Month: July 2007

The Centrality of the Home

My wife and I are reading “Family Driven Faith: Doing What It Takes to Raise Sons and Daughters Who Walk with God ” by Voddie Baucham. This is a result of hearing probably one of the most stirring sermons we have ever heard. If you are a parent or plan to be {well, actually, everybody should listen to this}, then you must listen to this sermon, “The Centrality of the Home” by Voddie Baucham.

Buckle up your seat-belt…

Bock on Piper’s Book on Paper

Darrell Bock weighs in on John Piper’s forthcoming book “The Future of Justification: A Response to N.T. Wright” and Piper’s dialogue with N.T. Wright on justification by faith…

A good biblical dialogue needs two good conversation partners, who work hard to understand each other and make their case biblically. Piper’s look at justification does this with a superb tone and a careful presentation of his case. He and Wright exchanged communication before this book went public. Piper appeals to the wisdom of the ages on justification, a wisdom deeply rooted in Scripture. Wright argues his approach is also deeply rooted in Scripture as seen through a fresh appreciation of the first century context of Paul’s writing, a context we too often underestimate. This dialogue is important for the church; Piper has put us in a position to hear both sides of the debate and understand what is at stake. He has served us all well by enabling the reader to be put in the place of considering what Scripture says as he or she listens to this conversation and to our God. Iron sharpens iron, and Scripture is a sword that cuts between the soul and Spirit. Be prepared to be sharpened by a careful dialogue about what justification is.

–Darrell Bock, Research Professor of NT Studies, Dallas Theological Seminary

{HT: JT}

Imparting To the Next Generation…

I am doing a Bible study on Wednesday mornings with a few of the men in leadership at the church where we are looking at the book of Judges {yes, at 6 A.M. we are tackling this book!!}. I have been reminded of the need for the next generation to “know the LORD…” {Judges 2:10} and the drastic results that occur when they do not know Him.

So, as I put the boys to bed last night {Zechariah- 8 yrs, Jamin- 5 yrs, and Asher- 20 months}, Zechariah came into our room about 10 minutes after they were to be in bed asleep. He asked if he could turn the lamp on for a few minutes. I gave him the “okay, but be quick” parental reply.

This morning I asked what he wanted to do when he turned the lamp on. He told me he wrote out a prayer. So, I will reproduce what he wrote, 8 year-old mispelled words in all. I praise God for the work that is being done in Zech’s heart:

“Dear Lord,
I pray Asher that he wood lern to live your way. and that Jamin to. and that mom and dad wood not fall away. Dear Lord I pray for all my frinds that thay wood not fall away either. and I pray for evry body that thay wood not fall away. and in Jesus name we pray amen.”

Obviously Zech needs help with spelling, but I rejoice that God is working in his life!

Let this be an encouragement for you, if you have children, to continue to plant the Word of God in their hearts and lives {Mark 4}. Here are a few prayers that I pray for my boys often:

Incline their hearts to Your Word and not to getting gain…Psalm 119:36
Hide Your Word in their hearts that they might not sin against You…Psalm 119:11
Unite their hearts to fear Your Name…Psalm 86:11
Open their eyes to see the light of the knowledge of the glory of God as it shines in the face of Jesus Christ…2nd Corinthians 4:3-6
May they love you with their heart, soul, mind, and strength…Deuteronomy 6:5
Satisfy them in the morning with Your steadfast love…Psalm 90:14

Pastoral Preaching

The Expository Thoughts blog had these thoughts on preaching:

1. Preaching great sermons should not be a cover for poor shepherding (1 Peter 5).
2. Beware of preaching that is not applied personally.
3. Beware of preaching that is not applied publicly.
4. Don’t make an idol out of a theological system especially if it prevents you from making specific conclusions about special issues in the text.
5. Preaching that encourages pure doctrine to the exclusion of pure religion is sub-christian (James 1:27).
6. Learn to preach in weakness, fear and in much trembling….the opposite is a kamikaze pride (1 Cor. 2:3).
7. Show the congregation that your preaching is dependent on the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 2:4-5).
8. Learn to embrace anything (e.g., “thorn”) that will keep you from exalting yourself (2 Cor. 12:5-7).
9. Don’t hide behind terms like “missional” and “contextualization” in order to justify worldly desires and carnality (2 Cor. 1:12).

How “The Wolf” Changed the World

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The above photo is of Muhammad edh-Dhib, also known as “The Wolf” {I don’t know why}…he is credited with discovering what we know today as the Dead Sea Scrolls. In late 1946/early 1947 this Arab shepherd went looking for a lost sheep and threw a rock in a cave in the limestone cliffs on the northwestern shore of the Dead Sea. Instead of hearing a sheep’s cry, Muhammad heard the sound of breaking pottery. What he discovered was the Dead Sea Scrolls. To learn more about this find and the fascinating turn of events that have ensued since their discovery, check out Biblical Archaeology Review.

Their May/June issue began a 3-part series on “60 Years with the Dead Sea Scrolls.” The July/August issue continues the series. You can find a copy by subscribing online or at a local bookstore.

Who Said That?

