General, Personal Spiritual Disciplines, Recommendations

Top Ten Apps for Spiritual Growth

1.       You Version Bible

There are other good versions available such as Logos and Blue Letter, but this is my favorite.  You can change versions easily and lots of options on Bible Reading plans.

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2. The Theology Program Credo House

This is my favorite app and the only one that will cost you money.  It is seminary at your fingertips.  This is not a substitute for seminary, because I believe it is impossible to learn ministry behind a computer screen.  But for those who would love to take a formal class in theology but didn’t have the time or opportunity, this is something to consider.  You may not agree with every jot and tittle presented, but you will find it a great way to learn the basics of theology and to explain what you believe and why you believe it.

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3.       Got Questions?

Do you have a question about God, Jesus, the Bible, or theology?  Have you ever needed help understanding a Bible verse or passage?  Are there any spiritual issues in your life for which you need advice or counsel?  Again, this is not to be a substitute for your Pastor, if you have questions that you are dealing with I would love to discuss it and help you work through it.  However, this is a great resource if you need a question answered quickly or to help you double check what I say is accurate and to see other point of views.  For example, I had the question if we that believe the Bible only believe the earth is at the most 10k years old, how can we see light from stars millions of light years away?  I did not know the answer and did not have any resources to go to, but the website was able to help me get put back on the right direction.

4.       Twitter

Surprise!  This social networking app can help you grow spiritually if you follow the right people.  However, beware of the false profiles and you do not have to follow everyone that follows you.  If you keep who you follow clean, then this can be a very encouraging and informative tool to help you grow spiritually.  I will make a separate post later to give you an idea of who are the best pastors to follow, but until then here is a link to my profile where you can see who I follow here.

Here is a link to an article by Thom Rainer on how Twitter has made him a better leader.

5.       itunes U

This is an app that provides you the ability to get into theclass rooms at the leading universities across the country for free.  This can help you grow spiritually because there are some seminaries that put their class on here for you to view.

Recommendations:

Westminister Theological Seminary: Many notable guests such as Francis Schaeffer, Mark Dever, John Piper and D.A. Carson, also has notable Professors such as Sinclair Ferguson and David Powlison.

Reformed Theological Seminary:  This one is my favorite although it is a Presbyterian seminary.  My favorite course is the History and Theology of the Puritans by JI Packer.  If you want to grow like Christ then you have much to learn from the Puritans.  Other notable professors:   D.A. Carson (The New Perspective on Paul), Wayne Grudem, John Frame, and Alistair Begg (A Seminar on Expository Preaching).

Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary:  John Stott Lectures

Dallas Theological Seminary:  Although I do not agree with the school on some issues, I found the course Leadership Dynamics by Howard Hendricks to be helpful.

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6.       Fighter Verses

A great app to help you memorize scripture.  You get a new verse each week and helps that will provide an easier way to memorize scripture.

Watch video Here.

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7.       The Desiring God

A great app that provides you the ability to watch or read almost every sermon John Piper has given in his great ministry.  Also, book and articles that he has written.

Watch Video Here.

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8.       Vimeo

This is an app that is similar to YouTube, but allows longer videos so now you watch sermons.  And my favorite channel to watch on here is the Southern Seminary channel.  On this channel you can watch past chapels and conferences.  I also keep up with Valley View Church on with this app, which is a great blessing to Kaley and I since that church meant so much to us while we were in Louisville.

9.      Ask Pastor John

Great app for those who have questions about the Christian life, from the simple to deep theological questions get answered here.  You can Email your own questions to AskPastorJohn@desiringGod.org

10.   Podcasts

With this app you can listen or watch sermons from the best preachers from all across the country.

A list of my favorites Can be seen here

 

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Personal Spiritual Disciplines, Sermons, Topical Studies

A Call to Plan. Sermon Given 1/6/2013


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What I would like to do here is to try to persuade you to set aside time each week in the coming year to plan—and specifically to plan your life of prayer and devotion and ministry.

