Friday, July 31, 2009

Gospel Modesty

A video I made taken from one sermon which is such a timely and practical message for women. Fathers, Husbands, Mothers and Daughters would do well to listen to this message with a pen and a pad.
In these videos Pastor Albert Martin gives 10 MAGNETS that draw the eyes of men.
it would do well to listen to the whole sermon if you haven't, these are very good and non-legalistic principles to apply UNLESS you simply don't WANT to face the fact that these ARE areas that cause many men to stumble.
I posted the full sermon before as well as a link to Mrs Mohler's article here and another blog here
Don't worry I don't expect this to become popular.



Annihilation (herectical inconsistency)

The fact that so-called 'scholars' (like John Stott) could believe something like annihilation is quite astounding, since it completely destroys so much clear scriptures on the subject of ETERNAL, everlasting torment in Hell. This heresy is an attempt to calm our minds of the terrifying reality of hell, to sooth our human conscience. In fact such a view is NOT about love or the grace of God, it's an attack on God's righteous judgment of sin!

If such is the case (and it isn't):
Then how exactly did Christ 'suffer' annihilation for others?
Then how exactly will (Mt 11:20-24) Bethsaida, Capernaum and Korazin be judged more severly then Tyre and Sidon or Sodom?
Likewise how will the wicked who knew more, suffer greater judgment (how could it have been better to not known the truth then to know it and turn from it, if it all ends in a moment).

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Ethical vagueness, Paul Washer

In this short video which is part of a 'rabbit trail' introduction (3o minutes) to something completely different, which is typical Paul Washer and praise God for it. Paul Washer draws a very wide spectrum of believers who desire to listen to him, which to some should be quite confusing since he's NOT known for his great intellect, coolness or even his novelty (especially since he rarely says something new), goes to show that such things are NOT what people are looking for.
I made this video because it's a short out of the blue subject in his teaching series, but it something which has been a constant theme upon my mind (and many others). That's the growing concern that many have come to rediscover and uphold sound DOCTRINE and yet have left it's LIFE implications for the wind. I'm one of those people who enjoy hearing of believers growing in doctrine and also growing in sanctification, I believe we NEED both, I am convinced the Bible demands both!
There is NO progress, no advancement of the gospel without a living witness, for it denies the promised power that the gospel contains! The blog scene has only convinced me even more of the problem at hand. There are countless bloggers and commenter's that will fight over the smallest details of the smallest points of theology, which in some cases IS very commendable, YET when it comes to a specific application as regards some current event then the skeletons come out. Whether it's 'Christian' blogs who uphold doctrine and give little seminary level lectures daily that defend crude 'speakers' like Driscoll, because he 'preaches' the 'gospel' and MORE importantly has a BIG church (take CAREFUL notice of the (pragmatic) reasons, people use or the lack of biblical defense), or blogs commenting on the talents and effects of Michael Jackson in a 'positive' light (as though he's in a neutral position, ignoring his soul and those of his supporters) or the defending of a beauty pageant which is built upon exposing and flaunting that which God COMMANDS should be covered and then when more light comes out on the issue (like posing nude, getting breast enlargements), it is met only with more defenses and reasons why we shouldn't be so bothered or whether it's Movies and Tv Shows that leaders or even Parents are 'recommending' despite the fact that the world finds them a little over the top, all this and MUCH more is incredibly frightening.
I wonder what the Apostle Paul would have thought concerning his decision to LIMIT/RESTRICT himself for the sake of the gospel being USED as the defense of why we shouldn't be judged in our enjoyment of the world. Far too many teachers are teaching a type of 'liberty' that would make the majority of ethical issues sound ridiculous, though the church throughout history has always made such stands and it's those stands that have clearly set it apart from the world. LIBERTY is about being FREE from the condemnation accompanied with the laws of men and with the shadows of God's law, it is NOT the INDULGENCE of our flesh in anything we are confident WON'T send us to hell (or rather, prove we are not saved) Liberty is about being free to ENJOY Christ in all we do. At the very least, we need some HONEST Christians who can say 'I do this because I want to and have never really considered if this is pleasing to God' or "I don't watch/read/listen to this stuff to BETTER reach the world, for I'm barely doing that, this is rather just for ME!"
Conformity to Christ, Intimacy with Jesus brings separation from this world, which is to be done by the RENEWING of our minds and the diligent seeking to be transformed by it (by NOT being satisfied with JUST knowing). While on the other had it should be no surprise that ethical issues are so dividing (take even the recent presidential race (election)) when believers are NOT daily seeking the word of God and applying it to their lives, rather living on a little past exposure to the scriptures and heavily depending on the popular consensus of the 'reformed' (or evangelical) crowd, which is wasting most of it's time soaking in the doctrines of Hollywood!

Agony of Christ



Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Ministers and Parents, LEARN from missionaries!

It would do well for every minister and every parent to pay close attention to one specific trait that should stand out among some of the most notable missionaries.
That trait is 'ENDURANCE', nothing speaks more to the glory of God then ENDURING toil. Perhaps when you think of praiseworthy events or testimonies you think of BIG and LOUD things in life, like a drastic deliverance, healing, or revival while unknowingly making light of what God is currently doing in you.
Faithful endurance requires much work, much humility, much faith, much pain, much trial, and much grace! If endurance was NOT worthy of praise then many even within the pages of scripture would seem to be failures because they had little to no numerical 'success'. Did Jesus fail because His followers were few when He was upon this earth? Did Moses fail because only 2 made it to the promised land? Certainly not!
The lives of such familiar missionaries as Hudson Taylor, William Carey, and John Livingstone (the list could go on), should encourage PARENTS to strive to be FAITHFUL to the commands of scripture regarding their children, because there will be PLENTY of days where the WORK of disciplining and training will be overwhelming and you WILL want to ease back (conforming to 'what most people do'). Oh the day will come PARENT where you will look back with joy, where you will see the fruit of your labor (as God desires it), it is always profitable to obey the Lord!
Likewise Minister, you must not be persuaded by the frowns or smiles of your people, keep your eyes set upon Christ. It is your duty to water and/or plant, it is the Lord's to give the increase. There will be doubtless days and seasons where through much agony and care you will do and say things that will only be met with slander and ingratitude, yet so it was with Christ! Don't grow weary in doing good for in due season you will reap..... Look to Christ and to His example for your motivation.
Ezekiel 3:10 And he said to me, "Son of man, listen carefully and take to heart all the words I speak to you. 11 Go now to your countrymen in exile and speak to them. Say to them, 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says,' whether they listen or fail to listen."

Where are all the healthy churches?

