Dr. Albert Mohler
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2

15 things that you already know about God’s will for your life. (God’s prescriptive and desirous will)

That we were already born. It was God’s will that we were born into all the circumstances that we were born into…because it happened.
That we die…beause it will happen. Hebrews 9:27.
That you grow. Phil 1:6. He who began a good work in you will complete it until the day of Christ Jesus. Hebrews 10:14 For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.
That you were made male or female. God is destinct and complimantary in his creation of humanity.
That you believe in Christ. It is a command. REPENT AND BELEIVE.
That you Follow Jesus Christ. We ought to be His disciples.
That you trust and obey the word of God. Obedience. “Trust and obey for the know other way, to be happy in Jesus, but to Trust and obey”
That you obey and respect all authorities. “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.” Romans 13:1 Also respecting authorities in the church.
That you be married! The test if you have the gift of singleness is the question “can I serve God without bitterness, without lusting after flesh and sex.”
That you stay married and look to raise children, biological or adopted.
That you Invest your spiritual gifts and abilities to the glory of God.
That you be involved in Local Church.
That you Lead. All believers either by authority, office or example.
That you share the gospel in every situation and take advantage of opportunities.
That you do everything for the glory of God. Soli Deo Gloria!

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“That’s mine!,” “Hey give that back!,” “I’ll never forgive him!,” “I can’t talk to them any more!,” Conflict is all around us. Conflict is in us! Our sinful hearts constantly produce excuses to be in conflict. And I suspect you have heard some of these things recently. It may even be a part of your normal speech or a regular occurrence in your home. James 3:10 “From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.”

Conflict, while it is inevitable, is against God’s design—especially for the church. Jesus puts a high emphasis on being a peacemaker as He teaches that being at peace with your brother is a prerequisite to true worship. Matt 5:23-24.

That is why I highly recommend the Peacemaker books by Ken Sande. The Peacemaker, geared towards adults, The Peacemaker Student Edition and, Peacemaking for Families, are wonderful books to aid you in your pursuit of peace that puts Jesus Christ on display in all your relationships.

Conflict is a restless evil that seeks to undermine the very prayers of our Lord. Consider. John 17:20-21.

Our unity and peace communicates the love of God and the radical transformation that He has done in our hearts. And, if indeed He has done a work in our hearts, the way we deal with conflict ought to look more like Christ and less like the world. Our unity puts Jesus Christ on display and quite the opposite is the case when we are in consistent un-reconciled conflict with each other as believers.

Ken Sande seeks, not only to expose this conflict as utterly sinful but disciples his readers through biblical resolution, restoring relationships that are currently in conflict and helps us build a God-honoring framework for dealing with conflict in the future. He does a superb job of this, communicating as if he were sitting across from you at your local area Starbucks speaking the truth in love to you and tenderly discipling you toward love and good deeds.

Ken goes about this in four parts or the four G’s of peacemaking:

  • Glorify God (I Cor. 10:31)
  • Get the Log out of Your Eye (Matt. 7:5)
  • Gently Restore (Gal. 6:1)
  • Go and be Reconciled (Matt. 5:24)

The chief of all of these, and perhaps the reason for its placement as first, is Glorifying of God. This is the most important aspect of understanding biblical conflict and making steps toward resolution. We are called to glorify God in all that we do. 1 Corinthians 10:31

Ken reminds us that conflict provides opportunity to be true peacemakers rather than breaking peace or faking peace. One of the most valuable tools that Ken uses is his model of The Slippery Slope of peacemaking.

PEACE FAKING: Those of us that find ourselves on the left side of the slippery slope tend to deny that there is conflict at all, wrongly thinking that any kind of conflict is dangerous or thinking that it will damage relationships beyond hope. All of these escape responses are counter productive to unity in the body and glorifying God.

PEACE BREAKING: Those finding that they tend to lash out in anger either physically or with words, slide this way when faced with conflict. These folks tend to see conflict as an opportunity to assert themselves or defend their rights. Ultimately these individuals are more interested in being right than considering others as more important than themselves. The ultimate extreme here would be murder. Before we write that off as impossible, let us all stand guilty under the Lord’s words in Matt 5:21-22 “…everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable.”

