Thirteen Thanksgiving Celebration Tips

It has always amazed me that we live in a nation where a holiday is given to the people for the purpose of thanksgiving. Let’s seize the day! It is a marvelous opportunity for us to lead our families in thanksgiving, building cultures of happiness and gratitude in our families that spill over into the church and the society at large. If there ever was a truly biblical holiday in America, Thanksgiving would top the list.

What follows are THIRTEEN Thanksgiving Celebration Tips.  I write this that we “may proclaim with the voice of thanksgiving,” and to tell of His “wondrous works.” (Psalm 26:7), and to declare the praises of our Lord Jesus Christ across the land. In it you will find encouragement to read the scripture, sing the songs, recount the history and dedicate your family to building a culture of thankfulness.

1. Do what a fun family in our church does…

We have a family in our church that has a large and fantastic Thanksgiving celebration that engages all ages in the pilgrim story. It is educational and engaging for all. Anyone who comes must be dressed as a character of someone on the Mayflower, and ready to tell the story of their lives, reciting a speech to all – from the littlest to the oldest.

2. Read Psalm 136 

A couple of years ago, our family read Psalm 136 and each person gave a personal testimony of thanksgiving between each verse. Ezra 3:11 gives the basic idea for this, “And they sang responsively, praising and giving thanks to the Lord: “For He is good, For His mercy endures forever toward Israel.” Then all the people shouted with a great shout, when they praised the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid.”

3. Capture the opportunity to teach the sufficiency of Christ

Thanksgiving offers fathers a wonderful opportunity to intentionally use an entire day to teach your family and friends about the importance of giving thanks. Families need leaders who will establish and undergird and constantly reinforce a culture of joy in a family. Thanksgiving offers a brilliant opportunity for leaders to lead their tribes in thanksgiving and drive a stake in the ground to say, “thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 15:57), and to declare, “Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place” (2 Cor 2:14).

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Why the Concordance Method Falls Short

57565328-300x200We often fall into the trap of thinking that understanding the will of God can only come if we find the exact word in scripture to guide us on it. Albert Mohler brings this out in a recent article, “Biblical Theology and the Sexuality Crisis.”

Mohler notes the good reason that use our concordances, “Proof-texting is the first reflex of conservative Protestants seeking a strategy of theological retrieval and restatement. This hermeneutical reflex comes naturally to evangelical Christians because we believe the Bible to be the inerrant and infallible word of God.”

Yet he sounds a warning about the limitations of this methodology:

“There are, however, obvious limitations to this type of theological method—what I like to call the “concordance reflex.” What happens when you are wrestling with a theological issue for which no corresponding word appears in the concordance? Many of the most important theological issues cannot be reduced to merely finding relevant words and their corresponding verses in a concordance. Try looking up “transgender” in your concordance. How about “lesbian”? Or “in vitro fertilization”? They’re certainly not in the back of my Bible.”

It’s not that Scripture is insufficient. The problem is not a failure of Scripture but a failure of our approach to Scripture. The concordance approach to theology produces a flat Bible without context, covenant, or master-narrative—three hermeneutical foundations that are essential to understand Scripture rightly.”

As we try to understand the will of the Lord as we are beset with constant critical culture shifts, it is important that we study the Bible correctly. Here is the whole article:

In his recent Blog Essay, “Biblical Theology and the Sexuality Crisis,” Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr. writes about the importance of having a robust biblical theology as Christians engage with the sexual revolution. He writes:

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Music, Family, and the Text of Scripture – Three Subjects from This Weekend’s Conference

We spent the weekend withJeff Pollard at Mt. Zion Bible church’s Family Conference. Jeff Pollard leads Chapel Library which is a marvelous worldwide literature distribution ministry. I gave four different messages dealing with different aspects of the family, such as raising children, the responsibilities of fathers and husbands, the gift of singleness, and the Christian family in corporate worship.

You can listen to the messages from this year’s family conference for free here on Sermon Audio. The messages delivered were a great blessing to me and my family and I encourage you to listen to them as well.

