Category Archive

Sin Dies or We Die

Here is a very helpful article by John Piper on waging war with sin Thirteen Practical Steps to Kill Sin. He says, “sin dies or we die.” And, “Don’t make any plans that open the door for sin’s entry. “Make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires” (Romans 13:14).

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What Can Infants Really Get Out of Church?

Let me illustrate how valuable it is for a child to be included in corporate worship in the church. Many years ago, there was a family in our church who needed some help with their children during the church services as a result of a new baby and lots of little ones. My wife Deborah offered to hold their one-year-old in church. She held that child and had her sit with her for about two years. She is now twelve-years-old, and the other day I asked her what she remembered most about that time in her life. Without pausing an instant she said, “The thing I remember the most was when the pastor would say something aunt Deborah loved, or if there was a song she cherished or if a prayer was prayed, she would say, “Mmmmm, amen.” This was what she was able to get out of being in church when she was an infant. She added, “When my aunt Deborah would sigh like that, I did the same thing.”

It must be acknowledged that children get something out of everything they experience. This is the nature of discipleship. It is progressive. So we should abandon the idea that “my child gets nothing out of big church.” This is subterfuge and misinformation. Plus, nobody gets everything out of anything, particularly a sermon. We may say, “Our children don’t get anything out of the services,” but we can’t really believe it. We get goose bumps when we sing to our children while they are in the womb. We believe that the sounds and even the attitudes surrounding them are affecting their development process. Some people play classical music to their children in the womb, and some even contend that just hearing it makes their kids smarter outside the womb. They listen to our conversation, but don’t think for a minute that everything goes over their heads. Children get something out of everything they experience. This is why there is great value, even for a very young child, to experience authentic worship in the church.

Something is being communicated as they watch their fathers give of the family resources during the offering. As they grow up, their understanding will increase.

Something is being transferred, as they watch the adults “worship the Father in spirit and truth” (John 4:23). They don’t get everything, but they can get something as they are observing the fervency and genuineness of the church’s expression of love for God.

Children progressively understand what a parent and the wider church members love and appreciate. Year after year, their understanding builds. Year after year, the well is filling up.

What effect does the teaching of the Word have on a child? Only God knows what a child gets from the teaching or the praying or the singing. Only God knows what a child gets out of seeing men standing up and speaking of the things of God. Only God knows what a child gets out of experiencing Christian community.

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Top Ten Bad Fruits Of Youth Culture

Jesus makes it clear that he who does anything to “cause the least of these” to stumble “it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones” (Luke 17:2). By gratifying the natural desire of youth to be with other youth and giving them what they want, even though it is destructive, we are depriving them of the mentors they need. For some, this will mean delayed maturity. For others, it may mean they will never put away childish things their whole life long. When we put children into environments that cause them to stumble, we become guilty. Jesus maintains such a high view of youth that He issues a terrifying warning to all who would cause them to stumble.

Ask yourself and honestly answer, “Do age-segregated environments cause youth to stumble? Do they cause them to be sober-minded as Scripture commands? Do they cause them to mature? Do they protect them from immorality? Do they prepare them for marriage? Do they promote taking captive every thought to Christ?” After more than three decades of participating in and observing modern youth ministry, I can easily answer yes to the first and no to the rest of these questions. In fact, the Scripture clearly warns that “foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child” (Pro. 22:15), and that “the companion of fools suffers harm” (Pro. 13:20). In this sense, Scripture has already informed us that gathering foolish youth together will corrupt them. This is not an argument against godly friendships among youth. It is, however, a stinging condemnation of the unprincipled youthful relationships which develop in an age-segregated youth ministry environment.

Jesus said, “It is impossible that no offenses should come, but woe to him through whom they do come!” (Luke 17:1).*

For the past fifty years, we have lived in a culture where churches freely facilitate youth culture. Has it produced good fruit or bad fruit?  Here is my list of the top ten bad fruits that result from the cultivation of youth culture:

  1. Foolishness is cultivated and multiplied, Prov. 13:20
  2. Christian parental nurture is replaced by youth influence, Eph. 6:1-4
  3. Peer dependence is acquired, 1 Kings 12:8
  4. Immaturity is made socially acceptable, Prov. 22:15
  5. Dishonor of parents is provoked, Prov. 10:1; 15:20
  6. Wasted time through “hanging out” is praised, Eph. 5:16; Col. 4:5
  7. Unprofitable conversations are multiplied, Ps. 141:3; Matt. 12:36
  8. Irresponsibility is modeled, Prov. 22:7; Gal. 6:7-8
  9. Multiple guy/girl romances and breakups create patterns of mini-divorces, Prov. 24:27
  10. Consciences are defiled through virtual and real fornication, Acts 15:20; 1 Cor. 6:18

*from A Weed in the Church, 3rd printing, 129-130.