PEACEMAKING: These responses are commanded by God. The first three responses are the personal peacekeeping responses. The principle here is to overlook the offense. Proverbs 19:11 A man’s discretion makes him slow to anger, And it is his glory to overlook a transgression. The next three Peacemaking responses are called assisted peacemaking. If two people are unable to come to reconciliation on their own, they may need to seek out wise counsel to assist them in the process.

Sanctification doesn’t happen in a bubble. The Lord brings situations and people into our lives to expose our sin. The question is, when that ugly monster sin shows himself will you take the opportunity to wage war with him or will you feed him and pretend that he is not dangerous? What are you doing now? Who is it that the Lord has brought to mind even as you have been reading? Will you leave your offering and go and be reconciled or will you continue the charade? If you need to be reconciled with someone or you recognize that conflict is the theme of one or more of your relationships, then go and pick up a copy of Ken Sande’s book
The Peacemaker. Start today, as much as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.

May God be glorified in all your relationships!

Blessings,

Alvin

Here is a parody of many of the trends and buzzwords of the modern church.  WARNING: FUNNY.  I nearly spit out a mouthful of coffee when I read it this morning!  A crack up.  🙂

Thanks for the link Donovan!

Jeff

New Book by Dr. Michael Fabarez

Have you ever either asked that question or wondered, how should I be praying for my Pastor? Certainly pastors have myriads of things that the body could be praying for. However, no prayer that you take before the throne room of grace has as far reaching and blessing potential than when you pray for the pastor’s time in the word and delivery of that word. Here is something from Pastor Fabarez that outlines specific ways to pray for the study, delivery and response to the word of God.

Interceding for the Sermon
“…pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word…” Col. 4:3


Pray for the Crafting of the Sermon

1. Pray that the message your pastor is preparing to preach would be an evident part of his own life.
2. Pray for the protection of your pastor’s sermon preparation time.
3. Pray that your pastor will be given grace and illumination to rightly divide God’s word.
4. Pray that the words your pastor chooses to frame the outline would be effective and powerful tools for the Holy Spirit to employ.
5. Pray that your pastor would have insight into the needs of the congregation as he prepares the sermon.

Pray for the Delivery of the Sermon

1. Pray that people will attend the preaching event.
2. Pray that the congregation will arrive in the right frame of mind.
3. Pray to God would guard against preaching distractions.
4. Pray for clarity and power in the pastor’s vocabulary.
5. Pray to God would give understanding to all who hear this week’s sermon.
6. Ask God for the most effective and fruitful sermon your pastor has ever preached.

Pray for the Response to the Sermon

1. Pray that all, including yourself, will put the sermon into practice.
2. Pray that the sermon will not be compartmentalized.
3. Pray that the application of the sermon would be contagious.
4. Pray that the sermon itself will be repeatedly delivered.

Praying for Sunday, You, Your Pastor, and the Next Sermon, Dr. Mike Fabarez

Gripped by Grace,
Alvin

There are a number of posts I’d link to link to, so here’s another “Smorgasboard” post. Once again, I found most of this stuff thanks to Tim Challies and Justin Taylor!

  • Kevin DeYoung and Ted Kluck wrote the widely appreciated Why We’re Not Emergent: By Two Guys Who Should Be, and they’ve just released Why We Love the Church: In Praise of Institutions and Organized Religion. The duo were also recently given an opportunity to wrote a column for the Washington Post entitled, Church: Love It, Don’t Leave It.
  • The Youth Small Groups have been going through Crazy Love by Francis Chan. During the month of July, this excellent book is available as a free audio book from ChristianAudio.com (download it here). Other resources associated with this book include free introductory videos to each chapter (available here), and a DVD of videos that are helpful for encouraging group discussion based on each chapter (available here).
  • Ligonier Ministries Blog: “Over the course of several months, Keith Mathison put together a list of his top 5 commentaries for each book of the Bible.” For links to Mathison’s recommended commentaries on each book of the Bible, click here. (Another great resource on good commentaries can be found here).
  • On a personal note: In my opinion, rugby is the greatest sport on earth! : ) The South African national team, the Springboks, is currently playing a series against the British and Irish Lions (the very best of England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales) – a team that is only put together once every 4 years. Well, South Africa have won the first 2 matches! There is 1 more game this Saturday…  For an awesome piece of play, click here and start watching from about 45 seconds into the video…

