Free from What?

When we were at the Founders National Conference  last week we heard a message delivered by Andy Davis commenting on those who have a problem with the idea that God is sovereign over everything and much prefer to think that man is perfectly free to do what he wishes. He said: 

“Free from what? People who emphasize free will act as though the human will is a “holy of holies” into which God Himself is not allowed to enter.” 

We were all grateful to be reminded that God is good, His will is good, and how thankful we were that our will does not rule and reign, lest we be so free that we would be ruined by our fallen and corrupt will. 

Continue Reading »

When You Don’t Feel Connected at Church

People sometimes go through periods where they feel low about their church life. Here is a good article by Erik Raymond, that provides helpful advice if you are in one of those seasons:

“It is a common phrase spoken by Christians and wrestled with by pastors, “I don’t feel connected at church.” The pastoral burden is for all Christians to be thriving in and through the ministry. When we hear something like this we immediately go into “fix-it” mode. Often times we even attempt to construct some structure around the person to help them feel connected.

But what if this didn’t help anyone? What if the problem wasn’t the ministry but the individual? What if the disconnection we feel is actually the consequence of selfishness?*

Catering to selfishness will never cure selfishness, it only fortifies it.

I find it fascinating that the church, on every level, as she applies the gospel, is self-denying. In fact, the lion’s share of the NT imperatives (commands) are calling us away from serving ourselves by serving others (i.e. Eph. 4-6).

What follows is a list, some help for those who are aiming to feel connected at church.**

  1. Pray to be impressed with God’s design in the church.
  2. Go to church on Sundays.
  3. Talk to 3 people that you do not know at church.
  4. Open up your home to have someone over (hospitality).
  5. Find opportunities to serve in ministry.
  6. Pray for your pastors, deacons and fellow church family.
  7. Talk to people about Jesus and invite them to church.
  8. Be content with the ordinary means of grace.
  9. Restart process.

As you read this list you no doubt noticed that in each case the problem is countered by self-denying service. Instead of catering to ourselves (consumeranity) believers are called to serve others (Christianity). While this may not be comfortable it is certainly biblical, and therefore, sanctifying.

Can I confess something to you? Sometimes don’t feel very connected at church. And I’m the pastor! But, guess what I do? I get to work on myself because nine times out of ten, the problem is with me. I need to get to work with the simple, ordinary means of grace. This always gets my focus off of myself and on to Christ. It helps me to remember that while the church is full of sinners, I myself am also a sinner.

The way ahead is always service through humility. God knows what he is doing with and through the church. We need to trust him, and, most often, get to work. If you are feeling disconnected or counseling those who are feeling this way, I challenge you to take an honest crack at this list. I think it will do the trick.

*I realize there can be legitimate problems in churches that could cause faithful Christians to feel disconnected. And I don’t discount that pastors can lead people into meaningful community. This posts aims to focus on the individual. 

**This list assumes that there is theological and philosophical agreement with the church.

Erik Raymond. “Help for those who feel ‘Disconnected’ at Church.” OrdinaryPastor.com

Continue Reading »

Everlasting Joy on Their Heads

I am preaching through Isaiah on Sunday mornings at our church, and we are now in Isaiah 35, which speaks of the everlasting joy that God gives His people. Here is John Calvin’s commentary on the final words of chapter 35:

And they shall obtain joy and gladness. By the words “joy and gladness,” he means that there will be so great happiness under the reign of Christ, that we shall have abundant reason to rejoice. And indeed the true and only ground of rejoicing is, to know that we are reconciled to God, whose favour is sufficient for our perfect happiness, “so that we may glory even in tribulation,” (Rom. 5:3;) and, on the other hand, when Christ does not enlighten us, we must be darkened by sorrow. Besides, it is certain that the godly do not rejoice in a proper manner without also expressing gratitude to God; and therefore this spiritual joy must be distinguished from that ordinary joy in which irreligious men indulge; for the reprobate also rejoice, but their end at length shews how pernicious is the wantonness of the flesh, which leads them to take delight in despising God. This kind of “joy” Paul justly (Rom. 14:17; Gal. 5:22) calls spiritual; for it does not depend on fading things, such as honour, property, riches, and other things of that nature which quickly perish; but this joy is secret and has its seat in the hearts, from which it cannot be shaken or torn away in any manner, though Satan endeavours by every method to disturb and afflict us; and therefore the Prophet justly adds—
Sorrow and sighing shall flee away. The joy is everlasting, and all “sadness flees away;” for although many bitter griefs are daily endured by the children of God, yet so great is the power and strength of their consolation, that it swallows up all sorrow. “We glory,” says Paul, “in our tribulations,” (Rom. 5:3;) and this glorying cannot be without joy. The Apostles “departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were accounted worthy of suffering dishonour for the name of Jesus.” (Acts 5:41.) Yet the godly often suffer heavy distresses, and are not exempt from grief. This is undoubtedly true, but they are not overwhelmed; for they look straight towards God, by whose power they become victorious, just as if a person, elevated on a lofty mountain, looking at the sun, and enjoying his brightness, beheld others in a low valley, surrounded by clouds and darkness, whom that brightness could not reach.

