Paul Washer tells a story of a young girl who left home for Rio de Janeiro to become a prostitute. This story will encourage you to be passionate in evangelism while at the same time it serves as a reminder of the need for sinners to repent.
Why I Am Not Roman Catholic – Tim Challies has provided a good overview explaining why he is not Roman Catholic. At one point in the article, he makes this succinct statement, “I am not Roman Catholic because Rome denies the gospel.”
Today, I’m getting started with a journey through Don Whitney’s book, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life. Will you join in with me? This is a great book for spiritual growth, development, and encouragement in the faith. Why a public reading of the book on the blog? I made reference to the fact that I’m leading our church through it during the summer and each week we will gather to discuss the chapters. Several people asked if I would consider offering an online study for those who lived out of state and couldn’t attend our church. After receiving multiple requests, I decided to offer a public group here on the blog and below you will see the overview of the study and goals that I hope to achieve this summer.
Why Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life?
Nothing comes easy in life. No matter how many times the advertisements for that workout system try to convince you that just a few minutes of commitment will turn your body into a fine tuned machine, it’s impossible. In order to look like the model who is demonstrating the machine, you will need to discipline yourself in your diet, discipline yourself in your physical fitness workouts, and discipline your mind to make you get out of bed each day and remain committed. In many ways, spiritual growth is the same way. You can’t expect to become spiritually mature, grounded, and growing in holiness by accident. It requires discipline. This summer we will read through Don Whitney’s book and examine the discipline of Bible reading, prayer, worship, evangelism, solitude, worship, journaling and more.
In Ephesians 4:1-16, the apostle Paul provides an overview of the church’s purpose and how it achieves unity and spiritual maturity. Once again, Paul makes it abundantly clear that it’s not by accident. The pastor-teachers are to be equipping the body for the work of ministry (Eph. 4:11-12). In this section of his letter, Paul frequently employs words such as “mature” and “grow” to illustrate the need for the church to move beyond the childlike status and achieve the status of manhood and womanhood in Christ.
In the Christian life, I’ve noticed a massive problem of immaturity. There is a plague of perpetual adolescence that seems to hamper the church today, and apparently similar problems were taking place in Paul’s day. The point remains clear, we must all work diligently to strive for maturity. We don’t want to be the social media Christians who post Bible verses, quotes, and attend study groups while living a secret carnal life behind the curtain of life. The world has witnessed enough fakes.
As I think about my personal plans for this summer, I plan to hang out with my family on vacation, go to Six Flags and other parks, and make memories that will last a lifetime. In a similar way, I don’t want to waste my summer spiritually. I want to look back at the end of this summer and see how I grew in spiritual maturity. I hope this summer will be spiritually profitable for you as well.
Comments and Interaction
If you want to discuss the details, post comments and I will strive to interact with you through the study each week. Perhaps if others post comments and questions, we can have a profitable dialogue as we read through this book.
Schedule to Follow
May 26 – Overview and Purpose of the Study
June 2 – Chapter 1
June 9 – Chapter 2
June 16 – Chapter 3
June 23 – Chapter 4
June 30 – Chapter 5
July 7 – Chapter 6
July 14 – Chapter 7
July 21 – Chapter 8
July 28 – Chapter 9
August 4 – Chapter 10
August 11 – Chapter 11
August 18 – Chapter 12
August 25 – Chapter 13
Where to Buy the Book
It’s quite possible to find the book in your local bookstore, but you can likewise find it online.
I look forward to reading this book with you this summer. All that’s required of you is to purchase the book and read chapter 1 before June 2nd when the first article will appear here on the blog.
Ephesians 4:11-14 – And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.
Three years ago today, my wife and I were awakened in the early hours of the morning with news that our good friend Jason Ellis, a police officer in Bardstown, KY had been murdered. He was discovered in front of his patrol car on the exit ramp of the Bluegrass Parkway just outside of their home in Bloomfield. We had just spent the weekend with them the week prior as I was in town for graduation at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Jason left behind his wife, Amy and their two young boys. Today the murder remains unsolved. Perhaps you can share this with others so they can help spread the word and pray for answers that will lead to arrest(s) and conviction.
View the video below of his wife Amy, as she pleads for answers to emerge in a video from one year ago.
Why I’m No Longer a United Methodist – Collin Hansen writes about how he is watching the very people he once associated with approach massive decisions that will have lasting effects upon the UMC.