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Anatomy of a Conflict

Mike Mckinley over at 9Marks offers this list from Mike Minter and his one day course for pastors:

1. An offense occurs.
2. A biased view of the offense is shared with friends.
3. Friends take up the offense.
4. Sides begin to form.
5. Suspicion on both sides develops.
6. Each side looks for evidence to confirm their suspicion. You can be sure they will find it.
7. Exaggerated statements are made.
8. In the heat of conflict those involved hear things that were never said and say things they wish they had never said.
9. Third parties, no matter how well intentioned, can never accurately transfer information from one offended party to the other.
10. Past offenses unrelated to the original offense surface.
11. Integrity is challenged.
12. People call each other liars.
13. Those who try to solve the problem (e.g., church leadership) are blamed for not following the proper procedure and become the new focus.
14. Many are hurt.

Mckinley offers three observations:

• First, that is pretty much spot-on with what I’ve observed in a number of churches. I wish it weren’t so, but it’s the truth.
• Second, it seems that once you get to step #5, it’s pretty hard to pull out of the nose-dive.
• Third, conflict in the church makes me long for Jesus to come back soon.

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Twenty Two Problems with Multi Site Churches

Here Jonathan Leeman over at 9 Marks speaks of the issues that need to be considered with multi site churches. His first point is very significant and it begins a helpful and thoughtful analysis:

I love my gospel-loving friends in multi-site churches—both leaders and members! But as Christians we work continually to reform our churches in light of Scripture. So I trust a little push back on the multi-site structure serves everyone, assuming my concerns turn out to be valid. Below are 22 misgivings I have about the multi-site model. All of these apply to churches that use a video preacher. Over half apply to churches who employ a preacher on every campus.* Some of these are grounded in biblical or theological principles; some are matters of prudence.

1. There’s no clear example of a multi-site church in the New Testament, only supposition. “Well, surely, the Christians in a city could not have all met…” (but see Acts 2:465:126:2).

2. If a church is constituted by the preaching of the Word and the distribution of the ordinances under the binding authority of the keys, every “campus” where those activities transpire is actually a church. “Multi-site church” is a misnomer. It’s a collection of churches under one administration.

3. For every additional multi-site campus out there, there’s one less preaching pastor being raised up for the next generation.

4. What effectively unites the churches (campuses) of a multi-site church are a budget, a pastor’s charisma, and brand identity. Nowhere does the Bible speak of building church unity in budgets, charisma, and brand.

5. To say that the unity of the church (i.e. the unity of the campuses) depends on the leaders is to say that that the life and work of the church depends that much more on the leaders. Members, in comparison to a single-site model, are demoted.

6. To the extent that a multi-site church relies on brand identity to reach unbelievers, to that same extent they are building Christianity on their brand identity.

7. Multi-site churches which use video preaching unwittingly communicate that singing is more significant for Christian growth and closer to the heart of worship than hearing God’s preached Word. After all, how many multi-site churches stream their music over video from a central location? A church wouldn’t dare import the music, it’s thought. People need to engage with a live band. People need their music authentic, personal, enfleshed. But preaching? Apparently, it can be imported from afar.

8. When a multi-site pastor implodes, dies, or retires, all the churches that constitute that “church” are put at risk, including all the smaller once-independent congregations that the multi-site franchise took over.

9. A multi-site church formally removes the concept of “assembly” from the definition of “church” since it’s a “church” that never actually assembles (but see 1 Cor. 11:18). This is what it means to be multi-site. As such, members of a multi-site church never need to gather in order to be a church. One might say they should gather for reasons of prudence. But it’s not a formal requirement of being a “church.” A multi-site church could spread its 97 members (for example) across 2 sites or 97 sites. Further…

10. Wise and sensible pastors of multi-site churches will not follow the logic of a multi-site model to its rational conclusion, but will continue to insist on some gathering for reasons of prudence and even biblical obedience (though doing so contradicts their formal definition of “church”). Unwise pastors and members, however, willfollow the multi-site logic to this conclusion by creating the opportunity for “Internet churches,” unchurched “fellowship,” and other forms of churchless Christianity.

11. A multi-site church separates authority from the people with whom you gather. Authority and relationships are pulled apart. So a multi-site church involves exercising oversight and discipline over people with whom you never gather.

