Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Note I Love To Sing

Many pastors are passionately focused on a particular subject. For instance, John Piper is all about Christian Hedonism, Tim Keller has a heart for social justice. Even men of old, such as William Tyndale, were Always Singing One Note.

This doesn't discount their passion for the gospel; all of these men love Jesus Christ and his good news first and foremost, but there is a particular rhythm by which they preach their message.

My own desire is in unifying the doctrines we all believe with how our lives are lived. Do your deeds match your beliefs? There is something romantic about the Methodist movement, and I can tell my heart beats similarly to Wesley's. But there's peril in pursuing holiness for its own sake. If I tried to follow in the footsteps of Wesley's Methodism, I would be paralyzed by legalism at every turn.
Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:13-16 ESV)
Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. (Philippians 2:12-13 ESV)
We certainly have a responsibility to be holy and to work the salvation God has placed within us outward, but even this is by the power of God, "for it is God who works in you."

Beliefs (confessions) and actions are linked, but not directly. They both flow out of what's rooted in the heart. I firmly believe that shaping the right heart is grounded in God's Word and in prayer. For the most part American Evangelicals have turned off communication with God, and so they live and speak as seems best to them. The result is the unbeliever's judgment that Christian's are hypocrites.

How is your relationship with God? We can have nothing greater than God, and we see him in his Word, especially in the person of Christ Jesus. We can have an intimate relationship with him. "In everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:6-7).

If you're interested in following a program to help you read your Bible every day, I would highly recommend the Robert Murray M'Cheyne Bible reading program. There are many resources to encourage you to succeed. I'll personally email you every day if that's what you need.
 I've also recently started using Joe Thorn's Strategy For Prayer. More caution is needed here, because these Valley of Vision prayers are not a substitute for a deep, personal communication with God. But they're excellent if you're looking for consistent reminder to pray, to learn how to pray, or if you want to have remote fellowship with brothers and sisters in Christ.

Update: This is a fun, 4-minute video that came out last night as I was typing this post:

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