What Is It in the Christian Faith That Excites You?

D.A. Carson states a critical matter in an article where he asks, What is it in the Christian faith that excites you? He continues:

Today there are endless subgroups of confessing Christians who invest enormous quantities of time and energy in one issue or another: abortion, pornography, home schooling, women’s ordination (for or against), economic justice, a certain style of worship, the defense of a particular Bible version, and countries have a full agenda of urgent, peripheral demands. Not for a moment am I suggesting we should not think about such matters or throw our weight behind some of them. But when  such matters devour most of our time and passion, each of us must ask: In what fashion am I confessing the centrality of the gospel? (more…)

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What Is Revival?

Horatius Bonar (1808-1889) explains it this way:  

What is revival? Strictly speaking, it is the restoration of life that has been lost; and in this sense, it applies only to the Church of God. But used in a more common acceptation, it is the turning of multitudes to God. As conversion is the turning of a soul to God, so a revival is a repetition of this same spiritual process in the case of thousands. It is conversion on a large scale. It is what occurred under the apostles at Pentecost, when three thousand were converted under one sermon. It is what took place at Corinth, Thessalonica, and Ephesus, when, under the preaching of the apostles, multitudes believed and turned to the Lord. This is what we mean by revival!

So revival is more than personal revival and church revival, it includes a broad awakening where multitudes are awakened. So what about us?  First, we can be grateful for the signs of awakening among us, but there is more. There is a community that surrounds us. Because of that, the matter of revival should never leave our consciousness until we see heaven come down and glory fill souls around us.

Also, Kevin De Young has posted some helpful thoughts on revival in two parts.

First, he defines revival like this: “True revival is a sovereign, swift, extraordinary work of God whereby he saves sinners and breathes new life into his people.”

Here is a description of one of the most famous awakenings in history, in the days of Josiah, where we learn that revival begins with love for the Word of God. De Young says,

True revival will always be Bible saturated through and through. Revival is not simply renewed fervor for spiritual things. Buddhists have a fervor for spiritual things. Oprah and Tom Cruise have a hunger for spiritual things. God-wrought revival brings a fervor for the Bible, that we might live, feel, sing, pray, work, and worship according to the word of God.

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Christ Needs No New Inventions

In a day when church leaders are trying to satisfy the cravings of people who always want something new, voices from the past are important to help us to understand the waywardness of our times. Here is Charles Spurgeon stating that we need no new inventions:

First of all, Christ needs no new inventions to glorify Him. “We have invented a new line of things,” says one. Have you? “We have discovered something very wonderful.” I daresay you have, but Christ, “the same yesterday, today and forever” (Heb. 13:8 NKJV), needs none of your inventions, discoveries, or additions to His truth. A plain Christ is forever the loveliest Christ. Dress Him up, and you have defamed Him. Bring Him out just as He is, the Christ of God, nothing else but Christ, unless you bring in His Cross, for “we preach Christ crucified” (1 Cor. 1:23); indeed, you cannot have Christ without the Cross; but preach Christ crucified, and you have given him all the glory that He desires. The Holy Spirit does not reveal in these last times any fresh laws or any novel doctrines or any new evolutions. He simply brings to mind the things that Christ Himself spoke. He brings Christ’s own things to us, and in that way glorifies Him.

– C. H. Spurgeon, Spurgeon on the Holy Spirit, p. 60-61

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Man Abased and God Exalted

We want nothing but to behold the glory of God and to see him exalted by all, and everywhere, to be happy. When I read the descriptions of the heavenly world, I see nothing so prominent as these two great truths: Man abased and God exalted….Behold! ‘what hath God wrought?’ – Gardiner Spring, quoted in Iain Murray, Revival and Revivalism: The Making and Marring of American Evangelicalism 1750-1858, p. 345

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The Angels Are Pleased when I Hold Fast to Her

“When I look at all the women in the world, I find none of whom I can boast as I boast with joyful conscience of my own. This one God himself gave to me, and I know that He and all the angels are pleased when I hold fast to her in love and fidelity.”

– Martin Luther concerning Katie, his wife

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So, You Lost Your Job

Here is a message for those who have lost their jobs. What Do You Do When There Is Nothing To Do?

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So, what do you do when there’s nothing to do? This session is about navigating the rapids, eddys, dams, backwaters, canals, and the waterfalls in the waters of unemployment.

