May 17th, 2010 — Church, Ministry, Personal, Worship
Everyone’s had this experience. You set out to read your Bible for nourishment, yet finding yourself as cold and flat as a dead fish.
And you get nothing out of it: no light, no heat, no nothing.
What to do?
Talk to yourself.
Cajole your soul into a more attentive frame of mind.
Here’s Spurgeon’s advice on what to say to your soul before reading your Bible:
Come, soul, wake up; thou art not now about to read the newspaper; thou art not now perusing the pages of a human poet, to be dazzled by his flashing poetry; thou art coming very near to God, who sits in the Word like a crowned monarch in his halls. Wake up, my glory; wake up all that is within me. Though just now I may not be praising and glorifying God, I am about to consider that which should lead me so to do, and therefore it is an act of devotion. So be on the stir, my soul; be on the stir, and bow not sleepily before the awful throne of the Eternal.
May 5th, 2010 — Personal
I never tire of reading Charles Spurgeon. Virtually everything I read of his I agree with and enjoy and find profitable.
How about this encouragement I came across this morning in his little book, Counsel to Christian Workers: Don’t be a Mrs. Splitplum!
Who, you may be wondering, is Mrs. Splitplum?
She was the wife of a grocer who always cut the plums in two for fear that there would be an ounce more plum than the buyer had paid for. She didn’t want to give a fraction more than was bought.
“Ah,” says Spurgeon, drawing a lesson from this quaint anecdote, “there are many Splitplums in religion. They do not want to do more for Jesus than may be absolutely necessary.” Just so much, but no more. Just what is fair and equitable in their service to the Lord.
Don’t be a Mrs. Splitplum is Spurgeon’s point. Instead, be like the woman with the alabaster jar of perfume who spent it not miserly or calculatingly or cautiously, but lavishly, extravagantly, indeed even wastefully in the service of her Lord (Matthew 26:6-13).
“Christ’s servants delight to give so much as to be thought wasteful, for they feel that when they have in the judgment of others done extravagantly for Christ, they have but begun to show their hearts’ love for his dear name.”
November 17th, 2008 — Church, Ministry, Outreach, Postmodernism, Sermons, Theology, Worship
Have you ever heard of a Leyden jar? Originally invented in 1745 by Pieter van Musschenbroek at the University of Leiden, the Netherlands, it was a device used to build and store static electricity. You can find the following description (with pictures) at the Sparkmuseum website:
A Leyden jar consists of a glass jar with an outer and inner metal coating covering the bottom and sides nearly to the neck. A brass rod terminating in an external knob passes through a wooden stopper and is connected to the inner coating by a loose chain. When an electrical charge is applied to the external knob, positive and negative charges accumulate from the two metal coatings respectively, but they are unable to discharge due to the glass between them. The result is that the charges will hold each other in equilibrium until a discharge path is provided. Leyden jars were first used to store electricity in experiments, and later as a condenser in early wireless equipment.
Why do I bring this up? Because it provides greater color to an already wonderfully colorful quote from one of my favorites, Charles Spurgeon, who had this to say about churches serving as Leyden jars.
It should be our ambition, in the power of the Holy Ghost, to work the entire church into a fine missionary condition, to make it like a Leyden jar charged to the full with divine electricity, so that whatever comes into contact with it shall feel its power (Lectures, p. 191).
The challenge, of course, is to understand, first, how to build a charge within a congregation, that is, how to preach and lead and serve and pray so that the church does indeed become filled with divine electricity; and then, secondly, how to to provide appropriate discharge paths so that this divine electricity might flow out of our life together and into the surrounding neighborhoods and beyond.