Archive for November, 2014
Yesterday was John Bunyan’s birthday. Not sure who that was? He did live a long time ago, so perhaps that’s understandable, except that his book, The Pilgrim’s Progress, has sold more copies in English than any other work besides the Bible.
Here’s a little background on the time of Bunyan’s birth from Desiring God, followed by a link you should check out.
On November 28, 1628, in a quiet cottage nestled within the English parish of Elstow, during one of the most tumultuous times in the country’s history, John Bunyan was born.
The place of Bunyan’s birth in Elstow was only a mile from the busy town of Bedford, where years later Bunyan would be imprisoned for over a decade for preaching the gospel. Like his father, Bunyan learned the simple trade of a tinker — a mender of pots and kettles — and came to be known as the “tinker turned preacher” when he began lay preaching in his late twenties. Bunyan’s skill and passion drew hundreds of listeners. Theologian John Owen, a contemporary of Bunyan, when asked by King Charles why he went to hear such an uneducated man preach, replied, “I would willingly exchange my learning for the tinker’s power of touching men’s hearts.”
But Bunyan’s legacy is not so much in his preaching, but his writing. During his imprisonment in the Bedford jail, Bunyan wrote several books, including most popularly, The Pilgrim’s Progress, which has sold more copies in the English language than any book besides the Bible. Today, the book still remains both an incomparable source of spiritual education and a classic in English literature.
On the occasion of Bunyan’s birthday, Desiring God has released a revised version of The Pilgrim’s Progress with a recently found preface by John Newton from 1776. Click here for links to digital and print versions of the book. This would make a great gift for anyone this Christmas.
The Christmas Store is DSC’s annual way of building a bridge for meaningful gospel ministry into our community. Together as a church, we buy gifts, volunteer at several Christmas Stores, and serve as mentors to the contacts we make through a follow-up program called, Money and Me. In fact, when you come to church tomorrow, be sure to scan the Christmas trees for tags. These tags represent gifts that you can buy for our stores. Take a few or a handful, then return them the following week.
Watch this video and click here to learn more about how to be involved.
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Christian growth is a hard work. It’s also a fruitful work because of the Spirit and the grace of God.
Here’s what Paul says in Philippians 2:12–13: “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” In real ways, growing in godliness is our work. And yet it’s a work powered by the grace of God. It’s possible because of him, and he gets all of the credit.
In his article, “I’ll Never Change!” Jon Bloom from Desiring God has given us some encouragement for our struggle to fight sin and mature as Christians.
We all must come to terms with the way we are. But there are two ways we must do this. The first is to cultivate contentment with who God designed us to be, which results in a wonderful liberation from trying to be someone we’re not. The second is to lay aside the burdensome weight of the fatalistic resignation that we’ll never be any different than what we are, which results in an enslavement to our sin-infused predilections.
Cultivating Contentment and Fighting Fatalism
Cultivating contentment in the person God designed us to be is based on our belief in the glorious gospel truths that God chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4), knitted us together in our mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13), caused us to be born again (1 Peter 1:3) so that we are now a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17) who lives by faith (Galatians 2:20) in the God who provides all we need (Philippians 4:19) so that we can exclaim with joy, “by the grace of God I am what I am” (1 Corinthians 15:10)!
Believing these things sets us free to increasingly pursue living in the freedom that Jesus has provided us (John 8:36).
But they can be hard to believe in the face of our persistent sins and weaknesses, things we are so keenly aware of. Instead, we are tempted to believe the horrible, heavy lies that God’s grace toward us must, in fact, be in vain (1 Corinthians 15:10) or else simply withheld by a disapproving, unsatisfiable Heavenly Father, because we keep stumbling in the same old “many ways” (James 3:2) and we’ll never, at least in this age, ever really be “more than conquerors” (Romans 8:37).
Believing these things confines us to living in fear, shame, and the apathy of fatalistic resignation. We buy into the seductive, hope-sucking, energy-depleting, self-pitying deception that “I’ll never change.” The destructiveness of this lie goes beyond a particular sin or weakness. It creates a mindset of surrender that leads to further kinds of self-indulgence, compounding our problem and sense of defeat.
We must fight to take these lies captive and destroy their fatalistic arguments (2 Corinthians 10:5) so that we can lay aside the weights of their sins (Hebrews 12:1).
Read the rest of Bloom’s article here.
If you struggle with sin and its curse or know and help someone who does (all of us), then you should check out the blog over at the website for The Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC).
ACBC is an organization devoted to training and certifying Christian men and women for faithful disciple-making in the context of Biblical counseling. The better we know ourselves and one another as the church, the more we’ll feel the need for this kind of help.
Here are examples of articles from ACBC’s Blog in the last two weeks:
- “Listening to Depression,” by Scott Mehl
- “The Mind of an Addict,” by Mark Shaw
- “Fear and Worry,” by Lisa Schmidt
To learn more about ACBC and its work, click here.