Monthly Archives: August 2012

A.W. Pink on Holy Fear

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Arthur W. Pink in one of his writings states:

It is true that believers are bidden to fear Him which is able to destroy both body and soul in Hell (Matt. 10: 28), yet it should be pointed out that there is a vast difference between fearing God and dreading eternal punishment: in the parallel and fuller passage Christ added, yea, I say unto you, fear Him (Luke 12:5)-not fear Hell. one of the covenant promises which God has made concerning His elect is, I will put My fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from Me (Jer. 32:40), and that is a filial fear, a respect for His authority, an awesome veneration of His majesty; whereas the fear of the unregenerate is a is a servile, anxious and tormenting one. The holy fear of the righteous causes them to be vigilant and watchful against those ways which lead to destruction, but the fear of the wicked is occupied only with destruction itself: the one is concerned about evils which occasion God’s wrath; the other is confined to the effects of His wrath. But the exercise of faith and the operations of filial fear are not only principles which regulate the saint: the love of Christ constrains him; gratitude unto God for His wondrous grace has a powerful effect upon his conduct.

(Eternal Security: It’s Opposition by Arthur W. Pink)

Nancy Leigh DeMoss on the Greatest Need of Women

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Nancy Leigh Demoss unravels what is the greatest need of every women of God:

One of our greatest needs as women is to become women of the Word, so that our prayers, our responses, and our words are saturated with God’s way of thinking. The world does not need to hear our opinions. When friends approach us for advice about dealing with their children, their boss, their finances, their fears, their depression, or other issues, they don’t need to hear what we think. We should be able to take them to the Word and say, “I don’t have the answers you need, but I know Someone who does. Here’s what God’s Word has to say about this situation.”

God didn’t intend for pastors to be the only ones who point people to the Word. Each of us should be able to use the Word effectively, not only in our worship and our own walk, but also in ministering to the needs of others. If we’re going to be women of the Word, we must make a priority of spending time daily in the Scripture—reading, studying, memorizing, meditating, personalizing, and praying it back to God—letting Him teach us His ways.

 

(“Biblical Womanhood in the Home” copyright 2002 by Nancy Leigh DeMoss, pp. 73, published by Crossway Books)

The Quotable John Piper

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I love John Piper and I hope you love him too. For more of him check out Desiring God.Here are some of his quotes posted at my Tumblr blog, One Battle at a Time. Enjoy!!!

“Worship is the end in itself because it is the final end for which we are created.”–John Piper

 

“Worship is feast.”–John Piper

 

“Worship is an end in itself because we glorify God by enjoying Him forever.”–John Piper

 

“Worship is authentic when affection for God arises in the heart as an end in themselves.”–John Piper

 

“Happiness in God is the end of all our seeking.”–John Piper

 

“Faith has in it element of valuing embracing, Prizing, relishing Christ.”–John Piper

 

“We ask God to do us through Christ what we can’t do for ourselves—bear fruit.” –John Piper “Desiring God”

“There is no true joy without faith.”–John Piper “Desiring God”

“The faith that starts our life in Christ and by which we go on living comes from hearing the Word of God.” –John Piper “Desiring God”

“Pursuing joy in God and praising God are not separate acts.” –John Piper “Dangerous Duty of Delight”

“The mark of love for God is willing, joyful obedience, not begrudging obedience.”—John Piper, “Finally Alive’

“When the world loses its powerful attraction because of the new birth, God and his holy will become attractive.” —John Piper, “Finally Alive’

“Faith breaks the enslaving spell of the world’s allurement. In that way, faith leads us into obedience with  freedom and joy.” —John Piper, “Finally Alive’

“Loving God means admiring and valuing and treasuring and desiring him with such ardency and authenticity that his will is our delight and is not burdensome.” —John Piper, “Finally Alive’

“If you don’t love God, you can’t do anybody any ultimate good.” —John Piper, “Finally Alive’

“The most immediate and decisive work of God in the new birth is that the new life he creates sees the superior value of Jesus over all else (2 Cor. 4:4, 6).” —John Piper, “Finally Alive’

“Love starts with God. And if anything we feel or do can be called love, it will be because we are connected with God by the new birth.” —John Piper, “Finally Alive’

“God touched the blind eyes of self-love and gave her an irresistible view of his own glory in the face of Christ.”—John Piper, ‘God’s Passion for His Glory’

“That is, regeneration (or new birth) must precede the pursuit of happiness in God.”—John Piper, ‘God’s Passion for His Glory’

“Therefore regeneration is the foundation of true virtue.”—John Piper, ‘God’s Passion for His Glory’

“Our passion for God’s glory is the work of God’s Spirit granting us participation in God’s own delight in God.”—John Piper, ‘God’s Passion for His Glory’

‘God is glorified both by being understood and by being delighted in.”—John Piper, ‘God’s Passion for His Glory’

“To love God passionately is to love truth passionately.”—John Piper, ‘God’s Passion for His Glory’

“Our concern with truth is simply an echo of our concern with God.”—John Piper, ‘God’s Passion for His Glory’