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Fear of God Conference Audio Available on USB

This week only – free shipping and 20% off ($60 discounted from $75).

At this conference, we discussed the doctrine of the fear of God, as well as the applications of this doctrine for our own hearts, homes, churches, and government.

You may be thinking, “Oh, I already know about the fear of God. Why do I need to hear these messages?” Let’s take a moment and think about the condition of our own hearts, churches, families, and nations in regards to the fear of God: There has never been another point in history where our nation has demonstrated less fear and honor toward God than it does now in our present time. We need to recapture this crucial doctrine.

After hearing these messages, you will have experienced a thorough study of the fear of God from Genesis to Revelation. I hope that you will be able to join us!


Purchase the USB Audio

Optionally you can choose to purchase a digital copy of the audio and video (video will be available in the coming weeks). 

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What Love Looks Like, Part 2

What are the signs of love? In the context, Paul gives us 15 distinguishing marks love that manifest the presence of Jesus Christ in our homes and churches. We have already covered the first five marks of love in Part 1. Now, we will turn our attention to the rest of them:

7. Love does not seek its own.
8. Love is not provoked.
9. Love thinks no evil.
10. Does not rejoice in iniquity.
11. Rejoices in the truth.
12. Bears all things.
13. Believes all things.
14. Hopes all things
15. Endures all things

With each point remember how this relates to Christ’s love, for this also explains how He loved redeemed sinners. In this way, we are taught not lean on morality but on Christ.

This is a supernatural result of our fellowship with God. Love is not a decision. Love is not a discipline. Love is not a work of the flesh. Love is a fruit. Love comes from something real. Love comes from fellowship with God. All of these fifteen marks of love reflect the way Jesus Christ loves His church, and the individuals in His church. 

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Fear of God Devotional: What Can Modern Christians Learn from the Life of Noah?

Ken Ham explains that Noah was a man of great faith who feared God, as evidenced by the fact that Hebrews 11 lists him in the “Hall of Faith.”

Though the whole world had rebelled against God, Noah feared God and obeyed everything that God told him to. Even when perhaps he did not understand why he was building an ark and even though he and his family suffered from scoffing friends and relatives, he remained faithful to what God commanded him to do.

As fathers and leaders of our own family, we ought to follow Noah’s example and lead our family in the ways of the Lord, no matter how difficult it may be or what people might say. Psalms 18:21 says, “For I have kept the ways of the Lord, and have not wickedly departed from my God.” When we fear truly God, we think less of ourselves and more on pleasing God and remaining obedient to His commands.

Hebrews 13:6 (NKJV) – “So we can confidently say, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?’”

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Fear of God Conference – Day 3 Recap

Today was the final day of the “Fear of God” conference. Today’s sessions included breakouts, where our speakers sought to further unpack this issue of the fear of God and its many applications to all areas of life. Later in the day, we listened to a few more keynote messages and a Q&A discussion panel, as well as a conclusion of the whole matter of the conference by Scott Brown.

Ken Ham was the first keynote of the day, as he spoke on the topic of Noah, and the lessons on godly fear we can learn from this historical account. Similar to Noah’s day, there are many even today who seek to mock those who obey the Lord. The question is: Are we going to fear God and obey Him, or are we going to fear man?

During the final keynote session, prior to the Q&A and Scott Brown’s conclusion, Kevin Swanson spoke on the relationship between the fear of God and the knowledge of God. Proverbs 1:7 makes it clear that the “fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge.” The fear of God should be manifested in every area of our life and academics. Train your children to fear God as the foundation for all knowledge!

The audio for the conference will become available in the NCFIC store soon. We encourage all those who weren’t able to attend to get a copy of the messages. This is a crucial area of life. We cannot experience true godliness if we lack a proper fear of God. Not the dreadful and sinful fear of unbelievers (whether it’s a sinful fear of God or nature), but the child-like, filial fear of unbelievers. The fear that drives us from our sin, and draws us near to God!

So to conclude, what or who do you fear? Do you fear God or man? Examine yourself diligently!

“Blessed is everyone who fears the LORD,
Who walks in His ways.”

– Psalm 128:1

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The Fear of God and the Impoverished Church by Gary Powers

This morning at the Fear of God conference, Gary Powers gave a message titled The Fear of God and the Impoverished Church.

Gary Powers makes it clear that there is a famine in the land – a famine of preaching the Word of God. Why? He contends that there is a famine in the land because there is no meat in the storehouse. One of the reasons there is no meat in the storehouse is because people are not tithing. The prominent reason a church cannot support a full time pastor is that the people are not prioritizing giving. He makes it clear that the fear of the Lord is the heart of the matter because the tithe was given to help the people learn to fear the Lord. Deut 14:22. Bunyan said, “there was a man, some called him mad, the more he gave, the more he had.”

