Friday, October 22, 2010

Reading The Apostolic Fathers

I have enjoyed reading the Church Fathers in recent days. Here is a prayer by St. Augustine of Hippo when he was contemplating the love of God.

"You only I love; you only I follow; you only I seek; you only am I ready to serve. Because you alone are justly Lord, I desire to be under your rule. Command, I ask you, as you will, but heal and open my ears that I may hear your voice. Heal and open my eyes that I may see your beckoning. Tell me where I must go that I may see you; and I hope to do all that you command. Receive, I pray you, your fugitive, most clement Father and Lord. Enough have I served your enemies whom you have put under your feet. Enough have I been the plaything of deceits. Receive me, your servant, now fleeing from these things." Augustine

Here is another prayer by Cyprian, the martyred bishop of Carthage.

"Almighty God, who resists the proud and gives Grace to the humble: send thy Holy Spirit and let that mind be in us, which was also in Christ Jesus, that we may be meek and lowly of heart and never by our foolish pride provoke thine indignation, but, receiving into humble and thankful hearts the gift of thy providence and of thy grace, may thereby be continually refreshed. Teach us not to think of ourselves more highly than we ought to think; to be modest in speech, just and merciful in action and benevolent to all. Let us prefer nothing to him, who preferred nothing to our salvation; but grant us that adhering inseparably to his kingdom and standing bravely by his cross, we may be found faithful to death, and at the end may be admitted into the joy of his most blessed presence. Amen." Cyprian

The preciousness of these men and their writings fills us with great reverence to their amazing devotion to Christ. Many of the Church Fathers died as martyrs. The pride, arrogance and worldliness of many modern day professing Christians stands in stark contrast to these great men.

I am humbled and convicted of sin when I read their Christ exalting words and hear of their undying devotion to the Lord. May the Lord of glory fill us all with the gentle and meek spirit of these men and use us to walk with God in lowliness and holiness.

Pastor Dickie

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Dear Berean Family, I have been working on a series of messages on Wednesday night on Spiritual Leadership. I have been blessed in the preparation of those messages. One subject that burned in my heart this week in preparation was the need for spiritual passion in our love and devotion to Christ. I am going to share a few quotes that I came across that I trust will be a blessing to you all on being passionate in our devotion to the Lord Jesus.

The apostle Paul writes to the church at Philippi and says, “Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prized of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:12-14.

In his booklet on True Discipleship, William MacDonald described the zeal and passion that is necessary for the minister of God who would be a spiritual leader,

“A disciple can be forgiven if he does not have great mental ability. He can be forgiven also if he does not display outstanding physical prowess. But no disciple can be excused if he does not have zeal. If his heart is not aflame with a red-hot passion for the Savior, he stands condemned.
After all, Christians are followers of the One Who said, ‘The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up.’ (John 2:17). Their Savior was consumed with a passion for God and for His interests. There was no room in His train for half-hearted followers.
The Lord Jesus lived in a state of spiritual tension. This is indicated by His words, ‘I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how am I straitened till it be accomplished.’ (Luke 12:50). And again by His memorable utterance, ‘I must work the works of Him that sent me while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.” (John 9:4).
The zeal of John the Baptist was attested by the Lord when He said, ‘He was a burning and a shining light.’ (John 5:35).”

Jim Elliot the martyr who died in Ecuador was a burning and shining light like John the Baptist. When Jim Elliot was meditating on Hebrews 1:7,He maketh his ministers a flame of fire,” he wrote in his journal: “Am I ignitable? God deliver me from the dread asbestos of ‘other things’ Saturate me with the oil of the Spirit that I may be a flame. But flame is transient, often short lived. Canst thou bear this my soul—short life? In me there dwells the Spirit of the Great Short-Lived, Whose zeal for God’s house consumed Him. ‘Make me thy fuel, Flame of God.’”
Here's my prayer tonight, "O Dear God, where are those spiritual leaders whose love and devotion to the Savior burns like a torch in the night? Where are those men whose brokenness, tenderness, humility, and godliness set them apart from the carnal, fleshly, and worldly hirelings that fleece Thy sheep? Give us, O Lord, such pastors and leaders whose only desire in life is to be faithful to Thy Son and His gospel of sovereign grace. We ask this in Jesus name, and for His glory alone, Amen."