Tag Archives: Examine

The Book of Virtues: A Book Review on Memorial Day

Many who know me have heard me press in on 2 Peter chapter 1 wherein we read a list of things we who are of the Body of Christ are called to possess and increase in. I have developed a system of sorts focused in on intentionally growing in those things. You can access the 2 Peter 1 “Growth Chart” at the following link, https://mianogonewild.wordpress.com/2017/08/04/2-peter-1-growth-chart/

Recently I marked out the desire to increase in virtue, and ended up, The Book of Virtues compiled by William J. Bennett. Mr. Bennett offers insights on and excerpts from various pieces of literature that he marked out as teachings of “moral literacy” and reinforcing “character formation”. Speaking to our contemporary societal situation, I agree with Mr. Bennett that, “Moorings and anchors come in handy in life, moral anchors and moorings have never been more necessary”.

Being that today is Memorial Day in the United States, a day that we have marked out to remember the courage of those who have fought and defended the freedoms we citizens enjoy, it is fitting to speak on virtues. Also, just last evening I sat in on a discussion at The Blue Point Bible Church that mentioned the need for increased and objective virtue and morality to be instilled in our education system. So, I am glad to offer up this review of the book and also help continue a necessary increase in the moral reasoning of our contemporary world.

Mr. Bennett marked out 10 virtues and provided various anecdotes to reinforce each on. Self-control, compassion, responsibility, friendship, work, courage, perseverance, honesty, loyalty, and faith all in that that order are the 10 virtues marked out. As you may notice some of that virtues are also included in the list provided in 2 Peter chapter 1. Therefore, it is at this time that before you continue on reading I encourage you to begin to examine yourself and prayerfully ask the Lord to convict you wherein you might need to truly increase.

What I will dofor the remainder of this blog is detail insights shared throughout The Book of Virtues. If anything piques your interest, I encourage you to investigate it further. Nothing a simple Google search cannot help with.

  • Self – control

“Give yourself an even greater challenge than the one you are trying to master and you will develop the powers necessary to overcome the original difficulty”. – William Bennett

Aesop’s fable, “The Flies and the Honey Pot” details not destroying ourselves for the sake of quick little pleasures. Read the fable here – https://fablesofaesop.com/the-flies-and-the-honey-pot.html

Surely reading through our nation’s first president, George Washington’s Rules of Civility in Conversations Among Men could infuse an interesting challenge in decency and morality in our contemporary society. Here is an reading through those details, https://managers.usc.edu/files/2015/05/George-Washingtons-Rules.pdf

 

  • Compassion

“What do we live for if it is not to make life less difficult for each other?” – George Elliot
Also written by George Elliot is the poem that challenges each of us so much that I recently mentioned it in a sermon. Count that Day Lost. Read here — https://www.poemhunter.com/poem/count-that-day-lost/

 

  • Responsibility

“There is no end to the good you can do if you don’t care who gets the credit for it”.

I was impressed to find so many documents and resources that had to do with American principles and civil rights. Consider for example, the American’s Creed, written by William Tyler Page; “I believe in the United States of America as a government of the people, by the people, for the people; whose just powers are derived from the consent of the governed, a democracy in a republic, a sovereign Nation of many sovereign States; a perfect union, one and inseparable; established upon those principles of freedom, equality, justice, and humanity for which American patriots sacrificed their lives and fortunes.I therefore believe it is my duty to my country to love it, to support its Constitution, to obey its laws, to respect its flag, and to defend it against all enemies.”

Also consider looking into how the following mentioned writings and resources encourage you to a greater responsibility within our society; The Federalist Papers, Declaration of Independence, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s letter from Birmingham Jail, Plato on responsibility, and Frederick Douglass’s “The Conscience of a Nation”.

