. To ignore this brings serious inner torment Matthew 5:24; 18:21-35; James 5:16

Hypocrisy, pride, meaningless repetition- Matt 6:5,7; Job 35:12-13

Get alone if necessary- refuse to let your old nature control your prayer time Matt 6:6-8; Romans 6:12-13; Galatians 5:16

Wrong motives, selfishness- James 4:3

Check yourself- Psalm 19:14, 37:4-7; 139:23-24

Doubt James 1:6-7

Attack doubt and unbelief. Stand against these mental enemies and reckon truth to be true. Romans 6; Heb 11:6; Eph. 6:16; Isaiah 26:3-4; Matt 21:22

Satanic and demonic hindrances- Daniel 10:10-13; Ephesians 6:12

Claim the presence of the Holy Spirit and th overcoming power of the blood of  the Lord Jesus- Ephesians 6:13-18 ; 1 Jophn 4:4 ; Rev 12:9-11

Unresoved husband wife conflicts- 1 Peter 3:7

Reconcile the conflicts. Forgive completely and do not hold a grudge. Romans 12:9-13; Eph 4.:26-27, 29-32

Lack of Faith- Hebrews 11:6

Pray, believing that He will do what He has promised Marr 21:22, Mark 11:24

Lack of Compassion- Proverbs 21:13

Do not purposely ignore those around you who are in need. Psalm 41:1

When God is the Cause:

 What to do:

It is not God's will

Pray that God's will might be done'and mean it! Matt 26:39 ; James 4:15 ; 1 John 5:14-15

God wants to teach us a lesson

Submit to His desires and consider what he is trying to teach you with His No answer. 2 Cor 12:9-10

God wants to use us an an object lesson to others

Accept His plan, look at your situation as an opportunity to demonstrate His truth- Hosea, Ezekiel, Jeremiah


From the personal weblog of Anthony Foster @http://anthonyfoster.com/blog/