Order all messages from the Fear of God conference on USB by clicking here.

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Fear of God Conference – Day 2 Recap

Day 2 of the “Fear of God” conference was a beautiful and blessed day. We have included some pictures below of what’s been happening around the conference. We enjoyed more messages by some of our speakers

John Snyder started off the day by going to Isaiah 11, and speaking on the delight of Christ to fear the Lord. He is our ultimate example, thus if it delighted Christ to fear His Father, then shouldn’t we follow His example and delight in fearing Him as well?

Next, we had Jeff Pollard come and speak to us about the blessings that Paul lays out in 2 Corinthians, and the importance of not being yoked with unbelievers. And he asked a question that we should all ponder: What are you drawn to? You are either drawn towards God, or towards the world. Do you hear the world, and desire it more than Christ? Carefully ponder these questions, and examine yourself.

Next we had Carlton McLeod, who spoke about the importance of trembling upon hearing the Word of God. What is your response when you hear the Word of God preached, especially when it is a passage that speaks against a particular sin in your life? Are we quick to repent and obey God, or do we harden our hearts, and try to twist the Scriptures such that the interpretation is in our favor?

Sam Waldron continued by showing that God had promised that he would implant the fear of God in the hearts of His people at the time of Jeremiah! He took us to Jeremiah 32, where God speaks of the many promises that He said He would bestow on His people. One of these glorious promises was that He would implant in the hearts of His people a perpetual, holy, and filial fear of Him. “[T]hat they may fear me forever” (Jeremiah 32:39).

To end the day, Anthony Mathenia preached from the book of Jonah, speaking about the lessons that we can learn about the fear of the Lord from the life of this prophet. We ought to ask ourselves, “Are we seeking to obey the Lord, or are we looking for every excuse and spending resources to disobey Him?” Jonah’s disobedience had a negative effect on Jonah both physically, and especially spiritually. It is no different with us.   

If you are joining us on the livestream, we will be beginning again tomorrow morning at 8:30am with Joel Beeke, where he will be seeking to show the connection between the fear of God and Bunyan’s view of God.  We hope that you will be able to join us!

Here are some pictures from the day:

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The Fear of God Conference – Day 1 Recap

It was a blessed day here in Asheville, NC as we kicked off the 2016 NCFIC conference titled, “The Fear of God.” It started with the “Burnings in the Soul” men’s luncheon, and continued later on this evening with keynote messages by Scott Brown and Joel Beeke.

As a lead off for the conference, Scott Brown spoke on the eight different kinds of fear that are spoken of as you read through Scripture. Not all fear is sinful fear, though there are many manifestations of sinful fear. There is also a holy fear, a filial fear of God that is found in the hearts of believers. What we fear is what we worship. What or who do you fear?

Scott Brown then did an exposition of Psalm 128. This Psalm makes it absolutely clear that, far from the fear of God being this terrible and scary thing (as the world and the devil would want you to believe), it actually sweetens every area of our lives. Not the sinful, dreadful fear of an unbeliever; but the humble and pleasing fear of a true child of God. It is a fear that propels us away from our sins, and draws us near to God and brings peace to our souls. It is the greatest gift of salvation! What could be sweeter?

For the last session of the night, Joel Beeke took us to the book of Ecclesiastes to speak on the importance of the fear of God. The whole message of this book boils down to this: Do everything in the fear of God. Only those who fear God experience meaningful lives. This is just another example from the pages of Scripture that the fear of God is not just this slavish and terrible fear. There is a child-like and holy fear that should be manifested in the lives of those who name the name of Christ.

If you are listening in to the livestream of the conference, we will be beginning again tomorrow morning at 8:50am as John Snyder will be taking us to Isaiah 11, when he will be speaking of the Lord Jesus Christ’s delight “in the fear of the Lord” (Isa. 11:3).

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Fear of the Lord Definition

What is the fear of the Lord?  Here is Dr. Carlton McLeod’s personal three-fold definition:

  1. The fear of the Lord is the love, reverence, awe and passion that prompts the believer to obey God.  It is that state of mental and emotional sanctification where the believer sees God as holy and a reverent trembling results.  It is the necessary characteristic of Christian discipleship where total obedience to the commands of Christ is seen as a loving response to a loving God.
  2. It is a behavioral restraining element even in the heart of those who do not follow Christ.  In other words, it is a cultural acknowledgment within man’s conscience of the Law of God (Ro 2:15).  It is a necessary component of any Godly and moral society.
  3. It is the understanding that God will one day judge the earth and all who ever lived.


