In the Core Seminars, the OT Overview continued to uncover the beginnings of God’s people, while the Jumpstart class continued to lay foundations for Christian faith and life. In the seminar, Living as the Church we looked at corporate prayer and preaching in church. In all of these ways we are learning about the Triune God and the purposes of God throughout the ages to redeem sinners and sanctify them for this glory. We can thank God for the Word heard together as Gavin preached from 1 Thess 5.17, “pray without ceasing.” Gavin gave some great practical advice at the end of his message for how to pray. Here are some supplements which fit his applications:
Here are some resources when thinking about the advance of the gospel in China
Christianity in China
Overview: China Source
Persecution: China Aid (Bob Fu)
Commentary via The Gospel Coalition:
- NPR on the Chinese Christian Boom
- 9 Things You Should Know About China’s Cultural Revolution
- Chinese Christians Preparing for the New Normal
Sabbaticals differ from vacations because they are intentional times of study, prayer, reflection and evaluation.
Brian Croft has a good definition of what a sabbatical is:
The intention of a pastoral sabbatical is to provide a time of rest, renewal, and refreshment of the pastor’s soul and his family with longevity of ministry in mind. The pastoral sabbatical includes deliberate efforts for the pastor to grow, learn, mature, and excel all the more in his ministry upon his return. The pastoral sabbatical is distinct from vacation time. When the pastor uses vacation time, he is not expected to fulfill ministry obligations. However, during the pastoral sabbatical, the pastor is charged to engage in devotional, theological, pastoral, and personal reflection and renewal.
The sabbatical is a way to keep the exhortation of Paul, “they refreshed my spirit as well as yours. Give recognition to such people.” (1 Cor 16.18, cf. Phil 2.29).
Albrecht Durer was a well known German Renaissance artist who painted this famous picture, “Praying Hands.” This is what he wrote concerning Martin Luther, “”And God help me that I may go to Dr. Martin Luther; thus I intend to make a portrait of him with great care and engrave him on a copper plate to create a lasting memorial of the Christian man who helped me overcome so many difficulties.”
Take My Life and Let It Be, by Francis R. Havergal. Four years after writing this hymn she told a friend, “The Lord has shown me another little step, and, of course, I have taken it with extreme delight. ‘Take my silver and my gold’ now means shipping off all my ornaments to the Church Missionary House, including a jewel cabinet that is really fit for a countess, where all will be accepted and disposed of for me…Nearly fifty articles are being packed up. I don’t think I ever packed a box with such pleasure.”
March 7, 203 AD is the accepted date of the martyrdom of Perpetua, a Roman noblewoman, who died for her faith in Jesus Christ. In the Torchlighters cartoon series, the story of Perpetua is told for the benefit of kids and adults alike.
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The Hidden Life of Prayer (free PDF), by David McIntyre. This is a lesser known spiritual classic, but it has gained a new appreciation recently (read Tim Challies on the book). A brief book packed with spiritual insight. Highly recommended!
More on Prayer
John Bunyan has written one of the best definitions of prayer in the English language:
PRAYER is a sincere, sensible, affectionate pouring out of the heart or soul to God, through Christ, in the strength and assistance of the Holy Spirit, for such things as God has promised or according to His Word, for the good of the Church, with submission in faith to the will of God
His discourse on Prayer is found here.
- John Calvin’s Four Rules of Prayer, by Joel Beeke
- 9 Things You Should Know About Prayer, by Joe Carter
- 18 Things to Pray for your church , by Jonathan Leeman. Try praying 4 or 5 of these per week for the next month:
- That we would have unity amid diversity—loving those with whom we have nothing in common but the gospel.
- That a culture of discipling would form in which making disciples is viewed as an ordinary part of the Christian life.
- That faithful elders would use Scripture to train members to do the work of ministry.
- That a hunger for studying the gospel would form among members so that they can guide and guard one another in it.
- That transparent, meaningful relationships would become normal and remaining anonymous strange.
- The preaching of God’s Word—that it would be biblically careful and Holy Spirit imbued.
- That elders would remain above reproach, kept from temptation, complacency, idols, and worldliness.
- That the church’s songs would teach members to biblically confess, lament, and praise.
- That the church’s prayers would be infused with biblical ambitions, honesty, and humility.
- That adult members would work to disciple teenagers and not just leave it to programming.
- That the church’s primary teachers grow in dedication to God’s Word even when no one’s watching.
- That it would grow in being distinct from the world in love and holiness, even as it engages outsiders.
- That members would share the gospel this week—and see more conversions!
- That members would be prepared for persecution, remembering to love, not curse, their persecutors.
- That hopes for political change would be outstretched by the hope of heaven.
- That giving would be faithful, as well as joyful, consistent, and sacrificial.
- That more members would use their careers to take the gospel to places it’s never been.
- That members would be good and do good in their workplaces this week.