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The Power of Early Mentors – Part 2

My time with John Tebay during the early years of my life reminded me of three principles of mentorship:

1. Youth is a strategic window of opportunity

I believe that God has designed the teens and early twenties as formational periods that both older and younger men and women should recognize. The older should avail themselves to the opportunity and the young should seize the opportunity. Youth is a season of inquiry and desire for significance. It is particularly formational. I believe that these years have significant and disproportionate leverage for the future.

2. Don’t miss the strategic window

It is a common trap for older men to be caught up in their busyness, and the younger men to be entrapped by unprofitable activities, while there is an enormous opportunity for the older to teach the younger. This is the way God designed it – he provides the older for the younger.  If you are one of those older ones, look around to see whom the Lord may have for you to invest in. Pray for the young. Gravitate toward them. Conversely, if you are younger, look for the best mentors near you in your church and seek them out. Don’t miss the window.

3. Mentors won’t hunt you down

Experienced men understand the principle of intrinsic motivation. They know that only those with an internal desire for mentorship will be profitable investments. They have most likely tried to mentor the unwilling and realized how unprofitable it is. This is why most young men won’t have an older wiser man come to him and say, “let me mentor you.” They understand that wisdom is for those who seek it. Gold does not strike you, you strike gold. This might sound cold but if you don’t have a mentor, it’s probably your own fault. You’ve not sought them out with sufficient internal passion and motivation.

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The Power of Early Mentors – Part 1

It is hard to overestimate the effect early mentors can have on our lives. They catch us at a formative moment. Their impact can be enormous.

I had the pleasure recently to visit John and Grace Tebay, my pastor and his wife in California who played such a pivotal role in the early years of my Christian life. He was the pastor of Calvary Church in Placentia, California for forty-five years.

He was (and is) a disciple maker. She was (and is) a wonderful mother and pastors wife. She also played the piano for our worship in the church, and when I sing those songs today I often remember her and the blessing she was to the church and to my soul.

As we were together again last week, it occurred to me that, in God’s providence, most of the things that I am devoted to today were first planted in me during those early days when we were together at Calvary Church. Here is a list:

Sovereignty of God

Love for the church

Centrality of the local church

Ecclesiology

Expository preaching

Personal discipleship

Relational churches

Submission

Age Integration among the generations

Jonathan Edwards

Authority in the church

Authority and submission in the home

Biblical Eldership

Child discipline

Fatherhood

Here is a more lengthy article about that season in my life and John Tebay’s role.

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Have You Forgotten His Sovereign Control?

Have you lost touch with the ever-present sense of the absolute control and majesty of God? Have your thoughts become too earthbound for your earthly good? 

Isaiah 40:21-24, shows us the majesty of God and how refreshing and invigorating it is to get above the fog and dust and clouds in order to get God’s view…a view from the circle of the earth. There the immeasurable king of everything sits in absolute self sufficiency; ruling in independent sovereign authority; observing everything happening on the earth in His incomprehensible immeasurable immensity; and governing everything in undisturbed serenity. 

There are four questions that Isaiah asks in verse 21. These questions are designed to set our thinking straight about God’s control and our dullness about it and forgetfulness of it. It is as if he is saying, “Have you forgotten what you have always known?” These questions are a call to remember the majesty of God. It is easy to have our thoughts so earthbound, so temporal, so focused on our petty concerns, and so fearful of potential outcomes that we become blind to the glory of God. We forget what we knew and our only hope is to revive our memory of His majesty. These four questions may be exactly what you need to bring you back to a sense of reality. 

Then, Isaiah answers these questions with four visions of the majesty of God in verses 22-24: 

1. He sits above the circle of the earth (verse 22) 
2. He controls princes (verse 23a) 
3. He controls judges (verse 23b) 
4. He blows them away at will (verse 24)

How refreshing and invigorating it is to restore your sense of the greatness of God. This passage is designed for just that.

