Work is Love Made Visible

I saw this at breakfast in Johannesburg South Africa:

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The Unconverted Know Nothing of Such Happiness

JC Ryle on the Church:

Who, indeed, can describe the pleasure with which the members of Christ’s flock do meet each other face to face? They may have been strangers before. They may have lived apart and never been in company; but it is wonderful to observe how soon they seem to understand each other. There seems a thorough oneness of opinion, taste, and judgment, so that a man would think they had known each other for years. They seem, indeed, to feel they are servants of one and the same Master, members of the same family, and have been converted by one and the same Spirit. They have one Lord, one faith, one baptism. They have the same trials, the same fears, the same doubts, the same temptations, the same faintings of heart, the same dread of sin, the same sense of unworthiness, the same love of their Savior. Oh, but there is a mystical union between true believers, which they only know who have experienced it. The world cannot understand it—it is all foolishness to them. But that union does really exist, and a most blessed thing it is; for it is like a little foretaste of heaven.

Beloved, this loving to be together is a special mark of Christ’s flock—nor is it strange, if we consider they are walking in the same narrow way and fighting against the same deadly enemies—and never are they so happy as when they are in company. The unconverted know nothing of such happiness. — J. C. Ryle

 From, “The Character of the True Christian” in The Christian Race reprinted by Charles Nolan Publishers, www.charlesnolanpublishers.com, 94-95.

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Malawi Update

Malawi Team

We’ve just finished our weeklong conference on Marriage and the weekend conference on the Gospel in Blantyre Malawi. We had a high number of students, the overwhelming majority were young men. God seems to be drawing young men to Mala and the church here. On Saturday there were perhaps 15 young men who came to the conference, who seemed to be converted from a Catholic university. I had a number of conversations that indicated that God was working in significant ways in their lives. It is very clear that the ministry of Paul Washer has been enormously influential in their conversions and re-orientations to reformed theology. Everywhere I go in the world and I meet young men, Paul is mentioned. During the conference on the Gospel, we were asked questions about tongues and other charismatic oriented questions, since most of them exist in a place where charismania has taken over the whole landscape and even the mainline denominations have realized that this is where the action is and have added charismatic services to their offerings, alongside their more traditional services. I feel that the Lord may have used us this weekend to stimulate some rethinking on these issues.

Yesterday Jason Dohm and I spoke at Antioch Baptist on the fear of the Lord, while Mike Davenport and Victor Maxson spoke at two different churches nearby here in the city. Deborah also met with the women to speak with them about biblical womanhood.

Jason Dohm and I were on a national secular TV station that happens to have a real Christian talk show host. He heard us preach in 2012 at the mens conference here in Blantyre. How we ended up on the show was that someone in Washington State posted on Facebook that we were going to be in Malawi, the talk show host’s daughter who was in Italy, saw the post and informed her father saying, “you need to get them on your show.” He contacted Mala and we did two half hour shows, one on marriage and the other on the Gospel.

 Today, Monday and also on Tuesday we will be doing a pastors conference here in Blantyre. On Wednesday, we will fly to Johannesburg to speak at a church there that evening, and then we fly home on Thursday evening from Johannesburg arriving home on Friday morning the 12th.

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Why Retirement is a Dirty Word

I admit it: I’m getting to the age where you are supposed to “retire.” I’ve even had some people in my community talk to me as if I were in retirement. It always shocks me when they do, and it makes me cringe. Michael Hyatt has given us a really short explanation why retirement should be wiped out of your vocabulary – and affections. He explains, “Why Retirement is a Dirty Word.” Here is an excerpt explaining the real cost of retirement. He says: 

“I reject the whole thing. The costs are just too high:

  • It encourages alienation from our work.
  • It wrongly assumes those who have lived the longest and experienced the most have the least to offer.
  • It comes with significant health risks, including reduced mental function, heart attack, and stroke.
  • It often comes with feelings of purposelessness and loneliness.
  • It deprives our communities of the contributions we still have to give.”

For those who look at life from the Christian perspective, think of people like Moses and Caleb. They were productive to the very end. Job’s best days were his last days. Who would trade that?

Not me.

