My wife Naomi picked up this table from somewhere. I've corrected some spelling. Add a picture of an ant and a slug and you have the start of a Bible lesson for your kids!
|Diligent||Knows it all|
|Takes initiative||Doesn't finish things|
|Enjoys learning||Doesn't want to learn|
We associate pretend things with childhood. There is something endearing about watching a child in pretend play. There are valuable developmental things going on in children as they pretend and emulate what they see in their world. But it seems out of place for adults to play like younger children (1 Corinthians 13:11).
The thought I'd like you to think about is this: how much of your life is pretend? It is probably not a very high percentage of overall hours if your life is close to the average American's. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, working and sleeping take about 16.4 hours out of 24. These are fixed costs associated with "just living."
But on average, Americans have five daily hours of leisure activities where they have more control over what they choose to do. Well over half of that segment of the day is devoted to watching television and playing games.
Setting aside the possibility that you are watching documentaries and educational television, I would venture to say that most TV and games are pretend activities. You are watching and vicariously experiencing the made-up activities of others. You see pretend violence and pretend relationships. You view pretend situations. You become actively involved in your pretend mind with simulated reality video games. I would argue that adult pretend of this nature is not substantially different from child pretend.
Does there seem to be something wrong with such pretend? Besides the fact that it seems out of place for adults to have so much pretend in their lives, there are other thoughts you can ponder. For example, pretend has a real effect on the mind and body. Have you ever experienced an elevated pulse when watching something with suspense or violence? What do you think repeated exposure to that sort of pretend does to the mind and body? Pretend TV shows teach (preach!) real values, whether bad or good. What about the numbing effect of pretend on our interaction with the real world? If our leisure time is filled with pretend, it can have an anesthetizing effect on us, removing awareness of the things that are really going on. Perhaps Satan lures our flesh through pretend in entertainment in order to dull our senses to what he is doing in the world. Pretend can distract us from global trends, political realities, personal relationships, and the needs of others in view of the ultimate reality that life is short and each person will soon be called to judgment.
Don’t pretend your life away!
Ever wanted to look at an outline of a book of the Bible? Maybe you have one in your study Bible, but would like another opinion? Maybe you are looking for a quick summary of the contents of a book of the Bible. We have some outlines that may help. Check the links below to see if your book is listed.
For the Old Testament:
For the New Testament:
Matthew Parris writes as an atheist, and says that he truly believes that Africa needs God.
Fascinating. I thought of contextualization when I read this.
Christianity, post-Reformation and post-Luther, with its teaching of a direct, personal, two-way link between the individual and God, unmediated by the collective, and unsubordinate to any other human being, smashes straight through the philosphical/spiritual framework I've just described. It offers something to hold on to to those anxious to cast off a crushing tribal groupthink. That is why and how it liberates.
Those who want Africa to walk tall amid 21st-century global competition must not kid themselves that providing the material means or even the knowhow that accompanies what we call development will make the change. A whole belief system must first be supplanted.
And I'm afraid it has to be supplanted by another.
Today our family received an envelope with a nice letter full of Scripture and a monetary gift. It was sent anonymously, and we are unable to guess who sent it. We thank the Lord for His provision. And we thank you, whoever "you" are, who were thoughtful and generous enough to send it. May the Lord bless and keep you too!
Among some Christians, the idea of repentance is not accepted as part of the gospel. As American Protestant evangelicals, it has been drilled into our heads that salvation is by faith alone. And that is certainly true. But those words, "faith alone," can be taken too far in a way that changes the meaning of "faith." Real Christian faith is repentant faith. The meaning and frequent use of the idea of repentance in the New Testament should be enough to convince us of that. For instance, you can study Matthew 3:2, 3:8, 4:17, 9:13, 11:20-21, 12:41; Mark 6:12; Luke 13:3-5, 15:7, 15:10, 16:30, 24:47; Acts 2:38, 3:19, 5:31, 11:18, 17:30, 20:21, 26:20; Romans 2:4; 2 Timothy 2:25; Hebrews 6:1; 2 Peter 3:9.
I dealt with this issue in a different way in a previous post.
There are some professing Christians who claim that there is a distinction between a Christian believer and a disciple. For instance, consider the four differences between 'believer' and 'disciple' proposed here. Or, the seven differences listed in Dr. Rick Flanders' articles here and here. Or Bob Wilkin's primary distinction of being under Biblical instruction, here. According to this form of doctrine, there can be disciples who are not believers, believers who are not disciples, and disciples who are believers. You can find many other web sources that teach this doctrine.
Other online sources oppose this teaching. For instance, here.
As I read through John 18 this morning, I wondered if Peter would have consoled himself with that kind of doctrine after he denied Christ. Remember that in John 18:17, a servant girl asked him if he was a disciple of Jesus, and he denied it. He denied being Jesus' disciple again in John 18:25-27. Do you expect that Peter said to himself, "Self, I just denied being a disciple of Jesus, but at least I did not deny being a believer in Jesus"? Such a thought seems impossible. Peter denied being a disciple and a believer in his "I am not" statement. For those who hold to the "believer distinct from disciple" theology, and who consider themselves believers but not disciples, I would simply ask, do you think it is realistic to try to affirm that you are a believer but not a disciple? How do you differentiate your denial of being a disciple from Peter's denial of being a disciple?
I'm doing some work in Romans in preparation for an upcoming expositional series on the book. Below is an outline I've put together, with the help of a number of other outlines.