Archive for January, 2016

This past weekend I was blessed with the opportunity to attend a conference called G3.  Each year there is a different theological theme that is focused on over the 3 days of the conference.  This year the focus was on the doctrine of the Trinity.  For much of Christendom the doctrine, at least by name, is settled.  Most believe in it, even if they cannot explain it fully.  If the truth be told, almost every analogy falls short of actually explaining it, and some are just flat out heretical.  The reason is . . . we really don’t have much of anything to compare it to.

I believe the doctrine of the Trinity to be a foundational doctrine, and one that must be held to, for a person to truly be counted as one of the redeemed.  It is interesting to think that all of the major heretical religious perversions of Christianity (Jehovah’s Witness, Mormons, and you could count Oneness Pentecostals) agree on one thing: they all discard the doctrine of the Trinity.  While it may be hard to describe, the doctrine of the Trinity is crucial.  All the speakers at the conference did a superb job pointing out the importance of it in our daily life.  I was extremely refreshed, encouraged, and convicted over it all this weekend.

I believe that we can all do a better job of being more Trinitarian in our daily walk.  It is easy sometimes to polarize ourselves to one person in the God head.  However, we would be wise to make sure that we keep a balance in our thinking on God, and not drift off to one third of the God pie (wait…that’s heresy as well). Below are a few ways I think we can do a better job of worshiping and living out this Trinitarian belief.

In The Way We Pray:

Do you know that all three persons of the Godhead are involved in our prayers?  When we pray, the general process is that we pray to the Father (Matthew 6:9), in the name of the Son (John 14:14), in the power of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 6:18).  This does not mean from time to time that we cannot pray to Jesus and ask the Holy Spirit to come.  They are all equally God, but the general process is to the Father, in the name of the Son, in the power of the Holy Spirit.  This is part of the reason we say what we do at the end of our prayers, “In Jesus’ name we pray . . .” They all have different roles to fill, and if we want to get the Trinity right, our prayer life is one of the best ways to do it.

In The Way We Sing:

Theology matters.  R.C. Sproul once said, “Everyone is a theologian.”  Oh how true this is.  The problem is that often many are not good theologians, and bad theology leads to a wrong understanding of God and can easily lead to wrongful living.  Music and songs are such wonderful things.  It is in song that we can so easily be taught.  It is in song that so many people get their theology, because it is often easier to remember a song than it is to remember a passage of Scripture.  If the song is not written with a proper view of the Trinity, it can easily lead us to a wrong view as well.  For example, the Holy Spirit is God.  God is worthy to be praised.  How grateful we are for the Holy Spirit, but we should be careful how much we sing praise to Him, for in His role, He does not draw attention to Himself.  His role is to point glory to Jesus and to the Father.  We would be wise not to focus much of our words directed at Him, but instead to worship through Him (John 4:24).  When we sing, let’s make sure we do it in a way that honors the Trinity, which leads to true worship.

In The Way We Teach:

For those of us who have been blessed with the opportunity to teach or preach it is imperative that we do so with a right view of the Trinity in mind.  When the proper noun “He” is invoked in our English Bibles, let’s make sure that we point out who that “He” is referring to (Father, Son, or Holy Spirit).  Good doctrine should start with us.  Our people often get their doctrine from how we teach and preach.  We would be wise not to overlook these opportunities to teach about the Trinity.  After all, it is one of our responsibilities and privileges (2 Timothy 2:15).

The Trinity is a bit mysterious I know, but I believe the words of the Athanasian Creed best describe it.  It reads,

we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in unity; neither confounding the persons nor dividing the substance. For there is one person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Spirit, but the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit is all one, coequal in glory, and coeternal in majesty.”

We owe our life to the Trinity.  We owe our worship to the Trinity and because of this I was so encouraged this past weekend.  I hope maybe we can all be encouraged to pray better, sing better, and teach better to the glory of God in a Trinitarian way.  I believe that this is what we need, and I know that is what God desires.  So, does the Trinity matter?  Your life actually depends on the answer.