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Why the Gospel Is Not Christianity 101

Most people think that the Gospel is something that gets you saved and then you move on to bigger and better things – as if the Gospel was Christianity 101. This kind of thinking bears witness to a defective understanding of the Gospel. At our upcoming conference, The Power of the Gospel we will be explaining this in depth. In Romans 1:15-16 Paul makes it clear that the Gospel is for believers, not only unbelievers. Paul was eager to preach the Gospel to the church in Rome, because the people of God need to be nourished by it. And why do we need to be nourished by it? One reason is that everything is rooted in the Gospel. Everything – every category of doctrine, every command echoes back to the Gospel. 

You cannot understand the doctrines and the commands the roles and relationshisp of the Bible clearly and deeply without a clear understanding of the Gospel. In this sense the Gospel makes everything else make more sense. It is the “rosetta stone” for every other command and pattern in the Bible. The Gospel is the center point of everything. As the center point, it explains and interprets everything else. Everything points to the Gospel and the Gospel points to everything.

One of the reasons it is critical for believers to continually consider the Gospel, is that they need a constant framework from which to understand everything. The Gospel clarifies everything. The Gospel sweetens everything. You cannot understand marriage, headship, submission, child raising, discipleship, work, preaching, church discipline or anything else unless you see how the Gospel calls for it and how it glorifies the Gospel. 

One reason you should consider coming to the Power of the Gospel Conference is that you will walk away with fresh eyes for all of life as well as a renewed understanding of everything that the Gospel commands, provides, produces and implies.

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Covenant Baptist Theological Seminary Name Change

Sam Waldron has let me know that an organization he is part of, and I have benefited from, is changing its name. I have visited their website many times and found some really helpful articles and series. For example, see The Man as Priest study series… 

The Midwest Center for Theological Studies has become Covenant Baptist Theological Seminary. Neither the purpose nor distinctives have changed, but rather that Covenant Baptist Theological Seminary more clearly identifies them and their mission as we move forward. They are solidly committed to the London Baptist Confession of 1689.  Their  new address is www.cbtseminary.orgAnd, you can click here to subscribe for more emails.

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She Heard Me Through the Door of Planned Parenthood – Abortion Clinic Chronicles

NCFIC Board member Jim Zes has been involved in evangelism at abortion clinics for many years. In 2012 he delivered a message at our White Unto Harvest conference on fulfilling the Great Commission on his experiences at abortion clinics. Here is one of the short stories he told in that message:

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To hear the full message titled Preaching the Gospel in the Battle Zone of the Abortion Clinic, CLICK HERE

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25 Ways Parents Exasperate Their Children

One of my favorite child training authors when I was a young father was Reb Bradley. His, “Child Training Tips” was one of the two major guides I used outside the Bible (The other one was “Shepherding a Child’s Heart” by Ted Tripp). I usually have 10 or twenty copies of these books on hand simply to give to parents I think would benefit from it. I thank the Lord for the things Reb Bradley wrote and the good effect they had on me and my family. Colossians 3:21 declares, “Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.” Here are some of the ways Bradley lists for how this happens:

1. Never admit you are wrong

2. Model hypocrisy

3. Fail to keep promises

4. Demand too much

5. Over-protect them

6. Batter them with words

7. Abuse them verbally

8. Make discipline too severe

9. Show favoritism towards their brothers and sisters

10. Embarrass them

11. Give no time warnings

12. Try to be their buddy

13. Withhold firm discipline and proper training

14. Discipline inconsistently

15. Assert parental authority weakly

16. Consistently believe evil of them

17. Do not listen to them

18. Continually criticize them and critique them when they share their innermost thoughts and feelings

19. Communicate how unwanted they are

20. Threaten them with rejection

21. Never communicate approval

22. Neglect them through busyness

23. Overindulge them

24. Reward insolence

25. Cease a time of chastisement before it has produced humility and reconciliation

 (from Child raising Tips by Reb Bradley, P147-152)

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Power of the Gospel Early Bird Pricing – Only Ten Days Left!

Attend the Power of the Gospel Conference!

Early Bird Pricing Expires August 31st!

