Church Leaders Dinner Tonight in Van Nuys, CA

I’m headed to the Shepherds Conference at Grace Community Church tomorrow, and today I will be gathering church leaders for teaching, fellowship, and prayer in Van Nuys California.

The meeting will begin at 5:30 pm and will conclude at 9:00 pm. Dinner will be provided at 6:00.

Several church leaders including myself Chris Law, and others will be delivering messages.

This meeting takes place the night before the start of John MacArthur’s “Shepherd’s Conference,” which is a very short drive down the street from the hotel meeting room.

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A Father as a Teacher

In Psalm 78:4-8, Asaph sets an example for all fathers to be teachers when says, “We will not hide them from their children, telling to the generation to come the praises of the Lord, and His strength and His wonderful works that He has done.  For He established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which He commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children

Note the gravity and importance of the tone:  “He established a testimony in Jacob, He appointed a law in Israel.”  He is speaking here of A LAW that needs to be followed. It is an ancient law. However,  it is for contemporary use. What is this “law in Israel’ he is referring to? It is the law in Deut. 6:1-9, which commands fathers to teach their children in the way that Deuteronomy 6:1-9 describes.
 
It is clear from Psalm 78, that from the time of Moses to the time of David, Deuteronomy 6 remained the central manner for the discipleship of the next generation. It is timeless discipleship methodology. Asaph believes that the commands in Deuteronomy 6 are critical.
 
Training the trainer

A faithful father not only teaches his offspring, but he also has his eye on teaching his son so that he can teach the children yet to be born. This means that he is training a trainer. He is training a leader who will train another leader who is not yet on the scene. Even though his grandchildren are not yet born, he is has an agenda. He is training a father to be a trainer.
 
Fathers are not only trainers of their children, but they are trainers of trainers. Not only are they delivering the law of God to their sons, but they are training their sons to teach the law as well. This requires two different kinds of teaching: the teaching itself, and the teaching of the teacher to teach.
 
Generational thinking generates the right activity

In our culture, fathers consider themselves “free” when their children turn eighteen years old. They believe that their child-raising responsibility has ended at this magic age. This is not a biblical idea. Instead of quitting the child-raising responsibility when children enter into adulthood, the Lord reminds fathers that they have only just begun. When their children become adults and have children of their own, they have more responsibility, not less. They don’t need the most prestigious teaching credential. They need the most credible textbook – the Bible.

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Albert Mohler on Removing Children from Worship

During the chapel service at Southern Seminary on Feb 22, 2018, Seminary President Albert Mohler made the following statement, correcting the modern church for its practice of removing children from the worship of God in the churches,

“Wherever children are be found they are to be welcomed by Christ’s people. Christ’s people are to be more welcoming than anyone else to children. Our churches should not be places where adults cannot wait to put the children away in order to get to the adult tasks of worship. One of the scandals of so much evangelicalism is that we send people to their rooms as soon as we get to church. 

Now, I’m not arguing against the utility of a nursery for infants. I’m not arguing against the appropriateness of special programs to teach children. 

I am saying that when you look at a church and you look at a congregation you should see the congregation. You should see young people. You should see young couples. You should see older couples and older people. You should see those coming into the final season of their life and you should see those in the beginning season of their life. You should see people sitting in pews who’s feet cannot touch the floor. And we should, in church, welcome the wiggling and the squirming, and we should hope that what is happening is that the Word of God is reaching those hearts in ways those children do not even recognize. They are speaking as children, they are thinking as children, they are reasoning as children but the Word of God can reach where we cannot go. It is one of the ordinary means of grace that our children, in church with us, will hear the Word of God, and sing the songs, sing the hymns, hear the music before they can sing it. In order that they, at the right time might find their voice.”

 

— Dr. Albert Mohler (Southern Seminary Chapel 2.22.18)

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House of Joy or House of..