Of course, each of us should be mindful of the often mentioned quote by Edmund Burke, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing”. As well take note of what C.S. Lewis said in his writing “Men Without Chests”; “…if we fail to pass along specific standards of right and wrong, or what it worthwhile or worthless, admirable or ignoble, than we must share blame for the consequent failings of character”.

 

  • Friendship

Being fair and honest there wasn’t much mentioned in this chapter on this virtue that compelled me to take notes.

 

 

  • Courage

“We become brave by doing brave acts”. – Aristotle
“Courage is knowing what to fear”. – Plato

“Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, then to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much neither suffer much…” – Teddy Roosevelt

Surely the poem “Doors of Daring” by Henry can Dyke in sure to challenge us to be courageous and daring. Read the poem at the following link, https://www.poeticous.com/henry-van-dyke/doors-of-daring

 

  • Perseverance

Mr. Bennet mentioned the commonly cited phrase, “Just do the next right thing” as a method of reinforcing perseverance. Also, John Locke noted, “Fortitude (which is synonymous with perseverance) is the guard to every other virtue”.

 

  • Honesty

“Dishonesty would have no role to play in a world that revered reality and was inhabited by fully rational creates”.

“An honest man is the noblest work of God”. – Alexander Pope

 

  • Loyalty

I was of course encouraged to find the mention of Biblical stories the likes of Jonathan and David or Naomi and Ruth as detailing the virtue of loyalty. Amen!

Mr. Bennett also makes mention of historian and professor, Richard A. Gabriel and speaks of “ethical loyalty”. A Google search about Mr. Gabriel and ethical loyalty showed up to be insightful and I would encourage you in some free reading time to do the same. Mr. Gabriel as he speaks about war tactics and loyalty says, “In essence, to be an ethical soldier is to do one’s duty as to what is ethically right and to know why those ethics bind. Duty is not to be blindly tied to following orders”.

 

  • Faith

The obvious and blessed mention of “theological virtues” as mentioned in 1 Corinthians 13:13 includes faith, so we read, “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love”.

Mr. Bennet concluded thoughts on virtue with details about faith and faithfulness. He shared the Jewish tale of “The Honest Disciple”. Here is how it goes;

“A rabbi once asked his disciples, “What would you do if you found a money purse in the road?” Said the first, “I’d find the owner and return it.” Thought the rabbi, “His answer was in haste; does he really mean it?” Said the second disciple, “If no one saw me find it, I would keep it.” Thought the rabbi, “He is honest, but wicked-hearted.” Said the third disciple, after pondering, “I would be tempted to keep it. I would pray to God for the strength to resist temptation and perform a righteous action.” thought the rabbi, “Now there is a man I can trust!””

 

May God provide the wisdom as we continue possess and intentional increase in these virtues. May we continue to glorify our Lord Jesus Christ.

In and through Him,

Michael Miano

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

#100SermonsChallenge

The number 100 is know both anciently and in contemporary culture as a number of abundance. It’s a number we use often to speak of having a bunch of something.

In James 1:5 we read that if we lack wisdom in any area that we should ask of God. It also says that God gives to us in abundance. Many who are familiar with my ministry and prayer life know this to be a verse I regularly cling to. I believe it! In Romans 12:11 we read that we are never to be lacking in zeal. So this led me to a thought about ways to put this into action. I have also spoken of “challenges” and exercises as a way to keep our Spiritual fervor. It takes diligent to keep the fervor God desires from us and I can personally attest to the power of maintaining Spiritual disciplines and “challenges”.

Proverbs 15:22 tells us about the success of one who has many advisors. Sermons from a variety of preachers can offer such wisdom we are seeking and provide a variety so we can “use discernment”.

As we move into 2018, I myself am seeking wisdom on vision (namely, because our annual meeting at The Blue Point Bible Church is at the end of January). However, I ask you to be honest and examine yourself (2 Corinthians 13:5). What are you seeking wisdom on?