This post is from Pastor Voddie Baucham's blog


As I have the privilege of teaching at homeschool conferences around the country (California, Iowa, and Virginia to name a few), I have had the privilege of talking to hundreds of families. For the most part, these conversations have been very encouraging. However, there is one thing I’ve learned that is not encouraging at all. Many believers out there who have committed their lives to home discipleship are desperate to find a healthy church that shares, nurtures, and teaches their doctrinal convictions. In conversation after conversation people ask me (a total stranger who in some cases has never even been to their town) if I know of any “good” churches in their area. As I have processed these conversations, I have noticed a recurring pattern. These families are looking for churches that 1) preach and teach sound doctrine; 2) support, promote and practice home discipleship; 3) are led by godly, manly elders, and 4) practice church discipline. (note: this is not meant to be an exhaustive list, but a response to specific questions posed to me in recent weeks)
A CHURCH THAT PREACHES AND TEACHES SOUND DOCTRINE
Perhaps the most common complaint these families have is that their churches do not preach or teach doctrine. Unfortunately, this complaint is not an isolated one. It seems doctrine has fallen out of favor these days. Statements like, “doctrine divides,” or “we just need to love Jesus and love people” seem to dominate the landscape of modern American Christianity. Many churches try to avoid doctrine as much as possible believing it may hinder “evangelism”. Of course, the type of evangelism that ignores doctrine is one of the root causes of the current crisis in evangelicalism (people claiming a born again experience, but lacking a biblical worldview, or any evidence of actual regeneration).
When families make a commitment to teach their children at home, one of the inevitable consequences is the need to teach Bible and doctrine. As a result, many of these families quickly become aware of the lack of doctrinal teaching in their churches. When a homeschool mom is using more complex theological words with her eight year-old than she hears from her pastor on Sunday morning, there’s a problem!
Regrettably, some churches actually reject the idea that the pulpit is an appropriate place for such doctrine. The argument goes something like this: 1) Sunday morning is for ‘seekers’, 2) we will make ‘deeper’ teaching available to believers on another day, and 3) those who reject this idea are non-evangelistic, selfish, legalistic, pietistic, divisive, or just plain ol’ mean (ok, so maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration). After all, our purpose for existing is to reach the lost, isn’t it? (cue the stringed instruments and pictures of the flames of hell)
A CHURCH THAT SUPPORTS, PROMOTES, AND PRACTICES HOME DISCIPLESHIP
Another thing these families long for is a church that supports, promotes and practices home discipleship. One refrain I hear frequently at homeschool conferences is, “When I teach my children at home all week in an effort to (among other things) avoid certain kinds of influences, I feel like a hypocrite when I drop them off in youth Sunday school where the often get the exact same garbage they would get in Caesar’s indoctrination centers” (ok, so the last phrase is mine).
Before you write these folks off as ‘holier than thou,‘ take a minute to think about what they’re saying. We’re not talking about the way the young men and women dress, act and talk (though these are serious issues); we’re talking about the very content and context of what is taught in these places. If you don’t believe me
watch this and listen to what Ken Ham’s research has uncovered about the harm done to the faith of young people by much of the modern Sunday school movement.
A CHURCH THAT IS LED BY GODLY, MANLY, BIBLICALLY-QUALIFIED LEADERS
Unfortunately, many of these families are struggling under ungodly, unbiblical leadership. Sadly, about half of America’s pastors lack a biblical worldview. And a great many look nothing like the requirements laid out in 1 Timothy 3, Titus 1, and 1 Peter 5. I told the story in Family Driven Faith about the woman who was on the pastor search committee at a large church in our area who didn’t even know these passages existed (nor had the committee even spoken of them as they discharged their duty of finding a pastor for their mega-church).
These days, people are more interested in a man’s ability to draw a crowd, or be “relevant” than they are about his grasp of doctrine. One church seeking a pastor through an online service asks:
Are you a proven leader? Are you an authentic, transparent Christ follower who can communicate God’s word in a dynamic and relevant way? Do you have a passion for reaching the the un-churched? Are you disturbed by how so many people find the church irrelevant to their lives? Can you engage with the culture in a region heavily influenced by generations of denominational history?
I don’t imagine they scoured the Bible to find these attributes. What exactly is “an authentic, transparent Christ follower?” Where does the Bible require a man to be “dynamic and relevant?” Since when does being disturbed over the fact that sinners in rebellion against almighty God “find the church irrelevant to their lives” constitute a qualification for a pastor? And what exactly is “denominational history” anyway? Unfortunately, this is precisely the kind of thinking that drives many churches in their quest for relevance and growth. As a result, pulpits are filled with men who are far better at putting together a PowerPoint presentation than they are at “exhorting in sound doctrine.” (Titus 1:9)
A CHURCH THAT PRACTICES DISCIPLINE
Recently, I encountered two women at two separate homeschool conferences whose husbands were in desperate need of church discipline. The home education movement (like the Christian community at large) is filled with hurting people. Making the decision to withdraw our children from Caesar’s schools is no panacea. In fact, doing so often highlights problems that we didn’t even know were there. Many people think their children are doing just fine until they bring them home only to discover a horse of a different color.
The same is true for marriage. Many a couple has experienced tremendous stress as they attempt to make a transition from running in ten different directions every day to actually sharing life together in close quarters. Sometimes, the results are not pretty. As such, it is crucial that the Christian community play a vital role in supporting these families. The two women with whom I spoke were in the midst of marriages that were in bad shape. Both were experience emotional abuse; one may have been physical. I asked both of them the same question, “Where is your church in all of this?” Unfortunately, neither was part of a church that was willing to hold their husbands accountable.
As R. Albert Mohler has noted,
“The decline of church discipline is perhaps the most visible failure of the contemporary church. No longer concerned with maintaining purity of confession or lifestyle, the contemporary church sees itself as a voluntary association of autonomous members, with minimal moral accountability to God, much less to each other.”
I’m not suggesting that church discipline is a fix-all. However, there is no way these women should be walking through their difficulties alone. Men who identify themselves as Christians, attend church regularly, and sometimes even serve as leaders, are abusing, neglecting, and/or walking away from their families without as much as word from the church. This is simply not right. These men must be encouraged to “live with [their] wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.” (1 Peter 3:7 ESV) There is an epidemic of unprotected women in our culture. The church should be a place where that pattern is broken.
A CHURCH THAT’S HARD (NOT IMPOSSIBLE) TO FIND
While I am weary of hearing tales of weak, unbiblical, unorthodox, worldly churches, I am not without hope. I know it is hard to believe, but there are a number of great churches out there. I am privileged to know wonderful, biblically qualified pastors across this land who preach sound doctrine, promote family discipleship, and practice church discipline. Unfortunately, most of them toil in obscurity since this type of ministry is not usually accompanied by the kind of numerical growth that has come to define ‘success’ in contemporary ministry.
I wish I could tell you that there are men like this in every community, but that would be a stretch. In fact, our church has seen an influx of people from across the country who have moved to Houston to be a part of the work God is doing here. But whatever the case, do not lose hope. God has not left his people alone. Apparently, Paul had to remind people in his day of this same truth:
“I ask, then, has God rejected his people? By no means! For I myself am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, a member of the tribe of Benjamin. God has not rejected his people whom he foreknew. Do you not know what the Scripture says of Elijah, how he appeals to God against Israel? “Lord, they have killed your prophets, they have demolished your altars, and I alone am left, and they seek my life.” But what is God’s reply to him? “I have kept for myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace. (Romans 11:1-6 ESV)
Keep praying. Keep searching. Keep trusting the Lord. There are good churches out there. No... I don’t have a list of the ones in your area (so please don’t call or write asking for one... you know who you are). Nevertheless, I have to believe they’re out there. And between the internet, conferences, denominational publications, and word-of-mouth, they can be found. If not, the Lord’s people still have permission (and a mandate) to plant new churches. Or in a worst case scenario... move. We uproot our families for better jobs, better houses, and better neighborhoods. Why not move for a healthy church? Of course, just like jobs, houses and neighborhoods, their is no guarantee that a healthy church will be exactly what you think it is.
VB

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

God glorified in HIS WRATH

The reality is: God is glorious, God requires us to glorify Him, God deserves glory, and most importantly God WILL be glorified with or without us!

