High degrees of Christian assurance are simply not compatible with low levels of obedience.
— Sinclair Ferguson
High degrees of Christian assurance are simply not compatible with low levels of obedience.
— Sinclair Ferguson
“And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.”
– EPHESIANS 4:11-12
The role of leadership that you have been called to as a pastor is of significant importance in the kingdom. Much like every other age of the church, the role of pastoring in the 21st century presents many unique challenges. The one which we address may seem marginal when compared to the great foundational doctrines of the faith. However, it is hard to calculate the importance of the design for discipleship. It is obvious that it is very important to know and implement the methodology God intended us to use to communicate the great foundational doctrines of the faith to the next generation in our churches. Whether you are here searching for biblical answers or are actually troubled by “family integrated church” conversations in your church, we want to help you.
Here is a message on singleness I delivered a while back, “Singleness is a Picture of Something Greater.” Everything in the Bible exposes beauty – including singleness. What do you really think about singleness, really? What do your parents think about singleness? What are their thoughts about a person who is single? Do they have an attitude against it? Do they have a position? Are their attitudes and positions based in Scripture or out of personal preferences and desires? Jesus has very interesting and counter cultural things to say about singleness. Here is the bottom line: singleness is a type of something greater. In this message I examine the following texts on singleness: Matt 19:10-12; 1 Cor 7:6-9; 1 Cor 7:25-35; Isaiah 56:4-7.
In the same way that a husband is a type of Christ and a wife is a type of a submissibe church and children are types of obedient and honorable Christians, so singleness is also a type of Heaven. Your singleness on earth relates to a very specific kind of singleness that will be experienced in Heaven. You can live that kind of singleness now, as you single mindedly seek Christ. In Heaven there is no marriage but only singleminded devotion to Christ. Singleness is a picture of Heaven.
When the Supreme Court decided in 2015 that it had the right to redefine marriage, the Church was shocked. But why should it be? After all, the Court’s decision came after decades of redefining marriage. The Industrial Revolution took fathers away from the home, mandatory state education removed children from the home, World War II brought mothers out of the home, the Sexual Revolution of the 1960s broke the bonds of marriage and the 1970s and 80s made divorce en vogue. The problem of America’s marriage dilemma won’t be solved simply by kicking the Court’s decision to the curb. “Gay Marriage” in the courts has had more to do with the decades-long failure of the Church to define marriage according to God’s design. America has drifted far from the biblical definition of marriage and only a revival of God’s Word in the home will restore its dignity.
– Biblical Manhood
– Biblical Womanhood
– Preparing Children for Marriage
– Having a Multi-Generational Vision
– Living With Your Wife in an Understanding Way
– Discipleship in the Home
– Legal Perspective on Defending Marriage
– And More…
As a ministry dedicated to biblical discipleship, we are excited to announce the 2016 NCFIC internship. Training young men in biblical leadership, theology, business, and foundational skills is something that we are very passionate about. Our prayer is that the deposits made in these young men will help launch a new generation of church leaders and elders.
The NCFIC internship is a men’s discipleship program, which features various academic exercises consisting of reading, writing, and personal study. It also features local church involvement and mentorship by the men and families at Hope Baptist Church. It is engaged in ministry to churches around the nation through audio, video, conferences, and Internet communications. Interns are involved in the daily agenda of the NCFIC offices and daily discipleship with Scott Brown and David Brown. They are fully involved in the activities and mentorship of Hope Baptist Church. It also includes a strenuous program of physical fitness. This internship is about personal transformation and deployment.
One of the most exciting parts of our work at the NCFIC has been what God has done through our intern program. We have seen God work in a mighty way through the daily discipleship, the hard work, the camaraderie, the opportunities, and the sacrifice involved in being an NCFIC intern. We have seen men grow, stretched, convicted, and transformed. Our goal is to send out young men who are sharpened, hardened, and prepared for the challenges of the 21st century.
In 2016, we are conducting an intern class which begins late April and ends November 20th. Please prayerfully consider applying for the 2016 NCFIC internship. The application deadline is February 28, 2016. Learn more about the internship and the application process.
