Recall, we ended last week’s fare at the Training Table on REFORMATION: “Feast of the Heart is, first and foremost, devoted to offering scrumptious fare of True Truth, Pure Doctrine—served up by a highly fallible human being. Please, pull up a chair and join us SO THAT we will be assured of the fruit we will speak to next time: Christians living in word and in deed.

It’s so good to know that the entirety of the Bible was written with two goals and/or audiences in mind: a) the goal to remind God’s people of the True Truth, or “pure doctrine”, and b) the assumption that God’s people already knew the True Truth, or pure doctrine… and were being called to live it! The commonality? Conformation to True Truth on the journey towards holiness, Christ-likeness, and Kingdom service to others.

It’s reminiscent of the apparent GAP between Paul’s letter (of “faith) to the Christians in Rome and James’ letter (of “works”) to Christians:

There is, of course, overlap, but Romans is the God-given key to understanding the pure doctrines of sin, law, judgment, human destiny, faith, works, grace, justification, sanctification, election, the plan of salvation, the work of Christ and the spirit, the Christian hope, the nature and life of the Church, the place of the Jew and non-Jew in the purposes of God, the philosophy of the church and world history, the meaning and message of the Old Testament, the duties of Christian citizenship, and the principles of personal godliness and morality.

The Book of James? The call of living out all of the above True Truth, pure doctrine, orthodoxy… That is, discipleship: “the glad surrender” (Elisabeth Elliot) of conforming each one of us into the likeness of Jesus Christ!

The Fruit of the “Romans-James, One-Two Punch”?
REVIVAL: “…when the church has returned to a pure doctrine and the lives of Christians in the church have known (and lived out) the power of the Holy Spirit” (Francis Schaeffer—parenthesis added).

As previously stated, then, Feast of the Heart’s second step after “Reformation” is, “Revival… we seek to model biblical Christians living in word and deed”.

Our men’s Bible Study Group is just beginning The Book of Hebrews. There are few Bible books more apt for Christians in our day: A Pastoral Letter to Christians who were suffering, confused, and tempted towards worldliness and abandoning the faith. How does Hebrews achieve its goal? It re-establishes the foundations of the faith!

Spiritually-speaking too: we are what we eat! Feasting on Pure Doctrine, True Truth, and within a community of faith, SO THAT God’s chosen people will be enabled to carry out His plan of redemption within the mysterious partnership of Sovereignty, and the Saved-and-Sent in Christ Jesus: you, me, and the family of God.

AMEN.

There’s a timelessly timely question the Bible asks of all humanity in various ways, over and over again: “…if the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do” (Psalm 11:3)?In the vernacular, the Bible is asking, “When (not “if”) all of the institutions of this world crumble, what can God do?” And, by implication, “What can God’s people do?”

I don’t know about you, but I think this is a very good question. And timely, is it not? As our wayward hearts might have it, this is the sort of question that many of us, or at least me for sure, would just as soon avoid… than you very much! Why? Because questions of this kind tend to polarize our thinking: they tend to force to take a stand about what we really, really believe.

Perhaps you recall another who preferred this approach: Jesus said, “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword” (Matthew 10:34). And it’s “the sword” Jesus is referring to, that Feast of the Heart is based upon: True Truth. Pure Doctrine.

The shortest answer to the Psalmist’s rhetorical question above? “God can be God: “I AM” ; God’s people can be God’s people: WE ARE.” That’s the rock-solid foundation that will never, ever end. When all else is falling apart around us we must always resort to ”True Truth”, “Pure Doctrine” (Francis Schaeffer), the Bible: the inspired, unshakable, and living word of God.

“Feast of the Heart exists to help bring about Christ-centered reformation, revival, and constructive revolution so that God will be glorified and people blessed.”

The Feast of the Heart’s Vision Statement is based on three foundational, and sequential, principles: Christ-centered… reformation, revival, and constructive revolution. For today, let’s take a look at reformation. But before we do so, please allow me point out something very important: like all systems God has created, this is an organic and interconnected process, or journey.

Sure, there are a whole bunch of things we don’t know about God (E.g., “mystery”), but this is NOT one of them: Continuously embracing and consuming True Truth, Pure Doctrine (reformation) will lead to Christians living in word and in deed (revival), which will lead to living radical, self-sacrificial, involved, salty and bright, servants of “the least of these” while staying undefiled by the ways of the world (constructive revolution).

It’s Jesus-and-Image-Bearer-loving, organic, truth-telling-in-love, engrafted, abiding, other-centered, persevering, standing, deep-rooted, fruit-bearing, thankful, amour-donned, gentle warriors waging war with every breath. “YES!”

REFORMATION
As the Francis Schaeffer quote borrowed by Feast of the Heart says, “reformation” is about “restoring”; and first, by “restoring the church to pure doctrine”, True Truth.