God is glorified in displaying His character, His immutability. We glorify Him because He has chosen to share with us His love out of the abundant riches of His grace. So in the salvation of His people God is glorified because it's an amazing display of His love and purpose for those He has redeemed!

Contrary to popular belief, God is ALSO glorified in His faithfulness to uphold His righteous laws by punishing the wicked. Let it never be forgotten that those who refuse to submit to the rule of Christ will be eternally punished by God and their refusal to surrender takes away nothing from the Glory of God.

In the book of Revelation there are some things that would seem quite surprising and confusing if we do not grasp the reality that God is glorified in the punishment of the wicked and that the wicked are only getting what they deserve (what they have begged for). The response of the wicked under the fierce wrath of God is amplified rebellion, (Rev 16:21From the sky huge hailstones of about a hundred pounds each fell upon men. And they cursed God on account of the plague of hail, because the plague was so terrible) Does man respond to 'seeing' God with repentance? No! Only more aggravation at God's justice and His existence which man tries to ignore!
There is however a request, a prayer from the saints of God who are with Him, a prayer which would seem greatly out of place here on earth.
Rev 6:9 When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. 10They called out in a loud voice, "How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?" 11Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and brothers who were to be killed as they had been was completed.
Does this strike you as odd? Perhaps you expected to see souls pleading with God to have "MORE" mercy on these poor 'victims'? These are not bloodthirsty animals crying out for personal vengeance, but here are those that are in the presence of God, people who have such a sight of His glory (His honor) that they can't fathom how such a King could endure such violence from vile rebels who only deserved the fierceness of His wrath.
Oh how such a reality should cause us all to gaze in awe upon this glorious One. It should cause the sinner to tremble, to be terrified at the thought of the one who will show NO PITY on the day of His wrath and consequently that they would FLEE FROM THE WRATH to come and rather welcome the the super abounding grace (deliverance, salvation) found only in repentance and faith towards Christ!
We WILL ALL in the company of the saints sing praises to our King for His just WRATH and His gracious LOVE!
Rev 11: 15 The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said: "The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever." 16And the twenty-four elders, who were seated on their thrones before God, fell on their faces and worshiped God, 17saying: "We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, the One who is and who was, because you have taken your great power and have begun to reign. 18The nations were angry; and your wrath has come. The time has come for judging the dead, and for rewarding your servants the prophets and your saints and those who reverence your name, both small and great—and for destroying those who destroy the earth."

Inconsistent heresy/ Hyper Calvinism

HYPER-CALVINIST inconsistency
Since the hyper-Calvinist is so abundantly (more than the rest of us) secure about God's sovereignty: how does the hyper-Calvinist react to a man pulled out of a pool and in desperate need of C.P.R?
Will they wrestle with questions like:
Isn't God the giver of life?
Who am I to decide or interfere with who lives or who doesn't?
Surely death is a result of the fall so this must be determined by God?
If God would have this one to be revived then wouldn't there be some evidence that this guy wished to be saved?
Sound ridiculous?

Danger of Christian Mysticism

A new sermon by Voddie Baucham has been posted and I had the privilege of hearing it today. It is certainly one of those MUST LISTEN sermons.
The approach which makes the will of God so confusing that new believers are left thinking 'how can I then hear the voice of God?'. I would add that the new believer would then find it too easy to go to men for counsel before they learn to study the scriptures. Encouraging new believers to grow in faith through growing in familiarity in the scriptures is something that simply isn't practiced.
Above that Brother Voddie pointed out how easily it is to be conformed to the ways of this world by not forming our decisions based upon what scripture teaches but rather based upon circumstances.
Another commendation of this sermon is brother's Voddies' concern to address a congregation of homeschool/family-integrated about the problems and unworthy motives to support such things. Like disciplining kids for the sake of the praise you get from others, in turn teaching your children to be law keepers rather then making it clear that you're concerned about their souls!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

The golden age of Christianity?

When would say were the golden years of Christianity? Perhaps you might say 'the early church days' or maybe the 'reformation' or maybe the 'puritan era' or the 'great awakening' or the 'welsh revival' and the list could go on.
May I interject something to think on, the golden years are ahead, 'oh yeah, you mean the salvation of the world right?' "uh, NO!" I mean the golden years are in the NEXT life.
I would suppose many have had similar thoughts as I have had before, thoughts like 'man, those (fill in some revival) were the days' which may be translated 'If I had lived then, I would have been a much better witness/servant'. This is such a dangerous thought, to look back and wish you could have lived then, as if you would have done more, when in fact you assume that you could have done a better job of your placement in time and space then God almighty!
Whatever a man reads, he must not lose sight of the God who is working in all these people and places; the best time to live is TODAY! You must also, not lose sight of the reality that 'there is nothing new under the sun', sometimes we picture something completely different then it really was. Even with revivals it is rare to hear accurate accounts, because only time can tell what was hype and what was the power of God, and few are the accounts of AFTER the revival.
I do wish to make at least one point:
The reason why we read and profit from Christian literature from the past 100, 300, 600, 1000+ yrs is because things haven't changed. The consensus of readers of old books is, 'Wow, this sounds like today!' because they WERE facing the same inherit issues regardless of the man made titles given (one of many reasons why we should stick to the books that have stood the test of time), that is ALSO why the bible is so wonderfully RELEVANT (because it's timeless). It would seem to the shock of some that EVEN DURING great persecution there have been 'TARES' (hypocrites) WITHIN the church. The first churches had to deal with such things, in fact one of the many afflictions of the Apostle Paul was 'false brethren'. Likewise in the midst of revivals their have always been a great number of 'rocky soil' listeners, ones who seem to follow with the greatest zeal and outward affection but 'fall away'.
Brothers and sisters take heart that God IS working today and His work is GLORIOUS. Every conversion is dramatic from the perspective of God and He's still mightily using men and women who simply believe on Him, may we seek to glorify God in OUR day without making excuses concerning how 'easier' it would have been in some other day, when according to scripture the lost have always and will always be opposed to God and His ways regardless of the outward morality (more hidden sins).

Lack of Fathers

I am one of those people who must confess that I at times envy other brothers who talk about having an older brother in the Lord, usually a pastor that mentored them. I don't mean, they said something or just spent some time around but they were poured into and because of that they avoided a lot of pitfalls that most learn by experience.

