Here is John Wesley’s covenant prayer to God:
I am no longer my own, but yours.
Put me to what you will, rank me with whom you will.
Put me to doing, put me to suffering.
Let me be employed for you or laid aside for you,
Exalted for you or brought low for you.
Let me be full, let me be empty.
Let me have all things, let me have nothing.
I freely and heartily yeild all things to your pleasure and disposal
And now, O glorious and blessed God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
You are mine, and I am thine.
So be it. And the covenant which I have made on earth,
Let it be ratified in heaven.
Enjoy this video of Kenny Sailors, the man who invented the jump shot.
Sometimes the KJV is just great. When you want to talk about laziness, what are better comparisons than a sloth or a slug? I am looking to put together a study on laziness through the Proverbs and I jotted down my initial thoughts. Full length study yet to be released.
Proverbs 6:6-11: It’s not all about the here and now. Investment must become personal not policed.
10:26: Ignorance of import. Other people’s feelings can be more important than yours.
12:24: All men are created equal but they don’t all end up that way.
13:4: Good intentions are not good enough.
15:19: Obedience obliterates obstacles. Sloth sows sorrows.
18:9: Paucity of purpose stifles stewardship.
19:24: King sedentary.
20:4: Good excuses are not good enough. Neither are bad ones!
21:25-26: The exacerbated entitlement life. I deserve this for no apparent reason and all my expectations should be met or exceeded or life’s not worth living.
22:13/26:13: Justification. Every vice can be made a virtue if you are smart enough.
24:30-34: A lot of little equals a lot.
26:14: A lack of blanket victory. A life lived by not living. We have such a short time to prepare for such a long time!
26:15: Neglect of the necessities.
26:16: Since I can’t do everything I won’t do anything. Someone else will get to it. Stupid idea. There are a lot of people better than me who can do that. That’s not my ___. Am I my brother’s keeper? She wouldn’t do that for me. Etc…
I would think that most of us have trouble keeping our mind focused while in prayer. It can become frustrating and even disheartening to want to give your whole heart, mind, and soul to God one moment, and then be struggling with a sinful imagination the next. Here is a very helpful bit of wisdom from Brother Lawrence on how to combat that struggle.
“One way to re-collect the mind easily in the time of prayer, and to preserve it more in tranquility, is not to let it wander too far at other times. You should keep your thoughts strictly in the presence of God. And being accustomed to think of Him often, you will find it easy to keep your mind calm in the time of prayer, or at least to recall it from its wanderings.”
Here is a great testimony from a man named Jason Helopoulos. I hope that our youth ministry can provide the same simple witness!
Jesus said, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35). Loving one another in the body of Christ has many benefits. Two that regularly come to mind are the glory it gives to God and the way it affects the church. However, one of the primary benefits of loving one another is what it declares before a watching world. One of our most potent instruments we have for effective evangelism is Christians loving each other well. I am “living” proof.
As a freshman college student and self-declared atheist, I attended a campus Christian fellowship to fulfill a promise to a Christian friend. I only had the intention to go once. It was merely duty and upholding my word, nothing more. I went begrudgingly, but I went. My life was never the same.
I walked into a room full of Christians and was struck by what I observed. Here was a diverse group. They were from every walk of life. I remember scanning the room and labeling people in my mind, “There is a jock, over there is a geek, and walking in the door is a boy scout.” But what struck me was that they were together. They weren’t just together in the same room, they were together in every sense of the word. They were actually talking with each other and genuinely seemed happy to be together. There didn’t seem to be division. Even in my atheist mind, I knew what I was seeing: they loved one another.
I had no categories for this, so I kept returning to find out why they had love like this for one another. Over the course of a few months I found the answer, or more accurately stated, the answer found me.
One of the best evangelism programs you can start at your church is to pursue loving one another well. At some point they will have to hear the gospel proclaimed from your lips or the pulpit, but that “strange love” will set the table before them. People will know that you are His disciples, because it is a shocking love. It has a gravitational attraction, because it is a love that is foreign to this world. A love that the inquirer, if seeking an answer, will find comes from heaven.
The Agony by F.W. Faber
First read Mt. 26:36-46 and Luke 22:39-46
O soul of Jesus! Sick to death!; Thy blood and prayer together plead,
My sins have bowed Thee to the ground; As the storm bows the feeble reed.
Midnight—and still the oppressive load; Upon Thy tortured heart does lie,
Still the abhorred procession winds; Before Thy spirit’s quailing eye.
Deep waters have come in, O Lord!; All darkly on Thy human soul,
And clouds of supernatural gloom; Around Thee are allowed to roll.
The weight of the eternal wrath; Drives over Thee with pressure dread,
And, forced upon the olive roots; In deathlike sadness droops Thy head.
Thy Spirit weighs the sins of men; Thy science fathoms all their guilt,
Thou sickenest heavily at Thy heart; And the pores open, blood is spilt.
And Thou hast struggled with it, Lord!; Even to the limit of Thy strength,
While hours, whose minutes were as years; Slowly fulfilled their weary length.
And Thou hast shuddered at each act; And shrunk with an astonished fear,
As if Thou could not bear to see; The loathsomeness of sin so near.
Sin and the Father’s anger! they; Have made Thy lower nature faint.
All, save the love within Thy heart; Seemed for the moment to be spent.
My God! My God! and can it be; That I should sin so lightly now,
And think no more of evil thoughts; Than of the wind that waves the bough?