Here are four things to keep in mind to shape our thinking on fasting:
First: We observe that there is no command in scripture to fast, but Jesus assumed his followers would fast and there are many examples in scripture of the practice that would lead us to participate. Here is a short list; 1 Cor 7:5 (part of marriage), Isaiah 58:3-6 (for love and blessing for others), Matt 6:16-18 (don’t put on the gloomy face of a hypocrite),Daniel 9:3-19 (with humiliation and repentance), Ps 35:13(for the sick) , Isaiah 58 (for the poor).
Second: There are two kinds of fasts – public and private. We see both examples in scripture. Jesus speaks of fasting and prayer in your closet (Matt 6:16-18) , and there are numerous corporate fasts in scripture (Acts 13, Daniel 9).
Third: There are temptations related to fasting in the area of pomposity and pride and trumpeting your works (Matthew 6:16-18).
Fourth: There are many examples of fasting in the Word of God:
In Esther 4:16, fasting was engaged for deliverance from danger and evil.
In Matthew 17:21, fasting was for deliverance in the exercise of authority over the demonic powers over a boy.
In Ezra 8:22 fasting was for protection in the same way Queen Esther called her people, the Jews, to join her in a corporate fast.
In 1 Samuel 7:6 the people of God joined together to seek God’s guidance for them corporately and fasted and confessed their sins.
In Luke 2:37 we encounter Anna serving in the Temple with a lifestyle of prayer and fasting.
In Acts 27:21 Paul fasted for safety and deliverance during a fierce storm.
In Daniel 9:3, the prophet fasted as a gesture of repentance on behalf of the sin of the people.
In Joel 2:15, fasting was a prerequisite for revival. Prior to the prophecy of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on all flesh, the people of God are challenged to “declare a holy fast, call a sacred assembly” (Joel 2:15).
In Acts 13, there are several elements: 1. It was something the whole church did together. The fasting was corporate – the whole church was fasting and praying as well as the leaders. In the sermon on the Mount, Jesus warns about fasting to be seen by men and that your heavenly Father who sees in secret will reward you. But here we have a public fast. 2. It was to help with discernment regarding important issues of direction of peoples lives in the church. 3. It caused the spread of the gospel to Asia Minor, Greece, Rome and Spain. 4. It was in response to a need. The importance of this time of prayer and fasting is hard to overestimate. This fast had a dramatic impact on world history, for it launched the first wave of missionaries to the gentiles.
God has given us fasting in order to humble us, and center us on prayer for important matters for the glory of God.
We have produced several resources to encourage churches and families to embrace a historic confession of faith of the quality of the Westminster Confession of Faith or the 1689 London Baptist Confession. We have delivered lectures, directed specifically of church leaders and fathers on the confession called, “Foundations in Sound Doctrine,” produced a 32 session DVD set designed for families called, “Family Foundations in Sound Doctrine“ and packaged a full set of resources for learning from these confessions in this set.
We have based our resources on the London Baptist Confession of 1689 as an example for how we might understand confessions in general. This confession is a deep mine, filled with the everlasting treasuries of redemption. It reveals God to us. It helps us to think like Christians. It summarizes vast resources of wisdom from heaven. This is why the Second London Baptist Confession of 1689 is a wonderful resource for churches and families. There is no greater blessing to the human soul, to the family, to the church, and to the state than when minds are filled up with the riches of the knowledge of God.
A Strategic Purpose
In the introduction to this confession, the authors appeal to heads of households to teach these things of sound doctrine to their families. In the following section entitled “Letter to the Reader,” you will notice how they appeal to “begin at home” and to remember that so much “decay of religion” can be traced to a father’s neglect of family worship and instruction. They condemn heads of families who do not train, instruct, and catechize. They warn that their children’s blood will be on their hands. This is why the authors of this confession intended that it be a tool to be used in families. The authors of this confession clearly understood and promoted the role of the family in upholding sound doctrine. God has given these confessions of faith, not only to churches and individuals, but also to families to use to instruct children in sound doctrine. Our prayer is that your family will enjoy many happy hours of learning, growing, and rejoicing in the wisdom of God that springs from every sentence of this confession. (more…)
Scripture makes it clear that parents are primarily responsible for the discipleship of their children. At the National Center for Family-Integrated Churches, one of our missions is to communicate God’s beautiful design for discipleship in the home and in the church. On the NCFIC website, you will find resources which point out biblical solutions to the problems that exist in modern church and family discipleship.
