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Midweek Roundup – 7/16/14

Each Wednesday we share some recent links that we found informative, insightful, or helpful. These are often related to Crossway books, Bibles, or authors—but not always. We hope this list is an interesting and encouraging break for the middle of your week.


1. Jen Wilkin on how wealth impacts Bible study

Statistics show that most of us have a Bible at arm’s length twenty four hours a day. According to mashable.com, 56.4% of Americans own a smart phone or tablet, meaning they have the capability to access Scripture with the touch of a screen. That’s before we consider how many have access through a PC or a hard copy. And no one is going to arrest us for reading them.

American Christians are never far from a copy of the Bible. We have been given “much” access. How can we overlook the privilege of such wealth by leaving our Bibles unopened?

2. Joe Thorn lists 4 characteristics of earnest preaching

I have always been drawn to those who can speak with creativity and with conviction. This was true before my conversion, and is especially true today. Since my conversion, I find myself hungering to hear the word preached. When it comes to preaching, there are two basic things that I want to hear from a preacher: the word of God andearnestness. If he doesn’t bring the word of God, he has nothing to say. If he isn’t earnest, I’m tempted to not believe him. As I evaluate my own preaching, and coach other preachers, I find that earnestness is one of the areas that needs the most attention. A man’s earnestness in preaching is often the hand that grips the hearer and brings him along side the preacher to the truth proclaimed.

3. Audio: Timothy George explains why he is an evangelical and a Baptist

Dr. Timothy George has been the dean of Beeson Divinity School since its inception in 1988. He recently contributed a chapter entitled “Why I Am an Evangelical and a Baptist” to the book Why We Belong: Evangelical Unity and Denominational Diversity (Crossway, 2013). Showing how denominational affiliation can be natural without being negative and how evangelical identity can help rather than hinder Christian unity, Why We Belong explains both the personal and doctrinal reasons each of the contributors fits not only in their church, but also in the Church.

4. Gloria Furman reflects on “missional motherhood”

As a mom I have a lot of responsibilities, priorities, and messages. One time at a church potluck my preschool-aged son was standing by the dessert table that was piled high with donuts. (Ok, this scene probably happens at all of our church potlucks.) A woman saw him eye-ing the donuts like he was a three-year-old standing next to a table of donuts. (You get the picture.) She asked him, “I don’t know if you can have that, little guy. What does your Mommy say?” With great flourish and conviction my son answered, “What my Mommy says? My Mommy… she says to me, ‘Judson! Flush. The. Toilet.’”

5. Books at a Glance reviews Tough Topics by Sam Storms

Many “Bible Problems” type books focus on alleged contradictions and such, but Storms’ focus is on Scripture’s teaching on various subjects. The questions range from more personal to theological and matters of denominational debate. It’s doubtful that you’ve not puzzled over many of these questions yourself, and there are likely some questions here that you just haven’t yet dare ask – “Will There Be Sex in Heaven?” (chapter 17).

July 16, 2014 | Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Book News,Midweek Roundup,News & Announcements | Author: Matt Tully @ 8:00 am | 0 Comments »

Don’t Settle for a “Quiet” Time

WOWM - Tips and Encouragement

This is a guest post by Gloria Furman and is part of Women of the Word Month, a free 31-day campaign designed to encourage and equip women for transformative Bible study. Learn more or sign up at crossway.org/women.


Walking the Living Room by Faith

A small lamp threw light up into the corner of the dark living room. As I walked through that room into the home office where I worked, I made the otherwise still air move with me. The owners of the house didn’t like to use the air conditioner—even in the Texas summers—because it felt too cold on their skin. Spending decades in third world conditions will do that to you. On the mornings when I came over to work she would turn on a tiny desk fan just for me. He would shiver as he sat nearby, so I would turn it off.

I was there to help the elderly missionaries keep up with their writing and administrative work, and move an occasional box in or out of the garage. A few years ago they both died and immediately awoke in the presence of the Lord—her first and then him very soon after. Their fellowship with God is now by sight forever. But for the years, months, days, hours, and minutes they were with us here, their fellowship with God was by faith.

