Not to read or study at all is to tempt God: to do nothing but study, is to forget the Ministry: to study, only to glory in one’s knowledge, is a shameful vanity: to study, in search of the means to flatter sinners, a deplorable prevarication: but to store one’s mind with knowledge proper to the saints by study and by prayer, and to diffuse that knowledge in solid instructions and practical exhortations, – this is to be a prudent, zealous, and laborious Minister.
Quesnel, quoted by Charles Bridges in “The Christian Ministry”
A timely reminder from Titus (specifically, Titus 3:1-2), for me and my brothers and sisters in Christ:
Be submissive to rulers and authorities
Be ready for every good work
Speak evil of no one
Show perfect courtesy toward all people
For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
Reading in Prayer: How Praying Together Shapes The Church, by John Onwuchekwa, I came across the following that reminds me of Matthew 11:25-26. I preached (we need to make praught a thing) from Matthew 11:25-30 last week. The connection between adoring God the Father for both his revealing and hiding has a lot in common with praising him for his love and his just-ness that comes out clearly in this excerpt:
Delving into God’s attributes means we must pay attention to the attributes of God we sometimes feel tempted to apologize for. It shows us we should adore them. Think of God’s anger and wrath. When we praise him for those things during corporate worship, we’re reminded that God is committed to justice. Wrath isn’t a liability. It’s proof of his protection. God’s anger, directed at sin, reminds us that he is a protector of the weak. His inability to ignore sin and the relentless way he punishes evil is scary because we fear we could easily find ourselves as the objects of his wrath. But for those who take shelter under the protection he has offered through his Son, we realize God’s holiness is for our protection, not our punishment.
Do you know who you’re talking to? I’m not convinced everyone who comes to corporate worship does. Even if we do know, we forget. Thankfully, prayers of adoration remind us.
Optional. I ordered before the syllabus was quite online, and found out after that these were optional – meaning possible replacements if you had already read the book by Alexander. I knew they were optional, but not exactly what optional would mean (one or the other, zero or more, etc.) Nevertheless, I got both:
So, after spending a day (yesterday) in the historical center of Roma, the Forum Romano, then the Palatine Hill, and then finally the Colosseum, it was time to head to the Vatican Museum.
It was decent. I mean to say, there was plenty to enjoy. They really want you to see it all, in the order they have chosen. There really isn’t a way to skip galleries, focus on a particular area or style, etc. You just have to plod through. If such thoughts points me out as unrefined, so be it.
But following the museum, Kim was gracious and accepted that I might enjoy a visit to a libreria on the streetside – a libreria devoted to patristics and theology, with some psychology, student and children’s books as well. So, I picked through to find something interesting and purchased Origine: Commento al Vangelo di Giovanni:
Looks interesting, at the intersection of a couple loves – theology, biblical studies and language. And not just Italian! Greek, too, on facing pages.
<insert squealing noises here />
Two days into Italy. Many more to go. Leaving the big city and headed for the countryside tomorrow afternoon. Ciao!
I had the pleasure of preaching today, a 30,000 ft. view of discipleship. I quoted from After You Believe, and said I would post a link. Well, I will do just a bit more and provide the quote itself:
Love is great-hearted; love is kind, knows no jealousy, makes no fuss not puffed up, no shameless ways, doesn’t force its rightful claim; doesn’t rage, or bear a grudge, doesn’t cheer at others’ harm, rejoices, rather, in the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things; love hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails…
Fair enough to hold before yourselves that astonishing portrait. But don’t imagine that you can just step into it on a cheerful sunny morning and stay there effortlessly forever. The last lines tell their own story: bearing, believing, hoping, enduring, never failing – all these speak of moments, hours, days, and perhaps years when there will be things to bear, things to believe against apparent evidence, things to hope for which are not seen at present, things to endure, things which threaten to make love fail. The phrase “tough love” now sounds hackneyed, a relic of social debates from the day before yesterday. But the love of which Paul speaks is tough. In fact, it’s the toughest thing there is.
After You Believe (pp. 181-182), NT Wright
That combined with much of the book of Ephesians, a portion of Luke 14 and Hebrews 13 is a great introduction (or more!) to the subject.
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