Preparing For 2019

As we have been discussing the last few weeks, we should be considering ways to draw nearer to God in the new year. To that end, below are some links for you to review as you determine the path you would like to pursue.

David Mathis at Desiring God wrote this week about hearing from “The Most Important Voice in 2019”.

The most obvious way to hear from God is to get into His Word on a regular basis. Ligonier has offered us a number of different links to bible reading plans. Chris Swain at Replicate Ministries encourages us to memorize the Bible, as well. Replicate also offers their very own 260-day Bible reading plan through the New Testament.

For those of you thinking that reading the entire Bible is simply too time consuming, the staff at Crossway posted an infographic that shows us that “You Have More Time for Bible Reading than You Think”.

When it comes to reshaping our prayer lives, Ligonier also has created the “Awakening” guide. You pray for a different group each week. Week 1 is yourself and your family, Week 2 is your neighbors, church and co-workers, Week 3 is for your city and nation, Week 4 is for the world and the global church. You can download or order your guide here.

Tim Challies recently outlined 10 suggestions for your personal devotional time, Perhaps, one of them might encourage you.

As we begin a new year, let’s “set our minds on the things that are above” (Colossians 3:1). Let’s commit to pursuing these means of grace to seek the glory of God in 2019.

Continuing To Grow

As we continue to discuss our need to grow spiritually, I found two daily devotionals during the week that may help or encourage you to this end.

First at Ligonier, we have a devotional entitled “Pushing Through Plateaus”. Here we are encouraged not to settle for mere jargon and/or spiritual milk, but to push on through the power of the Holy Spirit and discipline.

Second, Paul David Tripp wrote “The Fear of Public Speaking” where he encourages us to be able to explain the hope that is within us. While I encourage you read the entire post, i do want to make special note of his questions for reflections. Tripp asks us to consider:

What steps can you take to become more biblically literate and theologically informed?

What are some other areas in your lief that compete with – or you prioritize more than – being a student of the Word of God?

Have you thought of a way to tell your story in a way that puts God and his grace on center stage? Take some time now to consider how you can share your story with others, both of how God saved you and is now transforming you everyday.

What are some of the hurdles that leave you unwilling or nervous to talk honestly about how much you were (and continue to be) a person in need of rescue? How can you combat that pride or fear by preaching the gospel to yourself?

Who is living near you who could benefit from your story of grace? What action steps can you take this week to meet with them and begin to share your story, while also asking more about their story?


Fear Of The Lord

The tone and text of Pastor Jeff’s sermon today reminded me of Drew Dyck’s book “Yawning At Tigers”. Here is a snippet:

“The truth is that God is radically different for us, in degree and kind. He is ontologically dissimilar, wholly other, dangerous, alien, holy, and wild……But for the most part we neither tremble in fear nor thrill with excitement at the prospect of encountering this wild deity. Instead our church experiences are largely predictable and sedate. Our spiritual lives are devoid of passion. Yes we believe, but often our knowledge of God is dry and cereal. We give mere mental assent to truths that should leave us shaking. We mumble perfunctory prayers. We ask God to keep us safe, not realizing that it is from him we most need protecting.”

What Binds The Hands Of Love?

Writing in the daily devotionals at Desiring God, John Piper states:

“The problem with the church today is not that there are too many people who are passionately in love with heaven. The problem is not that professing Christians are retreating from the world, spending half their days reading Scripture and the other half singing about their pleasures in God all the while indifferent to the needs of the world. That’s not happening!”

So what does Piper think IS the happening? Read the rest of the article here.