You Are God’s Masterpiece

By W.P. Campbell

masterpieceI remember the one and only acrylic painting I attempted. It was a masterpiece. I wanted others to enjoy it and I hung it on the wall in my workshop.

In Ephesians 2:10, we read, “For we are God’s masterpiece” (NLT). The Greek word used for masterpiece is found in only one other place in the Bible, Romans 1:20, which reads,

“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities — his eternal power and divine nature — have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made…”

When God made the world, it became and remained an expression of His person. So it is with any piece of art. When Michelangelo took blotches of color and spread them onto a plain white canvas, he fashioned unimaginable beauty that arose from within his person. When he sculpted plain chunks of marble, he chiseled away to release what was inside the stone and inside his heart.

The Greek word for masterpiece or handiwork, is “poema.” It sounds like poem, and that’s what it came to eventually mean in English. Michelangelo was able to take ordinary words and set them in a line to craft poetry. Each new word linked with the prior to form stanzas. Each stanza was massaged for just the right blend of nuance and resonance. Like a gentle stream, meaning and sound flowed in his poetry to fill the reader’s ears, minds, and hearts as with liquid gold. His poetry, his sculpting, and his paintings were masterpieces. They were expressions of his inner being.

God made the world to express his personhood (Romans 1:20). How much more will you and I be expressions of his eternal plan and glorious personality. Paul states that we “have been seated” with Christ in the heavenly realms so that He “can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace” (Ephesians 2:6-7, NLT). Seated is in the aorist (past) tense in the Greek, suggesting it has already been done.

The promised end God has for us is guaranteed to be fulfilled. As Paul told the Philippians, “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:6, ESV).

Even the “good works” we attempt for God in the world are part of God’s handiwork in us (Ephesians 2:10). When we see this, we no longer find ourselves striving in desperation to please God. No longer do we compare ourselves with others, thinking we need to be something more. Rather, we surrender to God’s work. We rejoice in God’s promise. And we understand that what God is doing in our lives and in the Church universal is something very beautiful. Indeed, he is creating a masterpiece.

Politics of the Heart

JohnWoolmanQuoteThe word “politics” carries a dark and negative tone for many Christians. Perhaps this is because we’ve lost sight of the power of one dedicated life.

Take John Woolman, for example. If you are a Quaker, you likely know the name well. Woolman lived in the mid 18th century and traveled up and down the East Coast over a span of two decades talking to his fellow brothers and sisters in the faith about the inconsistency of a person who owns Christian convictions and slaves at the same time. Tirelessly, he spoke against the practice that formed the financial backbone for many Quaker merchants and communities.

Woolman wore plain white clothing because the dyes that were used in his day were the product of slave labor. He chose to fast when food offered to him was prepared or served by slaves. He was a man with convictions and the Society of Friends listened. Quakers became the first religious community to abolish slavery, and they did so some eighty years before the Civil War. In 1873, they petitioned congress to follow suit. It would take time and the spilling of much blood before politicians and the populace would catch on. The Quakers also played a significant role in the network of safe passages and safe houses, the “underground railroad” that enabled many slaves to find their freedom from 1827 and beyond.

We don’t think of Quakers as a “political” people. This is because they understood that it doesn’t take marches, lobbyists, and finances to move a people. Conduct trumped words. Theirs’ was a politics of the heart.

I once interviewed Parker Palmer (listen to the audio podcast below), a Quaker who speaks today with conviction about the means by which any common person, such as you or me, can make a difference in our democracy. He believes it is as simple as owning convictions with integrity, and influencing the people who are in our everyday spheres of influence. We don’t need to be brash or brazen…just bold. We don’t need to visit Washington, DC, but rather to carry our influence gently and quietly into our communities, our schools, and our churches.

In his book, Healing the Heart of Democracy, Palmer describes habits of the heart that enable us to have political influence in the most natural and powerful manner. It all begins with this simple truth: If we wish to influence others, we must not keep our convictions to ourselves. As we speak our minds with grace and show others honor by listening and learning from their perspectives, the tension of diverse opinions can build community and in some cases consensus. Ours is a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. Let us not forget that we are the people.

Has politics become a dark or dirty word for you? Remember the words of columnist and author E. J. Dionne Jr, “A nation that hates politics will not long thrive as a democracy.”  We might add, “Christians who avoid politics may lose their influence on the nation.” When we realize that politics begins in the heart, we may become a positive force on the street. John Woolman went against his tendencies as a tailor to wear bleached and colorless clothing as he spoke against the enslavement of fellow human beings. His words and life, however, were clothed in the bright colors of his heart convictions.