12. A multi-site church makes it extremely difficult, if not impossible, for a congregation to fulfill its obligation to exercise the keys over the whole “church.”

13. Insofar as the main teacher belongs to a different gathering, a multi-site church separates the ministry of the word from the ministry of deeds.

14. Not only does a multi-site pastor possess all the administrative power that a bishop possesses over churches in his region, he possess even more power than a bishop because he’s doing all the preaching in all those churches.

15. The multi-site church model depends upon extending the reach of “my” church rather than partnering with and aiding other congregations. That is, it’s built on a competitive model of franchise extension, rather than a partnering model of mutual aid that we see in the New Testament. All this can foment “turfyness” and competition between churches. At the very least, every additional campus is a missed opportunity for helping another ministry.

16. The pastor of a large church has difficulty knowing all his members, but he can at least have some sense of the room in which he’s preaching. Both of these are impossible by definition in a multi-site church that employs video preaching.

17. Multi-site churches make it easier to be an anonymous Christian/church member, and perhaps easier for wolves to hide. Yes, this is true of larger churches also, but now the anonymity is built into the very structures. A person can bounce between campuses—church hop!—all in the same “church.”

18. Multi-site churches make church discipline at best more difficult and at worst impossible, as an excommunicated member could easily just switch “campuses” without anyone noticing.

19. Multi-site pours gas on the fire of “theotainment,” as members receive the Word of God from a disembodied man on a screen.

20. In an age which wants authenticity and reality, multi-site is ironically anti-incarnational: it divides Word from flesh.

21. If every local church is to be a presentation or expression or picture of the universal church, that unbelievably wonderful end-time assembly of all God’s people, the multi-site church pictures a divided end-time assembly.

22. Multi-site churches are the current trend in evangelicalism. The great question is, will they be able to make a generational transition? Will they be able to hold together when the main preaching pastor—who is usually in himself the center of gravity for the whole enterprise—goes off the scene? And how much institutional and spiritual fall-out will occur when he does? The only examples of “multi-site churches” that have survived trans-generationally are those which invest a particular office with theological significance, as in, “The man who holds this office is the Successor of Peter, the Vicar of Christ on Earth, the Supreme Pontiff of the Church, and you owe him your allegiance regardless of whether or not you like his preaching.” Whether our own evangelical brand of “multi-site churches” can make this transition without that kind of absolute claim seems unlikely.

*Multi-site “churches” that employ preaching pastors at every site or campus are in fact a type of presbytery: a group of churches united under one elder board (and for those multi-siters who call themselves “congregational,” it might be worth recalling that presbyterians vote on their pastors and, in some cases, discipline, too). Not all the points above apply to this species of the multi-site animal. I would say that points 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 9, 10, 11, 12, 15, 17, 18, and 21 apply, though shades of a few others may apply as well. My misgivings with presbyterianism would require another list.

Author’s note: Several of the points above were provided by Alex Duke, Jamie Dunlop, Grant Gaines, and Greg Gilbert.

Jonathan Leeman is the editorial director for 9Marks. You can follow him on Twitter.

John Leeman. Twenty Two Problems with Multi Site Churches. 9marks.org

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The Martyr Who First Denied the Faith

Nathan Busenitz has provided a short, surprising, but very moving account of the burning of Thomas Cranmer:

In a moment of weakness, in order to prolong his life, Cranmer denied the truths he had defended throughout his ministry, the very principles upon which the Reformation itself was based.

Roman Catholic Queen Mary I, known to church history as “Bloody Mary,” viewed Cranmer’s retractions as a mighty trophy in her violent campaign against the Protestant cause. But Cranmer’s enemies wanted more than just a written recantation. They wanted him to declare it publicly.

And so, on March 21, 1556, Thomas Cranmer was taken from prison and brought to University Church. Dressed in tattered clothing, the weary, broken, and degraded Reformer took his place at the pulpit. A script of his public recantation had already been approved; and his enemies sat expectantly in the audience, eager to hear his clear denunciation of the evangelical faith.