“Christ and his grace win. That is very good news for those who belong to Christ.”—John Piper, Spectacular Sins and Their Global Purpose in the Glory of Christ

 

“Rootless emotionalism that treats Christianity like a therapeutic option will be swept away in the last days.” —John Piper, Spectacular Sins and Their Global Purpose in the Glory of Christ

 

“Christianity begins with the conviction that God is an objective reality outside ourselves.” —John Piper, Spectacular Sins and Their Global Purpose in the Glory of Christ

 

“Remember what we have seen about God’s permission: Whatever God permits, he permits for a reason. And his reasons are always infinitely wise and purposeful.” —John Piper, Spectacular Sins and Their Global Purpose in the Glory of Christ

“The ultimate aim of the eternal plan was that praise might be as intense as possible for the glory of God’s grace. And the apex of that glory is in the death of Jesus.” —John Piper, Spectacular Sins and Their Global Purpose in the Glory of Christ

 

“Wimpy worldviews produce wimpy Christians.” —John Piper, Spectacular Sins and Their Global Purpose in the Glory of Christ

 

“Grace through the free gift of righteousness leads to the triumph of life, and all of that through Jesus Christ.” —John Piper, Spectacular Sins and Their Global Purpose in the Glory of Christ

 

“All that came into being exists for Christ—that is, everything exists to display the greatness of Christ.” —John Piper, Spectacular Sins and Their Global Purpose in the Glory of Christ

 

“When we renounce the designs of the devil and trust the power and wisdom and goodness of God displayed in the humble triumphs of Jesus Christ, we fulfill God’s purpose in letting Satan live a little longer. We glorify the infinitely superior worth of Jesus.” —John Piper, Spectacular Sins and Their Global Purpose in the Glory of Christ

 

“Maintaining the joy of faith in the face of horrific evil does not hap­pen by coasting. It happens by conquering.” —John Piper, Spectacular Sins and Their Global Purpose in the Glory of Christ

 

“The infinite glory of Jesus makes him infinitely valuable and infinitely satisfying”—John Piper, “Think: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God”

“Deeper than knowing God is being known by God.”—John Piper, “Think: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God”

“The only kind of faith that matters in the end is saving faith.”—John Piper, “Think: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God”

“Faith saves because it receives Jesus.” —John Piper, “Think: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God”

“Loving God is most essentially treasuring God-valuing him, cherishing him, admiring him, desiring him.” —John Piper, “Think: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God”

“In all my rejoicing in everything, there is a central rejoicing in God.” —John Piper, “Think: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God”

“Every joy that does not have God as its central gladness is a hollow joy and in the end will burst like a bubble.” —John Piper, “Think: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God”

 

 

What’s your favorite John Piper book? Please post it on the comments.

 

The Story Listeners

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When listening, particularly to the gospel, one verse comes to mind. It’s on Romans 10: 17:

“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”

We come to faith or salvation because someone told us the gospel. We became children of God and got all its privileges because we listen to the “greatest story ever told”. Look at verse 15:

“And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!”

We need ‘storytellers’ for the good news. We also need those who will hear the gospel. We need the story listeners (which God also provides). Verse 18 ask:

“But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world.”

Now that’s when you listen and got saved (Romans 10:13). Let’s move on to your Christian life as you digest God’s Word through your ear.

James 1:22 “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.”

Are you a good story listener? Do you effectively listen to messages from your church Sunday School and Worship service? Do you invest your time in listening to appetizers of narratives that grabs your attention or to the ‘main course’ of God’s message that transforms you? Are you taking notes while listening? Have you take time to thank the preacher for the effort they have done in preparing the message to you? Are you taking steps to do the things you have heard?

Are you a good storyteller? Then you should also be a good listener. You might be an effective preacher or teacher of God’s Word, but are you also an excellent hearer? Do you appreciate the message you hear from others? Storytellers will grow spiritually if they put it in action what the Holy Spirit wants them to do in that message. Make that on top of your list as a Christian. Likewise, observing how another storyteller speak can teach strategies in improving your teaching method as you attentively listen.

Forget the clothes, the looks and the gestures. Tune in with the life changing message they deliver to us. Be the best story listener. Then act upon what you have learned.

Whether you’re a storyteller, a story listener or both, you should take heed to what James 1: 22 say. Like a soldier, listen to the marching orders and accomplish it for the Chief.

Remember Luke 11:28 as you seek to be an effective listener: “But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.”

Ravi Zacharias on Sin

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In this outstanding book “Game Plan for Life: Your Personal Playbook for Success”, Ravi unravels the meaning of sin:

“Actually, the word sin has two clear meanings. The first—“to miss the mark—seems less damning, but its sense is still strong. It’s the soccer ball hitting the goalpost instead of the net. It’s the one spike on the runner’s shoe that drifts outside the racing lane and leads to disqualification. It’s the running back’s foot stepping out of bounds by a fraction of an inch.

If it’s true that football is a game of inches, there’s no question that life is too. When we miss the mark of who or what we were meant to be, the consequence are significant.

You’re likely more familiar with the second meaning of the word sin: a deliberate violation, a transgression, breaking the rules. Sin is knowing what is right and choosing to do otherwise; saying no in the face of God.”

