Thursday, April 19, 2012

Learning to "Pray The Scriptures"

Have you ever heard someone use the expression "praying the Scriptures?"  It's easy to wonder just what they are referring to.  Is it using a Bible text as a special chant?  Is it reading the Bible and calling it prayer?

People at Christ Covenant have heard me mention how my own prayer life has been revitalized and deepened by using Scotty Smith's Heavenward website as part of my regular devotional time.  His April 17th prayer - A Prayer for Measuring the Measureless Riches of Grace - is a great example of "praying the Scripture," in this case Psalm103.  I include the entire post below:

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Cohabitation and the Gospel of Grace

The New York Times Sunday Review had a guest article that popped my eyes.  Meg Jan, a clinical psychologist at UVa, was the author.  In the article, she summarizes the growing body of research that studies the impact of cohabitation on people and their marriages.  She then illustrates that research movingly by placing it in the context of real lives that she has worked with in her counseling practice.  Her perspective is by no means faith-based, yet it expresses well, and with independent research, what I have observed over decades of pastoral ministry.
When Jennifer started therapy with me less than a year (after her wedding), she was looking for a divorce lawyer. “I spent more time planning my wedding than I spent happily married,” she sobbed. Most disheartening to Jennifer was that she’d tried to do everything right. “My parents got married young so, of course, they got divorced. We lived together! How did this happen?”

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Gospel Eyes: The Bible Isn't About Me

Through the years of ministry, many people have expressed appreciation for the "practical Bible teaching" they received from my ministry.  They meant it as a complement, and I always received it as such. In ways that I have only lately come to see though, much of what made my Bible teaching "practical" was simply instructing and exhorting people on particular behaviors.  It was "biblical" because the instructions had a Bible reference.

Without me realizing it, I had assumed that the Bible was about me. Or you.  Or our finances, or our family or the end times, or how we can have a relationship with God or any number of things that we needed to know or do.  Things other than - or maybe just in addition to - God and His Majesty, His love for all humanity and of course, the Gospel of His Grace.
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