Following up on a comment/encouragement made this past Sunday as we looked through Psalm 23. In particular we spent a few minutes focused on God’s Word as a primary source that our Good Shepherd has given us to see our souls in a constant flow of being renewed or restored.
“The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul” Psalm 19:7a
“That river of reality is the Word of God and all the great saints have been made great by it. Let me give you one example in conclusion to spur you on to more meditation and more delight. George Müller lived from 1805 to 1898 and is famous for establishing numerous orphanages and relying on God for help in remarkable ways. Listen to his testimony about how and why to meditate on Scripture.
‘While I was staying at Nailsworth, it pleased the Lord to teach me a truth, irrespective of human instrumentality, as far as I know, the benefit of which I have not lost, though now, while preparing the eighth edition for the press, more than forty years have since passed away. The point is this: I saw more clearly than ever, that the first great and primary business to which I ought to attend every day was, to have my soul happy in the Lord. The first thing to be concerned about was not, how much I might serve the Lord, how I might glorify the Lord; but how I might get my soul into a happy state, and how my inner man may be nourished. For I might seek to set the truth before the unconverted, I might seek to benefit believers, I might seek to relieve the distressed, I might in other ways seek to behave myself as it becomes a child of God in this world; and yet, not being happy in the Lord, and not being nourished and strengthened in my inner man day by day, all this might not be attended to in a right spirit. Before this time my practice had been, at least for ten years previously, as a habitual thing, to give myself to prayer, after having dressed in the morning.
Now I saw, that the most important thing I had to do was to give myself to the reading of the Word of Godand to meditation on it, that thus my heart might be comforted, encouraged, warned, reproved, instructed; and that thus, whilst meditating, my heart might be brought into experimental communion with the Lord. I began, therefore, to meditate on the New Testament from the beginning, early in the morning. The first thing I did, after having asked in a few words the Lord’s blessing upon His precious Word, was to begin to meditate on the Word of God, searching, as it were, into every verse, to get blessing out of it; not for the sake of the public ministry of the Word; not for the sake of preaching on what I had meditated upon, but for the sake of obtaining food for my own soul. The result I have found to be almost invariably this, that after a very few minutes my soul has been led to confession, or to thanksgiving, or to intercession, or to supplication; so that though I did not, as it were, give myself to prayer, but to meditation, yet it turned almost immediately more or less into prayer. When thus I have been for awhile making confession, or intercession, or supplication, or have given thanks, I go on to the next words or verse, turning all, as I go on, into prayer for myself or others, as the Word may lead to it; but still continually keeping before me, that food for my own soul is the object of my meditation. The result of this is, that there is always a good deal of confession, thanksgiving, supplication, and intercession mingled with my meditation, and that my inner man almost invariably is even sensibly nourished and strengthened and that by breakfast time, with rare exceptions, I am in a peaceful if not happy state of heart. Thus also the Lord is pleased to communicate unto me that which, very soon after, I have found to become food for other believers, though it was not for the sake of the public ministry of the Word that I gave myself to meditation, but for the profit of my own inner man.
The difference then between my former practice and my present one is this. Formerly, when I rose, I began to pray as soon as possible, and generally spent all my time till breakfast in prayer, or almost all the time. At all events, I almost invariably began with prayer, except when I felt my soul to be more than usually barren, in which case I read the Word of God for food, or for refreshment, or for revival and renewal of my inner man, before I gave myself to prayer. But what was the result? I often spent a quarter of an hour, or half an hour, or even an hour on my knees, before being conscious to myself of having derived comfort, encouragement, humbling of soul, etc.; and often, after having suffered much from wandering of mind for the first ten minutes, or a quarter of an hour, or even an hour, I only then begin really to pray. I scarcely ever suffer now in this way. For my heart being nourished by the truth, being brought into experimental fellowship with God, I speak to my Father, and to my Friend (vile though I am, and unworthy of it!) about the things that He has brought before me in His precious Word.
It often now astonishes me that I did not sooner see this. In no book did I ever read about it. No public ministry ever brought the matter before me. No private intercourse with a brother stirred me up to this matter. And yet now, since God has taught me this point, it is as plain to me as anything, that thefirst thing the child of God has to do morning by morning is to obtain food for his inner man. As the outward man is not fit for work for any length of time, except we take food, and as this is one of the first things we do in the morning, so it should be with the inner man. We should take food for that, as every one must allow. Now what is the food for the inner man? Not prayer, but the Word of God; and here again not the simple reading of the Word of God, so that it only passes through our minds, just as water runs through a pipe, but considering what we read, pondering over it, and applying it to our hearts.'”
Praying through Psalm 23 for our church and family.