I can't count the times I have begged God for a mentor, and to a degree dead men have been my best mentors. Apart from that I like many others have sought to take the best from those I have been around, unfortunately I've had to drop a LOT of what I've seen or heard from others because it did not line up with the scriptures.

The theme Don't Waste Your Life is incredibly powerpacked and praise God that Piper has even challenged retired men to waste their lives on entertaining themselves. Yet I would wish and I believe scripture would coincide that the greatest thing older men could do is to scoop up younger men and pour into them. How many young fathers, single men, and even high school students need older men to warn them of the vanity of this life, to tell them not to go the way of this world, to tell them how to give themselves more to their family and church rather then their 'career goals'.

I love practicality, I love it when men get real simple and tell it like it is. This is ultimately why I love the preachers I do because they don't just throw out great concepts or regurgitate the same popular reformed ideals without confronting the problems. This is why I love Voddie Baucham, because when it comes to daily life, he tells it like it is. I listened to a sermon a couple of days ago concerning discipleship by Brother Voddie that I wish every leader would not only listen to but seek to put into practice. Rather then proposing the typical forms of 'doing' discipleship, Brother Voddie just simply explained the text (TITUS), concerning older women teaching younger women and (this is KEY) WHAT they are to TEACH them, and showing how the requirements of an elder are actually the characteristics that ALL men should be striving for; what separates the elder is that he is exemplary in these things (he is an example of these things).


Allow me to pause on that thought: An elder is an example of these traits for other men, hmm is that the case? Oh how we need biblical eldership! Where may I ask are the MEN who are known for their PASSION and HOLINESS? Can you think of many men in your church over 40 who have a presence about them, who are marked by a solemn fear of God?

When it comes to discipleship, Pastor Voddie is on point; as he points out that 'maturity' is not an age thing but a conformity thing. In Pastor Voddie's 'traditional' church model (not age segregated) these things come a lot more easily because it has not been complicated by a plethora of programs that have been put in place to 'FILL IN THE GAPS' of what should be a natural flow of true Christianity. Isn't it funny that most churches start as the so-called family integrated church, that most mission churches around the world start that way? There's a sense of intimacy, a sense of 'family', easier to see the growth around you and no one's missing out. Then we have to make it complicated and constantly spin our wheels to force what came much more naturally. I add this to make the point that it would surely be practical and a great blessing for many young people to grow up in an atmosphere where they learn from the older.

It should come as no surprise that young people reject the instruction of the older, because most have been trained to believe that they need specialized teachers (some young cool guy who has no more wisdom then a donkey). I can't help to think 'and what does that mean?' when I hear someone say they are or have been a youth pastor.
The generation GAP that needs filling is not, missing young adults who are being stolen away by the Emergent church, because soul damning heresy CAN NOT snatch out of Christ's hand, His elect. The GAP is at the end of the scale, older men and women who can and will teach younger men and women how to pursue God, how to order their families, how to biblically fulfill their roles as husbands, fathers, wives, mothers and servants of God.

Concerning what a good father is (biblically) I've written a couple thoughts here

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Simple explanation of God's secret will

NONEYA! "NONEYA?" YES! NONE-OF-YA-BUSINESS!
You are on a need to know basis and God says YOU-DON'T-NEED-TO-KNOW!
WHAT THEN? Trust God knows best and never forget that His character never changes, then go to the revealed will of God (the BIBLE) and follow it's clear teachings without conjuring up some lame excuse to disobey God because you think you've stumbled upon some mystery concerning what God hasn't revealed!
When in doubt, follow the example of Christ and His apostles!

Advice on Preaching

Who am I to give advice? Nobody really, but I am a good listener and a keen observer. In that light I have made it my constant aim to gather as much truth from as many men as possible.

With that said preaching is certainly a high and fearful calling, it is one which must be taken with great seriousness and care. Preaching must be regulated by the word of God and it's power must be sought in the ability of God the Holy Spirit.

The first obvious rule of preaching MUST be: to preach for GOD's Glory
Such a statement means a lot of things to a lot of people, I would suggest that it means we honor the holiness and truth of God. That we preach first to please Him and to reveal Him.

The second obvious rule of preaching MUST be: that preaching must rely on God's power
This means MORE time is spent on praying and meditation then on technical accuracy, a sermon must not be approached as a university term paper. As one preacher said preaching without the power of the spirit is like preaching with a broken microphone.

The third obvious rule of preaching MUST be: to preach to REACH! Communication is vital, you must seek to be as PLAIN as possible, you must seek to APPLY God's truth to your listeners. Speak TO them not AT them. Engage them with the word, for if you really believe that what really holds the attention of your listeners is some quaint story or current event then that's where you've placed your faith.

There are probably a list of rules in preaching that NEED to be broken at various times. As Bro Washer would say that the last thing you want to be as a preacher is DIGNIFIED, you know predictably sour and so reserved that NOBODY believes YOU believe what you are preaching. Bro Paul is a great example of someone who's last objective is to be a slave to format or to impress his hearers with his vast knowledge, rather he preaches very directly and very plainly.

Do you wish to be a better preacher? Then the advice that I have heard time and time again is to listen and read good preachers. Do you agree? Then why don't you listen to many preachers? I met one preacher when visiting his church as a possible home that told me he didn't listen to other preachers because it made him feel not good enough. How incredibly ridiculous to ignore good examples and not seek to learn from them. It's like the seminary grad who thinks they've arrived and truly believe that their 'learning stage' has been completed. Even amongst the most diverse of good preachers you can still find similarity, and that similarity is what you should pay the closest attention to.

DESIRE CRITICISM!!! In listening to interviews or during the sermon, I have heard many preachers tell of some crisis point in their preaching where a brother in the Lord criticised their preaching and it left a good lasting effect. I met one brother at the True Church Conf who told me what his pastor did when he had his first opportunity to preach. The pastor told this young zealous man that he first had to preach it to him in private and that he would severely correct him in every place he could. The pastor told him "I'm going to critique your sermon the way I wish someone would have mine when I was young" well the young man after the sting was grateful for this pastoral love. Such an account is quite rare, and though many men talk of be open to rebuke, they don't really welcome it. It takes great humility to take criticism and even more to admit to it and adjust accordingly-- I thank God for the pastors I have heard of that actually apologized to the congregation for the mistakes they made the previous week.