But then the unexpected happened. In the middle of his speech, Thomas Cranmer deviated from his script. To the shock and dismay of his enemies, he refused to recant the true gospel. Instead, he bravely recanted his earlier recantations.

Finding the courage he had lacked over those previous months, the emboldened Reformer announced to the crowd of shocked onlookers:

“I come to the great thing that troubles my conscience more than any other thing that I ever said or did in my life: and that is, the setting abroad of writings contrary to the truth, which here now I renounce and refuse, as things written with my hand [which were] contrary to the truth which I thought in my heart, [being] written for fear of death, and to save my life.”

Cranmer went on to say that if he should be burned at the stake, his right hand would be the first to be destroyed, since it had signed those recantations. And then, just to make sure no one misunderstood him, Cranmer added this: “And as for the pope, I refuse him, as Christ’s enemy and antichrist, with all his false doctrine.”

Nathan Busenitz. The Death of Thomas Cranmer. TheCripplegate.com

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Where Was My Father Shot Down?

On May 29th, 1945, my father, William E. Brown, was shot down while flying from Iwo Jima to mainland Japan. We recently stumbled upon a document which revealed some more information concerning the incident. This included the exact latitude and longitude coordinates where he was shot down and forced to eject his P-51 Mustang. The map below pinpoints the location.

Here is the communication coming from the submarine “Pipefish” which found and rescued him.

Bill Brown Resuce

 

To read more about my father and other WWII heroes, check out Preparing Boys for Battle, and Moment of Courage.

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Free from What?

When we were at the Founders National Conference  last week we heard a message delivered by Andy Davis commenting on those who have a problem with the idea that God is sovereign over everything and much prefer to think that man is perfectly free to do what he wishes. He said: 

“Free from what? People who emphasize free will act as though the human will is a “holy of holies” into which God Himself is not allowed to enter.” 

We were all grateful to be reminded that God is good, His will is good, and how thankful we were that our will does not rule and reign, lest we be so free that we would be ruined by our fallen and corrupt will. 

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When You Don’t Feel Connected at Church

People sometimes go through periods where they feel low about their church life. Here is a good article by Erik Raymond, that provides helpful advice if you are in one of those seasons:

“It is a common phrase spoken by Christians and wrestled with by pastors, “I don’t feel connected at church.” The pastoral burden is for all Christians to be thriving in and through the ministry. When we hear something like this we immediately go into “fix-it” mode. Often times we even attempt to construct some structure around the person to help them feel connected.

But what if this didn’t help anyone? What if the problem wasn’t the ministry but the individual? What if the disconnection we feel is actually the consequence of selfishness?*

Catering to selfishness will never cure selfishness, it only fortifies it.

I find it fascinating that the church, on every level, as she applies the gospel, is self-denying. In fact, the lion’s share of the NT imperatives (commands) are calling us away from serving ourselves by serving others (i.e. Eph. 4-6).

What follows is a list, some help for those who are aiming to feel connected at church.**

  1. Pray to be impressed with God’s design in the church.
  2. Go to church on Sundays.
  3. Talk to 3 people that you do not know at church.
  4. Open up your home to have someone over (hospitality).
  5. Find opportunities to serve in ministry.
  6. Pray for your pastors, deacons and fellow church family.
  7. Talk to people about Jesus and invite them to church.
  8. Be content with the ordinary means of grace.
  9. Restart process.

As you read this list you no doubt noticed that in each case the problem is countered by self-denying service. Instead of catering to ourselves (consumeranity) believers are called to serve others (Christianity). While this may not be comfortable it is certainly biblical, and therefore, sanctifying.

Can I confess something to you? Sometimes don’t feel very connected at church. And I’m the pastor! But, guess what I do? I get to work on myself because nine times out of ten, the problem is with me. I need to get to work with the simple, ordinary means of grace. This always gets my focus off of myself and on to Christ. It helps me to remember that while the church is full of sinners, I myself am also a sinner.

The way ahead is always service through humility. God knows what he is doing with and through the church. We need to trust him, and, most often, get to work. If you are feeling disconnected or counseling those who are feeling this way, I challenge you to take an honest crack at this list. I think it will do the trick.

