An average Christian guy who has never written a book, Pastor education and church, or founded a ministry ---- you know a Christian man exactly like 98 percent of all other Christian man in America, but who wants to demonstrate that us normal guys love Jesus and have lots to say about life and faith like us non-celebrities experience 24/7.
Peace, or shalom, is a kind of rest that comes from bedrock confidence in the holistic, universal provision of what is necessary and good. Hymnist Horatio Spafford offers one of the best descriptions of the effects and sources of peace: “When peace like a river attendeth my way, when sorrows like sea billows roll, whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say it is well, it is well with my soul.” Consequently, a person of peace does not attack others and faces attacks by others with calmness and without rancor, since there is an assured knowledge and experience of abundance. Such a one is neither hostile, suspicious, nor “touchy” to the point of offense. The wisdom that springs out of a life from above, says the Letter of James, “is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace for those who make peace” (3:17–18).
The Parables: Jesus’ Friendly Subversive Speech is a new book designed especially for pastors to get deeper insights into how Jesus used His parables to communicate the gospel message to His listeners during His earthly ministry. However, this book is written in such a manner that Sunday school leaders, small group leaders, and others who engage in teaching the Bible will gain much wisdom and helpful suggestions in how to make the parables more meaningful to others.
As suggested by the subtitle of the work, Webster posits the view that Jesus used parables to communicate the gospel to the crowds on two levels: On one level, they were entertaining stories that drew in the listeners and made immediate impacts on their hearts because Jesus drew the stories from everyday life and situations. But on a deeper level, these parables could teach the subversive truths of the gospels in ways that sophisticated listeners like the Pharisees could take as insults, but the spiritually hungry in the crowds could take as a balm for their souls.
Webster states that many commentators tend to be too analytical in their analysis of the parables and thus miss the impact of the parables on their original audiences. So, he aims to be mindful of the pastor in the pulpit and the person in the pew to bring out the meaning and applications of the parables that he covers in this book. And Webster has chosen to cover the parables that appear in the Gospel of Matthew and Luke because these two accounts are the most systematic in using the parables of Jesus to illustrate His teachings on important topics; such as the true nature of salvation and discipleship, the kingdom of heaven, perseverance in faith, the value of hospitality, and the importance of the inclusion of women and the poor in the kingdom.
This volume is written in a straightforward and easy-to-follow manner that will prove useful and valuable to both clergy and layman alike. Highly recommended!
** A free electronic copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review of the contents. **
The presence of the Holy Spirit can always be recognized by the way He moves us toward what Jesus would be and do (John 16:7–15). When we inwardly experience the heavenly sweetness and power of life—the love, joy, and peace—that Jesus knew, that is the work of the Spirit in us.
Spiritual formation in Christ is the process through which disciples or apprentices of Jesus take on the qualities or characteristics of Christ himself, in every essential dimension of human personality. The overall orientation of their will, the kinds of thoughts and feelings that occupy them, the “automatic” inclinations and “readinesses” of their body in action, the prevailing posture of their relations toward others, and the harmonious wholeness of their soul—these all, through the formative processes undergone by his disciples, increasingly come to resemble the personal dimensions of their master. “A pupil is not above his teacher,” Jesus said, “but everyone, after he has been fully trained, will be like his teacher” (Luke 6:40).
There is some great advice and wisdom contained in this article on this important but difficult book of the Bible! Here is a takeaway: “Don’t allow some of the wackier uses to which Revelation has been and is being put to out there make you avoid the book itself.” From Crux Sola…………………………..
This article tackles the question of whether there is one “God’s will” for each of us, and if so, can we miss God’s plan for us through some ignorance or poor choice of ours? Here is a takeaway for me: “The reality is that we cannot fall short of God’s best for us. We cannot walk off the path that God has laid out for us. Everything that happens is, in fact, God’s plan and God’s best.” From Building Jerusalem……………………..