NCFIC Book Blog — Pastoral Care for Singles in Geneva

"As a shepherd of a local flock, it is evident that Calvin had observed many of the tumultuous results of mishandling the single years. He seemed to have great compassion for the single people in his church for he provided much counsel to assist them in governing the critical years preceding marriage. He preached directly to the issues which they faced and dealt forthrightly with the concerns they had regarding marriage and everything leading up to it. He did not provide them with shallow platitudes. Rather, he gave incisive direction for handling a diverse range of complex issues. Through his expositions, letters, commentaries, and the Institutes, he dissected the issues of the single life."

Text quoted from Preparing for Marriage: The Premarital Counsel of John Calvin edited by Scott T. Brown.  For more details about this book or to purchase click HERE.

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Elder Discipleship

This month we are reading what is in my mind a very special and practical book – John MacArthur’s "Preaching: How to Preach Biblically." The introduction is worth the price of the book… It is a must read for anyone who desires to preach the Word in a local church. And, it demonstrates how important expository preaching is for the flock.

 

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German Homeschoolers Seek Asylum in the United States

Pressures against homeshoolers around the world have been in the news over the last couple of years. Here Albert Mohler reports on the recent flight of a German family to the United States for asylum after being fined $11,000 for their refusal to send their children to the government schools, while their children were taken from them and transported to school by the government.

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The Perpetuity of the Law of God

We have just loaded a powerful resource on the article section of our web site. Charles Spurgeon had some very crisp and powerful things to say about “The Perpetuity of the Law of God.” Below is his introduction. I highly recommend reading his whole article here.

“Very great mistakes have been made about the law. Not long ago there were those about us who affirmed that the law is utterly abrogated and abolished, and they openly taught that believers were not bound to make the moral law the rule of their lives. What would have been sin in other men they counted to be no sin in themselves. From such Antinomianism as that may God deliver us. We are not under the law as the method of salvation, but we delight to see the law in the hand of Christ, and desire to obey the Lord in all things. Others have been met with who have taught that Jesus mitigated and softened down the law, and they have in effect said that the perfect law of God was too hard for imperfect beings, and therefore God has given us a milder and easier rule. These tread dangerously upon the verge of terrible error, although we believe that they are little aware of it.

“Alas, we have met with authors who have gone much further than this, and have railed at the law. Oh, the hard words that I have sometimes read against the holy law of God! How very unlike to those which the apostle used when he said, “The law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.” How different from the reverent spirit which made him say, “I delight in the law of God after the inward man.” You know how David loved the law of God, and sang its praises all through the longest of the Psalms. The heart of every real Christian is most reverent towards the law of the Lord. It is perfect, nay, it is perfection itself. We believe that we shall never have reached perfection till we are perfectly conformed to it. A sanctification which stops short of perfect conformity to the law cannot truthfully be called perfect sanctification, for every want of exact conformity to the perfect law is sin. May the Spirit of God help us while, in imitation of our Lord Jesus, we endeavor to magnify the law.”

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Here’s a Big Regulative Principle Violation

Kairos Journal has given us an article, “Christianity Gone to the Dogs” that explains how disconnected people can get from biblical patterns for church life. It reports that more that 500 churches in America have performed blessings for animals.

The article says, “Every Sunday at 5 p.m., Pilgrim Congregational Church in North Weymouth, Massachusetts, opens its doors for a special pet worship service called ‘Woof ‘n Worship.’ There, dog owners can attend church together with their four-legged companions and be led in prayers such as, ‘Dear Lord, please make me the person my dog thinks I am.’ In the event of any accidents during the service, the church equipped its sanctuary with ‘doggy clean-up stations.’ The initial Woof ‘n Worship included a special blessing of the animals. Pastor Rachel Bickford explained that she prayed about opening services to dogs before deciding that ‘it would be just so much fun.'”

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“Ama La Iglesia” Conference Dec. 9-11

Later this year, Dec. 9-11 at our Love the Church conference, we will also be providing “Ama la Iglesia” a mini-conference concurrent with our Love the Church conference with messages preached in Spanish (Paul Washer, Josue Raimundo) as well as with word-for-word simultaneous translation.

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A Child of the Movement – An excerpt from my upcoming book on Youth Ministry

I am a child of the modern youth ministry movement. I grew up in its heyday. I read the books and studied the programs and did my best to ensure that the techniques they espoused were done in our church. I have made bold statements such as, after you hire a senior pastor, ”youth” and “music” ministers are next. I have argued that you have to meet youth on their ground.

