Issue Number Seven

Don's Schedule

Please pray for these ministry opportunities in November.

  • Sovereign Grace Church
    Chesapeake, VA
  • Union University
    Jackson, TN
  • Country Acres Baptist
    Wichita, KS
  • Countryside Bible Church
    Southlake, Texas

Sample Chapters
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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Featured Articles from our Newsletters

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A Note from Don Whitney

Thanks for your patience in waiting for the next newsletter. I have been finishing the manuscript for Simplify Your Spiritual Life. The folks at NavPress are excited about the book and have put it on a "fast-track" to publish it in time for the annual meeting of CBA (formerly the "Christian Booksellers Association") in July. They've given permission to put chapters from the book in my newsletter as a means of creating interest in the book. So for the next several issues, the newsletter will include chapters from Simplify Your Spiritual Life. There are ninety, two-page chapters in the book, all designed to provide insight into the theology and practice of simplifying the spiritual part of life. The two chapters in this edition of the newsletter will likely be the opening chapters.

Simplify Your Spiritual Life

Does your spiritual life sometimes seem more like a burden than a blessing? Does your spirituality seem to exhaust you as often as it refreshes you? Have your spiritual practices become "just another thing to do" in an already overcrowded, stress-filled schedule? If so, then you need to simplify your spiritual life.

We should expect part of true spirituality to exhaust us, for it exists not merely for our own edification, but to serve the glory and purposes of God. Jesus' spiritual labors occasionally so fatigued Him that He could fall asleep in an open boat in the middle of a lake during a life-threatening storm (Luke 8:22-25). Likewise, the Apostle Paul knew the depletion of inner resources that results from the willingness to "spend and be spent" for the sake of the souls of others (2 Corinthians 12:15). All aspects of externalized spirituality—serving people's needs, doing good works, taking the Gospel to the spiritually lost, working in church ministries—all these expend the reserves of both body and soul.

There's a problem, though, when the inflow of spiritual renewal doesn't replenish the outflow of spiritual ministry.

Click HERE to finish reading this article.

Rest Your Soul in
"the Simplicity and Purity of Devotion to Christ"

In the early morning dim of March 29, 1849, a sympathetic storekeeper in Richmond, Virginia nailed the lid on a crate containing a slave. A two-hundred pound man had folded himself into a wooden box just three feet, one inch long, two feet wide, and two-and-a-half feet deep. Cramped in a suffocating darkness, the slave endured—often upside down—a grueling three hundred and fifty mile shipment via railroad freight car, steamboat, and wagon. Twenty-seven hours later in a Philadelphia abolitionist's office, Henry "Box" Brown emerged from his coffinlike confinement to begin life as a free man. The news of his stunning appearance encouraged the hopes of freedom in countless slaves.

Everyone is born a slave of sin. Jesus Christ said, "Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin" (John 8:34). We cannot free ourselves from this oppressive master, for no one can live without sinning against God. But the sinless Jesus—not for His own sake, but for others—came from Heaven to deliver His people. Jesus allowed godless men to nail Him to a Roman cross, and three days later rose from the dead so that "we should no longer be slaves of sin" (Romans 6:6). And all those who trust in His work (and not their own) as the way to freedom will find emancipation from sin. "Therefore," declared Jesus, "if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed" (John 8:36).

I wonder if Henry Brown ever suffered nightmares of being back in his box? I do know that Christians—though freed from the penalty of all sin and declared righteous in God's sight—sometimes feel a spiritual claustrophobia.

Click HERE to finish reading this article.

The Godly Person is a Busy Person

I've come to the conclusion that, with rare exceptions, the Godly person is a busy person. The Godly person is devoted to God and to people, and that leads to a full life. Though never frantic in pace, Jesus was a busy Man. Read Mark's gospel and notice how often the word immediately describes the transition from one event in Jesus' life to the next. We read of Him sometimes ministering all day and until after dark, then getting up before dawn to pray and travel to the next ministry venue. The gospels tell of occasional nights when He never slept at all. They tell us He got tired, so tired that He could sleep in an open, storm-tossed ship. Crowds of people pressed upon Him almost daily. Everyone wanted time with Him and clamored for His attention. None of us knows "job-related stress" like the kind He continually experienced. If Jesus' life, as well as that of Paul, were measured against the "balanced life" envisioned by many Christians today, they would be considered workaholics who sinfully neglected their bodies. Scripture confirms what observation perceives: laziness never leads to Godliness.

[Taken from page 236 of the paperback edition of Don's book, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life. Click HERE to read a chapter from this book.]

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Family News and Notes

  • Autumn in the Heartland. Except for the oaks, all the leaves in our area have fallen and been raked, mown, or blown into their final resting places. The first fire has blazed in the woodstove, promising many cozy nights by the hearth in the months to come. The golden days of the Thanksgiving season are here, and the busy days of December will once again prompt us to say, "I can't believe it's Christmastime already."

  • Caffy's back has healed, and she's returned to normal activities following her painful bout with sciatica this summer. The big news you've all been waiting breathless for all year, I'm sure, is that . . the great flower box crisis is over. . If you weren't aware, we've been following this life-and-death saga all year. The flower boxes on the front of the house were rotting and had to be replaced. After months of planning, calling, and waiting, we had some new ones constructed and put on the house in October. We had the house painted, and that was the perfect time to install them. But we did not merely replace the two above the garage; we now have a big one under the big window by the front door. The accompanying photo of Caffy and me with this flower box in all its glory fairly pulsates with the emotions we were feeling regarding this momentous event.

Don and Caffy
  • Laurelen. started the fourth grade. In addition to homeschool, we enrolled her in a new program designed for homeschooled students in our area. She attends one day each week, taking a number of courses to supplement the rest of her education. She played soccer again this fall, and continues her piano and guitar lessons.

  • Ecclesiastes 12:12 testimony: . One of the major events of the year, as I mentioned in the beginning of this newsletter, is the completion of Simplify Your Spiritual Life. In months to come I'll be working with my editor at NavPress to tweak the book into its final form.

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