Some indeed preach Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from good will. The latter do it out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. The former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely but thinking to afflict me in my imprisonment.
“When one gives up Christian belief one thereby deprives oneself of the right to Christian morality. Christianity is a system, a consistently thought out and complete view of things. If one breaks out of it a fundamental idea, the belief in God, one thereby breaks the whole thing to pieces: one has nothing of any consequence left in one’s hands.
Learned in song, remembered long.
Righting wrong and getting strong.
Memorizing Scripture helps fight the fight of faith. Scripture set to music can be easier to learn and remember.
... in the hand of the Lord.
I get this from Proverbs 21:1, “The king's [banker’s] heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; he turns it wherever he will.”
Please pray with us over the next several days that God will work in the hearts of the bankers we’re working with to accept Bethlehem’s purchase agreement.
Earlier today, Klaas Van Zee (Bethlehem elder and chairman of our South Campus Selection and Development Committee) sent this to the elders:
“There is a vast difference between saying prayers and praying.”
Last weekend, Pastor Kenny Stokes’ sermon was entitled “Keep Yourselves From Idols: Part 2” from 1 John 5:20–21. (See manuscript and audio.)
In the message, he posed 13 questions (or clusters of questions) to aid our search and identification of false “gods” within our hearts. His intent was to identify areas within our hearts where we may have elevated created things or gifts from God to be ultimate and godlike.
“There is no worse screen to block out the Spirit than confidence in our own intelligence.”—John Calvin
… Therefore we need each other. We all have blind spots.
Well-intentioned efforts to win peoples to Jesus can trip over many obstacles. One of those obstacles is cultural context. Obstacles are also an opportunity to demonstrate love.
Tracy Cornish, who just returned from ministering in China with her husband, Rick, reports her amazement at the Chinese worshipers who not only sing with the windows open (no air conditioning, and it also lets the neighbors eavesdrop), but the entire congregation gathers one hour before the service in order to rehearse the hymns so they can sing their best when the service starts.
In the North Campus staff lunchroom last week, some of the staff were discussing this assertion: When God creates sinners—both people and demons—he is then able to demonstrate his mercy in Christ and to demonstrate that he is not obligated to show mercy.
Tim Johnson is chairman of the Bethlehem elder council, and CEO of Impact Proven Solutions. He was selected as a finalist for the 2010 Upper Midwest Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award.
I asked Tim some questions about eldership and the council …