10 Facts About Biblical Diversity

UnitedI’ve just finished re-reading Trillia Newbell’s book, United: Captured by God’s Vision for Diversity (only $2.99 on Kindle today!). It’s an excellent introduction to the duty and delight of building more diversity into our lives and churches. I want to recommend it to you by highlighting ten major lessons I carried away from the book.

1. Biblical diversity is not about theological and moral diversity but rather national, ethnic, and cultural diversity.

2. Diversity is not just to be accepted but is to be pursued on a personal and ecclesiastical level.

3. Diversity happens best through building personal friendships with people not like us.

4. Although diversity is initially more uncomfortable than segregation, and there will be wounds and weariness along the way, there are many rich rewards.

5. Biblical diversity would not only enrich the church but also impact the world as the evident work of God.

6. The Church should be a gracious environment, open to and excited about welcoming people unlike ourselves.

7. Building diversity in the church begins with pastors who are excited about diversity, are willing to build it into their own homes, and make it a priority in the church.

8. Three simple steps we can to take to build diversity into our lives are: (1) Learning history; (2) Talking about diversity with our families; (3) Inviting others into our homes.

9. Just as Jesus sacrificed comfort and his personal preferences in order to unite His people and glorify God, so must we.

10. Biblical diversity looks impossible with men but is possible with God.

I believe this book has life-, church-, and culture-transforming potential. If the beautiful vision of this book ever becomes a widespread reality, I have no doubt we will be in the middle of a tremendous spiritual revival.


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John Piper: “Recently I spent 30 hours in the hospital. I won’t tantalize you with details, but you can tell by this blog, I’m still alive….Not wanting to waste this experience, I’ve been thinking about lessons learned and benefits received. Maybe, if I list some of them, you will be helped when your own time comes.”

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Babies Eating Lemon in Slow Motion
Guaranteed to improve your Emotional Intelligence.


Why and How to Memorize Scripture

Most of us wish we had better memories. It’s not only that a better memory would probably mean better grades and therefore a better job; we also see the benefit of a better memory in our spiritual lives.

Why Memorize Scripture
If we could memorize Scripture better, we would be able to recall God’s Word to help us in our trials, we would be able to counsel and comfort others better, we would be able to pray more in line with God’s revealed will, and we would be more effective witnesses and evangelists. We’re not short of motivation, are we!

Here’s a short video of Gary George explaining Why It’s Important To Memorize Scripture.

The read Tim Challies on Why Memorize Scripture

You might also be inspired and encouraged by World Memory Champion, Nelson Dellis.

The secret to his success?

It wasn’t innate ability or his genes; he says he has very ordinary abilities. It was hard work (four years of training five hours a day) and motivation (he was shocked into improving his memory by his gran’s Alzheimers). Have a look at this amazing infographic to see what he is now able to do.

How To Memorize Scripture
That’s the “Why?” but what about the “How?” Here are some links to help you get started.

A Smorgasbord of Bible Memorization Methods

How To Memorize Entire Books of the Bible

Scripture Memory Resources

6 Science Backed Ways To Improve Your Memory

Thirty Minutes a Day

And here’s an old video with my 10 Tips on Memorizing Scripture.

  1. Start early
  2. Highlight
  3. Graphics
  4. Speak out loud
  5. Emphasize
  6. Set time limit
  7. Let the cement set
  8. Review and review
  9. Test
  10. Practice

Let’s Stop Forgiving Those Who Don’t Want Forgiveness

I’ve lost count of the number of times some tragedy has occurred – a mass shooting, a terrorist attack, a drunk driving death – and the victims or their relatives, usually Christians, start “forgiving” the offenders within hours or days of the crime.

I understand the motive, and also the desire to present an attractive witness about Christian forgiveness to the world. But it’s not a faithful witness to God. It does not reflect how God forgives, which is to be our pattern and model. Here’s why:

God does not forgive those who do not want forgiveness.

Here’s how God forgives:

1. God is willing, ready, and eager to forgive everyone: That’s His beautiful nature, His compassionate character, and His constant desire.

2. God offers forgiveness to everyone: God offers to release those who have offended Him from their deserved punishment and alienation from Him. There’s a big difference between offering it and giving it. Offering it is unconditional; giving it is conditional.

