Friday, September 26, 2008

Demographic Winter

Charley at HomeDisciplingDad has a link to a new documentary called Demographic Winter:the decline of the human family. As far as I can tell this is not a movie produced by Christians but is one that simply looks at the data and sees that the decline of the family is the decline of western society.

What is sad, if you watch the videos trailer, is that it is not just the mindset of secular society, that denigrates family, it is also that of professing believers. While many may profess a care for family, lifestyle often says more about ones beliefs than words.

I encourage you to watch the trailer as even one of the speakers relates how the trends that are being observed are hard to absorb by those, such as him, that have been brought up with the teachings of Thomas Malthus and Charles Darwin. Again this revels that mans wisdom is not wisdom at all but folly. As Charley related: “And don't you hate it when we as a society will suffer for having ignored Him and His laws....”

Monday, September 22, 2008

Semper Reformanda Conference – Family Integrated Church Conference 2008

Just a reminder about the conference being hosted by Grace Family Baptist Church in Houston Texas next month. My family and I went last year and it was well worth the trip. If you need more information about the 2nd Annual Family Integrated Church Conference October 10-12, 2008 in Houston, Texas you can go to the church website here.

"This is a great conference for church leaders and people of influence in the church if they desire to move their church toward family-integration!

This is a great conference for those desiring to plant a new family-integrated church! Gather all the families you can to give them the vision for what they are about to undertake.

If you are part of a family integrated church, come for some encouragement and equipping!

If you desire to see your family transformed, come join us!

If you have a passion to see families transformed, we will see you here!

Spread the word. Reformation will happen one person at a time, one family at a time, one church at a time."

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Family Integrated Church – 1 Year Later

It has been a little over a year since we, by the grace of God, started Sovereign Grace Christian Fellowship. We have seen God temporarily bring one family from Tennessee as they cared for the husband’s mother and they will soon return home but it has been a blessing to fellowship with them in the time God has had them here. Another family started coming and has recently left to move to Alabama. One of the families that had been at SGCF since the beginning left two months ago due to God’s leading them to move back east. We have recently had a new family begin to come regularly as well as a few visitors which has all been a joy. God has been working in our midst and that is all that we can ask.

In the midst of this it has led me to review a few things. First of those was to rid myself of one of the less than ideal things that seminary had left me with, even though I would not have thought it did. That issue is the idea that numbers reflects success and God’s blessing. I have never believed this and I do not know if those teaching in seminary intentionally spoke this way but the sentiment still was underlying much of what was taught. So in starting a church I have had to fight back the thoughts of whether this is what God desired after a year and not being larger than we were a year ago. I have had to repent of this way of thinking. As we went through Hebrews and I preached on contentment and also read Jeremiah Burroughs’ The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment God revealed that to truly be content is not to seek out more but to seek out God and His will and design. So, while my desire is for more families to come and worship with us I am content where God has me at this time. This does not diminish my zeal and desire to help others realize the great joy in worshiping God multigenerationaly but allows me not to look at things from a faulty man centered perspective but to look at things from God’s perspective.

I have noticed some other things that do not directly relate to our church start but invlove the model of worshiping multigenerationaly. I may write more on these at a later date but for now here are some things I have noticed:

- While I understand that the term Family Integrated Church is not owned by anyone so people may, and do, define it as they see fit it is a wonder to me why people use this term when they are not what I would consider family integrated. I don’t know the reason one would use the term at all as it is not the draw, at least in our area, that would make it seem a desirable term if one was not truly family integrated.

- I have talked to a number of people who seem to see the biblical aspect of worshiping multigenerationaly but struggle with actually doing it. More often than not the struggle these families have revolves around children sitting still during a service. My encouragement to those parents is that we all have to start somewhere and sometime if we are going to raise children to worship with everyone else. The truth is that, at least in our church, the children will initially bother the parents more than the others that attend. The mindset that worship needs to be controlled so as to be of worth to the adults, thus the removal of children, is hard to change. It is once we realize our coming together is first and foremost for Him, and not us, that minds will be changed to see what I think is true worship, multigenerational worship.

