Does Your Life Really Show That You Are Christ’s?

Hey TD’ers, I have a question for you.  Has Christ really changed your life?  Does your life display Christ?  In this final 23 minute podcast of “The Fruit of Your Root” series, we explore what God wants your life to look like.  It’s hard-hitting, straight up truth from God’s Word.  Listen if you’re in need of a challenge, some ideas for change, and a jump start to your walk with Christ! – Arthur

 

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Would You Want a “Christian Harvard?”

Well, you seniors are now well into the college app process.  I’ve encouraged you to really think through this process and not just go with the prevailing cultural frenzy produced by the cultural air you breathe.  Please thoroughly pray through it, sincerely seeking GOD’s will.  Don’t just ask Him for a stamp of approval on YOUR will.  And … once again, I ask you to research solid Christian colleges as well and at least apply to one … even if just to support their efforts to train Christians for the world.  It may not be for you, but at least give God the opportunity to have the final say.

RC Sproul, Jr. gives us some solid food for thought with respect to how Christians should really look at their education.  Please read and resolve to follow Him … no matter what. – Arthur

Is It Your Hope That Reformation Bible College Will Become a New “Christian Harvard?”

Not only is that not my hope, but I actively hope and pray against such a conception. Christian, yes, Harvard, no. What, I wonder, do we actually mean when we are hoping for a “Christian Harvard?” A judgment of charity would assume we all agree on the “Christian” part. What we mean is an institution that is faithful to all that the Bible teaches. What Christian wouldn’t want that?

I believe we can also agree on part of what I believe people mean by “Harvard” in this context. I am in favor of academic rigor and am confident that Reformation Bible College not only will have such in the future, but enjoys such already. I am certain my students would agree. Our calling is to love God with all our minds. Deep, challenging thought and study on His Word is of course a good thing, a great thing.

What then is the objection? The trouble with this aspiration isn’t Christian and isn’t rigor. It is instead reputation. I fear that what we mean by “Christian Harvard” is that we want a school to be Christian the way we like it, and to be considered elite by the world around us. We want to be distinct and set apart from the world, and to be honored and respected by the world.

It is an old bit of wisdom that defines an evangelical as a fundamentalist who says to the liberal, “I will call you ‘brother,’ if you will call me ‘scholar.’” We all hunger for the respect of the world. We all desire to see our high academic standards recognized and affirmed by the world. We all want our studies to pave the way for all the honor and success the world has to offer. These desires, however, while eminently understandable, are not only not healthy, but are deadly to the long-term well being of any academic institution. They are the very engine of institutional apostasy.

We have forgotten our own theology once we come to believe that the world can give a sober, honest, accurate assessment of our credentials. To think that if our academic standards match theirs they will judge us as their equals is to forget that they are by nature the enemies of God, and His people. They reject us not because our GRE scores are too low, but because our moral standards are too high. Look at how creation scientists are treated. Consider how belief in a biblical view of marriage is now outside the bounds of the respectable. Affirming the conviction that the Bible is true is sufficient to destroy our credibility with the world. Which means we cannot have both a conviction that the Bible is true, and credibility with the world.

They don’t, of course, care what we think, so long as we keep it to ourselves, so long as we leave our faith on the coat rack before entering the groves of academe. We live in the midst of what CS Lewis warned us about more than a generation ago—“They’ll tell you that you can have your religion in private, and then they’ll make sure you’re never alone.” The solution is not to work harder to gain their approval. The solution isn’t to aspire to respectability. The solution is to embrace the scandal of the cross. The solution is to die to self, to lay aside the perks and prerogatives that they dole out to those whom they approve. The solution is to account our academic reputations as naught for the kingdom of God. The solution is to rejoice in the glorious truth that it is better to be a custodian in the university of the Lord than to be seated among lords of academia. When we seek the world’s approval, we lose it. And when we give it up, we will find His approval. Jesus said so.

Is It Your Hope That Reformation Bible College Will Become a New “Christian Harvard?” was originally published at RCSproulJr.com

Wanna Know What Heaven’s Like?

Hey TD’ers, I think I saw the answer to this question when I saw this video.  When you watch it, please don’t be multi-tasking.  Put down what you’re doing for 6 minutes, pray for God to speak to you, and then watch and behold what will be unending in heaven – true love.

After you’re done, I’d love for you to comment and submit some parallels and associations with heaven and the glory of the gospel that you can think of.  Would you do that for me? Thanks … and enjoy! – Arthur

The Pernicious Lie and the Naked Truth

Hey TD’ers!  Have you ever been naked in front of someone? Perhaps in the locker room or in front of a doctor or nurse?  How did you feel?  Why did you feel that way?  Have you ever felt spiritually naked? How did that feel?  What determines its appropriateness, how you feel, and how you will respond?

In this next essay in “The Pernicious Lie” series, Sandra strips away our camouflage, calls it like it is, and calls us to get naked and get real. Please read, work through it, and then act! – Arthur

The Pernicious Lie – “What you see is what you get”

     You wake up in the morning, open your eyes, turn off the irritating alarm and get out of bed.  You stumble into the bathroom and you stare into the mirror…..you are looking at yourself.  Or are you?  You brush your teeth, wash your face, put on your make-up, put on your clothes, and are now presentable to face the world.  This is the pernicious lie – What you see is what you get.  You took care of your body, the casing of yourself, but your real self may have never gotten out of bed.

