Welcome to Calvary Albuquerque.
We pursue the God who is passionately pursuing a lost world. We do this with one another through worship by the word to the world.
Good evening. It's great to be with you. Pastor Skip sends his love. And what a blessing it is that our pastor is in Dallas on a TV show. Isn't that great? Don't you think that's wonderful?
Well, I have the privilege of sharing from scripture with you tonight. But before we jump into it let's pray. Heavenly Father, I'm so thankful for your goodness, for your love, for your word. We pray, Lord, that as we open it up tonight that you would speak to us in a unique way, especially this night where we're going to open it up for question and answers. So they can hear from a few of the pastors concerning this very important topic of cultivating a Christian worldview. We ask that you would just go before us now and we pray this in Christ name, amen.
We're all familiar with this face. For many, it is the face of evil. Hitler may be the most despised man of the past 100 years. We know him as the leader of the Nazi party, ushering in a mindset of hate in Germany. His thoughts concerning the Jews led to roughly 6 million Jewish deaths during the Holocaust. Those are stunning figures.
But you probably didn't know that Jews were not the only people killed by Hitler. According to the Holocaust encyclopedia, there were roughly around 7 million Soviet civilians killed, around 3 million Soviet prisoners of war, around 1.8 million Polish civilians, roughly 312,000 Serbian civilians, up to 250,000 people with disabilities. Think about that one. Between 196,000 to 220,000 Gypsies, around 1,900 Jehovah Witnesses, at least 70,000 repeat criminals, an unknown amount of German political opponents and resistance fighters, such as Dietrich Bonhoeffer. So many of us are aware of him, a Christian who tried to fight Hitler. And Hitler also killed hundreds of homosexuals.
The bottom line is that millions upon millions of people lost their life based upon one mad man's worldview. You see, Hitler demonstrates that worldviews matter. How people assess the world influences how they act in the world. Put another way, ideas have consequences. Just so you know, Hitler wasn't an island unto himself. Hitler got his views from somewhere. His worldviews were shaped by a collection of differing philosophies.
And think of what Hitler did was like tending a garden. Hitler cultivated the soil of his soul with ideas, assembling seeds taken from men that went before him. All these seeds were planted in Hitler's brain, growing into what we know as Nazi belief. My friend, Dr. Richard Weikart, a professor at a university in California, in his excellent book, Hitler's Religion, documents several influences that helped shape Hitler's worldview. Let me just give you four and then you'll begin to understand where Hitler was getting his ideas.
The first is Arthur Schopenhauer. He was a philosopher who had anti-Semitic writings. He called the Jews the great masters of lying. Later in life, Schopenhauer was intrigued with Darwin's survival of the fittest, causing Schopenhauer to teach a will to life based on evolution.
Then secondly, you have Darwin himself. Hitler was influenced by Darwin. And of course, we know Charles Darwin is the Father of the evolutionary Darwinism. Third and probably Hitler's greatest influence was Fredrick Nietzsche. Many of you know Nietzsche as the philosopher who deemed God is dead. Nietzsche also promoted super-human or Superman ideology. There was one super race. And for Hitler it was the Aryan Germanic people.
And then finally you have Houston Stewart Chamberlain. He was the preeminent precursor of Nazi ideology. And folks, he was just a downright racist. So these men-- Schopenhauer, Darwin, Nietzsche, and Chamberlain all helped develop Hitler's worldview to dire effects, as we now know. So what's my point? My point is Hitler was the product of his philosophy, the invention of his ideas.
We learn through a man like Hitler that principles can have penalties. Put another way, what we think informs what we do. Hitler reveled in the particular worldview, and the consequences were catastrophic. Many lives were lost.
So Hitler was the poster boy of how not to cultivate a worldview. The question is for us tonight, how are Christians, how are we, you and I, to cultivate a worldview? Well, that's my goal tonight. I want to help you understand the process of how a Christian worldview is cultivated, at least the foundations of that worldview.
And to do so, I'm going to continue with this garden analogy or this garden metaphor that I've used. But before I do, I have to define for you guys a few terms, a few important things you need to understand before we dig into scripture. Think of cultivating a Christian worldview like appreciating this flower. Now stay with me here, folks. This flower.
This flower has both metaphysical and physical properties. Everything in life has metaphysical and physical properties. But I'm using this flower as an analogy. The metaphysical aspect of this flower, the non-material-- that's what metaphysical means, the non-material that which goes beyond the physical-- includes its very existence. It is here. It has being. It also has beauty. And it's becoming. We appreciate it. It has value in nature.
So in Christian metaphysics, in the metaphysical world of Christians, we call these transidentals. And they usually revolve or summarize the truth, beauty, and goodness. But this flower has those as well, the metaphysical properties. But this flower also has physical properties, correct? Think of its physical properties of its biology. It's made up of cells, of a chemical makeup. It has a morphology, a certain shape to it. But this flower also has a bouquet. It smells beautiful.
And the physical aspects also include its branch of family. This particular one happens to be from the angiosperm family. So this flower has both a physical and metaphysical properties. Well in a similar way, so does a Christian worldview. And let me put it in Christian terms for you. Because many of us, go, oh, physical, metaphysical; over my head already.