Here is the story of the tragic loss of the presence of God in the hearts of those who continued lifelessly in their religious activities. We find Jesus at Passover chasing the money changers out of the Temple and declaring that the temple of His body will be destroyed and raised up in three days. This is a story about the temple of God and what it means. But why did Jesus act with such vehemence and violence? The answer to this question lies in the meaning of the Temple which is disclosed not only here in John 2:13-25, but also from Genesis to Revelation. 

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House of Joy or House of..



Here is the story of the tragic loss of the presence of God in the hearts of those who continued lifelessly in their religious activities. We find Jesus at Passover chasing the money changers out of the Temple and declaring that the temple of His body will be destroyed and raised up in three days. This is a story about the temple of God and what it means. But why did Jesus act with such vehemence and violence? The answer to this question lies in the meaning of the Temple which is disclosed not only here in John 2:13-25, but also from Genesis to Revelation. 

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How Hope Is Secured



The whole book of Ezra teaches us that there can be hope in the midst of ruin. Ezra 10:5-44 continues the story of hope which was declared in the first five verses where Schechaniah declares, “yet now there is hope in Israel in spite of this.” – in spite of sins committed. However, in verses 5-44, it is revealed how the hope of repentance was secured. It is one thing to acknowledge your sin, but it is another thing to follow through with necessary changes.

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Pillars of Church Life, Part 1



In this first session on church membership, Scott Brown outlines the nature and activities of a church. It is the Lord Himself who defines what a church is and what it does. The problem with church life in any generation is created when the leaders become captains of their own ships and create the church anew in their generation. In this message, Scott Brown outlines the important matters of what the Bible teaches regarding what the church is and what the church does. He first explains the nature and purpose of the church and then outlines what the church actually does in the world, according to scripture.

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A Man With a Message

God has appointed fathers to be men with a message, Telling to the generation to come the praises of the Lord, And His strength and His wonderful works that He has done.” Psalm 78:4
 
Men need to break the patterns of their fathers by delivering the right messages. The godly man is a man with a message. He has something to say. Men have a responsibility to declare certain messages. It is popular for we men today to create our own personal life message” or vision” that is unique to our personal lives. But Asaph warns us not to try to create a one of a kind, life message. No, our message is an ancient message which finds it’s source in the faithfulness of God, spelled out in the graphic simplicity that scripture provides.
Verse four clearly and succinctly describes what our message should be, what we are to tell the next generation. A man’s discipleship message to his family must include the following three elements: The praises of the Lord, His strength, and His mighty deeds.

A Father Full of Praise to the Lord

Asaph models the father who is filled up with the Praises of the Lord”.

He is a thankful man. The man who praises the Lord spreads enthusiasm for the faithfulness of God wherever he goes. He inspires his family by telling of the praises of the Lord. He is full of the good news of God’s mighty hand in history including his own history. It makes a big difference in the atmosphere of a household when a man sings for joy at the work of the Lord. He sees God working everywhere. He is truly a happy man because He knows that God is faithful and worthy of praise. This describes a man with an unshakeable joy in the Lord. He delights in Him. This man is not filled with head knowledge only. On the contrary, he walks around with a song in his heart. Truly, The joy of the Lord is their strength.”
Who can calculate the impact of a happy man who sings the praises of the Lord? 
 
Home Life Designed For Joy
 
You can usually detect godliness in a home by how much joy the people have registered on their faces. The face reflects the heart. Look at the faces in a home and most of the time, you can see how well a father is doing in filling his home with the praises of the Lord.
 
This is critical because. If a home is not full of the joy of the Lord, it will corrode and disfigure the knowledge of the true God and the hearts of the children will gravitate toward other things. But, Blessed are the people who know the joyful sound! They walk, O Lord, in the light of Your countenance. In Your name they rejoice all day long…” (Psalm 89:15-18). And since God is the God of hope, a wise father fills his family with hope in God.”
 
Be an inspiration machine.
 