This perspective was driven by my own experience as a young man. I was profoundly impacted by the campus workers of Campus Crusade for Christ while I was in High School. They brought the gospel, and God saw to it that they would find me. Their ministry played a role in my conversion, and when I heard the news that Bill Bright died, I sat in my office and wept like a baby out of thankfulness for those missionaries who came to my high school campus. They preached the gospel, and it fell on sinful but fruitful ground, and I was converted. They loved the youth they sought to reach, they loved me, and I have great love for the youth ministers who came.

When it comes to modern youth ministry, I’ve done it all. I have been a youth minister, singles minister, senior minister, and everything in between. I have worked in the nursery, played guitar for the toddlers, and taught High School Sunday School class. I have been involved in hiring and firing youth ministers. I have said, along with the best of them, “It is a sin to bore a kid with the gospel.” I know crowd breakers and “chubby bunnies,” (a game of stuffing marshmallows in your mouth) I bought the literature of “Youth Specialties” and even started a “Campus Life” chapter under the leadership of “Youth for Christ.” In my twenties and early thirties I could have been a poster child for modern youth ministry techniques.

A Return to Sola Scriptura

Over time, however, my thinking regarding youth ministry has undergone a radical transformation. This process was fueled by a return to a cardinal tenet of the Protestant faith, Sola Scriptura. This principle argues that God’s Word alone is sufficient for faith and practice (2 Timothy 3:15-16; Deut 4:1-4). It makes the Bible the exclusive foundation for all that we do in the home, the church, the state, and every other realm of society. It is rooted in the belief that man’s notions for how to live must be set aside for God’s clear directives as found in His inspired, written revelation.

I have been humbled to learn that God’s vision for training young people is powerful, profound, and comprehensive, and that the man-centered model I once advocated is radically different.

What I have concluded is this: Modern Christian culture has set aside the Word of God on this matter. God has spoken clearly and beautifully about how to minister to youth. He has given us a detailed blueprint of how to train our children. Yet, largely speaking, we have failed to recognize and embrace it. Rather than follow His plan, we have invented our own devices of training instead. We’ve exalted the world’s methods over God’s Word, and the outcome has been disastrous.

As an active participant in this faulty approach to youth ministry, I believe it is imperative that we deconstruct it and then rebuild in light of the teaching of Scripture alone. In its stead there should be a biblical plan and a vision of victory for discipling the young people of the next generation. Such is the purpose of this book.

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Families as Armies

Our family attempts to read the Bible through each year reading to one another out loud. Now, we are reading through Numbers. Here are a few of the things I have attempted to show our family about the book.

What is the theme of Numbers?
The 40 years of wilderness wanderings and the consequences of obedience and disobedience of the people

How many times is the word “wilderness’ mentioned?
39 times

Where did the forty year journey start and end?
Kadesh Barnea

Outline:
Two generations (1-14; 21-36)
Two numberings ch 1 ch 26
Two sets of instructions 5-9; 28-36
The book of Numbers begins with heads of households reciting their geneaologies and the number of fighting men twenty years old and above. These families were posted in various positions around the Tabernacle and performed particular services to the Lord. Each family had significant strength of numbers. For example the sons of Reuben were 46,500, while Simeon had 59,300. Judah had the most fighting men at 74,600 while Manasseh has the least, at 32,200 . Here are some observations:

 

1. They have an intimate understanding of the status of their families and were able to recite their genealogies in detail.

2. They have an awareness of the numerical strength of their families, because the numerical strength of their families mattered to them.

3. The strength of these families is staggering.

4. The families worked together in the service of the Lord.

5. There was a division of labor according to families as families specialized in particular tasks.

6. Several times, these families are called “armies”

 

Here are some implications of these numbers:

 

First, a statement: If you want to perform more service to the Lord, have lots of children.

Second, a question: is your whole family mobilized for the service of the Lord as they were here?

Third, a proposition: our modern day idea of birth control influences the numerical strength of the church.

Fourth, are the families in your church organized together into a division of labor which places particular families performing particular duties?

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Joe Morecraft Joins the Elder Discipleship Team for Tonight’s Webinar

The NCFIC is pleased to welcome Joe Morecraft for this evening’s Elder Discipleship webinar. Dr. Morecraft will be on the air for the first hour of the webinar discussing his book How God Wants Us to Worship Him.

In the second hour, the discussion will cover the book A Church in the House by Matthew Henry.

 

   

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The Second London Baptist Confession speaks eloquently about the importance of the Sabbath Day

As it is a law of nature, applicable to all, that a proportion of time, determined by God, should be allocated for the worship of God, so, by His Word, He has particularly appointed one day in seven to be kept as a holy Sabbath to Himself. The commandment to this effect is positive, moral, and of perpetual application. It is binding upon all men in all ages. From the beginning of the world to the resurrection of Christ the Sabbath was the last day of the week, but when Christ’s resurrection took place it was changed to the first day of the week, which is called the Lord’s day. It is to be continued to the world’s end as the Christian Sabbath, the observance of the seventh day being abolished.