Music for people who struggle with singing – Aaron Armstrong writes, “There’s something you need to know: I am a terrible singer. Like, really bad at it. If you ever sit next to me at church on a Sunday when I’m belting it out, I’m really sorry. But I don’t let my awfulness stop me.”
What Does the Word “Gospel” Mean in the New Testament? – R.C. Sproul explains how we often use the word gospel, but in many cases, we don’t know how to define it. He writes, “We use it so glibly in the church today. Preachers say they preach the gospel, but if we listen to them preach Sunday after Sunday, we hear very little gospel in what they are preaching.”
Want to Read a Modern Classic? – Tomorrow I will begin a journey through Don Whitney’s book (new edition) – Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life. Would you like to take time to read it with me? I will be posting the overview tomorrow and each Thursday I will post a new summary and questions to consider from the selected chapter.
Beth Moore is an extremely popular Bible teacher, author, and founder of Living Proof Ministries, Inc. which began in 1994 with the purpose of teaching women through Bible studies and resources. Many thousands of women (and men) study the Bible in groups who use resources from LPM and watch videos of Beth Moore’s teaching. With wide success in the publishing world, she is a frequent keynote speaker at large conferences including Passion. As a former member of the First Baptist Church of Houston, Texas (now a member of Bayou City Fellowship), Beth Moore has been a Southern Baptist for years and finds great success in publishing her material through B&H Publishing Group and distributing it through LifeWay – a popular bookstore closely associated with the Southern Baptist Convention.
For many years, Beth Moore’s teaching has raised eyebrows among pastors and leaders in conservative circles. Although concerns have been raised through the years, Beth Moore continues to be welcomed into the study groups within local churches where women read her books, study guides, and watch her videos with limited, if any, oversight from the pastoral staff. Below I’ve documented three main reasons why pastors should fire Beth Moore from the women’s ministry within their local church.
Beth Moore Clearly Violates Biblical Boundaries
In Paul’s letter to Timothy, he writes, “I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet” (1 Tim. 2:12). Paul forbids women from teaching and having authority over men. Therefore, the pattern of the early church was established by Christ who chose twelve men to be His inner circle and then entrusted the early church to their oversight. From that point forward (post Acts 6), God raised up a plurality of men to serve as deacons who would serve alongside the plurality of men who would serve as elders.
In short, we don’t see God calling, equipping, and endorsing women to teach the Bible in the context of the church (or beyond in places such as conferences). This position rooted in creation and upheld by a distinctive position known as complementarianism is not only consistent with Scripture, but in tandem with the early church’s design. Beth Moore violates this early church pattern and most importantly – the text of Scripture found in 1 Timothy 2:12. As she appears on the platform with an open Bible, she preaches the Word to thousands of men who are in attendance at the Passion conference and other venues where she’s invited to speak. Not only is this her personal pattern of ministry, but she likewise condones other women who preach to men as she was in attendance at Joel Osteen’s church to hear her friend Christine Caine when she preached at Lakewood.
A double dose of church this weekend! Jones & I are going tonight to Lakewood to worship & to hear @ChristineCaine & be w/her darling girls.
The point of the Bible is clear, women are not permitted to have authority over men, and how is it possible to teach the Bible without authority? Paul forbids women from occupying the office of elder, but it must likewise be noted that he forbids women from the functionality of preaching and teaching the Bible to men – even if they don’t hold the office of elder (1 Tim. 2:12). Beth Moore has demonstrated a heart of rebellion in this important area where she has violated God’s original intent in women’s role in the church, and therefore, should not be accepted into the church as an acceptable women’s ministry (or any Bible teaching ministry). The pattern of ministry Beth Moore has developed will continue to manifest itself in local churches so long as local churches continue to incorporate her resources in their ministries.
Beth Moore Employs Faulty Biblical Hermeneutics
The fancy word hermeneutics, is a reference to the science of biblical interpretation. Anyone who teaches the Bible understands that you don’t merely approach the Bible with a flippant and disorganized manner and expect organized presentation and application. Beth Moore does not approach the Bible with a disorganized methodology, but she does approach the Bible with a deficient hermeneutic – one that should be rejected.
The most appropriate method of biblical interpretation is known as the literal, grammatical, historical method of interpretation. This method seeks to uncover the original author’s intent from a literal and historical lens. This method upholds the single meaning of the text of Scripture and does so with a careful analysis upon the terms and grammar used in the text.
