Monday, June 25, 2007
I've heard this sermon a lot: the whole topic of the "general will of God" and "specific will of God" for your life. General will is found in Scripture, specific will is unknown and should be sought out.
Here is my question: For those of us who would wear the label of a cessationist, how are you supposed to know the specific will of God for your life? I've heard answers of "feeling peace" and "Scripture will show you" but if I'm asking God's will for a job decision, how is Scripture supposed to answer that one? And more importantly, why do we trust a feeling of peace, but we wouldn't trust a dream or vision? Are we guilty of being overbearingly inconsistent with our theology? I can see why some would defect to the continualist's camp. They seem to be more consistent.
The reason I bring this up is because of a series of messages my own pastor has taught dealing with this exact topic. And I was visiting another church recently (out of town - not church shopping!) and heard the traditional, fundamentalist view of the will of God. I'm curious what you all believe. Should we be trusting our feelings to know God's will? Or is it possible that there isn't one perfect job (or college, or spouse . . . you fill in the blank), but that God works His sovereignty through our decisions and we aren't called to know a "specific will of God" for our lives.
Please let me know what you think. And if you are one of the guys who I know lurk here, I want to hear your input, too!
Friday, June 22, 2007
Monday, June 18, 2007
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
That being said, the book is written by the late Mrs. Muller, and it has an air of antiquity in the language which made it more difficult for me to read. It didn't seem to "flow" as some other books do and it's tendency to go from one historical account to another in a chapter made it harder to follow the chronology of his life. Don't get me wrong, it is filled with valuable lessons from a godly man, but it won't top my "must read" list. A more contemporary writing of the same princliples can be found, in my opinion, in Randy Alcorn's book, The Treasure Principle.
Saturday, June 09, 2007
The last session on Sunday was taught by C.J. Mahaney. I have read a few of his books and have been blessed eternally by the ministry of his wife and daughters over at Girltalk, but I never had the opportunity to hear him speak, so I was really excited.
First of all, my impression of him can be summed up in one word and one of his book titles: humility. He started the evening session off with an extended honouring of the conference hosts, Josh Harris and Eric Simmons. He was gracious, humble and sincere. And funny! As Al Mohler commented earlier in the day, "If you ever hear someone say, 'Lighten up, CJ,' you know the end is near!" He is a godly man who is a perfect example that Godliness is not only displayed as serious.
His topic was on idols. He commented multiple times that he was only preaching to us what he has learned and benefited from other speakers and writers. But he was passionate about the topic. He loved the topic and you can tell that it has changed his life.
He started out by saying, "Idolatry is the most frequently discussed and most frequently condemned subject in the Bible" and listed a whole bunch of passages to make his point (see Ex.20:1-2, Rom. 1:21,25, I Thes. 1:9, I Cor. 10:13-14, Col. 3:5). He defined idolatry as any substitute for God, including good gifts from God that we desire more than Him. We have to be able to discern our idols, which are evidences of the remaining sin in us. He exhorted us to use Scripture, the Holy Spirit and the church (i.e. preaching of the word and friends) to help us identify and root out our idols.
He then parked on 2 sources of idolatry: The test of prosperity and the test of adversity. Both can cause us to focus on our circumstances instead of God. He then gave a list of x-ray questions that we can use in searching our hearts for idols (can be found here). I am already familiar with this list of questions from our Bible Study on How People Change by Paul Tripp. It is an excellent tool.
He ended the sermon with 3 signposts of grace in a believer's life: fruit in identifying idols, growth in Godliness, and growth in gratefulness to God and His gift of the Cross.
We missed CJ's last session on Tuesday morning, as well as Eric Simmon's sermon on Monday morning. So I only have the 2 sessions with Piper to post on. It might take me a few days to adequately write what I learned from Piper's sessions, so the last post in this series may be delayed. I will most likely post on other topics before, so don't think I am done!
Monday, June 04, 2007
The second session on Sunday featured Al Mohler as speaker. I have benefited greatly from Dr. Mohler's ministry, who is the president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, where our good friend Gretchen is employed and her husband, Josh, is a student. I am most familiar with Dr. Mohler from his blog, which handles current issues with such clarity and Biblical truth it excites me! He is incredibly wise and isn't afraid to speak unashamedly about what God wants in the midst of many controversies. It seems he is the evangelical "go-to-guy" for shows like "Larry King Live" and I have never once felt embarrassed as he acts as our spokesperson. In case you can't tell, I really respect him and was very excited to hear him speak!
He was incredibly witty and had the house pealing with laughter on many occasions. He was engaging and informative, but, unfortunately, very hard to take notes on. And I'm not the only blogger who said this! But I still greatly appreciated his talk and benefited from his wisdom.
His topic was was Discerning Culture and he gave a great picture of what it is like to be submersed in our culture. He appealed to an analogy from Aristotle, who said the worst being to ask about what it is like to be wet is a fish. It's all he knows, he can't describe it. And that is how we are with our culture. It is such a part of who we are and how we think, it would be ridiculous to try to withdraw completely (after all, what would we wear or drive?) and it would be equally silly to jump in without any thought (it is a system with an agenda and we can't assume it is amoral).
It all comes down to Matthew 23. We have to love God and our neighbor, who is probably entrenched in the culture, as we are, to an extent. We have to filter our culture through God's Word and realize that we are not bound by what the culture tells us. We are fish in toxic water and we need to learn how to discern our culture and still swim to the Glory of God!