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Husbands: Love Your Wives, Because They Are Your Wives

Why should a husband love his wife? William Gouge provides much wisdom on the matter:

“The cause of Christ’s love was His love, as Moses noteth, He set His love on you because He loved you (Deut. 7:7-8)…In imitation hereof, husbands should love their wives, though there were nothing in wives to move them so to do, but only that they are their wives. Yea [they should love their wives] though no future benefit could after be expected from them. True love hath respect to the object that is loved, and the good that it may do thereunto, rather than to the subject that loveth, and the good that it may receive. For love seeketh not her own (1 Cor. 13:5).”

– William Gouge

William Gouge, “From Husbands, Love Your Wives,” in A Theology of the Family, ed. Scott T. Brown and Jeff Pollard (Wake Forest, NC: The National Center for Family-Integrated Churches, 2014), 133-134.

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Pray for our Marriage Conference that Starts Today – Why Does the Devil Hate Marriage?

Please pray for us this weekend. Today we begin our marriage gathering in our home – “Our Marriages and the Marriages of Our Son’s and Daughters.” We have 22 couples coming. This gathering is designed to take us to Scripture to, on the one hand, learn the language of marriage from the one who created it; and on the other hand, it is designed to deliver us from self-made marriages. A self-made marriage is a marriage made in the image of yourself. It is inwardly focused and narcissistic. God however has designed marriage for the glorification of the love of God in Christ Jesus, and for a demonstration of a faithful submissive Church.

Why does the devil hate marriage so much? Is it because he simply desires to cause as much hate, alienation, discord, and disappointment as he can between spouses? Is it because he hates the offspring that comes from marriage? While these may be some of his reasons, consider that the devil hates marriage because he hates the Gospel of God’s grace in Jesus Christ. God created marriage in order to give the world an earthly illustration of His love for His Church, His sacrifices on behalf of His Church, His union with His Church, His sanctification of the Church, and the glorious purposes that He has in mind for His Church.

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Are You Planning to Move?

Deepak Reju from the Biblical Counseling Coalition wrote a great article titled, “2 Principles to Consider if You Are Planning to Move: Advice to a Mobile Society.” If you are planning on moving, I encourage you to read this article.

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Buck Bunn’s Funeral is Today

Today our family is going to the funeral of our friend Buck Bunn who died at age 90. I first met Buck when he was a Sunday School teacher at Providence Baptist Church here in Raleigh, where we attended when we first moved here 25 years ago. Little did I know that he would figure into our lives in some very interesting ways over a decade later. Below is a chapter from my book, “Preparing Boys for Battle” which tells part of the story and the significance of Buck Bunn in our family’s life:

Chapter 8
Handling Dire Straits
How will you help your boy look back on the trials and the sometimes monstrous situations he will experience? If he is going to succeed, a father must help his son get his doctrine in order. A boy must know the God of the Bible—the true God who knows the number of the hairs on his head, his thoughts before he thinks them, and his steps before he takes them. He must know the God who is sovereign over all of His creation.

When difficulties arise, the normal human reaction is to cultivate blame, bitterness, and regret and to see oneself as a victim. This happens because of the common temptations to sin which accompany trials. It is here, in our weakness, where the Devil may be able to storm the doors of our hearts, for the history of our lives is often littered with incomprehensible situations that sometimes include the evil actions of other people.

How do you prepare sons for a life where looming threats so large and evil are clearly at work? How do we respond to this world in which we are strangers in a strange land, in which lies in the power of the evil one (1 John 5:19), this world where “that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, deceives the whole world” (Revelation 12:9).

In short, preparing our sons to look back on difficulty begins with the communication of the doctrine of the sovereignty of God, which is the bedrock of a biblical philosophy of history.

A person’s philosophy of history is of enormous significance. Whether one views history like a Marxist, or a Hindu, or a Christian, creates tremendous differences.

In the same way, a soldier’s view of history will have a dramatic influence on how he understands the battle for Iwo Jima and all that took place there. If he looks back at that battle as a collection of chance events dictated by the whims, passions, and the powers of men, he will think about it in a fatalistic way. But if he looks at it with an awareness of the orchestrating sovereign hand of God, he will come away with different interpretations and convictions about God’s purposes in that important event.