Blessings…

~Donovan

It’s been a busy week, and I haven’t had a chance to post anything. I have come across several good posts on-line though, and since I don’t know which to link to, here’s a smorgasboard of good stuff from around the web (as usual, I found most of this stuff thanks to Tim Challies and Justin Taylor!):

  • John Piper wrote a thought-provoking post entitled, “Why I Don’t Have a Television and Rarely Go to Movies” . This post also includes a wonderful example of humbly confessing sin. 
  • Keith and Kristen Getty have released a new album of modern, celtic-style hymns. Their lyrics are saturated with Scripture and their music is beautiful! You can listen to samples and/or order the CD here.
  • Sovereign Grace Music has released another children’s album entitled, To Be Like Jesus. Read about it here.
  • Tim Challies asked John Bell, pastor of New City Baptist Church in Toronto, to share about his experience sharing the gospel with the gay community in his city. It is well worth reading – to help us think biblically about homosexuality, and to help us in God-honoring evangelism and church life. There is also some very interesting discussion in the comments, especially involving a number of men who struggle with homosexuality but turn from it because of their commitment to Christ. Read this post here
  • If you’re compiling a summer reading list, you might find these 2 posts from David Powlison to be of interest. Powlison is a bilical counselor, professor, and author, and he spent some time this week discussing some of his favorite literature with CJ Mahaney. You can read part 1 here, and part 2 here.  
  • What does Kurt Warner, a Christian who plays quarterback for the Arizona Cardinals, like most about being a professional football player? His very encouraging answer is here.   

Blessings…

~Donovan

Russel Moore’s much anticipated  and widely endorsed book, “Adopted for Life: The Priority of Adoption for Christian Families and Churches“, has just been released.

 Tim Challies:

It might be easy to write off a book like this one, assuming that it only has relevance to families who are actually considering adopting a child. But Moore’s ambition goes beyond asking young families to adopt orphaned children. “In this book I want to call us all to consider how encouraging adoption—whether we adopt or whether we help others adopt—can help us peer into the ancient mystery of our faith in Christ and can help us restore the fracturing unity and the atrophied mission of our congregation.” As Moore explains, “The gospel of Jesus Christ means our families and churches ought to be at the forefront of the adoption of orphans close to home and around the world.” It is the gospel that calls us to adopt but it is also the gospel that teaches us how to understand adoption. In fact, “as we become more adoption-friendly, we’ll be better able to understand the gospel.” And so this book is for anyone and everyone.

Read Tim Challies’ full review here.

I’ve ordered a copy and look forward to reading it.

~Donovan

Al Mohler:

“The times demand Christian courage. These days, courage means that preachers and Christian leaders must set an agenda for biblical confrontation, and not shrink from dealing with the full range of issues related to homosexuality. We must talk about what the Bible teaches about gender–what it means to be a man or a woman. We must talk about God’s gift of sex and the covenant of marriage. And we must talk honestly about what homosexuality is, and why God has condemned this sin as an abomination in His sight…

…And yet, even as courage is required, the times call for another Christian virtue as well–compassion. The tragic fact is that every congregation is almost certain to include persons struggling with homosexual desire or even involved in homosexual acts. Outside the walls of the church, homosexuals are waiting to see if the Christian church has anything more to say, after we declare that homosexuality is a sin…

…We cannot settle for truth without love nor love without truth. The Gospel settles the issue once and for all. This great moral crisis is a Gospel crisis. The genuine Body of Christ will reveal itself by courageous compassion, and compassionate courage. We will see this realized only when men and women freed by God’s grace from bondage to homosexuality feel free to stand up in our churches and declare their testimony–and when we are ready to welcome them as fellow disciples. Millions of hurting people are waiting to see if we mean what we preach.”

You can read the whole article, “No Truth Without Love, No Love Without Truth”, here.

~Donovan

HT: Tim Challies

John Piper recently exhorted his pastoral staff towards unity and love amid differences. He boiled his meesage down to a brief blog post, giving 6 points of excellent, biblical counsel that are applicable to all Christians seeking to live in the unity Christ calls us to. Read it here.

~Donovan

HT: Justin Taylor

Ministry-to-Children.com lists 68 Reasons Why Children’s Ministry Matters (click to see the full list). Click on the links below to see the reasons given in specific categories: 

Of course, some points are better than others, but it’s a list well worth reading through. Let’s be faithful in nurturing the next generation, that they may know the supremacy of Christ and walk in the truth.

~Donovan