Who said that they believed in the resurrection of Jesus, but would describe themself as less sure of the doctrine that being a Christian is the only way to salvation?

Or, “The whole Bible gives you a glimpse of God and God’s desire for a personal relationship, but we can’t possibly understand every way God is communicating with us… I’ve always felt that people who try to shoehorn in their cultural and social understandings of the time into the Bible might be actually missing the larger point.”

Or, “The whole idea of the new covenant was really a new relationship with God, a sense that we could be forgiven, that we could seek both personally and through our relationships with others that gift of forgiveness… It’s instrumental in life.”

You might be surprised, or maybe not. Find the answer here.

Sowing the Gospel

I preached a sermon yesterday on the importance of actively sowing/spreading the gospel. Of course, I know that many of you may struggle with what to say to someone or the fear that you may not have all of the answers. I mentioned just starting the conversation and leaving it in God’s hands and His power to work in someone’s life.

So, I was pleased to see the Desiring God blog add a clip of John Piper explain why we don’t need to feel like we have to close the deal every time we tell an unbeliever about Jesus.

I Love This Quote!!

“”My conviction is that if one is willing to keep his Hebrew Bible before his eyes, a congregation of God’s people next to his heart, and the struggle of hermeneutics (i.e., what does this writer intend to proclaim to God’s people in his time, and how do I faithfully hold on to that intention and helpfully apply the text to God’s contemporary flock?) in his mind, he will have manna to set before God’s hungering people.” Dale Ralph Davis, Joshua: No Falling Words (Christian Focus), p. 7.

{HT: JT}

Save Me From Myself

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Brian “Head” Welch, former guitarist for the band “Korn” has a book out about his life and how he trusted in Christ, quit the band, drugs, etc. I haven’t read it yet, but “Save Me from Myself: How I Found God, Quit Korn, Kicked Drugs, and Lived to Tell My Story” looks interesting. Here’s a description:

The amazing true story of an out-of-control rock star, his devastating addiction to drugs, and his miraculous redemption through Jesus Christ.

In February 2005, more than ten thousand people in Bakersfield, California, watched as Brian “Head” Welch—the former lead guitarist of the controversial rock band Korn—was saved by Jesus Christ. The event set off a media frenzy as observers from around the world sought to understand what led this rock star out of the darkness and into the light.

Now, in this courageous memoir, Head talks for the first time about his shocking embrace of God and the tumultuous decade that led him into the arms of Jesus Christ. Offering a backstage pass to his time with Korn, Head tells the inside story of his years in the band and explains how his rock star lifestyle resulted in an all-consuming addiction to methamphetamines. Writing openly about the tour bus mayhem of Ozzfest and The Family Values tour, he provides a candid look at how the routine of recording, traveling, and partying placed him in a cycle of addiction that he could not break on his own.

Speaking honestly about his addiction, Head details his struggles with the drug that ultimately led him to seek a higher power. Despite his numerous attempts to free himself from meth, nothing—not even the birth of his daughter—could spur him to kick it for good. Here Head addresses how, with the help of God, he emerged from his dangerous lifestyle and found a path that was not only right for his daughter, it was right for him.

Discussing the chaotic end to his time in Korn and how his newfound faith has influenced his relationship with his daughter, his life, and his music, Head describes the challenging but rewarding events of the last two years, exposing the truth about how his moments of doubt and his hardships have only deepened his faith.

Candid, compelling, and inspirational, Save Me from Myself is a rock ‘n’ roll journey unlike any other.

A Sobering Reality For Pastors

We had Chip Ingram speak at our church today, and as usual, he delivered a great message. Chip was the pastor at CBC years ago, so it was good to see many friends come back and re-connect with Chip and his family. I’ll post the sermon on our podcast tomorrow.

At one point Chip asked how he could pray for me as pastor. And then it hit me: Chip and I will stand together before the Lord one day and give an account of how we each shepherded this congregation {2nd Corinthians 1:14; Philippians 2:16; 1st Thessalonians 2:19-20}. A very sobering truth. So, I asked Chip to pray that I would shepherd His people well.

If you’re a pastor, one day you will give an account before the Lord for your pastoral duties:

Do you pray earnestly for your flock? {Philippians 1:9-11}
Do you labor intensely for their spiritual growth? {Colossians 1:28-29}
Do care for the congregation that God has given you spiritual oversight of? {Ezekiel 34}
Do you equip others to serve in ministry? {Ephesians 4:11-13}
Do you stand before your family and protect them? {1st Timothy 3:4-5}
Do you care for the lost, seek the young, heal the injured, and feed the healthy? {Zechariah 11:15-17}
Do you watch your life and doctrine closely so that you will save others? {1st Timothy 4:16}
Do you protect your flock from savage wolves who distort the truth? {Acts 20:28-31}
Do you refresh the hearts of the saints? {Philemon 7, 20}
Do you love your congregation enough to teach them about the Trinity, Hell, the Old Testament, the New Heavens and New Earth, systematic theology, church history, the Minor Prophets, Leviticus, 3 John, etc? {Acts 20:27}

Pray for your pastors, for there awaits them a stricter judgment! {James 3:1}