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"Many people who take an intellectual stand against Christianity do so against a background of personal disappointment with Christians and churches."

- Tim Keller, The Reason for God (via jonathansherwin)

(via jonathansherwin-deactivated2012)

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Word Versus Deed: Resetting the Scales to a Biblical Balance.

Duane Litfin was the seventh president of Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois. He holds an undergraduate degree in biblical studies and a master’s degree in theology from Philadelphia Biblical University (then Philadelphia College of Bible). His two doctoral degrees are from Purdue University (Ph.D., Communication) and Oxford (D.Phil., New Testament). He came to Wheaton in 1993 from Memphis, Tennessee, where he served the First Evangelical Church as senior pastor. Prior to that, he was an associate professor at the Dallas Theological Seminary. He also taught at Purdue University and Indiana University. Litfin has authored several books and his writings have appeared in numerous journals and periodicals.

Litfin was succeeded as president on July 1, 2010 by Philip Ryken, formerly senior pastor of the Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia and 1988 graduate of Wheaton.

Introduction

Duane Liftin sets the tone of this book brilliantly. He makes a clear case to bring back a balance between the words and the works of Christian life. He calls all believers to not only be a student of the word but also someone who acts upon that word when called upon by God.

The Meat

The book is split in to three sections: The importance of our word, the importance of our deeds, and the importance of handling scripture well.

To start Liftin makes a clear case that verbal communication has been and will always be crucially important in every aspect of life. liftin asserts, ‘that verbal behaviors is neither unimportant nor dispensable. God’s revelation came to us, after all, not only in the living Word, Jesus Christ., but in the written Word, the Scriptures. p.32.’

“The Gospel does not need fresh ideas, but a story that needs fresh telling.” 

Deeds can be and have been given two extremes throughout history. Either, every believer must help everyone in need to the point that there is no time to study, meditate, or seek Christ for self; or is it God’s work and people don’t need to do anything. Liftin rightly argues that neither of those options is right. We must have an understanding that each person is called by God. It may sound counterintuitive, but in the end it is powerfully liberating to realize that God does not expect us to respond every time we se a need. A need is not a call. The idea is based of Nehemiah, who positioned people in certain places for certain purposes. That understanding takes the weight of salvation off of our shoulders and places it back on Christ who took the weight of life itself on the cross. 

Liftin is very clear that our actions are very important in the spreading of the Gospel, but they must be both through word and deed. Liftin is very clear that the quote, “Preach the gospel at all times. Use words if necessary’ alone is a unbiblical approach to living life, and the idea the St. Francis wrote that quote is also poor research at best. No one can find anything within two centuries of his death that he spoke that saying. Liftin clearly, and rightly makes a case that preaching was firstly a verbal thing, not just a nonverbal thing. 

Conclusion

This book was great, I would highly recommend it to anyone who is a believer and further more anyone who is disillusioned with church or christians. ‘Word versus Deed’ is a fantastic read and it will challenge you at what ever stage you are in your pursuit of faith. 

  

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"Scripture is the fundamental source for one’s speaking with a Christian voice and acting out of Christian conviction"

- Nicholas Wolterstroff
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Two books which will be reviewed later on the summer!

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New Testament in magazine form. Created from a secular perspective. Great resource! Check out www.illuminatedbible.com

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Students & Generosity don’t seem to be used in the same sentences anymore. For a lot of students they are just making it by themselves and haven’t considered themselves in a place to be generous. This short video challenged me about being generous, so we thought we would share it.

Here is a video from Steve Long, who is the senior pastor of Catch the Fire Toronto. At this point Catch The Fire has eleven campuses that meet in ten venues around the greater Toronto area. Check them out at www.ctftoronto.com

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We all have the tendency to be drawn to tension and to be drawn to controversial topics. This isn’t something new; it’s been around as long as people have been. But how we respond to it is something that I have been thinking a lot on recently.

What is it about someone saying something  controversial that makes everyone intrigued? Why is it that speaking in parables keeps people coming back for more?

Would you read a book if it wasn’t marketed as being controversial? Would you listen to a talk if you thought is was going to be normal?

At the moment, society is becoming more and more defined. People want you to pick a side, and stay with it. There is growing sense that a middle ground is harder and harder to come by because everything else in life is trying to pull to you to an extreme.

For example. Rob Bell has recently written a book called, “Love Wins” and his promo video is a perfect example of controversy and mystery. Now, those two things are not bad things but if you are only wanting to read his book because of the controversy and mystery then I would question whether or not you should. If you are reading it because you want to be able to tell your friends that you have read it, or be able to write a response to it so you can be popular or so that people will listen to your opinion; then I would question if you should read it; and lovingly question your pride.

Pride will bring destruction by isolating us from others who love us. We will become an island that can’t be challenged by others. – Michael Bleecker

I love the second part of that quote, ”We will become and island that can’t be challenged by others”. Separation from others in to a role of dominance, where you are in control and you have the final say, and you, and you, and you. The focus isn’t learning. the focus is you. When the focus is you, that brings pride into the picture.
become an island that can’t be challenged by others.

Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. Philippians 2:3-4 NLT

In the same way, you younger men must accept the authority of the elders. And all of you, serve each other in humility, for

“God opposes the proud
but favors the humble.”

So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. 1 Peter 5:5-6 NLT

Question your motives, if you’re not strong enough to do that, then go to your leader, pastor, mentor and ask them. Don’t be afraid of being told off. Don’t think that you are smart enough to get by life all alone on your little island. You can’t make it, you wont make it.

The best advice my pastor said to me when I was having a problem with pride. “Get over yourself”.

So I got off my island and joined life again. Don’t say something to be controversial, don’t read something because it seems mysterious and might make you feel important because you’ve read it. Live life, ask questions, check your heart often.

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Listening to gossip is fun! That’s why people love to do it. Knowing that you know something about someone that no one else knows… Oh! That hits the spot every time. It feeds this inner battle going on inside my head of me being my own God, me being able to have an answer to every question and me knowing more than everyone else. 

Now, there are many problems with that. I make life all about me. So when I am not happy, when I don;t have thethings I want, when I don’t know enough I have to try to concur, or attack the things that I so desire. I drives me to not think of anyone else more than just a tool to get more information and when I have gotten what I want I just discard their friendship or relationship. It also means that I have successfully disengaged with reality.

“Wrongdoers eagerly listen to gossip; liars pay close attention to slander. Proverbs 17:4″

I love that verse! It is so true and so easily disregarded by people. I find that you don’t really realise that you are listening to gossip until someone who isn’t in your group of friends or work colleague points it out. Also the best way to learn how to lie is to be around better liars. It’s a prettysimple principle. I used to own a humours book on how to lie better. One of the key principles that they kept on going back to is this, you need to believe what you say; even though you know it is a lie. But the problem with that is you then start to tell yourself what to believe and it doesn’t mater about truth or what is right. What matters is that you tell yourself it is right.

I know that I attract like-mindedpeople to me. Every so often I look at who are my close friends and who are the people who I am around a lot and I ask myself, what are they like? Do they have any glaring social issues? If they do then I should probably check to see if I might have those same issues. Just to keep things in the open… I usually do.

So, here is the meat to chew on. Do I as a believer in Jesus, willingly choose to listen to Gossip myself? Do I choose to gossip about people I know? Do I choose to listen to slanderous remarks and lies about others? Most importantly, will i step up and confront it in others and in my own life? That’s all my friends. Hope you enjoyed this post and if you wanna share some love leave a comment or pass it this post on.

Be Well,

Chris