Issue Number Thirty

Don's Schedule
Please pray for these
ministry opportunities
in December and January.

  • Mentoring Men for the Master International annual banquet
    Wilmington, NC

  • Bullitt Lick Baptist Church
    Shepherdsville, KY

  • Carlisle Ave. Baptist Church
    Louisville, KY

  • Berean Baptist Church
    Livonia, MI

  • Reformed Theological Seminary-Boca Raton
    Boca Raton, FL

  • Spanish River Church
    Yamoto Road, Boca Raton, FL

  • Union Avenue Baptist Church
    Memphis, TN

More Bulletin Inserts on Biblical Spirituality

Know the Good News of Christian Spirituality

Sanctify Your Suffering as Spirituality

Practice Spiritual Multi-tasking

Recognize the Spirituality of Work

From the Article Archives

A Spiritual Mind-Set


Are You Spiritually Minded?
Romans 8:5-6
Real Audio
mp3 format
Things Well Said

Dr. Al Mohler says that "The books we collect, display, and read tell the story about us." Read more in his article, "By Their Books We Shall Know Them."

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Featuring Don's Book

News flash #1
Important Update on Don's Health

News flash #2
Announcement about Don's Family Worship book

Details in the "Family News & Notes" section below

Simplify Your Spiritual Life

Below is one of the chapters
from Don's book

Simplify Your Spiritual Life.

with Discussion Guide included.

This chapter is available as a pre-formatted bulletin insert. Click the Bulletin Inserts button at www.BiblicalSpirituality.org

Practice True Spirituality

In our quest for a more simple spirituality, it's important to define the term. I'm writing from the belief that spirituality is the pursuit of God and the things of God, through Jesus Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit, in accordance with God's self-revelation (that is, the Bible).

The words of the apostle Paul in Colossians 2:16-3:2 provide inspired guidance on true spirituality. False teachers in Colossae were saying that spirituality involved not only the pursuit of God through Jesus, but also the worship of angels and other types of mystical experiences. They taught a number of elaborate rituals and ascetic practices which anyone serious about spirituality was required to observe.

Paul admitted that while "these things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion," in reality they "are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh" (2:23). In other words, these activities may look like marks of true spirituality, but they're worthless for changing one's heart or relationship with God.

Click here to finish reading this article.

Pursue the Primacy of Love

In his article, "The Supreme Grace of Christian Love," Maurice Roberts writes, "Love is the jewel among the graces of the Christian life. We know it—and perpetually forget it." . . . I've known some Christians who, by the emphasis of their lives, stress knowledge or orthodoxy over love. While they would verbally assent to the priority of love, they almost seem to say excusingly, "But that's not my gift." Love is a gift from God, but not that kind of gift. Love is not the sort of spiritual gift like teaching or mercy (see the lists of gifts in Romans 12; 1 Corinthians 12; Ephesians 4) that we can say was given to some but not to us. Instead, the Bible insists, "He who does not love does not know God" (1 John 4:8). Do you give primacy to the pursuit of being more loving?

[Taken from page 51 of Don's book, Ten Questions to Diagnose Your Spiritual Health. Find out more about this book here.]

This Issue's Recommendation

Louisa Payson Hopkins, The Pastor's Daughter or The Way of Salvation Explained (reprint ed.; Vestavia Hills, Ala.: Solid Ground Christian Books, ), 236 pp.

We recently went through this delightful book in at the beginning of our family worship time, generally taking one of the very short chapters each night. The Pastor's Daughter is Louisa Payson Hopkins' recollections of her conversations about God and the Gospel with her father—the famous pastor Edward Payson—from age 4 until her conversion at age 14. (Incidentally, Louisa is the older sister of Elizabeth Payson Prentiss, author of Stepping Heavenward.) The book was published in 1843, before Elizabeth was 21.