The Power of the Gospel Conference is only two months away. It’s time to register and take advantage of early bird pricing.

The Gospel’s Importance impossible to Overemphasize

It is difficult to overstate the importance of this matter. Paul Washer declares, “Every word and doctrine of the Scriptures is important; however, some doctrines carry greater weight than others do. Our eternal salvation does not depend upon some nuance in ecclesiology or eschatology, but it does depend entirely upon the Gospel.” 1 “We are in great danger of error whenever we overemphasize the importance of one truth to the demise or neglect of the others. However, it is impossible to overstate or overemphasize the preeminence of the Gospel.” 2

Cafeteria

Bring the Whole Family

Two Institutions for the Glory of God

God has uniquely positioned the church and the family as the primary institutions for discipleship. Each of them play a distinctive role for the glory of God. These two institutions are designed by God to function in harmony. For example, it is very difficult to have a strong and biblically ordered family without the church, and it is equally difficult to have a strong church without a well-ordered family.

A Dual Focus

We will focus significant time speaking of the inward heart and soul of family and church life as it relates to the Gospel.

Meet Our Speaker Lineup

Scott Brown

Dr. Joe Morecraft, III

Dr. R.C. Sproul, Jr.

Kevin Swanson

Craig D. Houston

Dr. Joel Beeke

John Snyder

Dr. Carlton McLeod

Jeff Pollard

Geoffrey Botkin

See Our Full List of Speakers

Inward Realities

View the Online Schedule

The keynote messages in the large meeting hall will focus on the interior regions of spiritual life in a family — the spiritual foundations of family life. The focus of these messages will be on the inward realities, not outward appearances. We will be speaking of repentance, faith, the work of the Holy Spirit and the power of the Word of God in family life. These are the things that are designed to create the outward realities, but without them, all you get is dead orthodoxy — joyless, legalistic families and churches.

 


Learn More and Register to Attend


Pre-Conference Church Leaders & Wives Meeting

Shepherding the Flock of God

Also, notice our Pre-Conference Church Leaders and Wives meeting on Thursday October 30, on “Shepherding the Flock of God”.

Read More About the Pre-Conference Event

1 The Gospel’s Power and Message, Paul Washer, p. 15

2 The Gospel’s Power and Message, Paul Washer, p. 17

(more…)

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Advice from Egypt

When you have a problem, where do you go for advice? Whether you are trying to understand how to be saved or raise your children, do your work, or do anything, where do you go for advice? There are so many places to go. At any given moment in our lives we are either at the help desk of Egypt or before the feet of Jesus with the illuminating power of the Holy Spirit which has given us access to the treasury of wisdom from God and His Word. There are only two options: we either google for Egypt or we set our minds on things above where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. The question for us is, who is myEgypt? What is my Egypt? Am I walking by faith or by sight? These are the questions of Isaiah 30. In this passage, “Egypt” is symbolic of worldly advice. Isaiah answers the following questions: Why do we seek advice from Egypt? What happens when we turn to Egypt? How do we keep from doing it?

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Affirmations and Denials on the Law and the Gospel

I agree with what the PCA has stated in this confession of affirmations and denials on the law and the Gospel.

 

 

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Her Pastor Told Her to Get an Abortion – Abortion Clinic Chronicles

NCFIC Board member Jim Zes has been involved in evangelism at abortion clinics for many years. In 2012 he delivered a message at our White Unto Harvest conference on fulfilling the Great Commission on his experiences at abortion clinics. Here is one of the short stories he told in that message:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

To hear the full message titled Preaching the Gospel in the Battle Zone of the Abortion Clinic, CLICK HERE

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Hope Before the Door

hopeb4thedoorDuring our visits to a Raleigh abortion clinic, we offer hope. Here is how we explain it, Hope Before the Door.

It’s our desire to share this hope in the final moments before a mother enters the door of the clinic to pursue a choice with irreversible effects. We ask if she would be willing to come and speak with us, making it clear that we’re there as Christians to offer support. We tell her that her baby’s life is precious in the eyes of God and that there are other options. We also warn parents of the reality of what is taking place behind those walls and that it is murder in the eyes of God. Most importantly, we want to make it clear that true hope and help can only be found in Jesus Christ.