NEVER preach for the praise of the people, don't add anything to the sermon just 'for kicks'
NEVER preach to show off your intelligence
NEVER preach to win the favor of the leadership
NEVER preach what hasn't gripped your own heart
NEVER preach if you expect nothing to happen

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Grueling ministry

Another night of grueling ministry.
Well not exactly, I was privileged to preach last sun night at the jails. I sign up to take this least liked service because it's often open and it works better with our church.
It's least liked because it's on the primary floor which is predominately substance abuse offenders, which means often medicated (or even the so called 'insane'- rare though).
For me Sunday is the most gruelling day, I need much caffeine and much Tylenol on Sundays, because my body and mind is so exhausted (partly due to my neglect of good sleep).
For the most part, I go through this typical cycle: through the week my mind is probably chewing over what I will speak about (plus a ton of other God stuff), yet as it gets closer to the day and hour I'll be thinking 'Man, I wish I didn't sign up as much this month I'm so tired' or 'I'll even consider 'maybe I should call someone to cover me instead, I do need the rest'.
On Sunday before I go, I'll often be so exhausted that my thoughts aren't too clear and my stomach will be quite upset (I'm usually drinking Ginger Ale in the car on my way). As I'm approaching the floor I'm on, I'm crying out 'Oh God give me strength, help me to bless these men, help me to glorify you tonight'. This turmoil continues UNTIL, I begin to pray as I open the service, then I'm flooded with clarity and immense compassion as I look at such desperate eyes or a fierce attempt to awaken seemingly unconcerned faces. I am afforded two hours which actually means just over an hour and a half once everyone is seated: and before I get there I usually tell myself that I'll just keep it short this time (selfishly thinking 'more ME-time'). Yet while I'm in the midst of preaching this thought never comes back and usually when I check my watch I only have a few minutes left (although by the grace of God the guards have let me go a lot longer several times). Yet whats astounding is that the attention span of these men, some of which have their eyes FIXED the WHOLE time, I remember one man who thanked me for not rushing out as soon as possible. Despite all the opinions of others and their silly notions of how our age or time is different, I on the otherhand have an unshakably STUBBORN belief that the constraining power of the Holy Spirit is as strong today as it was in the days of Paul (and even he couldn't keep everybody awake).
AFTER!!! The minute I walk away and begin going down the elevator it's as though my body is under vicious attack by the devil himself. I have times where I feel so sick that I want to cry, and I have taken several vacation days on Mondays. Even when I've felt sick before I went there, or even had several mouth ulcers (which I've had on and off since childhood) once I'm preaching it's as though I'm superman or something, well you know what I mean.
Despite the little inconvenience of the physical aspects, my heart is filled with joy and compassion as I preach and when I'm done I just marvel that such a pitiful creature as myself could be so privileged to preach such a glorious gospel. In fact, as I leave I'm thinking 'I should have signed up for more, oh how could I have not wanted to preach today, thank you Jesus'.
My heart just sits amazed at the grace of God in such a weak and compromised vessel, who would have thought that I would be preaching His truths, that I would be a merchant of pearls, oh the grace of God in ME! As Jeff Noblit said at the True Church Conference that there are different views on Roms 7, but whatever it is, that's my present experience. I know the reality and I know NO condemnation but I AM NOT what I should be: I have yet to lay ahold of and live to HALF of what I know and YET His grace abounds in ME?! Glory be to God my Father!
There is much blessing in the gospel for the believer and he who hears little of the gospel is spiritually malnourished!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Fellowship of the unashamed

Here's a video someone made to this declaration (enjoy)

This text was found on a scrap of paper in the home of an African pastor shortly after he was martyred.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Word of God, Vblog

Our love to the God of the word, is linked to our love to the word of God!


Thursday, July 16, 2009

MY KIDS MIX MEGA-VIDEO

What a blessed man I am, Pray that I may raise them in the grace of God for the glory of God!!!


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Absolutely Must-Listen stuff 1

I've been meaning to put this together so I'll go ahead this time, hoping someone reads this and discovers something quite fruitful:

I'm limiting myself to mostly Sermonaudio.com stuff since it's so user-friendly (need help? just ask)
Please seek to listen to these sermons, I for one hate to waste time and have no stomach for fluff and so I have attempted to put this together for you.

I'll start with Pastor Albert Martin, who especially can draw out choice meat on various series and has a great handle on theology AND practice.

6 part series on the
The Bridled Tongue (rarely ever taught)
9 part series on the
Fear of God
6 part series on
The Divine Antidote to Sexual Impurity (insightful)
5 part series on
A call to the Ministry
2 part series on
the Sovereignty of God (especially good for someone new or opposed to it)
2 part
Carnal Christian series
What's Wrong With Preaching Today (also available in print from Banner of Truth)
3 part series on
The woman of Proverbs 31 (a great women's conf speaker)
6 part series on
Family Living

Pastor CONRAD MBEWE (an incredible expositor in the line of Martyn Lloyd-Jones)
True Church Conf 09
the radical depravity of man
A 3 part of many concerning
Roms 8:28
For more on Roms 6-7 (excellent) and some of John go
here
African Conference
The Pastor and Doctrine A Man called of God

Pastor Curt Daniels
A thorough yet understandable 75 part series on the
history of theology of Calvinism

Michael Phillips
37 wonderfully balanced church history biographical
messages
A simple and good 9 part intro to the
five points of Calvinism (good to give someone new or opposed to Calvinism)

PAUL WASHER
I'll try my best to give a wide range of sermons including some i've been privileged to attend.
A biblical pastor part one (
here) and part two (here)
Ten indictments against the church watch
here
The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure
here
Everything is Missions (
here) and Missions and Your family (here) (attended these sermons)
Special Q&A with Voddie Baucham
pt1 and pt2
A dating sermon
here (young people and parents you must LISTEN)
4 Part FAMILY series
here
5 part GLORY of God series
here
The meaning of the cross
here
2 part on God's love for His bride
here
4 part on the true gospel
here (first time hearing Paul in person and this was the most solemn of them all)

Voddie Baucham an extremely gifted preacher/teacher who has a rare and biblical grasp on the culture, on church, and on family. Very straightforward and practical and oddly enough many who don't put into practice what he forcefully preaches, still love him.
Biblical view of 'RACES'
here Centrality of the home here
A rare gem on church planting
here (not the typical marketing garbage)
Biblical headship (a MUST for men)
here
Healing for Marriages (a must for couples)
here
A family guide to the church
here
Child training
here
Closing the generation gap
here


Charles Leiter A very clear conversational form of preaching that seeks to cover as much as possible, if you listen to this brother you'll never miss his point even if you disagree (get Justification and Regeneration-a masterpiece of grace)

Lion and the Lamb here

Violent men here

Loneliness of Christ (much comfort) here

Superficial faith (A MUST concerning false motives and views about faith-tons of helpful and eye opening examples) here

The Law of Christ part ONE TWO THREE

That should keep you busy for a week or so :) Seriously though I have attempted to pick out some of the most fruitful messages that many might be unfamiliar with. Messages that are not only full of precious gospel truth but full of passion and the holiness of His people!

LET ME KNOW if something blesses you (well comment to encourage others to listen)!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Be fruitful, obedient love

I plan to elaborate on this theme later, but for now just some brief thoughts.

Let's look at John 15, but before we get there let's grab one thing from Jn 14:21 "Whoever has my commandments and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him."

