Thursday, May 29, 2008

Some chapel of ease

Some challenging words to missionaries (which includes us). An excerpt:
Sixthly. Beware of the greater reaction which will take place after you have acquired the language, and become fatigued and worn out with preaching the gospel to a disobedient and gainsaying people. You will sometimes long for a quiet retreat, where you can find a respite from the tug of toiling at native work—the incessant, intolerable friction of the missionary grindstone. And Satan will sympathize with you in this matter; and he will present some chapel of ease, in which to officiate in your native tongue, some government situation, some professorship or editorship, some literary or scientific pursuit, some supernumerary translation, or, at least, some system of schools; anything, in a word, that will help you, without much surrender of character, to slip out of real missionary work. Such a temptation will form the crisis of your disease. If your spiritual constitution can sustain it, you recover; if not, you die...

Sam Williams is seeing his Saviour

A great man of God has fallen flown today. I don't have all the details precisely, but sometime this morning Sam Williams, a precious elderly brother in our assembly, went to savour the Lord Jesus.

I say he was a great man because for the last decade or so (again, I don't have the exact dates) he has waited patiently on his wife, serving her, rubbing her feet, and generally doting on a woman who felt the frustrations of poor health and being shut in.

His serving his wife makes him great because Jesus says that makes him great. My personal reading tonight was in Matthew 20. Here are the words more pertinent to the subject of greatness than any other words ever spoken:
But Jesus called the disciples and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them and their superiors act like tyrants over them. That’s not the way it should be among you. Instead, whoever wants to be great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave. That’s the way it is with the Son of Man. He did not come to be served, but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many people. (Matthew 20.25-28, ISV).

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Teach us to number our...minutes

You can waste an awful lot of time in 15 minutes.

The Spirit and the Word

(1) The Spirit guides us into Truth:

When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, bu whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. (John 16.13)

(2) The Spirit reveals Truth that far exceeds our wildest and most optimistic imaginings:

But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”— 10 these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. 11 For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. 13 And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.

14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. 15 The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. 16 “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ. (1 Corinthians 2:9-16)

(3) And thus the Spirit grants us joy in reception of the Truth:

And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit. (1 Thessalonians 1:6)

(4) Your turn: how else does the Spirit help us regarding Truth and the Word?

Sunday, May 18, 2008

The Christian and the employee RRSP fund

Should a Christian invest for retirement? This is a question I've wrestled with in the past, especially when faced with the radical nature of some of Jesus' demands. I recently came across a response to this question that has helped put this in perspective for me. It manages to hold together both the radical teachings of Jesus on possessions and the wise common sense the Bible espouses all throughout.

Here's Piper's conclusion:
So, all that to say, Put a governor on your life. Make as much as you can, give as much as you can, and save what you need to in order to be a responsible non-borrower. Then do retirement with some minimalistic plan that frees you up for gospel ministry till the day you drop.