You may have heard about a controversial book called Strange Fire? Pneuma Review has a post with links to responses to Strange Fire by John MacArthur. It is one thing to not understand Pentacostal/Chrismatic/Third Wave people, but it is another thing to say that Satan is the author the P/C/TW movements. Here is the post to links of 21 leader's reactions to the SF book.
I really did not know that there are christian people who believe that Jesus words before his resurrection do not apply to Christians today. Frank Viola spoke about this in his latest podcast on what he calls the Hyper Grace movement.
Marriage Compatibility & Personal Entitlement
Are you and your wife or husband compatible? Out of the gate, many couples are not, or think they are, but really are not. There might be an illusion of perfect compatibility. When the haze lifts, you have someone before you that is completely different, who you will have to work hard to maintain relationship with. Dave Black wrote these words recently:
The problem is when we allow our relational needs to assume greater priority than simply doing what God wants and tells us to do. I am unconditionally opposed to any line of thinking that undermines the concept of personal responsibility in marriage, but I also oppose the notion that following Christ guarantees a life of satisfying emotions and fulfilling experiences. So you're not "compatible." So what? Love each other any way.
I love that line in the movie Rear Window where the wise old nurse says to Jimmy Stewart, "For 30 years my husband and I have been two incompatible misfits, and we are still madly in love with each other." Marriages (especially in America) spend a disproportionate amount of effort on seeking self-fulfillment.Dave's complete post on working with troubled marriages is here (AM, Jan. 9th).
Allison Vesterfelt wrote, How 20-Something Entitlement Almost Ruined My Marriage:
Our first year of marriage was really hard.
In one sense, you might have looked at our first year of marriage and wondered how we couldn’t have been blissfully happy.
We were living on the twenty-first floor of a beautiful condo building overlooking the ocean in sunny south Florida. Our wall-sized sliding glass doors opened to a balcony where we could watch the sunrise every morning. Any time we wanted, we could wander downstairs with coffee and books—to our private beach—and dig our toes into the sand.
But there were also a few outside circumstances that made our otherwise luxurious surroundings less-than-comfortable.The rest of Allison's piece is here.
The Gap Between The Church in The NT & What We Call Church
In this video of a talk by Francis Chan, called If Jesus Was The Pastor of Your Church, You Probably Wouldn't Go There; Francis talks about coming to grips with Jesus' call to discipleship: that it is all or nothing. He spoke from Luke 14:
Large crowds were traveling with Jesus. Turning to them, he said, “Whoever comes to me and doesn’t hate father and mother, spouse and children, and brothers and sisters—yes, even one’s own life—cannot be my disciple. Whoever doesn’t carry their own cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.
“If one of you wanted to build a tower, wouldn’t you first sit down and calculate the cost, to determine whether you have enough money to complete it? Otherwise, when you have laid the foundation but couldn’t finish the tower, all who see it will begin to belittle you. They will say, ‘Here’s the person who began construction and couldn’t complete it!’...
“Salt is good. But if salt loses its flavor, how will it become salty again? It has no value, neither for the soil nor for the manure pile. People throw it away. Whoever has ears to hear should pay attention.”The YouTube video is rated 'mature', perhaps because the word 'manure' is spoken by Francis. Don't let that stop you from watching.
Making Disciples Who make Disciples, Caring For The Least of These, and Church As Extended Family.
Molong Nacua wrote some more about his journey to find out how to be obedient to Jesus today, in
I know how to evangelize and do crusades, start churches and to preach, start a band and do concerts at mall, do discipleship ‘classes’ and sunday schools BUT I do not know HOW to make disciples that makes disciples.One insight that Molong shares is to treat people in the church as you would treat extended family:
It is important to “treat” each other’s members as part of your extended family. If someone is at fault or there’s a need of correction and rebuking I always ask myself, “What if he is my own brother/sister how should I talk to him/her?” I normally ended up not talking to the person unless I know exactly what to say, when to say, where to say and how to say it. At times, I wish I had a duct tape on my mouth. “He who manage well of his own children can manage the household of God.” This is what Paul says to his ”son in the faith” Timothy. Being the church is being family to each other. Now, that’s a lot of relationships in there.Molong shares about family-based rather than meeting-based church life:
Because it’s a family-based relationships and not just meeting-based relationships, we don’t do meetings we just meet a lot as any normal healthy families do. We don’t “attend” a family, we are family. We live the Life of Jesus Together in the community in a daily basis (Hebrews 3:13) thus meetings is only a by-product of our lives being knit-together. As one of my fathers in the Lord Mike Peters would say, “A family that you “attend” is not a family, it is an orphanage. People in the orphanage may do-things-together, eat together or play together yet it is still an orphanage, not a family.”The rest of his post is here.
Are You A Controller?
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,This always fascinated me. I remember being drawn to the wisdom that the prayer imparts, but not getting it. I am still learning this.
The courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.
Don Miller wrote his thoughts about controllers in a piece called, How To Know if You're a Controlling Person:
I realized I was a controlling person not long ago when a therapist caught me in the act. I was wondering out loud why a friend was doing what she was doing and the thearpist questioned why I was trying to get inside somebody else’s head.
“What does it matter why people do what they do? Are you trying to predict behavior to gain a sense of security?”
It was a terrific observation. Trying to figure out why people are doing what they are doing is a preface to trying to control or influence them indirectly. If I really wanted to know why they were doing what they were doing, I could just ask. But I didn’t want to ask because it was none of my business. They had a right to think and do as they wished.
This is the Serenity Prayer, quoted by Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971), as he remembers it, originally; in The Essential Reinhold Neibuhr, p 251
God, give us grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed,
Courage to change the things which should be changed,
and the Wisdom to distinguish the one from the other.