- As I look around the internet I am amazed at the number of people that seem to see only one thing when it comes to Family Integrated worship. While there are probably churches that may overly focus on families that is not necessarily the case for all. But that said there is a focus on families and especially fathers leading families for the simple reason the church has neglected this aspect of God’s plan for His people right along with the cultures neglect of this aspect of life. Teaching biblically to those that are obedient to His word, leads to life changes that may be seen in larger families, revised views of education, and corrected understandings of family order. This is not because of an over focus on families but is instead a result of biblical teaching that does not negate families.

These are just a few things I have observed but it has at the same time helped me to see that being a church that truly worships multigenerationaly is a church that pleases God. One can have the correct model of gathering and still be displeasing to God so do not get me wrong worshiping multigenerationaly is much bigger than just who sits in the chairs. It is also about preaching of the word, about equipping people and about believers being able to live in a manner that glorifies God.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Bolton on the Law

I am currently reading Samuel Bolton’s book The True Bounds of Christian Freedom, thanks to the Puritan Reading Challenge. What a great book this is as it deals with the often thorny issue of the law and how we are to interact with it as believers. I am about a third of the way done and it has already been a blessing in that it is helping me refine how to respond to those that do not see the law as applicable to the believer.

He begins with explaining how we are truly free from the law in a number of ways and then moves into how we are to relate to the law in a real and meaningful way that most glorifies God. I have more to read but I will leave you with a great quote that in many ways is how I have always viewed the law but had not thought to word it just as Bolton does. Bolton speaks of keeping the “law subservient to the Gospel” while it is the Gospel that enables us to be obedient to the law. Here is his quote:

“The law sends us to the Gospel for our justification; The Gospel sends us to the law to frame our way of life” (pg 72)

Monday, September 15, 2008

Around the Web and Blogosphere (9/15/08)

Well I am sure glad the Church of England feels a need to apologize to Darwin. In the article: Church of England to apologise to Darwin, it says that “Senior church officials will post the apology in the form of an article written by the Reverend Dr Malcolm Brown on the church's website.” Dr. Brown also said “there was nothing incompatible between Darwin's scientific theories and Christian teaching.” Hmm, I wonder what bible he is reading, probably the one that many in the church read today, the one containing simply ideas, opinions and suggestions from God. When scripture is minimized to the whims of the world statements such Mr. Brown’s are the only direction one can go.

Joel McDurmon at American Vision has a good post on the “Fannie Mae” and “Freddie Mac” issues. Not only is the state going to take over it does so at the expense of the people. Both in the mortgages it acquires and funding through taxes it uses to acquire those mortgages. I understand the crisis that would come if all of the bad loans were foreclosed on but this whole issue reveals that there is little responsibility taken by banks for offering bad loans and people for taking them. In the end it is those that wisely stayed away from the unwise loans who pay the price.

Paul Vaughn comments on Voddie Baucham’s appearance on CNN: Commentary on Voddie’s Segment on CNN

Scott Brown links to an article that reveals a feminists view of the Republican VP candidates type of feminism. It is insightful to read the article. Here is a quote from the Salon article:

“Conservative though she may be, I felt that Palin represented an explosion of a brand new style of muscular American feminism. At her startling debut on that day, she was combining male and female qualities in ways that I have never seen before. And she was somehow able to seem simultaneously reassuringly traditional and gung-ho futurist. In terms of redefining the persona for female authority and leadership, Palin has made the biggest step forward in feminism since Madonna channeled the dominatrix persona of high-glam Marlene Dietrich and rammed pro-sex, pro-beauty feminism down the throats of the prissy, victim-mongering, philistine feminist establishment.”