Listen to 100 sermons from at least 5 different pastors on the topic you are seeking God’s wisdom. Take notes, use discernment and seek the voice of God. Prayerfully, you will share your #100SermonsChallenge notes on Facebook Notes or your personal blog. Please post your blogs on my Facebook page or send through email (ChristianityGoneWild@Yahoo.com).

On February 1st, 2018 – A participant in the #100SermonsChallenge will be chosen at random to receive a copy of Freaked Out by the New Covenant & Wicked. Two edifying books by me!

Blessings in Christ Jesus,
Pastor Michael Miano

MGW

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Growing in Self-Control / Shared Wisdom from Walter Mischel

A couple of months ago I shared a study I had done on 2 Peter chapter 1 in regards to being effective and productive in the use of the knowledge of God (which in turn allows us to experience the blessings and fulfilled promises of God (otherwise categorized as “life to the full”, “abundant” and or eternal” life). Namely, the continual growth in 7 specific things. You can go through that study by visiting the following link, https://mianogonewild.wordpress.com/2017/08/04/2-peter-1-growth-chart/
In my personal life I have developed a sort of system of consistent growth (akin to the style of Benjamin Franklin). What I do is, every couple weeks I pick a new growth trait from 2 Peter chapter 1 and challenge myself in to grow in that area. Many times this results in gaining shared knowledge from a book or teaching and prayerfully adding some new principles to my life. Again, as the Scripture emphasizes, these things need to be “ yours and increasing”.

So for the past 8 weeks or so (August), I focused on “self-control”. This led me to reading a book by one who is said to be an expert on the topic, Walter Mischel. The book is titled the Marshmallow Test, which details a test that was done on children and then followed through their lives, and through studies of this test, produced facts about self-control.
“The ability to delay gratification and resist temptation has been a fundamental challenge since the dawn of civilization”. What we believe is that, “….the ability to delay immediate gratification for the sake of future consequences is an acquirable cognitive skill”. Therefore, it is not that surprising to find that in studying through the lives of these students, we can analyze “…how they did or did not manage to delay gratification, unexpectedly turned out to predict much about their future lives”. “The Marshmallow Test became a tool for studying how people go from a choice to delay gratification to actually managing to wait and resist the temptation”. Therefore, in studying this principle we realize, “If the conditions that facilitate self-control, and those that undermine it, could be identified, perhaps they could be harnessed to teach people who have trouble waiting to be better at it”.

What was revealed through the study were various techniques that worked for these students in displaying self-control. Mischel remarks that, “Successful delayers created all sorts of ways to distract themselves and to cool the conflict and stress they were experiencing”. This is all so important because ultimately, What we do, and how well we control our attention in the service of our goals, becomes a part of our environment that we help create and that in turn influences us”.

Mischel goes on to explain the “Executive Function”, which is the part of our brain that which drives self-control. He notes the importance of this function aiding us in developing and keeping in mind a chosen goal, continue with goal -oriented thoughts which is a temptation reducing technique (otherwise known as “psychological distancing”). Furthermore, we must inhibit impulsive responses by what are known as “If-Then” behavior signatures (something like, if I become distracted and desire to watch tv but know I don’t want to be dumbed down by it, I will then grab a book and read outside instead).

Something that was rather encouraging to the work I do with youth, and reminded me of many of the great people I know who work with youth, was how self-control helps in developing a positive and productive youth (otherwise known my me and my co-laborers – an “eXtrmely Different youth”). Mischel notes, “…how the ability to voluntarily exercise self-restraint in pursuit of a hot goal early in life provides children with a powerful advantage that can help them succeed and maximize their potential throughout their lives”. He also noted how important the provoking, developing, and encouraging an “I think I can” mindset in the youth truly is. He noted how by use self-control and rewards, “Students who had been induced into a happy mood formed much higher expectations for their future performance, re-called more of their successful experiences, and made more self-descriptions”. I know I am planning to read a book he recommends in this regard by Carol Dweek called “Mindset”.