Think of it this way. There is both a natural and a supernatural element to our Christian worldview. And we have to have a proper understanding of both in order to cultivate a Christian worldview. So let me let me put it in simple terms. The natural element of a Christian worldview is how we view the world, God's creation. From the cosmos, the universe, down to the smallest of cells, we learn about God's world through reason, our brain, and through the sciences.
Sciences are an important part in developing a clear Christian worldview. Again, how we view the world will affect what we do in the world. Think of it this way. My view of a fetus in the woman's womb will influence what I do with that fetus in a woman's womb. You get where I'm coming with that. I will either want to save and preserve that fetus that we know is a child, or maybe my worldview just dictates that I could do away with it.
Or think of this one. My worldview of epidermis, this top layer of skin, how I view that will affect how I view other people whose epidermis may be a little bit different color. And I don't need to tell you that racism is rampant in our world. But you see how my worldview, what I internalize has an external factor. And that is based upon how I view the physical environment.
So that's the physical portion. Well the metaphysical portion of worldview consists of how we answer the big questions of life. And we look to God's word for the answers. How did the world begin? Why is there meaning? Is there purpose to life? Why is there something rather than nothing? And many more questions deal with things that are beyond the physical. And it is within God's word and world, the physical and metaphysical, that we find the answers to life.
And follow me here. Both metaphysical and physical are rooted in God-- one, through his specific revelation, his word; and one, through his general revelation, his world.
So as a summary, we need both a physical and a metaphysical understanding of the word. And we could summarize these two components simply as faith and reason. Because if you start using physical-metaphysical-- but if you say faith and reason, this is a good summary of what I'm talking about.
Or let me give you an easier word picture. God wrote two books. He wrote the book of his word and he wrote the book of his world. God wrote two books. And properly understood and interpreted, these two books will not contradict each other. Why? They have the same author. And properly understanding these two books, God's word and God's world, will help us develop a Christian worldview.
So here's the takeaway point for you guys. We need both faith and reason in order to cultivate a Christian worldview. We need a proper understanding of God's word and we need a proper understanding of the world to help us develop that worldview. Now let me briefly define for you what faith and reason is. And then we'll jump into our scripture text. What is faith?
According to Winfried Corduan, there is two senses to faith. There is faith in someone or something. In Christian terminology we know this as saving faith. But there is also faith that-- this is an intellectual faith, and is sent to truth. And both types of faith are needed when nurturing a Christian worldview. We need faith in Jesus Christ and we need faith that what God has written in his word and in his world is true.
You following me so far? You with me on this? Very important. So that's what faith is. So what is reason? A working definition of reason can be simplified as using one's senses, or see how we see, how we touch, how we smell, feel; using our senses in the pursuit of truth. Again, Corduan reminds us, whatever is true, corresponds to what is the case. Or put another way, truth is that which corresponds to reality.
There are not two realms of truth. Either something is true or it is not. And reason helps us discover the truth, particularly in the physical world. So with these two basic definitions out of the way, faith and reason, physical metaphysical; let's get back to what a Christian worldview is.
Biblically speaking, a Christian worldview is faith in Jesus Christ, and a faith that seeks to understand what God has created and cultivated. A Christian worldview is the lens in which we view the world through the glasses of God's word and world. It is a set of beliefs governed by God's grace and imparted through Christ and his creation. A Christian worldview is how we interpret reality, shape our morals, and support our opinions.
And consequently a Christian worldview influences our actions in the world. Notice that last point. A worldview influences our actions. Just like Hitler's worldview influenced his actions, our worldview will influence our actions in the world. So again, to use a garden analogy, the seeds planted in the soil of our soul will influence how we grow as Christians.
So, now let's get to scripture. To grasp the foundational points of how we are to cultivate a Christian worldview, I invite you to turn to Romans 10. Romans 10, and we're going to look at verses 9 through 11. And while you're turning there, let me briefly give you the context of this passage. Paul is in the middle of a discourse with the people of Israel. He's telling them why they need the gospel, why the gospel is both applicable both to Jews and Gentiles. And in the midst of this broader argument that Paul is having that actually begins in chapter 9 and finishes in chapter 11, Paul outlines three points that will help us cultivate a Christian worldview.
And to help us remember them, I've narrowed them down to three B's-- believe, blossom, and Bible. Believe, blossom, and Bible; let's pick it up for the first one, believe, in verse 9. Look what it says. Paul writes, that if you confess with your mouth that the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
So folks, cultivating a Christian worldview begins with belief in Jesus Christ, his person and work, his life, death, and his resurrection. But I want you to notice two key words here. Look at that word there in your text, confess. That Greek word means to assent to or make a covenant or to acknowledge that something is true. So in the case that Paul's making here, a person is confessing with his or her mouth that Jesus is Lord. That he is the promised messiah that God has come in human form. It is an external proclamation done with the mouth.
But look at that second word that Paul uses, believe. That word in Greek is pisteuo. And it means to have faith in or to put trust in. So not only are we confessing Christ externally with our mouth, we're internalizing the truth in our soul. We're planting the seed of faith. So what we believe we say, and what we say we believe.
So using our garden analogy, confession and belief are like the planting of the seed in the soil of your soul. It's the first step in making your garden grow. We need to believe before our flower can bloom. We need to believe. We have to be born again. This is how we're saved. So let me give you three quick points to ponder.
