The Spectrum of Sanctification in Youth Ministry, Part 4

I ended the last article with a discouraging note about the futility of the steps we often employ to guard against the flesh. Steps like being accountable and placing barriers of activity between ourselves and our temptation actually have “no value miller_rules.jpgin stopping the indulgence of the flesh” (Col. 2:23, ESV). These steps are not worthless, but they have no effect on our true heart’s desire.

Although man-made rules are of no value, something else has power in “stopping the indulgence of the flesh” or “restraining sensual indulgence” (Col. 2:23, NIV). This issue is the spectrum of this paper: What causes sanctification? Rules of men or holding fast to Christ?

These rules of men are tempting. Paul says they have the “appearance of wisdom” in promoting religion. The Pharisees (Matt. 23:23-24), the Colossians, and those in Timothy’s future (1 Tim. 4:1-5) all succumbed to this mistake. The rules men set up can provide external, visible, apparent victory in our teens. But those minor victories are short-lived. Read more about The Spectrum of Sanctification in Youth Ministry, Part 4

An Ordinary Pastor?

In The Nick of TimeEditor’s Note: Dr. Jeff Straub’s articles occasionally appear in lieu of Dr. Bauder’s regular column.

I don’t suppose any of us aspire to be ordinary. We would like to excel at something … a hobby, sports, trivia, literature, and particularly, our vocation. We want people to think well of us. We want to be highly esteemed, to be regarded among our peers as men of high character and high gifts. We struggle with the desire for recognition and praise. It’s a part of our sin nature, to be sure, but struggle we do. No one really wants to be just ordinary!

For this reason, D. A. Carson’s recent biography on the life of his father, Tom Carson, is so helpful. A pastor friend recommended Memoirs of an Ordinary Pastor (Crossway, 2008) to me several weeks ago, and since Tom Carson pastored in Quebec, Canada, and knew T. T. Shields, I was initially interested in the book for its historical insights. While the book has a number of interesting details regarding Shields, one of Canada’s most colorful Baptist preachers, it is far more than a valuable historical treatise. I ordered the book and began reading it shortly after it had arrived. So engaging was its story that I was finished in no time. It is the kind of a book one could read in one sitting, if one had a bit of time. I finished it in two sittings.
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Shattering Popular Mary Myths

Editor’s Note: This article was reprinted with permission from Warren Vanhetloo’s newsletter “Cogitation.”
vanhetloo_mary.gifNot only is our Lord Jesus Christ much misrepresented today, as He has been through past centuries, but many of those around Him come in for distortion too, which is, of course, really directed at Him. Such misinformation about the origin of the Bible and events recorded in the Bible makes it important that the Christian sort out fact from fiction, particularly malicious fiction. Totally unfounded inventions concerning one of the close followers of Jesus, Mary Magdalene, that she was a prostitute before meeting Jesus and that she and Jesus had an affair, may entertain the lost but should enrage those who honor truth.

The first time this Mary is mentioned in the accounts of Jesus’ public ministry (Luke 8:2-3), three things are recorded concerning her. She was from Magdala, just west of the sea of Galilee. She had been ill-treated by seven devils, whom Jesus drove out of her. She and other women accompanied Jesus and His twelve disciples, ministering unto Him and them from their own material possessions as He visited many villages and cities. She is not mentioned individually again until accounts of the crucifixion and resurrection.
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The Prayer of Jesus, Part 1

For Himself (John 17:1-5)

Perhaps you’ve heard the story of the man who betted ten dollars that his religious friend couldn’t quote the Lord’s Prayer. His friend objected that he certainly could quote it. The man challenged him to do it. His friend recited,
smith_prayerhands.jpgNow I lay me down to sleep.
I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
And if I die before I wake,
I pray the Lord my soul to take.

The man replied in astonishment, “I didn’t think you could do it!” and handed his friend a ten dollar bill.

Jesus gave what’s commonly called the Lord’s Prayer to His disciples as a model to follow in prayer (Matt. 6:9-13; Luke 11:1-4). John 17 records at length a prayer Jesus actually prayed and might be a better passage to call the Lord’s Prayer. He prays as God’s Son and as our Mediator.

John’s purpose is to reveal Jesus as the Christ, the Son of the living God, so people will believe in Him and experience eternal life (John 20:31). In this prayer of Jesus, His identity clearly manifests itself both directly (statements about His identity) and indirectly (statements that show Him doing the sorts of things only God can do—even stating in this prayer that He has done work that He asks the Father to do).
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Rich Profit at Shepherds’ Conference 2008

Genuine Appreciation

Do you remember when I wrote this SI article a year and a half ago? Today I appreciate the ministry of Grace Community Church (GCC) even more, having attended my first Shepherds’ Conference and a full Sunday morning and afternoon shaking_hands_wood.jpgvespers worship with the church family in Sun Valley. If you want a thorough digest of the Shepherds’ Conference, hit the GCC Internet network. For some good, detailed reporting of the 2008 conference, link up with Evers Ding. I applaud this blogger’s efforts.

Publicly, let me express my appreciation to the Grace church family. First, all the superb servants at Grace pampered me (computer access, shoeshine stand, scholar’s desk, daily newspapers, and refreshments, etc.). Read more about Rich Profit at Shepherds’ Conference 2008