Their house in America had wall-to-wall carpet, and, in between the furniture that hadn’t been moved for years, you could see where their faith had moved their feet. There were well-worn paths in the carpet where she paced back and forth with her Scripture memory cards and knee-shaped patches where he knelt to pray.

I thought it was remarkable that the one thing that didn’t gather dust in that house was the collection of shoe boxes scattered around, each overflowing with handwritten Bible verses. They took God’s Word everywhere with them—even in those final days when the distance they traveled was not to the other side of the world, but rather to the other side of the house.

Letting the Word of Christ Dwell in You Richly

This older couple didn’t carve out just a portion of time for God’s Word and leave it at that. Rather, they put God’s Word in their heart so it could be carving them into the image of Christ all day long.

Their example ministered to me back then while I was a busy college student taking a full course load and working a couple of part-time jobs. And their example still ministers to me today, now a busy pastor’s wife with four children. As I seek to fellowship with God in my days and nights, I need to see with faith-eyes that the Word of God isn’t just a part of my life, but is my very life (Deut. 32:45-47).

Whether Circus or Solitude, Christ is Sufficient

I’ll be the first to confess that wholehearted devotion to God’s Word is hard to come by when you have lots of people who need your attention plus a smart phone in your pocket. I can think of few things that sound more peaceful than a brewing coffee pot against a backdrop of unmitigated silence, inviting me to sit in a comfortable chair for a leisurely read in my Bible for as long as I like. Sometimes I wonder what life would be like if I could sit still for hours to hear the word of Christ, especially when I hear a sibling squabble starting in the next room.

However, for many of us, this is not a season (or lifetime) that naturally lends itself to this kind of “quiet time.” But that is no threat to the word of Christ! We need to be encouraged by the fact that peace and quiet are not ultimate, and the Holy Spirit does not abandon us in the absence of solitude.

Rather than restrict fellowship with God to a certain time of day, we need the word of Christ to dwell in us richly (Col. 3:16) all the time and everywhere we go (Deut. 6:4-9). Scripture is always sufficient for your life, whether it is quiet or chaotic.

Jesus promises to light your path wherever you walk (John 8:12) as you look forward to the day when your faith becomes sight and you behold the Word of God (Rev. 21:23).


Gloria Furman is a wife, mother of four young children, doula, and blogger. In 2008 her family moved to the Middle East to plant Redeemer Church of Dubai where her husband, Dave, serves as the pastor. She is the author of Glimpses of Grace and Treasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full, and blogs regularly at The Gospel Coalition and GloriaFurman.com.

 


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Video: Studying the Book of Philippians

In the video below, Ryan Kelly introduces us to Philippians: A 12-Week Study, which is part of Crossway’s Knowing the Bible study series.


Knowing the Bible Series: Philippians
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July 15, 2014 | Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Book News,News & Announcements,Video | Author: Matt Tully @ 8:30 am | 0 Comments »

Reading God’s Word When You Don’t Want To

WOWM - Tips and Encouragement

This is a guest post by Paul Tripp and is part of Women of the Word Month, a free 31-day campaign designed to encourage and equip women for transformative Bible study. Learn more or sign up at crossway.org/women.


I have a confession to make. It’s embarrassing and humbling, but I’m willing to make it: I’m not always excited about reading and studying God’s Word.

I go through periods of what I would call spiritual boredom, when the “old, old story” just isn’t very exciting to me. On my very bad days, Bible study feels burdensome to me, and my heart is motivated more by duty than worshipful joy.

When I hit these periods, there are three things that I require myself to remember. They have helped me and I think they’ll help you too.

1. I remember God’s grace.

One of my favorite passages in all of Scripture is Isaiah 55. This chapter gives us visual picture after visual picture of God’s amazing grace, and because it does, it’s not surprising that the crescendo of this chapter is a visual picture of what the Bible is able to do in us and for us.

