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As I write these words, I am sitting less than one mile from the Old City in Jerusalem. Yesterday my group spent 12 hours learning, walking, exploring, dare I say bustling through the Old City observing everything from the Holy Sepulchre to the Temple Mount. It was a combination of both culture shock and the collision of my faith with the historical details that have informed it for the past decade. As I prepared for this day, many said to me that I would never read the Bible in the same way. They were wrong: I will never approach my faith in Jesus, the Christ, in the same way. Yet, I still push back against archeological integrationism that necessitates this trip to inform my faith. (more…)
David Murray has had much to say about biblical counseling within the past few years since assuming his teaching position at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary in 2007. Of his publications, he has written mostly within the area of practical theology and now has placed himself within the biblical counseling movement. Most recently, in his article on The Gospel Coalition’s website, “How Biblical is Biblical Counseling?” he identified himself as a family member of the biblical counseling movement with some familial concerns. His concerns have stimulated conversations within the biblical counseling movement of the nature and validity of the term biblical counseling. His critique proved to be helpful in promoting clarity in what biblical does and does not mean as we use it within the context of biblical counseling. However, his article provided clarity in a way that was—most likely—not Murray’s intent. The reason being is that his article has encouraged biblical counselors to think well about their own position and, consequently, Murray’s misrepresentation of it.
John Owen’s Perspective on the Effects of Habits:
Habits Promote Sanctity of the Church
We had a light in this candlestick; which did not only enlighten the room, but gave light to others far and near.
—David Clarkson, Spoken of John Owen at Owen’s Funeral
In the wake of the English civil war, groups of clergy were ousted because of their seemingly anti-government teachings, ministry, and perspective. These men did not seek to overthrow the government, but rather to purify the church that had become so closely married to the government. Thus, in 1662 an edict was issued to provide standardization across the Church of England and that edict was the Act of Uniformity. It was declared that there would be uniformity in the sacraments, public prayer, and all of these changes were based on the Book of Common Prayer. However, these clergy members, given the pejorative title Puritan, refused to adhere to this new mandate and were ejected from every formal ministry or governmental position in England. This was the Great Ejection of 1662 in which some 2,000 plus clergy members forfeited their formal positions of ministry and government leadership because of a refusal to submit to the Act of Uniformity. One of these clergy members was John Owen—a faculty of Oxford, regular chaplain of Oliver Cromwell, and English clergymen. (more…)
The Call to All Christians:
How Does Change Happen?
(This post is an addendum to a sermon preached July 16, 2017 at Faith Community Church in Newhall, CA. You can find the PowerPoint here: Strengthening Your Core–Marriage (FCC 7.16.17).)
Below are some practical tools to help you prioritize your marriage by faith:
- Digital Boundaries: This means you need a location to keep your phones while at home so that they are not always on you, and always demanding your attention. A simply priority would be that you do not engage technology before you meaningfully engage your spouse.
- First Fifteen Minutes Project: Another thing that I encourage couples to all the time is the idea of crystallizing the first fifteen minutes that you are home for each other. This means that the wife stops what she’s doing if she’s home, or the husband stops what he’s doing and you guys take 15 minutes to talk with each other. We have to hang up the phone when our spouse walks in the door. We have to put dinner on hold for a few minutes. This is just a very practical way of saying you matter to me. You’re a priority. Children—be quiet. TV—be quiet. Telephone—be quiet. My spouse is home and they are a priority to me.
- 3-2-1-1 Communication Exercise
- _Intimacy Inventory.docx
**Sermon preached at Grace on the Ashley Baptist Church in Charleston, SC
Every person possesses habits. An important question to ask in understanding habits is, “what is the role of those habits in the educational experience?” Educators understand repetition, discipline, structure, and environment but do educators understand the behavioral assumptions that drive those methodologies or the ideologies from which current methodology has been derived? Consequently, the aim of this paper is to address one, central research question: can repeated behavior prohibit or promote learning or knowledge acquisition from a behaviorist’s perspective? Ivan Pavlov, perhaps a father in the behaviorism camp, spent years testing and proving what he believed to be the answer to this question. He argued that he could create a consistent stimulus and develop a habit in his subjects (primarily working with dogs) through external means, thus priming them for future responses. He believed that external stimuli teach a person to respond in certain ways, and those responses are then solidified through repeated exposure. Not all behaviorists agree, though, with Knight Dunlap stating these habits of learning were seen as the very fabric of the human nature: “in their totality, make[ing] up the character of the individual.” If Pavlov’s assertion is true, and Dunlap’s perspective is accurate, what role does habit formation plan in the ability of the student to learn? (more…)
Often times in counseling, I use the idea of a balloon. Like a balloon we are squeezed by our circumstances in life: jobs, family, politics, houses, et cetera. These are things that James 1 would describe as a trial (v. 15). But there are also those pressures that come from inside, like the over-inflation of a balloon, they encourage us to ‘pop’. This is the idea of James 1:13 when James refers to those inner solicitations to sin—those enticements come from within. (more…)
Louis Berkhof makes an interesting comment. He says, “None of the attributes of God are incommunicable in the sense that there is no trace of them found in man.” There is a fine line between saying that we want to be God and we want to be like God: one is the biblical impetus for everything we do and the other was the inducement to the original sin. Yet, we want to be like God in every aspect; we want to be like Him in every capacity that we can because there is no better pattern for imitation.
Paul strikes a cord in Ephesians 5:1 that is implicit throughout the remainder of Scripture and it is this, we are to imitate God and godly people. In 1 Corinthians 4:6 and 11:1 we see that Paul uses similar—yet different—language. He there states to follow him as He follows Christ. There is a call to imitation. “Imitate me, while I imitate Christ.” Likewise, in Hebrews 6:12 and 13:2 we see an encouragement to imitate others who are imitating God. Imitation is right and normative and is the only genuine means a transformation. (more…)