Wednesday, January 26, 2011

How important is Christianity?


C.S. Lewis:

“Christianity is either true and of infinite importance or not true and of absolutely no importance, but one thing Christianity can never be is moderately important.”

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Making Ourselves Good Enough for God vs. Resting in Christ

Islam:  "Then those whose balance (of good deeds, of law-keeping) is heavy, they will be successful.  But those whose balance is light, will be those who have lost their souls; in hell will they abide."  (Surah 23:102,103)

The Gospel:  "Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us." (Galatians 3.13)

Man Camp




5:00 AM - wake up...
5:15 AM - have a light breakfast...
5:30 AM - sitting in a deer stand or a shooting house... waiting... watching the sun rise upon the woods & the world come back to life... with otters, owls, armadillos, coyotes, turkey vultures, squirrels, deer, opossums, & such reveling in the glories of creation... occasionally enjoying a good book or a whispered conversation with a friend...
9:00 AM - coming back to the hunting camp...
9:30 AM - a breakfast FEAST, eating like Benjamin in Genesis 43.34...
10:00 AM - playing games, pushup contests, mud-riding on 4-wheelers, riding through the quiet beauty of creation on a golf cart, napping, spending time with friends, telling & hearing stories, reading a good book again, target shooting...
2:00 PM - back to the woods for another hunt...
DARK - returning to the hunting camp...
7:00ish PM - practicing the only reasonable application of Genesis 43.34 once again... serious feastability...
LATE INTO THE NIGHT... more games, more stories, more awesomeness...





100 Great Things About Living in Alabama:

#27... Hunting Camp!


#28... My son harvesting his first deer



#29... Taking his deer to Weaver Meat Processing & basking in the wonder of their menu... I recommend summer sausage with pepper cheese... heated in the microwave for exactly 40 seconds. Glory.


"He was a mighty hunter before the Lord. Therefore it is said, 'Like Nimrod a mighty hunter before the Lord.'"


Genesis 10.9









Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Starts Today!

Ladies Bible Study


Philippians
“To Live Is Christ.”


Decatur Presbyterian Church
Winter/Spring 2011


Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Difference Between Pretending and Doing

The post right below this one commented briefly on the first part of this statement from Jesus:

"My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it." (Luke 8.21)

Really hearing the Word of God is critical. It's very easy to only pretend to be hearing it, because we've become comfortable & sleepy with religious familiarity. Speaking of corporate worship Kent Hughes once said: "It is all too easy to go spiritually brain-dead when the prelude begins, to 'say' prayers rather than pray them, to use the cadence of a confession as a rhythmic anesthetic, to mindlessly mouth the words of great hymns and gospel songs, to nod off during the sermon, to glibly mouth evangelical creeds -- and then imagine we're really spiritual."

But those who are tired of being merely "brushed" by Christianity (see two posts below)... those who are tired of a faith and a life that seems dull, flat, & untelling will not be satisfied with merely pretending to hear.

What about the second part of Jesus' statement above? What about "doing"?

A young Korean man once traveled a great distance to visit the home of the missionary who had led him to Christ. As they talked about living in the kingdom of God,the young Korean stated that he had been memorizing some verses of the Bible.

The missionary then listened as the young man recited the entire Sermon on the Mount without error. Impressed, the missionary commended his friend on this remarkable feat of memory. But, being a faithful spiritual mentor, he also reminded the young man that we cannot merely "say" the Scriptures; we must also "do" them.

The young man responded: "Oh that is the way I learned them. I tried to memorize them, but they wouldn't stick, so I made a plan. First, I would learn a verse. Then I would do it to a neighbor. After that, I found that I could remember it."

"But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing."
James 1

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Jesus' family

The Lord Jesus once said this: "My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it." (Luke 8.21)

Those who hear the Word of God... what exactly does that mean? Do I "hear the Word of God"? Do you?

I'm reminded of something from the life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. I'll write more about him some other day, but one thing you should know about Bonhoeffer is that he ran an underground seminary for faithful-pastors-in-training in Hitler's Nazi Germany.

Now, you have to understand that Bonhoeffer was as smart as they come. He was an extremely intelligent and gifted man possessed with an immense capacity for truly "constructive" criticism.

But in the homiletics class that he taught (this is the class where seminary students learn the art of preaching), he would always set his pencil aside and listen intently to the sermon with his Bible open before him -- no matter how lame, how poor, how artless, how ill-prepared the sermon was.

He believed that the preaching of God's Word ought to be attended to as if he were listening to the very voice of God Himself. This was a man who wanted to hear the Word of God with all that he had. As he did so, he was always looking to the text, always engaged, always thinking, always praying.

And I stress again that in the story above the hearer was an intellectual and spiritual giant, while the preachers were usually unskilled, immature, inexperienced, John-Deere-green, unpracticed students who may as well have been born again last Tuesday.

But it didn't matter. God's Word was being preached, and Bonhoeffer was ready to hear it.  This is part of what it means to be in the family of Jesus (Luke 8.21, quoted above).








Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Don't be "merely brushed by Christianity."


"There is nothing more cheering than transformed Christian people and there is nothing more disintegrating than people who have been merely 'brushed' by Christianity, people who have been sown with a thousand seeds but in whose lives there is no depth and no rootage. Therefore, they fall when the first whirlwind comes along. It is the half-Christians who always flop in the face of the first catastrophe that happens, because their dry intellectuality and their superficial emotionalism do not stand the test. So even that which they think they have is taken away from them. This is the wood from which the anti-Christians too are cut. They are almost always former half-Christians. A person who lets Jesus only halfway into his heart is far poorer than a one hundred percent worldling."