Pray that you’ll know by experience this work of the Good Shepherd!
I’ve made mention for several months at PAXnorth that we were going to start a study in the book of Leviticus. The first time I mentioned it (I think before Christmas) someone actually said, out loud, during a sermon, “Are you serious?!” That probably sums up how most people feel when you tell them that your church is going to be studying Leviticus.
Have you ever heard a sermon series on Leviticus?
Since leading PAXnorth we have walked through both Genesis and Exodus plus the Gospels of Matthew and John, I Corinthians, Ephesians, a whack of the Proverbs and Psalm and have even tackled Song of Solomon and the book of Ruth- not to mention others – I feel like these books are fairly standard (except maybe for Song of Solomon) for churches that purpose to teach a healthy spectrum of the entire Word of God. Yet I can honestly say I have never heard a sermon series, at a church on the book of Leviticus. This past week at PAXnorth, informal poll- only one person had actually heard a series on the book.
Why do we not hear sermons on Leviticus?
Did you ever try and read through the Bible in a year? It is pretty typical that Christians begin this process then get bogged down and bored with the books of LAW. Leviticus is full of law. So I think people do not hear sermons on Leviticus because a) they haven’t read it b) they HAVE read it c) it’s seems so foreign to us because it’s a book on laws about abstract ceremonies.
Why should we hear sermons on Leviticus?
Jay Sklar, O.T. professor of Covenant Theological Seminary, who has put together a great series on the study of Leviticus and gives us several reasons why it should be a concern that we shy away from this book. I have added some of my own thoughts to these main points as a way to encourage PAXnorth to look deeper or more vigorously pursue God who gave us this book:
1. The Old Testament writers make much of the law. It is where the Psalmist delights, it is what the Seers point to as a protection and power for life change for the young man, it is the leverage point of all the Prophets as they act as prosecuting attorney’s between God and Israel.
2. The New Testament writers make much of Leviticus. It is the sixth most quoted book in the New Testament. The feasts that Christ comes to participate in and to point to Himself as the ultimate fulfillment of, all have Levitical practices (see especially Jesus at the feasts in the Gospel of John).
3. The clearly laid out ceremonial law – both in their practices and in their intentions- move us quickly to the person and work of Jesus Christ, the Gospel. This reason alone is enough for us to be serious students of Leviticus. In fact one commentary I read stated, without understanding the concepts of Leviticus you cannot understand the work of Jesus on the cross.
Without understanding the concepts of Leviticus you cannot understand the work of Jesus on the cross.
4. This book gives us an in depth look at what it means to humanity when ‘God moves in’. The emphasis on the holiness of God, the expectations of holiness for a people who will be called His people and the incredible love that God has for us, that He would actually want for us to experience His dwelling. An appreciation for the truth of Holy-Love will be deepened by those who will take up some serious time in reading, thinking, praying, speaking the Gospel discovered in Leviticus.
This Sunday we begin our fourth observing of advent together!
Each week as we tandem both the Gospel of John- leading up to the cross- with the Gospel of Luke leading up to the birth of Jesus we will called to action. If we have indeed understand that Christ is the sent One from God to be the Saviour-King we above all people on earth should have lives filled with the great gifts of awe that are a result of faith in Him.
Christ is the greatest gift of grace to humankind. The knowing of this causes us to experience a peace, hope, love and joy that is truly beyond this world.
This Christmas we will be spending time celebrating, worshipping, rejoicing and being called to actions that reflect that we ‘get it’:
Jesus the Gift of Peace; Jesus the Gift of Hope; Jesus the Gift of Love; Jesus the Gift of Joy
JESUS: The Great Gift of Grace –
The Gift that is Promised:: The Gift that is Present
This Christmas Season: Worship; lead your family, your friends, your community in worship; give good gifts that point to the peace, hope, love and joy of Christ who came as the Great Gift of God to us!
HERE’S an excellent free resource to help you worship over the Advent season: Great News of Great Joy by John Piper
What are Grow -Ops?
PAXworship is a place for ‘feeding’ on God’s Word, and responding in worship as the church gathered. Discipleship Groups (D-Groups) are our primary place of peer to peer discipleship applying what we are learning into our lives, living in relationships of accountability and serving on mission together. Grow-Ops are opportunities for those who are connected to PAXnorth be equipped. These Sunday Night classes are being designed to train, challenge and equip the head, heart and hands. The goal is to understand through the lens of Biblical instruction how to live and think in our spiritual life, daily life and life in the everyday world. The goal is if you are consistent in the Grow Ops over a six year cycle you will have received classes equal to a first year Bible College level plus a lot of practical spiritual teaching besides.
Who can take these Grow-Op Classes?