Number one is a principle. One must be born again in order to cultivate a Christian worldview. A non-Christian will not be able to cultivate a Christ-like garden. Only a life infused by the Holy Spirit will lead to ultimate truth. So that's the principle. Now practice, always provide opportunity for friends, neighbors, and families to receive Christ, which means we have to be a conduit of evangelization and mission and outreach, even if you don't have the gift of evangelization. I don't. I'm not a great-- Skip has the great gift-- he's a great evangelist. I don't.
But it's an honor for us to be a witness for Christ in the world, either in word or in deed. So principle practice, third, is something practical. I've already said that one must believe in order to cultivate a Christian worldview. But in order to develop strong roots, we need to be attending a church that is teaching the Bible. Where Acts 2 42 through 47 is taken seriously.
So what do we learn in Acts 2? Well, we learn that a strong Christian life includes biblical teaching, prayer, fellowship, communion, and evangelism. These are all necessary and practical points in developing and cultivating a Christian worldview, digging our roots deep. So first we must believe. Second, we have to blossom. Look at verse 10. Look at verse 10 here, for with the heart one believes under righteousness and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
Notice the key word there. The key phrase is with the heart one believes unto righteousness. So if the first step is salvation, the aftermath-- now listen to this-- is sanctification. To live right before God, to live righteously as one who has been saved, sanctification can be understood as living a holy life, set apart for Christ. In essence, our belief should lead to becoming Christ-like, putting on his righteousness and developing his characteristics.
It is with sanctification that we blossom into the flower God wants us to be. The Greek word that Paul uses here for righteousness carries the meaning of equity or justification. It is a right living based upon Jesus' righteousness. When Jesus saved you, he imputed his righteousness in you. The Holy Spirit lives in you to be a salve, to be light and salt to the world.
Jesus created us for good works, to be a witness, as Paul says in Ephesians 2:10. In short, because God saved us, he wants to sanctify us, to make us more like Jesus, to conform us into the image of Christ. So using our garden analogy, follow the sequence. First we believe. Here we receive the seed of salvation. It's been planted in our life and we're justified before God. Next, we blossom as a child of God, being sanctified by his spirit growing more and more into the image of Christ.
So a Christian worldview is connected to knowing, to believing, and to growing, which is doing. Put another way, the Christian worldview is connected to learning and living out our faith. So like the last point, let me give you three quick points to ponder. First is the principle. Our faith in Christ should produce fruit. Our belief will blossom.
Second is practice. We need to encourage one another as Christians towards acts of faith, hope, and love. The writer of Hebrews put it this way. Let us consider how we may spur-- and that means to stir up one another to acts of love and good works. That's Hebrews 10:24. And then third, something practical, one way to cultivate our faith is to pursue the historic spiritual disciplines.
Kenneth Boa in his excellent book, Conformed to His Image, lists a few, as follows. Now listen to these carefully. Solitude and prayer, how are you in your prayer life? Are you getting away and spending time with the Lord? What about fasting and fellowship? Do you take fellowship with your fellow Christians seriously? Are you loving them? Are you spending time fasting before the Lord?
Here's a tough one. What about submission and guidance? Are you submitting yourself to God's word. When God's word says, don't do something, are you doing it? And are you submitting yourself to the guidance of the Holy Spirit? What about these two? This one really hurts. What about simplicity and stewardship? How are you with your money? Are you spending that money to further God's kingdom, or are you spending that money to further your own pleasure?
What about worship and celebration? Do you take worship and times of celebrating with other Christians during baptism and such, do you take that seriously? I hope so. And what about service and evangelism? Are you evangelizing? Are you out there sharing God's love with people? And finally, study. My point is that if we're going to blossom into the person God wants us to be, we need to allow the Holy Spirit to shape us into the person we behold in the Bible. And that person is Jesus.
So up to this point we've looked at belief and blossom. Now let's turn to the third and last characteristic, and the third B, which is Bible. And for that, look at verse 11. Paul writes, for the scripture says whoever believes on him will not be put to shame. Notice that phrase, for the scripture says. What is Paul doing? He's looking to the Bible as his authority.
And notice Paul's line of thought in these text. First, we confess and believe. We're saved. Second, we live out our faith. We're sanctified. But third, we learn the basis of our belief. And where do we get that from? Scripture. Folks, just like the Bible was Paul's authority, the Bible should be our authority in areas of morals and doctrine.
And what's fascinating, the word that Paul uses here in this text for scripture is "graphe." And Paul means it is the very words of God, the record of God's thought. And I just want you to think about this for a moment. Think about this profound truth. When we read and look at the Bible or we look at creation, the world, the word and the world, we are experiencing God's thoughts made visible. When we read the Bible and look at creation, we are seeing God's thoughts in action. That's amazing.
You want to know God's thoughts? Read the Bible. You want to know about God's creative activity? Study nature. It's amazing, marvelous. And in order to cultivate a Christian worldview, we must study scripture looking to its truth.
So going back to our garden analogy, a seed has been planted in our life based upon belief. At this point you and I are saved. Then the seed begins to grow, sanctifying us, making us more like Jesus. Here we blossom. And as part of the maturation process of growth, we need food, water, and nutrients. Folks, this is the Bible. This is study. We need the Bible to grow in our maturity, just like a flower needs water and nutrients. We need the Bible to grow as ambassadors for Christ in this world. And the end result, folks, is that as we mature as God's flower we will put off a fragrance, attracting others to the garden of God's delight, which is Jesus Christ.
