09/30/09

The 8 Session Summaries from the Desiring God National Conference

NatCon2009 Header 300x144 The 8 Session Summaries from the Desiring God National Conference

This past weekend, I had the pleasure of being hosted by Demian Farnworth at Fallen and Flawed to blog from the Desiring God National Conference 2009.

Six gifted men spoke on John Calvin and what we can learn from his passion for Christ. Each session from the conference is summarized below.

1. Julius Kim: Why we care who Calvin was

2. Collision Film Screening: Doug Wilson explains the dual purpose of apologetics

3. Doug Wilson: How Calvin mastered the Bible

4. Marvin Olasky: How Calvin challenged conventional thinking in government and business

5. Mark Talbot: How Calvin viewed his own sin and suffering

6. Panel Discussion: Should we hold the death of Servetus against Calvin?

7. Sam Storms: 4 ways meditating on heaven will change your life [Highly recommend this one]

8. John Piper: God’s ultimate goal is to glorify His grace in and through Christ



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09/29/09

George Müller’s 6-Point Strategy for Finding the Will of God

George Muller 250x300 George Müller’s 6 Point Strategy for Finding the Will of GodIt’s no surprise Müller used a Biblical strategy for finding the will of God. The man lived by prayer and the Word. As a result radiant faith provided sure footing even as he trod a trial-darkened path.

Beckoning us to follow
Müller’s mission statement sounds like a leader beckoning wary soldiers into battle:

“The orphan houses exist to display that God can be trusted and to encourage believers to take him at his word.”

“The first and primary object of the Institute was…that God might be magnified by the fact that the orphans under my care were, and are, provided with all they need only by prayer and faith, without anyone being asked by me or my fellow-laborers, whereby it might be seen that God is faithful still and hears prayer still.”

(For a deeper understanding of Müller’s mission and methods, read my favorite short biography)

To live by such faith, Müller had to have his own will swallowed by God’s. But it’s one thing to pray, “Thy will be done,” and another to actually know God’s will. How do we join Müller?

George Müller’s 6-Point Strategy for Finding the Will of God

1. Get your own will out of the way

“I seek at the beginning to get my heart into such a state that it has no will of its own in regard to a given matter. Nine-tenths of the trouble with people generally is just here. Nine-tenths of the difficulties are overcome when our hearts are ready to do the Lord’s will, whatever that may be. When one is truly in this state, it is usually but a little way to the knowledge of what His will is.”

2. Feelings are the sure path to delusions. Avoid walking that path.

“Having done this, I do not leave the result to feeling or simple impression. If so, I make myself liable to great delusions.”

3. Seek the will of the Spirit in connection with the Word

“I seek the will of the Spirit of God through, or in connection with, the Word of God. The Spirit and the Word must be combined. If I look to the Spirit alone without the Word, I lay myself open to great delusions also. If the Holy Ghost guides us at all, He will do it according to the Scriptures and never contrary to them.”

4. Consider providential circumstances [a call for sanctified common sense]

“Next, I take into account providential circumstances. These often plainly indicate God’s will in connection with His Word and Spirit.”

5. Get on your knees in the throne room

“I ask God in prayer to reveal His will to me aright.”

6. Make a deliberate judgment, and then keep testing it with prayer

“Thus, through prayer to God, the study of the Word, and reflection, I come to a deliberate judgment according to the best of my ability and knowledge; and if my mind is thus at peace, and continues so after two or three more petitions, I proceed accordingly. In trivial matters, and in transactions involving the most important issues, I have found this method always effective.”



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09/24/09

Live Blogging from the Desiring God National Conference

NatCon2009 Header Live Blogging from the Desiring God National ConferenceI’m flying to Minnesota this weekend to attend the Desiring God National Conference to listen to six speakers unpack the life and ministry of John Calvin for the 500th anniversary of his birth. The conference centers on understanding how  “the vision of God that Calvin lived and taught is relevant in all our lives.”

Expect unique and practical perspectives from the group of men slated to teach at the conference.