In conclusion, I want to end on the rewards factor. Let’s face it, when we consider using self-control it really boils down to whether or not we believe the reward for whatever it is we are exercising self-control in opposition to are attainable, possible, and worth it. As Mischel noted,“…trust is a factor in the willingness to delay gratification”. Consider this, “The emotional brains predisposition over to overvalue immediate rewards and to greatly discount the value of delayed rewards points to what we need to do if we want to take control: we have to reverse the process by cooling the present and heating the future”.
Placing emphasis on “cooling the present and heating the future” should lead us to the challenge of our goals. “Self-control skills are essential for pursuing our goals successfully, but it is the goals themselves that give us direction and motivation”. What do you desire, and what must become of you to attain that desire, is the key. Developing that vision and manifesting that reality are interlocked (sorry to sound so cliché, ha ha). Mischel says it like this, “…if we feel greater continuity with who we will become, we might also be willing to sacrifice more of our own pleasant pleasures for the sake of that future self”.

Recently I was encouraged to create a vision board. This was and has been one of the most encouraging techniques I developed to have that “greater continuity with who” I will become as I grow in the grace and knowledge of God. Prayerfully, through this blog I have encouraged you to consider some of these things and implement some new growth strategies into your life and maybe some new books to read. 😊

To God be the glory!
– Pastor Michael Miano

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Notebook Review & Resources (4/2016 – 9/2016)

If you know me, you know that I am adamant about the Spiritual and mental health that is provided through notekeeping and journaling.
As I have grown through the years, I have “catalogued” everything. I have also grown accustomed to writing a review every time I finish a notebook – for my own benefit, however many have said they found the details to be edifying. Namely, for my benefit because if you ever read my notes you know full well that they need to be decoded to make any sense, many times, even to me.

 

This most recent notebook was rather small. It looked important though. 🙂 And these last couple months have had some growth spurts, so I am excited to share and review myself. As I have said to some, this has been a harvesting season in my life and ministry. Glory to God!
On April 11th, I wrote in my notes that I woke up thinking about the power of the local church. I wrote, “The local church provides the “knowledge of God” to enable us to live like, worship like, and ultimately love Jesus Christ”. This is a timely encouragement and very important, as I just woke up this morning to reading through my various social networks how so many have come to reject the power of gathering with a local congregation. They spout all sorts of nonsense from “mad-made institution” to “legalism”. In this regard, I had the privilege of being the guest speaker for the April “Monthly Preterist Conference Call” and the topic I had spoken upon was “The Efficacy of the Local Church”. You can listen to that and read more, and the following link, https://preteristconferencecalls.wordpress.com/2016/05/30/01-michael-miano-the-efficacy-of-the-local-church/

 