You will never find joy in Bible study until you understand that reading God’s Word is not first a call to duty, but an invitation to receive a wonderful gift. Your Bible is a gift of God’s grace that is able to do what no other gift can do—change your heart and your life. Scripture really does have to power to turn thorn bushes into cypress trees!

2. I remember Jesus.

Reading God’s word is much more than reading dusty, abstract theology, becoming familiar with ancient religious stories, or getting principles for daily living. You will never have joy in your Bible study unless you understand that it’s God’s invitation for you to commune with his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

In John 5, Jesus’s claims are questioned by people who are purported to be experts in Scripture. Christ says, “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me” (John 5:39).

Open your Bible and what do you encounter? Not a thing, but a Person, and His name is Jesus. Reading and meditating on your Bible is God’s means of welcoming you into daily fellowship with your Brother, Friend, Savior and King—Jesus.

3. I remember to remember.

I’m so prone to forget God, forget His grace, forget my identity as His child, forget that He supplies all that I need, forget His unstoppable sovereign plan, and forget His eternal kingdom. And when I forget God, I to put myself in His position and make my life all about me; my will, my feeling, my plan, my wants and my needs.

Putting myself in God’s position always leads to spiritual dissatisfaction because the world was not created to do my bidding. So I need to be reminded every day of God’s awesome glory, his gracious presence in my life, and my special identity as his child. His Word was given so that day after day I would remember.

So, tomorrow, when you don’t feel like opening your Bible, remember God’s grace, remember your friend and brother, Jesus, and remember how quickly you forget. Pick God’s Word up not with the burden of guilt or as a call to duty, but because it’s a gift given to you by a God of amazingly tender mercy and grace.


Paul David Tripp is the president of Paul Tripp Ministries, professor of pastoral life and care at Redeemer Seminary, and the executive director of the Center for Pastoral Life and Care, under the auspices of the Association of Biblical Counselors. He is the author of a number of popular books on Christian living, including What Did You Expect?, Whiter Than Snow, A Shelter in the Time of Storm, Dangerous Calling, Sex and Money, and New Morning Mercies (forthcoming). He has been married for many years to Luella and they have four grown children. For more information and resources visit paultrippministries.org.


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Christ in All of Scripture – Esther 6:1–4

 

Esther 6:1-4

“On that night the king could not sleep. And he gave orders to bring the book of memorable deeds, the chronicles, and they were read before the king. And it was found written how Mordecai had told about Bigthana and Teresh, two of the king’s eunuchs, who guarded the threshold, and who had sought to lay hands on King Ahasuerus. And the king said, ‘What honor or distinction has been bestowed on Mordecai for this?’ The king’s young men who attended him said, ‘Nothing has been done for him.’ And the king said, ‘Who is in the court?’ Now Haman had just entered the outer court of the king’s palace to speak to the king about having Mordecai hanged on the gallows that he had prepared for him.”


A seemingly inconsequential night of restlessness results in deliverance for God’s people as Ahasuerus is reminded of Mordecai’s faithfulness and Haman, who has just constructed gallows on which to hang Mordecai, is forced to exalt him instead.

Two gospel reminders are embedded in this event. First, we see once more that God is working behind the scenes for the good of his people. The king just “happened” to have a sleepless night, and just “happened” to hear of Mordecai’s saving of the king! Second, we remember that God humbles those who exalt themselves, yet he delights to exalt those who humble themselves (Luke 18:14James 4:10). The supreme example of this upside-down principle is Christ himself (Phil. 2:6–11).


This series of posts pairs a brief passage of Scripture with associated study notes drawn from the Gospel Transformation Bible. For more information about the Gospel Transformation Bible, please visit GospelTransformationBible.org.

 

July 14, 2014 | Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,ESV,Gospel Transformation Bible | Author: Lizzy Jeffers @ 8:32 am | 0 Comments »