*I realize there can be legitimate problems in churches that could cause faithful Christians to feel disconnected. And I don’t discount that pastors can lead people into meaningful community. This posts aims to focus on the individual. 

**This list assumes that there is theological and philosophical agreement with the church.

Erik Raymond. “Help for those who feel ‘Disconnected’ at Church.” OrdinaryPastor.com

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Everlasting Joy on Their Heads

I am preaching through Isaiah on Sunday mornings at our church, and we are now in Isaiah 35, which speaks of the everlasting joy that God gives His people. Here is John Calvin’s commentary on the final words of chapter 35:

And they shall obtain joy and gladness. By the words “joy and gladness,” he means that there will be so great happiness under the reign of Christ, that we shall have abundant reason to rejoice. And indeed the true and only ground of rejoicing is, to know that we are reconciled to God, whose favour is sufficient for our perfect happiness, “so that we may glory even in tribulation,” (Rom. 5:3;) and, on the other hand, when Christ does not enlighten us, we must be darkened by sorrow. Besides, it is certain that the godly do not rejoice in a proper manner without also expressing gratitude to God; and therefore this spiritual joy must be distinguished from that ordinary joy in which irreligious men indulge; for the reprobate also rejoice, but their end at length shews how pernicious is the wantonness of the flesh, which leads them to take delight in despising God. This kind of “joy” Paul justly (Rom. 14:17; Gal. 5:22) calls spiritual; for it does not depend on fading things, such as honour, property, riches, and other things of that nature which quickly perish; but this joy is secret and has its seat in the hearts, from which it cannot be shaken or torn away in any manner, though Satan endeavours by every method to disturb and afflict us; and therefore the Prophet justly adds—
Sorrow and sighing shall flee away. The joy is everlasting, and all “sadness flees away;” for although many bitter griefs are daily endured by the children of God, yet so great is the power and strength of their consolation, that it swallows up all sorrow. “We glory,” says Paul, “in our tribulations,” (Rom. 5:3;) and this glorying cannot be without joy. The Apostles “departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were accounted worthy of suffering dishonour for the name of Jesus.” (Acts 5:41.) Yet the godly often suffer heavy distresses, and are not exempt from grief. This is undoubtedly true, but they are not overwhelmed; for they look straight towards God, by whose power they become victorious, just as if a person, elevated on a lofty mountain, looking at the sun, and enjoying his brightness, beheld others in a low valley, surrounded by clouds and darkness, whom that brightness could not reach.

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The Insidious Danger of Family-olatry

Here is an audio message that Jeff Pollard preached last week Sunday morning on how people go off the tracks on the family, The Insidious Danger of Family-olatry.

He speaks of both the blessing and the danger there might be among those who embrace a proper doctrine of the family and he acknowledges how right this is:

“As we strive for the biblical view of manhood and womanhood, as we struggle against our culture’s anti-family worldview, we must not fall into the insidious danger of family-olatry.”

Jeff begins the sermon with these words:

“His (Christ’s) brief statements here are among the most challenging things He said regarding families. The Incarnate Son of God made abundantly clear that His heavenly Father’s family took priority over His flesh-and-blood family. Our beloved Lord and Savior teaches us here that our earthly family must not inhibit our obedience to God or our service to God’s spiritual family—the Church.”

Jeff continues framing the sermon on a very plain statement from the Lord Jesus:

“…we learn a startling lesson: Christ’s earthly family is not the family that matters most. In a day in which many are trying to biblically reform the family, we must pay careful attention to Christ’s message here. Jesus had taught His disciples in 10:37, “He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.”

He speaks of the danger in this way:

“It is right and good for us passionately to love our families; but that very love and affection can gradually, subtly usurp Christ’s throne in our heart. In time, the deceptive attractiveness of our family can become our “first love” (Rev 2:4).”

Jeff points out that Jesus’ two questions revealed His understanding of the prioritization of family and church:

“Jesus awakens us to an astonishing and, perhaps for some, a troubling reality: the family that matters most in this life is God’s family, not our earthly family.”

