Sunday, November 29, 2009

Voddie Baucham NEW CHURCH PLANT 2010

In January 2010 Grace Family Baptist in Texas whom Voddie Baucham is one of the elders, will be planting another church (which will be in another part of Texas). They have been a church less than four years but have grown quickly, Voddie Baucham expressed his desire to be a church planting church over a year ago at a Founders conference:

This is glorious news, it is certainly refreshing to hear of such growth in such a doctrinally declining country. Voddie Baucham has posted a 3 part series (part one HERE) concerning the details of the Church plant including why they did not go other routes like: multiple services, satellite services, or build a bigger building.
Here is a small piece of very interesting and appealing information concerning what Grace Family Baptist Church does: (taken from the first post in the series)
Our service is unique. We meet at 10:45, and are together until 3:00pm (or later). Each Lord’s Day we have a prayer time (Matt 21:13; cf. Mark 11:17; Luke 19:46), sing (Eph 5:19; Col 3:16), read significant portions of New and Old Testament Scripture (1 Timothy 4:13 ESV), preach for about an hour (2 Timothy 4:2), observe the Lord’s Supper (1 Cor 11:23–26), and share a fellowship meal (Acts 2:42–47). This simply will not fit into a pair of neat ninety minute services. Nor would we want it to.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Great displays of Gods grace/wrath IGNORED

It would only seem reasonable and logical, to say the least, that a miraculous experience of deliverance from judgment would produce lasting conversion and gratitude towards the Lord! Right? Yet how have the great majority of unregenerate/lost/wicked men responded to the most astounding rescues in history? With sin-filled arrogance, self-righteousness, and self-indulgence.

Consider with me some the many great deliverance's chronicled in the scriptures.
Deliverance from SODOM

  • Lot's wife only regretted having to leave
  • His daughters devised and follow through on a plan of incest

Deliverance from EGYPT

  • The Israelites complain about everything
  • The Israelites despise the rescue and long for Egypt
  • The Israelites worship false gods in the very presence of a manifestation of God

Deliverance from Babylonian/Medo-Persian CAPTIVITY

  • The remnant spend their time seeking their own gain (building their houses)
  • The remnant despise God with worthless sacrifices
  • The remnant return to their rebellious ways

Shouldn't these events have caused a dramatic change of heart??? What about the CROSS??? Isn't the CROSS OF CHRIST the ultimate display of grace toward the wicked, isn't the CROSS OF CHRIST the most dramatic event in ALL of history. isn't it the CROSS OF CHRIST the most powerful and unthinkable display of the grace of God? It should go without saying, that it indeed was!! Yet man has maintained his consistency in rejecting and rebelling against the grace and power of God!

These few instance that I have cited are events that displayed both the wrath of God and the grace of God! Well what then can be gathered or gleamed from this? Well what I desired to point out is the absolute necessity of understanding that a 'change of heart' (conversion) is a MIRACLE of God. Something that requires much more than LOGIC, FEAR, EXCITEMENT, GRATITUDE, SHOCK, UNDERSTANDING, SIGHT, or any other feelings, thoughts or experiences. The bible is CRYSTAL clear about man's INABILITY to seek or respond to God UNLESS He does something IN them. Surely if man COULD do anything of himself, if salvation was simply a 'decision' or an 'accepting' of what God offers, then we should expect these times to effect the majority. This is precisely why we DO NOT read of mass conversions during the MOST (from our view) EXPECTED times. Let it be remembered that for every 'I hit rock bottom, then....' testimony (via drugs, poverty, sickness, tragedy, disaster etc) there are millions of stories of people who (though they 'called' to God or promised something or thanked Him) quickly forgot God and only increased in their pursuit of wickedness.

If this is the case then where must we give our attention? Where should we focus our energies, if man is in such a state that a undeniable manifestation of God cannot change him???