———————

Parker Palmer

William P. (Bill) Campbell is pastor of Hendersonville Presbyterian Church, Hendersonville, and host of the Christian talk radio program, “Beyond Words Radio”.

Facilitating a B90 Group

Summary: It’s been said that everything rises and falls upon leadership. Click here for our best tips to help you facilitate your B90 group from start to finish.

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Once you’ve decided to facilitate a Bible in 90 Days group, and become familiar with these Steps for Starting a B90 Group, here are a few best practices for facilitating your B90 group:

Pray.

At beginning and end, and throughout the week, pray for yourself, and your group, that God will reveal Himself to each participant as they read through His Word.

Read it yourself.

Commit to the daily reading yourself, and complete the reading ahead of the group. Your own commitment is paramount to the group’s success. Participants need to know that you understand the commitment needed to achieve this goal.

Honor everyone’s time.

Everyone seems strapped for time. When you start and end each meeting on schedule, they’ll know you value their time. So, to ensure a meeting’s success, do the readings, be prepared by using the B90 Leader’s Guide, and stay focused on what needs to be discussed. If your meetings are online, refrain from banter so you can start and end at the times you’ve scheduled.

Foster accountability and fellowship.

Help group members get to know each other, to feel comfortable discussing the reading, as well as holding each other accountable. Encourage members to pray for each other. Accountability for online groups is an additional challenge because they may never be face to face. If hosting an online group, do weekly check-ins with each other. You can do this via a Facebook group, blog page, Twitter (with the #B90Days hashtag) or by email. One successful online B90 leader paired her group members so each had a direct accountability partner.

Use the B90 resources.

This website contains a complete line of B90 articles and free resources. You’re free to customize the resources to better fit your group. We have carefully designed, developed, and tested our materials to ensure success. Many thousands of participants have successfully completed reading the Bible in 90 days by following these procedures. If you want to succeed, then use the system that’s already proven itself to be valuable.

Facilitate — don’t teach.

Often your readers will have questions about the content of the reading. Your job is to help them read, not teach. Most often the two best answers to reader questions are “What do you think?” or “Keep reading and let me know what you think later.” Suggest that they write a list of questions to research and delve into after the reading is complete. One B90 leader invited the senior pastor to the group’s graduation celebration, where participants could then ask any questions they had collected during the course.

Ask the Holy Spirit for help.

Again, throughout your B90 experience, always acknowledge God’s presence (Jesus assured it) and ask for the Holy Spirit’s guidance as you facilitate. Lay your challenges at His feet. He will guide you and your group to the finish. Encourage group members to do the same.

B90 Core Materials

Summary: We have so many tools to help you make the most of your B90 experience. If you’re looking to learn more about our process by looking at our nuts and bolts, a quick read here will give you exactly that!

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The Bible in 90 Days™ Bible  |  Purchase Here

Each participant in The Bible in 90 Days program, or anyone who wants to read the Bible from cover to cover. We selected this Bible for the curriculum and worked with Zondervan to modify it because it is a very good reading Bible. Its benefits include:

  • NIV translation (very readable; contemporary language, yet a rigorous translation)
  • Larger print
  • Minimal footnotes
  • Thin and portable
  • Start and end markers for each day’s reading
  • Read just 12 pages a day to finish entire Bible in 90 days

This Bible is strongly recommended for anyone who desires to successfully read the Bible from cover to cover in 90 days. Even if you already own a Bible, this Bible is the one you need for this reading and will greatly increase your chances for success.

B90 Participant’s Guide  |  Purchase Here

The Bible in 90 Days Participant’s Guide includes one chapter for each week of study. Features include book overviews, personal progress charts, room to journal, questions for reflection, and questions for small group discussion. One Participant’s Guide for each participant is recommended.

B90 Leader’s Guide & DVD Kit  |  Purchase Here

This includes the printed Leader’s Guide and 3 DVDs with 14 teaching sessions. The DVDs are comprised of two complete lesson tracks. The leader or group will select one track for the group to follow.

TRACK A
Lesson 1: Overview with Ted Cooper Jr., founder of the program.
Lessons 2-10: Presented by John Walton, professor of Old Testament at Wheaton College Graduate School.
Lessons 11-14: Presented by Mark Strauss, professor of New Testament at Bethel Seminary in San Diego.