She was precocious, and seems to have been unusually thoughtful about spiritual matters though very young. The language is quaint in many places, but I was almost always able to update it without hesitation as I read the book aloud. Payson was wonderfully wise and tender with Louisa. She was quite transparent and descriptive about her struggles with the Gospel, even as "a good little girl." Modern readers may marvel at Payson's ability to probe Louisa's heart and conscience with the Gospel and simultaneously at his patience as He waited for the Holy Spirit to do that work which He alone can do. This pastor/father had some remarkable insights into the Gospel, and yet he was able to communicate them in simple and winsome terms to his daughter. Elementary age children definitely need to have this book read to them (and what a treat to do so), but younger teenagers should be able to read it alone. Any bits that seem dated or too difficult for your children will be more than compensated by the multiple opportunities you will have to talk about many aspects of sin and the Gospel with them.

Family News and Notes

The big news of this edition of the BiblicalSpirituality.org newsletter is that I just had my one-year colonoscopy, and the surgeon confirmed that I am CANCER-FREE. This is, of course, great news for which we praise the Lord. Actually, it's only been eleven months—not a year—since my diagnosis an colon resection. And the doctor said last December after the surgery that he had removed all the malignancy. Still it was very reassuring for him to actually take a look internally and confirm that there are no traces of the cancer. This is a good time to remind myself, of course, that our confidence should always be in God and not in men or medicine, though we are grateful for how God uses them. And the apparent absence of colon cancer does not guarantee that I will wake up tomorrow morning. But it is an occasion for rejoicing and has added new meaning to our season of thanksgiving. So once again, thanks to all those who have prayed for me. I have recalled several times recently those days in the hospital not long ago when I felt such dependence upon the prayers of God's people.

And now my request for prayer for the immediate future has to do with a major research and writing project. I have been granted a half-sabbatical at the seminary in order to complete this project by next summer. It is essential that I finish it, and there is much to do.

The second printing of the small work on Family Worship: In the Bible, In History, and In Your Home began shipping in October. We have enlarged the font for easier reading, and this means the length has doubled to sixty-four pages. The price has remained the same. If you'd like to place an order for one or more copies as Christmas gifts or as a short study in your church or small group after the first of the year, click here.

I would appreciate your prayers for the Family Worship project. At present we are completing work on an audio version.

Caffy has just finished her major art project of the last couple of months It's related to a rerelease of the popular Small Talks on Big Questions books later this month by Solid Ground Christian Books. Many have asked about this great resource for family worship, and we are pleased to say that it will soon be available again.

Outside the studio she has (1) turned the garden under and planted her cover crop, and (2) completed another satisfying semester of teaching the one-night-a-week classes in Southern's "Seminary Wives Institute" headed by Mary (Mrs. Al) Mohler. Soon the Christmas lights will go up.

Laurelen had one of her major events of the year right after we sent the last newsletter. Although she'd only taken up knitting a year before, she won the blue ribbon in the adult division of the "Wearable Art" category at the Kentucky State Fair. Although it's not a great photo, you can see her here with the blue ribbon and the green shawl she knitted. She continues to enjoy knitting and all related subjects and skills as much as ever, and we're happy to encourage her in it. (Elsewhere on this page, you'll see an even less-flattering photo from the state fair of the famous "Whitney Pack".)

Beyond the domestic arts, Laurelen also ran with a girls cross-country team this fall. While long-distance running may never be her forte', her cross-country experience formed both her body and character in ways that athletics should.

Farm & Garden Report

As I've mentioned, Caffy's garden has been turned under and a cover crop of rye grass is thick and high. She had some "robber bees" (you'll have to look that apicultural term up for yourself) which did significant damage to her hive this fall. The extent of the damage won't be known until spring. But she does continue to feed the bees during this downtime in the natural food cycle.

The big news in the animal department has been the addition in October of our great new dog, Arwen. (You can't tell too much about her from the photo of the two of us, but it's the best we have at the moment.) Laurelen named her after the Elven princess who marries Aragorn in The Lord of the Rings. She's a terrific pup, half Lab and half Australian Shepherd. You'll be hearing more about her in forthcoming issues of the newsletter, I'm sure.

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

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