Well like some Evangelical teachers today, there was a man, a wealthy man who thought that the great need of men is to see/experience 'PROOF' and surely then, they would repent! Now of course you ARE saying that 'well that's ridiculous because that's isn't what Roms 1 says of man, he's not suffering from lack of 'proof', but a lack of LIFE!" Trust me, I hear you, but seriously there ARE people who STILL think this, and then as is expected you say 'But Jesus said the reason men don't come to the Light is because they LOVE their SINS' Amen! Yet let's quickly show the passage of this wealthy man.

(Luke 16:19-31)......27"He answered, 'Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my father's house, 28for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.' 29 "Abraham replied, 'They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.' 30" 'No, father Abraham,' he said, 'but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.' 31"He said to him, 'If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.' "

Nuff said?

Well you should know that 'Moses and the Prophets' mean the Word of God, which means that the most effective, the most powerful weapon we have (ever heard of the 'sword of the Spirit') is the very WORD of God.

WE DESPERATELY NEED in this our day MEN OF ONE BOOK!!!! (women too!)

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Apostle Paul missed it: SOCIAL GOSPEL

Acts 24:24-26
24Several days later Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was a Jewess. He sent for Paul and listened to him as he spoke about faith in Christ Jesus. 25As Paul discoursed on righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and said, "That's enough for now! You may leave. When I find it convenient, I will send for you." 26At the same time he was hoping that Paul would offer him a bribe, so he sent for him frequently and talked with him.

Here's the apostle Paul before the Roman officials and he has several opportunities to speak before these leaders of this oppressive anti-Christ government and notice what Paul chooses to speak about and also imagine with me what he doesn't talk about.
Did Paul miss this great opportunity? Shouldn't Paul had taken this opportunity to address these men, not as souls in need of grace, but as 'officials' with the ability to change things?
Would you say that Paul could have served the people under Roman rule including and especially Christians by pleading for slavery reforms and religious freedoms??? Why was Paul so super-spiritual and so 'preachy'??? Couldn't Paul have rallied a great number of believers to stand outside the courts and 'fight' for social justice, wasn't there a great need for reform?
Perhaps Paul was on to something that many are missing, that the main thing is and forever will be the CROSS of JESUS CHRIST, and that the thing we must FOCUS our attention upon is ETERNAL things.
I would suggest some careful inquiry be applied here, it's one thing to read this and praise it or even to teach upon it. It's quite another thing to follow this example, to use what is called 'an opportunity' for the sake of the gospel and to make the gospel the MAIN thing. How would you respond to such a situation today?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The gift of children

A familiar passage that is often addressed when Christians wish to defend the truth that a child is a child from conception and that regardless of terminology or the stage of devolpment 'abortion' is MURDER!
Psalm 139:13
13For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.

So it seems that God is the author of life! Since God is the author of life, when is it our choice to not to desire life (children) or to prevent them?? Where does that come from, is it springing forth from the scriptures? Am I missing some verse which makes it clear that we are to look at children differently now?

Rather then crying out for children to change or bless our spouse, we should be like Hannah who desired a child to give to God. Isn't this what the Lord was saying in Malachi 2:15 Has not the LORD made them one? In flesh and spirit they are his. And why one? Because he was seeking godly offspring. So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith with the wife of your youth.

The cost for more children is worth it, rather then thinking 'what about this situation or that' we should seek to be resolved towards the scriptural attitude concerning children and then respond through the grace of God. I'm crushed to think of the many couples I know who aren't able to have children and can't figure how those who can, don't want them.

Monday, November 16, 2009

The blessing of failure

God's plan for your life is for you to look to Him. Of all the things we experience and go through, every single one of them is for the purpose of drawing us close to Him. The 'blessings' we receive whether they be physical, material, psychological, etc.. are to produce the type of praise and worship that draws us close to Him.

Not only does God use the good to draw us to Him, but He uses the bad (from our perspective). This is usually very hard for people to grasp, which is primarily based upon an ignorance of the way God blesses His people. For those of us in the West, we are so comforted, so prosperous, and so sheltered that we truly believe that we have it really good, yet we are 'unfulfilled' 'unhappy' 'depressed' 'struggling' 'stressed' and generally more compromised then the rest of the world. If only more people would seek to learn and read of the lives of Godly people, not to mention reading of the lives of our Christian brothers and sisters in present hostile lands!