Continue Reading »

The Insidious Danger of Family-olatry

Here is an audio message that Jeff Pollard preached last week Sunday morning on how people go off the tracks on the family, The Insidious Danger of Family-olatry.

He speaks of both the blessing and the danger there might be among those who embrace a proper doctrine of the family and he acknowledges how right this is:

“As we strive for the biblical view of manhood and womanhood, as we struggle against our culture’s anti-family worldview, we must not fall into the insidious danger of family-olatry.”

Jeff begins the sermon with these words:

“His (Christ’s) brief statements here are among the most challenging things He said regarding families. The Incarnate Son of God made abundantly clear that His heavenly Father’s family took priority over His flesh-and-blood family. Our beloved Lord and Savior teaches us here that our earthly family must not inhibit our obedience to God or our service to God’s spiritual family—the Church.”

Jeff continues framing the sermon on a very plain statement from the Lord Jesus:

“…we learn a startling lesson: Christ’s earthly family is not the family that matters most. In a day in which many are trying to biblically reform the family, we must pay careful attention to Christ’s message here. Jesus had taught His disciples in 10:37, “He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.”

He speaks of the danger in this way:

“It is right and good for us passionately to love our families; but that very love and affection can gradually, subtly usurp Christ’s throne in our heart. In time, the deceptive attractiveness of our family can become our “first love” (Rev 2:4).”

Jeff points out that Jesus’ two questions revealed His understanding of the prioritization of family and church:

“Jesus awakens us to an astonishing and, perhaps for some, a troubling reality: the family that matters most in this life is God’s family, not our earthly family.”

One of the most critical matters is understanding what it is that keeps us from prioritizing the family of God:

“Let us be clear: Family-olatry is the sin of permitting our earthly family to keep us from doing what God has commanded us to do. It manifests itself by putting our earthly families above the Word of God or above the people of God. This is a challenge because a Christian belongs to both families! Our earthly families must not take precedence over the church of Jesus Christ. A believer’s congregation is the most important family one has because it is Christ’s family—the family of the elect.”

How dangerous is it to a make an idol out of your family? Jeff gives this answer:

“Idolatry in any form is a fatal disease of the soul.”

How do you know if you are making an idol out of your family? Jeff answers with these ten signs signs:

(1) Family members come for a visit. It is on the Lord’s Day. We have not seen them for a while, so instead of worshiping God with His Family—which He has commanded us to do—we stay home with our earthly family—which He has not commanded us to do. This is family-olatry.

(2) Our children have a gift for music, sports, or academic pursuit. An event or a conference associated with that gift comes up. We travel to and come back so late from the event—which God has not commanded us to do—that we are exhausted and do not come to worship with God’s family—which God has commanded us to do. This is family-olatry.

(3) We are so concerned that our children get the best education, have great experiences, play sports, see great sites, attend great events—which are lawful, but God has not commanded us to do—that we do not have family worship or we rarely have family worship—which God makes clear that we are to do. This is family-olatry.

(4) The Lord’s Day arrives. It is the blessed day in which God’s family will celebrate the Lord’s Supper. An opportunity to visit with our earthly family or a family outing arises. We put aside the Lord’s Supper—which Christ has commanded us—for our family event—which Christ has not commanded us. This is family-olatry.

(5) Perhaps we have disobedient, disrespectful children. No matter how we reason with them, they will not obey. We know that the Word of God tells us to discipline them. However, we are afraid that, if we spank them or discipline them in some way, they will hate us. We want that relationship with them so much, we will not do what the Word of God clearly commands us to. This is family-olatry.