Beth Moore, often very animated and passionate in her delivery of her Bible teaching employs a method of biblical interpretation known as allegorical interpretation. This is a method of spiritualizing the text and making it say something other than what the original author intended. If you’ve ever heard a sermon preached from the text of David and Goliath where the preacher pointed out that David is Jesus and Goliath is Satan – you’ve heard allegorical interpretation in action. This is perhaps the main interpretative method used by Beth Moore.
Beth Moore goes beyond allegorical interpretation at times as she approaches the Bible through a mystical method of Bible reading known as Lectio Divina. This is an old heretical form of biblical interpretation taken from Roman Catholic mystics and often closely connected to contemplative prayer. This practice is often viewed as a spiritual method of approaching the Bible that involves emptying your brain and preparing to hear God speak. David Helm, in his book, Expositional Preaching, writes:
Lectio Divina advocates a method that is spiritual as opposed to systematically studious. It substitutes intuition for investigation. It prefers mood and emotion to methodical and reasoned inquiry. It equates your spirit to the Holy Spirit.” 
Although once a Roman Catholic method of reading and interpreting the Bible, Lectio Divina is now becoming popular in the mainstream evangelical community. This method sidesteps the careful and historical method of biblical interpretation as it encourages people to open their minds and listen for the voice of God. We should not be teaching people to empty their minds or open their minds while they listen for the voice of God. God has spoken clearly and we can see what God has said as we read the Bible.
Beth Moore Is an Ecumenical Charismatic
In recent years, Beth Moore has been beating the drum of ecumenism with fervor. In many recordings of her teachings, you can hear her categorize many liberal and conservative denominations along with Roman Catholics into the same group as if there are no distinctions or divisions. If this isn’t enough to cause great concern, in more recent days Beth Moore has been crossing over the line into the troubled waters of the charismatic circles and aligning herself with people such as Joyce Meyer. It’s one thing to refer to Joyce Meyer as a mentor and to embrace Roman Catholics as another denomination within evangelicalism, but why should Beth Moore be classified as a charismatic? Beyond the obvious connection that Beth Moore has with Joyce Meyer, she also leads conferences with other charismatics and engages in teaching strange doctrines. Beth Moore participated in a Women of Faith conference held at Lakewood Church in Houston (see Roma Downey promote it on YouTube) where she taught sloppy allegorical lessons and engaged in a strange “commissioning” event at the close of the conference.
Beth Moore aligns herself with Joel Osteen and Joyce Meyer.
Beth Moore engages in contemplative spirituality.
Beth Moore is using charismatic language such as in a recent tweet about “binding prayers.”
Beth Moore advocates receiving direct messages from God:
Beth Moore relates the story of a woman who approached her during a conference with a message from God:
With obvious anointing, she told the story we’re about to study, then she said: “I don’t know you Beth. I have no idea why God sent me with such a message to give you, but He told me clearly to say these words to you: ‘Tell her that her many sins have been forgiven—for she loved much.’” 
Notice that Beth Moore claimed the woman had an “obvious anointing” from God. To attach God’s name to a special message that doesn’t originate between Genesis and Revelation is to open yourself up to extrabiblical revelation and to deny the sufficiency of Scripture.
Discernment is needed today in the church like never before. It should also be noted that God has called pastors to exercise oversight over women’s ministries within the church. To allow women to go through church sponsored Beth Moore studies and gather for simulcast studies is to open the doors of the church to unbiblical and dangerous teaching. Pastors, guard the doors and educate the people to exercise biblical discernment.
David Helm, Expositional Preaching, (Wheaton: Crossway, 2014), Kindle Edition, 355 of 1576.
Beth Moore, Jesus the One and Only, (Nashville: B&H Publishing Group, 2013), 91.
Yesterday morning, I preached from Mark 12:41-44 in our series through the Gospel of Mark. After exposing the scribes to the people as He taught in the temple, Jesus then turned to engage in a little people watching across from the treasury. Apparently He was located inside the court of women, because the main character in Jesus’ story is a poor widow woman. Although she was poor, she approached the offering box and gave all that she had to live on. We can learn several things from this real event, two of which I would like to share.
The Observation of Motives
Occasionally I enjoy engaging in a little people watching when I’m at the mall. I think everyone to some degree enjoys watching people walk by in the mall, on the beach, or in the park. However, Jesus wasn’t merely watching people approach the offering boxes. Jesus was looking beyond their outer appearances as He could see their true motives.