Maturity in the Lord isn't comparable to 'progress' in any other aspect of life. For maturity or progress in this life means "I" am able to care for myself in greater and greater measure or "I" am in LESS need of help or assistance from others. However this is not the reality of Kingdom living, for the believer his/her progress is not growth toward ever increasing degrees of independence, but ever growing degrees of DEPENDENCY!!

Humility promotes dependency, and the more we consciously depend on God, the more we glorify Him. This is why for many of us, we experience more FAILURE than 'success', because the Lord is protecting us from our pride. It is the Lord who is withholding the rain, it is the Lord who is causing you to be pruned, to be stripped of self-glorification. In the valley of failure, (if sensitive to the desire to bear much fruit for God) we are forced to look within, to wonder if we are truly honoring the Lord-- this is a much needed means of keeping us humble; heart searching is a forgotten art (don't allow the effects of legalists who turn this into meriting the love of God, deter you from begging God to search your heart often). Should we not be bothered when few of our prayers are answered, when few people turn to Christ, when few come to church, when few are relieved of their trials, when few seek to pray, when few want to come to bible study, when few want to give??? On the one hand the Lord calls us to continually ask, seek, and knock and on the otherhand we must recognize that the Lord IS doing something for us presently. During the waiting period, during our times of 'sowing' we are being taught patience, and being taught what it means to glorify God. IF we don't learn this, then we WILL be tempted (like many) to improvise, to make modifications to the commands of God, rather then focusing on being faithful we will take it in our hands to 'give the increase' which is God's exclusive claim!

James 1:2-4

2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

The Lord knows best, He always does best for His people and the situation you are in right at this moment IS working for your good! You are dearly loved child of God, yet you (and I) have much to learn about trusting in Christ alone, and if we were to be instantly delivered from the trials that we are presently going through, we would only suffer! That's not to say that your present attitude or response to your situation is acceptable, for we should NEVER be content to allow our circumstances to dictate our desires, affections, and actions. It's our attitude and response to our circumstance that cause us to compromise and to grow distant from God. Such things are grace reminders that point us back to Christ, to look for our joy in the grace of God displayed at Calvary and to find our hope in the abode of God (Heaven) that we await!
Our failure is our keeping from swelled heads and foolish mistakes.
  • God caused Moses to go through forty years of FAILURE concerning his call to lead the people(these years humbled this hot-head, in order to be God's prophet)
  • God caused Joseph to experience much FAILURE concerning his dreams of power (this spoiled child was crushed by betrayal, false accusation, and imprisonment which taught him to wait on God, to be faithful while he waited and to receive a tender-forgiving heart before his being lifted up)
  • God caused Peter to experience FAILURE in regards to his bold claim to stand for Christ in his own power (this motor-mouth learned how frail the promises of men as opposed to the 'precious' promises of God, he learned by bitter repentance that his call to lead was but by grace)

The list goes on of men and women whom God has through His wisdom and care, caused to go through much struggle and strain before allowing them to see the fruit of their labor. All that is accomplished in the kingdom of God is HIS work, not ours. We have been redeemed so that He may enjoy us and so that we may enjoy Him, the rest including the work we do is apart of that. May we learn to be faithful and to wait upon the Lord! May we learn to fear any 'work' any form of 'success' that is produced of the flesh and not of the Spirit. ALL EYES ON CHRIST!!!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Getting familiar with the bible, promoting biblical literacy

There are plenty of things competing for our attention in this life, not to mention the many things that are stressed as URGENT within Christendom. I would suggest that the most vital discipline in the life of the believer is A FAMILIARITY WITH THE SCRIPTURES.
A familiarity with scripture is a safeguard from false teaching: 'Discernment' comes from rightly understanding the word of God, our minds are to be 'renewed' by the word of God.
A familiarity with scripture is the key to praying properly: Through this we learn the promises of God, we learn what is and what is not appropriate to pray for, and through this we learn from the numerous examples of bible saints.
A familiarity with scripture promotes a familiarity with God, who reveals His character through the scriptures, this is the key to growing in personal holiness.

