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Thursday, May 31, 2012

How Are You Doing?

By Paul Hamline

How are you doing?  This question is such a common everyday occurrence in our American culture.  We quickly rattle it off as we pass family and friends throughout the day.  Even in our encounters with strangers we often ask, “How are you doing?”
Charles Bridges in his book, The Christian Ministry challenges preachers to be mindful of “the different individualities of profession within the Church." In other words, be aware that the people in your church are always at a different point of maturity and growth in their Christian life. In Proverbs 27:17 it says, “Iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.”  Have you ever thought about taking that common everyday statement to a new level with your Christian brothers and sisters? The next time you pass by a fellow believer and ask them, “How are you doing?” maybe you can add one or two of the following to help you understand how they are really doing.

1.    How are you doing in areas of weakness or strength in your Christian faith?
2.    How are you doing in weariness or overcoming spiritual conflict?
3.    How are you doing in advancing or regressing in evangelical holiness?
4.    How are you doing in growing in clarity or confusion in your understanding of God's Truth?
5.    How are you doing in marked separation from the world, or remaining in conformity to it?
6.    How are you doing in increasing glow or decline of the love of Christ in the soul?

So, how are you doing? Really.

You might also consider Donald Whitney's "10 Questions To Ask To Make Sure You're Still Growing."

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Living a Doxological Life

By Aaron Wilson

Artie Hunt is in his seventies.  He is a small man with a band of solid white hair wrapped around his balding head and a thin, white mustache to match.  He looks a bit cartoonish, which I intend as a compliment, because it fits his jovial personality.  Artie Hunt loves the Word of God, but more than that, he loves the God of the Word. 
            I’ve had the wonderful privilege of listening, watching and “experiencing” Artie teach the grade-schoolers in our church for many years now.  There is no question that he enjoys it.  Often when he is talking about the sinfulness of man and being dead in our trespasses, Artie will illustrate by flopping down on the floor and lying as still as a corpse.  These past few years have concerned me though, as I’m starting to pray more for his ability to get back up!  Alas, he always does!  He bounces right back and continues with his lesson as if nothing happened. 

Monday, May 7, 2012

Fruit Follows Faith

I always appreciate help in further understanding the relationship between faith and works. The Scriptures are clear that we are not saved BY our good works (Ephesians 2:8-9) but they are just as clear that we are saved UNTO good works (Ephesians 2:10).
The BCLR staff is currently reading through Charles Bridges' book, The Christian Ministry. While discussing the need for practical preaching - i.e., that both doctrine and duty should be preached - Bridges suggests that preaching doctrine doesn't deny one's practical obligations to that doctrine. He uses an argument from Bishop George Horne:

How we can be said to deny the existence of moral duties, because we preach faith, the root from whence they spring, I know not; unless he that plants a vine, does by that action deny the existence of grapes. The fruit receives its goodness from the tree, not the tree from the fruit, which does not make the tree good, but shows it to be so. So works receive all their goodness from faith, not faith from works; which do not themselves justify, but show a prior justification of the soul that produces them.
(p. 267)
Here's how I've outlined Hornes' thoughts:

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Love Defined

By Tim Senn

Below are a few helpful definitions of biblical love:

John Piper:
“Love is the overflow of joy in God which gladly meets the needs of others.”

George Bethune:
“Love is a holy, abiding and vigorous spirit, which rules the whole man, ever directing him to the humble and loving fulfillment of all his duties to God and man.”

And my own:
“Love is the desire, created in the soul by the Holy Spirit, which produces the willingness to give of oneself for the benefit of another and to promote their well-being and happiness, all for the purpose of glorifying God. Love is an act of devoted giving to others which involves our entire being.”