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Burnings in the Soul Recap

“But His Word was in my heart
        like a burning fire
Shut up in my bones;
I was weary of holding it back,
And I could not.”
– Jeremiah 20:9

We kicked off the “Fear of God” conference today with the “Burnings in the Soul” men’s luncheon. It was such a blessing to gather together and listen to various men share what God has set ablaze in their souls as they have wrestled with the Word of God for months in preparation for this conference; not only considering the Fear of God in general, but also many specific areas of our lives that it affects, such as (to name a few): evangelism, the mortification of sin, salvation, and many others.

As we approach the time of the conference, we ought to be asking ourselves, “Has the fear of God affected my own life and thinking?” We will be seeking to explain some of the evidences that the fear of God has taken hold of our hearts on a far deeper level as the conference progresses.

If you were unable to attend the conference this year for any reason, you can tune into the conference livestream and listen to the main sessions.

May God give us people whose hearts have a burning passion to advance His Kingdom!

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Can’t Make it to This Year’s Conference?

Join us live online for free by visiting the Fear of God Live Stream Page! Each of our main sessions will be broadcast live and recorded for future playback. By registering for the live feed, you will also gain access to the saved videos which will be made available for 30 days following the conference.

Learn More and Register to Attend

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Questions to Consider About Repentance

Questions about the Protestant Reformation

What do you believe was the heart of the protestant reformation?
What particular reforms of the Protestant Reformation have been the most helpful for us today?
Which reforms did not happen during the Reformation, that are happening today?
What was the result of the Protestant Reformation and what can we learn for reformation in our own times?
Which doctrines of the Protestant Reformation do you resonate the most with?

Questions about Repentance

How do you define repentance?
What is repentance?
What is the source of repentance
Why would Luther say that the heart of the Christian life is repentance?
What is the difference between worldly sorrow and godly sorrow?
What is the relationship between faith and repentance?
Who is the object of repentance?
Is repentance necessary for salvation?
Is repentance a long time thing  or a one time thing? How so?
Why is repentance necessary?
What does true repentance look like in salvation?
What are the critical passages of scripture that speak to repentance?

Questions about true and False repentance

What does false repentance look like?
Tell us a story of true repentance?
Tell us a story of the fruit of true repentance.
Tell us a story of what turned out to be false repentance?
How repentance works in everyday life
What does repentance look like in the home?
What does repentance look like between husband and wife?
What does repentance look like in a pastor?
What does repentance look like between church members?
What does repentance look like in the church?
What does repentance look like in a nation?
What are the fruits of repentance?
What is the relationship between repentance and reformation?

Questions about reformation

What should we learn about the protestant reformation for our own times?
What does reformation look like in an individual?
What is family reformation?
What kinds of reforms are necessary in family life today?
What does church reformation look like?
What does it look like when a nation repents?
Is Reformation an one-time thing or is it a continuing thing?
What is biblical reform?
Who do you feel are some of the most important people who are involved in church and family reform?
How reformation is handled well and poorly
How does one implement reformation in family?
How is family reformation handled poorly?
How is church reformation handled poorly?
What are some of the errors in church reformation of the past?
What were some of the errors of the protestant reformation?
Who is qualified to be a reformer?
Reformation today
What do you think are some of the key reformations needed in the home
What do you think are some of the key reformations needed in the church.
If there was a Reformation of thinking what would it look like
What common culturally acceptable ideas need repentance and reformation?
What common culturally acceptable behaviors need repentance and reformation?
Often pastors do not call for repentance… , but what should pastors need to do to help their people reform their lives according to scripture… ?
What are the world, the flesh and the devil doing to keep us from repenting?
Why do churches ignore important reforms?
Who do you think are the people in the world who are calling for reformation?
Who are the modern day reformers?

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What Love Looks Like, Part 1

1 Corinthians 13 contains fifteen distinctive marks of love.  In this message Scott Brown identifies the first six of these marks. There are two critical matters to grasp. First, notice that in each one of these marks of love, you can see the greatness of the mercy of God toward sinners. These marks of love are marks of the power of Jesus Christ and His love. Second, It is very important to personalize this chapter. Here is one way you can do so: as you read it, replace your name with love. Then, since you are a member of the body of Christ, replace the name of our church with love.  Here are the six marks of love identified in this message,

1. Love Suffers long when a wrong is done
2. Love is kind when an unknindness is committed
3. Love does not envy when someone else prospers
4. Love does not parade itself when someone
5. Love is not puffed up when wanting to be somebody
6. Love does not behave rudely when responding to others

We deserve the wrath of God for our impatience, lack of kindness, our envy, our parading ourselves our puffed up, our rudeness… We have all done these things.

What should we do? Turn to the only One who always loved perfectly in our place, for “if anyone sins we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous.” He manifested each of these ways of love perfectly to save those who have mangled each one of them through sin.

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