Digital Sojourner’s New Site Design

Welcome to Digital Sojourner’s new look!

We are very excited about the site’s new look– and thankful for the Lord’s ongoing provision and blessing. In DigSoj’s short existence (34 days) the Lord has provided in amazing and completely unexpected ways. Without question He has shown Himself “able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think” Ephesians 3:20. To God be the glory!

Among the many who have contributed to DigSoj is the talented team over at mySonlight. mySonlight is a team of dedicated Christians devoted to helping local churches and other Christian ministries with their online efforts. Many congregations and ministries lack the technical skills necessary to establish and maintain a quality presence online… however with the rapidly growing reach of the internet it is becoming ever more important to be online.

If your local church is looking for help in this area mySonlight could very well be the solution you are looking for. Here are a few links to sample their work:

Again, welcome to DigSoj’s new look. Let us know what YOU think about the new design in the comments section.

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Follow Digital Sojourner on Twitter

TwitterDigital Sojourner is on Twitter… follow @DigSojourner to keep up with all of our latest blog posts, announcements, devotionals, helpful links and encouraging scripture verses.

See you on Twitter!

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Who Hacked My Facebook?

FacebookThe All Facebook blog has a fascinating post today that carries an implied warning for digital sojourners.

Everyday there are 600,000 unauthorized Facebook logins. Simply amazing. This translates in to one compromised Facebook account every 140 milliseconds. Yikes!

You can read the entire post here.

This raises a very important issue for digital sojourners: online security.

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Podcast: Long Vo Talks Accountability

Digital Sojourner recently featured a guest post written by my friend Long Vo. In the post, Long made a call for Christian leaders to “establish structures and relationships that hold them accountable.” For such structures to be successful, Long went on to explain, they must be voluntarily sought out and established.

Recently I sat down with Long to discuss how someone can establish accountability in their lives through an accountability group.

You can listen in here:

Have you established a godly accountability structure in your life? Let us know about it in the comments & reply section below.

As mentioned in the podcast, you can find additional information regarding accountability groups here.

 

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Website Review: stempublishing.com

Among the many helpful websites for Christians who are serious about studying the scriptures is STEM — Sound Teaching on Electronic Media.

The site provides free access to the writings and teachings of several gifted brethren from prior generations. Included among the available authors is John Nelson Darby, William Kelly, and F. B. Hole. Much of the material available on the site is either difficult, or impossible to obtain in printed form. This is the real value of the STEM website… solid teaching, freely available for all of the Lord’s people.

The homepage clearly explains the purpose of the site:

Our prayerful desire is that the Lord Jesus Christ will use this God-given ministry in this form for His glory and the blessing of many in these last days before His coming.

When you visit the site you are immediately struck with the clean, minimalist look of the homepage. There are no gaudy graphics or other distractions from the site’s valuable content… a truly refreshing change from many other contemporary websites. As you explore the site you will notice the minimalist theme throughout the site. Also, at the top of most pages is a navigation bar to simplify your movement around the website.

Where to begin?

If you are already familiar with some of the authors listed on the homepage you can go directly to an index of an author’s writings. To do this, simply click on his name. If you are not looking for a particular author the “Samples of the Teaching” section of the homepage offers an excellent way to begin. Here you can explore some of the site’s offerings by topic or by the books of the Bible.

Another way to begin is to use the search tool located near the top center of the homepage. Here you can search the contents of the site for all of the occurrences of a particular word or phrase. When searching for a phrase be sure to surround the phase you type in to the search box with quote marks (example: “The Church of God”). To narrow your search to a particular author click on the “Targeted search” link.

Two Personal Favorites

Among the hundreds of books and articles available on the STEM website are two that have been of particular help to me.

The first is John Nelson Darby’s Synopsis of the Books of the Bible. The “Synopsis” is an extremely helpful commentary that covers all 66 books of the Bible… however, it is not “just another commentary.” The author’s approach is unique, concise and insightful. His tone of writing clearly reveals his love of the scriptures and of the scripture’s Author.

The second is C. H. Mackintosh’s Notes on the Pentateuch. In this offering Macintosh explores the depths of the Pentateuch while maintaining a gentile, devotional tone. Throughout his Notes, he regularly reveals the Lord Jesus Christ, and shows the connection of various passages to the New Testament.

The site has much more to offer, happy exploring! Let us know about your favorite author or article from the STEM website in the comments below.

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Sojourners Not Soloists

Church History

Martin Luther was forced to respond to the charge that Scripture in the hands of the people, in the language of the people, was a dangerous thing. On the contrary, responded Luther, the Roman Church had built up a wall around Scripture which denied reform of the Church’s teachings and practices. Scripture in the hands of the believers under the guidance of the Holy Spirit is the way things are supposed to be. Indeed, it was the motivating factor behind him translating Scripture into German—the language of his people.

Today we have the opposite problem.

If people are reading Scripture at all (and mind you, Biblical Illiteracy is exceedingly high) they are reading it in a vacuum from other believers—which is an inherent problem of modern technology. We have so many tools available that, those of us who are reading, tend to insulate our thinking from other minds. After all (quoting Scripture and following Luther’s argumentation) “we have no need for anyone to teach us.”

In so doing we might fall into error that has long been addressed in church history.

Recall that Christ ascended and gave gifts and some of those gifts were teachers. It is with those gifts that we are corporately built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God. Even those who have the giftedness of being a teacher can’t get away from the fact that they themselves are strengthened, and even built-up, by other members of the church.

