Spritual Disciplines

Porn-Free: The 40 Day Challenge

If you or someone you know battles the seemingly unslayable dragon of viewing pornography, you may be keenly interested to learn about Covenant Eyes’ 40 Day Challenge. There is no financial cost to sign up, you will receive daily emails with relevant material to digest, a free journal to write in through the process, and 40 days of free internet accountability software from CE.

After watching the introductory video, and reading the topics covered each day, I would encourage you to sign up before Wednesday so you can participate if this is a battle you’re faced with. I’m encouraged to read about daily topics like “Radical Amputation: What do you need to cut?”, “Lust or a worship disorder?”, “Don’t be a practical atheist”, and “Pleasure is not the enemy.”

The whole program is based on the premise of “Run from…Run to…Run with” and the theme verse is 2 Timothy 2:22:

So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.

If you’re caught in this habitual sin, it’s killing you, it may be killing your family if you have one, it will impact your family in the future if the Lord gives you one, it’s destroying your relationship with the Lord, and it negatively impacts your local church, even if they have no knowledge of your involvement with pornography.  If you need to fight, or know someone who does, you can sign up right here.

The Death of Prayer Meetings

Last week I posted an article from Reformation21.org on the importance of the church gathering to pray.  In response to this, Mark Jones has written another great article with some pastoral musings as to why the call to pray together with the local church goes largely unheeded.  You may feel smacked around a little by reading it but I hope you’ll take the time to do so.  And, if you happen to be in your 20 somethings, you’ll find wonderful push back against the idea that, in order to be ‘real’, you should only do something in service to God when you feel like it.

A Trip to the Armoury

Photo credit: dan, freedigitalphotos.net

 

So I’m continuing to work my way little by little through Gurnall’s book. I first wrote about this experience here. You can read the second instalment here. Independently of one another Caleb also decided to read a book on Ephesians 6 by Lloyd-Jones. He blogged about that here. You might want to get comfortable as we’re probably in for the long haul on this topic. read more

Why is praying together as a church so important?

Last summer, during the months when our Sunday school wasn’t “officially” running, we aimed to take the 45 minutes between 9:30-10:15 for the church to gather to pray.  Incredibly, while only focusing on evangelism, we never ran out of requests to bring before our gracious God.  There was tremendous blessing and encouragement to hear of the many ways our brothers and sisters were engaging with their co-workers, friends, family members, and neighbours.

We plan on doing the same again this year so we will be regularly encouraging you and inviting you to join together in corporate prayer.  In light of that here’s a great article from reformation21.org highlighting some of the reasons why as elders we constantly make that appeal: Why is the central prayer gathering so important?  Reading this may provide some groundwork for why we will make such a big deal about the church praying together!

Fighting…but not really.

The possibility exists that you might seem to be fighting against the enemy of your soul when in fact you may not be.  Here’s some gold from Gurnall’s The Christian in Complete Armour that paints the picture: read more

What does it mean to preach the gospel to yourself?

In C.S. Lewis’ book The Silver Chair Aslan the Lion, the Christ figure, gives a mission to a character near the beginning of the story. Here’s the exchange: read more

Sermon Crumbs – Psalm 19

First things first, if you didn’t pick up a reading plan this morning here’s a list of different options you can choose from.  Rather than reinvent the wheel, and since Tim Challies has already done the hard work, simply click here to find what you’re looking for.

Second, you heard in part from some of our seniors as they reflected on the blessing of walking in obedience to God’s Word over the course of their lives. These are voices we ought to listen to.  Here are the expanded comments from those who replied to me.

From Don and Shirley Fischer:

Young people need to know that the Lord is real.  They can know Him – have a relationship with God.  Each time you read through the Bible from Genesis to Revelation your understanding of God and His plan for mankind becomes clearer.  Another benefit is peace of mind – confidence in God.