One of the most critical matters is understanding what it is that keeps us from prioritizing the family of God:

“Let us be clear: Family-olatry is the sin of permitting our earthly family to keep us from doing what God has commanded us to do. It manifests itself by putting our earthly families above the Word of God or above the people of God. This is a challenge because a Christian belongs to both families! Our earthly families must not take precedence over the church of Jesus Christ. A believer’s congregation is the most important family one has because it is Christ’s family—the family of the elect.”

How dangerous is it to a make an idol out of your family? Jeff gives this answer:

“Idolatry in any form is a fatal disease of the soul.”

How do you know if you are making an idol out of your family? Jeff answers with these ten signs signs:

(1) Family members come for a visit. It is on the Lord’s Day. We have not seen them for a while, so instead of worshiping God with His Family—which He has commanded us to do—we stay home with our earthly family—which He has not commanded us to do. This is family-olatry.

(2) Our children have a gift for music, sports, or academic pursuit. An event or a conference associated with that gift comes up. We travel to and come back so late from the event—which God has not commanded us to do—that we are exhausted and do not come to worship with God’s family—which God has commanded us to do. This is family-olatry.

(3) We are so concerned that our children get the best education, have great experiences, play sports, see great sites, attend great events—which are lawful, but God has not commanded us to do—that we do not have family worship or we rarely have family worship—which God makes clear that we are to do. This is family-olatry.

(4) The Lord’s Day arrives. It is the blessed day in which God’s family will celebrate the Lord’s Supper. An opportunity to visit with our earthly family or a family outing arises. We put aside the Lord’s Supper—which Christ has commanded us—for our family event—which Christ has not commanded us. This is family-olatry.

(5) Perhaps we have disobedient, disrespectful children. No matter how we reason with them, they will not obey. We know that the Word of God tells us to discipline them. However, we are afraid that, if we spank them or discipline them in some way, they will hate us. We want that relationship with them so much, we will not do what the Word of God clearly commands us to. This is family-olatry.

(6) Our daughters or our wives dress immodestly. We do not want them to think that we are legalists. We do not want to lose their affection. Daughters, and especially wives, do not want fathers and husbands to tell what to wear. So we let them wear what they will because we “love” them. This is family-olatry.

(7) A new family is visiting the church. We have not spoken to them much or maybe not at all. Your view is my spouse/my children, etc., are not out-going. We just like to stay ourselves. So we do not open our home for hospitality to God’s family—which God has commanded you to do—in order to keep your family’s comfort zone—which God has not commanded you to do. This is family-olatry.

(8) A spouse, a child, a parent, or another family member commits a grievous sin. We do not want them “shamed” or exposed because it might ruin their lives. Worse, it might make us—parents—look bad. So we deal with it our way. Even though Scripture says, “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them”—which God has commanded—we let God work it out—which He has not commanded. This is family-olatry.

(9) The Lord saves us and brings us out of darkness into the glorious light of His Son Jesus Christ. We are thrilled to learn the Gospel and of salvation by grace alone through faith alone. However, our parents are not Christians, or our spouse is not a Christian, our relatives are not Christians. We do not want to talk about Christ because they will think we are crazy. They will think we are strange, too strict—“Jesus Freaks”! We do not want to bring up the Gospel or invite them to meet God’s family—which God has commanded us to do—in order to “keep the peace”—which God has not commanded us to do.

(10) There are innumerable other ways to be family-olators. You love your wife so much, you love your husband so much, or you love your children so much that you do not do things you know God has taught you. You know that the Lord has put His finger on something in your life and because of your affection for father, mother, husband, wife, son, or daughter—or any other family member—you do not forsake it or you do not pursue it. You are a family-olater.

In the conclusion of the message, Jeff makes clear that the Word of God clearly prioritizes the church over the family.

Jesus loves His institutions of Church and family. While much of Christianity today says, “Focus on the family,” God’s Word makes clear that we are to “focus on Church.” The two must not be set against one another, but they must be understood according to the Word of God. God’s family takes priority. Let us love both biblically and by faith in Christ, and by the grace of God, the power of the Holy Spirit, and truth of God’s Word avoid the insidious danger of family-olatry.

