Nathan Schneider


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A Personal Revival Plan for January 2016

The New Year brings new excitement about opportunities for personal growth. As you make resolutions for growth, don’t forget about being intentional in the areas that truly matter most, those that last for eternity.

Over the month of January our Student Ministry is going to be intentional about personal revival, gathering for prayer, and the constant pointing to eternal things.

Stay attentive to prayer updates, but here are two immediate applications:

  1. This Wednesday, December 30th, we will gather from 6:30-8:00PM to pray for our ministry/ year.
  2. Ryan Gossett, one of our interns, edited a document from Alvin Reid meant to be an aid to personal revival. This document is a 31-day devotional for the month of January. Our leaders and students are encouraged to use this document as a means to personal growth.

31 Day Devotional

I love being your Student Pastor!

Nathan

“the LORD be magnified!” Psalm 40:16

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Books Read in 2013

  1. Deep & Wide / Andy Stanley / Church Ministry
  2. True Community / Jerry Bridges / Christian Living
  3. Speaking to Teenagers / Doug Fields & Duffy Robbins / Student Ministry
  4. Breathing Under Water / Richard Rohr / Christian Living
  5. Soul Print / Mark Batterson / Christian Living
  6. The Book of Matches / Alvin Reid & Ashley Gorman / Christian Living
  7. Risk is Right / John Piper / Christian Living
  8. As You Go / Alvin Reid / Student Ministry
  9. Raising a Modern-Day Knight / Robert Lewis / Parenting
  10. Real Life Discipleship / Jim Putman / Christian Ministry
  11. Simple Student Ministry / Geiger and Borton / Student Ministry
  12. The Present Age / Soren Kierkegaard / Philosophy
  13. Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart / J.D. Greear / Christian Theology
  14. The Message of the Sermon on the Mount / John Stott / Biblical Studies
  15. Closing the Window / Tim Chester / Christian Living
  16. The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership / John Maxwell / Leadership
  17. The One Minute Manager / Blanchard and Johnson / Leadership
  18. Good to Great / Jim Collins / Leadership
  19. Dangerous Calling / Paul Tripp / Church Ministry
  20. Discipleshift / Jim Putman / Church Ministry
  21. Christian Beliefs / Wayne Grudem / Christian Theology
  22. The One Thing / Gary Keller / Leadership
  23. Killing Jesus / Bill O’Reilly / Christian History
  24. Christ’s Incarnation / Charles Spurgeon / Christian Theology
  25. Against Calvinism / Roger Olsen / Christian Theology
  26. A Little Exercise for Young Theologians / Helmut Thielicke / Christian Theology
  27. The Insanity of God / Nik Ripkin / Christian Living
  28. For Calvinism / Michael Horton / Christian Theology
  29. They Found the Secret / Raymond Edman / Biography
  30. The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe / CS Lewis / Fiction
  31. The Weight of Glory / CS Lewis / Christian Theology
  32. The Reason for God / Tim Keller / Apologetics
  33. With / Alvin Reid / Church Ministry
  34. The True Vine / Andrew Murray / Christian Living
  35. Praying Backwards / Bryan Chapell / Christian Living
  36. All In / Mark Batterson / Christian Living
  37. How People Change / Lane and Tripp / Christian Living
  38. Gospel Deeps / Jared Wilson / Christian Living