Demian Farnworth is hosting me at his blog, Fallen and Flawed, where I will be live blogging the event this weekend. I will post summaries of each speaker’s session, highlighting key points and exploring ideas introduced at the conference.

If you haven’t checked out Fallen and Flawed before, I highly recommend the blog to you. The Desiring God conference updates are the least of what you’ll find there. From practical theology to interviews with atheists, Demian tackles it all and points to Christ.



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09/23/09

Mistaking spiritual information for intimacy

iStock 000003584474XSmall 300x200 Mistaking spiritual information for intimacyYou could call me an information pack rat. As I flipped through the pages of my journal on Sunday, I found a rich bank of scribbled sermon notes, bedside thoughts, and devotional gleanings.

But there was something missing. The pale yellow pages told a story of a young man who substituted information for intimacy – and then starved.

The journal lacked the prayerful vitality that springs from communion with God. I marveled at God as if he was one of those fold-out pictures in a National Geographic, talking to myself in my journal about God, but not actually to God.

Information cannot feed the soul. Experiencing intimacy with God can.
There is an important distinction between information and intimacy. It’s like the difference between the boy daydreaming about the girl sitting two rows in front of him at school, and the lover walking hand-in-hand with his bride in the flower gardens. The schoolboy says an awkward hello. The lover gently tucks a flower in his bride’s hair.

Information is key to intimacy. Therefore, we study God’s Word. A rich knowledge of God’s character enables more intimate adoration and worship.

But information is not equivalent to intimacy anymore than hours of surfing Facebook is equivalent to personal relationships.

Because even the most vast reservoirs of information can not feed the soul, Psalm 63:1-8 has become my cry:

O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you;
my soul thirsts for you;
my flesh faints for you,
as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary,
beholding your power and glory.
Because your steadfast love is better than life,
my lips will praise you.
So I will bless you as long as I live;
in your name I will lift up my hands.
My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food,
and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips,
when I remember you upon my bed,
and meditate on you in the watches of the night;
for you have been my help,
and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy.
My soul clings to you;
your right hand upholds me.

My journaling is now taking on a new tone as the result of the Holy Spirit’s work over the last few months. What’s the tone of your quiet time, journaling, and prayer? How much intimacy do you really have with God?



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09/10/09

7 reasons why God used D. L. Moody

dl moody 7 reasons why God used D. L. MoodyD.L. Moody was a strikingly ordinary human used powerfully by the Almighty. How did that come about? Why was Moody used powerfully? R. A. Torrey gives us 7 reasons in his biography of Moody:

1. A Fully Surrendered Man
Moody had no will and goals outside of God’s. The heart of the Father filled the heart of Moody. Not a mere agreement to cooperate with God in addition to a personal agenda, but a full-scale submission to God’s will alone.

2. A Man of Prayer
Practical belief in God powered Moody’s prayer life. “He was a man who met every difficulty that stood in his way — by prayer. Everything he undertook was backed up by prayer, and in everything, his ultimate dependence was upon God.”

3. A Deep and Practical Student of the Bible
Every morning, Moody shut himself up alone in a room to meet with God in the Word. He was unwilling to sacrifice time with God for something of lesser value.

4. A Humble Man
Moody was convinced of his own inadequacy. This led him to trust God for strength. It also allowed him to enjoy putting himself in the background and others in the foreground.

5. His Entire Freedom from the Love of Money
Millions on dollars passed through Moody’s hands, and as Torrey put it, “He loved to gather money for God’s work; he refused to accumulate money for himself.”

6. His Consuming Passion for the Salvation of the Lost
As a new believer, Moody resolved to never let a day pass without speaking to at least one person about the gospel. Sometimes, remembering that commitment stirred  him from his bed and out into the streets late at night.

7. Definitely Endued with Power from on High
“In his early days he was a great hustler; he had a tremendous desire to do something, but he had no real power,” Torrey described Moody, “He worked very largely in the energy of the flesh.” That changed after he began praying for the power of the Holy Spirit, not his human effort, to drive his ministry.

Which one of those evidences of God’s grace in Moody’s life strike you the most?

Click to download the short (15 pg) book, Why God used D.L. Moody, by R. A. Torrey.



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