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Progressive Worldliness – How Friends Can Lead You There

Here is John Calvin on the ways we negatively affect one another. It should help us to see the importance of personal holiness in the church and the responsibility we have with one another to protect ourselves from worldliness, not only for ourselves, but also for the sake of our brothers and sisters,  

“We are gradually infected, I know not how, by the vices of those with whom we have intercourse and familiarity; and as we are more prone by nature to copy vices than virtues, we easily become accustomed to corruptions,and, in short, the infection rapidly spreads from one person to another.”

Quote from John Calvin commenting on Isaiah 30:1, Commentary on Isaiah, Vol. VII of his commentary set republished by Baker, page 345.

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When You Meet The Harlot, The Lion, The Bald Man, The Father and The Shepherd

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Over the weekend,we had our annual Hope Baptist/Sovereign Redeemer Father Son Retreat.

The messages were studies in the people young men meet. How they act when they meet these people will determine whether they are men or boys. Whats the difference between a man and a boy. We want to ask, which one are you? Why would anyone want to marry you? These messages bring various passages of scripture that bring advice for young men and their fathers for when they meet The Harlot, The lion, The Bald Man, The Father and The Shepherd.

Here are the messages:

1. The Harlot, Part 1, Scott Brown – Proverbs 5-7

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You have met and will continue to meet the harlot, but HOW do you resist her? In this message you will hear the answer… you cannot accountability your way to purity, but there is a way that God prescribes.

2. The Harlot, Part 2, Scott Brown – Your Strategy

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3. The Lion, Mike Davenport – Proverbs 22: 13

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How a man meets the “lion” makes is clear who he really is… Charles Bridges identifies these, “Imaginary difficulties” and those who are always “inventing some vain excuse.” He shrinks from every work likely to involve trouble.”

4. The Bald man, Dan Horn – 2 Kings 2:23-25

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Your response to the bald man is a mirror to know if you are a man or a boy. Until you can meet the old bald man and say, “you are worthy of respect,” you are not ready to be married for you will not know how to love and respect your wife.

5. The Father, Jason Dohm, Ephesians 6:1-4, Colossians 3:20-21

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How you are when you meet your father, tells whether or not you will succeed in life. You meet him everyday, and it determines your path through life.

6. The Shepherd, Dan Horn – 2 Chronicles 24

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How you relate to the shepherds God provides for you tells you whether you are a boy or a man. The story of Jehoida teaches us that it is not enough to emulate shepherds, but rather that you have true faith, and true, genuine, internal hunger for Christ and for the instructions of the shepherds you have been given. Don’t think that outwardly fulfilling your pastors or mentors or fathers commands is an indication that you have been saved.

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New Book – Theology of the Family – Pre-Order Now 50% Off!

Announcing: Over 700 pages of rich treasures on family life written over the last 500 years. You can pre-order it today and receive a 50% discount. (Offer Expires October 28, Begins shipping November 17th.)


A Theology of the Family is an excellent anthology featuring a wealth of mostly-forgotten material from great Christian leaders of the past 500 years… In fact, the current dearth of biblical wisdom, combined with the rapid decline of the family as an institution, illustrates precisely why the material in this book is more truly relevant and more desperately needed than ever. 
—Phil Johnson, Executive Director of Grace to You, Sun Valley, CA


This book presents a perspective on the family largely forgotten by the modern church. There are fifty-six authors featured in this volume; authors such as: John Bunyan, Jonathan Edwards, John Gill, William Gouge, Matthew Henry, Martin Luther, A.W. Pink, J. C. Ryle, R. C. Sproul, Charles Spurgeon and Thomas Watson. Each of them give a powerful testimony that the twenty-first-century church needs to be reminded of what she used to believe about family life. These authors bring a measure of the correction and the balm necessary to heal our amnesia and return us to biblical order.

 

In the mid 1990s, it began to occur to me that the modern Church had actually lost the biblical doctrine of the family. Biblical fatherhood was dead. Feminists owned womanhood. Motherhood was despised. Babies were marginalized as thieves of convenience and success. In America, we have aborted millions of children since 1973. Marriages were crumbling, and the very institution was being redefined. It was almost impossible to find men in the church who understood biblical manhood or fatherhood. The twentieth century was a bad time for the family; the trends were all running in the wrong direction, and biblical ignorance was speeding the family on its way to destruction.

