What We Lost When We Lost Our Hymnals

~ Tim Challies

don’t think we should go back to using hymnals. But I do think there’s value in considering what we lost when, over the course of a relatively short period of time, we gave up hymnals for PowerPoint projection. Not all of us, mind you, but most of us. It’s worth considering because it helpfully shows what we stand to lose when we switch from one media to another, and especially when we do so quickly and without due consideration.

If we were to go back in time twenty or thirty years, we would find that most churches had hymnals. They had hymnals because it was the best way of providing each member of the congregation with a copy of the songs. You’d hear it in every church: “Take out your hymnal and turn to hymn 154…” And then hymnals went the way of the dodo and we began to look instead to words projected on a screen. Here is some of what we lost along the way.

Continue at: https://www.challies.com/articles/what-we-lost-when-we-lost-hymnals

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We’ve Lost Our Vocabulary of Wonder About Heaven

In 50 Days of Heaven, I write:

If we are honest, we must admit that we are not daily and consciously looking forward to Heaven, much less to a New Earth. We’ve reduced Heaven to an otherworldly state, and we’ve ignored the clear biblical promise of a redeemed universe over which we will serve as God’s delegated rulers. We’ve become blinded to the truth, and we’ve lost our vocabulary of wonder and our anticipation of the great and glorious plan that God has in store for us. Jesus said of the devil, “When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44). Some of Satan’s favorite lies are about Heaven.

A reader recently asked me, Can you elaborate on what you mean by “we’ve lost our vocabulary of wonder”?

Read more: http://www.epm.org/blog/2017/Mar/29/vocabulary-wonder-heaven

You Might Be a Pharisee If . . .

by Cameron Buettel

The odds are good that someone, somewhere, at some point has called you a Pharisee. The odds are even better that you’ve slapped that label on someone else.

It’s no surprise that the name “Pharisee” carries a leprous stigma. They’re the villains virtually every time they appear in the pages of Scripture. Jesus never had anything good to say about them. And their heavy-handed, legalistic authority made them a scourge to all of Israel—even other pious Jews.

In the evangelical vernacular, “Pharisee” is the umbrella term used to describe the gatekeepers of Jewish religion in the time of Christ. There were different ranks and factions—Scribes, Lawyers, Rabbis, Sadducees, Pharisees, and others—but all of them collectively represented the pharisaical religious system.

However, in modern usage the term cuts a much wider swath. And it’s that haphazard use that’s in focus for us today. God’s people need to break the habit of “playing the Pharisee card”—particularly to deflect confrontation or dismiss a rebuke. The fact is, there are modern Pharisees lurking among the church today. We do need to be able to spot them. But we also need to be careful how we deploy this potent pejorative.

To that end, let’s consider three biblical earmarks of these corrupt characters.

If You Supplement Scripture with Man-Made Rules, You Might Be a Pharisee

Continue: https://www.gty.org/library/blog/B170329

10 Results of the Resurrection

If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. (1 Corinthians 15:17)

Here are ten amazing things we owe to Jesus’s resurrection:

1) A Savior who can never die again. “We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again” (Romans 6:9).

2) Repentance. “The God of our fathers raised Jesus, whom you killed by hanging him on a tree. God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel” (Acts 5:30–31).

3) New birth. “According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3).

4) Forgiveness of sin.If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins” (1 Corinthians 15:17).

5) The Holy Spirit. “This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses. Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing” (Acts 2:32–33).

6) No condemnation for the elect. “Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died — more than that, who was raised — who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us” (Romans 8:34).

7) Jesus’s personal fellowship and protection. “I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).

8) Proof of coming judgment. “[God] has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead” (Acts 17:31).

9) Salvation from the future wrath of God. “[We] wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come” (1 Thessalonians 1:10; Romans 5:9).

10) Our own resurrection from the dead. “[We know] that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence” (2 Corinthians 4:14; Romans 6:4; 8:11; 1 Corinthians 6:14; 15:20).

~ Devotional excerpted from “What We Owe the Resurrection of Jesus”

8 Rules for Growing in Godliness

https://www.challies.com/articles/8-rules-for-growing-in-godliness

3 Ways We Can Please God

“Without faith it is impossible to please God.”

– Hebrews 11:6

Hope

Without hope, the Christian’s witness is extinguished and all joy is gone, but with hope, we can have assurance. The author of Hebrews tells us “faith is the assurance of things hoped for” (Heb 11:1a), so our hope is based upon our faith in God. We please God when we have the faith that what we hope for will come to pass. He is our hope even when all hope seems lost, so try to have the assurance that those things will come to pass (Rev 22). If you do, that will please God.

Read more: https://www.christianquotes.info/images/3-ways-we-can-please-god/#ixzz4cfKY7pNb

Did Paul Create His Own Version of Christianity?

This is another in a series of questions on the Bible.

Question: In Acts 21, Paul is described as partaking in Jewish rituals to show the Jerusalem Church that he has not strayed from the Law of Moses. Gerd Luedemann takes this as evidence that the early Church was essentially Jewish in nature and thus that there was a division between early Jewish Christianity and Pauline Christianity. It would seem then that we are given Paul’s version of Christianity which differed from other versions of Christianity.

In reply, there are several points:

First, it is true that in Acts 21 Paul goes to Jerusalem, encounters the church there, and begins a purification ritual. The part of the question that says he did it “to show the Jerusalem Church that he has not strayed from the Law of Moses” is an opinion that is read into the text. The passage simply says that Paul began the ritual; it does not say why he did it. Unfortunately for this question, Paul is arrested before he can finish the ritual, meet with the church, and address the issue…..or at least Luke does not record for us anything else Paul said on the matter before he was arrested.

The rest is at: https://humblesmith.wordpress.com/2017/03/26/did-paul-create-his-own-version-of-christianity/