Friday, September 30, 2011

The Trinity and the Atonement

Sinclair Ferguson: The atonement is not a form of inner-trinitarian blackmail. No: the Father loved us and did not spare his own Son for our salvation (Rom. 8:32); the Son loved us, and ‘did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped . . .’ (Phil. 2:6); the Spirit loved us (Rom. 15:30) and is not ashamed to indwell and sanctify us.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Psalm 56:3

As a child, I was involved in the Bible Drill program sponsored by First Baptist Church in Leesville. With regard to scripture memory and Bible familiarity no other program has had as profound of an impact on me as Bible Drill. I'm thankful my mother not only wanted me involved with the program but also took the time to help me memorize each year's verses. Looking back, it's not the competition part that was beneficial but the treasuring of the Word in my heart. Many of the verses I learned as a child are still with me today.

One verse the Spirit has used repeatedly in my journey is Psalm 56:3. It was easy to memorize because of the rhyme with "thee" and "three." The psalmist says: What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee (Psalm 56:3). I can still remember our leader emphasizing the rhyme and from that moment the Spirit sealed it in my heart. Countless times, the Spirit has used Ps. 56:3 to crush fear and move me to trust in God. Some examples include: when I was in junior high and had to visit my father every other weekend and every other Wednesday night. There were some nights where I was honestly scared to go to sleep because I did not know what my father might do to me or those I loved. The Spirit would use Ps. 56:3 to bring me peace and push me to rely on Christ. Other times the Spirit has used Ps. 56:3 in my life include: the day my father died, the day we learned that Arabella had a hole in her heart, and just about every time when I have check the "bump" in the middle of the night. Most importantly, the Spirit uses Ps. 56:3 to crush fears I have in stepping out in obedience to something Christ is calling me to or even to crush fears that I have in being a father. I'm learning that being a man does not mean that you are never afraid, but rather when you are afraid that you place your complete trust in the Lord and not yourself.

I'm thankful to have Scripture in my language. I'm thankful to have had a mother and others in my life that saw the value in children memorizing the Word. I'm thankful God has spoken and continues to speak through His Word.

"What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee." (Psalm 56:3)

Friday, September 9, 2011

2 Helpful Thoughts on Discipleship from Capitol Hill Baptist Church

In one of their core seminars on discipleship, Capitol Hill Baptist Church offers the following 2 thoughts:


Why might it be easy to think of discipleship as a program instead of a process? Many programs have been developed to “grow” disciples. But because every person is different and has different struggles and temptations, discipleship cannot be so easily packaged. Hebrews 10:14 says that Christ “has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.” What an interesting statement. On the one hand, Christ has made us perfect. On the other, though, we are continually being made holy! With his death on the cross, Christ stood as our substitute before God and we were justified in God’s sight. In regard to His justice, then, we are already perfect. But another process is taking place throughout our lives – the putting to death of our flesh so that our body of sin will be destroyed. Read Philippians 1:3-6. Paul is confident that as Christ has begun this process of sanctification, so He will carry it on to completion. As disciplers, though, we must remember that the process is not complete yet. Our prayer should be that of Paul a few verses later in Philippians 1:9-11.


In Hebrews 10:24-25, it is the church who is charged with encouraging believers, not just one person. This class will deal mainly with one-on-one discipling, but we must remember that Christ intends for His disciples to be brought to full maturity through the ministry of the church. No one of us has the full arsenal of spiritual gifts that is necessary to bring a person to full maturity in Christ. Even in your own life, there are areas where you will probably need more to be discipled yourself rather than to be a discipler! Each person in the church is able to contribute to the growth and development of a Christian. We are not to make clones of ourselves, but disciples of Christ, so we should not assume that we can personally provide everything a person needs. One person in the church may be gifted in one area, while another person is gifted in another. Both of those people are needed to bring a disciple to full maturity.

What/Who is a Disciple?

Mark 1:16-20
* Called by Christ (this is where discipleship starts)
* Respond to Christ

John 8:31-32
* Disciples abide in His Word, know the Truth, and are set free

Matthew 10:24-25/Luke 6:40 (fully trained)
* Not above sharing the sufferings of Christ

Luke 14:26-27, 33
* A disciple loves Jesus more than anything or anyone else
* A disciple bears his cross and follows Jesus
* A disciple renounces all that he has.

John 15:8-17 – Disciples . . .
* Glorify the Father by bearing fruit and proving they are disciples
* Abide in His love by keeping His commandments
* Possess full joy
* Love one another – laying down our lives for one another

Acts 9:36
* A disciple is full of good works and acts of charity

Other marks of a disciple (From Mark Dever)
1. A desire to know what God says. (Job 23:12; Jer. 15:16; Deut. 6:5-7; Rom. 10:17; I Pet. 2:2)
2. A break from the world’s standards. (I Cor. 10:13; II Cor. 5:17)
3. Self-discipline. (Gal. 5:22-23; Matt. 16:24; Luke 3:11; I Cor. 9:25-27)
4. A desire to seek other disciples. (Rom. 15:5-6; Acts 2:42; Eph. 3:17-19; Heb. 10:25; I Pet. 1:22; I John 1:2, 7)
5. Evangelism. (I John 3:16-24; I Pet. 2:21; II Cor. 9:6-7; Philip. 1:21; Matt. 10:32; John 14:12)
6. Perseverance. (Philip. 3:13-14; I John 1-4; Ps. 37:23-24; Rom. 6:1-14; II Pet. 1:1-10; John 5:37-39)

Making Disciples Course

During my time at CrossPoint, I became burdened by the "pace" of discipleship. It seemed to be moving slowly, which we all know the meager strivings of our sanctification and our ultimate hope in glorification. For the purposes of multiplication, I wanted to train our folks in the "basics" and then send them to train others. As a result, I designed a course called "Making Disciples." For a year I walked together with two different groups of folks at CrossPoint and followed this schedule:

Fall Semester
* Knowing Christ (Bible Study)
* Pursuing Christ (Spiritual Formation)
* Sharing Christ (Evangelism)

Spring Semester
* What do I teach? (Theology)
* Where do I teach? (Missions)
* How do I teach? (Mentoring)

God used that course beyond what I could have imagined and is still bearing fruit through some of those that were in the classes. I share the outline above in the hopes it might be helpful to some of you who are thinking through "how" to make disciples.

Discipleship Resources

Besides walking through verse by verse studies of the Word, below is a list of resources I would walk through with someone I was mentoring. I hope to walk through each of these with the folks at Trace Crossing:

1. Lord Teach Me to Study the Bible in 28 days – Kay Arthur
2. God's Big Picture - Vaughan Roberts
3. Prodigal God - Tim Keller
4. Nine Marks of a Healthy Church or What is a Healthy Church – Mark Dever
5. What is a Healthy Church Member - Thabiti Anyabwile
6. When Sinners Say I do – Harvey
7. Christian Beliefs or Systematic Theology – Wayne Grudem
8. Gospel in Life – Tim Keller
9. Promises Made – Mark Dever
10. Promises Kept - Mark Dever
11. Bill Wallace of China - Fletcher
12. The Pursuit of Holiness - Jerry Bridges
13. Tell the Truth - Will Metzger
14. Knowing God – J. I. Packer
15. The Valley of Vision
16. Desiring God – John Piper
17. The Unquenchable Flame - Reeves
18. Chinese Whispers: The Gladys Aylward Story - by Carol Purves
19. The Story of Christianity – Justo Gonzalez
20. Let the Nations Be Glad – John Piper
21. Reason for God – Tim Keller