Every believer should desire to know the word better because it's linked to knowing God better and every believer should fear what happens when we aren't familiar with the word: we take the truth we know and then we fill in the blanks by rationalism, logic, circumstances, feelings or by the norms of the day, we MUST flee from this because we were never equipped to figure things out this way. If you wish to know and serve the Lord, then you must hunger for truth!!! If you wish to influence others (family, friends, and the lost) then you MUST hunger for truth!!

This goes double for those in ministry, I have witnessed 'ministers' totally unable to answer questions with scripture (and NO, not some obscure subject), totally unable to recall biblical passages relevant to a discussion. I've sat in bible studies and even in conferences where I sat utterly puzzled at the inability to apply scripture to a subject, yet are able to spew out a theological term they learned from a book. We desperately need ministers who are more familiar with Moses, Jesus, and Paul then with Calvin, Luther and Spurgeon!!!
A solid biblical framework can ONLY come through grasping the harmony of scriptures, which doesn't come through picking out a list of subjects/topics and finding scriptures for them. Sure you might impress someone, but your unfamiliarity with the scripture WILL be evident in life, counselling, and an extended preaching/teaching ministry. The BIG PICTURE is important, which only comes through exposure to the WHOLE bible, which is acquired through personal bible study. The best expository preacher (even if you had John Calvin as your teacher who preached throughout the week) simply can't give you a familiarity with the scriptures (no matter how fast they get through the bible) and we must realize that the specific truths they are teaching you is coming from their biblical framework, which depending on the subject may be in need of correction; yet How would you be able to recognize error if you aren't familiar with the scriptures? By a weak argument, well what if they are very persuasive and emphasize a particular truth and exclude a complimentary truth that gives the proper balance? How would you catch it? The Apostle Paul told his hearers to 'follow me as I follow Christ', this can't happen if we blindly and ignorantly follow someone we admire. The Apostle Paul also gave a warning NOT to accept another gospel even IF he preached it, but then how would you recognize it?

If you suffer from this all too common malady, then I beg you to spend the bulk of your 'study' time in reading LARGE portions of the scriptures. Get real familiar with the gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) then with the rest of the New Testament and then with the Old Testament (which will save you from much confusion). Perhaps you have been advised to just read something like a chapter, maybe make notes, memorize a couple verses or something, yet I would dare to say that should come secondary to reading several chapters at a time. By the grace of God and through the power of the Spirit, seek to grasp as much as you can, in fact I would not suggest limiting your reading to a certain number of passages because there may be times where you are able to supernaturally enabled to concentrate and understand large portions (even whole books) and so I wouldn't suggest you quench those times.
ABOVE that it would of course be wise to have some kind of reading plan, using various tools that can help you grasp specifics.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Is personal holiness crucial to ministry??

Once again I quote Robert Murray Mccheyne who said 'what my people need most is my holiness'. Now what does that really mean?
Is there a direct link between personal holiness and fitness/fruit in ministry?
Well let me ask it another way, do parents REALLY need to be 'living' examples to their children or is it enough to just verbally instruct them? Naturally I'd expect you to say 'They MUST be living examples or they'll teach them hypocrisy!'
Don't the qualifications for an elder (even deacons) give the greatest emphasis on holiness of life? In Peters challenge to Shepherds, did he not say 'by EXAMPLE'?
Personal holiness is VITAL to effective and more importantly God glorifying ministry. Let a minister spend as much time as he likes in perfecting his sermons, yet if he neglects his personal holiness he will never see the fruit he should expect. Passion for the pursuit of God MUST start with leadership, or else what is said in the pulpit or in private will sound merely hypothetical and it will leave the congregation convinced that the real important thing is to 'speak' sound doctrine (isn't this the state of many Reformed churches, that have little emphasis on personal holiness??!!).
Lloyd-Jones in Preaching and Preachers makes a distinction between a good preacher and good preaching. In otherwords one may have the reputation of a great preacher because people have listened to their sermons, but it's quite another thing to intimately know a preacher who has impacted your life through their lives! I remember well being among many young adults when a pastor told us 'Your people will forget the things you teach from Sunday to Sunday, but they won't forget YOUR LIFE!'.
Paul Washer not long ago said that there are famous preachers but not famous pastors. There is much truth in that statement, for many of the greatest preachers in history may not have been as spectacular as we seem to think. When I think of famous pastors, I think of men who spent much time with their flock, such was reported of Richard Baxter as well as Robert Murray Mccheyne. In fact it's a lot easier to hide your life as a itinerant preacher, evangelist, author, or professor then it is to be a good pastor. This is why I'm convinced that the greatest need of our day is HOLY pastors, not to mention that it's also the HIGHEST calling.
An unholy pastor is like: A marriage counsellor who's third marriage is falling apart or a Word of Faith healer who has cancer!
What a fearful thing it is to be a teacher of God's people, and how in need each minister is of much fear and trembling. Likewise how important it is to encourage the holiness of our elders, and to pray for them.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Song of Solomon, Taylor, Edwards, Spurgeon

