Thursday, August 30, 2007

In Christ Alone

I am not sure if you have heard the song “In Christ Alone” but it is a very good one. There are number of versions you will find online but the one below simply has video of God's creation as a background to the music and does take some musical liberty with the words, enjoy

Here are the original lyrics, I personally would change the line “For ev'ry sin on Him was laid—“ to “For our sin on Him was laid-“ to make it more theologically correct.

In Christ alone my hope is found;
He is my light, my strength, my song;
This cornerstone, this solid ground,
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My comforter, my all in all—
Here in the love of Christ I stand.

In Christ alone, Who took on flesh,
Fullness of God in helpless babe!
This gift of love and righteousness,
Scorned by the ones He came to save.
Till on that cross as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied;
For ev'ry sin on Him was laid—
Here in the death of Christ I live.

There in the ground His body lay,
Light of the world by darkness slain;
Then bursting forth in glorious day,
Up from the grave He rose again!
And as He stands in victory,
Sin's curse has lost its grip on me;
For I am His and He is mine—
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.

No guilt in life, no fear in death—
This is the pow'r of Christ in me;
From life's first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny.
No pow'r of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till He returns or calls me home—
Here in the pow'r of Christ I'll stand.

"In Christ Alone"Words and Music by Keith Getty & Stuart Townend
Copyright © 2001 Kingsway Thankyou Music

Voddie Baucham Videos

Thanks to Glenn at BCBC for this link to some Videos of Voddie Baucham. Theses are short videos that touch on many of the subjects Voddie talks about. Here are a couple of them on the purpose and the importance of Family Worship.

The Purpose of Family Worship

The Importance of Family Worhsip

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

More thoughts on the Family Integrated Church

Back in March I finished a series I was writing on “What does a Family Integrated Church look like” ( Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7 ) and in July of this year we started Sovereign Grace Christian Fellowship and are approaching our 8th Lord’s Day service this week. The start has been a growth experience and has stretched me in ways I was not expecting but as with all things God moves us to do I am confident this is the direction God is leading .

I would have to say my views on the church have not changed since starting SGCF and I would credit this to having tried from the beginning to see what God would have His church to look like. One of the areas that I think we fail, and I have failed here before, is all too often we think about church from what we would like rather than what God desires. This usually stems, or it did for me, from wanting to be comfortable but if we read scripture closely Christianity is far from comfortable. If we come together each Lord’s Day to worship God and to exalt His name should not how we worship be more focused on Him than us? If this is so then it would seem that we should to the best of our ability seek guidance from scripture as to how we are to worship rather than what people prefer. This may be uncomfortable for people and probably in our culture with its focus on comfort and individualism will not be popular.

I say all of this because while a fair number of people are seeking out churches that teach from a more reformed perspective the road block SGCF would seem to offer is that we see God desiring all people to worship together and not to segregate. While I firmly hold that first and foremost in the gathering of the local church is the teaching of the word I also believe we are called to do so in a manner that does not fragment families, in whatever form they may be. So I do not see it as enough to simply have good doctrine taught, as important as that is, but it needs to be taught in a community that most exhibits God’s call for the gathering of the local church.

Up until not too long ago, probably around 100 years or maybe less, the concept of children and families being separated to worship God would have been foreign to the church. We have been so ingrained with this philosophy that I admit it will be hard to break out of the mold but I believe for the church to grow we will have to do this. The issues we now face with such a large percentage of youth leaving the church or going in wayward directions is in large part due to a segregating mentality. The motive for initially segregating children and youth and any other group was to supposedly better disciple them but the model in the scriptures of Older teaching the Younger and families being the primary discipling centers of the church is lost in this mentality.

So I pray that people will be drawn back to the way God designed us to worship and that people will struggle through the change and initial discomfort that comes with any change. I pray that in the future one would not have to have monikers like “Family Integrated Church” because it will be the norm rather than the anomaly. I pray that people would be so instilled with a desire to worship with their children that they would do whatever was necessary to do so and that youth and singles would see the call from God to worship with others outside their own comfortable group setting to enter into multigenerational worship at all cost.

