Thursday, July 31, 2008

Around the Web and Blogosphere (7/31/08)

You can download the HBC Missions 08 Conference sermons from here. I highly recommend these sermons as they are both encouraging and convicting. I had never heard Luis Sena or Conrad Mbewe (referred to by some as the African Spurgeon) before but they were both very good. Also speaking at the conference was Paul Washer who I heard before. The topic of the conference was Christian Imperialism and I am sure that title is as thought provoking as Piper’s Christian Hedonism. Just as with Christian Hedonism the word “Christian” before Imperialism makes all the difference. So listen to the Luis Sena and Conrad Mbewe describe what Christian Imperialism is and I am confident it will be difficult to disagree with their explanation, from scripture, of this term.

Grace Family Baptist Church is holding its 2nd Annual Family Integrated Church Conference "Semper Reformanda" October 10-12 at the Marriott Greenspoint in Houston, Texas. My family and I went last year and it was very good. You can get more information on the conference here.

Speaking of conferences; the Desiring God 2008 National Conference is coming up September 26-28. The conference theme is The Power of Words and the Wonder of God.

From John Piper: "This is one of the most unusual conferences we have ever conceived. My expectations are very high that its effect will be mind-sharpening, heart-humbling, mouth-seasoning, backbone-strengthening, and Christ-acclaiming. ......This conference is the overflow of my amazement at the significance of words."

Thanks to Erik, The Irish Calvinist, for linking to Travis Carden’s list of verses that deal with “Total Depravity” or (“Total Inability”).

From Travis: The doctrine of total depravity (or total inability) says that all men, as a consequence of the Fall, are born morally corrupt, enslaved to sin, at enmity with God, and unable to please Him or even of themselves to turn to Christ for salvation. (Thus the necessity of a gracious, unconditional election.)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Marriage in the Kingdom

As I prepared last week’s message at SGCF on Hebrews 13:4 titled, Marriage in the Kingdom, I realized at least two things. First, how I often fall short of living a life that honors marriage as God desires it to be honored. Second, how was I going to deal with the last part of this verse with children present and still be true to the passage?

Well first things first. The truth is we all fall short of honoring marriage as God would desire it to be honored. If you see Hebrews 13:1-6 as an extension of 12:28-29, as I do, and a call to acceptable worship in the Kingdom you quickly see that it is not just a matter of outward honoring. It is honoring God in our totality that makes our marriages or the marriage you may one day be in acceptable worship of God. We, and I know I do this, so often seek to please my wife, my children and myself in marriage but the first thing that should cross our minds is to ask if our marriages, including our views on marriage, are honoring to God who instituted marriage at creation.

This is not just about the outward acts, it includes them, but about how we view and what we believe about marriage. A look at the professing church would seem to say that marriage is taken lightly. Now many will protest “same sex marriage”, as they should, but then dishonor marriage with divorce, disorder in the home, incorrect views on the roles God has ordained for His people and a myriad of other views and actions. We even have a segment of the church that seems to be putting off marriage to a later date so they can meet their own needs. Of course there will be those called to singleness for a time and even some for life but scripture speaks of this being for the purpose of ministry and not making money, getting an education or any number of reasons usually given. To place marriage as a secondary institution dishonors God’s call in Gen 2:18 that it is not good for man, and by inference woman, to be alone.

As I said above, to me much of this stems from not asking the vital question that we should ask about everything we do, not just about marriage. That is to ask: How does what I believe and do honor God and is it acceptable as worship to God by God’s standards of acceptability? I do not see where we are specifically called to be creative in worship, by the way all of life for the believer is to be worship, but instead see a vast number of imperatives in scripture that dictate what God finds as acceptable worship to Him. So that this is not burdensome (1 John 5:3) scripture also gives a great number of indicatives that let us know that He empowers us to do all He commands. While I have only touched on a few things, of which I am sure some will disagree, I would hope that we would all step back when we are faced with issues such as marriage and not ask what I think is best but what does God say most honors Him.

As far as topic two and preaching on sexual immorality and adultery with children present. Being a church that sees all ages worshipping together as the biblical model one has to use discernment in how one words things and at the same time also be true to the text. To do this it becomes clear that you can find ways to word things that may otherwise lead to parents covering ears. One can just as easily speak of “the union of men and women outside of marriage” as to speak of “fornication.” My view is that the parents are to deal with these thorny issue and it is the preachers job to equip them to do so. Children may leave with questions and that is a good thing as then parents can take the role they are called to in rearing their children.

