Looking Back – An Interview with Ash and Sona Noah

Three Dramatic Changes in Mid-Life

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Three Dramatic Changes in Mid-Life from NCFIC on Vimeo.

Rick Muse, a deacon from Hope Baptist Church who joined the NCFIC Road Trip Team for our Toronto Conference, speaks about the reformation that God brought in his family.

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How Modern Youth Ministry Can Promote Frivolity

Road Trip Clips from Fergus Falls

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Road Trip Clips from Fergus Falls from NCFIC on Vimeo.

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Reformation in an Unconverted Youth Pastor

Ladies Tea in Chicago

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Ladies Tea in Chicago from NCFIC on Vimeo.

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Not Under the Law? John MacArthur Weighs In

Our church recently studied Galatians via our expositional preaching ministry on Sunday mornings. We engaged this study while in the middle of doing exposition on Deuteronomy which helped to clarify the nature and purposes of the law.

John MacArthur explains the often misunderstood idea that we are, “not under the law”

There is a popular notion afoot that assumes that the moral law is not binding on us. MacArthur writes,

“The phrase “under the law” occurs at least ten times in Paul’s epistles, so we know it is a crucial concept in his theology. In Galatians 3:23, for example, He writes, “Before faith came, we were kept under the law” (Gal. 3:23). Now, however, he says as Christians we are “not under the law” (Gal. 5:18).

I often hear Christians recite the phrase “not under the law, but under grace” as if it meant no standard of law whatsoever is ever binding on believers. Grace is seen as a grand permissiveness, contrasting with the uncompromising moral standard of the law.”

John MacArthur further explains this in, “How Does Grace Free Us From the Law”

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Stories of Awakening – Solomon Stoddard’s “Five Harvests” in 60 years of Ministry

While on the Road Trip, I am reading stories of awakenings in history. Here is a report by Solomon Stoddard who preceded Jonathan Edwards in Northampton, Mass. It demonstrates the Sovereign Hand of God in providing times of awakening and the seasons of dryness that often preced them.

We often see seasons of blessing in the church.  Jonathan Edwards grandfather, Solomon Stoddard saw them come and go over the sixty years of ministry in New England,

“He had five harvests, as he called them: the first was about 57 years ago, the second about 53 years; the third about 40; the fourth about 24; the fifth and last about 18 years ago. Some of these times were much more remarkable than others, and the ingathering of souls more plentiful. Those that were about 53, and 40, and 24 years ago were much greater than either the first or last: but in each of them, I have heard my grandfather say, the bigger part of the young people in the town seemed to be mainly concerned for their eternal salvation.”

 

(Pg. 58, The Jonathan Edwards Reader, Yale Nota Bene)

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Fergus Falls Road Trip Stop

 

Andy Bradrick, Peter Bradrick’s brother and pastor of Living Waters Fellowship hosted well over 100 people in Fergus Falls Minnesota. This is a beautiful part of the US as it lies in the midst of a vast green landscape of hundreds of miles of rolling fields. Before the meeting, Andy’s wife, Emily, (mother of seven children) fed us a sumptuous meal the moment we arrived.

There were a few extra refreshing twists to the Fergus Falls stop. First, it was a happy reunion with Peter’s brother who is also participating in our elder discipleship program. Second, we had an unusual number of young families – second generation homeschool families with little children. Third, there were many people who were uninitiated in the message of the NCFIC. Fourth, during the Q&A time it was a blessing to hear from some who disagreed with our message as it gave us a chance to explain some things not dealt with during the main sessions. Fifth, one of our beloved 2009 interns Joseph Froemming and his entire family came. The reunion was very sweet to our souls.

I gave a message that was different from the other Road trip stops, focusing rather on the basic elements of what we believe to be healthy churches. Peter Bradrick explained the foundations of modern youth ministry, and appealed to the young people to rest in the righteousness of Christ alone.

We are exited to see what God does with Andy’s ministry in Fergus Falls as we see obvious fruit in his family and in his relationships in the community. It is his desire to be a faithful shepherd there.

