Children’s Bible Reading Plan

This week’s morning and evening reading plan in Word and pdf.

This week’s single reading plan for morning or evening in Word and pdf.

If you want to start at the beginning, this is the first year of the children’s Morning and Evening Bible reading plan in Word and pdf.

Jason Henry, a missionary in Mongolia, has very kindly collated and produced the second year of morning and evening readings in Word and pdf.

And here’s the first 12 months of the Morning or Evening Bible reading plan in Word and pdf.

Here’s an explanation of the plan.

And here are the daily Bible Studies gathered into individual Bible books. Further explanation of that here.

Old Testament

New Testament


The Counselor’s Role in the Holy Spirit’s Counseling

Review of Chapter 3: The Ministry of the Holy Spirit by Justin Holcomb and Mike Wilkerson in Christ-Centered Biblical Counseling.

This is an outstanding chapter that could produce a paradigm shift in our counseling, or perhaps return us to where we started out but have drifted from through self-reliance or method-reliance. The most memorable quote of the chapter is:

Rather than asking about the role of the Holy Spirit in counseling, we should be asking about the counselor’s role in the Holy Spirit’s counseling!

Did that give you whiplash?

There are also two excellent sections on (1) praying throughout the counseling session and (2) how the counselor’s skill and method works together with dependence upon the Holy Spirit.

The basic point of the chapter is that while we want to offer quick practical help to suffering people, and we also want to go on to help change some of the messes in people’s lives; if we want to see people themselves changed, we need more than Scripture and skill. We need the Holy Spirit.

I think the best thing I can do to give you a flavor of the chapter is to list some of the quotables.

Quotables

“Counseling that lacks this dependence on the Holy Spirit ceases to be Christian.”

“If the Holy Spirit is the primary counselor, then biblical counseling is not merely a dialogue between a counselor and a counselee. Rather it is a trialogue in which a counselor participates in the Spirit’s work already underway in the counselee.”

“The Spirit is actively engaged in counseling, working directly on the counselor and the counselee, and through each to help the other.”

“The goal of biblical counseling is to promote communication between the Spirit and the counselee.”

“It is the Spirit alone who opens the eyes of our hearts to the revelation of God, and it is He who accomplishes something in us by this revelation.”

“To be counseled biblically is to receive God’s Word more and more deeply as the Spirit drives it deeper into the heart.”

“The Spirit illuminates the Word for believers so that they might understand it spiritually, leading to a knowledge of God and to Christ dwelling in their hearts by faith.”

“The Spirit works to drive the seed that is God’s Word deep into the heart where it will take root and produce life.”

“The Spirit gives us impetus to pray as well as the words and spirit of prayer.”

Previous Posts in this Series

Introduction to Christ-Centered Biblical Counseling
John Piper on Biblical Counseling
Charity and Clarity in Counseling


Check out

Is College worth it?
Alex Chediak links to some challenging discussions about the usefulness and value of college. His summary: “Thus far, their thesis seems to be that college is worth it for some people (those who have intellectual ability and personal discipline) at some colleges (those that haven’t watered-down their academics) in some majors (those that have reliable market value, particularly if you’re needing to debt-finance your education).” And while you’re at it, if you’re going to College soon or you have a child or grandchild going, why not pick up Alex’s excellent book,Thriving at College.

Is Jesus in the Old Testament?
Iain Duguid’s book of the same name is available for a free download this week. You’ll get the link at this post, together with a helpful review of some points in the book.

Show then tell
Just a heads-up about a new book on sermon illustrations that I was glad to endorse and which will soon be available.

Why did my wife and I write a book on The Pastor’s Family
Nice video here too.

Help I’m a new Christian: What are the rules on dating?
Mez McConnell with some down-to-earth advice: Part 1Part 2Part 3.

7 Marks of a False Teacher
Tim Challies: “False teachers have been present in every era of human history, they have always been a plague and have always been in the business of providing counterfeit truth. While their circumstances may change, their methods remain consistent.”


I’m a pastor again!

I’ve been waiting a long time to write this post, but I’m now so happy to report that I’m going to be a pastor again. Last night I received and accepted a call to be the pastor of Grand Rapids Free Reformed Church, which I’ll combine with being a Professor at Puritan Reformed Seminary.