My children are all grown up now… but one thing we did was to memorize Scripture together as a family. Here were the guiding lights of my Scripture memory plan:
I had six elements to my plan when I was raising my children:
I identified passages that I wanted us to have in our hearts. I kept them in a file.
2. Daily Group Recitation:
We had it as a goal to recite the passages out loud whenever we eat together, and the last thing in the day before bed. We didn’t always succeed, but this was the goal.
3. Daily Personal Meditation:
Each day Deb tried to have the kids do 10 minutes of silent review during the school day.
4. Daily Time Redemption:
We tried to redeem the time when driving or doing some “mindless” thing, by reciting together.
5. Bedtime Recitation:
When I tucked each child into bed, I would recite one of the verses we worked on as part of my prayer for them. If you pick a passage and recite it for two or three months, they will have it memorized without working on it. So a great opportunity to put them ahead of the game and to provide a very tender and personal ministry to your children is to recite a passage to them each night.
6. Formal Guidelines:
We used some of the techniques and guidelines in Andrew Davis’ article on scripture memory.
As I reflect back on 2015, one gathering particularly stands out – a Call to Battle. Carlton McLeod, pastor of a local church, Calvary Revival Chesapeake, sponsored a conference that I really appreciated. He brought his local community together to see how they might be transformed by the Word of God. It was such a blessing to be with him, his fellow pastors and friends and neighbors. God is doing a marvelous work. Don’t forget to pray for Carlton and his family and church in 2016.
This is your last opportunity to register for the Fear of God conference at a significantly discounted rate ($199 off the standard family rate). Please consider joining me, along with Ken Ham, Joel Beeke, John Snyder and many others as we consider the doctrine of the fear of God, as well as discuss the applications of this doctrine for our own hearts, homes, churches, and government.
There are astonishing promises spoken in Scripture to those who fear the Lord. One of those promises is found in the book of Proverbs: “By humility and the fear of the LORD are riches and honor and life” (Prov. 22:4).
You may be thinking, “Oh, I already know about the fear of God. Why do I need to go?” Let’s take a moment and think about the condition of our own hearts, churches, families, and nations in regards to the fear of God: There has never been another point in history where our nation has demonstrated less fear and honor toward God than it does now in our present time. We need to recapture this crucial doctrine.
As you depart from this conference, you will have experienced a thorough study of the fear of God from Genesis to Revelation. I hope that you will be able to join us!
Please pray for Deborah and I as we travel to Texas this weekend… I have the joy of officiating at the wedding of one of my former interns, and the daughter of one of my dear friends – in Texas. After that, we will be conducting “Getting the Picture Right,” which is a conference for couples married seven years and less. Then, on Sunday I will be preaching at Burnet Bible Church. Finally on Monday, will be having a leadership luncheon discussion on “Defending Marriage In Your Church.”
Defending marriage in our churches is a critical matter at this historical moment in America. Marriage has become a battleground. How do we as church leaders fight for a biblical view of marriage in our churches? How do we equip the saints? This will be the focus of Scott Brown’s presentation and the topic of discussion at the Texas Leadership Luncheon.
Elders, pastors and deacons, along with your sons and aspiring future church leaders are invited to an NCFIC Church Leadership Luncheon, January 4th, 2016 in Liberty Hill, Texas.
The location of the 2016 NCFIC Church Leadership Luncheon will be Jardin Corona Mexican Restaurant, 15395 W. State Hwy. 29, Liberty Hill, Texas 78642. The time will be 11:00-3:00.
Please RSVP by registering here