(6) Our daughters or our wives dress immodestly. We do not want them to think that we are legalists. We do not want to lose their affection. Daughters, and especially wives, do not want fathers and husbands to tell what to wear. So we let them wear what they will because we “love” them. This is family-olatry.

(7) A new family is visiting the church. We have not spoken to them much or maybe not at all. Your view is my spouse/my children, etc., are not out-going. We just like to stay ourselves. So we do not open our home for hospitality to God’s family—which God has commanded you to do—in order to keep your family’s comfort zone—which God has not commanded you to do. This is family-olatry.

(8) A spouse, a child, a parent, or another family member commits a grievous sin. We do not want them “shamed” or exposed because it might ruin their lives. Worse, it might make us—parents—look bad. So we deal with it our way. Even though Scripture says, “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them”—which God has commanded—we let God work it out—which He has not commanded. This is family-olatry.

(9) The Lord saves us and brings us out of darkness into the glorious light of His Son Jesus Christ. We are thrilled to learn the Gospel and of salvation by grace alone through faith alone. However, our parents are not Christians, or our spouse is not a Christian, our relatives are not Christians. We do not want to talk about Christ because they will think we are crazy. They will think we are strange, too strict—“Jesus Freaks”! We do not want to bring up the Gospel or invite them to meet God’s family—which God has commanded us to do—in order to “keep the peace”—which God has not commanded us to do.

(10) There are innumerable other ways to be family-olators. You love your wife so much, you love your husband so much, or you love your children so much that you do not do things you know God has taught you. You know that the Lord has put His finger on something in your life and because of your affection for father, mother, husband, wife, son, or daughter—or any other family member—you do not forsake it or you do not pursue it. You are a family-olater.

In the conclusion of the message, Jeff makes clear that the Word of God clearly prioritizes the church over the family.

Jesus loves His institutions of Church and family. While much of Christianity today says, “Focus on the family,” God’s Word makes clear that we are to “focus on Church.” The two must not be set against one another, but they must be understood according to the Word of God. God’s family takes priority. Let us love both biblically and by faith in Christ, and by the grace of God, the power of the Holy Spirit, and truth of God’s Word avoid the insidious danger of family-olatry.

Continue Reading »

Progressive Worldliness – How Friends Can Lead You There

Here is John Calvin on the ways we negatively affect one another. It should help us to see the importance of personal holiness in the church and the responsibility we have with one another to protect ourselves from worldliness, not only for ourselves, but also for the sake of our brothers and sisters,  

“We are gradually infected, I know not how, by the vices of those with whom we have intercourse and familiarity; and as we are more prone by nature to copy vices than virtues, we easily become accustomed to corruptions,and, in short, the infection rapidly spreads from one person to another.”

Quote from John Calvin commenting on Isaiah 30:1, Commentary on Isaiah, Vol. VII of his commentary set republished by Baker, page 345.

Continue Reading »

When You Meet The Harlot, The Lion, The Bald Man, The Father and The Shepherd

3F6A0041

3F6A0051

3F6A0065

Screen Shot 2014-10-04 at 4.57.17 PM

Over the weekend,we had our annual Hope Baptist/Sovereign Redeemer Father Son Retreat.

The messages were studies in the people young men meet. How they act when they meet these people will determine whether they are men or boys. Whats the difference between a man and a boy. We want to ask, which one are you? Why would anyone want to marry you? These messages bring various passages of scripture that bring advice for young men and their fathers for when they meet The Harlot, The lion, The Bald Man, The Father and The Shepherd.

Here are the messages:

1. The Harlot, Part 1, Scott Brown – Proverbs 5-7

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.

Download

You have met and will continue to meet the harlot, but HOW do you resist her? In this message you will hear the answer… you cannot accountability your way to purity, but there is a way that God prescribes.

2. The Harlot, Part 2, Scott Brown – Your Strategy

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.

Download

3. The Lion, Mike Davenport – Proverbs 22: 13

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.

Download

How a man meets the “lion” makes is clear who he really is… Charles Bridges identifies these, “Imaginary difficulties” and those who are always “inventing some vain excuse.” He shrinks from every work likely to involve trouble.”

4. The Bald man, Dan Horn – 2 Kings 2:23-25

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.

Download

Your response to the bald man is a mirror to know if you are a man or a boy. Until you can meet the old bald man and say, “you are worthy of respect,” you are not ready to be married for you will not know how to love and respect your wife.

