Friday, April 30, 2010
1. The gospel teaches Christian parents to fear God.
2. The gospel motivates parents to lead by example.
3. The gospel centers families in their male servant leaders.
4. The gospel teaches and motivates parents to discipline their children.
5. The gospel motivates parents to teach their children.
6. The gospel motivates parents to lavish their children with love and affection.
7. The gospel is the solution for inaequate parents.
Thursday, April 29, 2010
1. What are you most loving and devoting your affections and attention to these days? What gets you most excited? If you asked the people who know you at work, school, your neighborhood, Facebook, etc. to tell you what they think your greatest loves are, what would they say? How would their answers compare with Matthew 22:37? (look it up)
2. The Bible draws a direct connection between our practical, visceral grasp of the depth of our sin and unworthiness and how much we prize its antidote - the gospel of God's grace to us in Christ (see I Timothy 1:12-17). To what extent are you investing time and building relationships in order to further expose the depth of your mutual sin and exalt the glory of the Cross and Who Jesus is for you?
3. Are you (and your spouse and/or children if you're married) pursuing the most godly, Bible-saturated, gospel-loving people you know as your best friends and closest confidants? See Proverbs 13:20.
4. Are God's non-negotiable priorities the 'sun' of your life, marriage and family around which everything else revolves? Do you quickly sacrifice your earthly pursuits when they're in competition with or threaten to marginalize eternal ones? See Matthew 6:33 & Hebrews 10:23-25.
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
- Paul Tripp, Broken-Down House, pp. 69-70
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Do you agree that most young, Christian men today are little more than grown up kids committed more to X-Box and their hunting buddies than the gospel and Christ's church? Or, have twenty and thirty-something Christian guys always been this self-absorbed and willing to let the ladies take the lead for the Kingdom's advancement? How would the Scriptures direct us to address this crisis? What role might God be calling you to play?
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
How so? What's the big deal about a person's passing smile? Quite a lot in light of what Romans 3:10-12 says about who I naturally am:
None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God.
All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;
no one does good, not even one.
In light of that text, that lady had more reason to hit me with her cane than smile at me. In spite of my sin (and yours), God has flooded our world with marks of His grace - including the passing smile of a stranger in WalMart.
Our flesh is wired to complain about what's going wrong in our world today. Instead, let's silence its God-dishonoring lips with the awestruck wonder of seeing and delighting in the many, many evidences of God's kindness to us. The sun didn't have to shine in Minot today, but by God's grace it is. What a display of His love! Did your car start this morning? Amazing! Did your children wake up this morning, instead of dying in the night like your sins deserve? Yet another display of God's grace. It surrounds us like an ocean of love. Unfortunately, because we swim in it every day, we so rarely see it. Let's make this day different. Before today is done, let's take time to notice the little gifts from God (like how our hands coordinate perfectly with our brains) as well as the big ones (like how our convinction of sin drives us back to the Cross) and let our Godward, awestruck praise flow!
Friday, April 16, 2010
- The US State Department estimates that close to 800,000 women and children are trafficked against their will across national borders every year for sale/exploitation.
- UNICEF states that from two to four million women and children are currently in the sex trade system
- Every year $32 billion is spent by commercial sex trade 'consumers
- 16,000 'sex slaves' are imported by the US every year
- Sudan - where our African sister church is located - is one of the most prolific nations for sex trafficking
What can we do?
1. Pray. God alone has the power to overthrow the international sex trade to His glory. Pray that God would raise up courageous national churches in the developing world to stand against the sex trade and do their part to rescue and give a new life to women, girls and boys who are enslaved to this system of destruction. In particular, pray for the development of a new sex trade rescue center called Mukti in Calcutta, India which is being led by EFCA Indian partner churches.
2. Learn more. In order to pray more specifically and, perhaps, for you to get involved in a tangible way at some point in order to help eleviate this God-dishonoring system in the developing world, educate yourself more fully through the following websites:http://www.ijm.org/
To receive the newsletter from our TouchGlobal missionaries working with sex trade victims in Asia, send your request to Asia.Women@efca.org
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
HT: Dawn Talley
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
"The 'Great Commission' is not just a call to 'make disciples' but to 'baptize'. In Acts and elsewhere, it is clear that baptism means incorporation into a worshipping community with accountability and boundaries (cf. Acts 2:41ff.). Much traditional evangelism aims to get a 'decision' for Christ. Experience, however, shows us that many of these 'decisions' disappear and never result in changed lives. Why? Many, many decisions are not really conversions, but often only the beginning of a journey of seeking God. (Other decisions are very definitely the moment of a 'new birth,' but this differs from person to person.) Only a person who is being evangelized in the context of an on-going worshipping and shepherding community can be sure of finally coming home into vital, saving faith." (source unknown)
Only one on-going, worshipping and shepherding community is presented in the Bible: the local church. Therefore, even if a person comes to faith in Christ outside of the local church, they should be quickly and deeply integrated for their dicipleship and maturation. The Bible simply offers no category for a believer (new or old) who is disconnected from the local church.
Sunday, April 11, 2010
Friday, April 9, 2010
- Rod Takata, Ruling elder at Bethlehem Baptist Church
Thursday, April 8, 2010
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
"Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others."
We only need to keep reading to discover the primary, theological key to winning this war against selfishness as Paul, in vv. 5-11, holds up the ultimate 'exhibit A' of other-centered sacrificial service: Christ's incarnation and death on the Cross in our place.
This morning as I was studying my Bible I came across a second key to unlock selflessness toward others in Job 31. Verse 15 reads, "Did not he who made me in the womb make him? And did not one fashion us in the womb?" In the process of defending his fair treatment toward others, Job bases his pattern of selfless, other-centered service on the fact that the people in his life were made by God every bit as much as he was. They have hopes, dreams and a mission in life from God as much as he does. They were made in the image of God as much as he was. Therefore, it would be wrong to put his agenda ahead of theirs or act like they exist to serve his desires. No, their lives were every bit as valuable as his. Consequently, he devoted his life not only to serving God (see Job 1:1) but to serving others.
Who in your world are you tempted to marginalize or manipulate to serve your agenda today? All of us have someone we generally take for granted or treat more like a possession than a person. Let's not only use Paul's picture of Christ the Servant in Philippians 2 to fight our naturally selfish instincts today, let's use Job's example of remembering that the people in our lives are every bit as important as we are. They, too, were made by God.
Saturday, April 3, 2010
While there may be room for differences of opinion regarding some of these interpretive elements, we must be careful to hold with an indefatigable grip to the historicity of the account and the reality of Adam, Eve and the serpent. Considering the fact that Paul grounds our justification in Romans 5 and our glorification in I Corinthians 15 by assuming a literal Adam (our federal head in death) failing God's test in a literal garden, setting the stage for our salvation in a literal Jesus (our federal head in life), the historicity of the persons and events of Genesis 1 & 2 must be maintained.
In light of that, I am saddened and concerned by recent comments made on this subject by one of my scholar-heros. Watch and consider carefully if he is not giving away too much in his pursuit of scholarship: