This term the Discipleship Pathway studies focus in on different Christian disciplines that help sustain us in our daily walk with Jesus. This week we thought about WHY and HOW TO listen to God through our personal Bible reading. These extra mile activities aim to encourage two groups of people in particular. Firstly, those of us who read Jesus’ lifegiving words yet somehow find that it feels like a dry and mechanical exercise. Secondly, those of us who want to read our Bible daily, but feel ill-equipped to do so and don’t have the confidence to start doing so.
WATCH: I Read the Bible and Feel Nothing – What Should I do?
In this video, Pastor John Piper very helpfully answers the following question (its well worth listening all the way through!):
“If I read my Bible, but I don’t feel anything in my affections that resonates with the worth, the value, the preciousness, the beauty, the pleasures of what those words are supposed to communicate, is there anything I can do next? Or do I just have to wait and let the experience happen to me in the future?”
READ: 8 Questions to Help You Understand and Apply the Bible
The article below by Matthew Hermon provides an incredibly useful and simple method of devotionally studying the Bible that any Christian can use in their personal Bible reading. (NB -This is the model that is briefly outlined in your course booklets). If you are hungry to feed on God’s Word but don’t know where to start, or find yourself scratching your head during your times of Bible reading, wondering what something means, why not consider using Matthew Hermon’s accessible questions to help unlock what God is saying to you through the Bible. https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/8-questions-to-help-you-understand-apply-the-bib
This week we’ve been looking at the authority and sufficiency of the Bible in our Growth Groups. Its been tremendous to think about the implications of the truth that, as Kevin De Young puts it, “The Bible has the final say on everything that the Bible needs to say something about.” However, some of us may have had our confidence in the Bible knocked by people asking us how we can trust the Bible, as it was written such a long time ago and is alleged to be full of contradictions or errors. This week’s extra mile resources remind us just how trustworthy and reliable the Bible is, and in so doing encourage us that the Bible really is authoritative and sufficient!
WATCH: The Bible Is Old – Have We Lost The Originals?
This engaging and informative video from Speak Life UK (feat. Glen Scrivener) makes clear just how reliable the Bible is, as well as busting some myths about supposed inconsistencies. Look out for a fascinating infographic showing how the Bible is much more reliable than any other ancient document.
READ: Canon Fodder: The Development of the Bible
Another common critique of Scripture is that the Bible is said to be a man-made book, because it was the early church who apparently picked the books they liked and threw away the rest. In this written interview (see link at the bottom of this post), Michael Kruger, a pastor and seminary president helpfully clarifies common misunderstandings, as well as explaining what the Canon is, how it came to be, and how we can be totally sure that we have the Bible God wants us to have. (P.s. Scroll down to Question 3, which is where this theme of the development of the Bible begins)
This week in our growth groups we’ve been thinking about God’s incommunicable attributes – that is the ways in which God is different to us. (Incommunicable in this context means “unshared”). It was wonderful to study Psalm 139 together and see the many ways in which God is unlike us – to name a few we saw that he is all-knowing, all-powerful, unchanging, sovereign, and infinite, things which we are most definitely not! This week’s video and written article help us to further understand why this is such an important concept for us to grasp.
WATCH: Why It’s Good News That God is Not Like Us
In this short but profound clip, Jen Wilkin succinctly summarises precisely why it is such good news that God is different to us.
READ: 10 Things You Should Know About God’s Incommunicable Attributes
In this written article, Jen Wilkin gives us 10 weighty implications and applications of understanding God’s character in all its glory! Click the link below to access this helpful piece and see how these glorious truths impact our day-to-day Christian lives.
What a privilege it was to meet together to study 1 Corinthians 15 and discuss the resurrection, a topic that the Apostle Paul describes as “of first importance.” This week’s extra mile activities are designed to help us reflect on the wonderful implications of Jesus’ resurrection for us and to help us consider the difference that Jesus rising from the dead makes to our daily Christian lives.
WATCH: What Does Christ’s Resurrection Mean for Us?
With reference to some of the verses in the middle of 1 Corinthians 15 which we didn’t have time to look at fully in our group discussions, Don Carson spells out what difference Jesus’ resurrection makes to the life of a Christian: “Our hope is not to survive until we are 70, or 80 or even 90. Our hope finally is to have a body like Christ’s, to have a resurrection body like Christ’s”.
READ: Witnessing the Resurrection
This thoughtful article by Ed Loane, a lecturer at Moore Theological College in Australia, not only draws out the credibility and consistency of the evidence for the Resurrection but also highlights what the resurrection of Jesus achieves for God, and for God’s people.
It was great to be with you all at Growth Group Central this week thinking together about the penal substitutionary work of the Lord Jesus on the cross! This week’s extra-mile activities are a real treat.
WATCH: The Ground of All Human Assurance Before God
Don Carson succinctly and powerfully outlines why the shed blood of the lamb is what silences our Accuser, and gives us rock solid grounds for confidence of our acceptance and forgiveness from God.
READ: Songwriter Keith Getty on what makes ‘In Christ Alone’ Accepted and Contested
A fascinating and insightful interview with Keith Getty, one of the co-writers of the famous and much-loved hymn ‘In Christ Alone’. Find out how he reacted when two different groupings of churches requested permission to alter his song lyrics to remove references to God’s wrath and the atonement. His response helpfully illuminates what is at stake when we stop talking about Jesus’ death in terms of him taking away God’s right anger at our sin (referred to as ‘propitiation’ in the article’).
Welcome back! I trust you found it helpful and thought-provoking discussing Genesis 3 in Growth Group studies, seeing the nature, seriousness and consequences of our sinful rebellion against our Creator God as well as reflecting on the grace he shows to sinful people like Adam and Eve, and ourselves. The short video and written article below help us to dig deeper into these topics.
WATCH: Rejecting God
In the following video (taken from a course called Essentials) we see Jesus’ unmistakably diagnosis of our spiritual condition and the consequences we all deserve for indulging in cosmic treason against our Maker.
READ: How can a loving God send someone to Hell?
The article linked to below provides a persuasive yet sensitive defence of the goodness, necessity, and fairness of God’s judgement. This is a question that all Christians can expect to be asked at some point, so it is well worth thinking through how you would answer it yourself.
Welcome to the first Discipleship Pathway “Extra-Mile” activities. These additional resources are designed to help you reflect more deeply on the core truths you’ve been discussing together in your growth groups.
Building on your first growth group study, both the video discussion and written blog below help us to think through what are the most important things for Christians to believe when it comes to the topic of creation. Click the links below to read and watch!
WATCH: Tim Keller, Russell Moore and Ligon Duncan discuss the “non-negotiables” of what the Bible teaches about Creation
READ: Theological Triage and the Doctrine of Creation