Manhood and womanhood are tested and tried. Having nothing to do is one of the most challenging things that ever happens to a man. When you lose your job, it either knocks the stuffing out of you, or it fills you with strength.

No one goes through this without serious challenges to grapple with. Your mind, will, and emotions are always waging war against you. Your identity, dreams, your routines, and even your marriage are on the chopping block. It’s very personal. I learned that when I got fired from a job 25 years ago, I was that guy who showed up at church without a job. You feel different. They say a recession is when your neighbor loses his job, but a depression is when you lose your job. Some people never recover, but for the Christian, it is the beginning of a transformed life. It either trounces you or transforms you. (more…)

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How to Defend the Sanctity of Life from Scripture

In the film, Whatever Happened to the Human Race?, Francis Schaeffer rightly said, “The sanctity of life did not come from nowhere.” He went on to declare that it came from the Bible.

So how do you use the Bible to defend the sanctity of life?  One of the gifts we need to pass on to the next generation is a firm remembrance of the sanctity of life. If we do not help the younger generation memorize the central passages of Scripture, they will not have the intellectual strength to resist the tide of tyranny against the unborn. Abortion is an attack on the entire Bible. In the Law, the Prophets, the Poetic Books, the Pauline Epistles, and the Gospels, we find evidence of the sacredness of life in the womb and the sovereignty of God at work in conception. Scripture makes it clear that there should be equal protection under the law for life in the womb.

The following passages of Scripture are key in building a biblical understanding of abortion and the sanctity of life. They are organized under the following headings: Life, Murder, Our Duty, and the Blessing of Children. (more…)

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Fearing God, Loving Children: The Way Back

  • The Birth Control Movie Project seeks to make the definitive films on the subject of Birth Control & its Impact on the Church, Marriage, & Family.” http://thebirthcontrolmovie.com/the-films/
  • There are 2 films, Birth Control: How Did We Get Here? which is currently available at www.thebirthcontrolmovie.com  and www.visionforum.com  and the sequel which is currently in production, Birth Control: Is It Up To Us?  A biography and Anthony Comstock is going to press and additional resources, e.g., study guides for the films and a text on birth control and the church are also in the works.

Comstock was a cautious man; he never described the objects he suppressed.  In like manner, the text is remarkably clear of explicit details, infamous names, book titles, etc.[10]  When dealing with such topics he was careful to not pique curiosity or sinful interest.  The Apostle Paul expresses this same sentiment when he implies that there are some things “not proper”[11] to discuss in detail.  Such caution is non-existent in the 21st century, and Christians would do well to emulate this in an effort to keep people from stumbling.

Christian parents have accepted the man-centric false philosophy that their children “need to make their own decisions.”  The conventional wisdom is “You can’t shelter your children forever.”  While this may be true when those children become adults and leave their father’s household, it is certainly not true in those formative years.  The Bible says that children lack wisdom,[12] and parents are to guide them every step of the way.[13]  Children are required by God to obey their parents.[14]  Protecting children from sin is a God-commanded function of parents and all adults,[15] as well as teaching respect for adults[16] and fostering family and spiritual affections.[17] (more…)

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When Contraception Was Outlawed!

This week is the 140th anniversary of the passage of the Postal Act of 1873, known today as the Comstock Act.  My friend Scott Dix is writing a book about Anthony Comstock titled, Outlawed! How Anthony Comstock Fought and Won the Purity of a Nation, as part of The Birth Control Movie Project.

When Contraception was Outlawed!

When it comes to the history of birth control in America, very few are aware that contraception was actually illegal in the United States for over 60 years, reaching well into the 20th century (1873-1936), and that there were still some state laws against the prevention of conception on the books as late as 1965.  Many know about Margaret Sanger and the Planned Parenthood Federation of America.  But, they have forgotten where the battle waged in the early 20th century – over the legalization of contraception.  Planned Parenthood, which was founded by Sanger, was originally known as the American Birth Control League.  Birth control was the foundational battleground, not abortion.

Long before the tide turned to erode the prevailing attitude regarding the evils of birth control, largely through Sanger’s efforts, one figure stood out – Anthony Comstock.  In fact, Comstock didn’t just stand out, he stood almost alone. (more…)

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How to Sweeten Your Family Life

Joel Beeke and I have just completed a modernizing edit of William Gouge’s Of Domestical Duties. The first of three volumes is available now. Click Here.