Early on in the year, as a sort of “divine unction” I began to get very involved in local networking, social meetings, and outreach. This afforded us at Blue Point Bible Church quite a few opportunities to serve the larger community with Brentwood “Hope Day”, hosting a Blood Drive, and being involved in local civic and chamber of commerce gatherings, as well as helping and being involved with other local nonprofits. I also learned a lot, found some inspirations and burdens, and made some friends along the way. #ThePastorLife
As I mine through my notes, I have decided I simply want to share some details and resources that edified me during what seems to be the “season” I was in for while.
Kurt Willems, an Anabaptist writer and pastor, put together an excellent examination of the difference perspectives of Pauline literature (the writings of the Apostle Paul). A great point he made in the midst of that series, which I have mentioned many times before in blogs and even sermons, was “If we don’t know the history, just the theology, we come up with all sorts of answers”. Even if I may not agree with all of his conclusions, I must say Pastor Willems did a great job on this podcast, which you can access at the following link, http://paulcast.org/
It was either earlier April or even late March that I began communications with a Bible teacher named Lloyd Dale. He had emailed me and began discussion regarding some points of theology we agree and disagree on. I was blessed to read through and listen to some of his presentations , and look forward to further communication with him. One point he made in a lecture, which is timely as we currently go through a month of Jewish Feasts, is “If you do not understand what “The Promised Land” was a “type” of, then you do not know what you need to know”.
For the past 2 Sundays at The Blue Point Bible Church (www.bluepointbiblechurch.com), we have been highlighting how important Understanding Contextual Details in Scripture truly is in regards to “Being Christian”, and brother Llloyd Dale highlights that. You can read and listen to his messages at the following link, http://lloyddale.com/ I personally recommend his teaching on “The Kingdom”.
In the midst of this season, I was challenged by a local pastor regarding my understanding of 2 Corinthians chapter 5:6, the infamous “absent from the body, present with the Lord” verse. I was told my understanding of this text, as referring to the “Corporate Body” of Old Covenant saints made me a “heretic” and not “Christian” (even to the extend of trying to have me removed from local pastor meetings). Anyway, this highlights an ongoing discussion and debate within the “preterist movement” regarding the Corporate Body View (CBV) held by Dr. Don K. Preston, William Bell, Larry Siegle, and many others (ie. Covenant Eschatology), and the Individual Body at Death (IBD) perspective, held to by Mr.Ed Stevens, and is more intimately connected to the common “futurist understanding” of the “glorified body”.

I love the work of all of these men, even in disagreement, and look forward to playing my part in helping bring forth clarity on this “resurrection” issue, all the while being humble and kind to one another. I know of about 3 different works currently happening to foster a better understanding of these details.

I had talked a bit about these disagreements and details as found all throughout “Church History” on MGW Online Radio a while back. You can still go back and listen to the podcasts. However, in the midst of the series I had been doing, I took a brief hiatus, and am looking to re-launch the show on October 24th with a series that will bring forth a host of clarity and healing in regards to Full Preterism. I will be bringing guests on the show (even some of the people mentioned in this blog) to discuss pertinent issues, and challenging the various “flavors of Preterism”. Look forward to that coming soon. Visit www.MianoGoneWild.com

As I come to a close with this review, I have to mention a couple last things. I have been blessed to have a co-laborer with perseverance and vision right here on Long Island. Johnny Silonski (Ova) has been a blessing and as I review my notes, I see he put forth some resources that I was blessed by. One comment he made that really stirred me, and has much to do not only with my testimony, but also with all that I labor to do is “My heart cannot rejoice in what my mind rejects”. Amen! Listen to Johnny detail that and more on the Omega Man podcast as well as his thoughts on “The Nature of the Kingdom”, at the following links:
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/omegamanradio/2010/08/13/episode-29–johnny-ova-jeff-and-mike-beavers

https://preteristconferencecalls.wordpress.com/2016/09/17/04-johnny-ova-the-nature-of-the-kingdom/

Ironically, on August 31, 2016 I was questioning the seeming “new season” it seemed God was bringing my into. I write this now 2 months later, and through all of these resources, the blessing of an amazing congregation as BPBC, the love and concern of my fiancee, and the Spirit of God, I can testify that God surely brought me into a new season. Confirmation came through the recent book, Chase the Lion written by Pastor Mark Batterson. The book challenges you through various stories of inspiration, as well as Scriptural examples of the need for us to go after dreams and goals that are God-inspired. In his usual fashion, Pastor Batterson convicts the reader to truly examine what God wants them to do for His glory. A book that truly speaks to our time and need, if not, then for a soon coming season.
Two quotes that I was inspired by, which are pretty much carrying me into my next season, and I pray they will challenge you as well are:

“The Christian is called upon not to be like a thermometer conforming to the temperature of his society but he must be like a thermostat serving to transform the temperature of his society”.
– MLK Jr. (Transformed Nonconformist)

“We have learned: One may do much or one may do little, it is all one, provided he/ she directs his/her heart to heaven”. – Rabbi’s of Jabneh

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized