“The Playbook” – A New Book from Carlton McLeod

Here are the opening words from Carlton McLeod’s new book,The Playbook: Five Strategic Plays to Restore the Prophetic Voice of the Church in America:

What in the world happened to the church?  Where is her clarion call for righteousness?  Where is her authority?  Where is her courage to speak boldly into the critical issues of our day?  Where is her faith that the Word of God will not return empty? 

 “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to thesower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.” (Isa 55:10–11)

I submit, dear reader, that the church has lost her prophetic voice.

We are at the point now where we can hardly discern the impact of righteousness on the nation.  As I write, over 53 million babies have been aborted in the United States of America since 1973.  States are enthusiastically voting for gay “marriage” as easily as viewers vote for their favorite American Idol.  Humanism and her first cousin, Paganism, seem to reign supreme.  Government schools indoctrinate over 90 percent of American children to embrace perversity, evolution, ungodly sexuality, and immodest dress.  Television and radio are as raunchy as ever, and even Christian music and entertainment seem to have this love affair with the world. 

Consider this: There are about 300,000 churches in America; 300,000 army outposts for Christ, the King and Ruler of the universe; 300,000 groups of elders who are boldly declaring God’s Words, right?  How in the world can 300,000 churches in a country of 30 million be doing this badly?  Has God abandoned us?  I don’t think He has.  Perhaps, we have abandoned Him. 

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A Review of the Inerrancy Summit

 

Our work over the years at the NCFIC has been focused on proclaiming the sufficiency of Scripture for church and family life, and what a joy it’s been to be able to do that.

Last week, I was able to be at the inerrancy summit that John MacArthur put on at the Master’s Seminary. What a fantastic conference! I highly recommend every message. I saw something in the conference brochure that really capsulized everything that we desire to communicate: “Every word inspired – Every Word Preached.” 

This really is the whole matter of the preaching of the sufficiency of Scripture for church and family life – to find churches that are totally dedicated to every word of Scripture, faithfully proclaiming it with all of their hearts for God-Centered, Gospel-Preaching, Family-Integrated Churches.

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NCFIC Declaration: Article I – Scripture is Sufficient

We affirm that our all-wise God has revealed Himself and His will in a completed revelation—the sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments—which is fully adequate in both content and clarity for everything pertaining to life (salvation) and godliness (sanctification), including the ordering of the church and the family (Deut. 30:11-14; 1 Cor. 11:1-12; 14:34; Gal. 1:8-9; Eph. 5:22-6:4; 1 Tim. 3:15; 2 Tim. 3:16-17; Heb. 1:1-2; 2 Peter 1:3-4).

We deny/reject that God’s Word is inadequate for church and family life and that we need to adopt the traditions of men from philosophy, psychology, pragmatism, entertainment, corporate business models, or modern marketing techniques.

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Seven Objectives of the NCFIC

Here are the seven objectives of the NCFIC:

  1. 1.  Preserve and spread the true gospel from one generation to the next, through biblically-ordered, gospel-preaching, Christ-exalting churches and families.

  2. Rely upon the Scriptures alone for “all things that pertain unto life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3), obeying the Bible as fully sufficient for the ordering of the church and the family and resisting Satan’s deception designed to supplant God’s goals and methods with the world’s methods.

  3. Focus churches and families on the Word of God by restoring the practice of teaching the whole counsel of God through exegetical preaching of Scripture in the church by biblically qualified elders and daily instruction in homes by fathers and mothers.

  4. Establish the central importance of the local church for the equipping of individuals and families.

  5. Revive the biblically defined role and functionality of fathers who diligently teach their children when they “ sittest in thine house,” when they “walkest by the way,” when they “liest down” and when they “risest up.” (Deut. 6:7).

  6. Recover the relationally rich nature of the local church as the family of God by following the biblical patterns for worship, discipleship, and hospitality.

  7. Plant biblically sound churches that will likewise plant churches, which perpetuate faithfulness to the Word of God in matters of church and family life.

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Family Conference – Montgomery, Alabama

We are excited to announce that Grace Baptist Church will be hosting the 2nd Annual Family Conference in Montgomery, Alabama on Friday evening March 27th and all day Saturday, March 28th!

Conference Location:

Young Meadows Presbyterian Church off of Vaughn Road. Find directions here.

Conference Fee and Registration:

The conference price is $10.00 per person (max $50.00 per family). Make check payable to Grace Baptist Church and mail it to 6400 Wynwood Place, Montgomery, AL 36117 or bring it with you.

(more…)

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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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The Fruit of Many Men’s Labors

The NCFIC is the fruit of many men’s labors-past and present. As the Lord has provided, we have added more staff for the churches and families listed on our web site. Pictured here are our Wake Forest staff and our Regional Facilitators scattered around the nation. Pictured left to right are: Scott Brown, David Brown, Colton Neifert, Connor Stearns, Stephen Hopkins, Mike Cox, Tom Ford, Mike Cheney, Jason Dohm, Kirk Smith, and Tony Lepore.

Click here to be taken to our regional facilitators page.

Click here to be taken to our NCFIC staff page.

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Going Beyond the Five Points – Pre-Order for a Big Discount

Three Blessings of the Shepherds’ Conference

Last week, I attended “The Inerrancy Summit” at Grace Community Church, headed by John MacArthur.  I highly recommend listening to the sessions. You can watch them here for free.

There were many blessings of this conference. Here are three: (more…)

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22 Church Discipline Mistakes to Avoid

As we are gearing up for our Church Discipline Conference, July 9-11, here are “22 Mistakes Pastors Make in Practicing Church Discipline” in the Appendix of Church Discipline, by Jonathan Leeman of 9 Marks: (more…)

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Men Who Do Not Worship God

Eight Observations from the Church Leader’s Luncheon

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Last week, Tom Ford, the NCFIC’s Regional Facilitator for the Southeast, arranged three meetings for the two of us in Orlando, FL; Atlanta, GA; and Alabaster, AL (near Birmingham). There were about 40 men total that joined us. We were extremely encouraged to be with men who seemed fully devoted to the sufficiency of Scripture for their church and family life. During our time, I shared our seven objectives; and we also gave away resources, shared stories, and prayed together.

Here are seven observations from our time: (more…)

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God Will Not Underwrite My Worldliness

In Ray Ortlund’s commentary on Isaiah 40:31, he speaks of the strength that comes from the Lord that makes us mount up with wings like eagles, run and not be weary, walk and not faint. He makes this observation,

“It will not do to put my faith in God while I keep my heart on this world. God will not underwrite my worldliness with his power. He never promised the soaring strength of eagles so I could go on grunting in the sty of Babylon.”

Raymond C. Ortlund, Isaiah (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2005), 225.

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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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