Have you ever desired a seasoned friend, thoroughly grounded in sacred Scripture to help you troubleshoot your family problems? And then, just as you were hoping for someone to come alongside to help, suddenly, it happens again. It might be an explosion of anger, or a cold distance. Or perhaps it’s just a nagging sense of inadequacy. Sometimes it feels like there are invisible walls between you and the others in your home. You know that you’re not all that you should be towards your loved ones. You know you need to change. And yet, where to begin? Wouldn’t it be nice to sit down with someone older and wiser, someone you could trust, for some guidance on how to be a better husband, wife, father, mother, son, or daughter?

This book is just such an opportunity. In these pages, we hear the voice of a wise and loving mentor, calling us to the old paths laid out for the family in the Bible. It is like sitting down to coffee with a gentle grandfather and wise pastor.

William Gouge (1575–1653) was a godly husband and father to his family, and a spiritual father to many more. Born in England during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, Gouge grew up in a godly home. He inherited a spiritual legacy and passed it on to future generations.

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How the World’s Greatest Explorers Dream Scuttled – the Defining Nature of Small Mistakes

Used with Permission from The Coldest Journey/Photo by Ian Prickett

After five years of preparation, a 68-year-old adventurer, Ranulph Fiennes, has been forced to pull out of what is known as, “The Coldest Journey on Earth.” While this high-powered title might sound like hype, it’s not. No one has ever walked across Antarctica in winter. Doing so is hard to beat in terms of adversity – near permanent darkness, howling winds, zero support systems or people anywhere, and lethally cold temperatures. Check out the gargantuan financial and logistical efforts necessary for this expedition. Why the pullout? One small error! The BBC reports: (more…)

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What Does True Repentance Look Like?

Matthew 3:1-12 says, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” You can listen to my message on this text here or you can read the transcript here. Here is an excerpt from one section:

So we must define repentance accurately. Repentance is a radical, seismic transformation just like Isaiah said, “Every valley shall be exalted and every mountain and hill brought low; the crooked places shall be made straight.”

True repentance is like an earthquake of the soul that changes the configuration of your life, and it is like the restructuring of the earth that happens when the hills are brought down and the valleys are raised up. This is the radical restructuring of life that is true Christianity. (more…)

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Peter Bradrick and the NCFIC Internship

Peter Bradrick has always been an integral part of the NCFIC internship program. This year, however, he will play an even greater role. Here is what he says about it:

I am excited about partnering with Scott Brown and the 2013 NCFIC internship to make this a unique and powerful season of fruitful discipleship for the young men that join us. I will be taking the intern class through intense physical and mental exercise, training, and challenges. Additionally I will be teaching them presuppositional apologetics and spending consistent time in one-on-one discipleship. This internship is a season for a young man to set aside a period of time for concentrated service, discipleship, and growth. And I am dedicated to helping these young men seize this opportunity and leverage it to lay a solid foundation on which they can build for the rest of their lives.

The deadline for internship applications is February 28. To learn more, click here.

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Not so Pure Yet…

Jonathan Edwards notes that no matter how wonderful and transforming awakenings are, there are still resident sins and the common human weaknesses that follow us, which may cause stimulate scorn among onlookers:

We are not so pure, but that we have great cause to be humbled and ashamed that we are so impure; not so religious, but that those that watch out for halting may see things in us whence they may take occasion to reproach us and religion: but in the main, there has been a great and marvelous work of conversion and sanctification among the people here; and they have paid all due respects to those who have been blessed of God to be in instruments of it. Both old and young have shown a forwardness to hearken not only to my counsels, but even to my reproofs from the pulpit.

(Pg. 86, The Jonathan Edwards Reader, Yale Nota Bene)

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The Puritans on Children in Church

We should bring our children with us to the publick teaching, so may our private teaching prove profitable. Oftentimes divine truths are as nails, one teaching sets them in, and the other teaching fastens them; one plants and the other waters, and so of both God gives increase.

We should bring the word publickly taught home to our children, by repeating it to them, and requiring it of them. It is not enough that we with others teach them, but we must see what they learn, enlivening things upon their hearts at home, by holy counsel. At our houses we should harrow in that good seed which hath been publickly sown, that so it may be covered the closer and root the better in the hearts of the children and servants.

from “Family Religion Revived, or a Treatise as to discover the good old way of serving God in private Houses; so to Recover the Pious Practice of those Precious, Duties unto their Primitive platform.” By Phillip Goodwin, p. 401-402 (1655)

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