This said I think if you simply camp on the sexual issues at the end of 13:4 you will miss the point of honoring marriage. The writer of Hebrews is using an example of an area the professing Hebrews probably struggled with as they took on the societal norms that were around them. If we simply focus on the sexual area it is possible for someone that does not have a specific issue in this area to simply say “I have that wired” and tune out. But the truth is honoring marriage is much more encompassing than simply avoiding premarital sex and adultery. Yes we are to avoid this at all cost but if we do that but do not bring our families up in the fear and admonition of the Lord we have failed to honor God in marriage as well. If we avoid lust at all cost but as husbands do not care for our wives and be the head of the home as we are called to be we dishonor marriage. So as I thought about this passage it became much easier to preach as I realized to focus on the one area missed the point of the passage and for sure would miss the point important to the believers I minster to.

Well there is so much more involved in honoring marriage and I have very far to go to honor it as God desires. The good news, the great hope, is that the faith that brought us to the cross is the same faith that will enable us to do all that God commands. Yes we will look strange to the world around us obeying God’s commands but we are called to be pilgrims so let us be pilgrims.

Let us Honor marriage in the Kingdom

Friday, July 18, 2008

Is Your Church a Cruise Ship or a Battleship?

Thanks to James McDonald at Family Reformation who in his post, Choosing a Church, linked to the video below. We do have to ask ourselves if we seek after a church that is more like the Cruise ship or the battleship. The Cruise ship is so comfortable it is often a fight to not veer in that direction but we are not called to comfort but to battle and if we are to be a church that fights the good fight we need to be more like the battleship.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Around the Web and Blogosphere (7/15/08)

Thanks to Tony at The Shepherds Scrapbook for his post: Ferguson: Supporting the imperatives to holiness. In the post he relates a quote from Sinclair Ferguson on holiness that says:

“The great gospel imperatives to holiness are ever rooted in indicatives of grace that are able to sustain the weight of those imperatives. The Apostles do not make the mistake that’s often made in Christian ministry. [For the Apostles] the indicatives are more powerful than the imperatives in gospel preaching. So often in our preaching our indicatives are not strong enough, great enough, holy enough, or gracious enough to sustain the power of the imperatives. And so our teaching on holiness becomes a whip or a rod to beat our people’s backs because we’ve looked at the New Testament and that’s all we ourselves have seen. We’ve seen our own failure and we’ve seen the imperatives to holiness and we’ve lost sight of the great indicatives of the gospel that sustain those imperatives. … Woven into the warp and woof of the New Testament’s exposition of what it means for us to be holy is the great groundwork that the self-existent, thrice holy, triune God has — in Himself, by Himself and for Himself — committed Himself and all three Persons of His being to bringing about the holiness of His own people. This is the Father’s purpose, the Son’s purchase and the Spirit’s ministry.”
- Sinclair Ferguson, message from the 2007 Banner of Truth Conference, Our Holiness: The Father’s Purpose and the Son’s Purchase.

I know this has been my heart to make sure that when I preach of the imperatives to holiness that I also speak of the fact that for those that are His there is also the great hope that He has not only called for holiness but has equipped and works for that end in us. There is no real hope in imperatives to holiness without the corresponding indicatives that support them.

You can now download the introductory notes on Psalms from the upcoming ESV Study Bible: Introduction to The Psalms

At the Reformed Baptist Fellowship is an article entitled: Parachurch-So what’s the problem? While not all may agree with the assessment of the Parachurch it does bring up important questions as to their biblical warrant. In reading the comments it is clear that the question is not so much with regards to the needs of many of the Parachurch ministries that are out there but how does this idea apply to Missionary Societies of the past and today. My personal opinion, based on what I see in scripture, is that those ministries need to be under the auspices of a local church. They may have support from other sources to help them but they need to be accountable to a local church somewhere. An example of this is a Missionary ministry such as Heart Cry Ministries which is a ministry of First Baptist Church of Muscle Shoals, Alabama.

At the 9Marks website one of the articles from the July/August eJournal is: 30 Practical Ways For Pastors to Love Their Wives & Families. While I am sure there are other things that can be added and some that may need to be adjusted, I am not sure I can get up any earlier to do my quite time as I am already up at 4AM for work, these are a great place to start. As I read through them I had to say ouch a few times and realize that I may not be as proactive as I should be in caring for my wife and family.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Around the Web and Blogosphere (7/5/08)

Check out Doug Phillips’ (June Archives) and Scott Browns’ (Archives for June Pictures) blogs as there are great pictures from The 2008 Scotland Faith and Freedom Tour. One word of warning; if you look at these pictures too long you may experiecne "Travel Envy" which can only be dealt with by much prayer and fasting :)

Check out the side bar as there is a new link to the Joshua Project that updates daily to show a new unreached people group. This should help in praying for the nations and peoples we are so often uninformed about.

There is a new movie from the creators of Facing the Giants coming out September 26th called Fireproof. You can check out the trailer and other information on it at their website:

This months free audio book at is The Practice of the Presence of God (Unabridged) by Brother Lawrence. All that needs to be done to download this book for free is sign up for an account (also free) and then when ordering use the code: JULY2008