When our boys went ashore on Iwo Jima they met a ferocious enemy. The protective fanaticism of the Japanese during World War II can be documented in a number of ways. To put this into perspective we need first to remember that no foreign army had set foot on Japanese soil for 5,000 years. When Commodore Perry sailed into Tokyo Bay in 1853, he was very seriously and carefully rebuffed. Second, the Bushido Code (“Way of the Warrior”) demanded “no survivors.” For this reason, while 12,864 bodies of dead Japanese soldiers were counted on Iwo, only eighty-one soldiers surrendered, and forty-five of those were Koreans—they fought to the death. Third, the purpose of the battle for Iwo Jima, from a Japanese perspective, was to scare America away from its march toward Japan. The Japanese knew that much more was at stake than this small island. General Kuribi- yashi believed that if he could kill enough Americans, Washington would reconsider the invasion of the Japanese mainland.

The Japanese soldiers on Iwo Jima knew that they were under a death sentence. They were told that they would never leave the island alive and therefore, they must each kill ten Americans before they perished. The enemy was in a death grip and everyone knew it. General Kuribiyashi spent some of his time writing letters to his family instructing them in the way they should go since he knew he would never return home. He had carefully reconciled himself to his own death.

Our troops also knew the internal conflicts that went with such devastating circumstances. According to General Graves Erskine, “Victory was never in doubt. Its cost was. What was in doubt, in all our minds, was whether there would be any of us left to dedicate our cemetery at the end, or whether the last Marine would die knocking out the last Japanese gunner.”1

How should the boys who stormed the beaches of Iwo Jima look back upon such a terrible situation? They had to look back terror and heart wrenching choices and compromises that were forced upon them. What would be their view of the fanaticism of the enemy that they encountered on Iwo? What kinds of conclusions should they draw from such a barbaric experience? Many men dealt with it by stopping up their experiences inside themselves up for fifty years and never speaking about it. Others grew bitter against the Japanese. Some were never able to shake it. Stories of this are myriad and common.

One thing is certain: If you maintain a truly biblical understanding of history, the difficult stories transform from dead-end tragedies. They are transformed by a sovereign God who oversees all and controls even the weather. Not only will they give you insight into the past but steadiness for today and hope for tomorrow.

Consider the amazing providences of God in the midst of the B-29 bombing raids:

My friend Buck Bunn recalls the amazing phenomenon that he was able to observe in these bombing raids. Those familiar with the history of warfare know that there are countless stories showing that small changes in the weather can make the difference between winning and losing. This was par- ticularly true in the final year of WWII as strange wind patterns improved the effects of our bombing efforts.

The B-29 bombing raids against Japan were often exponentially effective because they were fueled by winds that whipped up just at the right time. Those winds caused massive firestorms that swept through the cities, destroying the infrastructure of the country, finally breaking Japan.

Just to give a statistical picture, consider the following facts.

Before the Enola Gay dropped the ultimate weapon of the war—the atomic bomb—we had already destroyed sixty-five of Japan’s principal cities. Here is how the USAF describes the damage: “602 major war factories destroyed… 1,250,000 tons of shipping sunk by aerial mines…83% oil refinery production destroyed and 75% aircraft engine production destroyed…2,300,000 homes destroyed…330,000 killed…476,000 wounded.” B-29 attacks resulted in more civilian casualties than the Japanese armed forces suffered in three-and-a- half years of war with the U.S. 8,500,000 people were rendered homeless and 21,000,000 were displaced.

Japan’s largest cities were already in ruins when we dropped the bomb. It is startling to understand that 39% of Tokyo (the size of New York City) was completely destroyed, as well as 57% of Yokohama (the size of Cleveland); 55.7% of Kobe (the size of Baltimore); 44% of Nagoya (the size of Los Angeles); and 35% of Osaka (the size of Chicago).2

The B-29 was a fearsome weapon. An enemy who heard the roaring sounds of its engines overhead was stabbed in the heart with fear. And for good reason. They were big, they were loud, and they carried destruction in their wake.

And Buck was a B-29 bomber pilot.