Thursday, September 11, 2008

More Thoughts From Voddie

Below are links to the last few articles by Voddie Baucham as they are as thought provoking as ever. Whether you agree with Voddie or not it is worthwhile to contemplate his thoughts and answer the questions he raises.

What if Palin was a………..

A Spoonful of Sugar

How Evangelicals Could Win An Election And Lose The Culture

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Some final thoughts, sort of, on the up coming election

This will be my last observation on the whole issue surrounding Mrs. Palin, well until I write on it again.

First, I find it interesting in that in all the conversation about her being qualified as a woman, from a biblical perspective, Mr. McCain has avoided the serious scrutiny he deserves. Yes, at the Saddleback Forum he gave the answers we as Evangelicals wanted to hear but does he have the convictions to back them up? Does his record show that he will stick by the answers he provided at Saddleback when the times get tough? I think the Mrs. Palin question is a very important one but it should not detract from discerning if Mr. McCain is qualified from a biblical perspective. A running mate whether male or female does not necessarily change the presidential candidate and so we do need to scrutinize Mr. McCain as much as we do Mr. Obama.

Next, in the many articles being written about the biblical stance on women serving as “civil magistrates” I find it interesting that men I look up to and in many ways seek council from have differing opinions and answers to the question. I pray that this discourse would remain civil and that the goal should be to find the biblical answer and not to win a debate. There is an answer so let us not take the postmodern approach which tends to see an impasse as saying we cannot know the answer so lets not deal with it or even take the pragmatic approach. I still look up to the men that may disagree with my personal take on this but it should be remembered that at the end of the day we are to be held responsible, before God, for our vote and our decisions not the men that help us make those decisions. Yes they do have to answer to God for their leading but that does not negate my, our, responsibility.

Also, I find it appalling the way some have framed the vote for McCain/Palin or you will be voting for Obama/Biden statement. Some calling those who may not vote or vote third party as cowards or worse. This is not a Christian attitude to take towards ones personal decisions of which the individual has to answer to God not those that try and intimidate someone to their side. At the end of the day when the votes are cast and life goes on, for better or worse, we need to be able to stand before our almighty God and be able to give an answer, a biblical answer, for the way we choose. Some may disagree with that answer and even the vote that is cast but it is not the great number of people that out of, I guess fear, find a need to try and intimidate people to vote as they would like them to vote. Giving a reasoned defense, whether correct or not, is not a problem but when it takes a personal turn is where things seem to fall apart.

So my encouragement is to take all of scripture, I mean all and not those favorite verses we may have, and weigh the candidates by His word. Do not weigh them by the times or by the culture or by who speaks best or any other number of things that seem to be peoples standards but by the inerrant, infallible word of God that in 2 Tim 3:16-17 says all of it is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness. Then when it is time to vote do so by your biblical principles that you have diligently studied and prayed about. I again share this great quote:

"Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost." -- John Quincy Adams

(Updated 9/11/08)
I meant to add one other item last night. There has been much talk about having a women to rule over men is a curse (Is 3:12). Many have simply jumped on the fact that we do have a dearth of men to lead as they should. However, that is not entirely true as there are men who can lead but for pragmatic reasons believers do not vote for them. The usual reasoning is that they cannot win in a general election which in reality is a self fulfilling prophesy since if they are not voted for they definitely will not win. For much too long Christians have been happy with less than the best, I am as guilty of this as anyone, to somehow feel we have someone in office that is “better” than the alternative. So yes we do need to see more men lead, everywhere from the home to the nation, but we as Christians need to be willing to support godly men who lead. So back to the idea of the curse of being led by women, it could be not only a result of having so few men to lead as they should but it could also be a result of believers not being willing to support those men that do step forward to lead as God would have them lead.