We have classes for everybody who is interested in understanding, growing or discipling others.
What do these classes look like?
FAITH track is open to everyone who might be curious, exploring or arguing through some of the basic principals of a foundational Biblical view. It is designed for an acknowledge stage of spiritual growth. It will also be a great track for those who are trying to wrestle through how they might have conversations with friends, co-workers, classmates, roommates who are skeptically seeking for answers.
VALUE track is for those who are in need of deepening their understanding and practical daily walk in Christ. Gospel Journey 101 is a prerequisite for entering into the VALUE track. It is designed to work through the acceptance stage of spiritual growth. It will be a challenging track for those who have already acknowledged that God is real, the Bible is true but now how does this translate in practical ways into my head, heart and life?
CULTURE track is for those who are beginning to understand and figure out how to grow deeper and broader in their understanding of the Bible. By doing this they also are hoping to engage in the mission of Christ of winning and making disciples both through the local church and in the broader context of the world we live in. This is for those who have gotten hold of the truth that spiritual life is bigger then themselves and they wish to live on mission with Christ and His Church. This is for those who are working out their spiritual life in accountability with the Church. Gospel Journey 101 is a prerequisite for the classes in this track. Some of these classes may require Gospel Journey 202 as well
Grow-Ops September 2014-July 2015 [schedule subject to change] Classes are held on Sunday 6:00-7:30 p.m.
|September 28-November 9||November 9- December 21||January 11- February 15||February 22-
|April 19 to
|June 7 to
|FAITH||Gospel Journey 101*||Christianity Explored||Gospel Journey 101*||Reason for God||Grow Op
[Tarzan Jane and Jesus]
|The Art of Discipleship||Gospel Journey 202**||Biblical Worldview [Living Out Biblical Manhood and Womanhood]||Gospel Journey 202**||Grow Op
|CULTURE**||Biblical Change***||Biblical Change***||How to Talk about Jesus?[Evangelism]||Helping Relationship***
|Church History Intensive/ or A Theology Intensive||Family Nights|
*Gospel Journey 101 must be taken to participate in any of the VALUE tracks
** Gospel Journey 202 must be taken to participate in some of the CULTURE tracks
*** These are tracks for understanding and applying Biblical Counseling
This class (as well as Gospel Journey 101) is required to become a member of PAXnorth. We believe that this
will give you a strong foundation for understanding the basics of Biblical Theology and helping you to understand how a church is designed to live ‘missionally’ in its culture. Whether your a brand new believer or if you already hold a PHD in theological studies we would require these classes for membership because they also teach the basics of how PAX is governed and how we find expression as an intentional gospel community.
Typically in the church there has been a blemished track record of allowing members to become observers while an exhausted, burnt out pastor and staff do all the work in the church and the community around it. PAXnorth is committed to creating a model that reflects God’s heart for his children, an organic composition of hearts and hands living out the gospel with more than lip service. Being a member is about more than having exclusive access; it is not a status symbol or social club. A member who acknowledges they are a part of the body of Christ and enters into a covenant with their local church is called to a higher degree of responsibility and a greater commitment to serve for the collective work of the Gospel; conversely, the elders and deacons are covenanted to assist their members first and foremost, to provide counsel, service, and aid, as well as to pray, teach, and guide as necessary.
“Above all, maintain constant love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins. Be hospitable to one another without complaining. Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve for one another with whatever gift each of you have received.”
-I Peter 4: 8-10
To transition from a interested person to an active member of PAXnorth, we ask that you attend this foundational class, where we shall look at an overview of Christian essentials with time for questions and discussion. For those who have desired to call PAXnorth their home, this class will lay out for you a general map of being connected, discipled and effectively serving alongside each other . In summary this is more than a survey of beliefs; content includes an overview of the gospel, the church, culture, and how this practically spins out into our lives individually and corporately. Therefore, everyone considering PAXnorth for their home should attend; this class is a requirement in the process of becoming a member.
SNAP SHOT FLOW OF MEMBERSHIP
From a practical perspective, the following items need to be completed in the following order to become a member at PAXnorth
NEXT GJ 202 See the Grow-Ops Schedule
Sign up or get more info at firstname.lastname@example.org
September 15th, 2013 – PAXnorth Community Day
5568 Cunard Street 10:30am-1pm – RAIN OR SHINE!
Arts & Crafts
Sweets & Coffees
More details to follow…
Reviewing and Prepping for Sunday’s first full focus on Song of Solomon [ Song of Songs 1:1-11]
Take a look at this video Dove commerical
What do you think? About beauty? About how we see ourself? About the importance of these?
” I have some work to do on myself…. [beauty, how we see ourselves] couldn’t be more critical to our life” – Dove participant