Read the rest here.

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Other Men Weigh in on the Top Ten List for Men

 

When I posted on, “What an ungodly culture hates about what God says about women,” I received some good responses. Here are two of them.
My friend Penn Linder wrote this:

 

1. Do not overwork to be rich, those who don’t work don’t eat. Work not with eyeservice as men-pleasers but as bondservants of Christ. He who does not provide for his own is worse than an infidel.
2. Men should love their wives as their own bodies as Christ does the church and gave himself for her. Nourish and cherish your wives.
3. Men should not lust after women with their eyes and commit adultery with them in their hearts.
4. Men do not have authority over their own bodies, their wives do.
5. Men should be fruitful and multiply with their own wife. Do not cast all of the growth of your children unto your wives or unto other people, but train them yourselves in the admonition of the Lord.
6. Men should be submissive to one another.
7. Men should not commit fornication and adultery and then kill the baby made in the image of God to cover their sin and flee responsibility.
8. Men should dwell with their wives with understanding, giving honor as to the weaker vessel. Do not be bitter toward them.
9. Men should put off anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. Men should be full of thanks, not filthiness, foolish talking, nor course jesting.
10. Do not speak evil of any ruler, submit to the government, pay your taxes, obey every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake.
Men, doing all of these will require you to put aside most hobbies and entertainment.

 

Here are ten more from former NCFIC Intern, Thomas Dellinger:

 

1. Men should be leaders in their home (spiritual and physical)
2. Men must be as Christ and lead by example to their wives (tyranny is not Christ-like leadership)
3. Men must guard their eyes (no exceptions allowed)
4. Men don’t own their own bodies, their wives do (Men must exemplify humility toward their wives)
5. Men must be willing to sacrifice for their children (all hobbies)
6. Young Men should be taught by older men (not their peers)
7. Men must be willing to take responsibility for their mistakes (no matter how great)
8. Husband should love their wives (not their TV)
9. Men should be about their father’s business (not games)
10. Men must exercise their authority in LOVE (gentleness is manly)

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Top Ten Things Ungodly Cultures Hate That the Bible Tells Men

1. Men protect women
2. Men are leaders
3. Men are responsible as heads of their families
4. Men are to teach their children 24/7
5. Men are to love their wives as Christ loved the church and be willing to die for them
6. Men are to be fruitful and multiply
7. Men do not own their bodies, their wives do
8. Men must bring up their children in the training and admonition of the Lord
9. Men must insure that their whole families and everyone else around them should celebrate the Sabbath
10. Men’s hearts should be turned toward their children

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Men as Buffoons was the Fare on Super Bowl Sunday

Those who know me understand I am no friend of the Super Bowl. But it appears the ads which ran during this years game got something right –21st century manhood is in trouble. This Bellingham Herald report on the the men of the Super Bowl ads explains the sad state of affairs. Men are portrayed as pathetic, stupid, emasculated morons. An example is the Dodge Charger ad:

“(It) featured a depressing view of a man’s life as he talked to his invisible partner, listing all the sacrifices and concessions he’d made.

“I will get up and walk the dog at 6:30,” the man said. “I will eat fruit with my breakfast. I will say yes when you want me to say yes. I will be quiet when you want me to say no. I will take your call. I will listen to your friends’ opinions of my friends. I will be civil to your mother. I will put the seat down…”

“And because I do this,” the man concluded, “I will drive the car I want to drive.”

“Charger,” the ad declared. “Man’s last stand.””

Praise God that a Christian man must neither live in defeat nor drive a Dodge Charger in order to prove his masculinity

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Marriage Retreat Started This Snowy Night

Twenty four couples arrived in our home for “Our Marriages and the Marriages of Our Sons and Daughters.” It started snowing about 8:00.

 

My father and mother, Bill and Mary Brown shared maxims from 62 years of marriage.

I started the evening explaining where we were going for the rest of the weekend and identifed a number of dark clouds over us for the future marriages of our sons and daughters and the pressures that are upon us.

 

Dan Horn spoke on “The Purpose of Marriage” as the first message answering the question, “What you need to teach your children about marriage.”

 

Phillip and Katie Bradrick, who will celebrate one year of marriage next week.

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Top Ten Things Ungodly Cultures Hate That the Bible Tells Women

 

1. Women should be keepers at home

2. Women should submit and obey their husbands following the example of Sarah and call her husband Lord

3. Women should dress modestly

4. Wives don’t own their own bodies, their husbands do

5. Women should be fruitful and multiply

6. Younger women should be taught by older women

7. Women should not kill their babies made in the image of God

8. Wives should love their husbands

9. Women should not be busybodies – chat rooms and blogs and facebook

10. Women should not exercise authority over men.

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