There were thirteen trumpet shaped boxes that lined the walls of the temple. People would approach them and put offerings in the boxes that were designated for specific purposes. Jesus observed the people putting in money, and He could discern their heart as they engaged in this act of worship. As Jesus watched the offering on that day in the temple, William Hendriksen writes, “In a sense, he has been doing this ever since and is still doing it.”  As we learn in the Scriptures, man looks on the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart (1 Sam. 16:7).
As Jesus examined the offering, He not only could see the heart of the people, but He could likewise discern the amount of their offering. According to Jesus, many rich people were putting in large sums, but the poor widow woman only put in two small copper coins. These coins were small thin coins – less than a centimeter in diameter and worth approximately 1/64 of a denarius (a typical day’s wage). The point that we must not miss is that Jesus was looking at the amount of the gift and as Hendriksen stated earlier, He does the same in our day.
The Exhortation to Receive
From this event, we can learn several important lessons. First of all, the big giver may not always be the biggest giver. Jesus made a sobering statement, “Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box.” Jesus knew that her sacrifice was greater than the rich people who approached the offering box. They had given out of their wealth, but she had given out of her poverty. In other words, she was not giving from excess.
Randy Alcorn once said, “God doesn’t look at just what we give. He also looks at what we keep.”  Apparently this widow had learned to look at the birds of the air and observe how God takes care of them every day without large barns of excess stored up for a rainy day. She learned the principle taught in Matthew 6:33. Behind her great sacrifice was her heart of worship. It is very probable that she had been abused by the scribes (see the former context in Mark 12:38-40). As she approached the offering box, she gave both copper coins rather than holding back one. She gave all that she had to live on. Just as the Macedonians had given out of poverty in the relief offering that Paul was taking up, so did this poor widow give out of her poverty (1 Cor. 8:1-9).
What lessons can we learn from this story?
God does observe the offering each week. We must be faithful in our giving for the glory of God.
God observes the heart of the giver. Ask yourself – “Why do I give this much? Is it too much? Is it enough? Am I giving with the right heart?”
God is the greatest giver. He has given us mercy when we deserved wrath, justification when we deserved condemnation, love when we deserved to be hated, and salvation when we deserved to be judged eternally. All of this God gave us through His Son Jesus Christ (John 3:16). Therefore, when we give, we must give financially with a heart that’s connected to the blood stained cross of Calvary and the great work of Jesus on our behalf.
Give with a desire to invest in local missions through your church campus.
Give with a desire to impact the nations through global missions.
Always remember that no gift is too small. Consider the widow who gave two thin copper coins. She is a good example to consider when you think that your offering is insignificant. Every penny matters.
To the person who claims the name of Christ and is a member in a local church but doesn’t give financially to the Lord – you need to examine yourself and see if you’re in the faith. Robert Murray McCheyne once said, “There are many hearing me who now know well that they are not Christians because they do not love to give. To give largely and liberally, not grudging at all, requires a new heart.” 
William Hendriksen and Simon J. Kistemaker, Exposition of the Gospel According to Mark, vol. 10, New Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1953–2001), 506.
Randy Alcorn, The Treasure Principle, (Eternal Perspective Ministries, 2002), 63.
Robert Murray McCheyne, Additional Remains of the Rev. Robert Murray M’Cheyne, Late Minister of St. Peter’s Church, Dundee: Consisting of Various Sermons and Lectures Delivered by Him in the Course of His Ministry, (Edinburgh: John Johnstone, 1847), 394.
During the first G3 Conference in January of 2013, Paul Washer was interviewed in the exhibit hall by Todd Friel. Paul Washer tells the story of being accused of preaching heresy because he preached from Isaiah 53:10.
6 Reasons to Confess Your Faith Corporately – Alex Duke writes, “most if not all churches have a confession—at least in some form—but it’s often relegated to obscurity, unknown and certainly unarticulated by the congregation as a whole.”
Is Your Pastor Happy to See You? – “It is my goal now, for as long as God would have me simply as a sheep and not a shepherd, be as low-maintenance as I can manage for my church. I want when my pastor sees me coming — his name is Nathan (Hi, Nathan, if you’re reading this) — not to inwardly sigh or tense up or have to marshal some extra patience or energy, but to relax a little, smile, and feel safe.”