Passionate About the Gospel

“If there’s anything in life that we should be passionate about, it’s the gospel.  And I don’t mean passionate only about sharing it with others.  I mean passionate in thinking about it, dwelling on it, rejoicing in it, allowing it to color the way we look at the world.  Only one thing can be of first importance to each of us.  And only the gospel ought to be.”

~C.J. Mahaney~

Humility in the Wrong Place

“What we suffer from… is humility in the wrong place.  Modesty has moved from the organ of ambition.  Modesty has settled upon the organ of conviction; where it was never meant to be.  A man was meant to be doubtful about himself, but undoubting about the truth; this has been exactly reversed.  Nowadays the part of a man that a man does assert is exactly the part he ought not to assert – himself.  The part he doubts is exactly the part he ought not to doubt – the Divine Reason”

~G.K. Chesterton~

Reading With Intentionality

Early 15th-century Latin Bible, handwritten in...

Early 15th-century Latin Bible, handwritten in Belgium, on display at Malmesbury Abbey, Wiltshire, England (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Thou mayest hear sermons often, and do well in practicing what thou hearest; but thou must not expect to be told thee in a pulpit all that though oughtest to do, but be studious in searching the Scriptures, and reading good books; what though hearest may be forgotten, but what thou readest may better be retained.”

~ John Bunyan ~

Being an avid reader myself  it probably goes without saying that I am a huge proponent of reading.  (particularly non-fictional reading)  I realize I am biased in this opinion, but I do think it is a great way for one to grow.  However, whether you are naturally inclined toward reading or not, every Christian ought to spend time reading their Bible.  It is reading of the Bible after all, that gives us the greatest grasp of who God is and what He has done.  And, it is on this understanding that we build our faith.  Thus, extra-biblical materials are icing on the cake, so to speak.   You might even say it’s like taking a supplemental vitamin.  For just as supplemental vitamins enhance ones health, so extra-biblical materials can enhance ones Spiritual growth.

Let me back up for a moment and define what I mean by extra-biblical materials.  Extra-biblical materials are any forms of religious literature not found within the canon of Scripture.  They are Spirit inspired (hopefully), but not God breathed.  They are often enlightening, but not infallible.  Extra-biblical material is any literature that helps us to better understand Scripture.

It is in regards to such reading that I would like to offer a word of advice today.  Read with intentionality!  What do I mean?  Don’t read just anything.  As Bunyan says, read good books.  Identify authors that inspire you and read lot’s of their stuff.  Reading multiple books by a single author allows one to better understand where they are coming from and how they think.  I have found that reading in such a manner can be very similar to sitting under a professor.  Then read books by authors that influenced them.  Read old books.  Reading books from former generations often lends itself to the development of a broader perspective.  It also stands to reason, that books that have stood the test of time probably did so for a reason (although of course not all old books are good).  Most importantly read books by authors that put a supreme value on the authority of Scripture.  Scripture must be used to form thoughts, not to support them.  In the end all extra-biblical reading should bring us back to a better understanding of God.

Need a place to start?  Try John Piper, John Bunyan, Jonathan Edwards, or C.S. Lewis.  Those are my four favorites anyway.  Happy reading!

~Matthew Wynne~

John Calvin on Prayer

John Calvin

Image via Wikipedia

 

“Words fail to explain how necessary prayer is, and in how many ways the exercise of prayer is profitable.  Surely, with good reason the Heavenly Father affirms that the only stronghold of safety is in calling upon his name {Joel 2:32}.  By so doing we invoke the presence of both his providence, through which he watches over and guards our affairs, and of his power, through which he sustains us, weak as we are and well-nigh overcome, and of his goodness, through which he receives us, miserably burdened with sins, unto grace; and, in short, it is by prayer that we call him to reveal himself as wholly present to us.  Hence comes an extraordinary peace and repose to our consciences.  For having disclosed to the Lord the necessity that was pressing upon us, we even rest fully in the thought that none of our ills is hid from him who, we are convinced, has both the will and the power to take the best care of us.”

  ~John Calvin~