I am a pastor at heart. I love the privilege and responsibility of shepherding the flock of God. Since coming to Grand Rapids I’ve missed the blessed burden of having a flock of my own to care for. Although I have had multiple opportunities to serve various congregations and individuals by preaching and counseling, for which I am most grateful, nothing can make up for the sense of loss, even bereavement, at not having a regular flock to care for.

At the same time, I also love training future shepherds of the sheep, and have a deep sense of calling to serve in this way at PRTS. I know it is God’s will that I continue to do that as my primary calling, though with a slightly reduced workload.

Church and Seminary
I’ve often thought and prayed about the possibility of combining pastoral work in a local Grand Rapids church with my seminary work. It’s quite a common practice for Seminary professors to unite both roles. However, until now, no opening has arisen to make this possible.

When I was approached six months ago to discuss the possibility of being the pastor at Grand Rapids Free Reformed Church, I almost immediately sensed it was an answer to the prayerful longings of my heart. This is especially so because it’s a congregation I have grown to love through preaching there every month for the past 5-6 years. I have often prayed for the Lord to send a pastor to this congregation, and some times I privately wished it could have been me – though never conceiving how suitable arrangements could emerge to make that happen.

However, the elders came up with a plan that shares the pastoral burden and allows me to combine both teaching in the Seminary and pastoring in the congregation. I’m very grateful to the Free Reformed Church Synod, the Seminary Board, and especially to Seminary President, Dr. Joel Beeke, for their agreement and support of me and the congregation in these plans.

Modeling and Mentoring
We all believe that this should augment my work at the Seminary. Pastoring a local church will greatly enhance the modeling and mentoring aspect of my Practical Theology and Old Testament lectures,

It will be a huge wrench for my family to leave the regular ministry and fellowship at Grand Rapids Heritage Reformed Church, which has been such a large and valued part of our lives, and where we have felt so loved. However, as a pastor, I have to be open to God’s call, wherever and whenever that may be.

I will be installed officially on July 7 and I can’t wait to get started, especially as I’ll be pastoring alongside my friend and PRTS colleague, Dr Jerry Bilkes. I’m so thankful to the Lord for this call and so thankful to the congregation for the honor and privilege of being their pastor. We now look to the Holy Spirit to put His benediction on the ministry and the congregation, by saving souls, by sanctifying and equipping the saints, and by preparing us all for eternity.


The Future of American Higher Education

The Tomorrows Professor blog has posted a compelling section from The Shaping of American Higher Education. It begins with a fascinating historical analysis of how unpredictable education trends have been over the years, and then bravely proceeds to venture a few predictions for the future!

Future Trends

  • The growth of new institutions has slowed considerably and hardly any new nonprofit campuses will be built.
  • State, federal, and private-philanthropic funds will be available to expand campus facilities but not enough to establish entire institutions.
  • Smaller percentages of students will have full-time, on-campus experiences.
  • Faculty professionalization has already made a U-turn, retarded by the massive influx of both part-timers and full-timers without security of employment.
  • All the external pressures on curriculum favor vocationalism.
  • Colleges and universities at all levels will be forced to seek other funds in order to mitigate the effects of state support that has not increased sufficiently to accommodate rising costs and enrollments.
  • Colleges and universities may find themselves judged according to the same standards that are applied to any business: “To what extent does this entity add value?
  • Inflation, depression, and increased competition from other agencies will continue affecting the funds available for higher education’s support, as well as the type and mode of postsecondary training desired by students.

Future Questions

The study then poses some thought-provoking questions about the future:

  • Will twenty-first-century students continue enrolling in postsecondary institutions through depressions and recessions, or will prospective students’ reluctance to take on large debt burdens lead to reduced enrollments?
  • As the number of high-paying jobs available to college graduates diminishes, will greater numbers of students develop and act on tendencies to create jobs for themselves?
  • Will research and scholarly productivity be replaced with online course design and dedication to teaching when promotions are evaluated?
  • Will the growing number of home-schooled students and the increasing popularity of online courses develop to the point at which virtual universities become an appealing alternative to the residential college experience for a significant percentage of students?

Good News

And the survey concludes with some encouraging news:

In the twenty-first century American higher education is the nation’s premier industry. By any measure, most of the world’s top universities are in the United States, which is the preferred destination for foreign students; American universities educate 30 percent of the total number of students who cross borders for advanced training. Furthermore, since September 11, 2001, more of them have developed overseas programs to serve international students who are unable to obtain student visas.