I'll concur with the saints of past is seeing the Song of Solomon as ultimately a picture of Christ and His bride. Many found this book to be instrumental to their intimacy with Christ and often preached on it. I pray you find the two excerpts below very moving and fruitful.

I like how Jonathan Edwards (who read this book frequently) intoduces this book:
"The name by which Solomon calls this song confirms to me that it is more than an ordinary love song and that it was designed for a divine song and of divine authority for we read in 1 Kings 4:32 that Solomon's songs were "a thousand and five". This he called the "Song of Songs" (Canticles 1:1). That is the most excellent of his songs which seems very probable to me to be upon that account because it was a song of the most excellent subject, treating of the love, union and communion between Christ and His spouse of which marriage and conjugal love was but a shadow. These are the most excellent lovers and their love the most excellent love".
Edwards, Jonathan - "Volume 15 - Notes on Scripture", Yale University Press.

Hudson Taylor on the Song of Solomon (a devotional)

Look not upon me, because I am swarthy,Because the sun hath scorched me.My mother's sons were incensed against me,They made me keeper of the vineyards;But mine own vineyard have I not kept.

Our attention is here drawn to a danger which is pre-eminently one of this day: the intense activity of our times may lead to zeal in service, to the neglect of personal communion; but such neglect will not only lessen the value of the service, but tend to incapacitate us for the highest service. If we are watchful over the souls of others, and neglect our own--if we are seeking to remove the motes from our brother's eye, unmindful of the beam in our own, we shall often be disappointed with our powerlessness to help our brethren, while our MASTER will not be less disappointed in us. Let us never forget that what we are is more important than what we do; and that all fruit borne when not abiding in CHRIST must be fruit of the flesh, and not of the SPIRIT. The sin of neglected communion may be forgiven, and yet the effect remain permanently; as wounds when healed often leave a scar behind.