Buck Bunn was just a boy when he became a B-29 pilot—seventeen years old. But it was Buck who led me to an amazing discovery about my father’s experience as a P-51 Mustang pilot and taught me about the role of the B-29 in the Pacific War.

I met Buck as a result of a conversation I had with Bill Henderson; I met Bill Henderson because my friend Jim Dyer told me about him. It was a chain of events and relationships that only God could have linked together arranged. My meeting up with Buck happened as a result of a lunch I had with Bill one day. I asked if he knew any other men locally who had been on Iwo Jima. He said, “Buck Bunn was a B-29 pilot, and he lives right here in Raleigh.”

So I called up Buck to see if he could get together with me. When my son and I met him for lunch I asked, “Buck, what were you doing on May 29, 1945?” I asked him because this was the day my dad was shot down while escorting B-29s on a bombing raid to Japan. He said, “I was on one of the biggest raids of the war over Yokohama.”

I said “Really? My dad was flying a P-51 Mustang on that raid, and he was shot down outside Tokyo Bay.”

He replied, “No kidding! I saw a guy bail out of his P-51 Mustang outside Tokyo Bay that day and have never forgotten it. I always wondered what happened to that guy. I thought that it may have been my gunner that shot him.”

I thought, “Is it possible Buck Bunn saw my dad bail out of his plane on May 29?” And, what’s more, “Could it have been Buck’s gunner that shot my dad?”

I hurried home, got out my history books, and made some phone calls to see how many Mustangs went down on May 29, 1945. Here are my findings: this was the last long-range mission and the most tactically successful of that month. During a very heavy incendiary attack, two Mustangs were shot down. One was piloted by my father, who bailed out; the other guy’s plane plummeted straight into the ocean and he was killed. That flyer was Rufus S. Moore.

One of the interesting puzzle pieces of my dad’s story is that he was shot down by “friendly fire.” The term describes an unintended attack from your own countrymen. In other words, my father was shot down by another American plane. Most likely, it was one of our own B-29s that shot my father down.

I was stunned at the thought that living right here in my hometown was the man who saw my father bail out of his P-51 Mustang. But it was even more amazing to think that Buck Bunn’s gunner may have been the one who blew my father out of the sky: Buck’s gunnery records show a kill on that day— friendly fire—on a P-51 Mustang.

Perhaps one of the truly interesting and humorous encounters I have ever seen took place on my farm, between Buck and my father. Fifty-nine years after the incident, the two men met for the first time and recalled the events of May 29, 1945. They laughed as the one pilot turned to the other with an apology—“Bill, I’m sorry if I shot you down,” Bunn said.

“No problem,” my dad replied. “Don’t worry about it.”

In the years since I met Buck, he has been a great source of information about the B-29, and he has even given a couple of lectures on the subject at our annual Memorial Day Picnic. He shared with us that Iwo Jima was a critical staging point for the final blows that brought the Japanese to surrender. The three airfields on the island of Iwo Jima were located in perfect position to make the final knock-out punch. None of our fighter planes was capable of the long trip from Saipan and Tinian to the Japanese mainland, but Iwo Jima’s airfields brought them within range of protect- ing the long-range B-29s. The mission of the P-51 on these raids was to keep enemy fighter planes away from the B-29 bombers as they flew over their Japanese targets. This was a challenge since fanatical kamikaze pilots in Japanese Zeros would crash into the B-29s.

Since the B-29 bases were on Saipan and Tinian, the bombers would leave and head for Iwo Jima where the P-51 Mustangs would meet them in the air at ten thousand feet and escort them to Japanese targets.

Buck commented to me that it was remarkable to him that nearly every time they went on a mission to bomb Japanese cities, there would be a roaring wind that would arise unexpectedly to fan the flames the bombings generated, destroying much of the landscape. Sometimes the firestorms were so fierce that pilots reported that getting too close to the heat during a firestorm would make them lose control. Sometimes the rising hot air would turn the airplane upside down.

The equipment was available. The pilots were ready and able. The protective P-51 Mustangs were in position. But the final victory was from the Lord who took all of the resources under His command and controlled the weather, multiplying all the human effort beyond measure.

