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What a great series from 9Marks. “Every day, I found myself focused on thinking about ritual purity and impurity. Partway through the week, I realized that I was thinking about these things all day long and in every aspect of my life, and that’s when it hit me: God cares a lot about our purity and holiness. Not just from a ritual perspective, but also from a moral perspective. All day long and in every aspect of life, the Lord wants me to pursue purity in my heart, in my life, in my actions.”
I love this analogy. “Mountain climbers could save time and energy if they reached the summit in a helicopter, but their ultimate purpose is conquest, not efficiency. Sure, they want to reach a goal, but they desire to do it by testing and deepening their character, discipline, and resolve.”
“Our conviction is that God purposefully gave some gifts (specifically the ability to work miracles, the gift of revelatory prophecy, and speaking in tongues) only for a limited period. We have solid biblical reasons for believing this.”
“If a person asks how we know which books belong in the NT canon (and which do not), they will often hear that the answer lies with the ‘criteria of canonicity.’ All we have to do, we are told, is simply look for books that meet these ‘criteria’ and then we can know which books are in or out. What are these criteria? Typically things like apostolicity, orthodoxy, usage, age, etc.”
I enjoyed this one. “In Bisagno’s 30 years as pastor [at First Baptist Houston], the church saw tremendous growth, including some 15,000 baptisms. Since his retirement in 2000, he has been an author and sought-after speaker. But before all that, Bisagno was a talented trumpeter and Dixieland jazz musician. Sixty years prior to his lectures at NOBTS, Bisagno was on tour with his Dixieland jazz band to, among other places, New Orleans’ own Roosevelt Hotel.”
There are lots of unlikely things that happen to human beings. But which are the most unlikely of all?
“I take pride in the fact that I do not go to the pulpit unprepared. I labor in study to be faithful to the God-intended meaning of the text. I struggle in sermon preparation to be clear in my presentation. I saturate my heart and mind with the biblical truth to preach with passion. But the truth is that you can be faithful, clear, and passionate in the pulpit, without ever giving the sense that you have been with Jesus.”
It happens. We wish it didn’t happen and perhaps even try to pretend it doesn’t happen. But the tragic and undeniable reality is that there is abuse within the church.
Prayer is the greatest power God has put into our hands for service—praying is harder than doing, at least I find it so, but the dynamic lies that way to advance the Kingdom.—Mary Slessor