5 Integral Reasons Mature Disciples Sleep

What does sleep have to do with being a mature disciple? We all have seasons of life where we might get less sleep than we should, but the right amount of sleep is integral for being a mature disciple. Mature disciples get sleep.

D. A. Carson explains the importance of sleep:

Doubt may be fostered by sleep deprivation. If you keep burning the candle at both ends, sooner or later you will indulge in more and more mean cynicism—and the line between cynicism and doubt is a very thin one….If you are among those who become nasty, cynical, or even full of doubt when you are missing your sleep, you are morally obligated to try to get the sleep you need. We are whole, complicated beings; our physical existence is tied to our spiritual well-being, to our mental outlook, to our relationships with others, including our relationship with God. Sometimes the godliest thing you can do in the universe is get a good night’s sleep—not pray all night, but sleep. I’m certainly not denying that there may be a place for praying all night; I’m merely insisting that in the normal course of things, spiritual discipline obligates you get the sleep your body need. (Scandalous p. 147)

Without further ado, here are five reasons mature disciples sleep.

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Culture Creators: An Interview with Jonathan K. Dodson

One of my favorite ongoing blog series is LifeHackers' How I Work. Simple questions about how people in a variety of workplaces get stuff done. As I read more and more of these, I kept thinking about wondering about creative people I know and what their answers might be. That got me thinking. Why not host an interview series at my own blog with Christians who are working with excellence, who I admire, and who do creative stuff? I was concerned about getting enough people to host a meaningful series, but the yeses kept rolling in. So here we are.

Who is Jonathan Dodson? Jonathan K. Dodson (MDiv; ThM) serves as a pastor of City Life Church in Austin, Texas. He is the author of Gospel-Centered Discipleship, The Unbelievable Gospel, and Raised? He has discipled men and women abroad and at home for almost two decades, taking great delight in communicating the gospel and seeing Christ formed in others. Twitter: @Jonathan_Dodson


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Our Earthy Future Home

During the Arian controversy of the early church, Arius’ heresy spread through song. The heterodox presbyters wrote songs that the common man could easily learn, so while the Church determined Arianism was heresy, the popular vote went for the heresy. It’s not a stretch to say that what the church sings it will confess.

Many in the church today have a wrong view of end times and that has a lot to do with the songs she has been singing. In the tradition I grew up in we often sang,

This world is not my I’m just a-passin’ through
My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue
The angels beckon me from heaven’s open door
And I can’t feel at home in this world anymore

A song meant to steel our nerve as we sojourn through this dark and perilous world. It’s a song that sets the Christian apart from her culture, neighbors, and the world. We do not engage and create anything in this world worth relishing, rather we are waiting to be called to Gloryland by angels where we will meet friend Jesus and shake hands with our loving family.

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“All Authority is Mine” #AscensionSeries2014

When God creates Adam, he says man and woman are made in His image. They are children of God and sub-creators. They are commanded to have dominion and multiply.

And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” Gen 1:28

Adam’s first task is naming the animals and tending the Garden. Adam and Eve later start a family and begin filling the earth. This command from God is called the creation mandate.

As a Neo-Calvinist, this text is crucial in understanding our responsibility in our current fallen world to engage in culture making and also in viewing God's work in non-Christians as they create. This wasn’t a one time command. It didn’t stop when Adam and Eve sinned. It’s something that we should still be doing—with one caveat.

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Review: Mark Branson & Nicholas Warnes’ Starting Missional Churches

“The church is a sign, foretaste, witness and instrument of the in-breaking of God” (182).

American church planting has reached its zenith. An industry in itself, church planting has become the mission statement of some denominations present in North America (e.g. the Southern Baptist Convention). In anticipation of the many methods practiced by these church planters, Starting Missional Churches: Life with God in the Neighborhood (henceforth Missional Churches) offers an important vocalization of a new missions-minded church planting movement. Instead of treating America as a field of harvesting, the authors of Missional Churches demonstrate a story of American church planting that places “missions” at the front of the church’s worldview. Based on the presupposition that America is a mission field in which God is already at work (9-10;), the “collection of stories” (11) constituting Missional Churches focuses on addressing the neighborhood as the church’s mission field.

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Winning the Culture Wars

The last two weeks I’ve been reading James D. Bratt’s Abraham Kuyper: Modern Calvinist, Christian Democrat—which I highly recommend (review coming this weekend). One of Kuyper’s well known contributions to Reformed Theology was his exploration of common grace and culture. Bratt makes an observation that struck me for how relevant it is to what happened in American at the end of Kuyper’s life and our current cultural climate. Bratts says,

“With the wounds of the church struggle still raw, [Kuyper] admitted that it was tempting to give up on the nation, ‘our fatherland here below,’ and he indulged his audience with the myth of a seventeenth-century golden age when pure Reformed religion ‘defined the direction of [our] public life.’ Yet he reminded them that God remained the Sovereign Lord over all history, including the present place and time. If it was manifestly so thatsecularization is the stamp’ of the age, then the Lord must have also provided the means for believers to sound the claims of faith in that context” (195-96).

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Review: John Stott’s Christian Mission in the Modern World

Christian Mission in the Modern World  provides “an ecumenical understanding from an evangelical source” (10) for the term mission. Stott carefully defines five key terms in this pursuit: mission, evangelism, dialogue, salvation, and conversion.

Stott starts with an excellent introduction on authorial intent and Scriptural authority. He says, “We evangelicals think we have [learned to live under the authority of Scripture]—and there is no doubt we sincerely want to—but at some times we are very selective in our submission and at others the traditions of evangelical elders seem to owe more to culture than to Scripture” (14).

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Missional Love: “For God So Loved”

The most iconic verse in the Bible may be John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” I wonder how many people in America haven’t heard that verse. Not as many have heard what John says later: “Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love” (1 Jn. 4:8).

Love we see is absolutely integral to who God is, but did you notice how the the two references work backwards? Look at like this: Love is essential to who God is and it’s out of this love that he sent his Son to die. God’s love (and all true love) is not insular. It’s not looking in and loving oneself. That’s why the two greatest commandments according to Jesus are love God and love neighbor. That’s also why God as trinity is essential orthodoxy. God has been and will always be a God who overflows in his love for others. This originates with his love within the trinity and overflows onto us.

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