Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Free Ticket to “Family Strategies: Practical Issues for Building Healthy Families”

If you are interested in winning a free ticket to Family Strategies: Practical Issues for Building Healthy Families leave a comment that you want to be entered by 5PM (PST) Sunday February 27th.  I will be giving away one free ticket to the weekly messages from Doug and Beall Phillips courtesy of Vision Forum and will announce the winner Monday the February 28th and then you can email me your mailing and email addresses and Vision Forum will get you the information you need sign on for your weekly downloads.

If you do not win a free ticket you can still sign up and here are the details on how it works:
Receive a New Family Strategies Message in Your Inbox Every Tuesday!
Get your new Family Strategies message every Tuesday morning.
Beginning March 1, every Tuesday morning for twenty weeks you will receive a link to your new downloadable message from Doug or Beall, hosted at Vision Forum’s partner website To access your first download, simply create a free account and then follow the easy instructions in your weekly emails to download your messages at no additional charge.
Listen to the messages at your convenience on your computer, iPod, or other portable MP3 player. And, don’t worry if you miss a week due to travel. The messages will be there waiting for you.
Order by March 1 and save $10, plus receive two bonus messages as our gift.
At $85, Family Strategies is a 20-message series sent directly to your inbox each week for less than $5 per message. But make sure you order by February 28, as that price will go up! With your order confirmation email, we will also send you coupons to download two important, family-affirming bonus messages for free: Victories: Moments Small and Large Which Define Christian Parenting, and How to Evaluate a Suitor.

A weekly energy boost for the price of a fancy cup of coffee.
For about the price of a fancy cup of coffee, you can get a real energy jolt — a weekly encouragement boost from Doug and Beall in which they share their favorite and best strategies for building family unity.

Topics to be covered:
1.              How to Organize Your Home to Promote Family Unity
2.              How to Cultivate a Love of Reading with Your Children
3.              How to Make Mealtime Meaningful
4.              How to Prepare for a Year of Home Education
5.              How to Take Children Safely Through an Airport
6.              How to Involve the Whole Family in Family Worship
7.              How to Address the Plague of “Jive Talk” in Your Home
8.              How to Encourage Masculinity in Sons
9.              How to Encourage Femininity in Daughters
10.           How to Handle a Social Worker Visit
11.           How to Wage War on Sibling Rivalry
12.           How to Use Household Decorations to Teach Character
13.           How to Talk to Your Children about Miscarriage
14.           How to Involve the Whole Family in Hospitality
15.           How to Build an Entrepreneurial Spirit in Your Children
16.           How to Watch a Movie As a Family
17.           How to Cultivate a Love of Meaningful Poetry with Your Children, and Why Doing So Is Important
18.           How to Prepare Your Children to Listen to a Symphony
19.           How to Take a Road Trip with Your Family
20.    How to Select the Best Locations for Family Vacations

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

God, Government and the Gospel

If you ever want to start an argument just talk about religion or politics and if you want an even bigger argument speak about both together. Sadly, many professing believers today seek to not commingle the two subjects. Yes they may speak of faith and speak of politics but quite often they do not speak of them as they relate to each other. Of course they may do so when it seems profitable to do so but even then often the attempt is muted. This is even true of many prominent church leaders many of which simply feel the churches lone calling is to proclaim the gospel, as they see the gospel, and that the church should avoid politics. Again, there are times the church will appeal to the Bible on such subjects as abortion and homosexuality but honestly this does not often come across as consistent.

Some in the “professing” church take the stance that many in the secular world take by speaking of maintaining a “wall of separation” as Jefferson spoke of between the church and state. Even though most take Jefferson’s intentions incorrectly and misuse his statements there is a biblical perspective where the state is not to have jurisdiction over the church. However, we as the church must never agree to separation of God from government since God does not see such a separation. Romans 13 is clear that God has a plan for government and that plan does not speak of His people being blindly subservient to the government or to be absent from its function. God’s plan is not what we see so regularly instituted today with government seeking to be God but is a plan where those in government are seen as God’s ministers of justice; justice as defined by God. Thus God desires His people to be involved in the working of the government that He allows to exist.

But how does the gospel enter into the conversation since many think that the church should be about spreading the gospel instead of involving itself in the affairs of state? I think the issue is not whether the purpose of the church is the spreading of the gospel but what is the gospel. The church in many ways has greatly minimized the gospel to being only about salvation from Hell, about escape from eternal punishment. The gospel is indeed good news and that includes much more than is so often put forth by today’s church, that of being saved from Hell. The gospel is about all that God puts forth in His word for His glory and for the good of His people. Seeking a government that functions by God’s all sufficient word would truly be good news. Lest it is misunderstood a Godly government will not save a people but can be used by God to lead men to the cross. This is not about works salvation but above all about glorifying God.