So folks, all three of these aspects-- salvation, sanctification, and study; should cause us to be the aroma of Christ, as Paul says in second Corinthians. So again, three quick points to ponder. First is the principle. We must integrate biblical truth across the spectrum of our life of how we think and how we act, allowing the text to transform our mind.
Second is practice. We need to implement regular Bible study, Bible memorization, and Bible reading. All of these ingredients are necessary to help our spiritual garden grow. And by the way, just don't let a pastor do the study for you. You dig deep into the garden, allowing the fruits that come from God's word fulfill your life.
And then third is something practical. Get a good Bible dictionary. Head over to Parchments afterward, and ask for the best Bible dictionary, or a Greek translation, or topical handbook. Better yet, get Pastor Skip's Bible From 30,000 Feet. Or maybe download an app. My point is we have to study scripture with great resolve, allowing the text to nurture the garden of our life.
You see folks, the Bible is the essential component. It's the compost, the nutrients, the water for cultivating the garden of your soul. So in conclusion, we began our time together by looking at some disheartening images of people that influenced Adolf Hitler. Let's conclude our time before we open it up for question and answer, in how we're to cultivate a Christian worldview.
Looking at these screens, first, we're to believe. We must be saved. Here we know that Christ is who he is. And who he is, is the person who rose from the dead. And we must place our trust in him. But second, we must blossom. We partner with the Holy Spirit in the sanctification process. And as the Holy Spirit begins to tend to our garden, we grow more and more into the image of Christ.
And then thirdly, we study our Bible. We study it so we could serve and be a witness to the world. And by studying the Bible, we begin to put on the fragrance of Christ, living as the flower of God's grace, a witness to this world. So believe, blossom, and Bible. Thank God many of us in this room are serious about Bible study. We wouldn't be here tonight if we weren't. Thank God that he has saved so many of us in this room and that we're being sanctified by the power of the Holy Spirit. And folks, these are the building blocks for cultivating a Christian worldview.
But we're not finished with tonight. Because a study like this, I think, requires a time to digest. So I'm going to invite Pastor Nelson Walker, Jason, and Matt forward. Jason and Matt are going to have-- they're going to have the microphones. And we're going to ask you guys to come forward with questions pertaining to the study. And we want you to keep them sort of on the study. I mean we don't want to say, as you know, we don't want to get off on a tangent of is North Korea-- is the dictator the anti-Christ. That's a great question, by the way.
But there will be pastors up here afterward that will ask those questions. And by the way, why I've asked Pastor Nelson, is he's the leader of our School of Ministry. And he's involved--
Yeah, give Nelson our hand.
Nelson is also involved in helping shape and form Calvary College, which we'll tell you about in the future. And Pastor Jason Mills is one of our campus pastors, as you know, Nob Hill. And then of course, you guys know Pastor Matt. And a lot of times a lot of people are afraid to ask pastors questions. Well, now is your time. We want you to ask questions. We have exactly 28 minutes to do so, 28 minutes to answer your questions.
And we want you to ask questions like simple things, like how do you guys study, what books do you recommend; things of that nature. So with that, stand-- f you want to ask a question-- stand up and either come to Jason or Matt for a question. Please ask questions. And one of us will answer them. Yes, sir?
I have a question. In the pursuit of cultivating a Christian worldview, what books other than scripture, do you recommend to help in that process?
Nelson, tackle that. Just saying.
First, I would say, the Bible is number one. And I would recommend getting more than one translation. Because we'll get used to something like the King James or the New King James, or something we're used to. So get a couple of different types. Get something that is more word for word, like the New King James or the New American Standard. And get something else that is more thought per thought.
Today's world, if I were to say, oh, that's totally cool. And somebody 1,000 years from now would look at that, and say, oh he's talking about temperature. Whereas I'm using a colloquialism. So you want both types of scriptures, one.
Two, you need a consistent reading plan so that you're daily going through those scriptures. In terms of plans, there are so many of them. You can pick things up. You can look on the internet. So I'm not going to talk about different reading plans. So one, more than one translation. Two, multiple scriptures.
And three, I would say just get a good Bible handbook. And that's what they're called, Bible handbooks. Because the Bible handbook will give an introduction to every book. It will give you a timeline where that book is. It'll have some maps, so you have references. It will talk about what's going on culturally. So Jesus, of course, dealing with the Samaritan woman, he's dealing with men don't talk to women. She's a Samaritan. Samaritans were second class. Nobody who was a Jew would talk to a Samaritan. And so you get the feel of what's going on culturally.
So those basics, two Bibles minimum; one is word-for-word. The other is thought-for-thought, and a good Bible handbook. Then just a consistent time to read and absorb large chunks of scripture, and pull something out for daily meditations, so big chunks and little chunks simultaneously.
Jason, Matt; do you guys want chime in on that one?
Nelson, can you give an example of a couple of good thought-for-thought translations?
I'm sorry, an example of what?
Examples of thought-for-thought translations?