Now here is C.H. Spurgeon upon the same passage

Many are working very hard for wealth, which means, of course, for "self", that they may be enriched. Some are working simply for a competence, which means, if it goes no farther, still for "self". Others work for their families, a motive good enough in its way, but still only an enlargement, after all, of "self". To the Christian there must always be a far higher, deeper, purer, truer motive than self in its widest sense; or else the day must come when he will look back upon his life, and say, "They made me the keeper of the vineyards; but my own vineyard" -that is, the service of Christ, the glory of him that bought me with his blood "have I not kept." It seems to me to be a terrible calamity to have to look back on twenty years, and say, "What have I done in all those twenty years for Christ? How much of my energy has been spent in striving to glorify him? I have had talents: how many of those talents have been used for him who gave them to me? I have had wealth, or I have had influence. How much of that money have I spent distinctly for my Lord? How much of that influence have I used for the promotion of his kingdom?" You have been busy with this notion, and that motive, and the other endeavor; but have you lived as you will wish to have lived when you stand at his right hand amid his glories? Have you so acted that you will then judge yourself to have well lived when your Lord and Master shall come to call you to account? Ask yourself, "Am I an earnest laborer together with God, or am I, after all, only a laborious trifler, an industrious doer of nothing, working hard to accomplish no purpose of the sort for which I ought to work, since I ought to live unto my Lord alone?" I invite all my fellow-servants to take a retrospect, and just to see whether they have kept their own vineyards. I suppose that they have worked hard. I only put the question Have they kept their own vineyards? Have they served the Lord in all things? I am half afraid to go a step farther. To a very large degree we have not been true to our own professions: our highest work has been neglected, we have not kept our own vineyards. In looking back, how little time has been spent by us in communion with God! How little a part of our thoughts has been occupied with meditation, contemplation, adoration, and other acts of devotion! How little have we surveyed the beauties of Christ, his person, his work, his sufferings, his glory! We say that it is "heaven below" to commune with Christ; but do we do it? We profess that there is no place like the mercy-seat. How much are we at that mercy-seat? We often say that the Word of God is precious that every page of it glows with a heavenly light. Do we study it? Friends, how much time do you spend upon it? I venture to say that the bulk of Christians spend more time in reading the newspaper than they do in reading the Word of God. I trust that I am too severe in this statement, but I am afraid, greatly afraid, that I am not. The last new book, perhaps the last sentimental story, will win attentive reading; when the divine, mysterious, unutterable depths of heavenly knowledge are disregarded by us. Our Puritan forefathers were strong men, because they lived on the Scriptures. None stood against them in their day, for they fed on good food, whereas their degenerate children are far too fond of unwholesome food. The 'chaff of fiction', and the 'bran of the Quarterlies', are poor substitutes for the 'old corn of Scripture', the 'fine flour of spiritual truth'. Alas, my brethren, too many eat the 'unripe fruit of the vineyards of Satan', and the fruits of the Lord's vines they utterly despise! Think of our neglect of our God, and see whether it is not true that we have treated him very ill. We have been in the shop, we have been on the exchange, we have been at the markets, we have been in the fields, we have been in the public libraries, we have been in the lecture-room, we have been in the forum of debate; but our own closets and studies, our walk with God, and our fellowship with Jesus, we have far too much neglected.

From The Unkept Vineyard; Or, Personal Work Neglected #1936

If you pray for yourself in this matter, then pray also for me!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Family Worship (helping your children)

I just read a post by brother Voddie Baucham answering the question:
What are practical ways to involve and teach your preschoolers during your family devotional times (ie: morning pray/read/sing)??????
I beg you to take the time and read this blog entry, especially if you have children. I can't count the times people have asked us (and we have far to go) how we get our children to sit so well or behave so well in church and even in other settings (which is certainly better then remarks like 'wow, you're lucky to have GOOD kids' like they come that way) well it's through ROUTINE and the grace of God. The advice bro Voddie gives concerning this would have been incredibly useful for us yrs ago and it would be my advice to parents to listen and apply the advice he has given!

As for our family (if you're interested) our routine with our six boys (5yr old and down) is to

  • first read a chapter of the bible (we're currently in II Kings)
  • then I either ask them to recall something which I just read or I'll ask them some random catechism questions (we use the Children's prove it catechism and from time to time we make adjustments in the answers or questions where necessary).
  • After that we sing about five songs (although we don't necessarily try to introduce new songs on a regular basis--but they do learn new songs from the worship music on during the day (even the 2yr old twins learn new songs consistently)
  • Then we pray (I don't attempt to be too brief) I think it's good for them to hear real praying and not kid-version prayers. I pray for their character, health, and attitude but I especially pray for their conversions. Then for us (parents) to be given grace to love one another and to lead our families (more of the fruits of the Spirit), I pray for our personal holiness, our usefulness to the body of Christ and our witness to the world. Then I pray for lost family members, the topics after that are varied.

During such times they are expected to listen and to sit attentively (yeah they may fidget, but it should be obvious when they are in a posture of disinterest). If it's been an unusually long day or they've extremely worn out (missed a nap, day at the park, sick etc..) then sometimes they fall asleep and we don't treat that as a discipline case (our son Malachi is the one who this happens to the most-nonetheless it's still rare). We sit them on each side of us, and we keep a close eye on clowning (the kind I was notorious for as a kid), it is good for children to learn that when a time is dedicated to the Lord they should not want to be a distraction (not to mention, important to respect their parents when they speak).