I pray that SGCF will remain steadfast in this God given vision

Friday, August 24, 2007

Around the Web and Blogosphere (8/24/07)

Geoff Botkin is the guest blogger on Doug Phillip’s blog and he writes an article entitled: The 'C' Word and the Coming Persecution of the Church in America. The church today is in a state where those that would be considered following historical-orthodox Christianity are soon, if not already, to be labeled cultic. While those that follow “Cultural Christianity”, which in general is not Christian at all, are seen as the norm. He uses the example of China and it is there that the government uses the term “cult” as a tool to rid the country of anything it does not like and deems detrimental to the states goals.

Sovereign Grace Ministries audio messages are being offered for free here: Messages

If you have been following the conversation between Wayne Grudem, John Piper, Mark Dever, Ligon Duncan and Sam Storms ( I am sure there are others) you can get a recap with links to the various articles on Justin Martin’s Blog Between Two Worlds: Baptizoblogodebate Roundup (with Breaking News). This is a good debate to contemplate as it does say much about what we believe and how it interplays with how we relate to each other. Personally, I think there is a disconnect in many of the comments I read, between church membership and fellowship. I don’t know why I cannot fellowship with a brother and sister in Christ that is not a member of the church I attend.

Over at the Reformed Baptist Fellowship the article, It’s worse (and better) than you think, speaks to the obstacles usually presented with regards to reaching this generation. But the issue is not the presentation but the spiritual condition of the one that the message is being presented to. I am sure that many would claim to rely on the Word of God but it seems that all of the antics and gyrations performed to “reach this generation” would say otherwise. Does today’s church take Hebrews 4:12-13 as still true?

Heb 4:12-13 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Free Online Book Resources

At These are the generations of... Scott links to free books from The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood.

This made me think that it might be a good idea to give out some other places to go for free online books. So, here are some links to other free online book resources:

Desiring God Ministries - Books - Books - Commentaries
Christian Classics Ethereal Library
Center for Reformed Theology and Apologetics

If you know of others please let me know and enjoy the resources above.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Around the Web and Blogosphere (8/16/07)

At A Steward of the Secret Things in the article The Benefits of Expository Preaching there is a list of those benefits. This site also has reviews on books that concern preaching as well as the author (John Brand) is “compiling a manuscript on preaching” which he also has on this blog.

Over at Gospel Driven Life there is a series on the question: Is Biblical Fellowship Optional? This is not speaking about simply meeting for a potluck or other social gathering but is asking for us to really think about what fellowship is and what the biblical call for fellowship is. All too often we simply try and cover the “fellowship” aspect as a perfunctory duty but it seems pretty clear to me that fellowship is not optional and it is to be much deeper than simply surface level relationships.

Voddie Baucham wrote a good article on the Harry Potter books entitled: Harry Potter anyone? He lists at least three reasons his family is not reading the books, the article mainly deals with the thirds reason. The three reasons he lists are:

“First, this literature introduces children to a glorified view of the Occult (arguing that children should never read about occult practices would eliminate portions of Holy Scripture 1 Samuel 28). Second, there is better, more wholesome literature available. Finally, I disagree with those who argue that children need exposure to such material in order to be effective witnesses.”

At Banner of Truth there is an article titled: What to Expect of Preaching. The author of the article gives the following as his definition of preaching:

Preaching is the proclamation of the timeless written Word into the present day life-setting of the people, delivered through a called man’s personality, so that a person hears the Word with something of the clarity, urgency, and vitality experienced by the original hearers.

He is not saying that preaching does not include imparting information and helping to discover application but it is that and so much more. The goal of all preaching should be to convey God’s Word to His people as God intended it and not as we would like it to be. This entails making sure that we convey the original message so that today’s listener can understand it as the message was originally intended. I find that preaching through books of the bible systematically helps in this area as I am less likely to avoid tough subjects and thorny passages and instead I have to go headlong into what God has said and is still saying.