TRACK B
Lesson 1: Overview with Ted Cooper Jr., founder of the program.
Lessons 2-14: Presented by Jack Modesett, Jr., Sunday school teacher, business man, and former Chairman of the Board of Christianity Today magazine.

B90 Freebies  |  Download Here

We have developed a number of free resources which will help you have a successful B90 experience. We’ve created bookmarks, church bulletins, promotional pieces, downloadable certificates, and more. You may not need all of these freebies, but we’ve done our best to assemble some useful tools that will help you succeed!

B90 Bible Reading Tips

Summary: Your life can change in 90 days — guaranteed! But for a life-change to happen, you need to complete the process. You’ll be surprised how easily you can do it if you’ll follow these simple instructions.

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Reading the Bible in 90 days is an incredibly rewarding experience, and definitely a challenge. So here are a few tips to help you make it to the last page:

  • Make reading your daily priority.

  • Remove distractions: get in a quiet place; silence your phone, computer, and TV.

  • Pray before you read.

  • Don’t judge your response to what you are reading: just keep reading!

  • Write down questions as you read; investigate them later.

  • Take your Bible with you everywhere.

  • If you get behind, don’t give up and don’t quit! Use the weekend to catch up!

FAQs About B90

Summary: The only bad question is the one you don’t ask, right? Here are the most frequent questions about B90 with our straightforward answers.

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What is the process of reading the
Bible in 90 days in a nutshell?

Each participant reads on his or her own, then gathers once a week with other participants. The weekly meetings include small group discussion, activities, and a video lesson. Experience has taught us that for most people, the fellowship, accountability, and material shared during the weekly meetings are crucial to their successfully reading through the entire Bible.

Why 90 days?

The program is 90 days because most people can wrap their minds around doing something for 90 days. Imagine giving a person a choice to diet for three months … or twelve. Which is more likely to succeed? From day one, the end is in sight. This is important for each participant. Yes, the readings ARE a challenge. Yet most participants tell us it is a manageable challenge. And the payoff more than compensates.

Who can lead the B90 curriculum?

YOU can. All it takes is a desire to help people read the entire Bible. Some leaders start a group as a way to ensure that they themselves do the reading. That said, leaders should commit to read along with the group. Many leaders have gathered a B90 group, read the Bible for the first time, while facilitating the curriculum. In every case, the leader’s only job is to facilitate, not teach. The B90 Leader’s Guide makes it simple and straightforward.

Why does it work?

It works for many reasons. Here are a few:

  • Time frame: 90 days vs. a year (or longer) is very doable and easier to commit to finish.
  • Readability: The Bible in 90 Days Bible uses large print, minimal footnotes for distraction, and is an easy to read translation.
  • Community: Weekly meetings build support, fellowship, accountability, and knowledgeable insight.
  • Support materials: B90 provides just the right amount of support materials … so participants remain engaged and focused on one thing: reading the Bible!
  • A lowering of barriers: By emphasizing the practical aspects of Bible reading, we foster an environment where participants are more likely to recognize being led by the Holy Spirit while reading and thus be transformed by the Word.

How much reading is involved?
Do participants actually read the entire Bible?

Yes, participants read every word of the Bible. This is not an abridged program. Participants using the B90 Bible will read 12 pages a day, which usually takes about 45-60 minutes of reading time.

Do I have to use the official B90 Bible?

No, but we know with certainty that your chances of success increase dramatically if you do.

What materials are needed?

Can I listen instead of read?

To participate in the Bible in 90 Days program, you must read all the words of the Bible yourself. This is not a listening plan … its a reading plan. That said, some people while reading may choose to also listen to a recording of the Bible — which can help you remain focused while you are reading it. BibleGateway has an audio Bible you can use for that — just be sure you’re listening to the NIV version.

Can this really be done on a church-wide
or community-wide basis?

Yes, it can and is being done church-wide … and even in small communities. B90 was developed to scale up and down to virtually any size. But in all cases, the secret to success is doing B90 as a group!

What denominations have used B90?

B90 is a non-denominational curriculum which has been embraced in the following denominations:

  • Assembly of God  |  Baptist  |  Bible  |  Catholic  |  Church of Christ  |  Community
  • Episcopal  |  Evangelical Free  |  Lutheran  |  Methodist  |  Mennonite
  • Non-denominational  |  Pentecostal  |  Presbyterian  |  United Methodist  |  Vineyard

How do I get started?

These links: Starting a B90 Group or Starting an B90 Group Online detail the simple, easy to follow steps you can take to gather and begin a B90 group as soon as you like. YES YOU CAN read the Bible in 90 days — so let’s get started!

