Issue Number Seventeen

Ministry News

The name of Don's website will soon change to This is to coincide with the Center for Biblical Spirituality, a tax-exempt ministry recently incorporated by Don.
Don's Schedule

Please pray for these ministry opportunities in May and June.

  • Resurrected Reformed Baptist Church
    Chattanooga, TN
  • Avant Ministries
    Kansas City, MO
  • Halteman Village Baptist Church
    Muncie, IN
  • The Glory of Christ Conference, held at
    The Master's Community Church
    Kansas City, KS
  • Faith Community Church
    Kansas City, MO

Bulletin Inserts
To Download

Both the articles in this newsletter are available for download as bulletin inserts in .doc format for MS Word or in .pdf format for Adobe Reader, a free browser plug-in. Click the "Bulletin Inserts" button on the homepage. We will notify you as more chapters become available in this format.

Sample Chapters from
Books by Don Whitney

Why I Am A Baptist
from Why I Am A Baptist

Do You Thirst for God?
from Ten Questions to Diagnose Your Spiritual Health

Silence and Solitude
from Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life

Why Join a Church?
from Spiritual Disciplines Within the Church

A Spiritual MindSet
from How Can I Be Sure I'm A Christian?

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What's New on the Web Site?

Featuring Don's New Book

Simplify Your Spiritual Life

Below are two of the ninety chapters
from Don's book

Simplify Your Spiritual Life.

with Discussion Guide included.

As we remember our military heroes this Memorial Day, consider this article as a bulletin insert to encourage people to . . .

Imitate Spiritual Heroes

My spiritual heroes surround me when I'm writing. They sit on the bookcases on either side of the woodstove. The faces of some of them smile at me from various places on the walls or from nooks at the empty ends of bookshelves. The busts of four look down upon me like Mount Rushmore from a shelf near my computer. Some would think this spiritually harmful and that it puts my eyes on men instead of Christ.

But the Bible tells us to have spiritual heroes. "Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith." we're commanded in Hebrews 13:7 (NIV).

All we know of the "leaders" of these Hebrew Christians is found in this text. The words describing their activities are all in the past tense, so these leaders may have died, perhaps even been martyred. They were not to be forgotten, however, and their lives and faith were to be imitated. But the instruction of this passage applies to us as well. Like these Jewish Christians, we should seek godly, truth-speaking heroes too.

Click HERE to finish reading this article.

Ask, and You Will Receive Something Good

One way to simplify your prayer life is simply to ask. Perhaps more often than we realize, we want God to do something for us or to give something to us, and yet we haven't actually asked Him for it. "You do not have," says James 4:3, "because you do not ask." The failure to ask is not the only reason we do not have, for the Bible has many other things to say about what we should ask for and why we should ask. In fact, in the very next verse we read, "You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures."

Even so, Jesus made some remarkable promises about simply asking of God in prayer. In the Sermon on the Mount He assured, "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened" (Matthew 7:7-8).

While any passage on prayer needs to be placed in the context of the entire Bible's teaching on the subject, it's easy to add so many biblical qualifiers to this broad promise that we end up doubting it more than believing it.

Click HERE to finish reading this article.

Prayer With the Church—A Mark of New Testament Christianity

If you have ever read the book of Acts, you know it is impossible to imagine the members of the church in Jerusalem not gathering to pray with each other. This was Christianity in the New Testament. Congregational prayerlessness ought to be just as unimaginable for us in our own churches. If we want to see in our churches what they saw in theirs, we should pray with our churches as they prayed with theirs.

[Taken from page 165 of Don's book, Spiritual Disciplines Within the Church. Find out more about this book here.]

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Family News and Notes

I'm finishing up another semester (and eight-and-a-half- years) as professor of spiritual formation at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City. Grading (or "marking," as my Canadian and British friends say) final papers is the bane of teaching.

Not long ago I finished George Marsden's massive (615 page) 2003 biography of Jonathan Edwards. Marsden is an excellent historian, and he presents insights and information not found in Iain Murray's smaller (503 page) 1987 biography. While I highly recommend Marsden's work to anyone interested in Edwards, if I could only read one Edwards biography, it would be Murray's. I'll continue to choose it for the Edwards part of my Great Christian Lives class at the seminary.

After Marsden's book, I turned to John Brencher's little-known 2002 biography of Martyn Lloyd-Jones. Actually, it's a slightly-revised version of the author's Ph.D. dissertation. Only a fourth the length of Iain Murray's two-volume life of Lloyd-Jones, I found it about a fourth as interesting. Murray's life of ML-J, particularly the first volume, is one of the most enjoyable reads of my life. Brencher admires, but is more critical of the Doctor than Murray.

All this reminds me to tell you about this Great Christian Lives class I mentioned. In it we read and discuss the biographies of Edwards (1700s), Spurgeon (1800s), and Lloyd-Jones (1900s). What a great time we have! Even though the class is scheduled to meet for only fifty minutes twice a week, every time it's been offered the entire class has voluntarily made it an hour-and-a-half meeting twice a week. I'll have to grade the papers for that class next week, but I don't mind when the students are that eager to learn.

A couple of weeks after the last newsletter, I was getting settled on a plane at O'Hare when my phone rang. Caffy called to relay the sad news that Buddy Brown, my late-father's best-friend since the 1940s, had died in church that morning. I wiped tears all during the flight home. I was honored by the family's request to conduct the funeral back in my home county in Arkansas. It was the most emotional I've ever been while speaking at a funeral. One of my earliest memories—occurring sometime shortly after I turned three—involves "Uncle" Buddy. He was the friendliest man, and the most cheerful man, I've ever known. I loved him dearly and will miss him greatly.

My chief prayer request for the next few months is for the grace to write with exceptional productivity. Please ask the Lord to enable me to stay focused, and to write quickly and well all summer long. For the immediate future, please pray for the recording of five, three-and-a-half minute readings from Simplify Your Spiritual Life which are to be aired daily for a week on WMBI's morning show in Chicago and nationally on the Moody Broadcasting Network. I'll announce the dates for that once the recordings are scheduled.

Caffy enjoyed Mother's Day and looks forward to her birthday next week. For Mother's Day, Laurelen gave her a DVD of Laurel & Hardy. Laurelen had never seen the comedians before, but now she knows why we've always told her she can never marry a man whose last name is Hardy. She and Laurelen are also heading down the homestretch with school and ready for a break. In addition, Caffy has been squeezing in a trompe l'eoil painting in a new home. On the ceiling of the dining room she is painting the illusion of the walls of the room extending upward another story or two and opening to a blue sky with clouds. Getting the perspective right is just one of many difficulties. I'll try to include a photo when she's finished.

Laurelen's life at present is consumed by Annie and softball. "Annie" is the production that her Christian Youth Theater group is performing in early June. Laurelen has a small part, but she's thoroughly enjoying it all. The experience is good for her, but mom and dad had no idea at the beginning how much time was involved in this. Her first softball game is an hour after seminary commencement on May 22. She has a great coach, and in practice so far she has been the team's slugger.

The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you.
2 Timothy 4:22

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