Friday, August 10, 2007

The New Pilgrim’s Progress Movie

Mike over at Possessing the Treasure has given the heads up that there is a movie of Pilgrim’s Progress being made. I don't know much about it but it will be interesting to see how close to the book it will be and how accurately it portrays Christian’s journey to the Celestial City. You can see a short clip and keep up on the progress of the movie at their site: Pilgrim’s Progress: Journey to Heaven .

One of the many difficulties with making movies from such literature as Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress is being true to the story line and getting it all in with a time limit of 2 – 3hrs. This also leads to the inevitable question about what should be cut out to meet the time constraints. If you have read Pilgrim’s Progress you will know that there is not much if any material that can really be cut out without altering Bunyan’s vision.

We will just have to see how it goes. I am so leery about any film of this nature and pray that if it does anything it leads people to actually read Pilgrim’s Progress. Christians need to be more discerning about what they watch and make sure they are not simply used by the media as a source of income. We need to not be afraid to discern what we watch and support so that the message is sent that our faith is not to be taken lightly or tampered with.

So, at the moment this is not really an endorsement, if my endorsement means much anyway, as I know little about the producers and content but is to let you know this endeavor is out there.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Around the Web and Blogosphere (8/8/07)

Over at The World From Our Window there have been some good discussions on church polity: Is the Church a Democracy? Elders in Baptist Life & The Question No One Will Answer. Is Church a Democracy? & So Why Don’t We Change? (Church Government)

At Reformation Theology that have an article entitled: The Five Points of Hyper Calvinsim

Doug Philips has a good article entitled: How to Honorably Leave a Church. I am convinced that this does not happen because today people take church membership so lightly that leaving one church for another is not different than choosing another restaurant or grocery store. It is when we truly understand the idea of the local church that when we are called by God to leave that we will do so honorably.

Charley at The Home Discipling Dad writes on: the Unexamined Life and links to another sermon by Paul Washer. I have listened to this one and it is very good.

Lastly, as a shameless plug I have been able to get the sermons from our new church start up and they can be downloaded from the church website, Sovereign Grace Christian Fellowship, or if you use ITunes the Podcast address.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Steve Camp on the Bridge Collapse in Minneapolis

Steve Camp gives a response to the bridge collapse in Minneapolis: What is the Message of the Bridge Collapse in Minnesota?...a biblical response

Thursday, August 02, 2007

John Piper Writes on Bridge Collapse in Minneapolis

John Piper writes on the Bridge collapse in Minneapolis. This is really close to home for Piper as the bridge is “within sight of Bethlehem Baptist Church” and many of the BBC staff drive over the bridge daily. I would encourage you to read his post. All too often we ask why in questions like this, and that is a valid question, but why do we rarely if ever ask “Why not?” You can read his comments here: Putting My Daughter to Bed Two Hours After the Bridge Collapsed

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Around the Web and the Blogosphere (8/1)

Here area a couple good sites for sermon MP3s. The first one has a number of sermons by Paul Washer, and others, which are very good. You can find these at: Uncommonly Powerful Preaching. The other site I have linked to before but is worth repeating is: Reforming My Mind-MP3s

I have been visiting this site recently largely due to the series it has on Church Planting: Reformed Baptist Fellowship

I was led by Scott over at These are the generations of…. to read Mike Ratliff’s blog – Possessing the Treasure. The call to the church to repent is a message that needs to be heard more and more today as it seeks to find its way by every other means than God’s word.

At Reformation21 Rick Phillips shares about his visit to the annual Christian Booksellers' Association (CBA) convention in Atlanta this year. Here are a couple observations he makes and you can read the rest at: Christian Booksellers Association Convention

“It was also striking to observe the Christlessness of the Christian Booksellers' Association. The vast majority of it is about you.”

“Okay, I really was shocked by one thing. That was the way that worldly sensuality is starting to permeate everything evangelical. (After all, it sells!) It was utterly shocking to see that the award given for best children/youth book went to one titled Sexy Girls.”