Scripture records instances where God controlled the winds. For example, in Egypt, He caused an east wind to arise and then he caused it to shift from the west,

…and the Lord brought an east wind on the land all that day and all that night. When it was morning, the east wind brought the locusts. And the locusts went up over all the land of Egypt and rested on all the territory of Egypt. They were very severe; previously there had been no such locusts as they, nor shall there be such after them. For they covered the face of the whole earth, so that the land was darkened; and they ate every herb of the land and all the fruit of the trees which the hail had left. So there remained nothing green on the trees or on the plants of the field throughout all the land of Egypt… And the Lord turned a very strong west wind, which took the locusts away and blew them into the Red Sea. There remained not one locust in all the territory of Egypt. But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he did not let the children of Israel go. (Exodus 10:12-20) 

We must realize, and we must help our sons realize, that the success of all our plans and stratagems are dependent upon the sovereignty of God. He controls the wind, the rain and the waves. He determines all outcomes, and we are but dust. The words of Proverbs 21:30-31 express this perfectly:

There is no wisdom nor understanding nor counsel against the LORD. The horse is prepared against the day of battle: but safety is of the LORD. 

There are hundreds of passages of Scripture defining the doctrine of the sovereignty of God. Here are a few:

GOD GOVERNS THE HEARTS OF KINGS AND ALL IN AUTHORITY.

The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; He turns it wherever He will. (Proverbs 21:1; cf. Ezra 6:22)

GOD CONTROLS BOTH SIDES OF THE PROBLEM.

The deceived and the deceiver are his. (Job 12:16)

GOD DESTROYS OR MODIFIES ANY PLAN HE WISHES.

The LORD brings the counsel of the nations to nought; He frustrates the plans of the peoples. The counsel of the LORD stands forever, the thoughts of His heart to all generations. (Psalm 33:10-11)

GOD USES EVIL FOR HIS OWN PURPOSES.

Who has commanded and it came to pass, unless the Lord has ordained it? Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that good and evil come? (Lamentations 3:37-38)

Does evil befall a city, unless the Lord has done it? (Amos 3:6)

GOD CAUSES ALL THINGS TO WORK TOGETHER FOR GOOD—EVEN WHEN THEY ARE MEANT FOR EVIL.

And Joseph said to his brothers, “Please come near to me.” So they came near. Then he said: “I am Joseph your brother, whom you sold into Egypt. But now, do not therefore be grieved or angry with yourselves because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life. For these two years the famine has been in the land, and there are still five years in which there will be neither plowing nor har- vesting. And God sent me before you to preserve a posterity for you in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So now it was not you who sent me here, but God; and He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt.” (Genesis 45:4-8)

Then his brothers also went and fell down before his face, and they said, “Behold, we are your servants.” Joseph said to them, “Do not be afraid, for am I in the place of God? But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive. Now therefore, do not be afraid; I will provide for you and your little ones.” And he comforted them and spoke kindly to them. (Genesis 50:18-21)

GOD HARDENS THE HEARTS OF WHOMEVER HE PLEASES.

But Sihon king of Heshbon would not let us pass through, for the Lord your God hardened his spirit and made his heart obstinate, that He might deliver him into your hand, as it is this day. (Deuteronomy 2:30)

GOD TESTS HIS PEOPLE WITH TRIALS.

And Moses said to the people, “Do not fear; for God has come to test you, and that His fear may be before you, so that you may not sin.” (Exodus 20:20)

GOD RULES EVERYTHING.

In whose hand is the life of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind? Does not the ear test words and the mouth taste its food? Wisdom is with aged men, and with length of days, understanding. With Him are wisdom and strength, He has counsel and understanding. If He breaks a thing down, it cannot be rebuilt; If He imprisons a man, there can be no release. If He withholds the waters, they dry up; if He sends them out, they overwhelm the earth. With Him are strength and prudence. The deceived and the deceiver are His. He leads counselors away plundered, and makes fools of the judges. He loosens the bonds of kings, and binds their waist with a belt. He leads princes away plundered, and overthrows the mighty. He deprives the trusted ones of speech, and takes away the discernment of the elders. He pours contempt on princes, and disarms the mighty. He uncovers deep things out of darkness, and brings the shadow of death to light. He makes nations great, and destroys them; He enlarges nations, and guides them. He takes away the understanding of the chiefs of the people of the earth, and makes them wander in a pathless wilderness. They grope in the dark without light, And He makes them stagger like a drunken man. (Job 12:10-25) 