That’s right I said your ministry.  We all are called into the ministry.  When Jesus told us to go and make disciples.  He meant everyone.  There are people in your life that BJ & I will never be able to reach for Christ, but God has placed them in your life for a reason.  For you to be a witness to them.

The same Holy Spirit that works inside of pastors also works in you and the same Bible that we preach to you is available to you.  The Gospel that we preach to you is the same Gospel that you will share with others.

We Pastors might be able to define the Gospel a little clearer, but we will never be able to preach a better Gospel than the same one you received from Jesus Christ.  The bulldozer of God’s Spirit often arrives at the scene of our heart ready to begin some great work of building, and he finds that due to poor planning there are piles of disordered things in his way.  I am afraid that one of the reasons why this community is 85% unreached is because Christians have failed to plan.  I believe that the Spirit of God wants to move on this place, but We are not ready for Him.

The way I hope to motivate you to do this is to give four examples of planning in the Bible.  First, some illustrations from the Proverbs; second, the planning of the apostle Paul; third, the planning of God; and fourth, the planning of Jesus.

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In other words, we see that not all goals are equal.  It is not good enough to have goals, but that those goals help you get more joy out of your relationship with God so that you in return will be able to glorify Him more.

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What makes this especially significant is that as far as we know the plan fell through.  He was arrested in Jerusalem.  He went to Rome as a prisoner and probably never got to Spain. It’s just like we saw in the Proverbs.  God is the one who finally makes the future.  But we plan nevertheless.  God uses our planning even if he aborts it.

For example, if Paul had not planned to use Rome as a base of operations for a trip to Spain, he probably never would have written the greatest letter the world has ever known—the letter to the Romans. Planning is crucial in Christian living and Christian ministry—even when God overrules our planning.

And we all probably have similar examples, when I was planning on becoming a physical therapist, God still used that degree to get me into seminary.  When we had planned on getting done with seminary as fast as possible and returning home to Knoxville.  But God used my planning and preparation to fill a position in Flemingsburg at just the right time.

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The ultimate reason for planning is that God is a God who plans and we are created in his image to exercise dominion in the earth under his lordship.

I do not think it is even possible to conceive a God who does not act according to his own eternal planning—that is, a God who has knee jerk responses to circumstances rather than deliberate actions that fit into a wise purpose.

When Adam failed in the garden, it did not catch God by surprise.  Jesus entering this world to die for our sins was not plan B.  When the Romans lifted His Son on the Cross, it was not God just trying to make the most of a bad decision.  No, from the beginning of time, God prepared a way for you to be able to come to Him and be forgiven of your sins, because he loves you.  He loves you so much, that it looks like he hates his one and begotten Son by comparison.

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Make Planning a Regular Part of Your Life

But it won’t work just to plan something tonight or tomorrow.  Planning must be a regular part of your life.  When I make my goals for the year I fold them and place them in the book that I am reading that way, I am able to look frequently at my goals to see if I am accomplishing what I had set out to accomplish for the year.  If you only look at your goals once then you will most likely never achieve them unless you are setting the bar too low.

So my plea to you is that you set aside time each week to plan, especially to plan your life of prayer and Bible study.  For example, since Sunday is the first day of the week (not the last day of the weekend!) and belongs to the Lord, take ten or fifteen minutes each Sunday and think through when you will pray and what you will study that week.  Give some thought how God might want to use you that week in a special way.  Plan the emails you need to write, the Bible verses you want to memorize, the visit you want to make, the book you want to read, the neighbor you want to talk to, etc.

The Proverbs teach us to plan.  The greatest missionary who ever lived was a planner.  God is a God who does all things according to plan.  And Jesus set his face to go to Jerusalem because of the most loving plan ever devised.

He planned for our joy; we ought to plan for his glory.

Now as we plan for our time of invitation, I want to be clear.  My message this evening is not try harder by your own will power to be a better person in 2013, but to put yourself in position to be used mightily and supernaturally by God this year.  God promises that our work for Him will not go in Vain; it might not go as we planned, but it will go for His glory and our good.

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