Discipleship at the level of our smartphones

If it’s not touching here, it’s probably not going deep enough… 10 questions that might spark some thought in this regard:

Would the apps on my phone pass a Philippians 4:8 audit?

Would I be comfortable passing my phone to the person one row in front of me at church, telling them the password, and saying, “hey, have a good look around”?

Do I too often ignore the people actually in front of me, in the service of my phone?

Have I made my smartphone an ally in the ongoing process of the renewal of my mind?

Can I switch this thing off, or am I too deeply dependent upon it?

When was the last time I did actually switch off from it?

Would I be ok with the content of my private messages being broadcast publicly?

Is the way I relate to this device helping, or harming, my prayer life?

Is this device saving me time, or sucking my time?

Am I storing poison on here?

Questions worth having a wrestle with.

Today disciple, do what’s necessary to make your phone your ally in your walk with Jesus.

Who speaks like this?

Wrestling with the words of Jesus week by week, I’m always struck – it would take an enormous amount of faith to believe that these were the ramblings of a mere man, an unhinged, uneducated first century middle eastern peasant in his early thirties. They still represent a massive qualitative step forward to the ethical teachings we have two thousand years later, even in a society that has to some degree been shaped by his words.

Another reason for belief to add to the mix.

Disciple, where else would you go today, when He has the words of eternal life?

The SAS Project

The SAS (Shadow & Shine) Project (of which 018 – Get Really Rich was the latest installment) is for me.

It’s the discipline of taking a commandment of Jesus, and really chewing it over, till I can spit it back out in 100 words.

I want my life to be profoundly shaped by the teachings of the Master, and so this is one tactic I’m using to try and get them through my head, to harass my heart and hopefully shape my soul.

Not a perfect tactic, but good enough to be a blessing.

If it benefits a few others – bonus.

Disciple, what’s your plan today for getting His teachings to actually direct your steps?

Truth doesn’t fear honest investigation

There’s a multitude of factors, experiential, psychological, social etc, that make up my “faith” in Jesus, or “reasons for believing”.  Amongst them are the texts of the Old and New Testaments.

It’s healthy I think to step back every now and again, and ask – ‘is it an intellectually honest act to place my trust in these texts – or is this a bit of flimsy wishful thinking, a psychological crutch?’

From time to time over the years I’ve pressed as hard as I’ve known how to on that question.

All I can testify is that as a 13 year old, a 23 year old and a 33 year old – investigating that question honestly has only served to strengthen my faith.

To take one issue – have we actually got “The New Testament” as originally written? Well, we’ve got, relatively speaking, incredibly early copies for an ancient text, almost unbelievable accuracy across the copies, and a staggering number of these copies. Check out this comparative table:

biblical-manuscript-evidence

If you don’t take the New Testament as written, you probably have to construct for yourself a whole different way of looking at history – which for me would require much more of a leap of faith.  With that kind of criteria Caesar’s Gallic Wars are an extremely unlikely fairytale.

Of course, a plethora of manuscripts doesn’t necessarily lead to belief in what they claim – that’s a separate question, which also needs answering. What I’m saying, disciple, is that truth has no fear of being investigated. If you need to settle some questions for yourself – go for it! Do so vigorously and honestly.

Truth tends to come up well during cross examination.

 

Want more?

A podcast on The reliability of the New Testament.

A blog post on the historicity of Jesus, his death and resurrection.

 

Gillett & Brims Podcast Episode 20 – Can I trust the New Testament?

Gillett and Brims podcast_20

For this week’s podcast episode I have been ousted! We’ve finally got someone in who is qualified to speak!!  Nathanael interviews our friend Alex Fry about the reliability of the New Testament – have we got what was originally written? How does it square with historical evidence? How much has it been changed over the years?

Alex is currently working on his Phd in Durham on the Psychology of Religion, having previously got his Masters at Kings College London in Biblical Studies.

Nathanael plays the layman, and Alex brings his expertise, in what I think is one of our most helpful episodes to date – enjoy!

For all previous episodes and all information about the podcast check out the podcast page here.

018 – Get Really Rich

Spending yourself on accumulating mere stuff is a crazy thing to do! If the elements will erode them, and eventually eradicate them, they’re not worth much ultimately are they? Why fight for that which fades so fast? If a burglar can grab it, why tie your heart to it?  Instead, point your desire to acquire at the age to come.  Double down on the rust proof, undiminishing wealth of Jesus’ Kingdom that can never be robbed from you. Keep pouring into the fund that will fill you forever. For what you value most highly, is the destination of your heart.

Matthew 6:19-21 as part of the SAS Project

What kind of person

do you want to be, when you’re old and grey, sat in the armchair of your last living place?

Ungrateful, entitled, stuck in the past and filled with darkness?

Or thankful – to the point of being happy, humble to the point of being willing to serve, forward looking and filled with goodness?

It’s a no brainer, isn’t it… but here’s the thing –

Who we’ll be, is who we’re becoming now.

Disciple, Jesus’ goal for you really is transformation at the level of character.  Today is another chance to embrace that process.