What to Do When I Am at a Standstill?

When we are in the doldrums of spiritual sensitivities and passion, what do we do? Here is a helpful suggestion from J.C. Ryle in his book Holiness: “Resolve this day that you will find out the reason of your standstill condition. Probe with a faithful and firm hand every corner of your soul. Search from one end of the camp to the other, till you find out the Achan who is weakening your hands.” — J.C. Ryle, Holiness, Chap. VI, Growth

 
 
 

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The Family That Understands Worship

I just produced a series of videos called, “The Family That Worships Together,” as introductory resources to frame the discussion for the Worship of God conference at which we will go into the many details of the worship of God.

Here is the first of five videos in The Family That Worships Together. Learn more about the Worship of God conference.

 

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The Family That Worships Together

A Preacher Must Impersonate the Gospel

The preacher must impersonate the gospel. Its divine, most distinctive features must be embodied in him. The constraining power of love must be in the preacher as a projecting, eccentric, an all-commanding, self-oblivious force. The energy of self-denial must be his being, his heart and blood and bones. He must go forth as a man among men, clothed with humility, abiding in meekness, wise as a serpent, harmless as a dove; the bonds of a servant with the spirit of a king, a king in high, royal, independent bearing, with the simplicity and sweetness of a child. The preacher must throw himself, with all the abandon of a perfect, self-emptying faith and a self-consuming zeal, into his work for the salvation of men. Hearty, heroic, compassionate, fearless martyrs must the men be who take hold of and shape a generation for God. If they be timid timeservers, place seekers, if they be men pleasers or men fearers, if their faith has a weak hold on God or his Word, if their denial be broken by any phase of self or the world, they cannot take hold of the Church nor the world for God.

EM Bounds, Power Through Prayer, 1907, p2-14

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A Preacher’s Strongest Preaching Must Be to Himself

The preacher’s sharpest and strongest preaching should be to himself. His most difficult, delicate, laborious, and thorough work must be with himself. The training of the twelve was the great, difficult, and enduring work of Christ. Preachers are not sermon makers, but men makers and saint makers, and he only is well-trained for this business who has made himself a man and a saint. It is not great talents or great learning or great preachers that God needs, but men great in holiness, great in faith, great in love, great in fidelity, great for God—men always preaching by holy sermons in the pulpit, by holy lives out of it. These can mould a generation for God. – EM Bounds, Power through Prayer, 1907, p2-14

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Making Students Unlike Their Fathers

While president of Princeton, Woodrow Wilson said, “Our problem is not merely to help the students to adjust themselves to world life.” “Our problem is to make them as unlike their fathers as we can. Their fathers are specialized persons. The problem of the college faculty is to generalize the younger generation all over again.” from The New York Times in 1909.

This type of thinking is not the product of the Bible but of the world. Fathers are to have an intimate role in the discipleship of their children (Deut. 6:6-9). Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” This can apply to a discipline, a trade, or a career as well.

It is not the duty of teachers to undo the training of fathers. It is the duty of children to honor their fathers and what they have taught them. Proverbs 6:20-21 says, “My son, keep your father’s command, and do not forsake the law of your mother. Bind them continually upon your heart; tie them around your neck.”

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Will Worrying Make Matters Any Better?

(J.R. Miller, “Daily Bible Readings in the Life of Christ” 1890)

“Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?” Matthew 6:27

So it is useless to worry! A short person cannot, by any amount of anxiety, make himself an inch taller. Why, therefore, should he waste his energy and fret his life away–in wishing he were taller?

One worries because he is too short–another because he is too tall; one worries because he too lean–another because he is too heavy; one worries because he has a lame foot–another because he has a mole on his face. No amount of fretting will change any of these things!

People worry, too, over their circumstances. (more…)

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Churchill on Success – Stumbling From Failure to Failure

“Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.”
― Winston Churchill

Also here is Calvin Coolidge on the importance of a related topic, persistence:

“Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan Press On! has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”
― Calvin Coolidge

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Do You Have Mountain-Moving Faith?

Here is a story Paul Washer told at one of our conferences:

“One time, when I was a young man, I came back from Peru. I was asked to speak at a church, and they set up microphones in the aisle ways and people came to ask questions of the missionary.

I’ll never forget this little red-headed boy. He was as red-headed as he could be, and freckles all over his face. He walks up to the microphone. He’s standing on his tiptoes. They had to lower it.

He started: “Mr. Washer?”

I said, “Yep.”

He said, “When you win everybody to Jesus in Peru, then what are you going to do?”

Everybody laughed except him and me. I said, “Well, when I win everybody to Christ in Peru, I guess I have to go find another place to work.”

He said, “Yeah, that’s what I thought too.”

Why not? I don’t see anything in the Bible that tells me it can’t happen. Young person, you listen to me. You let only one person limit you – God.

We have raised up men, who, oftentimes in the name of the providence of God, are narrow-minded, little men with tight spirits and tiny hearts. We need men of breath. We need men of heart. We need men and women who will believe their God for great things. (more…)

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Introducing the Gen2 Survey

Here is a survey from our friends at Generations with Vision:

The Gen2 Survey

After 30 years of following the homeschool movement, we’ve learned something about homeschool graduates’ academic and socio-economic successes through various studies. But what about the spiritual condition of this first generation of home education? How did we do? Where are our children today? What were the educational, cultural, relational, and spiritual influences in their lives? From all reports, the millennial generation is less committed to a Christian worldview; they’re leaving the institutional church; and they are the most narcissistic, the laziest, the most unsuccessful, and the most spiritually bankrupt generation ever.* So… what about our children? What is the condition of our homeschool graduates? What happened to those children raised in Christian homes—however they were schooled—back in the 80s and 90s? Where are they now?