5. The Father, Jason Dohm, Ephesians 6:1-4, Colossians 3:20-21

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.

Download

How you are when you meet your father, tells whether or not you will succeed in life. You meet him everyday, and it determines your path through life.

6. The Shepherd, Dan Horn – 2 Chronicles 24

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.

Download

How you relate to the shepherds God provides for you tells you whether you are a boy or a man. The story of Jehoida teaches us that it is not enough to emulate shepherds, but rather that you have true faith, and true, genuine, internal hunger for Christ and for the instructions of the shepherds you have been given. Don’t think that outwardly fulfilling your pastors or mentors or fathers commands is an indication that you have been saved.

Continue Reading »

New Book – Theology of the Family – Pre-Order Now 50% Off!

Announcing: Over 700 pages of rich treasures on family life written over the last 500 years. You can pre-order it today and receive a 50% discount. (Offer Expires October 28, Begins shipping November 17th.)


A Theology of the Family is an excellent anthology featuring a wealth of mostly-forgotten material from great Christian leaders of the past 500 years… In fact, the current dearth of biblical wisdom, combined with the rapid decline of the family as an institution, illustrates precisely why the material in this book is more truly relevant and more desperately needed than ever. 
—Phil Johnson, Executive Director of Grace to You, Sun Valley, CA


This book presents a perspective on the family largely forgotten by the modern church. There are fifty-six authors featured in this volume; authors such as: John Bunyan, Jonathan Edwards, John Gill, William Gouge, Matthew Henry, Martin Luther, A.W. Pink, J. C. Ryle, R. C. Sproul, Charles Spurgeon and Thomas Watson. Each of them give a powerful testimony that the twenty-first-century church needs to be reminded of what she used to believe about family life. These authors bring a measure of the correction and the balm necessary to heal our amnesia and return us to biblical order.

 

In the mid 1990s, it began to occur to me that the modern Church had actually lost the biblical doctrine of the family. Biblical fatherhood was dead. Feminists owned womanhood. Motherhood was despised. Babies were marginalized as thieves of convenience and success. In America, we have aborted millions of children since 1973. Marriages were crumbling, and the very institution was being redefined. It was almost impossible to find men in the church who understood biblical manhood or fatherhood. The twentieth century was a bad time for the family; the trends were all running in the wrong direction, and biblical ignorance was speeding the family on its way to destruction.

 

Meanwhile, Jeff Pollard was doing something about it. He was toiling into the night to document a correct theology of the family. He brought these doctrines together in an organized form for the ministry of Chapel Library. If you have known Jeff for any length of time, you know that the last twelve years of his life has been defined by his ministry to Mount Zion Bible Church and the unrelenting schedule to produce the Free Grace Broadcaster, a quarterly digest of Christ-centered sermons and articles from prior centuries. It is all about recovering sound doctrine and biblical practices. Jeff has produced dozens of booklets on subjects such as the gospel, sin, repentance, the Holy Spirit, the blood of Christ, justification, sanctification, secret sins, and many other critical matters. Through Jeff’s work at Chapel Library, there is a wealth of doctrinal resources that are being shipped all over the world. He brought them together in order to correct the lapses, heal the wounds, and pass them on to the rising generation. He worked for over a decade to identify the great authors and writings of the past that could meet the problems of our day. He went back in time. He returned to eras where a Christ centered view of the family was understood much better. He has revealed the doctrine locked in the literary treasure chests of the past. I am thankful that he also did this for the doctrine of the family.


ENDORSEMENTS:

This volume is a spiritual buffet for Christian family life, a delicious smorgasbord of short selections largely drawn from treasured Reformed writers. It dishes up biblical truth, loading the table with meaty explanation, sweet comfort, and well-spiced exhortation for fathers, mothers, children, and young people.
—Dr. Joel R. Beeke, President of Puritan Reformed theological Seminary, Grand Rapids, Michigan, and author of A Puritan Theology

There are many books on the family, so why another one? This is not “another one”! I commend A Theology of the Family because it is a compilation of some of the best articles on the subject of the family from proven teachers of the last five hundred years.
—Conrad, Mbewe, pastor of Kabwata Baptist Church, in Lusaka Zambia, and author of Foundations for the Flock: Truths About the Church for All the Saints 