This is huge! And this is the primary responsibility of The Church: The Body of Christ, the institution of the church, and everyone who might claim to be “in the church”, or “a God-fearing Christian”… and have as their namesake, Jesus Christ—Who was The Word Incarnate and the most ardent protector of the inspired word of God, His Father, and the Holy Spirit, the Word’s “implementer” or “supernatural heart changer”… by use of The Word.

The heart of all humanity God brought into existence was created out of True Truth, and can only truly live (Deuteronomy 30:19-20) by “feasting on True Truth”. Sin (Genesis 3) released into the heart, falsehood, the lie, deception, decay… and death.

When a heart is re-born from above (John 3:3), it begins a new spiritual life again (2 Corinthians 5:17), and will be matured, grown-up, and God-honoring by the continual inculcation of True Truth (2 Timothy 3:16-17), or live as a stunted, immature, ineffective, worldly, and frustrated existence (Galatians 1:6-10)… by chowing down on junk food: untruth, bad doctrine, poorly handled Bible teaching, purposeful heresy of God’s Word for the purposes of self-gain or self-aggrandizement by supressing the truth (Romans 1).

Feast of the Heart is, first and foremost, devoted to offering scrumptious fare of True Truth, Pure Doctrine—served up by a highly fallible human being. Please, pull up a chair and join us SO THAT we will be assured of the fruit we will speak to next time: Christians living in word and in deed.

“Yum, Yum Eat ‘Em Up!” (Spanky’s Uncle)

Thank you for signing up for the Training Table, a weekly feast to keep you the reader strong for “the race that has been set out before us” (2 Corinthians 9:24; Hebrews 12:1)!

Being a fanatic about all things that pertain to leadership, I believe it is most important for leadership to establish the foundations for any organization in the form of its Vision, Mission, Core Values, etc.

In regards to the first several issues of the Training Table, I would appreciate it if you would pull up a chair at the table with me to take a closer look at the Feast of the Heart Vision, Mission, and Core Values. By doing this, we can begin our journey together–in strengthening each other for the race that has been set out before us–by making sure that what ever is offered by this ministry is always in support of its Vision, Mission, and Core Values. And, if anything is out of line, correct it with humility and alacrity.

I hope you will agree that any individual or organization who is not 100% sure (okay, how about 75% sure…) of what their Vision, Mission, and Core Values consist of, while attempting to live it out each day and readjusting when off course, would be akin to setting out on a grand and bold expedition, without having the vaguest idea of where one is going.

Even the earliest adventurers knew how to sail, which direction it was to move into unknown waters, how to use the stars to tiangulate their position and course, and inspire the crew to sail and sing well each day! Vision, Mission, Core Values help us triangulate!

Please stay tuned as I will purposefully, passionately, and humbly offer you–and others you would recommend to pull up a chair at the Training Table–a feast for the born-again heart. I promise you the fare will be as satisfying as any delicious meal could be! Low in fat, high in fiber, to keep you spiritually fit, to fight the good fight, each day.

“I have chosen the way of truth; I have set my heart on your laws” (Psalm 119:30)

Main Content Inline Small“For me, the heart of Adam, as yet unblemished by sin, surpasses in beauty any of the amazing array of wonders God had spoken into existence before Adam’s creation. When God had finished creating all these other things, he pronounced his creation “good;” after he formed and animated Adam, God declared his creation “very good.” The emphasis in the Hebrew is intentional: God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, could not have been more pleased” (John Dozier, “The Weeping, the Window, the Way”)!

The care and feeding of your heart and mine must begin by believing our hearts were made by a God of LOVE and TRUTH. And therefore, it is sustained by LOVE and TRUTH. The Psalmist’s bold, yet humble claim should be our wake up call at the beginning of each day: “I have chosen the way of truth; I have set my heart on your laws”!!

Gobbling up hatred and bitterness or falsehood and deception of any kind as sustenance for the heart… is what? Killer, right?!

Know the Truth and Love of God. It will set you and me free… Free At Last!

“There is a great difference between successfulness and fruitfulness. Success comes from strength, control, and respectability. A successful person has the energy to create something, to keep control over its development, and to make it available in large quantities. Success brings many rewards and often fame. Fruits, however, come from weakness and vulnerability. And fruits are unique. A child is the fruit conceived in vulnerability, community is the fruit born through shared brokenness, and intimacy is the fruit the grows through touching one another’s wounds. Let’s remind one another that what brings us true joy is not successfulness but fruitfulness” (Henri Nouwen).

The Training Table

The Training Table is set, and the menu carefully selected to regularly nourish those who are running the good race set out for us. If you would like to maintain a weekly diet for running the good race, please subscribe to The Training Table.

Why the Training Table?
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, 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, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scoming its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart (1 Corinthians 9:24; Galatians 5:7; Hebrews 12:1-3; 2 Timothy 4:7).”

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