Helmut Thielicke

Whenever you see something by Helmut Thielicke you pretty much need to read it at least three times & then spend the rest of the day thinking about it.

Sovereign Lord, preserve us from being content with dryness and superficiality in our walk with you. Keep us growing out of the easy laziness of recycling the same old thoughts again and again. Renew our minds and refresh our hearts, so that we may escape the gravitational pull towards "half-Christianity." We don't want to be "merely brushed" by your mercies. We want to grow deep and strong, firmly rooted in the transforming grace of Christ.

Monday, January 10, 2011

SNOW!!!

"Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather."

John Ruskin

"Getting an inch of snow is like winning 10 cents in the lottery."

Bill Watterson

"He gives snow like wool; he scatters hoarfrost like ashes. He hurls down his crystals of ice like crumbs; who can stand before his cold?"

Psalm 147



I thought big snows were something we wouldn't see much of in Alabama, but the pictures above were taken on Christmas Day (16 days ago). And today -- as I write this -- there are 8 inches of this wonderful stuff on the ground.

The students of Rivendell Academy are lobbying for a snow day.

100 Great Things About Living in Alabama:

#30... The Surprise White Christmas!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

We need a faith that is right where we are wrong.

“We do not really want a religion that is right where we are right.
What we want is a religion that is right where we are wrong . . .

They say they want a religion to be social,
when they would be social without any religion.
They say they want a religion to be practical,
when they would be practical without any religion.
They say they want a religion acceptable to science,
when they would accept the science even if they did not accept the religion.
They say they want a religion like this
because they are like this already.
They say they want it,
when they mean that they could do without it.”

G. K. Chesterton

The Lord Christ provides us with exactly what we need. Our problem is that much of the time we're too curved in on ourselves to admit that we even notice.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The American Soldier

Great 5 minute speech Oliver North gave to the NRA on the American soldier. Click here to see it.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

DPC Changes; Letter from Staff

January 6, 2011

Dear DPC Family,

What an exciting time in the life of our church family! We have so much to celebrate and so much for which to be thankful! God is at work and we are seeking to follow him with humble hearts and fervent spirits. To this end, we are making minor changes in the Wednesday night schedule. These changes will allow more people to participate in multiple ministries. We have also added some wonderful opportunities for the church body to grow and serve through music.

Dinner will still be served at 5:30pm for the entire church family to enjoy a meal and fellowship. The Adult Bible Study will begin at 6:15pm. The adults will finish working through the remaining Tim Keller DVD's ("The Reason for God"), and then we'll transition back into our continuing study of 1st Samuel. This semester we consider "David: A Man After God's Own Heart." Students will continue to be blessed by student-led worship, senior high small groups, middle school Stampede, elementary age Kids Quest, and preschool Discovery Club. Please encourage your students to be actively involved here at DPC!

We are proud to introduce two student choirs for the spring. Both student choirs will practice for a half hour on Wednesday nights with the goal of presenting a musical offering in Sunday morning during worship every month or so. Kids of the King is our younger choir which will encompass students from age 5 to second grade. KOTK will be lead by Mrs. Elizabeth Lee and Mrs. Teresa Quinn! Dare to Declare will be the older student choir and will encompass students from third grade to eighth grade. D2D will be lead by Mrs. Lory Schieler and Mrs. Debbie Smith! The Senior High students will be invited to join our Worship Choir for the last 30 minutes of practice, after their YBR Small Groups have concluded. Worship Band will continue to rehearse in the Sanctuary.

The changes only involve a 15 minute shift. Students will be finished with ministries by 7:15pm or 7:30pm, depending on their age groups. The Worship Band rehearsal will conclude by 8:45pm.

DPC’s Wednesday Nights Spring 2011

5:30 – 6:15 Dinner (kids leave @6:00 for choir)

6:00 – 6:30 Kids’ Choirs (kids get taken to Discovery, Kids Quest and Stampede @6:30)

6:00 – 7:00 Sr. High Small Groups (Those who would like to participate in choir join choir @7:00)

6:15 – 7:15 Adult Bible Study

6:15 – 7:30 Worship Choir

6:30 – 7:15 Discovery Club, Kids Quest, Stampede

7:45 – 8:45 Praise Band (adults and Sr. High students)

In addition to the changes we are making to our Wednesday night schedule, we are also making some changes on Sunday morning to allow our Adult Christian Education Classes and our Children's Sunday School Classes to be more successful. Starting on January 16th all Sunday morning classes will begin promptly at 9:30am and will end at 10:15am. This will allow us time to give our studies the time and attention they deserve without restricting class discussion. And it will also allow for an enjoyable time of fellowship before the worship service starts at 10:45am.

On January 9th, we will have a church-wide breakfast at 9:30am for the whole church family to kick off the changes to our schedule. There will be no children, youth, or adult Sunday School classes that day. The breakfast will be provided by the Leadership Care Group. This time of breakfast fellowship will continue on the first Sunday of every odd-numbered month. Each Care Group will take a turn providing the breakfast (see the schedule below).

January 9th – Leadership Care Group

(March 6th – Missions Conference; No Breakfast)

May 1st – Godwin/Griess Care Group

July 3rd – Quinn/Schieler Care Group

September 4th – Smith/Eades Care Group

November 6th – Temple/Walraven Care Group

January 1, 2012 – Thompson/Sasser Care Group

"Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil." The Apostle Paul

"Teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom." Moses

Saturday, January 1, 2011

52-14

"Look out for the dogs..."

-- The Apostle Paul, Philippians 3.2