From Doris Currie:

The Word of God has been my guide for seventy-five years, and during that time I have not been disappointed.  The Word has kept me from many of the pitfalls of sin and its consequences.  In difficult times I’ve been restored, given wisdom, peace, and discernment.  It is of utmost importance to make time to listen and be alert to what God’s Word is saying to me.  The Word provides me hope and a great future, as bright as the promises of God!

Here are two life examples from John Pomeroy:

In 1958 my mother who had been a widow for 12 years remarried.  Unfortunately she and her husband were involved in a car accident on their honeymoon.  My sister, my brother, and myself travelled the 400 miles to the town where she was in the hospital.  On our arrival we were informed that she was having surgery.  Later we were informed that her heart had stopped beating and that she had died on the operating table.  On hearing this news I started reading verses that I had previously underlined in my Bible.  One really stood out: Isaiah 26:3-4.  “You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.  Trust in the Lord for ever for in Jehovah is everlasting strength.”  As I meditated on this verse God brought peace to my heart.

Nancy and I met at Toronto Bible College in 1960.  Before Nancy graduated in 1962 she had applied to and been accepted as a missionary nurse by AEF (now part of SIM). She left for Zambia in February 1963.  I did not graduate until April 1964.  I was sure of God’s call to serve in Southern Africa, but my original intention was to work with Youth for Christ, with whom I had contact before coming to Canada.  What would happen to our relationship?  One night I read the words of Jehoshaphat in 2 Chronicles 20:12: “We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you.”  I shared this verse with Nancy.  Later the Lord brought another word of encouragement from Psalm 138:8: “The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me.  Your love endures forever.”  This verse came 4 times to us in 1 week in different ways.  God had a perfect plan for both of us and he would make it known to us in his time, and he did.

From Velma McCombe:

In 1974, Jim gave me a Bible and part of the inscription he wrote in it  was Romans 14:8.   “Whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we died unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s”.    The reality of the Lord’s presence has sustained us as we’ve struggled through deep waters and enjoyed mountaintops.    We praise Him that His steadfast love never ceases and that His mercies are new every morning!

From Pamela Stedman:

As a Bible college student I only gave left over loose change in Sunday church offerings.  Then I read Malachi 3:8-10: “Will man rob God? Yet you are robbing me. But you say, ‘How have we robbed you?’ In your tithes and contributions. You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me, the whole nation of you. Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the LORD of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.”

My thoughts: But all I earn at my part time job I need to pay dorm fees.  God’s still, small voice: what about $ spent each day on a Coke and a candy bar?

The next day: I clock into work and by pass the food machine and start working at my desk.  My boss comes over with a bottle of coca-cola saying, “Someone brought me this and I don’t like Coke.  Would you like it?”

Later that week: After work I go back to my dorm room and there’s a bag hanging on the door – with candies (I had not shared any of the above with anyone).

Over the decades that followed God had to teach me further lessons on giving sacrificially and cheerfully and I have experienced his abundant provision for my needs, even when I lost my job!

Finally, here’s the five minute video about the Kimyal people receiving the New Testament for the first time in their language.  The pastor’s prayer is really quite remarkable.

The King’s Food

Not too long ago, Pastor Sean mentioned the confidence in knowing that once people taste the King’s food, they will undoubtedly acquire a taste for it.  That’s why we aim to preach the whole counsel of God, both the Old and New Testaments.  The idea comes from a parable made up by none other than Charles Spurgeon, in the final address he gave to students of his pastor’s college before he died: read more

Living By Prayer

Here is another rich and full prayer from the puritans, found in The Valley of Vision. Perhaps you are irregular in prayer, perhaps you don’t see the need to pray, or perhaps you don’t know where to start. This might just be the place. Language has been updated a little… read more

Smartphone Bible Reading Plans

If you are a smartphone user you may want to consider downloading the youversion Bible app as a tool to help you read through the Bible this year.  They have a whole host of different plans you could choose from, including: read more