Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Renewing the Mind in 2009

It is hard to believe it is already 2009 in spite of the fact that I have felt the same surprise at the beginning of each New Year for the past decade. I'll catch on eventually. Nevertheless, as I thought about setting goals for the New Year I had to reflect on how influenced I have sometimes become by the world’s bankrupt way of thinking without even realizing it. This influence rears its ugly head in the most subtle ways through television, political talk shows (yes, even the conservative ones!) the media, etc. It is important to know that as Aristotle, said, "Man's problem is that of a fish in water." We spend our entire lives enveloped by the world just as a fish is enveloped by water. As a result we inevitably become versed in the world's way of thinking without realizing it. Swimming down-stream with the rest of the world is a problem because we are commanded in Scripture to "love not the world" (I John 2:15).

After confessing this sin of worldliness I saw in my own heart, God challenged me to get serious in not being conformed to the world’s way of thinking, but to instead be transformed by Christ’s way of thinking (This is a concept taught particularly in Romans 12:2, Philippians 2:5). This is an easy New Year’s resolution to make because it isn’t really an option; it is a command clearly laid out in Scripture. For this reason it is a goal every one of us as Christians should have. As a pastor, renewing the mind and putting on Christ's mind is a goal I must do everything in my power to help those in my congregation grow in even as I grow alongside them.

You may be asking: "how do you go about renewing your mind by putting on the mind of Christ? " That is a hard question to answer with just a few sentences, but here are a some thoughts to start with: first, the only way to see the life transforming work of a renewed mind is to push away from the buffet table of the world and feast on God instead (Colossians 3:1-6). Second, the only way you can know you’re even hungry for God is when your hungry for His Word (I Peter 2:1-3). Finally, you will never grow in your hunger for God’s Word unless you are radical about setting aside the time necessary to plant your face in it.

To help Christians at True North grow in this area we are setting aside Wednesday nights to renew the mind in 2009. Each week we will be learning just how effective the Bible is in dealing with the issues our world throws at us. We want to know how Christ would respond to the things we all face living in the Twenty-first century. We will cover everything from: how to pray biblically, to: how to respond to the threat of Islam with the mind of Christ. Check out the calendar below to look at what we will be learning on a month to month basis. If you're in the Jacksonville area and would like to attend, you will find more information at:

January – February

Introducing God
Can you describe God to someone correctly, or would your description be something you just pulled out of your imagination? What things does God love? What does He hate? Does He look like you and me? We will let the Bible answer some of these important questions, but will start by laying a foundation for understanding God’s nature: What does it mean to say that God is a Spirit (John 4:24); that He is Triune (John 1:1-18, I Peter 1:2); that He Is Holy (Isaiah 57:15)?


The Crescent In Light of the Cross:
Is Islam a religion of peace as our President and the media have been telling us over and over? Or, are they telling us lies? How should we as Christians confront this religion with the love of Christ? We will do the work of an Apologist and answer these questions from the Quran, History, and the Bible. Don't miss out on this informative time.

April – May

Teach Us How To Pray!
Have you ever struggled with not feeling confident you even knew how to pray, much less
what to pray? You’ll be comforted to know that Jesus not only commanded us to pray; He
taught us how to pray. This will be a great study on prayer because we will learn from
Matthew 6 how we are expected to pray. We will also learn lessons from some of the
greatest prayer warriors who ever lived, particularly Moses, David, Daniel and the early
church in Acts.


Playing God: The Brave New World of Bioethics:
Our culture is now committed to the belief that there is no universal standard for
right & wrong. The result is that respect for human life, which was assumed a
generation ago is now quickly fading. National leaders scowl at the destruction of
trees but promise more tax-dollars to fund the destruction of unborn babies. We
will learn from Scripture why all human life is sacred in light of how devalued human
life has become through practices such as abortion, assisted suicide and euthanasia.

July – August

What is Revival?
We live in a spiritually dry land where the church is in desperate need of revival.
However, many churches have the strange notion that you can somehow schedule revival,
when, ironically, they seem to have trouble defining it. We will open God’s Word and
learn why you cannot simply pencil God into your daily planner. We will also find out
what revival is, how its occurrence has changed the course of history, and why we should
pray fervently for it to take place in our lifetimes.


Does God Believe In Atheists?
What are the arguments against God? Can they be countered biblically? What are
the most biblically sound arguments for God? How can we learn to discern fact from
fiction? All of these are important questions to deal with as Christians living in a land
where every realm of society is influenced by the Church of Darwin.

October – November

Setting Sail in Scripture (Acts 20:26-32)
Is the Bible sufficient? Can it be trusted to handle the everyday problems life throws at
us? Or, should we look to the world’s wisdom instead when it comes to real-world
stuff? We will unfurl the sails and look at several passages of Scripture to prove it is
sufficient for all of life. We’ll also look at what the Bible says about the rewards for
obedience as well as the temporal consequences for disobedience.

December (first two weeks)

Go Tell It On the Mountain!
What does recorded history tell us about the birth of Christ and does it fit with the
biblical account? Was the star that the Magi followed really just a star? How has
Christmas been celebrated by the most devout Christians throughout the centuries?
How should we celebrate Christmas in ways that will invite others to celebrate with us?