Thank you Lord for meeting with us today. What a privilege for MAN to be able to meet with GOD!
We are a part of a religious system today in our culture that has created a whole host of means & methods for doing church which work with or without the Holy Spirit of God. – (notes from a message by Rex Blankenship in early 1990′s on cultural Christianity). May God help us to be dependent upon the Holy Spirit
As a new Christian in 1930, C. S. Lewis was learning terrible things about his heart—the unfathomable layers of pride. It is astonishing how similar his description of his own heart was to the description Jonathan Edwards gave of our inscrutable strata of self-admiration.
Here is Lewis writing to his friend, Arthur, amazingly within a year after his conversion:
During my afternoon “meditations,”—which I at least attempt quite regularly now—I have found out ludicrous and terrible things about my own character. Sitting by, watching the rising thoughts to break their necks as they pop up, one learns to know the sort of thoughts that do come.
And, will you believe it, one out of every three is the thought of self-admiration: when everything else fails, having had its neck broken, up comes the thought “what an admirable fellow I am to have broken their necks!” I catch myself posturing before the mirror, so to speak, all day long. I pretend I am carefully thinking out what to say to the next pupil (for his good, of course) and then suddenly r ealize I am really thi nking how frightfully clever I’m going to be and how he will admire me…
And then when you force yourself to stop it, you admire yourself for doing that. It is like fighting the hydra… There seems to be no end to it. Depth under depths of self-love and self-admiration. (quoted in The Narnian by Alan Jacobs, 133)
Then we go back 200 years to the1740s when Jonathan Edwards was struggling to sort out what was wheat and what was chaff in the emotions of the Great Awakening in New England. In one of his greatest books, Religious Affections, he gives the most penetrating descriptions of Christian humility I have ever seen. The part that foreshadows Lewis goes like this:
If on the proposal of the question [Are you humble?], you answer, “No, it seems to me, none are so bad as I.” Don’t let the matter pass off so; but examine again, whether or no you don’t think yourself better than others on this very account, because you imagine you think so meanly of yourself. Haven’t yo u a high opinion of this humility? And=2 0if you answer again, “No; I have not a high opinion of my humility; it seems to me I am as proud as the devil”; yet examine again, whether self-conceit doesn’t rise up under this cover; whether on this very account, that you think yourself as proud as the devil, you don’t think yourself to be very humble. (quoted from the online works of Jonathan Edwards)
One of the reasons these two are such giants of influence is the depths of their own biblically informed self-knowledge. Layer after layer until they despaired of knowing themselves humble. Humility, it turns out, isn’t the kind of thing that can be spotted in oneself and prized.
Humility senses that humility is a gift beyond our reach. If humility is the product of reaching, then we will instinctively feel proud about our successful reach. Humility is the gift that receives all things as gift. It is the fruit, not of our achievement, but of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22). It is the fruit of the gospel—knowing and feeling that we are desperate sinners and that Christ is a great and undeserved Savior.
Humility is the one grace in all our graces that, if we gaze on it, becomes something else. It flourishes when the gaze is elsewhere—on the greatness of the grace of God in Christ.
– John Piper
The Habit of Private Prayer
via J.C. Ryle Quotes by Erik on 8/19/09
“What is the reason that some believers are so much brighter and holier than others? I believe the difference, in nineteen cases out of twenty, arises from different habits about private prayer. I believe that those who are not eminently holy pray little, and those who are eminently holy pray much.”
~ J.C. Ryle
A Call to Prayer, p. 15
John Piper spoke yesterday about the husband’s role as head. He did so by quoting C.S. Lewis. I thought it was tremendously thought provoking. Read it below.
What follows is one of the greatest reasons for a man to get married and stay married: not the rapturous flame of eros, but the refining fires of holiness.
No relationship is more clearly commanded to model the death of Christ. No relationship is more costly—in both senses of that word (painful and precious).
This quote comes from one of C. S. Lewis’s last books, published in 1960, The Four Loves. In it we hear the wise fruit of a lifetime.
The husband is the head of the wife just in so far as he is to her what Christ is to the Church. He is to love her as Christ loved the church—read on—and gave his life for her (Ephesians 5:25).
This headship, then, is most fully embodied not in the husband we should all wish to be but in him whose marriage is most like a crucifixion; whose wife receives most and gives least, is most unworthy of him, is—in her own mere nature—least lovable. For the church has no beauty but what the bridegroom gives her; he does not find, but makes her, lovely.
The chrism [anointing, consecration] of this terrible coronation is to be seen not in the joys of any man’s marriage but in its sorrows, in the sickness and sufferings of a good wife or the faults of the bad one, in his unwearying (never paraded) care or his inexhaustible forgiveness: forgiveness, not acquiescence.
As Christ sees in the flawed, proud, fanatical or lukewarm Church on earth that bride who will one day be without spot or wrinkle, and labors to produce the latter, so the husband whose headship is Christ-like (and he is allowed no other sort) never despairs. He is a King Cophetua who after twenty years still hopes that the beggar-girl will one day learn to speak the truth and wash behind her ears. (105-106)
Intern Appreciation Fellowship Meal – Sunday, August 2nd following the morning worship time
Men’s Advisory Meeting – Sunday, August 2nd, 6:00 pm
Preacher School – Sunday, August 2nd, 7:45 pm
Youth Bible Study – Sunday, August 2nd 6:00 pm
by Mark Altrogge on July 27th, 2009
You may not always be able to share the gospel with someone, but there’s an often overlooked opportunity to evangelize that’s so easy even a caveman can do it – invite people to church.
D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones says there is a “mysterious element in the life of the Church. What is this? It is what our Lord was suggesting, I think, when He said, ‘Where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst.’ It is not a mere gathering of people; Christ is present…There is something in the very atmosphere of Christian people meeting together to worship God and to listen to the preaching of the Gospel.
“I remember a woman who was a spiritist, and even a medium…She was sitting in her house and she saw people passing by on their way to the church where I happened to be ministering in South Wales. Something made her feel a desire to know what those people had, and so she decided to go to the service, and did so. She came ever afterwards until she died, and became a very fine Christian. One day I asked her what she had felt on that first visit, and this is what she said to me…She said, ‘The moment I entered your chapel and sat down on a seat amongst the people I was conscious of a power. I was conscious of the same sort of power as I was accustomed to in our spiritist meetings, but there was one big difference; I had a feeling that the power in your chapel was a clean power.’ The point I am making is simply this, that she was aware of a power. This is the mysterious element. It is the presence of the Spirit in the heart of God’s children, Gods people, and an outsider becomes aware of this.” – from Preaching and Preachers
A few years ago, a young Buddhist woman attended our church. As soon as we began to worship, she began weeping. The same thing happened two weeks ago to a Christian couple who came for the first time. I believe in both cases, they were experiencing the presence of Jesus.
So invite your friends to church. Invite your classmates and co-workers. Give your waiter a church invitation – and be sure to leave a generous tip.