The thought-for-thought translation, I would say the very best out there is the NET, the New English Translation. Because they not only try to go thought for thought, every time they went a thought for thought, they footnote, by the way-- for example, Paul will say, brothers these things ought not to be so. In that, it will say, brothers and sisters these things ought not to be so. And they'll footnote it and say, the translation is brothers. But it was a thought that meant mankind, not just men. They just did it this way. So the NET, because it footnotes the different and explains it.
Let me explain something to our congregation here. We're throwing out some terminology you may not be familiar with. In Biblical translations there's two approaches. There's one called formal equivalence, and that is a word-by-word translation; and then dynamic equivalence, which is a thought-by-thought. And that's what Pastor Nelson is saying, a thought-by-thought. That's what we call dynamic equivalence.
Matt, do you have anything to add in the on extra books beyond the Bible that Christians should be reading?
Man, anything by CS Lewis is a no-brainer I mean you can read his fiction and get stuff out of that. But, you know, Mere Christianity, I remember reading that I think as a freshman in high school. And it's just such a logical approach to God's existence and why we can believe in arguments for why we can believe that there is a God, and be confident in that. So yeah, I am a big Lewis fan.
And I would just add that all Christians should get a good apologetics handbook. Apologetics is the study and defense of the Christian faith. One of my favorite authors is Norman Geisler. A lot of you guys know that, because I studied with Norman Geisler. But I'd recommend any apologetics book by Norman Geisler. OK. Thank you for your question. Next question, anyone have a question? Here we go, someone right here.
Is there a particular system of Bible study that you would recommend?
I'm sorry. Say that one more time.
Is there a particular system of Bible study that you would recommend?
Let me give you a method that Skip likes to use. So we have a pastor that I think does a pretty good job. And he has a particular methodology that he uses. And when he said, oh, I have a certain way I like to study the Bible. I was like-- So what he likes doing-- and he didn't invent this, but he likes to do it.
One is the Book of Proverbs. Now I got in trouble with this one. The Book of Proverbs has 31 chapters, and there's 31 days in the month. OK, 31 days in the month, generally. And so every day he'll read that chapter. Now I got in trouble one time because I forgot and left my Bible open on the bathroom sink to that chapter. My wife asked me, why did you leave the Bible open to-- it's like, no that was not about you.
So that's one thing he likes to do. Because he calls them truth time-bombs. But the other is he switches. And I would say you want to have a plan. But you want to switch your plan. So what he'll do is you think of the Bible of the Old Testament, history. Then you had the Old Testament poetry that begins-- Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes. Then you have the Old Testament prophets. So there's three sections-- history beginning with Moses and ends Ezra and Nehemiah; poetry, prophecy.
Then the New Testament would be the gospels, and then the history would be Acts. And then you have the letters, which of course end in prophecy. So what he would do is say, Monday I'm going to read history. Tuesday I'm going to read prophecy. He just puts the marker in. Wednesday I'm going to read prophecy. Thursday I read the gospels. Friday I'm going to read Acts, and then I'm going to read the letters. Of course, the gospels becomes the shorter section. So you're going through the gospels, the words of Jesus, even more.
So that's a study plan he uses. But they have many things, you can say to get through the Bible in the year. The Bible From 30,000 Feet has been talked about a lot. That's a through-the-Bible-in-a-year program. So take a program, use it a year, and then switch up. It's like working out in the gym. You're always changing up, because you don't want your body to get used to something. So it just does it and forgets it. So keep changing up.
Jason? Do you have anything to add to that?
No, but we have another question down here.
OK. Matt, but anything else to add?
Yeah, just real quick to that. How many of you have the U version app, the Holy Bible app on your phone? Probably like 90%-- OK. Maybe less than I thought.
Wow, that's great.
But that's a phenomenal app. And they have reading plans in that app that will help you go through the Bible in a year, the New Testament in a month, or so on and so forth. One of my favorites is by Robert Murray M'Cheyne. And you can find out that on the U version app. That's just a really neat way to have the Bible with you all the time. And it will send you notifications. It's like, hey, did you read your Bible today? Bzz-bzz-bzz. That's a way better notification than your Instagram going off and be like, hey two more people liked your posts. Bzz-bzz-bzz. So that's a really practical way to read the Bible.
And let me just say one other thing to answer your question. I would recommend the inductive Bible study, inductive Bible study. And if you're familiar with the book called Living by the Book, we sell it in our bookstore. That teaches you inductive Bible study. So great question, thank you. Jason, you have a question here.
So how much should you read a day?
Say, again Paul. I didn't hear.
How much should you read a day?
Wow, Nelson, go ahead. Take that one.
That's why he's up there.
I would say that depends. Some people are able to read massive amounts of things and retain them. Some people struggle greatly. I know that I am one of these, wow, I read the book of Romans. That's cool. My wife said, I read a proverb. OK. And she is one of the godliest people I know. She puts me to shame. So it's how much can you absorb? How much time do you have? I like two methods simultaneously.
One is big picture. You're covering the whole thing quickly. And the other is grab a section and dig deep. So think of the way we do Bible study here at the church. Wednesday is big picture, covering massive amounts. Sunday is small, just a couple of verses. You're reading should encompass both. One is contextually large chunks of scripture to get the feel of, say, why did Paul write Romans. What is that all about? What's the feel? Who was it written to? So you've got a big feel for the book. Now when you get some little section of Romans that you dig into, Romans 10:9 and 10, if you believe in your heart that God-- confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you shall be saved.