First let me say that I don't imagine I could please everyone with an explanation even if it was flawless, why? Scars! Defining biblical words by past experiences. This always leads down that ugly path of over-reaction, which leads if not to heresy then to undo isolation. As others have fought against the use of 'slave' in scripture because they have chosen to define that word by experience and not by God. Words like 'Lord', like 'submit', even 'Father' have suffered at the hands of over-sensitive well intentioned people. Well one word that many like to translate in a very unique way is 'obey' (obedience) or 'command', for some this word chokes them up, they are immediately brought back to some awful experiences in a church or even at home. Yet can it be that they need to crucify such scars, in order to cherish all the word? Even under the old covenant, the Psalms present a view of the law, the commands as something which has 'delight'.
Obedience is a biblical word for New Testament believers, a word which must NOT be confused. What is the proper connection of this love-obedience? Well what Jesus makes absolutely clear in this chapter is that there is NO love where there is NO obedience. The process of this love-obedience goes like this.
We obey Him because we love Him and we love Him because He FIRST loved us. Obedience then is the NATURAL response to the LOVE that God has poured out upon us. The REALITY is that we ARE loved and the EFFECT is that we OBEY.
Now John 15
2...... every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear MORE fruit.
There is such a thing as bearing MORE fruit, this is a GREATER response to what is a REALITY.
5I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
This abiding has MUCH to do with realizing our dependency on Christ, and it's more than what IS, but also something we must fight to pursue.
6If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers;and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.
Yet the wicked don't EVER abide in Christ
7If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.
As we are transformed by the renewing of our minds, our requests actually become more in line with Christ's desires and consequently our prayers are answered more frequently
8 By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.
Obedience is a testimony to God, to His greatness and His merciful power in transforming you, His mark of regeneration is undeniable.
9 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.
Believers are covered by the blood of Jesus, His merit (worth) is so glorious that it is in fact imputed to us, we ARE loved perfectly without limit.
10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.
The more we understand the love of God, the more we are motivated by love to obey Him. We don't find rest in the battle against sin, we find rest FROM the battle to achieve something (God's love) we already have.
11These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.
As Jesus was always full of joy because he fully responded to the reality of God's love, so He desires us to know AND experience this REALITY.
Though we are perfectly loved in the sight of God we do in fact actually seek to perfectly obey. Though we are loved perfectly and stand fully justified without fear of God's wrath, yet we still treble knowing we shall be judged by our actions (now that's hard to grasp-hence the need to NEVER blur justification and sanctification).
Though we stand under the banner of His perfect love never have to slavishly fall into a legalism that seeks to EARN God's favor, yet we do make it our AIM to please Him and to NOT grieve the Holy Spirit.
Eph 3:
16I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. 20Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

Selfish members

Selfish members? Perhaps what first comes to mind is a mega-seeker friendly church that is filled with 'What do you have for me?' consumers, but that is not who I want to finger.
Selfishness can take many forms, but I want to address the one perhaps most seen in churches that are labeled as doctrinally sound.
Selfish listeners! What? Well you either know them or you ARE them; it's the person who is in a corporate setting but does not have a corporate view. They may sit in a church of 50, 200, or 5000 but they approach the service as another form of personal entertainment. They may see conversions, they may see others growing in the faith, but unless their interests are tickled they are disappointed.
Such a person may think their attitude excusable because they have such a 'love for doctrine', they just 'wish there was more meat' given. However the reality is that they are not genuinely concerned about others, they personally want to be told their fancy. Such are those who would be perfectly content in a small setting where nothing is happening, no life, no growth, but praise God we learn some profound and rare truth every week.
Do you not know that there are really men out there, even in the ministry who are perfectly happy with a sermon that is so obscure, so complex that their wife, their friends, their children, hardly NO ONE but them could follow (perhaps they secretly enjoy the advantage they have over these 'babes' so much that they would have it no other way).
These are those who DO NOT rejoice with those who rejoice NOR weep with those who weep. These are those who DO NOT consider others before themselves.
What strain these people place on the body of Christ, what undo strain they place upon their pastors with their attempts to manipulate the word of God.
Pastor! Preach on! Don't cast your pearls to such as these. Your charge is to feed the flock, not the glutton, that we...... 'all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ' (Eph 4).
IT'S NOT ABOUT YOU!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Every minister MUST experience Isaiah 6

A reality we must possess if we would dare enter the ministry.


Saturday, July 11, 2009

God is NOT fair! Really?

Today (at the juvenile jail) was one of those days, those ministering times where a young juvenile objected to the unfairness of God to send people to hell because they made some 'mistakes'. This was a young man which I haven't seen for a while, yet he had the same objection before.
Well I kinda spoke on wasting your life by seeking after worldly riches. I was speaking mainly from I Tim 6 and pointing out that to follow Christ, doesn't guarantee that things will get better and that if that's the only reason we come to Him (the expectation and desire) to gain($$$) then we are still hopelessly lost. That God would have us convinced that we are in danger of hellfire because we have chosen to rebel against a good and perfect creator.
I repeatedly pointed out the astonishing love and grace of a God who needs nothing and has every right to crush us, that He would cause that which is most dear to His heart (Jesus Christ) to suffer on our behalf. To illustrate the madness of men, I used the analogy of a man being locked in isolation without a door (exit), only to have Jesus Christ cut a door open with His blood and then tell you to 'follow me'. Yet men are so blind and arrogant that they would get upset with the offer and continue to look for another exit (or spend there time on distracting amusements that would help them to forget that they are in a closed cell), you FOOL don't you recognize a RESCUE when you see it?
To this young man's specific objection which was voiced after I closed in prayer, I told him that the only thing that was unfair was for Christ to be punished for us. That it is perfectly reasonable for a rebel to be punished and absolutely unfathomable that he could receive mercy. I also pointed out that God has every right to do as He pleases and it's His right to distinguish between good and evil. I told this young fellow (and he seemed to calm down and listen) that such an objection would be like a family coming to adopt you, saying 'we are filthy rich and would like you to become a part of our family and share in our inheritance' and then you blowing them off, not even showing for the hearing; yet when they die you suddenly appear vehemently demanding your right to the inheritance, to which why would reply 'but you are NOT a part of this family, you NEVER wanted to be, you get NOTHING!'

(Romans 1)
Such objections are common to men, because the depraved mind is opposed to God's rightful authority and His due worship. Though it may be expressed a million ways, the main objection men have concerning God is that He does NOT have the RIGHT to do as He pleases (confront this rebellious mindset), they won't acknowledge a Savior, a Creator, who is also a Lord. Connected to that objection is that the wicked deceived heart sees no majesty in God, denying His due worship. Men would rather worship created things then the creator, they rob the debt of worship owed to God and give it to worthless idols.
In proclaiming the gospel we MUST proclaim the WORTH of Christ and the KINGSHIP of Christ, in my estimation there is nothing else more needed today and this is to be done not only in word but in deed!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Thoughts on Revival/Outpouring

First I want to say that I without a doubt don't expect to get many amens, because on the one side I'll be going too far and on the other side I won't be going far enough.

Well I've been chewing on this for a while, and wanted to throw out some generals perhaps to the blessing of someone. If you're like me then you might be a little frustrated at the extremes that take away from the work of God and you might be equally frustrated at the great variety of teaching concerning outpourings and revival: it is my belief that such variety only shows well-intentioned men going a little too far in trying to give more light then scripture.

