Monday, November 30, 2015

On the Bookshelves

This morning I'm sitting in a Barnes & Noble about to pick up a book for my son we ordered and reading a little. I always like to venture over to the "Christianity" section to see what passes for a "Christian" book these days among popular culture. It's always an interesting perusal. 

Of all the books that were located in their section labeled "best sellers" or "top sellers" within the Christianity section, I think there is only one that I would recommend. And, that was a compilation book of some of CS Lewis's works. And, that's out of about 20 or 25 books on the shelves. And, that doesn't even include the devotional section (don't get me started!)

Among the so-called "Christian" section as a whole, there are books by those who are solidly biblical, and then there are those that are, well, shall we say, not so biblical in their approach.

Dear brothers and sisters, the call for spiritual discernment is as important today as it ever has been. Spiritual discernment is the ability to discern (make judgments, evaluate according to biblical criteria) truth from error (Hebrews 5:14). Tim Challies defines it this way: "the skill of understanding and applying God’s Word with the purpose of separating truth from error and right from wrong." The subtlety of Satan's deception is that he disguises himself as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14) giving a little bit of what is true to suck in unsuspecting readers and slowly but surely going in for the kill to destroy a person's spiritual life and eventually seek to sever their connection to the bible as the ultimate standard of spiritual truth. The cover of the book might be colorful or even not so colorful, but it might be just that, a cover--the clothing of a wolf on the inside (Matthew 7:15-20). Just because it's under the "Christian" label, it may not be truly biblical.

Know the bible. Read the bible. Understand the bible. Read books with discernment.

1 Peter 5:8 "Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour"

Monday, November 16, 2015

Been thinkin'...yes, that can be dangerous

Busy, busy, busy...our lives, right? Who said we had to be that busy? Have we succumbed to pressure of the culture to join the "rat race"? Have we let the "way of the culture" be in the driver's seat of our lives? Have we done some of this to ourselves? Have we bought into a particular "rhythm of life" that is not conducive to giving attention to the things that matter the most?

Have we done the same thing in church life? Ah, didn't know that's where we were going with this, huh? What if a "calendar stuffed" with activity after activity, event after event, isn't actually helping us accomplish the mission that Jesus gave us to accomplish? What if we began to evaluate all of our decisions about activities, events, etc. based upon their potential to advance the totality of the disciple-making enterprise: connecting with those far away from God, establishing relationships, providing a rhythm of life that is conducive to discipling others, worship, etc.......what if?

What would change? How would our priorities shift? What would our calendars look individuals, as families, as churches? How can we give greater intentionality to our calendars and our lives for the purpose of the Great Commission?

This...this is a work in progress...