Update to the Blog Post, “How do you listen?”









I received some encouraging feedback from the post, “How do you listen”.  Writing is so much easier when people profit from you words.  After writing that article I received a copy of Dr. Joel Beeke’s book, “The Family at Church”.  Dr. Beeke writes about listening to sermons.  He asks Christians to be “active listeners” to the preached word.  He also brings out the point that we should prepare our hearts beforehand to receive the Word; as well as discuss the preached word after the sermon.  Even though we come from some differing theological convictions, it is good to be in agreement with Dr. Beeke on this subject.  I heartily recommend this book.

The Sinners Prayer

I attended a popular bible college that was steeped in the Finney tradition of evangelism.  During the invitation after a Gospel presentation, individuals were asked to pray a prayer like this, “Lord Jesus, I believe I’m a sinner. I believe Christ died on the cross for my sins.  Please come into my heart and save me, for Jesus sake.  Amen.”  I would like to compare that still popular method of evangelism with how the Puritans viewed repentance and faith.  The following prayer is taken from the book “Valley of Vision”, a compilation of Puritan prayers.

O Lord,

Thou knowest my great unfitness for service,
my present deadness,
my inability to do anything for thy glory,
my distressing coldness of heart.

I am weak, ignorant, unprofitable,
and loathe and abhor myself. I am at a loss to know what thou wouldest
have me do,
for I feel amazingly deserted by thee,
and sense they presence so little;
Thou makest me possess the sins of my youth,
so that I feel all sin,
I cannot think or act but every motion is sin.

Return again with showers of converting grace to a poor gospel-abusing sinner.
Help my soul to breathe after holiness.
after a constant devotedness to thee,
after growth in grace more abundantly every day.

O Lord, I am lost in the pursuit of this blessedness,
And am ready to sink because I fall short of my desire;
Help me to hold out a little longer,
Until the happy hour of deliverance comes,
for I cannot lift my soul to thee
if thou of thy goodness bring me not nigh.
Help me to be different, watchful, tender, lest I offend my blessed Friend
in thought and behavior;
I confide in thee and lean upon thee,
and need thee at all times to assist and lead me.

O that all my distresses and apprehensions
Might prove but Christ’s school
to make me fit for greater service
by teaching me the great lesson of humility.

The Puritan who wrote this prayer understood his brokenness and spiritually bankrupt state. His only appeal, his desperate appeal, was for God’s grace, through Christ. How different than what passes for a prayer of repentance and forgiveness in the church today.

Christian Response to the Crisis in Haiti

Now is not the time to stand on doctrinal distinctives. The city of Port-au-Prince has been devastated. Initial reports are using numbers in the thousands to tabulate the dead. This does not include the scores of people who are injured and homeless. Christians should be galvanized into action. Most of us are unable to go to Haiti personally, but we are able to give. No amount is too small. Here are some Christian organizations who are helping in Haiti:

Samaritans Purse
Operation Blessing
World Vision

In addition to your gifts, you can pray. Pray that the Lord will extend His grace to the people of Haiti. Pray for the Christian missionaries who are laboring at this very moment. Pray for the church in Haiti, that they will know the provision and comfort of of the Lord at this time. Pray for the triumph of the gospel. Even though Haiti is enduring a catastrophe, the gospel is still powerful enough to save to the uttermost.

In short, pray and give.