Sunday, September 15, 2013

Read It!

What have you been reading lately?

It's one of my favorite questions to ask in conversation.  I learn from what someone shares about what they have read.  I find out where they have been dwelling with their thoughts lately. And I find my appetite whetted for the next good read.

So let me engage you in my readings from this week.

A Facebook link led me to an article about how the present generation is more interested in experiencing their faith than they are in being able to defend it, how apologetics are not very interesting to them and not considered useful; experience is most important. The author had wonderful Christian experiences in his life but there came a time when he was no longer experiencing Jesus and at that point he turned away. He eventually discovered that Christianity is not a blind faith; there is evidence that backs up our beliefs and he came back to his faith.  Along with experience he challenges us to know what we believe, citing the verse from Prov. 9:10.  “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding”.Greg West.

I noticed while reading in Acts this week how often Paul or other believers debated, refuted, reasoned, argued, often in a public forum, for the truth revealed in Scripture. May God continue to raise up defenders of the faith from the next generation.  Let's teach our children and grand children Scriptural truths that will forever be relevant because God's Word is eternal. My childhood included a daily reading on Daddy's lap from the Marion Bible Story Book.  When the last page was read, we'd go back to the beginning and do it over again, and again.  I was not lacking in Biblical understanding and I am so grateful for that knowledge base now.

Jesus Christ came to earth and was full of Grace and Truth.  I am excited for the message of Grace, which seems to be a theme of Christianity in these days. Grace goes hand in hand with truth. Gary Wilkerson, son of the former Dave Wilkerson, publishes a monthly newsletter with a recent sermon he has preached at Times Square Church in New York City. July 15, 2013 was entitled Responsibility, Inability and Grace. My hope soared as I read the words and I savored what I read. Gary says that we see a big disconnect between our sinful lives and Christ's call to perfection and we try and remedy the gap by working harder and taking matters into our own hands. Yet, "...the remedy isn't to place more of a fleshly burden on ourselves.  Think about it: You feel guilty because you can't pray for 30 minutes a day, so you commit to pray for an hour.  How do you think that's going to work out?" Commands in Scripture expose our inability to keep those commands. God knows our inability to do life his way outside of his enabling. Obedient works outside of God's grace lead to pride if we get it right and discouragement that weighs us down in heaviness when we fail. God is after something deeper in us, beyond what we can accomplish on our own.

"...most of us,..., tend to start off in grace and slowly default to our own ability...Our life in Christ begins in grace, it continues in grace and it will end in grace." Gary makes it clear that there is a time for responsibilities and practicing the disciplines of life. But these shouldn't be done without the oil of God's grace, or we will only reap condemnation and fearfulness. Grace shows us our inability so that we can acknowledge his ability.
Read the whole sermon here.

Unplanned by  Abby Johnson, is a powerful testimony of one women's journey into truth about abortion.  Abby  was a former director of a Planned Parenthood clinic in Texas, convinced she was doing women a great service by providing counseling to them regarding how to deal with unwanted pregnancies. The organization she worked for had lured her in to believing their "good works" philosophy of reducing unwanted pregnancies and the need for abortions through better information and access to contraceptives. It was far better to make abortion safe for women who would exercise their freedom of choice in deciding to abort.  Women who came to her clinic were also presented with options to adopt and Abby  always felt better when they chose adoption over abortion.  Abby was also a believer, whose husband and family didn't agree with the thinking of Planned Parenthood, but continued to love Abby and allow God to be the one to change her mind about working there.

After personally assisting with an abortion for the first time, Abby is sickened and horrified, and is compelled  to face her own beliefs and fears. But her change of mind did not start with this revolting experience.  Ever since her beginnings with Planned Parenthood and her first day of volunteering for the clinic as a young college student, she encountered the faithful, unrelenting protestors who stood outside the fence around the clinic, every day calling to women who had to walk across the parking lot into the clinic. There were urgent pleas to not kill babies, even unkind remarks at times, but eventually over the years Abby was there, an  organized group of compassionate prayer warriors stood vigil at the fence letting clients as well as workers know they would not stop praying for lives to be saved from abortion.  Many of these regulars became Abby's friends, just because they were there so frequently and sincerely befriended her in spite of their differences. They were building a bridge that would be there when Abby needed to escape. Their influence was constantly adding fuel to Abby's inner struggle to reconcile what she was doing with the doubts in her thinking. It is a powerful story of how one woman is transformed by God's relentless love and truth working on her heart and circumstances and that love and truth being demonstrated in a tangible way through His people. 

My heart is moved. I examine how much I care that babies are being killed so cavalierly and in very large numbers.  I ask what I can do to work against abortion. I want to be led by the Holy Spirit. I want to start by praying more diligently. A video clip I saw recently, showed a man who had given up his career to stand daily in front of an abortion clinic and call out a better way to women who were entering. It was a peaceful, but urgent message and some listened and changed their course of action. Again, after reading Abby's story, I realize the power in these peaceful demonstrations.

The Monday night Bible Study group has begun it's new season. Once again I get to gather with other believers and delve into the lesson of the week.  I enjoy being challenged by the study questions, this time in the book of Genesis.  Observations from chapters one and two:

What an awesome Creator! Although no one knows exactly all the details of the origin of creation, Triune God was there, speaking the universe into existence and fashioning the perfect environment for man and woman to live. The crowning glory of all he made was man, created in His image to be a part of His family. One of our questions asks what we think it means to be created in "His image". I think it has to do with being given God's capacity to love and relate to Him and others in intimacy. To have his nature to create. To have an immortal soul. How would you answer that?

Whether you read it (present tense) or read it ( past tense), may you find His Spirit wooing you closer to him through what you are reading. I leave you with one other link I picked up somewhere this week. A pastor suggests ways to create a reading culture for his church. I'm seeing some good ideas here that I can embrace or pass along to those who have opportunity to influence others to read.  "Some chap somewhere has said that in 5 years you’ll be the same person you are today except for the books you read and the people that you meet..."
Some chap somewhere has said that in 5 years you’ll be the same person you are today except for the books you read and the people that you meet. - See more at:
Some chap somewhere has said that in 5 years you’ll be the same person you are today except for the books you read and the people that you meet. - See more at:
Some chap somewhere has said that in 5 years you’ll be the same person you are today except for the books you read and the people that you meet. - See more at:
Some chap somewhere has said that in 5 years you’ll be the same person you are today except for the books you read and the people that you meet. - See more at:

1 comment:

  1. I do a lot of reading on line. Two favorite devotionals each morning. I also have E-sword downloaded free, to read my Bible every night. Other blogs inspire me during the day!


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