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Books Read in 2012

  1. A Theology for the Church / Danny Akin ed. / Christian Theology
  2. Almost Christian / Kendra Creasy Dean / Student Ministry
  3. American Patriots / Rick Santorum / American History
  4. Called to Lead / John MacArthur / Leadership
  5. Christ’s Incarnation / Charles Spurgeon / Christian Theology
  6. Creating Magic / Lee Cockerell / Leadership
  7. Death By Love / Mark Driscoll and Gerry Breshears / Christian Theology
  8. Erasing Hell / Francis Chan / Christian Theology
  9. Faithful Preaching / Tony Merida / Preaching
  10. Forgotten God / Francis Chan / Christian Living
  11. Foxe’s Book of Martyrs / John Foxe / Church History
  12. Gospel-Centered Discipleship / Jonathan Dodson / Christian Living
  13. Gospel in Life / Tim Keller / Study Guide & Christian Living
  14. Holiness / Henry Blackaby / Christian Living
  15. Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands / Paul Tripp / Biblical Counseling
  16. Just Do Something / Kevin DeYoung / Christian Living
  17. Living the Cross Centered Life / C.J. Mahaney / Christian Living
  18. Modesty / Glenn and Challies / Christian Living
  19. Purpose Driven Youth Ministry / Doug Fields / Student Ministry
  20. Salvation and Sovereignty / Kenneth Keathley / Christian Theology
  21. Sex, Dating, and Relationships / Hiestand and Thomas / Christian Living
  22. Simple Church / Thom Rainer and Eric Geiger / Church Ministry
  23. Strategic Pastoral Counseling / David Benner / Biblical Counseling
  24. Student Ministry and the Supremacy of Christ / Richard Ross / Student Ministry
  25. The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God / D.A. Carson / Christian Theology
  26. The Expectant Father / Armin A. Brott / Parenting
  27. The Freedom of Self Forgetfulness / Tim Keller / Christian Living
  28. The Legacy of Sovereign Joy / John Piper / Biography
  29. The Messiah in the Old Testament / Walter Kaiser / Old Testament
  30. The Passion Driven Sermon / Jim Shaddix / Preaching
  31. The Power of Speaking God’s Word / Ellsworth Wilbur / Preaching
  32. The Purity Principle / Randy Alcorn / Christian Living
  33. Theology and Practice and Mission / Bruce Ashford ed. / Christian Theology
  34. Total Church / Tim Chester and Steve Timmis / Church Ministry
  35. Trained in the Fear of God / Stinson and Jones / Family & Church Ministry; Church History
  36. You Can Change / Tim Chester / Christian Living


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Growing in Christ Includes Killing Sin

Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming.You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11 Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all. Colossians 3:5-11

Addition by subtraction. Everyone has heard this statement repeated at some point. Although this is not a complete picture of growth, especially in the Christian life, it does accurately point out that there’s often a need to put aside certain things in order to attain better things. We see this in a number of circumstances. For example, people will stop eating certain foods in order to become more physically fit. Men and women put aside relationships with others as they become more serious with each other. Those transitioning into a better position in their workplace are often forced to cease doing their typical responsibilities.

The same is true for Christians growing in their faith. In Colossians 3:5-11, Paul urges the Christians to likewise lay aside their former behaviors in order that they may live more godly lives. Paul’s charge is for Christians to “rid” themselves of sin and pursue Christlikeness (e.g. 3:12-17).

Motivation: the Gospel

We often use two motivations for growing in Christ: 1. consequences, and 2. rewards. Consequences is the easier one to focus on because we’ve all experience consequences to our actions. It’s also easier to focus on consequences because we feel that we can more easily motivate ourselves or others into action out of fear. Paul uses this motivation when he says, “God’s wrath is coming.”

However, he does not end the conversation there. He includes this statement, “You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived.” He would add later, “since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self.” In other words, “You are no longer held by the power of this former way of life. You have been redeemed by Christ and are now a new creation, being renewed to something better.”

The gospel, then, is our primary motivation for change because it reminds of certain truths that give us perspective and power:

  • We have died with Christ and have been raised to new life (Col. 3:1-4).
  • Sin no longer has power over us because Jesus has already overcome the power of sin (2:13-14).
  • We have been rescued from sin for something better, reconciliation through Christ and to Christ (1:12-14; 21-22).

Goal: Christlikeness

As Christians, we have been rescued by Christ for something better. Paul wrote in Colossians that we are “being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.” We no longer have to live in sin. One day all believers will be made perfect and to spend eternity with God in heaven. This is a reality already declared to be the case by God. However, the great thing is that we don’t have to wait to live out this reality. Because of our redemptive position in Christ, we can work out our salvation. We have been positioned to grow in Christlikeness and this is much BETTER than sin. Therefore, let us lay aside sin in the pursuit of something greater. As the author of Hebrews wrote, “…let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith…” (Heb. 12:1-2).