Above all we should be real, and since we desire to be authentic, while recognizing that our frames are weak, we must then beg God to move our hearts more and more. Don't be satisfied with just 'doing the right thing', let us plead with the Lord to stir us up, to increase our passion for Him, so our children will be convinced that 'we do what we do' BECAUSE we LOVE the Lord and that BECAUSE He FIRST LOVED US!

Voddie Baucham writes:
Small children usually learn to love what Mom and Dad love. Show me a ten year-old who loves the Texas Longhorns, and I’ll show you a parent who had him in front of the TV (or on the fifty yard line in Austin) when he was smaller. Moreover, show me a parent who views daily family worship as drudgery and I’ll show you a kid who probably thinks the same. This is not to say we have to be fake, or that we have to make our family worship artificially “exciting” in order to appease our kids. It is, however, to say that we must buy in to this. We need to have a passion for the God of the gospel and a desire to honor him in our homes.

...Ok NOW go read the WHOLE post from bro Voddie Baucham (CLICK HERE)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The secret to a godly marriage

If you wish to find satisfaction and peace as regards your marriage then you must first, seek a marriage which glorifies God. In order for that to take place you must take the time to become familiar with what the scriptures teach concerning our roles within marriage.
Now please allow me to address those believers who are married to some difficult people, you know that husband that just isn't taking the lead or that wife who simply isn't submitting (of course there could be many more examples). I'll tell you the secret to obtaining that peace and joy within such a marriage; fix your eyes on Christ!
In otherwords if you will look to Christ for your joy and peace, then you will begin to see that the biggest problem in your marriage is YOU! The advice that God gives concerning changing our mates, is to change ourselves. When we put more energy in seeking to honor (glorify) the Lord in our marital duties then we do in trying to get our spouse to line up, then we are fostering an environment that the Lord can bless.
In addition to focusing on our own sanctification, we should be pleading with the Lord to help us unconditionally love, honor, and serve our spouse. When we are applying such an eye to ourselves, then we will be better equipped to apply an honest evaluation (MT 7:1- ) of our spouse, in order that we can properly pray for them (we should be spending more time talking to God about the things we see in our spouse then we do with our spouse). Let us strive to be faithful and seek to trust and plead with God to do what we obviously cannot!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A weak gospel is common!