These statements may not conform to a popular understanding of God, but they are what the Bible says of Him. This is where we must begin, for our vision of God is the foundation of our view of history, defines our lives, and affects every relationship we will ever have. Our denial or acknowledge- ment of God’s sovereignty will either make us wring our hands in worry, or cause us to lift them up to heaven and say, “My times are in Your hands” (Psalm 31:15).

A Father Must

1. MAKE CLEAR THE TRUTH OF GOD’S SOVEREIGN POWER

Fathers need to make several things clear to their sons as they prepare them to contemplate their lives:

First, the events of the past are not accidents.

Second, the events of the past are ordained by God for His glory.

Third, the events of the past will work together for His people’s good.

The truth of Holy Scripture is that God will always give His children a way through whatever dire straits He ordains.

This understanding of history filled the heart of Joseph. After all the wrongs committed against him, he seemed completely absent of distress, anger, or bitterness from the difficulties he experienced. Joseph was trained as a youth with severe testing as a despised brother, a slave, and a prisoner (Genesis 37-50). He was wrongly accused by the promiscuous wife of his master and then left to rot in prison. But, he didn’t rot his youth away in prison. Instead, he became the caretaker of the prison – the direct result of his lifestyle of faithfulness. He spent his entire youth, from age seventeen to age thirty-two, either as a slave or a prisoner. And when he looked back upon it all, he saw the mighty hand of God at work. Joseph knew and obeyed a big God, the one who controls everything. This providential view of history implanted within him a fearlessness that was the secret of his usefulness. He was not frightened by any fear, because he saw the hand of God moving in history.

Fathers, don’t let your sons leave home without bearing in hand and heart the doctrine of the sovereignty of God. Say to them, “Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged!”

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. (Joshua 1:9)

“Son, Trust in the Sovereign Hand of God”

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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:

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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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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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“Is It Really a Baby?” – 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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Five Things Your Children Need to Know About Abortion

All around the world today there are reports of war and violence – Iraq, Israel… It is tragic. But, these are not the most dangerous places in the world today. Where is the most dangerous place in the world today? A mothers womb! What was meant for protection and reverence has become a slaughterhouse. We are obligated in times such as these to communicate the heart of God on the matter.

Here are five things your children need to know about life:

 I.  What the Bible says about life.

There are at least six texts that every child needs to hide in his heart to understand the status of children in the womb and the heart of God toward them.

  • Genesis 1:26-27  “Let us make man in our image, according to Our likeness” …man is made in the image of God.
  • Exodus 20:13  “Thou shalt not kill.”
  • Psalm 139:13-16,  “You knit me together in my mothers womb; you formed my inward parts…your eyes saw my substance before I was unformed”  See also: Ephesians 1:4,
  • Jeremiah 1:5 “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you; before you were born I sanctified you”
  • Luke 1:35,41 “and it happened when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, that the baby leaped in her womb”
  • Luke 1:15  “He will be filled with the spirit, even from his mother’s womb”
  • Proverbs 24:11  “Deliver those who are drawn toward death.”

Even though there are many places in Scripture that prove the wickedness of abortion, you only need one verse. Exodus 20:13 – “Thou shalt not kill.”

We need to make it clear to our children that abortion is an attack on the entire Bible. In the Law, the Prophets, the Poetic books, the Pauline Epistles and the Gospels we find evidence of the sacredness of life in the womb and the sovereignty of God at work in conception. There should be equal protection under the law for life in the womb. For this reason, I encourage you to have your children memorize these important texts of Scripture.