Context: Christ’s Community

Finally, lest we endeavor to kill sin on our own, let us not forget that we fight this battle alongside of others. Paul’s argument to kill sin ends with a reminder that in Christ, we’re all equal and all in the fight together, “Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.” In the same way that you would never see a soldier leaving his regiment to fight the war himself, it doesn’t make sense for believers to fight alone. In the fight against sin, Christians would be best served to have the support, encouragement, and accountability of others.


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Rats in the Cellar

It’s easy to blame circumstances when we act out (in a way that is not beneficial to ourselves or others). We can be guilty of “blame shifting,” where we immediately point out that someone or something else cause us to act in an unpleasant manner. However, the reality is that we act out of what’s in our hearts. Jesus said in Matthew 5:18-19,

But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander.

C. S. Lewis illustrates this point by using the illustration of “rats in the cellar” in Mere Christianity:

We begin to notice, besides our particular sinful acts, our sinfulness; begin to be alarmed not only about what we do, but about what we are. This may sound rather difficult, so I will try to make it clear from my own case. When I come to my evening prayers and try to reckon up the sins of the day, nine times out of ten the most obvious one is some sin against charity; I have sulked or snapped or sneered or snubbed or stormed. And the excuse that immediately springs to my mind is that the provocation was so sudden and unexpected; I was caught off my guard, I had not time to collect myself. Now that may be an extenuating circumstance as regards those particular acts: they would obviously be worse if they had been deliberate and premeditated. On the other hand, surely what a man does when he is taken off his guard is the best evidence for what sort of a man he is? Surely what pops out before the man has time to put on a disguise is the truth? If there are rats in a cellar you are most likely to see them if you go in very suddenly. But the suddenness does not create the rats: it only prevents them from hiding. In the same way the suddenness of the provocation does not make me an ill-tempered man: it only shows me what an ill-tempered man I am. The rats are always there  in the cellar, but if you go in shouting and noisily they will have taken cover before you switch on the light.

We are not defined by our circumstances, but how we respond in the midst of our circumstances. The key to transformation is not controlling what happens around us, but rather allowing Jesus to transform our hearts.

To read daily from some of Lewis’ most classic works, check out A Year with C. S. Lewis.


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Scriptures for Memorization/Meditation

I can think of nothing more valuable for a Christian than the memorizing of Scripture. The author Hebrews calls God’s Word “living and active” and “sharper than any double-edged sword, penetrating as far as the separation of soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It is able to judge the ideas and thoughts of the heart” (Heb. 4:12).

God gave us His words to help conform us into the image of Jesus Christ (2 Tim. 3:16-17). So, as we memorize and meditate on Scripture, we find ourselves being reoriented to Him. For this reason, I am making a greater effort to memorize portions of God’s Word. I would encourage you to do the same. Here are some verses I’ll be memorizing/meditating on this week.

No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to humanity. God is faithful, and He will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation He will also provide a way of escape so that you are able to bear it.
(1 Corinthians 10:13)

We all, with unveiled faces, are looking as in a mirror at the glory of the Lord and are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory; this is from the Lord who is the Spirit.
(2 Corinthians 3:18)

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
(Galatians 3:20)

Begin the habit of memorizing verses and passages of Scripture. You’ll find that those sections of the Bible that you memorize will stay with you throughout your daily life – at home, work, and elsewhere.

What’s the best way to memorize Scripture? There are different approaches to memorization, but one common factor of all the methods is repetition. Some people choose to write out what they’re memorizing, while others choose to speak the passages. Whatever your method, remember to repeat, repeat, repeat! I’ve heard it said that if you really want to memorize something you have to repeat it every day for a week, every week for a month and every month for a year. Certainly, those numbers aren’t going to be the same for everybody, but the point is clear: memorization takes repetition.

By the way, use creative means to help increase the amount of repetitions. For example, if you have a verse you want to memorize, write it on a note card and put it in your office and car, write it on something in the house, play a game of matching with your family (where each word of the verse is written on the cards), say it as a family at meal times, and ask others for suggestions.

Don’t stop meditating on the verse/passage after you’ve memorized it. Continue to allow the truth of whatever you’ve memorized to saturate your mind and soul. For me, this is the best part and the most fruitful. Put it to memory and then allow the verse to help you “be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Rom. 12:2). So, be strategic about the words you memorize. If you’re in need of hearing a particular truth, find a verse that relates to that truth and put it to memory!