What it is not. It is not the usual Men’s Breakfast followed by an inspirational speaker. It is also not threatening in that all are free to contribute or to merely listen and observe. No one is “put on the spot”, so to speak.
The Men’s Fellowship, sponsored by Grace Baptist Church, meets nearly bi-weekly on Saturday mornings at 7:00 AM. This seems to be the time that best suits everyone’s schedule, and, of course, folks are free to slip out early when necessary. Men of all ages and vocations from more than seven Evangelical churches in the area have attended the meetings. These times of thought-provoking lively discussion result in strengthened relationships, sharpened minds, and deepened faith. The time goes by quickly.
In autumn 2021 we are beginning a series on how to maintain our love for God though the seasons and circumstances of our lives. With the Scriptures as the basis of our study we will be reviewing Keeping the Heart John Flavel. Flavel was an English Puritan who became a non-conformist after the ‘Great Ejection’ of 1662. It was 10 years before he was licensed to preach again, and then only in his own home. His writings, when collected in the 19th century, filled 6 volumes, and are known for their practical nature. Flavel was instrumental in promoting the ‘Happy Union’ of Presbyterians and Congregationalists.
This book is John Flavel’s classic work on union and fellowship with God. In a comprehensive and helpful manner Flavel helps us understand better what ‘keeping the heart’ means. He tells us why we should take this commission seriously and speaks about there being times when we need to be especially wary of being distracted from our goal. He then shows how we can go on to develop a greater ability in keeping our hearts in tune with God. His advice is timeless, sensitive, and profound.
Keeping the Heart is a discourse on Proverbs 4:23, “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” Flavel intended this treatise for the specific purpose of illuminating, healing, and guarding the heart. He had the strong conviction, that saints should be marked by their holiness, therefore matters of the heart were of the utmost importance in the Christian life.
The heart of man is his worst part before it is regenerated, and the best afterward. It is the seat of principles, and the fountain of actions. The eye of God is fixed upon it, and the eye of the Christian ought to be principally fixed upon it. The greatest difficulty in conversion is to win the heart to God. The greatest difficulty after conversion is to keep the heart with God. Here lies the very force and stress of Christianity; here is that which makes the way to life a narrow way, and the gate of heaven a strait gate.
Previously discussed books include The Call by Os Guiness, Manly Dominion by Mark Chanski, The Universe Next Door by James Sire, Shattering the Gods Within by Dr. David F. Allen, Who Are You to Judge? by Erwin Lutzer, Extreme Righteousness: Seeing Ourselves in the Pharisees by Thomas O. Hovestol, The Meaning of Marriage by Timothy Keller, How Should We Then Live? by Francis Schaeffer, Sense and Sensuality by Ravi Zacharias, Respectable Sins: Confronting the Sins We Tolerate by Jerry Bridges, Contemplation: Intimacy in a Distant World by Dr. David F. Allen, Has Christianity Failed You by Ravi Zacharias, Fool’s Talk by Os Guiness, Spiritual Depression by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Art for God’s Sake by Philip Graham Ryken, Art and the Bible by Francis A. Schaeffer, and A Voyage of Discovery – The Ups and Downs of the Christian Life by Derek W. H. Thomas.
Dr. Peter Wallick leads the discussions, and they are hosted by Ron Jones. Chambersburg