The only way a man can be full of praise to God is if he feeds himself on the good news recorded in Scripture. He finds his joy there. And the only reason he will feed himself with it is if he believes it is the happiest and most wonderful way. A man has no hope for being filled with the praises of the Lord unless he truly understands what David understood,
 
“You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Psalm 16:11
 
Men who get too stressed out” need to reconsider what God says is acceptable behavior (the praises of the Lord) and what is not acceptable (being stressed out). Men say they are stressed out and it sounds so harmless, but in actuality, they are disobeying the commands to fear not’, and be anxious for nothing.” (Philippians 4:6) God’s households are designed for joy. Christian homes should be the happiest places on earth. This is only possible when a home is full of the knowledge of the promises of God toward them, and when a family believes that they are more than conquerors.” (Romans 8:37) For a home to be this way, it needs a father who is adept at spreading enthusiasm for the goodness of God.

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Read2018 Live Webinar – (Num. 16-36; Mk. 7-10)



At 3:00 pm EST, Scott LaPierre and I are going live to discuss the things we read over the past week as we are reading through the Bible. We will be on the line for 20 minutes to give some practical insights for families for the reading from the past week in Numbers, and Mark.

You can view the webinar here.

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A Holy Diversity or Youth Culture

We have long proclaimed the sinfulness of creating different cultures in the church based on age and affinity. Why? Because God’s design (revealed in scripture) for the church makes it a “body and a “family” composed of a diverse mix of ages and personalities and life stages. God brings this diversity together in “one body.” As a result we have criticized the creation of separate cultures in the church whether they be youth cultures or senior citizen cultures… God has built in a holy diversity into His Church. 

Stephen Nichols has written a good article explaining some of the pitfalls of a youth driven culture in his article, Youth Driven Culture.

He speaks to several of the drivers of the problem as follows,

 

“The subtle and not-so-subtle pulls of the idolization of youth manifest themselves in three areas. The first is an elevation of youth over the aged. This reverses the biblical paradigm. The second is a view of being human that values prettiness (not to be confused with beauty and aesthetics), strength, and human achievement. Think of the captain of the cheerleading squad and the star quarterback. The third is the dominance of the market by the youth demographic. That is to say, in order to be relevant and successful, one must appeal to the youth or to youthful tastes. These manifestations of our youth-driven culture deserve a closer look.”

 

A fickle church often falls prey to the pressure to play to youth, and thereby loses the diversity God has designed.

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How to Pray Without Ceasing

The Lord draws His children near in many ways. He is kind. One way He does this is to give us many reasons to pray in the normal course of life. This is demonstrated in the life of our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. The Bible records Jesus prayers in many places in the Gospels. When did He pray? Why did He pray? While the list below is not exhaustive, it shows us a few of the situations where Jesus felt a need to pray.

1. A time of dedication – At His baptism, Luke 3:21
2. A time of decision – Before selecting His twelve disciples, Luke 6:12-16
3. A time of rejection – After His rejection at Korazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum, Matthew 11:20–26
4. A time of sorrow – When a family was in need, John 11:41-42 
5. A time of tenderness – When little children were near him, Matt 19:13-15
6. A time of concern – With His disciples at the last supper, John 17

7. A time of departure – For His disciples before His ascension, Luke 24:50-53

In the same way that Jesus made the most of every opportunity to pray, so He provides His children many moments of opportunity so that we can dedicate them to the Lord; moments of change so that we can choose wisely during a time of decision; moments of scorn so that we can pray in our rejection; moments of heartbreak so we can turn to Him in our sorrows casting our cares upon Him; moments with children so that we can manifest the tenderness of Jesus; moments of reflection on the future, so that we can pray out of our concern; moments of saying goodbye so that we can pray in our departure. 

As God provides everything in His own time…”a time to be born and a time to die,” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-2) so He also provides for everything in between through thousands of circumstances in life to help us turn our hearts toward Him in prayer. One of commonest things is that we do not pray when we have opportunity. Circumstances are delivered to us by our Sovereign God each day.  Why? One reason is to drive us to Himself in prayer. In this way, the Lord helps us to, “pray without ceasing” (1Thessalonians 5:16-17).
 
