There is a great difference in excellency, usefulness, and comfort between people of clear, digested knowledge, and confused, undigested apprehensions. -Richard Baxter

Archive for reformed spirituality

can something self-serving be God-honoring?

Here’s one way it can: a request from pastors for pastors.

Consumers vs. disciples: a more adversarial relationship than perhaps we thought

Jim Dennison is the pastor of Park Cities Baptist Church and writes a daily devotional entitled Godissues.org. Click there to subscribe.

This morning he speaks, I think, most aptly to our condition:

Consumers don’t make good disciples

Yesterday we began thinking about the folly of fighting your Goliath in your strength. As we saw, Alan Wolfe’s The Transformation of American Religion warns that many of us are consumers more than we are disciples, self-reliant rather than God-sufficient Read the rest of this entry »

new thread on an old subject: the baptism of babies

You’re a member (or at least a visitor) of a Reformed Church, a designation having an historical dimension (The Reformation of the 16th century) as it relates to its theological dimension (salvation is by faith alone).  In this Reformed church you see the monthly practice of baptism, and usually the baptism of infants.  That is what you find here.

But as one located in the “buckle” of the Bible Belt, you find yourself surrounded primarily by churches of a Baptistic nature.  If in a baptistic church, then baptism is reserved for those who can make a personal profession of faith; it is therefore not to be extended to infants or children who cannot enunciate their profession of faith because they do not know that profession. Read the rest of this entry »

Not ex nihilo, but ex meditatio

Some eschew culture as best they can.  Some adopt it wholesale.  Some seek to overhaul the culture. Some take a more considered approach to what of culture they partake in and what of culture they avoid.

What about “making culture” as a perhaps better approach for Christians in their attempt to live “in,” but not “of” the world?

Andy Crouch has a new book, just released this week, entitled, “Making Culture.”

Here’s the website.  For those of you who have grown tired either of trying to keep up with the culture, outstrip the culture, or give into the culture, making culture as Crouch defines it is perhaps in order.

God alone makes things from nothing; but He has created us with a capacity to create at least out of a meditative musing on what is good, excellent, praiseworthy, and enduring.

what do you do when you sin?

so how do you respond when you know that you’ve sinned? Despair? Denial?

Here’s Paul Tripp’s notions:

Between Two Worlds: Paul Tripp, “Whiter Than Snow”

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how shall I choose?

How do you make decisions? Important decisions? Which criteria appears at the top of the list?

Here’s one reputable source’s comment on how he finds guidance for matters of consequence–or more precisely, what he doesn’t look to for guidance.

In April, we’re going to devote time to the topic of discernment. Read the rest of this entry »

giving up chocolate isn’t really the point…

lent07.jpgFar more important than coming up with amorous or angst-ridden zingers in our little contest this week is the attention you give to this moment in the church calendar too often overlooked. As we said yesterday, Lent is a season for doing life differently: for refraining from some of the ordinary pleasures of life in order to devote ourselves to some reflection on His call upon our lives. Think of it as a period of more intense training meant to fortify us for the next season of life.

I’d suggested that if you were to fast once a week, you might use that lunch (or breakfast or dinner) hour to have a look at some “X-Ray questions” David Powlison penned in his book Seeing with New Eyes. Read the rest of this entry »

choosing less…gaining more

nice little ditty here by Phil Ryken on how to recover some sense of stability in a world that destabilizes by overloading you with options and stimulus.

Advent musing, II

if you’re looking for reasons why to make time for preparing and participating in the Lord’s Table, here’s my take on how the observance of Advent almost requires it.

Do you remember ever reading the play by Samuel Beckett entitled Waiting for Godot? It’s the story of two hapless nobodies waiting for one who ends up never coming. The play ends where it begins, on a broad plain by a dead tree, and the scene never changes. And at play’s end, we are left not in admiration of these two poor sops’ patience, but in pity of their willingness to wait for what seems will never come. Read the rest of this entry »

Saturday Night….Life

Now that you may have tried your hand (your heart really) at Lectio Divina, it might lead you to consider this:

We tend to think of Saturdays and Sundays as air-tight compartments in the sense that they don’t have much relationship to one another. Saturday is Saturday’s business. Sunday is Sunday’s. But what if part of what it means to “do” Sunday properly entails a certain way of “doing” Saturday?

Here’s a quote from one of the Puritans, George Swinnock. He has something to say about preparing yourself as the sun sets on a Saturday for what is to come when it rises again Sunday. His words are so foreign to our sensibilities, I think. Read the rest of this entry »