Starting an Online B90 Group

Summary: Online communities can be significant, personal, and truly vibrant. We’ve seen online B90 communities thrive, and we’ve assembled some effective guidelines for you here.

 

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Sometimes it’s not possible for a B90 group to meet in person. When that’s the case, often an online group can still afford the fellowship and accountability needed to read the Bible in 90 Days. Bloggers and church leaders have successfully launched and conducted online Bible in 90 Days groups. With a little internet know-how, you can, too.

If you would like to facilitate a B90 group online, then the best place to start is to reach out to Amy Gross of MomsToolbox.com. Amy has hosted thousands of Bible in 90 Days readers on her website using her blog platform, Facebook, Twitter, email mentor teams, and more. Drop her an email, let her know what type of group you have in mind, and she’ll be happy to help you out.

Day 9: True Repentance

Example in Church History 

Read

In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah when he said, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; make his paths straight.”  — Matthew 3:1-3 ESV

Optional fuller reading: Matthew 3-6

Reflect

John the Baptist prepared the way for the Lord by calling people to repentance. The same may be said about one of the greatest revivalists of the 18th century, Charles Grandison Finney.

On the eve of the Industrial Revolution, Finney’s preaching sparked the second great awakening, bringing a divided country together around Scripture and prayer. More than half a million people were converted through his influence. His approach to theology and his methods of ministry laid the groundwork for the holiness movement and for methods of revivalism that would be employed even to the present day.

Born in 1792, approximately a year after the death of John Wesley, Finney’s parents did not claim faith or religion, despite the abundance of Methodist circuit riders that passed through their town in western New York. Their part of the state was known as the “Burned-over District,” as so many Methodist preachers had passed through the area that people had become immune to their message. In this environment, Charles grew up with a distinct distaste for lukewarm religion and half-hearted Christianity. He began working as an apprentice to study and practice law when he was dramatically converted through a baptism of the Holy Spirit.

Charles gave up law and prepared for ministry in the Presbyterian Church. After being ordained in 1824, he began preaching in the frontier communities of upper New York where rigid Calvinism dominated the theological landscape. Finney spoke to people directly, arguing the case for their repentance with the practical logic and persuasive appeal of a lawyer on the bench.

Finney’s methods quickly became controversial. Unlike other preachers, he spoke extemporaneously and used common and informal language. Like John the Baptist who confronted the Pharisees and Sadducees, Finney was unafraid to call people out for their hypocrisy. He allowed women to pray out loud in meetings and he employed the “anxious seat,” or alter call method by which people would come forward to indicate their desire to be saved. He also developed the “protracted meeting,” moving the frequency of gatherings from weekly to nightly.

Finney’s innovations brought him much success and won him many enemies. When other pastors complained about his methods he infuriated them by asking who was bearing the most fruit. As Finney preached, people often fell under deep conviction for their sins and were soundly converted. Charles teamed up with Father Nash, who would go ahead of Finney and prepare the way in each city or town through travailing intercession. Charles preached with the expectation that he would see the Holy Spirit suddenly poured out. Until this outpouring would occur, he acknowledged, his preaching would have little effect. But once the Spirit came in power, Finney had little else to do than point people to the Savior.

In September of 1830, Finney brought revival into Rochester, New York, under great opposition. He persevered and God moved in power. Roughly one hundred thousand people, nearly the entire population of Rochester, was converted. God’s work in Rochester sparked a national revival that spread like wildfire across the country in 1831. Many of Finney’s antagonists became supporters. The membership rolls in churches everywhere began to swell, whether Presbyterian, Methodist, Baptist, Episcopalian, or Congregational.

Even today Finney’s methods are both debated and supported. Perhaps his strong emphasis on human means to bring about God’s divine work was necessary in his day to bring balance to a church that had so emphasized God’s work that they forgot how to repent. As with John the Baptist in the time of Christ, Finney called for a change of heart and life. His preaching laid the foundation for social reforms ranging from abolition to the temperance and civil rights movements.

Pray

Jesus, thank you for John the Baptist who prepared the way for your coming. And thank you for revival leaders like Charles Finney, a man who was willing to stand out from the crowd and call his contemporaries to repentance. Bring us more preachers like Finney who will preach your Word with deep conviction, calling the nation to repentance in the power of your Spirit. And send us more Father Nashes, intercessors whose prayers will rend the heavens and release your glory upon the earth.

Ponder

1. From what you know about Charles Finney, what do you think were his strengths and weaknesses? How do you think Finney would be received in our day? Why?

