We must approach the word of the Lord and great humility. The reason that we question the text is often that we bring our own biases and presumptions with us. Come to the text with all of your questions. Even imagine the issues of those who hear you. Is there a particularly tricky passage contained within the broader context? Indeed, a difficult text should never be ignored. Mostly, difficult texts are nested within a broader context that is dealing with a more extensive subject.
Pray the text. Pray it back to the Lord. Plead with Him to show you His Word for those to whom you will minister. Humility is the necessary posture of a lesser subject coming before a greater Being. You and I are mere mortals. We must have the power of the Holy Spirit to discern His Word. The vision always lifts the burden. Isolate the presenting issue that the divinely inspired author is addressing.
Then state it. And personalize it. State this as it is happening in the text. Here is an example:. Since it was written by King David, it is ostensibly concerned with leadership. David is focusing on the temptations that come to young men. He is concerned that a young man can commit specific sins that will leave a wound or a limp for the rest of their lives. The king is giving counsel to young men on how to prepare for a life of leadership. For example,.
The first signpost [Note the use of this keyword in the transition. Leadership is, of course, having such influence over others, either by relationship or authority, that others follow. Would you rather have people follow you out of authority or out of a relationship? I suppose if you are a general you might expect soldiers to follow out of strict authority. Where are they following out of authority? Or out of respect, honor, and, in a word, relationship? David was such a leader.
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He was responsible for a whole nation of other leaders. As he gives direction to young men, he demonstrates something that he repeatedly does: David talks to himself. In fact, David asks questions of his soul. Good leaders talk to themselves. Taken the wrong way, you may want to put those kinds of leaders in straitjackets and lead them away! But of course, what is really meant here is that a leader is introspective in the most spiritually healthy way.
How can I serve you and others better? A good leadership lesson: he listens for signs of trouble; he listens for voices of opportunity; he listens to others, but most importantly he listens to God. Before leaders talk, leaders listen. There is a second signpost that guides us as leaders from this passage. David moves from listening to God to learning from what Garn has to say. As a king and a leader of leaders, nothing could be more vital than learning. And there is no more excellent place to learn than at the feet of the Master. In the Gospels, we observe Jesus and his disciples in a sort of classroom.
We also see the David will need to store the word of God in his heart. The heart is a metaphoric warehouse, filled with a fantastic assortment of deeply personal and often mysterious items, picked up along the pathway of our lives, often without knowing it: jealousies, old bruises, roots of bitterness, memories of birthday parties, boot-camp, a lie that you told as a child, and so many diverse things. What these storage bends of material all have in common is that an event was coupled with an emotion—sadness, fear, happiness, love—and that fusion of information and passion creates the long-term memory.
We need to clean that warehouse out. But, because of the power of the fusion of emotion and data, that is not easily done. Jesus taught that if something bad is removed, something worse will seek to fill the vacuum.
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What God desires for you is to replace the painful items stored away with His Word. And the only way that His Word is properly stored is with an emotional interaction with the Word of God. Lord, fill me with the truth that sets me free. I am not talking about mere memorization of a Bible verse. I am saying that you must be existentially engaged with the living Word of God. It is like implanting a slow-release medicine that kills the bad, destroys the painful, and soothes the soft tissue of the soul, bringing healing; to painful memories, to abusive relationships, to broken dreams, and even to trauma.
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The question of keeping oneself from sin is answered in learning and storing that learning up — not just in the head — but in the heart. We have asked the question how are you listening? I used to serve as the president and chancellor of a graduate school of theology. I really enjoyed the graduation ceremonies. I loved seeing their families and friends gathering to celebrate what is really a remarkable accomplishment.
But I really enjoyed seeing the graduates personally. Everything we have learned before this day gives us a license to learn more for tomorrow. YouVersion has integrated features for assisting with daily reading plans. For more information visit youversion. The BCP daily office is a two year cycle, each cycle beginning in the season of Advent.
One neat thing about the BCP is that it means Christians all over the world are reading the same Scriptures together. This online resource is great for finding a hymn by title, lyric, or first line and also provides a sound file for the tune. This is a great resource for sing-along worship for your family, small group, or CC.
New City Catechism A joint adult and children's catechism consisting of 52 questions and answers adapted by Timothy Keller and Sam Shammas from the Reformation catechisms. Sometime later, an event happened that shook the early church. A young deacon named Stephen went before the Sanhedrin , the Jewish ruling council, to make a passionate defense of Jesus as the Savior. His words so inflamed the people that they dragged Stephen outside the city and stoned him to death.
Stephen had been a follower of Jesus and now his unmoving body lay on the ground covered with bloody wounds.
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The answer is found in the Bible. Scripture tells us when a believer dies, their spirit lives on. Their body goes into the grave, but their soul continues to live in either heaven or hell. What happened to Jesus will happen to you and me. Jesus is God, and his promises are true. Someday each of us will die—and yet we will live, if we believe in Christ as Savior. That new life is not earned through our works.
Besides having a founder who is still alive, Christianity differs from other religions in a second crucial way. Only Christianity has grace , the free gift from God that brings us eternal life. It does not depend on us or our works. It depends on Jesus. None of us wants to die. But is there a catch? Many people believe they can somehow get into heaven without having anything to do with God. Their misconception is that all it takes is being a good person.
But the God who created heaven, and therefore gets to make the rules, says you can get there only through his Son Jesus. In heaven, there is only one God.
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In hell, there are many gods, and each one is called Myself. Eternal life after death is a fact. But where you spend it is up to you. Choose Jesus and go to heaven. Reject him and go to hell. God sends no one to hell.
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