Michael J. Thom Father. Nerd. Race fan. Musician.

27Jun/08

Spiritual Receptivity

I am a little over halfway through A.W. Tozer's classic The Pursuit of God (also available to read online).  This is my first read of the book, and, despite the language being just a bit old-fashioned (it was written around the middle of the 1900s), he is an amazing man of God with a lot of interesting things to say.  I just read one portion tonight that struck me as something that I need to keep in mind, now more than ever, in my position working at a church (but, really, to a certain degree, these are thoughts that everyone should think though).

Failure to ... [be spiritually receptive] ... is the cause of a very serious breakdown in modern evangelicalism. ... The tragic results of this spirit are all around us: Shallow lives, hollow religious philosophies, the preponderance of the element of fun in gospel meetings, the glorification of men, trust in religious externalities, quasi-religious fellowships, salesmanship methods, the mistaking of dynamic personality for the power of the Spirit.  These and such as these are the symptoms of an evil disease, a deep and serious malady of the soul.

Strong words, eh?  I'm just fascinated by how relevant those words are, even today.  "The preponderance of the element of fun in gospel meetings" - how did he know we'd be more interested in exciting music and cool slideshows than strong teaching of the Word?  "The mistaking of dynamic personality for the power of the Spirit" - I know some preachers who are not the most elegant with words, but have an amazingly Godly spirit and a servant's heart.  Tozer warns that these misguided desires are "symptoms of an evil disease" - harsh, perhaps, but true.  Let us pray that our church cannot be described with any of these symptoms of a "deep and serious malady of the soul."

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4Jun/08

What Do You Think of Jesus Today?

Tonight was the first night of the NACCM's annual Campus Minister's Retreat at McCormick's Creek State Park in Spencer, Indiana.  The speaker (whose name is Don, but otherwise has not been fully introduced) explained that he would be speaking out of Hebrews this week, as God has been "messing him up" through Hebrews recently, so he thought he'd "mess us up" with Hebrews this week.  (Very funny guy, by the way... seems to be a terrific speaker.)  Don described how most people tend to focus on chapters 11-13, as they seem to be the most accessible of the book.  He also suggested that chapters 1-10 are largely all serving the same purpose - to basically shake up the "shrinking" Jewish converts (his audience) and shout to them, "Don't you know what Jesus has to offer you?!"  He likens the situation to a person who has a winning lottery ticket in their pocket, knows vaguely of this fact, but shrinks away from the idea of doing anything with it, perhaps even saying, "Eh, it was taking up too much space in my pockets anyway," as he throws it out.  The converted Jews were believers, they knew who Jesus was and what he offered them, but they were now ignoring it.  Don pointed to the first verse of chapter 2:

We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. - Hebrews 2:1 (NIV)

Basically: WAKE UP!  You know all the right things; I have nothing new to tell you.  Just pay attention to what you already know!

Additionally, Don challenged us with two questions with which he was challenged years ago by a mentor.  1: What do you think of Jesus these days/this week/today?  In the midst of everything that's going on, just what is your perspective on Him?  And more so, how you should redirect your focus so that you once again have a proper view of Jesus?  2: Can we ever think about Jesus too much?  This one hopefully has an obvious answer: No.

Some interesting thoughts.  I hope to blog more as the conference goes on.

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22Mar/08

A Summary of Ministry

More from the E91 devotional. The words of Preaching Associate Dave Mullins (he'll be performing Natalie and my wedding ceremony! or at least he's the official E91 person involved; we're going to have Mark Pike do a majority of the ceremony). Anyway, I really like this summary of the ministry. While it may not be literally a complete, all-encompassing definition, I really like its perspective.

We have been called to the ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:16-21). We are ambassadors for Christ and let people know that through Jesus and Him alone can all men find peace with God.

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