2. From Matthew 3:1-12, why do you think God used John the Baptist so powerfully? Do you know anyone like John in our day? Explain.

3. From Matthew 11:1-19, what significant truths about John did Jesus elucidate? (See also Malachi 4:5). Pray for the message of repentance to sweep our land, preparing the way for the Lord’s second coming.

 

Day 8: True Repentance

Old Testament Stories

Read

Then the word of the LORD came to Jonah the second time, saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it the message that I tell you.” So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the LORD. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly great city, three days’ journey in breadth. Jonah began to go into the city, going a day’s journey. And he called out, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” And the people of Nineveh believed God. They called for a fast and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them to the least of them. When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God relented of the disaster that he had said he would do to them, and he did not do it.  — Jonah 3:1-5, 10 ESV

Optional Reading: Jonah 1-4

Reflect

The Book of Jonah is a story of repentance. It is not merely the Ninevites who needed to repent, however. Jonah too needed to get right with God. He had heard and then resisted the call of God to bring a message to Nineveh. In this ancient epic, God helps the prophet get over his merciless attitude toward them.

The word for “repent” suggests a change of heart and mind. With this definition before us, we can see a rather surprising third line of repentance in the story of Jonah. We read in the narrative that not only did Jonah and the Ninevites turn back to God, but God also “repented” (Jonah 3:10, KJV). When God repents, it is not for any sin on His part, but rather it is to show compassion for the penitent sinner. God often changes His mind about a pronounced judgment when a nation or person turns from their sinful ways (Exodus 32:12-14; 2 Samuel 24:16; 1 Chronicles 21:15; Psalm 106:45; Jeremiah 4:28; 18:8; 26:3, 13, 19; 42:10; Joel 2:13-14; Amos 7:3, 6).

We who are made in God’s image can easily understand. Loving parents set standards and rules of discipline for their children to encourage good behavior and and to curb self-destructive tendencies. If a child is given warning about a particular action that is unacceptable and if the child has a complete change of heart for the better, the parents have a choice to make. They can rigidly apply the threatened punishment as a nonretractable law. Or, the parent can reward the child’s change of attitude with a lightening of the punishment as incentive for even better behavior.

There are instances in the Bible when God declares that his chastisement for the sins of a person or nation will not and cannot be diverted (Ezekiel 14:12-14). More often, however, God pulls back on the severity of his pronounced punishments when signs of true repentance are evident. We reap what we sow.

It might be asked, “How much repentance is required on the part of a nation to avert the rightful judgment of God?” No human can answer such a question completely because such decisions are in the hands of God. Based on the Book of Jonah, however, we may surmise that the surest way to elicit God’s mercy is to repent before God as did the Ninevites: En masse. From the greatest to the least, they put on sackcloth and fasted before God, pleading for mercy. And the King of Nineveh issued a decree:

“Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything. Let them not feed or drink water, but let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and let them call out mightily to God. Let everyone turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands. Who knows? God may turn and relent and turn from his fierce anger, so that we may not perish.”  — Jonah 3:7-9 ESV

The greatest miracle in the Book of Jonah is not the big fish. It is rather that a large and wicked city full of people humbled themselves before God, seeking mercy and forgiveness. Would that God might perform such a miracle again in our day. Oh that our entire nation might be swept up by a revival based on the sure foundations of true repentance.

Pray

Great and Gracious God, we know that revival begins with repentance. And repentance begins with each of us, for your judgments come first to those who know your will but neglect or run from it—the people of God (1 Peter 4:17). Enable us to see our sin, our pride, and our complacency. And help us to turn back to you with our whole heart. Then perhaps you will show mercy on us as you did on Jonah first and then on the Ninevites. Lead us down the rugged road of repentance until we can energetically climb the mountain of your mercies. In the name of Christ our Savior, we pray.

Ponder

  1. From Jonah 1, why do you think Jonah resisted God’s call? What is God’s call on your life? Are you resistant? With Jonah’s story in mind, why is it stupid not to obey the Lord?
  1. In chapter 2, Jonah repented. In chapter 3, he obeyed, proclaiming God’s judgment for Nineveh. Picture Jonah walking down the crowed streets of evil Nineveh, preaching God’s message to the very enemies of the Jews. Describe his boldness. What, if anything, keeps you back from being so bold in obedience to the call God has placed on your life?
  1. Why was Jonah mad with God in chapter 4? What object lesson did God provide to help the prophet develop more compassion? Think about those you consider your enemies. Do you have God’s compassion for them?

