Esther and Rebecca Courter, Claudia Brown, Rebecca Swanson
Esther and Rebecca Courter, Claudia Brown, Rebecca Swanson
The beautiful countryside and coast of New Zealand.
As we close out our time in Auckland, the young ladies in our team had a unique opportunity to sit on a panel, answering questions from other young girls and their mothers on biblical daughterhood.
The work ethic and child rearing philosophy of a bygone era was better than ours, which puts children behind desks for twenty years and they have very little to show for it. There have been, however, better days for children, but you have to go back to 18th century America:
According to Colonial New England’s leading expert on childrearing, Rev. John Cotton, a child should enjoy some “lawful recreation” until the age of seven. Then more serious pursuits should replace games and toys, and an occupation should be chosen by the age of twelve. In keeping with the Puritan ideals of duty and industry, on the Brainerd farm, laziness was considered a sin. Even little boys were expected to do their chores and show an obedient, helpful attitude in the home.
Ranelda Hunsicker, David Brainerd, (Bethany House Publishers: Minneapolis, MN, 1999), 14.
After the church service in Christchurch, we departed to another location for an afternoon/evening question and answer session with pastors and leaders from all over the island. We fielded questions about church membership, church discipline, how to deal with fathers who refuse to do their duties in their families, and how to deal with the dearth of elders and raise up new ones. We ended the time with prayer and departed to the airport for our flight to Auckland for the meetings there.
After the long flights from North Carolina, we landed in Christchurch and were immediately transported to the venue and started speaking right away. The best way to deal with jet lag is to just act like it does not exist and charge on and pray you don’t fall asleep while on the platform in mid-sentence. A local church in Christchurch, Calvary Chapel Christchurch, anchored the event and got the word out around the island. It was such a joy and privilege to be with the people there.
I gave the first message establishing the theme of the conference, Building a God-Centered Family. Throughout the day, Kevin Swanson and I continued to build on this subject, speaking on marriage, fatherhood, discipleship of children, building family economies, and the dangers of syncretism with the culture.
We were all encouraged as we left this first event. Though there are very few family-integrated churches in New Zealand, God has ignited a fire in the hearts of a few men, and they are passionately leading the charge in this critical reformation. Please pray for God’s hand of strength and blessing upon these families and for the multiplication of this work in New Zealand.
After a long day of travel, our team has landed safely in New Zealand and are making final preparations for our first meetings in Christchurch. Kevin Swanson and I will be delivering six messages today and then preaching on Sunday morning and afternoon.
In order to prepare our hearts for the days ahead, we’ve been memorizing Isaiah 40:1-5, which begins, “‘Comfort, yes, comfort My people!’ Says your God.” – Isaiah 40:1. It’s our prayer that God would use us to minister comfort to Gis people through the preaching of the Word, conversations, and prayer.
This passage also speaks cleary to the powerful transformational force of the Gospel. The Gospel comes and life changes for people in dramatic ways, “Every valley shall be exalted and every mountain and hill brought low; The crooked places shall be made straight and the rough places smooth.” – Isaiah 40:4.
We’re grateful for your prayers and look forward to providing more updates from the ground.
Here are three fantastic messages that were delivered:
|Here I am welcoming Dr. Carlton McLeod to the platform.|
|Phillip Cochran, recently retired fighter pilot, Lt. Col. in the USAF|
|Joshua Harris, USAF Reserves Pilot|
|Lester Barham and family cooked pork barbeque and hush puppies for all.|
|Dan the Animal Man wowed the audience with his animals.|
|Laura Litardo, First Place Pie Winner|
|Dr. David Lanier sang the favorite songs of Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee and read the casualty list.|
|Pie Judges Hard at Work|
|Bill Henderson was with us in spirit. He was not able to make it this year, but I told the story of Bill Henderson and read a statement he wrote for our gathering.|
Storming the shores of Normandy, huddling on the frozen landscape at Valley Forge, advancing on the island of Iwo Jima in the Pacific theater – throughout the history of our nation, God has given us examples of sacrifice, bravery, determination, and resolute action that we must consider and give thanks for the many ways in which God has chosen to bless us with freedom.
My father – William Brown – was one of those men. These books, in this bundle, help remember his story and the story of others who fought in one of our nation’s wars – World War II.
Next week, Kevin Swanson, Anthony Courter, and I will be traveling to Australia and New Zealand to preach about what God says about the family. In a series of conferences called “Building a God-Centered Family,” we will focus on delivering the biblical vision of hope for the family by explaining from the Scriptures about how family life is designed to operate in the midst of church life and economic life.
Please join me at the Brown Family Farm in Wake Forest, NC for the annual Old Fashioned Memorial Day Picnic. Bring the whole family on Monday, May 27! There will be activities for people young and old, including rides in restored military vehicles, hay rides, fun and games, a pie contest, and a special demonstration by Dan the Animal Man. The delicious Carolina Barbecue lunch is free to all who attend.
Veterans Bill Brown, the Price Brothers, and Bill Henderson, and Carlton McCleod, Joshua Harris, and Phil Cochran will be speaking.
Throughout the day, there will be music groups preforming bluegrass music and toe-tapping Gospel hymns. We will conclude the day with a special parade march to honor the veterans, with military vehicles, classic cars, children and adults in period clothing, representing various American wars, and war veterans in uniform.
At 3:00 PM sharp, we will observe “The National Moment of Silence,” where we will be silent after Dr. David Lanier, professor at Southeastern Seminary, and Civil War re-enactor reads a portion of the casualty list for 2013.
Last weekend, I was glad to participate in another wedding and to have the joy of giving a message. It was the wedding of Jordan Muela and Sarah Mendenhall in Indiana. As I was meditating on Ephesians 5:22-33 before the wedding, it struck me again that this passage is the most pro-female document ever drafted.
This text is so powerfully one sided that it is hard to understand why it has been so roundly criticized and rejected by feminist thinkers. On the contrary, I have always thought that the biblical teaching that describes the role of a husband towards his wife is the most pro-female writing ever published.
Scripture is unparalleled in tenderness towards women, for it calls a man to first of all give up his life, and then to follow the example of Christ and even die for his bride. God must so very highly value his daughters, because he calls their husbands to such a high standard – the sacrificial love of Christ. If you searched the libraries of the world, I doubt that you would find any that would contain writings which call men to such heights of passion and devotion and self sacrifice.
The teaching here highlights the importance of order and authority in all relationships, and particularly the way that love works through God’s human authority structure in the family. But there is nothing more prominent in this text than the high bar God that husbands are to clear in their love for their wives.
We always want our times of prayer together to be a mixture of praise towards God, thanksgiving, confession of sin and prayer for one another. But we also want to see that some of our time is taken up in offering prayers for others: friends, enemies, and those we know are facing challenges. God has been so clear in His communication with us that He desires that we offer our requests to Him. It is a good thing to bring them to Him and we are deprived of something very wonderful when we go through seasons of neglecting to ask.
It is interesting to notice that John Calvin’s Institutes longest section is on the subject of prayer. It is in this section that he makes it sure we know God’s desire for us is that we bring our requests:
Otherwise, to know God as the master and bestower of all good things, who invites us to request them of him, and still not go to him and not ask of him-this would be of as little profit as for a man to neglect a treasure, buried and hidden in the earth, after it had been pointed out to him. (Book 3, Chapter 20, Section 1)