II. Abortion is not new in our day, but what is new is how comprehensive and global it is.

(more…)

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Prayer, the Bellows of the Affections

“Prayer works for good. Prayer is the bellows of the affections; It blows up holy desires and arduous of the soul. Prayer has power with God. “Command ye me”  Isaiah 45:11. It is a key that unlocks the treasury of God’s mercy. Prayer keeps the heart open to God, and shut to sin; He assuages the intemperate heart and the swellings of lust. It was Luthers counsel to a friend, when he perceived a temptation begin to arise, to betake himself to prayer. Prayer is the Christian’s gun, which he discharges against his enemies. Prayer is the sovereign medicine of the soul. Prayer sanctifies every mercy. 1 Tim 4:5.  It is the dispeller of sorrow; by venting the grief, it eases the heart. When Hannah had prayed, “she went away and was no more sad”a1 Sam 1:18. And it it has these rare effects, then it works for good.”

– Thomas Watson, All Thngs for Good, p20

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How to Avoid Having a Household of Uncouth Godless Pigs

Martin Luther tells us how to avoid having a household of uncouth godless pigs in his comments on the fifth commandment:

“If you are a father or mother, you should at this point remember your children and the workers in your household. Pray earnestly to the dear Father, who has set you in an office of honor in his name and intends that you be honored by the name “father.” Ask that he grant you grace and blessing to look after and support your wife, children, and servants in a godly and Christian manner. May he give you wisdom and strength to train them well in heart and will to follow your instruction with obedience. Both are God’s gifts, your children and the way they flourish, that they turn out well and that they remain so. Otherwise the home is nothing but a pigsty and school for rascals, as one can see among the uncouth and godless¹.”


1. Martin Luther, Luther’s Works, Vol. 43: Devotional Writings II, ed. Jaroslav Jan Pelikan, Hilton C. Oswald, and Helmut T. Lehmann, vol. 43 (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1999), 203–204.

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Hide Yourself in His Chambers

In this message we will focus on the final verses of Isaiah 26 concluding our three part series on this chapter. This entire chapter is a song that is meant to be sung in troubled times and it communicates that God is the God of all comfort. It indicates that God walks with His people in times of trouble and He gives them a song to sing. There are times of trouble for the people of God. Often it comes when the judgment of God is upon a nation. Sometimes it comes when the people of God are oppressed and even killed. At other times it comes when we have been foolish or sinful and we are under the chastisement of the Lord. This is the context of the song in chapter 26.

This is a famous text for Scottish Covenanters. During the killing times of the Scottish reformation, Donald Cargill, preached on this text (Isaiah 26:20-21) on July 10, 1681, just two days before he was hanged. A wayward young man was present at his hanging – James Renwick. He was so moved by the scene, that it changed his life and he was never the same again and devoted his life to declaring the fame of Jesus Christ. Two years later, Renwick preached his first sermon from this text. He deliberately chose Isaiah 26:20 in order to publicly maintain the same testimony as Cargill, and perhaps even suffer the same fate. On February 17, 1688 He was caught, beaten and hanged. His head was removed from his body in the Grass Market in Edinburgh. It is no accident that Isaiah 26:20-21 would be a famous passage of Scripture during the killing times. It was meant for times of trouble.

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He Does All our Works in Us

Singing will change your life and shape your emotions. Show me the songs that you love, and I will know what you love and how you live. This is why Augustine wrote, “Only he who loves can sing.” God has invested much power in singing. Isaiah 26 pictures a people singing some of the most remarkable lyrics. Through these lyrics, the prophet is explaining how God will judge the world and how His people should sing about His judgment. A chapter like this should cause us to ask, “What are we singing? What kinds of lyrics play in our hearts?”

Singing has an important place in the Bible, and it is the content of the singing that distinguishes the Christian from the non Christian. After escaping Egypt on the other side of the Red sea, the children of Israel sang (Exodus 15). When the tribes of Israel gathered around the tabernacle in the wilderness, there was singing (1 Chron 6:31-32; 16:42). When Moses was in the last few days of his life God told him to write a song and in one day he wrote a song and taught it to the people. Even the stars sing, “when the morning stars sang together and all the heavenly beings shouted for joy” (Job 38:7). Perhaps this is why J.I. Packer declared, “Any theology that does not lead to song is, at a fundamental level, a flawed theology.”

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