I want to become a kid in the candy store when it comes to reading through the pages of Scripture. You can never out-study the truths of the Bible.
Today we announced a new seminar at church:
Rightly | Dividing aims to move believers beyond personal Bible reading to Bible study. There are many useful Bible reading plans, and for that matter, much excellent material is available from good Bible teachers. But this seminar hopes to train people how to understand and depend on the Book, not only on teachers of the Book.
I’ll be teaching this seminar on Saturday, October 11.1 It will include over six hours of teaching, covering topics like how to prepare for study, basic principles (hermeneutics) for Bible study, how to find the point of a paragraph, and recommended tools.
Anyone in the area is welcome to attend. If you’re interested, jump over to the Rightly | Dividing website for more details and online registration.
Series | Whispers and Flames
Avoiding drama doesn’t mean we never say tough things, it means we don’t add theatrics. It also means that we say tough things to the person, not about the person. Being kind to someone’s face doesn’t always equal love, and saying difficult things to someone’s face doesn’t always equal not love.
On the other hand, whisperers are invariably haters. They talk a love game in certain settings but, as Proverbs 26:23-28 describes, they are hiding an evil heart and harboring deceit. It is never loving or kind to whisper; it is dishonest, insincere, two-faced talk. Whisperers, quarrelers, deceivers, and haters are destroyers.
The whisperers in Proverbs 26:20-22 are fools. Of course, the entire book of Proverbs identifies the contrast between wisdom and foolishness, and a man’s speech tells on him. Wise men quiet contention; fools start fires. Fools whisper and start fights. Fools take a bad situation and stir it up. Other fools listen to and eat up drama.
While these related proverbs comment on the effect or results of drama, the apostle Paul reveals the cause of drama. Whispering and fighting are works of the flesh.
Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. (Galatians 5:19-20)
Some of these sins fly under the banner of drama. The point is, drama–especially drama in whispers–starts in the heart. These sins are also a sign of God’s abandoning men to their unrighteousness.
And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. (Romans 1:28-31)
It’s no wonder tongues cause such turmoil since “the tongue stains the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell” (James 3:6). We inflame and sustain fire with our mouths, because our tongues are hellish. It may not be a surprise, but it is no less wrong.
Spirit-filled Christians should not whisper or quarrel. Drama is fleshly. Galatians 5 says that if we walk in the Spirit, we will not gratify the desires of the flesh. We will stop the drama. Those who increase drama, therefore, are those not walking in the Spirit.
This has application for everyone, but young ladies appear especially susceptible to being busybodies, buttinskies, and backbiters.
But refuse to enroll younger widows, for when their passions draw them away from Christ, they desire to marry and so incur condemnation for having abandoned their former faith. Besides that, they learn to be idlers, going about from house to house, and not only idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying what they should not. So I would have younger widows marry, bear children, manage their households, and give the adversary no occasion for slander. For some have already strayed after Satan. (1 Timothy 5:11-15)
Apparently because they don’t have enough to do and aren’t looking for responsibility, they go about writing on other’s Facebook walls, text messaging, and getting each other in corners to talk about what Miss So-and-so did. But the devil watches young women. He takes their drama and uses it to slander Christ. Ladies must keep their tongues from wagging after Satan.
With every response we show what is important, either drama, or the Lord. We’ve got to guard our hearts, guard our lips, and guard our ears. Especially for leaders, those who typically know more information about others, and those on whom more eyes and ears concentrate, drama must not be entertained or tolerated in our reactions. We need to make disciples, not drama.
Dear the Void,
You have been so empty. I’m beginning to wonder if you even care about me any more. Please remind me why I subscribe, and tempt me with imminent and glorious posts.
And Then You Die
Mo and I returned Monday afternoon from the Olympic Swim Trials. We spent a week together in Omaha, NE, in celebration of our 10th Anniversary and Mo’s forthcoming 30th birthday in November.
I know, Omaha doesn’t make anyone’s top 10 list of romantic destinations, but Mo has dreamt about attending the Olympic trials meet since she was 10. In fact, she told me that had I taken her back to Hawaii instead, she would have been a little bit disappointed.
Though I’m not a swimmer, a swim coach, or an otherwise interested spectator of swimming, I think I was a good sport all week. Not only did I enjoy the time with Mo–away from interruptions and regular responsibilities–not once did I feel like picking my eyes out. Almost every session saw a record broken, whether it was a meet record, American record, or World record. Michael Phelps really is dominant (in US swim team marketing as well as in the pool), and Dara Torres was that old–and dominant. I would not appreciate sitting all day watching nine year olds swim, but the Olympic trials obviously highlight the best our country has to offer. Friday and Saturday night in particular saw the largest crowds ever to watch a swim meet in the US, Saturday the largest at over 13,770. Any former or current athlete couldn’t help but get goose bumps as the crowd stood and cheered a close race over the last 50m.
We didn’t do much other than attend the trials, eat, and hang out in our hotel since Mo still isn’t feeling fantastic (though at least we didn’t make any visits to the hospital). It is good to be home after being gone most of the last three weeks. Perhaps now I’ll return to normal intermittent posting.