I have often heard some ministers who are within the 'bible-belt' and usually Southern Baptists speak about the awful condition of people who will profess to know Christ. It would seem that some of these ministers believe that the problem is limited to the Sourthern-most states in America, yet I'm convinced that's simply not true. It may be true that in the 'South' many have had greater exposure to 'church' and that would certainly explain why so many would profess something they don't live up to, but to say it's a 'South' specific problem is quite far from the truth.
The gospel which most people have been exposed to is a powerless and compromised man-centered gospel of fluff. A gospel which is presented as a simple intellectual choice or emotional choice, which doesn't require much. A gospel which doesn't explain what it means to 'believe and repent' and doesn't explain the wrath that men deserve and the wrath Christ took, it is a gospel which lacks any explanation of power; the power of Christ's Resurrection (what that signified), the power of regeneration (the 'true' conversion experience). This gospel has been stripped of teaching, stripped of theology and has been dumbed down to an ineffective and timid sales pitch, which has caused countless millions to feel at peace with God when they should STILL be terrified because they are still lost!
Thanks to the media, the books, the radio, and the TV, not to mention the crusades and events that are and have been spreading throughout the world, this weak gospel is EVERYWHERE! I was first exposed to such things in England, and have since seen such in Northern Ohio. I've seen it in the Methodist, Lutheran, Baptist, Pentecostal, Apostolic, Inter-denominational, non-denominational, Charismatic, Presbyterian churches. I witnessed such a tragedy several yrs ago whenever I had to accompany someone at the jails (juvenile jails) and usually (to my disgust) someone would ask in the beginning 'who here is saved?' and it never failed, just about every hand goes up. Likewise the same happened if someone asked 'ok, so who wants to be saved?'. I was able to watch this weak view of the gospel acted out at two inner-city youth groups, where these so-called 'moves of God' where tons of people come to the front and have emotional experiences, yet countless were the times where we (the 'workers') had to break up brawls right after the service (involving the same kids)!
THis should not come as a surprise to anyone, unless you've not been paying attention. Aren't men like Rick Warren and Billy Graham to name a few, internationally known? Regardless of the sentimental view you may have concerning such men, the fact that they have promoted and proclaimed a weak gospel can't honestly be denied, unless you haven't really read or listened to such men.
Due to this problem, we must ABOVE ALL have a thorougly clear view of the gospel. We must never grow tired of explaining the DETAILS of the gospel. Regardless of where you are at, the gospel needs to be clarified, and the life of the true believer must be explained.
We should ever be fine tuning our understanding of the gospel and growing in our ability to help others understand the gospel, this is one reason why I'm not interested in promoting some method of evangelism, even if it makes you more 'comfortable' (although I understand if you use something as a 'starter', but you must be prepared to go beyond a 'script')!
If you wish to become better equipped with your understanding of and articulation of the gospel, then you must give attention to the study of the gospel. My advice would be to familiarize yourself with the scriptures concerning all the promises and proclamations of the gospel. In addition to that listen to good preachers who present the gospel (Spurgeon, Lloyd-Jones, Albert Martin, Jeff Noblit, Paul Washer, Albert Martin, John Macarthur, John Piper, Voddie Baucham, Jono Sims, Tim Conway, Charles Leiter, and of course that British guy Kevin Williams @ to name a few) not to parrot them, but to learn from them. I would highly recommend that you study the aspects of the gospel using some good systematic theologies, like Wayne Grudem, Loius Berkhof, Robert Reymond, etc. Another great resource is to read the classics that contain ample evangelistic material, the Puritans for example were incredibly evangelistic in their writings, which is one reason why I so admire them, because it was obvious that they were writing for the purpose of reaching and teaching their hearers, their books were more like collections of long sermons as opposed to entertaining literature. J.C. Ryle also wrote like this, and no he wasn't just writing to 'bible-belt' professors.
Let me then just name a few choice pieces that I would recommend:
A call to the unconverted by Richard Baxter
An alarm to the unconverted by Joseph Alliene
Holiness by J.C. Ryle
Studies on the Sermon on the Mount by Martyn Lloyd-Jones
Justification and Regeneration by Charles Leiter
The gospel according to Jesus by John Macarthur

Monday, November 2, 2009

J. R. Miller ..better to rot in prison...

Here is a marvelous piece from J. R. Miller, one which is of great encouragement and challenge to fight for holiness!! I just love the quote at the bottom!!!

(J. R. Miller, "Practical Lessons from the Story of Joseph")

"How can I do this great wickedness--and sin against God!" Genesis 39:9
"After hearing his wife's story, Potiphar was furious! He took Joseph and threw him into the prison!" Genesis 39:19-20

Sometimes it costs very dearly--to be true to God. Joseph lay now in a dungeon. But his loss through doing right, was nothing in comparison with what he would have lost--had he done the wickedness to which he was tempted. His prison gloom, deep as it was--was as noonday, compared with what would have been the darkness of his soul under the blight of evil, and the bitterness of remorse. The chains that hung upon him in his dungeon, were but like feathers--in comparison with the heavy chains which would have bound his soul, had he yielded to the temptation. Though in a prison, his feet hurt by the fetters--he was a free man because his conscience was free, and his heart was pure!
No fear of consequences should ever drive us to do a wrong thing. It is better to suffer any loss, any cost, any sacrifice--than be eaten up by remorse! Better be hurled down from a high place for doing right--than win worldly honor by doing wrong. Better lose our right hand--than lose our purity of soul. Better to rot in prison--than to sin against God!It was the prayer of a young queen, which she wrote with a diamond point on her castle window, "Keep me pure; make others great." That is the lesson of Joseph's victory over temptation; dishonor, loss, dungeon, death--anything before sin!

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