There is an intimate link between God, government and the gospel. A link that sadly is all too often truncated by the church. A truncation that seeks to remove God from government and thus allows government to be left to man and his own reasoning. If the church does not seek to impact government with the truth who can? We are the only ones with the truth since the world can only rely on its own, ever changing, ideals. We need to deliver the whole counsel of scripture so as to have government be the good news God intends it to be. God’s word contains all that is required of and for government to be a government that glorifies God. We need to be the ones that proclaim the good news for all of life that God’s word contains and that again pertains to not some of life but all of life, which includes government. Government will save no one only God can do that but again that does not preclude our part in delivering God’s word in government. Again, if we as the church do not proclaim the truth, all of it, who will. So let us not create a disconnect in life between God, government and the gospel but seek to align all that we do to His infallible and all sufficient word and thus work to give Him all the glory in every area of life. Not for salvation but because of it.

Monday, February 14, 2011

2 Great Resources on Sale Until Feb 18th

With the Coupon code - FAMILYWORKS - you save 40% on the How to Build a Business for God's Glory training series. This is a great deal as it is regularily $134 and is now $79. Offer ends February 18th.

Also the Gospel Missions Collection is on sale until February 18th.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

The Sufficiency of Scripture, ALL of Scripture

I wonder how many preach that they hold to sola scripture then in essence throw out over half the scriptures. They may give lip service to the OT but do not seek to apply those laws proclaimed in its pages. Often one hears that since we are in the New Covenant we are to only do as Christ proclaims in the New Testament. Well, if one is Trinitarian one needs to be careful about that mindset since Christ is God and thus the author of the OT as well as NT. Many by their actions or in some cases inaction are effectively Marcionites as he too discarded the OT. But if one does not seek to live by “all” of scripture and seeks only the NT for guidance for how to live one discounts Jesus teachings as well. In Mat 5:17, a much misused verse to say that the law is no longer applicable, Jesus proclaims He did not come to abolish the law and then in V18-19, seemingly to answer those who would misuse His words, He adds that “until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”

I also wonder how many pastors who are paid for their work, certainly a biblical principle, rely on verses such as 1 Tim 5:17-18 for their wages. But this verse is using the OT ( Deut 25:4 ) as a proof that elders can be compensated. Obviously Paul saw that a correct use of the OT law was applicable to the NT believer.

How often do people use 2 Tim 3:16-17 to speak of the inspiration of scripture and then in effect discard the OT law. This passage in context speaks to the OT and while it obviously applies to the NT as well the original audience would have heard that the OT “was breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” If we are to follow the words of God, through Paul, we are then to use the OT law as it was intended.

In saying this there is work to be done to understand the principles of the OT law as we do not blindly and woodenly follow them and go and build a parapet on our roof (Deut 22:8). I am also not saying that the ceremonial law is still in effect as it has been fulfilled by Christ who it pointed to. I would also say that while most tend to see the other laws as either moral or civil, in truth they are both moral as the civil laws are an outworking of the ten commandments, the moral law. So I would say we are still left with the moral law as seen in the 10 commandments and the civil codes. Of course we are to discern the biblical principles so as to apply them to all of life. An example is the parapet law found in Deut 22:8 where the principle is a call to responsibility for ones property and not necessarily for building a railing on ones roof, that is unless one has a roof people meet on. Some laws may be easier to discern then others but in the end that does not negate our call to follow them as worship of God.

I realize that for some to hear that we are to follow all of God’s laws, both OT and NT, is legalism. I would say that if one does not seek to follow God’s plan for all of life as seen in “ALL” of His word then you are left with devising your own laws and that is truly legalism. Keep in mind that Jesus did not need to repeat all the OT commands in the NT as they are assumed as valid unless He explicitly negates them, as with the ceremonial laws. Even in Mat 22:36-40 Jesus affirms the OT law as when He is asked about the greatest commandment He does not pick one but summarizes them into those that deal with our relationship with God (Commandments 1-4) and our relationship with man (Commandments 5-10) and in V40 makes sure we do not miss the connection with the OT by reminding us that these two undergird the OT law.

We as a people of God that proclaim to believe in the inerrancy of scripture and the sufficiency of scripture need to live as such. We need to seek to truly live as if God’s word is sufficient and if one does not use the OT and only seeks out the NT for guidance then scripture will not be sufficient. We need all of His word for it to be sufficient and we need to regain this understanding of scripture as sufficient for all of life.