Porterbrook Cincinnati Blog

Gospel Living Units 4-6


Hey everybody!

Hopefully you are on track with the learning plan, this week is units 4 through 6. And I'm certain if you are keeping pace that you are being poked, challenged, encouraged, and provoked (in a good way)!

From these three units (Christian Community, Looking Forward to Eternity, and Decisions) what has been most challenging or inspiring to you and why? Post below in the comments.

Keep on pressing on!


I have been very challenged by the section on including your church more in your decisions. I like to think that I am pretty good at this, but in all reality I am not. What a hard thing to break our individualistic lives and really commit to the community of believers.

I agree with Katie and Krisitin! What a hard thing to balance! I too need to be much more kingdom minded and not make my child an idol.

The story of the missionary and his bride is absolutely beautiful!

Most interesting on p 28 was the quote from the early 19th century missionary writing a letter to his soon to be father in law. In which the missionary requested to marry the daughter & take her off to Burma to suffer & probably die for the faith. It is almost uncanny how this resembles the Jane Eyre novel by C. Bronte & this very proposition to Jane by the misssionary St. John Rivers from chapter 28 on. Only the book & the 4 hour Timothy Dalton movie version develope the character of St. James adequately. Bronte neither understands or likes St. John but portrays him as a formidable counter to Mr. Rochester who Jane loves. Not to be missed is when St. John allows himself 15 minutes to explain to Jane why he loves a woman but can not possibly marry her & take her on this missionary probable suicide mission. Only Jane warrents this honor.

Mike B's comments of 3-18-12 are interesting on the subject of the church influencing, being consulted on, or controlling one's life decisions. Doesn't this range across the spectrum of total church control to total control by the individual? With the allowed influence of the church depending on the issue?

The author on p. 33 criticized Christians who select their lifestyle (home & job) first & their church last. Assuming the church is Biblically based, are not the other criteria usually morally neutral?

Lots of really great stuff in Units 4-6. Unit 5 was really gripping and both painted a beautiful picture of eternity and gave a clear explanation of the nature of our eternal state.

The material about Living in Christian Community was the most challenging, for me. The point drawn from Ephesians 4 was particularly good - the point that we grow to maturity in the context of a community of believers exercising their gifts in the local church.

The issue of the church being involved in decision-making (whether simply as a major factor to be considered or even as a primary constituent to be consulted) was really challenging. If we are to accept this, it means that we are elevating the local church to the role of one of the controlling principles in our lives - the things that influence everything else that we do. Things like marriage, family, career, and church, then are controlling principles. I don't think that many Christians believe this about the church, and far fewer behave as if they believe this about the church. For the most part, we tend to see the church as a consumer choice, to be selected after the other things (marriage, family, career) have been settled. Very challenging.

Also, I loved what I heard from Katie and Kristin, about making decisions about how you spend your time (esp w/ your kids) based on how it affects the church and your ministry.

I, too, was just going to comment on how much the unit on decisions challenged and inspired me. Perhaps because I am such a horrible decision maker (i.e., I cannot bear to make them).

In particular, the end of page 34 says, "We would be content with whatever standard of living allowed us to serve God and seek first his kingdom." I have been struggling with a lot of discontent lately, much of it relating to where I live. I hate to admit it, but I have a hard time swallowing the idea of loving the city. I grew up in the suburbs. I like the suburbs. I like getting more house for your money. And big parking lots. And parks where kids don't say the f-word. But if I led a more intentional lifestyle with a focus on glorifying God, then I would love the city (or wherever I am) just because of the masses of opportunities there are to glorify God.

And, Katie, you make a really good point about looking at everyday decisions, like what classes to go to, with a different perspective. I do go to a lot of classes with Eleanor. And I pretend like it's because I want to have opportunities to make connections with nonbelievers. But really it's about getting through the day and giving E and I something to do because when the opportunity actually presents itself (to make a connection) I tend to ignore it out of laziness or fear. So, that's great challenge to change my everyday perspective and actions.

The parts of the reading about making decisions based on glorifying God and how I use my time (with an eternal perspective) have been really challenging. It's much easier to go through each day checking off a list of things I need to do rather than seek God's kingdom first and see how I might bless people outside of my family and close friends--like my neighbors or going to a moms group or reaching out to the people I've met at library babies. In deciding whether to even go to library babies, I usually think about if it would be good for L or easy for me...instead of thinking of how I might potentially connect with other moms and start friendships that could provide opportunities to share the gospel, serve, and show God's love.

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