3. God does not forgive everyone regardless of their response to His offer: Although He offers forgiveness to all, not all respond. Some don’t even think they’ve done anything needing forgiveness.

4. God’s forgiveness is conditional upon repentance (Luke 13:3; 17:3; Acts 2:38): God’s forgiveness is conditional upon the offender wanting forgiveness and wanting to turn from His offending ways.

5. Forgiveness through repentance produce reconciliation on both sides: Offering forgiveness reduces the temperature of the conflict; but only the giving of forgiveness, in response to repentance, ends it.

Having seen how God forgives, let’s remind ourselves of the basic biblical principle:

Our forgiveness is to be patterned upon God’s forgiveness (Eph. 4:32; Matt. 6:12, 14-15).

Therefore…

1. We must be willing, ready, and eager to forgive everyone: This is not easy and usually requires Gospel work to be done in our own hearts as we realize how much God has forgiven us.

2. We must offer forgiveness to everyone: This step and the previous step together are a kind of lesser forgiveness, sometimes called positional forgiveness. We are in a position where we are ready to forgive and we offer it freely. If this is what people are talking about when they say, “I forgive the person who raped and murdered my daughter,” then that’s fine. It’s more than fine; it’s amazing grace and can only be given by God. However, it’s not forgiveness in the fullest biblical sense and must not be confused with it.

3. We must not forgive everyone regardless of their response to our offer: Forgiving someone before they repent is un-godlike, avoids dealing with serious issues, and while it might offer some temporary and superficial relief, does not produce long-term satisfaction to the conscience nor reconciliation.

4. We must forgive upon the condition of repentance: According to Matthew 18:15-17, if a person sins we must reprove them. If they do not respond with repentance, we must take it to another level. If they repent at any stage, we must forgive them, even if it’s the 490th time they’ve done it (Matt. 18:22)

5. Forgiveness through repentance produces reconciliation on both sides.
Full forgiveness, sometimes called transactional forgiveness, is when all five steps occur, resulting in deep and lasting reconciliation. This is the kind of forgiveness that most glorifies God, most benefits the offender, and most satisfies the offended.

However, I don’t want to minimize the releasing power of steps 1 and 2. Some people say, “I can never forgive until Jim repents.” If so, you are going to carry around a huge and growing load of resentment as you pile up unresolved conflicts in your life.

But, if by God’s grace you are enabled to take these first two steps, to work through positional forgiveness, you will experience wonderful load-lightening relief. Here’s a sample prayer if you’re in this situation:

Sample Prayer
“Lord, Jim has done me great wrong, but won’t confess it or ask for forgiveness.

I can’t therefore forgive him without misrepresenting you or damaging his spiritual welfare.

However, I’m not going to carry this pain around to burden and burn my mind and heart for years. I’m handing this over to you, because you said, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay.’

Lord, you know I don’t want your vengeance executed on Jim, but with this prayer I’m promising no more vengeance on my part. I hand that entirely over to you.

I promise to not dwell upon this incident, but rather I transfer it all over to you, and trust you to put right in your own time and way. You know I am ready to forgive Jim fully, freely, and forever, should it ever be asked for.

Please help Jim to understand your view of sin and to seek your forgiveness and mine. Amen”

Best book on forgiveness that I’ve come across is Unpacking Forgiveness by Chris Brauns.


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Creative Routines
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A Healing Counselee is a Meditating Counselee
Todd Hardin explains the benefits of biblical mediation in counseling.

What a Newborn Can Teach You About Time Management
Can you have a baby and be a Time Management Ninja at the same time?

5 Ways Facebook May Be Harming Your Church
Dr. Michael Kruger: “The technology does not necessarily create sin patterns, but exacerbates the sin patterns that are already present within our hearts, and the hearts of our congregations. In response, we need to do something that we needed to do anyway: give our people a robust and vibrant picture of what the church is and their place in it.  In other words, we need to give them a full-orbed, biblical ecclesiology.”

Preaching Holy War
Excellent brief explanation of holy war in the Old Testament and tips on how to preach it.

Reformation 101
Justin Taylor highlights the opening talk from Steve Nichols’s series of Reformation Profiles, and points to a number of resources on the Reformation.

Gloria Furman on Treasuring Christ When Your Hands are Full
You can buy Gloria’s book of Gospel meditations here.