Now when you're in that and you're digging deeper, you understand the context. Is he has just switched from showing everybody was a sinner. There is no way to be righteous. How can God save the righteous? This is how, and so how are you now going to apply it? By confessing Jesus as the messiah. Because he's now in the Jewish section of the book, and it's written rabbinically.
So you study big picture, little picture simultaneously.
Jason, anything to add on that question?
I would just say do it the same way you eat. You eat till your full.
Yeah, good. That's good, practical. Matt, anything on that?
Man, who-- who can argue with that logic?
I know. I can argue with that.
You don't as me, Paul. Because I--
I will argue with that.
I read way too much. I honestly do. I read up to 16 books at a time. And I just go from chapter to chapter, so I finish a chapter and then I pick up the next book. And I just stack them up. It's a bad habit. It really is. It drives my wife crazy. So don't do it.
Before he answers that question, I do have to-- I have to take offense. Has anyone gone to an all-you-can-eat place? You know what I'm talking about? Where you put more on one plate than you would normally eat in a week. But you've got two plates and you fill it up. Because you paid for all the-- and then after you are so full that you can't eat, you get dessert? So you're wrong, Jason. Go ahead.
Here we go. Question over here.
I think we have different metabolisms.
How do you walk in the spirit?
How do you walk in the spirit? Go ahead, Nelson.
One step at a time. OK, walking-- walking in the spirit is about an attitudinal walk. So on the one hand, there's the physical. I walk in the spirit by saying, well you know what, I'm not going to do that thing. Because I know it's like the speed limits says 65, so I'm not going go over that. Right? Because that's part of just obedience. And all of us walk in the spirit, right? So we obey these things.
So one of them is just simply obeying. So that's part of walking in the spirit. But the other part is to cultivate the mindset, and we'll go along with the pray without ceasing. That does not mean you always bow your head and close your eyes, because that's not good when you're driving 65. So praying without ceasing means an attitude of prayer.
We have a pastor here who says, every time I see the other pastor, you see my lips move. Because he's like-- he's praying for you. You think it's like you need your meds. But no. He's praying. He's a very, very godly man. So he prays. So it's an attitude of prayer. Therefore, walking in the spirit is maintaining an attitude that says-- and to simplify-- what would Jesus do. How does this fit the worldview? How does this advance Christ? How will the words that I say-- because they come out of my mouth. Just don't let anything come out of your mouth that doesn't edify that doesn't-- what am I going to say? How am I going to do this? Is it a way that glorifies God? Are my words, or my actions, or my deeds glorifying God?
I'm imperfect. And I will mess up. Ask my wife. She can give you a big list. But you're striving to live in a way that you're always conscious of pleasing God. So here's the scripture. Don't work as someone just trying to please your boss when he's watching-- not as men pleasers-- but as to the Lord. So everything we do is an attitude of I want to glorify you. I want to glorify you. I want to glorify you. And that's walking in the spirit.
And let me just add that the word that Paul uses, the Greek word that Paul uses in that particular passage or all passages when he refers to walking in the spirit, is peripateo. And peripateo in Greek means to be preoccupied with or to pick yourself up with. So just as Nelson said, walking in the spirit is being preoccupied with what the Holy Spirit is doing in your life and in the world around you.
Jason or Matt, anything you guys want to add to that, what walking in the spirit is?
OK. I think we have another question here.
So is there importance in reading books that don't relate to our Christian worldview like, Mormon books or Buddhist? Is there importance there? And like what books would you suggest?
Go ahead, Nelson.
Well, before suggesting books, I would say, I read the newspaper and I read lots of books. First of all, I need my worldview. So I'm going to go with eating a meal. I have to eat my vegetables. They've told me. Now my son would always argue, can't we just have dessert first. So let's assume that I have a Christian worldview and I'm growing as a Christian. I would say, read everything you can get your hands on-- other than junk. I mean I don't want get in and start just reading some horrid profane stuff. But it makes me a good apologist if I understand sociology, if I understand philosophy.
If you go to school to become a doctor or a nurse you're going to read nonfiction books. You're going to read books on anatomy, and science, and mathematics. And so read widely. Paul the Apostle, when he went to Mars Hill, he comes up with a sermon. When they ask them to speak, he said, I have perceived that as I walk around the city and see all these statues that you are very religious. And right here is a statue to an unknown God. This is the God I have come to tell you about.
God who made the world and all things therein doesn't dwell and heart's made with hands. So he's saying he's made all of us one flesh. He was quoting Epicurious. He quoted a whole bunch of Greek philosophers. He quoted the stoics. His whole sermon was based on the philosophy of the people he was talking to. The more well-read you are, the more well-versed you are, the more you can communicate to the world.
Paul said, I have been made all things to all men that I might win them more. Read widely.
And I would concur. I say amen to that. I read voraciously across topics. I read math books. I read science books. I read-- I do. I do.
Manuals on how to hook up a stereo.
I read 15 to 20 books at one time. I just literally read one thing after the other. One time-- I'm not kidding here, I don't think he's here tonight-- but one time my son said, dad, it's become a problem, you know, your reading.
I'm thinking, oh, come on. He goes, do you how many books you have up there? I go, yeah probably 10. He goes, no way. No way. You don't have 10 on your book-stand. I go, just go up and count them. So he came down, and counted them. There were 60 books stacked up on my book-stand all the way around. You don't have to read that much. But I agree with Nelson. Read broadly.
