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June 12, 2014

The Spiritual Disciplines of Bible Intake: Reading the Word, part 2

The Spiritual Disciplines of Bible Intake: Reading the Word, part 2

Therefore, reading God’s Word is of utmost importance for those of us who desire to behold and become like Christ. We must not leave this discipline to chance. We must be intentional about reading the Bible. Dr. Donald Whitney in his book, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life, gives three practical suggestions for consistent success in Bible reading. The first two suggestions are straightforward: find the time, and have a plan. We will need to discipline ourselves to find a time. Assistance in being disciplined to read can come from having a plan. There are many pre-arranged plans or you can develop you own. Select a plan that you can reasonably accomplish in the time frame that you have chosen to complete the plan.

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June 6, 2014

Mark Study Sheet for Sunday, June 8, 2014

Mark Study Sheet for Sunday, June 8, 2014

Crucifixion was one of the cruelest forms of capital punishment ever devised. Today the cross has become a symbol of adornment. In Christ’s time, the cross was simply shocking, abhorrent, and grotesque. Crucifixion was utterly scandalous, reserved only for those deemed as the worst and lowliest. Yet, Mark’s account of the physical torture of Christ’s crucifixion is vivid but restrained. The physical torture was not sensationalized, but greater emphasis was placed on the overwhelming spiritual anguish that Jesus experienced. Crucifixion as a method of execution fit well with the imagery of experiencing God’s curse as described by Moses hundreds of years earlier, “for a hanged man is cursed by God” (Deuteronomy 21:22-23).

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June 5, 2014

The Spiritual Disciplines of Bible Intake: Reading the Word, part 1

The Spiritual Disciplines of Bible Intake: Reading the Word, part 1

The past two posts we have been a look at the activity of hearing the Word. In this post we will take a look at the activity of reading the Word. As with hearing, reading the Word is a way in which we can practice the spiritual discipline of Bible intake. As a new year is upon us, I pray that the verse, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God,” (Matthew 4:4) would be used to prompt our hearts toward the activity of consistent Bible reading. Remember, the spiritual disciplines are, “those personal and corporate disciplines that promote spiritual growth.”

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June 3, 2014

Our Purpose: How? Part Five: Going

Our Purpose: How? Part Five: Going

  “Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him, they worshiped him, but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, [...]

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May 29, 2014

The Spiritual Disciplines of Bible Intake: Hearing the Word, part 2

The Spiritual Disciplines of Bible Intake: Hearing the Word, part 2

In the last post we began considering the activity of hearing the Word. Hearing the Word is the means that not only brings us to faith in Christ, initially it is the means that stimulates our faith to grow. If we do not hear the Word of God, there is no grace to grant us a faith that preserves and transforms us into Christ-likeness. Paul wrote to Timothy: “Devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, and to teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers,” (1 Timothy 4:13, 16). There is a facet of salvation tied to our hearing the Word of God read, exhorted and taught.

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May 27, 2014

Our Purpose: How? Part Four: Going

Our Purpose: How? Part Four: Going

  “Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him, they worshiped him, but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, [...]

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May 23, 2014

Mark Study Sheet for Sunday, May 25, 2014

Mark Study Sheet for Sunday, May 25, 2014

Mark 15:1-20, which is one episode consisting of three scenes, recounts what led up to the decision to crucify Jesus. In between the events surrounding Jesus’ trial by the high priest and His crucifixion, is Pilate’s examination. While the Jewish ruling council declared Jesus to be guilty of blasphemy, they did not have the authority to crucify. The orders for crucifixion would need to come through Pilate, a regional governor representing the Roman Empire. While Pilate was no friend of the Jews, he would prove valuable to advance the high priest’s resolve.

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May 22, 2014

The Spiritual Disciplines of Bible Intake: Hearing the Word, part 1

The Spiritual Disciplines of Bible Intake: Hearing the Word, part 1

We now begin to specifically think about the spiritual discipline of Bible intake. In this post we will begin considering the activity of hearing the Word of God. You may recall that Dr. Donald Whitney says the spiritual disciplines are, “those personal and corporate disciplines that promote spiritual growth.” The activity of hearing God’s Word shapes our progress in Christ-likeness.

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May 20, 2014

Our Purpose: How? Part Three: Going

Our Purpose: How? Part Three: Going

Our opportunities to practice going do not hinge on the programs that we offer at church. They hinge on how we see the people around us—especially those who don’t know Christ. Do we see them as bad people to be avoided, or as troubled people to be shunned? Do we see them as confused people who need to be ridiculed? Do we see them as threatening people to be defeated? Part of our lack of desire to go is because we think those people are bad or troubled or confused or a threat to us.

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May 16, 2014

Mark Study Sheet for Sunday, May 18, 2014

Mark Study Sheet for Sunday, May 18, 2014

Mark 14:43-72 details two of the episodes that most immediately precede Jesus’ crucifixion. The first episode (14:43-52), reports Jesus’ betrayal by Judas resulting in His seizure by armed men sent by the Jewish ruling council. The second episode (14:53-72), records Jesus’ trial before the high priest and members of the Jewish ruling council. Jesus’ trial is sandwiched in between Peter’s thrice denial. The unfolding of events from these episodes, to the end of Mark precisely follow Jesus’ previous prophetic announcement (10:33-34).

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