I sin—and heaven and earth go round; As if no dreadful deed were done,
As if God’s blood had never flowed; To hinder sin, or to atone.
I walk the earth with lightsome step; Smile at the sunshine, breathe the air,
Do my own will, nor ever heed; Gethsemane and Thy long prayer.
Shall it be always thus, O Lord?; Wilt Thou not work this hour in me,
The grace Thy passion merited; Hatred of self, and love of Thee?
Oh by the pains of Thy pure love; Grant me the gift of holy fear,
And give me of Thy bloody sweat; To wash my guilty conscience clear!
Even when tempted, to make me see; Beneath the olive’s moon-pierced shade,
My God, alone, outstretched, and bruised; And bleeding, on the earth He made.
And make me feel it was my sin; As though no other sin were there;
That was to Him who bears the world; A load that He could scarcely bear.
Enjoy some pictures from ‘IT’ night!
Here is a great little thought on idolatry by Kevin DeYoung:
What must we leave behind if we are to follow Christ?
The simplest answer is that we must leave behind idolatry. That’s the very first commandment—you shall have no other gods before me. They don’t have to be obvious representations of the divine; they don’t have to be stone or wood or marble. There are all sorts of gods: education, athletics, marriage, choice, power, self-expression, beauty, achievement. Whatever you give your whole life for, there’s your idol.
If only I had ______ then I would be happy.
If only I had ______ I’d be worth something.
If only I had ______ I could truly live a fulfilled life.
Whatever you put in the blank, that’s your god. That’s what you are living for. That’s what you worship. Marriage may be in your blank, or your dream job, or better parents, or better kids, or fewer pounds, or more influence. Many of these are good desires, but they must not be ultimate. They are not meant to be gods.
What might a Jerusalem Council like the one in Acts 15 say to us? What might God be requiring us to give up as disciples of Christ? What might a Spirit-inspired council say to the hard-charging corporate guy who sees everything and everyone as a means for his advancement? What might it say to the woman obsessed with beauty and status, living from tabloid to tabloid, from gossip to gossip? What about the college student who lives for the party scene? Or the “good” college student, who thinks he has to get good grades and go to grad school?
This may all seem like normal life, but it is not normal Christian life. Remember, worldliness is whatever makes sin look normal and righteousness look strange.
Christians are not going to look like everyone else. They are not going to do what everybody else does. They will stand out. It’s hard to carry a cross without leaving some baggage behind.
Here is a great video based on a poem by John Piper about the Christian life. I don’t know why he called it “The Calvinist”–pretend it is called “The Christian” and enjoy!
Just taught a little series on Biblical frienship in my Bible class. Here are my basic notes:
The body of Christ ought to be the basis of our fellowship as believers. –Eph. 4:1-6; Heb. 10:22-25
The body of Christ provides a central heart, a central purpose, and a central goal; each of which give our friendships a benefit of love, purpose, and lasting worth.
1) Heart: Common loves between all believers: God, the Word, worship, service, God’s house, etc..
2) Purpose: Common goal to all our lives. I am a friend to any person that wants to love God with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength. We are giving everything to know, serve, and love the same Savior.
3) Goal: Heaven. The understanding that all our friendships are eternal should cause us to view them with a new perspective of love, worth, and meaning. And a very select few we get to know for eternity plus!
The influence of friendships/fellowship is inescapable; either positively or negatively. –Ps. 119:63; Prov. 27:17; 1 Cor. 15:33-34; 2 Tim. 2:22
How do we maintain friendship with unsaved people/the world?
We are to keep our unsaved friends with the purpose of bringing them to Jesus and not simply to fellowship with them around worldly things. –Jn. 17:13-18; 2 Cor. 6:14-18; Eph. 5:11-13
What are your friendships fellowshipping around? Rejoicing in? Who is in the lead? Are we helping or hurting the gospel? What appetites and desires drive our relationships? We need to continue friendship with the unsaved where possible, but we need to cut off fellowship with the world.
We do not separate from the world because we are too good or judgmental; we separate from the world because we are not good enough to keep our testimony and personal walk clean amidst certain pressures. In the end, those who would have accepted and loved Jesus should accept and love us. Those who would have rejected Jesus should reject us.
Priority of “being” over “having”.
The key to understanding Biblical friendship is asking “Am I a friend?” vs. “Do I have friends?” We will give an account to God of how friendly we were, not how many people liked us. True Biblical friendship is a positive and active reality. See –Prov. 18:24; Jn. 15:12-13; Rom. 12:10; 15:1-3; Phil. 2:2-5; etc…
Use example of David and Jonathan as one whose life benefited another. Is anyone’s life better because you are their friend? Divesting of oneself to the blessing of another.
Prayer: Phil. 1:3-5; 2 Tim. 1:3; 1 Peter 3:12
Deeds: Gal. 6:10; 1 John 3:16-19
Encouragement: Rom. 12:14-18; 1 Thess. 5:11; 1 Peter 3:8-9
Speech: Eph. 4:29; Col. 3:16-17; 4:6; 1 Peter 3: 9-10
Correction: 1 Cor. 5:9-13; Gal. 6:1-2; 2 Thess. 3:6-7; 14-15
Wounds: Prov. 19:11; 27:5-6; Eph. 4:15
Forgiveness: Prov. 17:9; 19:11; Lk.17:3-5; Eph. 4:32; 1 Thess. 5:15; 1 Peter 3:11