 

Meanwhile, Jeff Pollard was doing something about it. He was toiling into the night to document a correct theology of the family. He brought these doctrines together in an organized form for the ministry of Chapel Library. If you have known Jeff for any length of time, you know that the last twelve years of his life has been defined by his ministry to Mount Zion Bible Church and the unrelenting schedule to produce the Free Grace Broadcaster, a quarterly digest of Christ-centered sermons and articles from prior centuries. It is all about recovering sound doctrine and biblical practices. Jeff has produced dozens of booklets on subjects such as the gospel, sin, repentance, the Holy Spirit, the blood of Christ, justification, sanctification, secret sins, and many other critical matters. Through Jeff’s work at Chapel Library, there is a wealth of doctrinal resources that are being shipped all over the world. He brought them together in order to correct the lapses, heal the wounds, and pass them on to the rising generation. He worked for over a decade to identify the great authors and writings of the past that could meet the problems of our day. He went back in time. He returned to eras where a Christ centered view of the family was understood much better. He has revealed the doctrine locked in the literary treasure chests of the past. I am thankful that he also did this for the doctrine of the family.


ENDORSEMENTS:

This volume is a spiritual buffet for Christian family life, a delicious smorgasbord of short selections largely drawn from treasured Reformed writers. It dishes up biblical truth, loading the table with meaty explanation, sweet comfort, and well-spiced exhortation for fathers, mothers, children, and young people.
—Dr. Joel R. Beeke, President of Puritan Reformed theological Seminary, Grand Rapids, Michigan, and author of A Puritan Theology

There are many books on the family, so why another one? This is not “another one”! I commend A Theology of the Family because it is a compilation of some of the best articles on the subject of the family from proven teachers of the last five hundred years.
—Conrad, Mbewe, pastor of Kabwata Baptist Church, in Lusaka Zambia, and author of Foundations for the Flock: Truths About the Church for All the Saints 

We are all placed in great debt to those whose vision and labors have produced this amazing collage of godly wisdom concerning this all important issue. With God’s blessing upon its pages, may the usefulness of this book in our day exceed our highest expectations and our most bold prayers. May the same be true for future generations, should our Lord delay his return.
—Albert N. Martin, served as a pastor of Trinity Baptist Church of Montville, New Jersey for forty-six years and is author of Preaching in the Holy Spirit; Grieving, Hope, and Solace: When a Loved One Dies in Christ; and You Lift Me Up: Overcoming Ministry Challenges

…There is probably no greater threat to our culture than the demise of godly family life. There is no certainly greater resource for a godly family life (outside the Bible) than the vast and blessed legacy contained in the Reformed tradition of teaching on this subject. The present volume gives easy access to that vast resource for godly family life…. May God be pleased through this volume to raise up godly families and through them to strengthen and stabilize godly churches.
—Sam Waldron, Dean and professor of Systematic Theology at Covenant Baptist Theological Seminary, and author of A Man as Priest

The godly Christian family faces unrelenting pressures from a fallen world (and sadly, sometimes from misguided churches) which threatens to dismantle it or at least redefine it on its own terms… This book is a spiritual treasure chest filled with pure gold from proven writers both old and new. It touches on a variety of subjects beneficial for every family member. I heartily recommend it.
—Pastor Rob Ventura, Grace Community Baptist Church, North Providence, RI, Co-Author of A Portrait of Paul and Spiritual Warfare 


 

 

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NC Homeschoolers Outnumber the Private Schooled

In North Carolina, more children are homeschooled compared to private school. You can read the whole article by clicking here.

In 1973, there were approximately 13,000 children, ages 5 to 17, being homeschooled in the United States. But according to the National Center for Education Statistics, as of the 2011-2012 school year, that number has grown to almost 1.8 million or approximately 3.4 percent of the school age population. Other sources report numbers well over 2 million.

In the Tar Heel state alone, homeschooling has increased by 27 percent over the past two years.

Wood, Genevieve. “In NC More Children Homeschool Than Attend Private Schools.” Paradshift.net. 08 Sept. 2014.

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