Thursday, April 02, 2009

Questions for Fellowship

Once a month our men and women meet separately on a Wednesday night to study and pray and encourage each other in manly and womanly kinds of ways. Last night I distributed this sheet that is a re-formatting of what we elders use to guide our Elder Visits. I encouraged every man to meet with another man and work their way through the questions. The ladies did likewise.
If fellowship is the sharing of lives, then that demands we learn how to ask questions - the right, god-centered, Christ-exalting, Spirit-empowered questions.
It was a great night for us so I thought I might share the joy!

Your Spiritual Life

1. Describe your spiritual health (growing, stagnant, stuck, joyful, strong, etc).
2. Are you reading the Bible? What are you currently reading?
3. Are you regularly praying? Do you pray for the members (use the directory)?
4. In what areas have you discerned God’s grace changing you?
5. Are there particular sins you are finding it difficult to repent of or that seem to keep tripping you up?

Your Life in the World, but Not of the World

1. Are you handling your money in a way that glorifies God?
2. How is your time management? Too busy? Lazy?
3. Are there any New Testament commands that you know you should obey but you are not?
4. Has anyone addressed sins in your life recently? How did you respond? What changes have taken place in your life since then?
5. When is the last time you evangelized someone?
6. Have you been guilty of sins like gossip, outbursts of anger, lying, cheating, or taking pleasure in evil?
7. If you work outside of the home, would your co-workers consider you to be just, honest, faithful, God-glorifying and hard working?
8. Are you living the life of a good citizen; paying taxes, fulfilling societal obligations, serving your neighbours, etc?

Your Life at Home
1. Describe your home life. Is it a happy place to be? What changes would improve your home life?

1. Are you leading your wife? Are you romancing her and wooing her? Are you loving her as Christ loved the church?
2. Have you been leading your wife/family in some form of devotions?

1. Do you know the spiritual condition of your children?
2. Are you shepherding their hearts?
3. Are you teaching your children the Gospel and calling them to turn to Jesus?

1. Are you following your husband in everything?
2. What are some areas that you find it difficult to submit to him?

1. Do you know the spiritual condition of your children?
2. Are you shepherding their hearts?
3. Are you teaching your children the Gospel and calling them to turn to Jesus?

1. Are you content with being single?
2. Do you have any habits or living patterns that are not conducive to spiritual growth?
3. How are you building strong Christian friendships with others?
4. If you desire marriage, how are you preparing for that gift now?

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Whitefield, Godliness and Your Television

I am re-reading Dallimore’s masterpiece, George Whitefield: The Life and Times of the Great Evangelist of the 18th Century Revival. The first time I read this work, it was almost too much for me. My takes on evangelism, godliness, sacrifice, endurance, ministry, work and faith were all shattered.

Half way through volume one I am newly impressed with the godliness of Whitefield and those who laboured with him. Page after page speaks of nights spent in prayer, seasons of almost tangible closeness to God and their hard striving after true fellowship with the real God. They trained for godliness and perhaps none so much as George Whitefield.

I get the feeling he would not have watched a lot of television.

I watched some DVD’s the other night. I was excited to do so. I was “ready” for a break and some entertainment. (I generally only “get” to watch something 2 or 3 nights a week.) But the day after brought a tough realization. Not only had I wasted a lot of time, but I had trained my mind for sensuality.

Maybe nobody else experiences this when they watch television, but I find that its promise of smooth, effortless happiness is deceptive. Rarely does TV keep its promise. And if it does, it tends to add two other things.

First, there is the obvious slipping in of sin that almost without exception accompanies anything good we might watch. Adultery is justified, immorality exalted, the Lord’s name used vainly and a host of other sins all nicely packaged in humour or mystery or a great story. Rarely does the devil force-feed sin.

Secondly, the promise of pleasure orients my heart to look for the same from the rest of life. My TV may turn off, but my desires for effortless happiness have been awakened. I want the rest of life to be like TV – flip the channel or switch the DVD if it’s boring or not satisfying and keep on doing so until I find that happiness.

So, I brought the DVD’s back to my friend and didn’t watch the TV last night.

And I am praying that my gracious God would not only forgive me for hours of life wasted in front of that box, but would enable me to train for godliness like never before.

Following atheist trend, Britons seek 'de-baptism'

Following atheist trend, Britons seek 'de-baptism'

In a sense, I appreciate the logic:

John Hunt, a 58-year-old from London and one of the first to try to be "de-baptised," held that he was too young to make any decision when he was christened at five months old.

The male nurse said he approached the Church of England to ask it to remove his name. "They said they had sought legal advice and that I should place an announcement in the London Gazette," said Hunt, referring to one of the official journals of record of the British government.

So that's what he did -- his notice of renouncement was published in the Gazette in May 2008 and other Britons have followed suit.

Of course, rather than renouncing a non-faith, I would love to see these thousands repent of all sin and believe on Jesus Christ for salvation. That is when a baptism would really mean something!