(“Game Plan for Life: Your Personal Playbook for Success” by Joe Gibbs copyright 2009, p. 94, published by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.)

The Storytellers

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Stumbling upon a book titled “Essential Managers: Presenting” by Aileen Pincus, I instantly grab and curiously read it. “This book will be useful” I said to myself, because I get to speak quite often at church. As I thumb through the pages, I got across something that is very essential for preachers and teachers of God’s Word. The topic was using narrative. Let me share some of it here:

Six of the most powerful words in the English language are “Let me tell you a story.” Narratives bring facts and figures into context and lift presentations out of the realm of dry tutorials. They provide a showcase for the presenter to demonstrate real passion and grasp of the issues, particularly if the narrative resonates on a personal level. Crucially, they-like no other device-will captivate the listener.

 

It amazed me that in corporate world, they employ this kind method to get their message across. And according to the book it will ‘captivate the listener’. But note we use narratives not to sell a product or present business charts but to present God’s enduring story. We use narratives in our Bible study or sermon to grab and penetrate its truth to the hearts believers. Nothing but a good story will get their attention and drive God’s lessons to us.

The book goes on to say:

Learn to use stories effectively, by reading and listening to accomplished storytellers.

 

As for Christians, there is one “accomplished storyteller” that we should learn how to use narrative effectively. And that’s Jesus Christ, the Master Storyteller. He successfully used stories (or parables) to make an important life lesson for every listener (Matthew 13:34-35). He draws illustrations from everyday activities (sowing, building, shepherding etc.,) people (laborers, rich man, Pharisees, publican, virgins etc.,) nature (vine, branches, fig-tree, cloud etc.,) and common objects (like coins, wine bottle, candles etc.) to make his stories hit the heart. And who can forget the parable of the Prodigal Son and Good Samaritan that really captured our emotions. Read His parables and see how He shared it to the people. Take time to note who are His listeners and their reactions. Look at Him for inspiration on your storytelling.

Last year, our YP/YS Fellowship had a series on Children Ministry. We want to learn to tell biblical stories and have heart for children for the gospel. We used this video to instruct our young people on how to effectively teach children about God. I discovered this from Tony Kummer’s kids’ ministry blog, “Ministry to Children”. This is kinda cute and entertaining but lots of tips on Bible storytelling mind you. Go check it for yourself. To fully utilize this video, I would advice that you read the article on that blog by following this link

I made them watch this video twice then gave them 2 minutes to give their insights. I ask them to jot 5 things they notice on the little girl’s storytelling. Everyone is up to their feet and glued to my laptop. I could sense this lesson is a blockbuster to them as I see their faces smile and the discussions they had afterwards. We learned a lot from that video.

As for me, I employ narratives or stories in the sermon that I preach. It helps the listener to set to preaching time mode, pay close attention, make them smile, thrust an important lesson and leave something to think about in the end of the message. Do you do that too?

My sources range from news reports, special features, Magazine TV shows, books, blogs, films and stuff about social media. This makes part of my message fresh, interesting and relevant. But of course, I should spend more time with the Bible meditating and asking God for a message. Those sources should not come close as to the preaching. Nothing is far more fresh, interesting and relevant as the Word of God.

Adding story in a message sometimes just comes naturally and you don’t have to watch TV 24/7 to get something to put on a sermon. Even one glance of today’s news on TV or newspaper sometimes will do. If you’re an avid reader of books or blogs it is a plus for you. Also for every preacher and teacher the needs of God’s people should be the primary objective of a message. You can skip the delightful anecdote and go straight to the matter. It will be more beneficial to the believers. Another thing is using stories are not for the reason to make your sermon likable or acceptable but to make a powerful emphasis on what God impress to your heart to preach.

How about you? How do you use narratives in your preaching or Bible lessons? In what way you get stories for your message? What are some notable reactions you get when you telling a story?

Before I end this article, I would like you to watch this video produced by The Gospel Project. Hope this inspires you to make use of narratives to exalt Christ message to everyone who listens to you.

A Mouthful on “Word of Mouth” Books

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My pastor once told a funny story. A news that was blown into exaggerated proportions. The story was a man that was bitten by a small snake. When the story reached the next town the story it inflated by adding that the snake was as big as an arm of a baby. Reaching the neighboring town the story was distorted. The news of a man bitten by an Anaconda snake!

Word of mouth can be an ally when we are sick with marketing and endless advertising of a certain book. Who can’t resist a recommendation of a friend and see how it affected him. With the advance of social media it gave word of mouth buzz the next level. Personal blogs can serve hot reviews of the latest Christian book without being bias.

While word of mouth can be useful it has its downs too. The one thing and most important of all it wouldn’t guarantee a Christian to read biblical stuff. It may be useful or spiritual but it may be just a slab of pragmatism.  So we must be discerning on what we digest spiritually. Be aware of what might be spiritual damaging to us. So before you become convince to pick up another word of mouth book, check it first if its biblical and most importantly God exalting. Heed to this advice from the Apostle Paul:

1 Thessalonians 5:21 “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.”