 

Day 7: Scripture our Foundation

New Testament Insights

Read

Remind them of these things, and charge them before God not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers. Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.  — 2Timothy 2:14-15 ESV

Optional fuller reading: 1 Timothy 1-6; 2 Timothy 2

Reflect

In a previous reading (Day 4), we noted that Paul’s last written epistle, 2 Timothy, contains a succinct declaration of Paul’s call for training leadership for revival. Today we focus on the key. The leader must be grounded in God’s Word. In Paul’s mind, whether or not Timothy would be able to “correctly handle” Scripture would make all of the difference.

The King James Version translates the Greek word for “correctly handle” as “rightly divide.” Orthotomounta, is a compound word composed of “ortho” (as in “orthodox”) and teono (meaning, “to cut”). This compound word would be commonly used for the stonemason who etched and then sliced through a piece of rock without destroying it. In the same manner, it described the surgeon who used the scalpel to heal rather than hurt patients.

To rightly divide Scripture is to cut through potentially divisive issues to find central biblical truths that advance God’s work. One must know how to rightly divide Scripture when teaching about styles of worship, the use of spiritual gifts, the meaning of prophecy, the call to holiness without legalism, the command to love without compromising truth, and many similar topics.

During The Great Awakening, John Wesley and George Whitefield sought to rightly divide the truth about God’s sovereignty in our salvation. Wesley emphasized one’s freedom to choose God. Whitefield emphasized God’s election of those who are His. These two men had spent their college years at Oxford together in the same small group for spiritual growth and service, called “The Holy Club.” Nevertheless, once they stepped into ministry, they preached and taught on opposite sides of this significant issue. So divided were they over the doctrines of election and free will that while Whitfield was on a mission trip to the American Colonies, John Wesley persuaded many of Whitfield’s followers to turn away from their leader. Nevertheless, when someone later asked Whitefield, “Do you expect to see John Wesley in Heaven?” The preacher replied, “No. John Wesley will be so close to the Throne of Glory, and I will be so far away, I will hardly get a glimpse of him.”

When Whitefield died in 1770, Wesley likewise proclaimed at the funeral his great appreciation for Whitefield. These men knew, as should all mature believers, how to rightly divided the Word, separating out doctrines that have been and always will be debatable among Christians from those which are core essentials to our salvation, unity, and growth. Laboring side-by-side in the kingdom for lost souls, they disagreed on the way in which God saves, but did not debate the need for everyone to hear and respond to the Gospel.

We too must develop a mature outlook on Scripture, balanced and focused on the core essentials of the faith such as salvation, growth, evangelism, holy living, caring for the poor, and being always prepared for the Lord’s return. If we are spending more time debating fine points of doctrine rather than obeying the clear commands of God, we are missing the declared will of God for our lives.

The goal of Awake! is to help foster revival and to raise up leaders of revival in a balanced and biblical manner, avoiding the extremes. To this end, we encourage you to make use of the resources provided by the host ministry, Scripture Awakening, and those offered by each of the partner ministries. Scripture Awakening, for example offers tools to help us to read the Bible (Bible in 90 Days, or B90), study it (BNEXT resources) and live it (BEYOND resources). OneCry, Prayer Connect, Church Renewal Journey, and the other Partner Ministries also aim to equip us for ministry that is balanced and effective.

On August 22, 2015, we will host a half-day seminar designed to equip you and your church or small group leaders to this end. Training and tools will be made available to you. Check out the Awake! Follow-up Seminar page and consider bringing several leaders from your church or fellowship.

Pray

Your Word, O Lord, gives us wisdom for living and light for the walking. Help us to know it and to follow it. May you bring a revival in our day that is based on a holistic understanding of Scripture. Guide leaders of this revival to teach in such a way that true unity grows through Christ and the Gospel, a unity that does not compromise either love or truth, a unity based on the Spirit’s power and purity.

Ponder

  1. Paul exhorts Timothy to “rightly divide” the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15). List some of the doctrines or biblical teachings that tend to divide rather than unite believers. Which of these teachings do you wish you could “rightly divide” with more skill?
  1. List some of the core truths that should unite believers despite their differences. With this list in mind, do you think it is a good thing that we have so many denominations in the Christian world? Why or why not?
  1. Take a few minutes to highlight from 1 & 2 Timothy a few of the many areas in which Paul urged Timothy to use sound judgment to rightly divide truth. Pray for leaders of revival today to have such wisdom.