30 April, 2009

The Vomit of the Soul: Christian Confession

Confession is when we confide in a fellow Christian and we share the struggles that have been hindering a greater fellowship with Christ and the Church.

One Puritan said, “Confession is an act of mortification, it is as it were the vomit of the soul; It breeds a dislike of the sweetest morsels when are they are cast up in loathesome ejections. Sin is sweet in commission but bitter in the remembrance. God's children find that their hatred is never more keen and exasperated against sin than in confessing.” (Thomas Manton, 457).

What a vivid description for confession. The vomit of the soul- it is all of the stuff that sin has produced within us and as we confess that to our fellow Christians- we find that we are feeling better and our relationship with Christ is better. As we confess our sins to a confidential and compassionate brother or sister- we are more equipped to hate sin and to fight against sin.

One of Satan's greatest tactics in spiritual warfare is convincing Christians that nobody in all the world shares the same struggles with you. There is this lie that is told that you are in your sin alone and that if you shared it you would be so out of touch with the struggles of everyone else, that it is better to never share it.

This is untrue, of course. Christians struggle with a whole host of sins, and we are called to bring them confidentially and compassionately to a trusted brother, friend, or counselor.

Confess to one another.

14 April, 2009

What Are Preachers Reading?

Today I went into the 'deacon's office' and noticed a pamphlet from a well-known Christian book publisher called 'Pastor's Bargains: Low Prices for Those on the Front Lines'. I decided to paruse it to see what this publisher is recommending for pastor's to read.

Sad mistake. I believe that the books that pastors read is reflective of the health and well-being of the Church. As pastors we should be reading books about the Scripture and books to deepen our knowledge of Theology. The occasional 'issues' book is to be thrown in as well.

The books that this pamphlet suggested for pastors to read included:

1 Book on a deeper prayer life.
1 Book on the Majestic Nature of Jesus Christ.
3 Sports Biographies
11 Self Help Books
2 Books on 'Success'
1 Leadership Book

That is 10% dealing with Christianity (prayer and Jesus) and 90% dealing with pop-psychology, entertainment, or management issues.

Pray for your pastors. Pray that they are reading books that will benefit the Church of Christ and be used to advance Christ's Kingdom in the earth.

09 April, 2009

You Are Not A Christian!?

Boice, commenting on Jesus' words about loving each other as evidence of being in Christ:

If people come up to us and cast in our teeth the judgment that we are not Christians because we have not shown love toward other Christians, we must understand that they are only exercising a prerogative that Jesus gave them. [He then quotes Schaeffer] 'And we must not get angry. If people say you do not love other Christians, we must go home, get down on our knees, and ask God whether or not they are right. And if they are, then they have a right to have said what they said.'

04 April, 2009

Sabbath a'Brakel: Reflection on the Lord's Supper

'Did you receive peace, quietness, hope, assurance, and joy? Did you sweetly cleave to the Lord, doing so while weeping, without much comfort? Or could you entrust it all to the Lord, and did you in love, lean on the beloved, Did the Lord manifest Himself to you in a special manner with extraordinary revelations, or by granting clear and powerful assurance? Reflect upon these and similar matters. Do not deny what you have received; highly esteem the very least thing. If the soul can thus engage itself in quiet meditation, the Lord's Supper will have a sweet aftertaste. One will perceive his failures and his acknowledge the free grace of God, His goodness, and His benevolence. It will be a renewal of friendship, and be as a wedding dinner, treating Jesus to His own dainties, saying, 'Let my beloved come into his garden, and eat His pleasant fruits'. Yes, you may then receive that blessing during reflection which you missed while partaking of the Lord's Supper. (II. 594)