The Lord commands us to pray without ceasing, but He does not leave us to ourselves… He brings a multitude of moments in our lives designed to stimulate us to pray. What a kind and compassionate Savior He is to draw us near!

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He Manifested His Glory



In John 2:1-12 we see how Jesus began His public ministry in a very surprising way. John the Baptist came “neither eating or drinking,” and was dressed in camels hair and a leather belt and deprived himself of the comforts of this life. Jesus, now enters the scene in sharp contrast. His first miracle shows Him celebrating, feasting and banqueting, sharing the joys of a wedding with his mother and his disciples. While John spurned wine, Jesus turned water into wine. Why would He do such a thing?

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Why Folks Resist Authority



In this audio message, Jeff Pollard explains the matter of elder authority from Hebrews 13. He begins by examining why people have such difficulty with authority.  He says,

“The clear and direct language of the text undoubtedly sounds foreign to modern American ears for at least four reasons: 

(1) Our inherently sinful condition: In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve cast off the authority of God’s Word. Because of this, all Adam’s descendants—Christ excluded—are born with a natural opposition to external authority. This sinful condition makes us vulnerable to 

(2) Our culture’s addiction to radical individualism: A self-worshiping culture like ours simply cannot and does not prepare the human heart to respect and submit to another human being. Submission to authority does not resonate with contemporary Americans—Christian or non-Christian. And this is one of the results of 

(3) The effect of the 60s upon subsequent generations: In 1904, the English occultist Aleister Crowley, known as “the wickedest man in the world,” was given a book by a spirit-entity: this spirit channeled the contents of the book through Crowley’s wife as Crowley wrote it down. Entitled The Book of the Law, its primary precept is “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law,” which became the slogan of the 60s: “Do your own thing.” While most people had no idea who Crowley was, his “do your own thing” life and writings influenced numerous musicians, celebrities, filmmakers, college professors, and others, who, in turn, intoxicated our culture with it. By its nature, “Do your own thing” is the antithesis of anything other than self-authority. As one writer puts it, “What Crowley stood for, ultimately, was self-gratification: no mere aimless indulgences but the healthy and liberating pursuit of one’s deepest will and desires against the soulless and shallow expectations of authority.” That is the satanic worldview and the reigning philosophy of most modern Americans—Christian or non-Christian. And they call it “freedom.” Finally, 

(4) The abuse of authority by church leaders: This is an unfortunate reality far too common, but consistent with fallen human nature and our culture. And when any of us suffers under the abuse of illegitimate authority, it subtly turns us against the use of legitimate authority. Because of the searing pain that abuse produces our hearts, we will do almost anything to avoid being abused by a church leader again. And that can lead churches to some very bad attitudes, decisions, and actions, as well as promoting a life of suspicion and distrust. Because of these four reasons and others, we do not like to submit to another human’s authority.

Nevertheless, in the churches of the Lord Jesus, our risen Savior is the Head—the Sovereign Lord and reigning Monarch of His people. He appoints elders to teach and to lead them authoritatively, according to His Word and Spirit. So, our message is entitled Elders and Authority (Part 1). May our loving heavenly Father grant us the illuminating power of the Holy Spirit so that we might hear the voice of Christ the Head of the church with clarity.

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Read2018 Live Webinar – (Lev. 19-Num. 15; Mk. 3-7)



At 3:00 pm EST, Mark Tuso and I will be on a live webinar to discuss the things we read over the past week as we are reading through the Bible. We will be on the line for 20 minutes to give some practical insights for families for the reading from the past week in Leviticus – Numbers, and Mark.

You can view the webinar here.

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Undone in a Minute – By Adultery

Playing with pornography? Flirting and texting? It’s the path of the death (Prov 5:5). Samuel James states it succinctly,

“Everyone knows that infidelity damages marriages, but not many people vividly imagine years of their work and arguments and advocacy going down the drain too.”  Samuel James

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