We are all placed in great debt to those whose vision and labors have produced this amazing collage of godly wisdom concerning this all important issue. With God’s blessing upon its pages, may the usefulness of this book in our day exceed our highest expectations and our most bold prayers. May the same be true for future generations, should our Lord delay his return.
—Albert N. Martin, served as a pastor of Trinity Baptist Church of Montville, New Jersey for forty-six years and is author of Preaching in the Holy Spirit; Grieving, Hope, and Solace: When a Loved One Dies in Christ; and You Lift Me Up: Overcoming Ministry Challenges

…There is probably no greater threat to our culture than the demise of godly family life. There is no certainly greater resource for a godly family life (outside the Bible) than the vast and blessed legacy contained in the Reformed tradition of teaching on this subject. The present volume gives easy access to that vast resource for godly family life…. May God be pleased through this volume to raise up godly families and through them to strengthen and stabilize godly churches.
—Sam Waldron, Dean and professor of Systematic Theology at Covenant Baptist Theological Seminary, and author of A Man as Priest

The godly Christian family faces unrelenting pressures from a fallen world (and sadly, sometimes from misguided churches) which threatens to dismantle it or at least redefine it on its own terms… This book is a spiritual treasure chest filled with pure gold from proven writers both old and new. It touches on a variety of subjects beneficial for every family member. I heartily recommend it.
—Pastor Rob Ventura, Grace Community Baptist Church, North Providence, RI, Co-Author of A Portrait of Paul and Spiritual Warfare 


 

 

Continue Reading »

NC Homeschoolers Outnumber the Private Schooled

In North Carolina, more children are homeschooled compared to private school. You can read the whole article by clicking here.

In 1973, there were approximately 13,000 children, ages 5 to 17, being homeschooled in the United States. But according to the National Center for Education Statistics, as of the 2011-2012 school year, that number has grown to almost 1.8 million or approximately 3.4 percent of the school age population. Other sources report numbers well over 2 million.

In the Tar Heel state alone, homeschooling has increased by 27 percent over the past two years.

Wood, Genevieve. “In NC More Children Homeschool Than Attend Private Schools.” Paradshift.net. 08 Sept. 2014.

Continue Reading »

Why Would Anyone Want to Marry You?

It is almost time for the Father Son Retreat, which is October 3-4 (Friday afternoon-Saturday) at the Brown Farm. This year the focus is preparing sons for manhood. We are going to say that sons are tested by those they meet. We want to ask sons, “Are you becoming a man or a boy?”  We are going to ask, “Why would anyone want to marry you?” In order to do this we are going to identify different challenges that boys meet. They are tested by meeting The HarlotThe LionThe Bald ManThe FatherThe Shepherd, and The Maiden.

Cost: For those who are not frequent attenders of Hope Baptist or Sovereign Redeemer, pricing is as follows:

Individual: $40 per person.
Family: $100.

For clarity, the individual rate is more economical for a father and one son, while the family rate is more economical for a father with multiple sons.

To register, please email the name of each person attending, along with the age of each son, to Alan Hillman at 5arrowsrvn@gmail.com.

Continue Reading »

Relentlessly Call Abortion What It Really Is

John Bloom speaks graphically and accurately on a matter that we need to keep in mind as we work and pray for the end of abortion in our land. His article, Relentlessly Call Abortion What it Really Is” strikes to the heart of the matter,

The killing of children can be tolerated and even championed as a social good so long as we don’t call it what it is. Call abortion an individual’s right to privacy and you can write it into the legal code. Call abortion a compassionate choice offered to a frightened girl to save her future or to save a child from an undesirable quality of life and you can swing popular opinion. Call abortion a liberation of women from the social and economic oppression of male dominance and passionate people will march on capitols chanting demands to preserve the human right of abortion on-demand.

He continues,  

We have allowed legal child-killing on-demand for 41 years because we’ve called it something else… Here’s the point: truthful tongues save lives. Legalized abortion is an evil that occurs and is tolerated because of deceptive words. And it’s truthful words that are required to clear the fatal fog with clarity.”

This is why we must call abortion what it is – murder. 

Continue Reading »

Work is Love Made Visible

I saw this at breakfast in Johannesburg South Africa:

photo

Continue Reading »

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.

Continue Reading »

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.

Continue Reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

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.

Continue Reading »

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.

Continue Reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Page 1 of 8812345...102030...Last »