3 Questions Fake Christians Can’t Answer

Tim Keller: 3 Questions Fake Christians Can’t Answer

3 questionsTim Keller offers a group of “questions designed to wake up sleeping Christians” in the following video. His questions focus on three hallmarks of a growing relationship with God.

These questions would make good small group material or could also be used when mentoring someone one-on-one.

Evidence of God’s presence in your life

How real has God been this week to your heart?

How clear and vivid is your assurance and certainty of God’s forgiveness and fatherly love. To what degree is that real to you right now?

Are you having any particular seasons of sweet delight in God? Do you really sense his presence in your life? Do you really sense him giving you his love?

Evidence of Scripture changing you

Have you been finding Scripture to be alive and active?

Are you finding certain Biblical promises extremely precious and encouraging? Which ones?

Are you finding God’s calling you or challenging you to something through the word, in what ways?

Evidence of a growing appreciation for God’s mercy

Are you finding God’s grace more glorious and moving now than you have in the past?

Are you conscious of a growing sense of the evil of your heart, and in response, a growing dependence on and grasp of the preciousness of the mercy of God?

Your Status

“If you are a child of God, you don’t lose your status if you have a bad week.” – Tim Keller

About Tim Keller

Your StatusTimothy Keller is the founding pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan, which he started in 1989 with Kathy, his wife, and three young sons.  For over twenty years he has led a diverse congregation of young professionals that has grown to a weekly attendance of over 5,000.

He is also Chairman of Redeemer City to City, which starts new churches in New York and other global cities, and publishes books and resources for faith in an urban culture. In over ten years they have helped to launch over 250 churches in 48 cities. More recently, Dr. Keller’s books, including the New York Times bestselling The Reason for God and The Prodigal God, have sold over 1 million copies and been translated into 15 languages.

Christianity Today has said, “Fifty years from now, if evangelical Christians are widely known for their love of cities, their commitment to mercy and justice, and their love of their neighbors, Tim Keller will be remembered as a pioneer of the new urban Christians.”

Dr. Keller was born and raised in Pennsylvania, and educated at Bucknell University, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and Westminster Theological Seminary. He previously served as the pastor of West Hopewell Presbyterian Church in Hopewell, Virginia, Associate Professor of Practical Theology at Westminster Theological Seminary, and Director of Mercy Ministries for the Presbyterian Church in America.

Contentment

“Contentment is found in reaching the place that says, ‘Even when I cannot understand, still I can trust God.’”

– Alistair Begg

About Alistair Begg

contentmentAlistair Begg has been in pastoral ministry since 1975. Following graduation from The London School of Theology, he served eight years in Scotland at both Charlotte Chapel in Edinburgh and Hamilton Baptist Church.

In 1983, he became the senior pastor at Parkside Church near Cleveland, Ohio. He has written several books and is heard daily and weekly on the radio program, Truth For Life. The teaching on Truth For Life stems from the week by week Bible teaching at Parkside Church.

He and his wife, Susan, were married in 1975 and they have three grown children.

Unquenchable

As long as doctrine is ignored, we must remain captives of the ruling system or the spirit of the age, whatever that may be.

— Michael Reeves, “The Unquenchable Flame: Discovering the Heart of the Reformation“, p. 182.

About Michael Reeves

unquenchableMichael Reeves (@mike_reeves) is an author who lives in the UK and currently serves as Director of the online theology website uniontheology.org and Senior Lecturer at Wales Evangelical School of Theology.

About The Unquenchable Flame

Burning pyres, nuns on the run, stirring courage, and comic relief: the Protestant Reformation is a gripping tale, packed with drama. But what motivated the Reformers? And what were they really like?

The Unquenchable Flame, a lively, accessible, and fully informative introduction to the Reformation by Michael Reeves, brings to life the movement’s most colorful characters (Martin Luther, Ulrich Zwingli, John Calvin, The Puritans, etc.), examines their ideas, and shows the profound and personal relevance of Reformation thinking for today.

Also included are a lengthy Reformation timeline, a map of key places in the Reformation, further reading suggestions, and, in this U.S. edition, a new foreword by 9 Marks Ministries president Mark Dever.

Five Prayers

Five Prayers God Will Always Come Through On:

“He will always answer our prayers when we ask him to do his new covenant work through his word by the Spirit. God has already guaranteed to answer:

  • when we pray for forgiveness – I John 1:9
  • when we pray to know God better – Eph. 1:15-22; 3:18-19
  • when we pray for wisdom (to know how to live for God) – Jas 1:5-6
  • when we pray for strength to obey/love/live for God – Eph. 1:15-22; 3:14-15
  • when we pray for the spread of the gospel – Luke 10:2; Acts 5; Col. 4″

callingJ. Gary Millar. Calling on the Name of the Lord: A biblical theology of Prayer. New Studies in Biblical Theology 38. Series Editor, D.A. Carson. (Downers Grove, IL. IVP. 2016), 239.

About Gary Millar

five prayersJ. Gary Millar is principal of Queensland Theological College, Australia. Previously he served as a minister in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. He is the author of Now Choose Life, co-author of Saving Eutychus and a contributor to His Mission: Jesus in the Gospel of Luke.