Soli Deo Gloria,

Adam B. Burrell

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It is that time of the year where many people are making a new commitment to save money, get fit, or read that book that has been sitting on the shelf since Christmas of 2008.  It is funny how a single number change on a calendar can promote such anticipation for change.  What is so different about the number 2016 rather than 2015?  Desire . . . a new beginning . . . a fresh start.  There is something about the one number changing that has people running to the gym to hit the weights, waking 30 minutes earlier to get in their devotion time, and making a tighter budget to actually save for Christmas next year instead of paying on that credit card bill for 3 months.

Many people make New Year’s resolutions each year.  Statistically, these resolutions usually last about 2 weeks.  Science tells us that it takes about 4 weeks to create a new habit that sticks.  So, what are some ways that we can make it to that 4 week wall and beyond?  Like many people, I have made and failed at many resolutions, but this year I am resolved to make them work (see what I did there?).   Here are 4 ideas that I believe will help us all to achieve our targets this year.

Have Realistic Goals:

If you are planning on dieting this year, don’t plan on trying to lose 5 pounds a week.  While you may lose 5 the first week, once you get into it a month or so that is hard to maintain.  It would be better to have a plan to lose 10 pounds in a month, so that if you only lose 3 that first week instead of 5 you do not fall off the wagon.  If you decide that you want to read the Bible more, plan on reading 3-5 chapters a day instead of 10-12.  If you end up missing a couple of days because you are sick, it is a lot easier to make up 3 chapters than 12.  For many people, if they get behind on their resolution, they give up.  If you make realistic goals, it is a lot easier to actually stick to them.

Have Others Hold You Accountable:

Maybe you have struggled with pornography.  You have decided that this is the year that you put down an Ebenezer stone and look no more.  One of the tools that the Lord has given us to help defeat sin is each other.  The writer of Proverbs wrote, “iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17).  The Lord has given you brothers and sisters in Christ.  We are to bear one another’s burdens.  By having someone that is willing to ask you hard questions, pray for you, and encourage you, you can make looking at porn a thing of the past.  It is the Holy Spirit’s work to help kill the sin in you, and having good accountability with a godly friend is one of the tools He can use.

Have a Plan to Help in Your Self-discipline:

One of the biggest reasons a person stops pursuing their new resolutions is from a lack of self-discipline (I speak from experience).  One of the great things about this is that your self-discipline can grow as you grow closer to God.  Self-control, or self-discipline, is the ninth Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).  If you want to grow in this area, get in the Word, and be conformed to the image of God through it.  But until you are there, you need to have a plan.  If you want to stop drinking caffeine this year and you know that you always cave when you are around it, do not buy it or have it in your home.  Bring a water bottle with you to work so you are not tempted to go to the enticement machine, I mean vending machine, at work for your afternoon pick-me-up.  If you know that you lack self-discipline, get into the Word, but also have a plan to escape temptation to begin with.

Have a Daily Prayer Time:

James told his audience, “You have not because you ask not . . .” (James 4).  Never underestimate the power of prayer.  If you want to lose weight, then pray and ask the Lord to give you strength to overcome that 2:00 PM craving for a candy bar.  Do you want to work out and get in shape?  Then pray that the Lord will help you get up when that alarm goes off at 5:30 AM and get to the gym.  We are not called to lean on ourselves in all things, but rather to take all things to the Lord in prayer (Philippians 4:6) who loves to give good gifts to His children.  If you want to keep that New Year’s resolution, one of the best ways to do that is to pray.

Change is hard.  It takes work.  It takes discipline.  However, there is something about having the new date on a new calendar that motivates us to change.  That is a good thing.  We often need motivation.  So this year, here’s hoping that the changes that we are all so excited about the first week of January will last into March, June, and eventually to a lifestyle change.  It is my plan to apply these four suggestions this year, and I hope you do as well.

Soli Deo Gloria,

Adam B. Burrell