Scripture MUST rule, not church history, not testimonies, nor personal experiences; all such MUST be tried and regulated to the word of God! As my former Pentecostal pastor's wife used to say 'take it with a grain of salt'!

I can't recall who said it (Iain Murray or Lloyd-Jones perhaps) but 'revival is a acceleration of grace'. In otherwords revival accomplishes things which usually take years otherwise, or I should say God does things at an unusual and intense speed upon His people.
Revival is rare, it has never been and will never be normal: it is a work of God alone and yet like all works of God there are means in which God employs. The chief characteristic above all is DESPERATION, however it is expressed, whether in preaching, prayer or worship.
Though it can't be organized and though it is rare, yet we have much reason to pray diligently for it, primarily that God would receive the GREATEST amount of glory! You could read the apostles prayer in Acts 4 as one big cry 'GIVE US MORE, VISIT US AGAIN'.
Although we should request it and cry out for it, let us not think we have failed at something because God in His sovereignty has not sent it, however let us not be content with 'NORMAL'!

Extremes? Yes they are incredibly abundant and have robbed the people of God of powerful expectation, yet be careful to not reject what you're afraid of and can't fully explain. Take for instance the Brownsville 'revival', which initially if the testimonies are true bore good fruit, red-hot preaching and an abundance of confessions of all sorts. This was the 'BIG' thing when I was single, I remember watching the services live while jumping all around my parents dining room. Well when I got married, me and my wife took our honeymoon in Pensacola, FL hoping to jump in 'the river' of the revival, yet despite our great hopes we found much hype and found looney revival junkies. In fact I made a habit of visiting churches when I was single (whenever my church didn't have a service) and I sure could write a book. Throw in all the times I've spent with groups of young adults in all night worship or all night prayer and I can honestly and fairly say the majority of it was flesh. Yet there have been those rare times individually and groups where the clarity, the joy, the expectation, the wonders, the boldness and sense of power to do great things for God were unexplainable. Like the time after a 4th of July fireworks show in an incredibly bad part of town, I watched as over 20+ youth were chanting their 'side' until as it always happens they start fighting or in this case rioting. Watching from across the street, I saw these teens (and young adults) throwing trash cans at cars, even throwing punches at any drivers who said anything including a couple of guys who almost kicked down one guys front door. Yet like a wild man, I wasn't shocked or fearful but incredible boldness was stirring in me, my mind was fixed on one thought 'God what do you want me to do?' and with unusual clarity I knew who exactly to speak to and had the whole conversation in my mind. The young man was someone I didn't know and he was on the other side of this wild crowd. Well I simply walked through these people (seemingly unnoticed) and went straight to this kid who testified that this must be God speaking to him (come to find out he was a teen who the pastor of my church at the time poured a lot of time into and had practically disappeared). Well that's just one story, yet I'm convinced that God enjoys doing such things to His children from time to time. More than once has my soul been flooded while alone or a baby in my arms or by my wife, to the extent that for hours my yearning for God kept growing, to the point where truly NOTHING could move me, nothing could impress me, NOTHING could disturb (no trial or problem) me/us! No I didn't experience stigma's, uncontrollable shaking, floating, or giggles but with my right mind and with sound emotions God blessed/visited/stirred me! Yet I have over the years brought everyone of those experiences to God begging Him to reveal to me if it wasn't genuine.
Why would the most intimate of all our relationships be stripped of a desire to experience (feel), when it would be abnormal to NEVER want that from those we are intimately close to?

Revival can be personal, corporate, and even city/country wide. It would be my opinion that the frequency is in that order as well. Revival is a glimpse of the fullness of the kingdom of heaven.

Genuine revival usually has all of these elements with unusual intensity:
Conversions as well as Persecutions
Growth in holiness as well as Apostasy
A restoration of truth as well as revived heresy
Faithful supporters as well as unexpected critics

From my limited knowledge, many have gone too far in 'getting out of the way' during revival to the point where their passivity welcomed fanaticism. I like something which Pastor Jeff Noblit has pointed out concerning church discipline, that it was (to our surprise perhaps) carried out during times of revival (Acts 5), the point is that even in the midst of the most amazing moves of God there is still the need for godly oversight and wherever it was neglected much harm has always followed. It would be well to ask the question 'but what exactly happened after the so called 'revival'?' did the church or the city stay changed, how long did the change last?
It could also be asked 'was the revival for the blessing of God's people or for the heaping of more judgment upon the wicked?'

Concerning our desire for revival, I would suggest that we plead for the fruit of revival. The glory of God among the nations, salvation of souls, unity of the brethren, and holy conformity to Christ.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Reactionary Child ABUSE

Concerning the training and discipline of children, I have frequently come across and have heard for years the same excuses. These aren't usually people who blatantly argue that the bible is unclear about these issues, but people who can listen and read biblical teaching on the subject and say 'amen'.
Yet the problem is not what they may say is true, the problem is their customized excuse for why they have chosen to disobey what God has taught them concerning children.
The excuse usually goes something like this: "I guess the reason why WE or I am so lenient is because you see WE or I had some really bad experiences as children growing up". In otherwords 'We have decided that the best way we could love our children is by disobeying what God commands because it would be too hard on us to do it His way.'
Proverbs 13:24He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him.
Now let me guess, if that's you, then you didn't like that?! Well tough luck, your children need someone to tell you, because their souls are in danger. Their souls are you kidding? No,
Proverbs 23:14Punish him with the rod and save his soul from death.
It's very hard to pretend to hold a high view of scripture, to defend election, sovereignty, the five solas etc.. and yet to throw away sound teaching concerning those you pretend to love the most. Yes, I say pretend because the only true love you can give will be in accordance with the word of the God who is love.
Will you rob your children of life and wisdom, will you cripple them for adulthood, because you weren't raised in the garden of Eden? That my friend is child abuse of the worst kind, don't neglect the warnings that accompany the commands of proper training and discipline for children, your child WILL be affected by your disobedience.
Dear friend it's not EASY for anyone, there are times where it crushes you to discipline, where you are so tired that you want to give in, but you must not, you can not! For this reason especially a mother of little ones should be greatly praised and encouraged by the people of God for such flesh-killing obedience (pray for young mothers, and women help them).
Pastors and Elders if you have children then you have a responsibility to be an example in this area, you should be very aware of what's out there and should be convinced of how to biblically raise your children and challenge others to do the same.
Learn your children, study them and mark well their unique tendencies to wickedness; how they manipulate, how they respond to discipline, their facial expressions, their outbursts of anger, their sulking, their selfishness, their demands and so on.
Here is one message you should listen to, and does it often sound harsh (yes when memories flood upon you, but be careful not to judge that way, be a Berean in this matter).

Voddie Baucham, Child training (download mp3)

AND let me throw in 16 rules which SUSANNA Wesley had concerning her children:
Susannah Wesley was the mother of 19 children, including John and Charles Wesley. Through much adversity, she dedicated her life to instilling a sense of Christian Destiny into each of her children. Her children went on to change the world.
Here are 16 rules she laid down in her home.