Read more: InterVarsity Press

Christian Meditation

Christian Meditation and Wisdom

“The wisdom of God displayed in the meekness and suffering of his Son is not the wisdom of empty speculation. It is the wisdom of effective, sovereign grace….. Christian meditation takes the yoke of Christ and learns of him as the suffering servant and triumphant Lord. In every way Christian meditation is in submission to Jesus Christ. It is not and cannot be unmediated access to God, far less an experience of the identity with God. Not ecstasy but wisdom marks the path of Christian meditation.”

Edmund P. Clowney. Christian Meditation. (Craig Press, USA. 1982), 29.

About Christian Meditation

What place does meditation have in Christian devotion? Is the same thing as the “cosmic” or “transcendental” meditation associated with Hindu gurus? And what about spiritual exercises such as yoga? Are they compatible with the Christian faith? In Christian Meditation Edmund Clowney reflects such questions, and in doing so provides an introduction to theology and the practice of what he calls “Christian Meditation.” This book is not so much a handbook of techniques as it is a reflection on what the Bible has to say about he subject. Even so, it offers many practical suggestions and develops a thoroughly biblical approach to meditative Christian living ” both as individuals and together as the people of God.

About Edmund Clowney

Christian MeditationEdmund P. Clowney was Emeritus Professor of practical theology and former President of Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His other books include Called to the Ministry, Preaching and Biblical Theology, and The Unfolding Mystery.

Confidence

Confidence

A Brief History of John Calvin

The man behind the name

Born July 10, 1509 in Noyon, France, Jean Calvin was raised in a staunch Roman Catholic family. The local bishop employed Calvin’s father as an administrator in the town’s cathedral. The father, in turn, wanted John to become a priest. Because of close ties with the bishop and his noble family, John’s playmates and classmates in Noyon (and later in Paris) were aristocratic and culturally influential in his early life.

At the age of 14 Calvin went to Paris to study at the College de Marche in preparation for university study. His studies consisted of seven subjects: grammar, rhetoric, logic, arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, and music. Toward the end of 1523 Calvin transferred to the more famous College Montaigu. While in Paris he changed his name to its Latin form, Ioannis Calvinus, which in French became Jean Calvin. During this time, Calvin’s education was paid for in part by income from a couple of small parishes. So although the new theological teachings of individuals like Luther and Jacques Lefevre d’Etaples were spreading throughout Paris, Calvin was closely tied to the Roman Church. However, by 1527 Calvin had developed friendships with individuals who were reform-minded. These contacts set the stage for Calvin’s eventual switch to the Reformed faith. Also, at this time Calvin’s father advised him to study law rather than theology.

By 1528 Calvin moved to Orleans to study civil law. The following years found Calvin studying in various places and under various scholars, as he received a humanist education. By 1532 Calvin finished his law studies and also published his first book, a commentary on De Clementia by the Roman philosopher, Seneca. The following year Calvin fled Paris because of contacts with individuals who through lectures and writings opposed the Roman Catholic Church. It is thought that in 1533 Calvin experienced the sudden and unexpected conversion that he writes about in his foreword to his commentary on the Psalms.

For the next three years, Calvin lived in various places outside of France under various names. He studied on his own, preached, and began work on his first edition of the Institutes—an instant best seller. By 1536 Calvin had disengaged himself from the Roman Catholic Church and made plans to permanently leave France and go to Strasbourg. However, war had broken out between Francis I and Charles V, so Calvin decided to make a one-night detour to Geneva.

But Calvin’s fame in Geneva preceded him. Farel, a local reformer, invited him to stay in Geneva and threatened him with God’s anger if he did not. Thus began a long, difficult, yet ultimately fruitful relationship with that city. He began as a lecturer and preacher, but by 1538 was asked to leave because of theological conflicts. He went to Strasbourg until 1541. His stay there as a pastor to French refugees was so peaceful and happy that when in 1541 the Council of Geneva requested that he return to Geneva, he was emotionally torn. He wanted to stay in Strasbourg but felt a responsibility to return to Geneva. He did so and remained in Geneva until his death May 27, 1564. Those years were filled with lecturing, preaching, and the writing of commentaries, treatises, and various editions of the Institutes of the Christian Religion.

— Dr. Karin Maag, H. Henry Meeter Center for Calvin Studies

Christians May Remain Lonely

“It is possible that Christians may remain lonely in spite of daily worship together, prayer together, and all their community through service – that the final breakthrough to community does not occur precisely because they enjoy community with one another as pious believers, but not with one another as those lacking piety, as sinners. For the pious community permits no one to be a sinner. Hence all have to conceal their sins from themselves and from the community. We are not allowed to be sinners.”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together, Prayerbook of the Bible, Works vol. 5, Fortress, 2005, 108.

About Bonhoeffer

Bonhoeffer graduated from the University of Berlin in 1927, at age 21, and then spent some months in Spain as an assistant pastor to a German congregation. Then it was back to Germany to write a dissertation, which would grant him the right to a university appointment. He then spent a year in America, at New York’s Union Theological Seminary, before returning to the post of lecturer at the University of Berlin.