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Des Moines Road Trip Stop

We stopped in Des Moines, Iowa to get a taste of the works of the Lord sprouting in the corn belt. Our friends, Ron and Mary Dorin and their family, along with the Bill and Kim Hobart family, coordinated everything for our visit there.  Ron has been an encouragement to me over the last year in particular.  We actually went to the same theological seminary and loved the same professors at Talbot School of Theology many, many, many years ago.  While we have both shed the dispensational persuasion of Talbot, we still look fondly on our experience and appreciate how men of God there were a blessing to us. Now Ron Dorin’s son, Tyler, has joined us on our Road Trip and will also be serving with us as an intern when we get back to North Carolina.  Tyler is a  very special and mighty young man. When you are on a trip like this, with such close quarters and always facing various challenges, you really get to know the strengths and weaknesses of the travelers – especially their capacity for happiness and fortitude. Let me tell you, this young man is tried and true.

Ron Dorin

 

The wonderful gathering

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Breakdown

Praise the Lord for backup gas cans.

 

 

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Sandi Grutzius feeds a multitude

Chicago Road Trip Stop

 

Two of my favorite men are Gary Powers, (Elder at Geneva Lakes Christian Church) and Steve Gruitzus, (Elder at Christian Heritage Church) – the sponsors of our Chicago Road Trip Stop. These courageous brothers, who have walked with the Lord for many many years, and who have always loved the Church of Jesus Christ, are always seeking how they might please the Lord and are constantly moving forward in the faith.  Progressive sanctification is something they desire and the Lord has been leading them progressively to establish church and family life according to scripture. This is not a new thing for them, for it has always been their desire and they have not stood still.

 

 

Both are leaders of churches who desire to govern all family, church, and business life according to the Scripture. Both are bi-vocational elders who have very successful businesses and who are leading age integrated churches.

Gary and Patty, and Steve and Sandi hold very dear and precious places in my wife’s and my hearts. It is always such a joy for us to sit in their presence and labor in ministry together for the glory of God in church and family life. We long to be with them again.

 

Camping out at Gary Powers house

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Thomas Mayhew and the Indians

While we were spending time with the Gilbert Miller family in Farmington Maine, we learned that Gilbert’s wife Kimberly is a direct descendant of Thomas Mayhew, a minister who had a colorful testimony in the 17th century for his work with the Indians in the colonies. He started preaching to the Indians at Martha’s Vineyard at age 70, and preached for 23 years to age 93. He witnessed the awakening in Martha’s Vineyard and other places that included the building of “praying towns”. These praying towns were places of unusual spiritual activity and were established by the Indians. At one point, he became the governor of Martha’s Vineyard. After Thomas Mayhew died, there were eight generations of Mayhew’s who were pastors in succession at Martha’s Vineyard.

At one point he left the island for a trip to England, but the Indians loved him so much that they wept as he left.

The revival among the Indians was characterized by their adopting biblical practices for every area of life. One such area of life was the way they wanted to be buried.

His last and dying words were, ‘I have lived by faith, and have found God in His Son, and there I find Him now, therefore, if you would find God, look for Him in His Son, there He is to be found and nowhere else.”

Gilbert and Kim showed us a family tree revealing how the family grew from the earliest days. In this genealogical family tree, there are fascinating childrens names like Experience, Reliance, Prudence, Fear, Thankful, as well as Zephaniah, Jeremiah, Jerusha, and Bathsheba.

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Looking Back – Farmington, ME

Looking back on our Farmington, ME conference, it seems something is shaking in Maine as the signups for this meeting were strong and there was some controversy brewing about our coming.

Many Hands

We have special gratitude for Gilbert and Kimberly Miller and his family who have been working tirelessly for months organizing the event and inviting people in the area. But they have not been alone in the effort as the Scott Harding, Dave Adams and Kevin Dostie families have also been making preparations with the Millers.

Six Generations and a mighty awakening

Gilbert’s family has been in Farmington area for six generations. His wife Kimberly is a descendant of Thomas Mayhew who was a missionary and elder to the Indians on Martha’s Vineyard. There was a mighty work of converting salvation among the Indians and Kimberlys descendants were used of the Lord to preach the gospel there.

Gilbert has also been in the cabinet making business, “Maine Custom Kitchens,” involving his family in the everyday life of the company, and has used the business to apprentice young men.

A new church plant

This family has been a constant encouragement to the Brown family in many ways. Gilbert has been a faithful church member in Farmington for the past 22 years and is now part of a group involved in early stages of planting a new church in the area.

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