These urgent appeals have given us the opportunity to engage in many one-on-one conversations with men and women outside of the clinic. We’ve prayed alongside mothers who have turned away and chosen life for their baby. We’ve counseled parents that are fearful of their circumstances and unsure of what to do. We’ve offered the hope of Jesus Christ to women who chose to go through with an abortion.

With every encounter, our intention is to present the words of God and not our own opinions. No one will be held accountable to our standard. God has set the standard and provided us with sound counsel to navigate the most challenging circumstances in life (Psalm 119:1052 Tim 3:16-17).

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Cure for a Heart Far from Him

Is there any hope for hypocritical pharisees who honor God with their lips but their hearts are far from Him? Is there any hope for those who are blind or hopelessly asleep? Isaiah 29 gives us the answer – Yes! But only by the power of the cross of Christ. In Isaiah 29 we encounter both the disease (v9-13) and the cure (v14). This reality should cause us to ask: “Am I a fake? Is my faith real? When I speak, do I speak out of the genuineness of my heart toward the Lord, or simply putting on airs? When I talk about the Bible is it because I love God and the person I am talking to or is it just a game I play? When I pray, is it to demonstrate my righteousness or am I really talking to God?” These are the questions that are addressed in Isaiah 29:1-14. This chapter brings to the second of six woes that are declared in Isaiah 28-33. It is a text on true and false worship and how God judges a nation on the basis of it. What Isaiah speaks in v.13, is the heart of true Christianity that is explained from Genesis to Revelation. He speaks of our greatest danger: to have hearts distant from God while involved in religious activity, “Therefore the Lord said: ‘Inasmuch as these people draw near with their mouths And honor Me with their lips, But have removed their hearts far from Me, And their fear toward Me is taught by the commandment of men.’” – Isaiah 29:13. The very next verse reveals that God will unleash a power strong enough to rescue such a person – the cross. God will send His Son to suffer and die and rise again unleashing what the apostle Paul calls, “the power of God unto salvation.”

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It Takes a Genius to Praise Murder

Abortion Blog

Apparently you are “brilliant” if you make fun of murdering babies. Thats how Cosmopolitan Magazine described it. Bustle says “its the stuff of genius.” So now you are a “genius” if you hold silly signs in front of a place where murder is happening day after day. This is what Grayson and Tina Haver Curren are doing on their Saturday Chores site. They put a smiley face on abortion. We don’t.

For the past four years, our church has been visiting a local Raleigh abortion clinic every Saturday. We go for three reasons:  First, to cry out for the defenseless. Second, to declare the mercies of God that the Gospel offers to the women and men going in and out of there. Third, to offer help if she decides to keep her baby or give it up for adoption or simply needs personal counsel after her abortion.

Since March, the Currins have been coming out for a few minutes to stand next to our sign that reads, “Babies Murdered Here.” They hold up their signs next to ours and take pictures. They usually only stay for a few minutes… its a photo op. The signs are designed to mock pro lifers. They bring signs like, “Happy St Patricks Day,” “I Like Turtles,”  Bring Back Crystal Pepsi.”  They are mocking our message, “Babies are Murdered Here.” Last week they began to post the photos and their story went viral. It was reported in CosmopolitanElleHuffington Post and the Raleigh News and Observer. They’ve decided to stage counter protests. The first week about 60 of their friends showed up to mock, dance, play loud music and drown us out. They came again last Saturday.

Here is my son in law Taylor Tsantles, who is the organizer of our abortion clinic visits,  on Kevin Swanson’s radio show talking about it.

Our mission is to proclaim hope before they enter that door. There is hope. We want to be a voice of hope before that life is terminated and the woman’s life is forever changed.  Here is an explanation of what we are doing over at Hope Before the Door.

It is important that the people in our community know that babies are murdered in there. It is also important that as a community everyone knows that murderers are not babied here. We desire to speak this truth in a spirit of love, compassion and availability. We want to make it clear that there is mercy in God, for He holds out the offer of forgiveness and restoration and no one has sinned too greatly for that. There is hope before the door – and even after.

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