And by the way, Kent Hughes in his book, Disciplines of a Godly Man, at the back of that book he lists or he interviews pastors and asks them that same question. And various notable pastors give the books that they would recommend people to read. Jason--
Would you give the name of that book that has that list it again?
Disciplines of a Godly Man, by Kent Hughes. Jason or Matthew, you guys have anything to add to that question?
I think so. Often we assume what the world assumes about us. Right? And so as we want to talk to people about Christ, we want to share our worldview and all these things, we have to understand where they're coming from. And so if you have no idea and you're just guessing, well, you're just as bad as the other side of that conversation. And so I'll listen to pod-casts and read articles and all these things. Because I'll listen to them talk about Christians or what they think is in the Bible. And you realize how far that gulf actually is.
And so when you actually start having those conversations, you kind of have a good idea of where that starting point is. When you start talking about, well, who is Satan, who is Jesus, and the Bible, and this, and this, and this. You can't take those things for granted. You have to know where they're coming from, defining those terms and being able to get them to bridge the space from where they are to where you need them to be to understand this information.
Yeah, just I remember hearing one pastor say that the moment we become irrelevant is when we're trying to answer questions that the world is not asking. Hey, Moses. Thanks for that. And so it's important to know what is the world actually asking. And you figure that out by reading the books they're reading.
Oh, we have another question right here. Thamer?
Can you guys share with us how you might encourage us to do the discipline of prayer, because is prayer is as essential as God's word.
Nelson, tell us how you pray.
Have you prayed about that? OK. The discipline of is to set time aside. I'm going to give an example of a failure in my life. Years ago, back about the time the dinosaurs were roaming the earth, I was going to a school that was a 40-minute drive. And one of the commitments in the prayer class was that we were going to pray one hour day. And I somehow justified in my mind, well, I will be praying on the way there every day and praying on the way home. Because it was the freeways of Los Angeles. So you are praying, and so that will justify it. And it was an absolute justification of sin. Because I failed. I did not do what I was supposed to do.
I would say prayer is a couple of things. One is there is a dedicated fixed time. Now, I have a hard time kneeling down or lying in my bed and praying because I love to fellowship with the feathers also, and that usually takes precedence. So prayer walks, praying aloud, praying with others; these are techniques. But it comes down to I need to go on the walk. I need to do the prayer.
So just like I would say, oh, I'm going to eat. Well I need to schedule prayer time. So that's part of it. It's a focused prayer time. Many people say a journal helps. But a focused prayer time and I would say an accountability partner. One of the greatest times of prayer in my life was when I was getting up early and going to the gym and meeting another pastor. And we'd work out and then we'd go into the steam sauna and we turned it into our prayer room. And we wound evangelizing whole groups, because they would say, you guys pray. Hey, my wife is, or my brother is-- and so all these people that are in are-- can you pray for. So it was great. So we have fixed prayer times.
The other is the attitude of prayer. Since the Bible says pray without ceasing, it is not to go around and when the person cuts me off, think of what I want to do. It's to intercede on their behalf. I had somebody rear-end me the other day, and I just said, don't worry about it. And then they turned around and they filed and said, I was in a parking lot, backed up, hit them and ran away. So it was one those.
So, I think about that every day as I see the bump on my-- the bumper doesn't look as nice as it could. So every day when I see that, I pray for her salvation. That's not the first thought that comes to mind. So I use the things of the world to move me toward prayer, when the things of the world want to move me toward the flesh. That's the attitude of prayer.
That's good. Matt, anything to add about prayer?
Wow, that was great. I mean I think your calendar declares to you what you actually care about. So if you really care about spending time with God in prayer, put it on your calendar. And if you're really struggling with that, set reminders on your phone. Again, these things can be-- these tools that we have in our pockets, they can be tools for us or they can be our greatest enemy. But make it work for you instead of against you.
That's good. Jason, any thoughts on prayer? All right. Here's a question.
Is it OK for me to read the Bible front or backward, or should I do it a different way?
From front to back?
Or should he do it a different way?
How should he read the Bible, from front to back, or what do you suggest, Nelson?
You know, when I first got saved and somebody said, there's an Old Testament and New Testament. I said what's a testament? So I would say if you're reading the Bible, it's OK. So whether it's front to back, back to front, you're reading it. That's like having a plate of food and I've got vegetables and potatoes and meat. OK, I'm not a vegan. And so which one do I eat first? Now my wife just stirs it all together and calls it a casserole. But it doesn't matter, because you're going to eat it all anyway.
So set up a schedule where you're going to make sure you always finish off your plate every day. A lot of the back, a little the front; a lot of the front, a little of the back. Have a schedule, eat everything on the plate, call it casserole.
Does that answer your question? Cool. We have time for one more question. One more question. Wow, all the hands just went up right now. OK. We have time for two more questions.
With quick answers.
Can you say a little bit more about how you use fasting in the blossoming part of cultivating a Christian worldview?
I would love to. First of all, let me talk about fasting. If somebody has a blood issue, whatever that might be, so that fasting is-- there's a medical component to it like you're hypoglycemic or diabetic; so if there's something like that, many things that I say, please do not generalize them. You need to work through your medical things.