1. Eating between meals not allowed.
2. As children they are to be in bed by 8 p.m.
3. They are required to take medicine without complaining.
4. Subdue self- will in a child, and those working together with God to save the child's soul.
5. To teach a child to pray as soon as he can speak.
6. Require all to be still during Family Worship.
7. Give them nothing that they cry for, and only that when asked for politely.
8. To prevent lying, punish no fault which is first confessed and repented of.
9. Never allow a sinful act to go unpunished.
10. Never punish a child twice for a single offense.
11. Comment and reward good behavior.
12. Any attempt to please, even if poorly performed, should be commended.
13. Preserve property rights, even in smallest matters.
14. Strictly observe all promises.
15. Require no daughter to work before she can read well.
16. Teach children to fear the rod.
ON DISCIPLINE
Susannah Wesley believed that for a child to grow into a self-disciplined adult, he/she must first be a parent-disciplined child. To her, the stubborn flesh was the hardest battle for Christians to fight, and Godly parents would do well to equip their children to overcome it early. She writes:
When the will of a child is totally subdued, and it is brought to revere and stand in awe of the parents, then a great many childish follies ...may be passed by. . . . I insist on the conquering of the will of children betimes, because this is the only strong and rational foundation of a religious education ... when this
is thoroughly done, then a child is capable of being governed by reason and piety.

Evangelism truths

True evangelism is INTRUSIVE
True evangelism is CONFRONTATIONAL
True evangelism is UNPREDICTABLE
True evangelism requires prayer
True evangelism requires a heart for souls
True evangelism requires more than cookie cutter presentations

There are many that have adopted a theology concerning evangelism based upon their own comfort and their fears, which always produces a theology that would present a gospel that is void of urgency, void of eternal reality. Today is the day of salvation!

This may take some by surprise, but it's often BETTER to NOT have a 'nice' experience when you evangelize. WHAT? It's no comfort when you've poured out your heart, pressing the realities of the gospel and the condemnation men are under, to have your listeners reply with respect 'thank you, preacher, that was a nice message'. NO NO NO, there's NOTHING NICE about it, it would be better that they were filled with rage and attempting to KILL you then to have no response. This verse comes to mind: Mt 21:28-31
28 “But what do you think? A man had two sons, and he came to the first and said, ‘Son, go, work today in my vineyard.’ 29 He answered and said, ‘I will not,’ but afterward he regretted it and went. 30 Then he came to the second and said likewise. And he answered and said, ‘I go, sir,’ but he did not go. 31 Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said to Him, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that tax collectors and harlots enter the kingdom of God before you.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The church WORLDWIDE

It is very common for a 'Westerner', for a believer who lives in a prosperous land and is nicely insulated, to form a style of biblical interpretation that is limited to his or her little bubble.
To that end, I recommend especially that YOU believer spend MUCH time reading missionary biographies and biographies of the people of God from centuries back. On top of that subscribe to the Voice of the Martyrs or get a copy of Operation World and read Foxes book of martyrs.
Such resources, such eyeopeners will awaken you to REALITY (also a great deliverance from the 'woe is me' virus).
If you dear reader are very ignorant to these things then you are missing out on some of the best commentary to the radical demands of Christ.
It might very well redefine meanings of such words as: Sacrifice, Devotion, Intercession, Persecution, Prosperity, Success, Blessing, Joy, Conversion, Authority, Sovereignty, Grace, Perseverance, Division, Repentance, Giving, Contentment and much more, even your views on eschatology.
These words are often defined in our free land more by the culture and less by scripture, yet the truths of the bible MUST and WILL hold true no matter WHERE or WHEN you lived, keep this in mind when you study the scriptures!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Michael Jackson, a worship leader

Michael Jackson wow what a 'legacy', what 'fame', what 'success', what 'talent', this man attained to.
In fact Michael was one of the greatest ever; the greatest worship leader ever. Michael had the ability to pull all ages and nationalities into a trance-like state, his words and thoughts were passed onto many. Michael was a worship leader, who ushered many into the presence, the presence of God? No, unfortunately NOT! Michael was a worshipper of self, a worshipper of fame, of praise, of greed, of lust, of rebellion and so on. It was this common ground on which many found themselves connected to such a performer, lusted after by many a woman and envied by many a man.
The horror of it all, is the shock of the world to such a created beings death. Even sadly to see this mentioned by 'believers' who act as though it's perfectly sensible to praise his accomplishments. No, Michael had no accomplishments, he was the rich fool who continued to build bigger until his last breath. The shock has come to this world because Michael represents the 'American Dream', despite all the drama, pain, isolation, and scandals many still think it would have been a dream of dreams to be in Michael's shoes. Yet for such an idol to die is unthinkable for the natural man, because it screams something which the natural man doesn't want to consider, it screams 'A WASTED LIFE', it screams "VANITY OF VANITIES", it screams "WHAT PROFIT IS IT TO GAIN THE WHOLE WORLD AND LOSE YOUR SOUL..." it screams 'YOUR LIFE IS BUT A VAPOR'!
Believer! Read Psalm 37 and Psalm 73, the wicked have nothing of worth, nothing ABSOLUTELY nothing which we should EVER be jealous of them for. They are of all men, especially the so-called 'stars' men to be MOST pitied!

Effective dependence

I was listening to a newer teaching session from Paul Washer and he had made several comments that he has said before concerning the necessity of preachers giving their people God. Brother Paul used he example of John Piper and how regardless of what you may say of him, it's clear that John's entire ministry is about pursuing God (something along those lines).
Brother Paul also pointed out the truth that age is not the factor in usefulness for God, dependence is. He spoke of how many young people are used mightily for God because their pressing hard after Him, yet when you lose that dependence you lose your effectiveness.

Preacher, minister what do you have that you have not received? What edge do you really think you possess? Are you satisfied with your efforts because you trust in your study resources, your schooling, or your outline skills? I hope not for it's all vanity, it's high time you stop striving to be polite and pretty!
The question is NOT do you like preachers like Paul Washer or John Piper or a list of others, in fact when someone tells me they like a preacher I don't even give it a second thought until they explain what exactly they like and what exactly do they follow. WHat about YOU preacher, do you leave an impression of God's GREATNESS, do you leave your people with a HUNGER for God. "Well that's in the Lord's hand" Excuses, Excuses, answer the question do you have a clear desire, a visible passion for God ESPECIALLY when you preach??? Passion IS contagious, if your people are unmotivated and even after the service are talking about everything but God then it might do you well to examine yourself. Are you grieved over the apathy you see? Do you groan that someone is bringing up some tv show or sports game immediately after you've preached?
WE DESPERATELY NEED men of God, men who lock themselves up with their creator, men consumed by the glory of God and constantly pleading with others to join them. What we need today is spiritually minded men, simple men who press hard after God. As McCheynne would say 'the thing my people need most is my holiness'. Just as children are in need of fathers and not buddies, so too the body of Christ is in need of Shepherds, not buddies.
Where are the men of God who so love the scriptures that their sermon illustrations consistently flow from the scriptures? Where are the preachers who refuse to do a little ballerina dance around the demands of Christ and actually press it upon their hearers?

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