Ever since the Garden of Eden, mankind has had this confusion about who we really are. After Adam and Eve disobediently ate of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, their eyes were opened in one sense and closed in another sense. After they sinned, the physical world became their default lenses, and they immediately saw that they were physically naked and sewed fig leaves to cover themselves up.  Their immediate concern was to take care of the nakedness of their bodies.

The Naked Truth – “What you don’t see is what you get” 

As the day progresses, your mind starts “talking” to you.  “I feel so tired, I wish I could sleep more today.”  “What should I wear today?”  “What should I eat for breakfast?”  All these random thoughts flood our minds.  We think that no one can “hear” these thoughts because we aren’t verbally talking to anyone.  The last we saw, there weren’t any bubbles over our heads with these thoughts being broadcast to everyone around us.  Yet, the truth is that all these thoughts (plus more), our emotions, our guilt, our insecurities are PLAINLY visible to God and eventually get revealed to those close to us one way or another. What you don’t see is what you get.

     After Adam and Eve made clothes for themselves (Gen. 3:7), they actually thought that they could hide from God.  It’s almost like kids playing hide and seek.  They stand in broad daylight, covering up their eyes.  They figure, if I can’t see anyone, then they can’t possibly see me.  We use that same logic for God.  Since we can’t “see” our own sinfulness, surely God and others can’t see it either.  The truth is God sees it as clear as day and so do others that have the eyes of the Spirit.

The Solution – “Lord, help us to see what we don’t see”

     We are all playing charades, pretending to be who we are really not.  We walk around as blind men, “talking” about all the things that we are “seeing.”  Our thought lives are not neutral.  Trivial, earthbound thoughts make us trivial, earthbound people.  We need to have courage to first deal with all the “crud” that is in our own hearts and then we have to be truthful enough to relate to others on that unseen level.  Like Spurgeon said, “You cannot slander human nature, it is worse than words can paint it.”  This takes time, commitment and spiritual eyes.  It is not done in sound bites, in posted comments, or on virtual “walls,” but by much time spent under His gaze through the Word.

God had compassion on Adam and Eve.  He killed animals to make them clothing that was much more durable than fig leaves.  God is willing to do the same for us today.  He provided the perfect Lamb to cover our nakedness on Calvary.  But we must be willing to take off our own flimsy coverings of fig leaves and humbly come to Him in full nakedness.

Every day is a challenge to pray, “Lord, help us to see what we don’t see.”  As we read in II Cor. 3:18, “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.”  In II Peter 1:5-9, God outlines our journey for us, “Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love.  For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.  For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins.”

How is your eyesight these days?  Focus on the Family’s Del Tackett calls us out and poignantly asks, “Do you really believe that what you believe is really real?”  These bodies will fail us and then our “security blanket” will be removed.  At that point, may we find that we obeyed His command for us to “put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regards to its lusts.”  (Rom. 13:14)  So, tomorrow, when you wake up to brush your teeth, don’t forget that your spiritual “morning breath” is more offensive than your bad breath.  Take the time to let the Word “wash” you up!

– Sandra Hsieh

TD Bible Study available here!

Hey TD’ers,

We’ll be back at TD this Friday to discuss the Bible Study for “A Greater Man, A Greater Baptism” (Luke 3:15-22).  Please download the study below, work on it this week, and listen again to Robert’s message to deepen your understanding of the passage.  Then pray and ask God to do work during our small group time.  Come Friday expecting Him to answer and being ready to be part of the answer to that prayer! – Arthur

“A Greater Man, A Greater Baptism” – Bible Study

“A Greater Man, A Greater Baptism” – Message (Robert)

To Live or Die

Hey TD’ers, when I read the following on Joni’s blog the other day, I knew I had to re-post it for you all, for we 21st century Christians need to not only learn how to think about and articulate God’s perspective to our world, but we need to tangibly represent Him in action as well.  After all, “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.” (2Cor. 5:20)  Let’s represent Him faithfully, ardently, and … well!  That’s our calling. – Arthur

empty wheelchair

One day after a hunting accident in which he broke his neck, Tim Bowers was presented the grim choice of whether he wanted to live or die. On Saturday, November 2, doctors told Bowers he would be paralyzed and could be on a ventilator for the rest of his life. The 32-year-old man chose to take no extra measures to stay alive. He died Sunday, hours after his breathing tube was removed. To me, this is so heartbreaking – yes, I support the trend to allow patients more self-determination, but to ask an SCI survivor only hours after his devastating injury if he wants a ventilator or not? What a reckless offer! It loads way too much responsibility on a shocked individual who just doesn’t have the psychological or emotional wherewithal to grasp the implications. As a quadriplegic, I can speak from experience – at the onset of spinal cord injury, it’scompletely understandable for a person to recoil at the prospects of quadriplegia. But life is the most irreplaceable and fundamental condition of the human experience, and to expect a freshly-traumatized person to make a rational decision about life-as-a-quadriplegic is, I think, medical malpractice. My heartfelt prayers go out to the Bowers family as they learn to adjust to life without their beloved son and brother.

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– Joni Eareckson Tada