We might have an abundance of tools available at our finger tips but we also have (and this is much better) over two thousand years of The Holy Spirit Himself teaching the church. Two Thousand years of a gifted church (with teachers, exhorters, evangelists, etc) corporately responding to error that has crept in.

As we sojourn in this life, and we individually study scripture on our way, we must make sure to also study in community (your assembly) and in light of history. We’re not soloists who play a one man tune, but are corporatelly a body that is being put together. We should learn from our past as well as our present so that we personally do not get derailed by errors that have long been dealt with. As Michael Patton warns, spring-boarding off a famous saying: “Those who don’t learn heresy are doomed to repeat it.”

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The Information Super-Highway & The Renewed Mind

“This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” Joshua 1:8

Unquestionably, this is the information age. Never before in history has so much data been accessible to so many people from every conceivable world region and demographic. If a question occurs to one, the answer is a few key strokes away. Want to know the GDP of Namibia, the population of Moneyreagh, Northern Ireland, or Adolf Hitler’s favorite composer? The answers are easily discoverable by means of the powerful search engines that comb the internet for facts and figures.

This abundance of accumulated knowledge works both positively and negatively in contemporary life. On the one hand, Bible translations and tools for studying them have proliferated on the web. Many out of print, public domain Christian books are now freely accessible thanks on websites like books.google.com and archive.org (these sites are searchable by author and title, so one needs to know which volumes one seeks.) A library that once was available only at much time and expense is now open to anyone with a computer and an internet connection.

The downside of this vast trove of information is that it can easily interfere with getting to know God through His Word.

Time that is better spent reading the Bible may be frittered away by endless and unrestrained surfing of the web. What is more, the essential discipline of meditation* on the Scriptures – mentally masticating them while prayerfully seeking the Lord’s mind and will – often is abandoned in favor of quick reading, skimming, and the short attention spans that are the negative byproduct of the information age. Joshua was told to meditate on the Word continually; this is something that characterized all of the great saints (e.g. the Psalms, which were the fruit of the meditations of the Shepherd-King David, as well as others – all by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, 2 Tim. 3:16.)

Pointing and clicking must not supplant pondering. The Word of God demands careful attention and reflection. It is to be hidden in believers’ hearts, and consulted in reference to every aspect of life. By all means, Christians must use modern technology to read, study, and proclaim the Word. But growth in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ will only come about through the time-consuming and somewhat painstaking discipline of meditatively considering the Scriptures.

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*Biblical meditation has nothing to do with the Eastern Mystical variety of meditation, which is actually its exact opposite. The Eastern variety – popular in Hinduism, Sufism, Buddhism, Transcendental Meditation, and New Age philosophy – tells one to empty his mind (sometimes by chanting a word like “Om.”) In contrast, the Bible’s use of “meditation” means to fill one’s mind with the words of Scripture and carefully consider them by prayerful and repeated thought.

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Tools – A Regular Feature

Another feature you can expect to find here at the Digital Sojourner is Tools.

There are many tools available to assist the Christian as he or she sojourns through the modern world. There are power tools, such as Logos Bible Software, that are highly sophisticated and relatively new. Other tools, such as a spiral bound notebook and pencil, are neither new nor sophisticated and yet are highly useful in their own right.

The key is to use the appropriate tool, at the appropriate time for its intended purpose. A surgeon might use a chainsaw to take down a tree in her backyard, yet she would never even think of bringing such a tool into the operating room. Tools, when used appropriately, will never become a distraction or a hindrance.

We will attempt to regularly share with you insightful articles about the tools we use in our sojourning.

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A Modern Day Paradox

No other generation has had access to as many tools and resources as believers do today. This is especially true in the English language.

Many Christian homes have more Bibles than people. Concordances, lexicons, dictionaries, atlases, and commentaries fill our bookshelves. Many of these tools have been digitalized and made available as computer programs or over the internet.

With the advent of mobile “smartphones” wirelessly connected to the internet there is an inconceivable amount of information that can be accessed at anytime and anywhere. One can even fact-check a preacher in real time without ever leaving the pew!

An Alarming Paradox.

Unfortunately no other generation of believers have been as unacquainted with the scriptures as ours. Walk up to the average Christian at the average church and ask a few mildly challenging questions. Who is the first man? Who is the second man? 1 Cor. 15:45-48. Or, what is meant by the term justification? More often than not you will be met with a blank stare and a quick change of subjects.

How Can This Be?

Have we become more fascinated with the tools than we are with the purpose of the tools? Are we more fascinated with technology than with the Author of the scriptures? This should not be, and yet I know that I have been guilty of this all too often.

God’s Word must be paramount, not the technology. Such tools exist to help us. May we always be mindful of their proper place; otherwise the very tools that were meant to help will become the greatest of hindrances.

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Jottings – A Regular Feature

One of the many regular features you can expect here at the Digital Sojourner is Jottings.

What exactly are jottings you ask?

Jottings are simply brief notes quickly written down– an attempt to capture an insight that is worth remembering. The inspiration behind a jotting can come from almost anywhere… a book, a song, a conversation with a friend, a sermon, or maybe even a thought that comes to mind while taking a walk on a cold winter morning.

We will attempt to share our jottings with you regularly… hopefully, you too will find each captured thought as something to be remembered.

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