Introducing. . . The Gen2 Survey.

We have released the Gen2 Survey for every young person between 18-38 years of age, whether they are Christian, Non-Christian, Public Schooled, Private Schooled, or Home Schooled. The survey is anonymous (there is no tracing of answers to sources). It will take 10-20 minutes to complete, and each participant enters a contest to win one of THREE I-PAD MINIs!

Click here to visit the Survey Webpage:

www.gen2survey.com


*(Reference: http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2013/04/the-unluckiest-generation-what-will-become-of-millennials/275336/; http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2143001,00.html).

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The Seven Characteristics of Highly Evangelistic Christians

Here is a wonderful summary of the kind of people we ought to be – The Seven Characteristics of Highly Evangelistic Christians.

For over twenty years I have been researching and studying churches, primarily those in North America. I had the joy of serving as senior pastor in four churches where God blessed with evangelistic growth. I have written over twenty books about the church in America.

I am not giving you my credentials to impress you, but simply to share that my life’s passion has been leading and learning about evangelistic churches. At this point in my life and ministry, however, I realize that I have not given sufficient attention to one of the primary characteristics of evangelistic churches. (more…)

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Spurgeon on What It Means to Preach the Gospel

There is much concern today about defining the Gospel. This is such an important endeavor as we have just been through a period where a false, revivalistic Gospel has been preached for over a hundred years. This has led to many false conversions, where people believe they were saved by praying a prayer or having an experience, yet their lives have not changed. So what does it mean to preach the Gospel? Here is Charles Spurgeon on a true Gospel message: “To preach the gospel is to state every doctrine contained in God’s Word, and to give every truth its proper prominence.”

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Foretaste of Eternal Rest

God is kind to give us a foretaste of His eternal rest through the weekly Sabbath rest. Here is John Macduff explaining how Sabbath rest is a foretaste of heaven:

Gracious word of a gracious Savior, on which the soul may confidingly repose, and be at peace forever! It is a present rest—the rest of grace as well as the rest of glory. Not only are there signals of peace hung out from the walls of heaven—the lights of Home glimmering in the distance to cheer our footsteps; but we have the shadow of this great Rock! in a present weary land. Before the Throne alone is there the sea of glass, without one rippling wave; but there is a haven even on earth for the tempest-tossed—We who have believed DO enter into rest.

Reader, have you found this blessed repose in the blood and work of Immanuel? Long going about seeking rest and finding none, does this word sound like music in your ears—”Come unto Me”? All other peace is counterfeit, shadowy, unreal. The soul’s immortal aspirations can be satisfied with nothing short of the possession of God’s favor and love in Jesus.

How unqualified is the invitation! (more…)

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Paul Washer to Pastors: Stop Tweaking Traditional Unbiblical Practices

Last December, Tim Challies and David Murray interviewed Paul Washer. After conversing about family life and various personal matters of interest, David Murray asked one final question: “Paul, if you had two minutes of time with, with pastors, what would you say to them in terms of building positively for the future?” Paul then gave a threefold answer that identified the following issues: first, the importance of the sufficiency of Scripture; second, that simply reforming soteriology is not enough, but all of life must also be reformed according to Scripture; third, that we should simply quit trying to tweak unbiblical practices, and just quit doing them. Here is his answer:

Washer: I would say one of the most important things is this. If you believe in the inspiration, the inerrancy of Scripture, I applaud you for that. But that is only half the battle. If you do not believe the doctrine, the twin doctrine of the sufficiency of Scripture, then what you believe about its inerrancy will do you no good, and that is one of the great problems I see in the reformed movement and all these different hopes of reviving the Church. You see, we must not only recognize the Bible is inspired; we must recognize that it is sufficient – that we do not have to go outside of Scripture to know how to preach the Gospel, present the Gospel, build a, build a Gospel-centered Church. To do counseling or any other thing, I need the Scriptures. (more…)

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Mankiller Chronicles: Most Workers Hate Their Jobs Or Have “Checked Out,” Gallup Says

recent study reveals another aspect of the demise of manhood: disengagement from work. The Gallup polling organization has reported the results of a survey indicating that American workers have gone over the edge. In their words, “Seven out of 10 workers have ‘checked out’ at work or are ‘actively disengaged.'” This mentality is, of course, antithetical to the Christian work ethic which calls workers to work for the glory of God, as if for Christ HImself, and who are charged to take dominion through their work.

Hatred for work always reflects a number of things: First, it is a breakdown of honor which is due employers (Eph. 6:5-8). Second, it is a breakdown of purpose, for man is created to take dominion which means he rises up and takes rulership over his circumstances and makes changes for the better in his work – he is not “checked out” (Gen. 1:28).  Third, it is a breakdown of covenant relationship with God where man is designed to give glory to God through all his work (1 Cor. 10:31). All of these are contrary to the worker who is “not engaged” in his work. In Christianity, work is sacred. It is designed for the glory of God and when you have 50 million workers who are “not engaged” in their work you have the demise of a culture. The mankiller of dishonor and purposelessness seems to have overtaken the American worker. (more…)

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