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June 2023 New Horizons

Your Heavenly Mindset

 

Contents

Your Heavenly Mindset

John Owen on Spiritual-mindedness

The Shape of Things to Come

Seeds of Hope in Ukraine

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Your Heavenly Mindset

Arthur Kuschke, OPC minister and longstanding librarian at Westminster Theological Seminary (1945–1979), now in the presence of the Lord, once said to me, “When will we learn to see ourselves as God sees us?”  Taking God’s viewpoint, namely a heavenly one, makes a world of a difference. It puts everything, including ourselves, into perspective, which is what Paul encourages us to do in Colossians 3:1–4: If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Your Mindset To “set your mind” (one word in the Greek) refers to the disposition and the trajectory of our thinking. Our thoughts are not a mere collection of random ideas. They tend to run in a certain direction, being driven by the desires ... Read more

John Owen on Spiritual-mindedness

Religion—even Christian religion—can become fixated upon earthly hopes, personal and public, that we already desire on other grounds. Jesus and the gospel can easily become instruments or means to gaining what we otherwise want or value. There is the potential of drifting into something more subtle than overt anti-religiosity, and that’s to stumble toward a religious instrumentalism. How might Reformed churches be equipped and alerted to such drift? We are wise to consider ways in which even religion can be secularized; wiser still to attend to those pathways where Scripture instills in us means of maintaining spiritual attentiveness. In both regards, we do well to glean from the order and passion of the Puritan John Owen’s classic account regarding “The Grace and Duty of Being Spiritually-Minded” (in Sin and Grace [Banner of Truth Trust, 1965], 263–497). In that text, Owen not only attested the significance of the spiritual but the very way in which the God who is Spirit had turned, in ... Read more

The Shape of Things to Come

At the close of every Lord’s Day, the minister is afforded the tremendous privilege of pronouncing the benediction of our triune God on his assembled people: “May the Lord bless you, and keep you . . .” What beneficence! What boon! What bounty! to become the recipients of the divine favor and protection of the Maker and Redeemer of heaven and earth! But then Monday comes, and once more we find ourselves engulfed in a seemingly endless wave of tragedies, both personal and corporate: an ailing father, a failed engagement, a divided congregation, a people in turmoil. Have the blessings failed? Has God forsaken his people? Many of us recognize that divine favor is not materialistic, for the Scriptures never promise a life of influence, ease, or pleasure. At the same time, the sorrows we endure can so overwhelm us that we are left feeling confused and helpless. Bearing under the fury of a world that hates us from without, and the terrors of a conscience awakened to the depth of our own sin ... Read more

Seeds of Hope in Ukraine

When an Armenian living in Ukraine decided to practice his English on a couple of Americans he heard speaking on a street corner years ago, he had no idea the encounter would change the course of his life. He discovered his conversational English was awkward, but the Americans invited him to keep practicing in a class that used the Bible as a textbook. The Americans were missionaries, and the Lord used the class to draw George to saving faith in Christ. George recently recalled those early days of faith from the upstairs room of a house in the southern port city of Odessa, where he serves his congregation as a pastor in the Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Ukraine (EPCU). The denomination of twelve churches is the fruit of decades of missionary and Ukrainian efforts that often began with simple, evangelistic conversations with men like George in the years after the fall of the Soviet Union. OPC missionary Heero Hacquebord arrived in Ukraine nearly three decades ago, and he still serves alongside ... Read more

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