Fasting, in scripture there were different types of fasts, just as there are today. Remember Jesus was criticized. Why is it that your disciples don't fast, and our disciples fast? And he said, when the bridegroom is there, they won't. But when the bridegroom is not there, they're going to fast. So the disciples didn't fast. But he said that we should be. But what is fasting?
Fasting can be anything from a complete stopping of all eating, to saying I'm just going to fast from particular things, like I'm going fast from vegetables-- because that's spiritual-- no. No, I didn't. But there's a type of fast. I'm going to fast for a meal. I'm going to fast from certain meals. So fasting is degrees of quantity and duration of length.
But it's not just a sanctified diet-- I'm just going to fast from desserts because I should have less sugar. It is replacing that time-- as my body, like when I say I see my dented bumper and my head goes somewhere, and I discipline myself to go to toward prayer for salvation rather than the thoughts that I would rather have. Well, now your body says gimme. And you're saying, yes. Give me more of Jesus. So my fasting is a spark. It's the way that most people used to do the buzz on their phone. They would make their body buzz in hunger to remind them to focus on God. And you don't have to buy a phone to do it. You just don't have to eat.
So you choose a time. You set it on your calendar. You're going to focus on God. It's going to be a time of prayer. Your body is buzzing. You're praying. Have you ever had something go bad in life, and you're really praying? Well when you're really hungry, you tend to really pray. It's just like that. So it's a time of focused prayer. And then if you go on a longer fast, there are ways to break it. Disciplines of a Godly Man is one book, Boa's book that was mentioned. If you're going to a longer fast, you probably need to look at it. Because there's ways to enter a fast, and ways to leave a fast. You don't fast for three days and then finish it with a cheeseburger and fries. That's--
Jason, you had a little bit. And then we have just time for one more. Jason, did you want to add to that?
I was going to say I don't fast very much, because there's not a lot of me to lose. But you can fast a lot of different things too. I know people who have gone on social media fasts. For those of you who are millennials, I know that sounds crazy. But you can do that, or fast from your phone. Or you can fast from anything that's causing a distraction in your life where you want to refocus on God. I know that I should probably fast more from my phone.
I know that my wife would probably enjoy that a lot more. But I would probably enjoy it a lot more too, instead of being constantly distracted by these other things where I could be using that time better to be focused, to be disciplined, for prayer or Bible reading, to gain an attitude of the spirit, the attitude of how can I obey and honor my Lord in my daily actions.
OK, one final question, one final question.
I heard that every Christian should memorize at least the book of Romans. Ralph Mahoney said this. So you agree with that? Or do you think that Christians should memorize one book in particular or are there techniques or do you guys practice that?
Well, I haven't heard that you should memorize the book of Romans. Though I do think the principle of memorization is great. Now Nelson, in the School of Ministry you guys teach a memorization plan. What is that plan?
There's a memorization course. It's not only taught in the School of Ministry. But it's offered at Calvary. And I'm sure if enough people wanted, they would just offer is Calvary wide. But it's a technique that you learn to memorize massive amounts of data. And you never forget it forever. It's based on mega memory. And it was converted, same principles into Christianity. So we teach that.
Students will get this, and they'll walk away, saying, yeah, I memorized 25 scriptures yesterday. It's like what? So should we memorize? Yes. Do you want to memorize the book of Romans? Go for it. Start with the book of James. It's shorter, easier. Have a little success. But the idea is-- seriously. You've memorized your name, your phone number, your address, the names of your family. You can memorize. You just have to focus on what to memorize.
So it's not an issue. But the issue is how can I memorize vast quantities and not-- Do this. And this is a quick answer. I used to work in a psychiatric hospital with children whose IQ were very, very low and they can't learn. I could take a classroom of these children, teach them their times tables, 1 times 1 through 12 times 12, in one afternoon, not talk about it again, and every one of them would ace a test three weeks later, because of a memorizing technique that we taught.
That is the one that we teach in the School of Ministry. And if people ask, we can probably get Sam Garcia to teach it for the general population.
And I would just say principally you are what you eat. So eat a lot of scripture, as much as you can memorize. You are what you eat.
Well, thank you for bearing with us for this past half hour of question-and-answer. I know so many more of you raised your hands. There will be our pastors up here afterwards. We would love to field more questions, dialogue with you. Brian Trujillo, in Parchments bookstore, he said if any of the books that were mentioned tonight you want them to order for you, go over there and they'll get them for you. And we just truly count it a blessing to partner with you guys in learning to grow in Christ likeness, in helping you cultivate that Christian worldview. So that you could put on the glasses of God's vision of his word and his world.
So Jason, I'm going to ask you to close this in prayer. And then we will be dismissed.
Lord, we thank you for such an invigorating night, Lord, not just intellectually, Lord. But we want our hearts, our souls to grow as well, God. We want to be able to take this worldview, Lord, your world and your word, and we'll be able to share it, Lord, intelligently and supernaturally with those we come in contact with. Lord, help us to keep our vision clear, our path straight, and our goal, you. In Jesus' name we pray, amen.
What binds us together is devotion to worshipping our Heavenly Father, dedication to studying his word, and determination to proclaim our eternal hope in Jesus Christ.
For more teachings from Calvary Albuquerque and Skip Heitzig, visit calvaryabq.org.