Now I understand that this issue of not voting for the most qualified, from a biblical standpoint, itself comes back to men as it is often a lack of leadership by men in the home that leads to families that have no true grounding in the word. So after all I have said maybe it does come back to the curse simply being that there is a lack of godly men to lead their homes and thus radically change our nation for God’s glory. Never the less if there are men that are qualified, by God’s standards, let us vote for them when election time roles around.

Government Knows Best, Hmm…..

Thanks to James McDonald for this video from an old BBC show called Yes Minister. This sounds so much like the conversations about education we have today. It would be funny except that this humor reveals the government’s view of the rights of parents to educate their children as they see fit. As usual it is the government that seems to think it knows best, boy have they done a good job:)

Around the Web and Blogosphere (9/10/08)

Here is an around the Web and Blogosphere with a political bent, what else does there seem to be this last week or so.

Albert Mohler comments on the Sarah pain nomination as VP: An Unexpected New Motherhood Debate

David Kotter at CBMW coments on the nomination: Does Sarah Palin Present a Dilemma for Complementarians? Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3

A response to the two above articles: Sarah Palin and the Complementarian Compromise: A Response to Our Brothers Al Mohler and David Kotter

C.S. Hayden writes on the issue of Deborah and has other links in his post: Women Magistrates: The Case of Deborah. I think many are over using, and misusing the example, of Deborah in an attempt to find biblical support for a woman being in a position of civil authority.

Log Cabin Endorses Sen. John McCain for President; You will have to decide what this says about McCain’s views.

For those that did not think there was third choice here is the site of Chuck Baldwin. I have more prayer and reading to do so could not say one way or the other right now if I support him but there does at least appear to be a third choice. My opinion, and it is just that, is that if there is a place to put a vote it is much better to do that than not vote at all. At least by voting people see your action while when one does not vote you are simply lumped in with all those that may not vote, and never have, for no particular reason and thus ones voice is muted.

Make sure not to miss seeing Voddie on CNN in may last post

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Voddie Baucham on CNN

One thing I have always admired about Voddie, along with his biblical knowledge, is that he stands by his principles and does not let the TV pundits, or supposed "evangelical" speakers, dictate his answers.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

There is Fear in the Air

On further listening to people, primarily “professing” Christians, there is a real sense of fear in the up-coming elections. The primary fear is in the possibility of Mr. Obama winning the election and the ramifications both in the continued loss of life due to abortion and to the loss of income with his inevitable higher taxes to pay for all the programs he would institute. These are viable fears and would probably come to pass if he were to win the election. This fear however has seemed to spew over to cause “professing” believers to be less than charitable to those that either are contemplating not voting or voting for a third party. This is even includes being uncharitable to those that have firm biblical convictions as to why they will not vote or vote for other than the two main candidates.

It would seem that for many the fear of Obama is more real than the fear of facing God with ones reason for voting as one does. While I have my opinions on who should and who should not be voted for I think as believers we need to make sure that our votes are based on scripture not fear of man. By the way I would say scripture is much clearer on who to vote for than most give it credit.

We need to realize as believers that we have, me included, gotten ourselves in this jam by not standing on biblical principles for far to long so that politicians seem to think they can simple spout some form of religious verbiage and claim to hold to some moral grounding and we as believers like lemmings simply cast a vote for the most “Christianly” sounding candidate. This is instead of seeking out all of scripture and seeking the candidate that stands for and by His Word. This is not about seeking the perfect candidate as there is none but it is about finding the candidate that will most stand for God’s design for man, and woman, and not man’s design for himself.

