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Do You Think You Can Change? January 26, 2011

Posted by Jeremy in Thoughts on Theology.
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Sorry for the lack of blog post this past Monday.  I was out of town in Hickory, NC with the other InterVarsity staff for our area team meeting.

I think many of us have a propensity to be satisfied the way we are or at least to be resolved that this is “just the way I am.”  Part of this is due to a belief that there is no possibility for genuine personality change.   This view of man is decidingly unbiblical.  Personality can indeed change.

“God throughout history, has turned Jacobs into Israels, Simons into Peters, and Sauls into Pauls.” (Competent to Counsel, Jay Adams, chpt. 5, section “sanctification means change”)

Jay Adams, in his book Competent to Counsel, says that God has given all of us what the Bible calls nature and it’s how we use that nature that determines our personality.  These habits over time become almost “second nature” and become very much a part of who we are as a man or woman.  But at the core they are still learned habits and anything that is learned can be unlearned.

This is encouraging for someone like me.  There are areas of my life that I desire to be different.  I desire to be slow to anger and to abound in love and grace as two examples.  This would be completely impossible apart from God working through his Word, that is Scripture, in my life.

Adams goes on to explain that decisions that we made yesterday are based on the information we had then and so today is a new day in which as we encounter new data that shows our judgments yesterday to be poor, we need to change them.  “God’s Word changes people, changes their thinking, changes their decisions, and changes their behavior”

I can’t agree more.  Ask my wife Tracy, the person I was five years ago when we got married is not the person I am today.  This change has been for the better.  The more I have submitted myself to Scripture and to the Spirits work in my life the more my personality has changed.

“In principle it is true that believers have been declared perfect in Christ, but now they must grow more like Christ in practice.  New truths discovered in the study of the Scriptures must become new practices woven into the fabric of one’s daily life.” (Competent to Counsel, Jay Adams, chpt. 5, section “sanctification means change”)

Thoughts on Community January 21, 2011

Posted by Jeremy in Community, Ministry Moments, Scripture.
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This semester in InterVarsity at App State we are looking at the idea of community.  As a vision team, made up of the lead servants of our leadership teams, we saw that this was an area we were needed to grow in as a chapter.

Each week we meet at a chapter for an evening of worship, fellowship, and time in Scripture together.  I’ve been speaking at the past two meetings on community.  The first week I spoke on Romans 12:9-21 and the importance of Christian Community.  Last night I spoke on Eph. 2:13-22, that Christ is our peace.  I thought I would highlight some of my thoughts from my prep time and share them here.

1) “Be devoted to one another” in Greek is philostorgos (philos – affection & storge – family love), pointing to the family nature of the Christian community.  Families should be

  • non-selective (Rom. 12:10)
  • non-private (Rom. 12:9)
  • not safe. (Rom. 12:11-12)

2) Can’t remember where I heard this quote.  “Peace is not a commodity given to us by Christ it is a reality experienced in fellowship with Christ”.  We spent a good amount of the evening talking about the first half of Eph. 2:14.

3) Christ died to break down the walls of hostility between God and us and also between us and others in order to create one new man.  Abraham Lincoln in his commentary on Eph., “they have not just been brought into a mutual relationship, but have been made one in a unity where both are no longer what they previously were.”  The resulting new humanity transcends the two old entities (Eph. 2:14)

My time in these two passages has been very sweet and deeply benefited me.  It has helped me understand better about the Christian community and what the Bible says in regard to what it should look like.

“Bologna On That…” January 19, 2011

Posted by Jeremy in Desiring God, discipleship, Holiness, John Piper, Scripture, Thoughts on Theology.
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From the Desiring God blog on July 11 2010.  This video is great.  I believe it to be something that needs to be heard and heeded.  In our churches, Christianity is suffering because we are not cultivating young people, or anyone for that matter, to a deep love and passion for the Bible, for the sake of magnifying the fullness of Christ.

I really liked what John said toward the end of the video:

“I know this is going to be called bibliolatry, and people will say, “You worship the Bible, not God.” Bologna on that. People who reject the Bible for God become idolaters. The only God worthy of knowing and loving is the one we meet in and discover through the Bible.”

I think this is absolutely true.  Yet, in many churches, the only time people open their Bible or look at it is Sunday morning at church, if even then.  The other 6 days of the week are spent often far from encountering God in the Scriptures.  The church says that this should not be the case but does little if anything to equip its people how to study it on their own, how to encounter God, or that the Bible is more than just words on a page given to us by God.

It is TRANSFORMATIONAL because it is where we encounter GOD.  “…If we try to say, him or something about him without stressing the foundation of the Bible, then we will lose what we are trying to preserve after a generation.”