Archives For Personal Commentary

DELIGHT

Tim Brister —  February 10, 2014 — 1 Comment

  • In the way of your testimonies I delight as much as in all riches. – Psalm 119:14
  • I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word. – Psalm 119:16
  • Your testimonies are my delight; they are my counselors. – Psalm 119:24
  • Lead me in the path of your commandments, for I delight in it. – Psalm 119:35
  • for I find my delight in your commandments, which I love. – Psalm 119:47
  • Let your mercy come to me, that I may live; for your law is my delight. – Psalm 119:77
  • If your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction. – Psalm 119:92
  • Trouble and anguish have found me out, but your commandments are my delight. – Psalm 119:143
  • I long for your salvation, O Lord, and your law is my delight. – Psalm 119:174

What’s your relationship to God’s ways? Delighting in His testimonies.
What’s your relationship to God’s Word? Delighting in His law.
What’s your relationship to Christ’s kingly rule? Delighting in His commands.

May our Christian lives be marked with a dominant delight in God!

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I grew up in a churched culture. From the time I left the hospital until I graduated high school, I was put through every program, participated in every activity, and was faithful to every event our local church had to offer. Children’s church, R.A.’s (Royal Ambassadors), Bible Drill, Children’s & Youth Choir, Puppet Ministry, Youth Group/Ministry, Sunday School, Discipleship Training, Christmas/Easter Dramas…you name it, I was in it.

I was converted at the early age of 8, right in the middle of all the busy life a committed church-goer. Looking back, however, one of the most glaring (and I would add scandalous) omissions is that my church never taught me how to live. I knew how to do a ton of religious things, not the least of which was checking off the boxes on my tithe envelope, but when it came to living out my faith as a disciple of Jesus, I really had no clue. I just knew how to get in the system and let the system do its thing.

The System and Spirit Within Christendom

What this system has produced, rather unintentionally I might add, is a spirit of consumerism through the culture of Christendom. In this system, who you are (identity) is defined by what you do (performance). I am a Christian because I go to church, and the fruit of my faith is manifested in my participation and religious performances. This system works within Christendom because Christianity and culture has been syncretized so that being religious or good is tantamount to being a disciple of Jesus.

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My World of Mind Mapping

Tim Brister —  September 13, 2013 — Leave a comment

I get asked about this all the time. I have referenced my mind maps in the past here on the blog (and a lot more on Twitter), but I don’t think I’ve ever taken the time to explain what I do or why I do it. I started using mind mapping software when I purchased my first iPad several years ago. Like many of you, I’m a visual learner. Those who work around me know that if I could have an 8 foot whiteboard with me everywhere I go, I would use it all the time! Given that I often work in places where whiteboards don’t exist, I had to have another way to develop my thoughts. Enter the world of mind mapping.

When I started mind mapping, I didn’t consult with best practices or read blogposts like this on what and how to do it. I simply needed a place to explore and develop my thoughts, especially in a non-linear way. For linear thought development, I use my Moleskine journals (which I still use on a regular basis). However, I have come to find that most of the work that I’m doing requires non-linear thought development that is more organic and free flowing. Over time, I have come to see how mind mapping has served as a useful tool in just about every area of my life.

Looking over 100+ mind maps, I have use if for all kinds of things, including sermon notes, project planning, gear inventory, vacation planning, book outlines, ministry systems, baseball training (for my son), neighborhood outreach, Bible study, charting transitions in life and church, life assessment, conferences/retreat outlines and talks, and so on. Rarely a day goes by that I’m not mind mapping something! Basically, if there is something you need to think through, you ought to consider using a mind map.

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He Laid Hold of Their Feet

Tim Brister —  September 11, 2013 — Leave a comment

“How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”
Romans 10:14

What comes to your mind when you think of the twelve disciples Jesus chose to follow Him? In most cases, I would venture to say the first thing that comes to mind is how ordinary they were. Nothing special here, right? When we consider their actions and responses to Jesus, in most cases they came across clueless, and at times even heartless. In the end of Jesus’ earthly ministry at the cross, they appeared to be disillusioned and lost.

But when we factor in the entire story, we see that these are men whom Jesus chose to entrust His mission. They would be men who, in the power of the Spirit, would preach the gospel and thousands would be saved. They are men who would be used by God to perform miracles, and through their powerful ministry considered more than mere men but even gods at times. More than that, these men were eyewitnesses of Jesus. They knew firsthand the One who conquered death and felt the scars on His hands and feet.

I can’t imagine what must have been going on in their minds when these things happened. When Peter preached Jesus and thousands were converted, don’t you think he was tempted to become a celebrity preacher? Don’t you think when the disciples healed the sick and raised the dead, they did not battle a sense of prideful exceptionalism along with self-promoting platforms from which they can boast of their accomplishments? What was it that kept them from being destroyed by pride and brought down by self-deceit?

I believe a significant reason for their faithfulness and perseverance in the mission was due to the fact that Jesus got to their feet so that what God does through them never got to their heads.

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Truly Getting the Gospel

Tim Brister —  September 4, 2013 — 1 Comment

The Bible is living and active (Heb. 4:11), inspired by God (2 Tim. 3:16), and given for the purposes of teaching, reproof, correction, and training in righteousness. The Bible is all about God’s story of redemption centered on the person and work of Jesus Christ. In the church where I serve, we say the gospel is all about (1) who Jesus is, (2) what Jesus has done, and (3) why that matters.

The gospel is the power of God (Rom. 1:16), and that power is demonstrated not only in our past rescue, reconciliation, and redemption but also in our present faith, hope, and love. Christians who truly get the gospel discover its power again and again on a daily basis. They get it in all three areas of text, context, and subtext because the gospel changes everything. The “living and active” nature of the Word is doing its effectual work as the Spirit convicts, renews, and reforms our lives in ways that demonstrate the transforming power of Jesus.

Text • Context • Subtext

The text addresses biblical revelation. God reveals Himself through His written Word and in His Son, the Word made flesh. The gospel is the message, the text above all texts, that reveals God’s sovereign purposes in history to unite all things in Christ. Truly getting the gospel means we understand that the gospel is normative and supreme in God’s dealings with us, and we humbly submit to the authority of God’s Word and what it says about us and our need for Him. We are committed to knowing the gospel truly and articulating it clearly because God has spoken on the issue definitively.

The context addresses life orientation. These are matters pertaining to what lies outside of us and how our lives relate to them and orient around them. Context includes our relationships to other people, daily circumstances, seasons of life, spheres of existence, etc. Truly getting the gospel means we recognize that context is the place where the gospel is applied. Living in light of the gospel is learning to work out our new identity in Christ in specific places, in specific situations, and with specific people so that the reign and rule of King Jesus is manifested in His Lordship through the context of our existence.

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