As I mentioned in a previous post I am thankful to Jasmine Baucham (Voddie and Bridget’s daughter) for the following quote from John Quincy Adams in her post: O, the Political Process… May we all vote with this in mind:

"Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost." -- John Quincy Adams

I would also recommend reading this thoughtful letter by Rebecca B. Morecraft : A Letter of Encouragement to Vice Presidential Candidate Sarah Palin from a Sister in the Lord and the Wife of a Christian Pastor

(Updated 9/4/08 12:35 PM)
I just came across a new post by James McDonald that I would suggest reading: Voting in Faith.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Free Audiobook of the Month

This months free audiobook from is In His Steps by Charles Sheldon. As always you simply have to sign up for a free account, if you have not already and then order the free book by using the coupon code: SEP2008

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Voting and McCain’s VP Choice

With all of the banter on John McCain’s choice of Sarah Palin as his VP running mate it is interesting that many have simply chosen to ignore everything and focus solely on the issue of Pro-Life. Yes, abortion is a very, very important issue but as seen in an article that is below by Voddie Baucham we have unfortunately begun to equate family values with a single issue that being abortion. So to question the “family values” of the VP candidate, by the way we are to ask these questions of all of the candidates, is something we should do and those questions and corresponding answers, whether by word or deed, need to be weighed by the Word of God. These questions include but are not limited to such things as: The candidates view of life, the place of men and women in the family, the duties of parents to their children, the candidates view of marriage and others things. The point is we should look at all candidates critically. Many have done this with Mr. Obama but since the conclusion for many is that he is not a viable candidate from a biblical perspective they have chosen to find one single issue by which to choose a candidate, being pro-life.

John Piper wrote a good article on this issue of voting based on one issue entitled: One-Issue Politics, One-Issue Marriage, and the Humane Society. In this article Piper makes a very good point that we should not vote for a particular candidate based on one issue but one issue may exclude a candidate. So it is great that Mrs. Palin supports life and that she did not abort her downs syndrome baby and that her pregnant daughter will have her baby but is this enough to vote for someone if her feminist agenda, I guess in areas other than that of life, are unbiblical? For me it is an issue as it seems to be an issue with God’s word.

This all said, it is going to be a very interesting next few months. I truly pray that we would vote not from the perspective of who we want to stop but from who we would truly desire to be president. That we would vote from a biblical perspective. As believers we should be voting for the candidate God would be most pleased with. Yes, there will be no perfect candidate and I am not proposing that but that should not negate our use of scripture to seek the candidate that meets God’ standards not ours. While I really do not want to see Obama as our next president I am more concerned about standing before God and having to answer to why I voted a certain way contrary to the precepts He has set before me in His word

By the way, do not be swayed by the faulty argument that to not vote or to vote for third party is a vote for such and such a candidate, in this case Obama. I actually saw one person claim to not vote was cowardly. Again that is not the issue as a vote is an affirmation for the one that is voted for. For far too long Christians have been used by politicians and we like lemmings simply go along fearful of the result if we do not get such and such a candidate in office but the truth is we are to trust God whether the candidate is terrible or not. At the end of the day I have to have a clear conscience before God for who I affirmed by my vote and as of now that is not very clear for me.

I also want to thank Jasmine Baucham for a quote she had on her blog, Joyful at Home.

"Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost." -- John Quincy Adams

I would also suggest reading her post titled: Ten reasons why I don’t want to be VP when I grow up.

Below are some articles that should give food fro thought on the issues before us in the upcoming election.

1) Why Men Keep their Mouths Shut? (Scott Brown)

2) Did McCain Make a Pro-Family VP Pick (Voddie Baucham)

3) The Evangelical Two Step (Voddie Baucham)

4) Presidential Candidate Chuck Baldwin on the Pro-Abortion Record of John McCain (Doug Phillips)

5) John McCain Picks Mother of Five and Member of 'Feminists for Life' as VP Candidate (Doug Phillips)

6) Article by Bill Einwechter that Mr. Phillips mentions: Should Christians Support a Woman for the Office of Civil Magistrate?

(9/3/08) As an update I guess I should make it clear that my voting, or not voting, for John McCain is not solely based on his choice of VP running mate. I had concerns about McCain before and while the Saddleback event may have given a glimmer of hope I still have serious concerns. So, again while his choice of VP may have contributed to my final decision it will not be the sole reason for my vote in November.