No time to disciple our kids?

26 08 2010

I’ve been reading a lot about family-equipping ministry lately and I would like to quote a paragraph written by David Prince in a book coming out soon entitled: Trained in the Fear of God edited by Randy Stinson and Timothy Paul Jones.

In this chapter Prince says this about families that don’t have time for “family worship and daily conversations about God”…

“What if you think you are too busy for such things? Then perhaps you should ask yourself: do you eat? do you provide meals for your family? If so, you have just admitted that physical food is more important to you than spiritual food.  Do you watch television? If so, then you have declared entertainment a higher priority than worship.  Do you partake in extracurricular activities? If so, you are saying that recreation is more important than your  children’s spiritual well-being.  Do you sleep? If so, you are telling your children that comfort has a higher priority than godliness.  These are dangerous messages to communicate to children.”

I really don’t have anything worthy to add to that.  Wow.  May we as parents reexamine our priorities and really think about the message we are sending our kids by what we say and do…


5 iPhone Apps (FREE!)

25 08 2010

I’ve seen several blogs lately about different apps people are using for their iPhone.  I thought I’d weigh in on the topic and list 5 apps that I use on a regular basis.

The best thing about the apps below is that they are all free! These are in no particular order…

1. Ligonier Ministries App: I love this app! I was thinking today about how much I’ve learned just by listening to some of the solid teaching offered through this app.  Click the link above to read more and to get the app.

2. Acts 29 App:  This app is similar to the Ligonier app and is another great resource for listening to sermons and reading blogs about the Acts 29 church planting network. Click the link above to read more and to get the app.

3. ESV Bible: I actually don’t use this one all the time since I usually am around a hard copy of the Scripture, BUT this app comes in real handy when you are out without your Bible. Click the link above to read more and to get the app.

4. SBTS App: This is the app of my current school, the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.  With this app you can watch chapel services, get announcements, and read the blogs of some of the professors at the Seminary. Click the link above to read more and to get the app.

5. Mars Hill (Mark Driscoll) App:  Another great app for listening to sermons.  This app, like the Ligonier and SBTS app, stays very current with its messages. Click the link above to read more and to get the app.

BONUS APP! iReformed: I had to add this app as a bonus because it costs $0.99.  This app gives you access to the shorter and longer Westminster catechisms and the Heidelberg catechism.  It also gives you access to the Apostles’ Creed, the Westminster confession, as well as other creeds and confessions. Click the link above to read more and to get the app.

Hope one of those will come in handy and help grow you in Christ as they have helped me! God bless…

Connecting Church and Home

23 08 2010

I plan on writing a more descriptive summary within the next week or so, but for now I just wanted to jot a few thoughts I had about the Connecting Church and Home conference held at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary on August, 20-21 2010.

“There’s something of a tragedy in having to have a conference about connecting church and home…”  – Al Mohler

To me, this quote really helped to sum up the conference.  American evangelicalism has lost something in its current paradigms of youth and children’s ministry.  In the process of trying to gain more kids for the cause of Christ we have actually out thought ourselves!  We are in a desperate situation as it seems we are losing younger generations.

As a side note, I want to say, that even if we weren’t losing younger generations, we still must evaluate our current ministry models to make sure that they align with Scripture.

To have a conference about the need for connecting church and home is telling about where we are as churches.  We’ve spent so much time in children’s and youth ministries focusing on “what can attract students” that we have forgotten about “what can build lasting faith.”  And I know there are some solid children and youth ministers out there that are thinking “wait, I am trying to build lasting faith” or “I am discipling my students” etc.  Sorry, that just doesn’t cut it. 1 hr, 2 hrs, 8 hrs, a week is not enough for any youth pastor to make a difference in enough students’ lives to really make a difference!

Where are we missing it? HOME!  God’s design for discipleship of children (and teens) begins in the home.  (cf. Deut. 6, Eph. 6).  We’ve worked ourselves to death trying to come up with new methods and models for doing things when it’s already outlined in God’s Word!

I will write more about this later, but until that time, here are a couple of links that you can go to read notes from the Connecting Church and Home conference or watch video of the plenary sessions…

Video of the 4 Sessions
(the quote from above is in Dr. Mohler’s session at about 40 seconds)

Notes from the Conference

No Objectivity in Public Education

18 08 2010

Many 2010-2011 school years have already began across the country, while many more will begin within the coming week…

Parents need to know that students attending public school are put in a system that is opposed to the Christian worldview.  Now, that seems like a harsh statement, and the truth is that there are pockets of conservative public education across the country, but the facts remain the same: Our ultimate standard of Truth is found in God and His Word, Public Education “prohibits” Christ from being taught, … you draw the conclusion.

In other words, can we really separate Math, History, English, etc. from the Creator of these things?

In a recent blog post Albert Mohler writes “All teaching involves ideology and intellectual commitments. There is no position of authentic objectivity.” 

There are good Christian teachers out there – and yes some of their worldview will come over in their teaching.  However, their hands are tied when it comes to presenting Truth in the classroom! And, furthermore, textbooks seem to be pushing more and more towards “State-ism” (the teaching that the government is our ultimate reality, see more on the definition HERE).

A solid Christian teacher in this situation is the best case scenario.  Worse case? The non-Christian teacher that has ulterior motives in teaching and actually desires to lead students away from the Truth.  Most teachers fall somewhere in between, but they will all bring something into their teaching.  I mean, think about the statement that “teaching should be objective” or that “students should be presented all views and then allowed to make their own decision”… Those statements are subjective! Why would we as Christians want to present all views when we know that only One view is Truth?  Why would we want kids making their own decisions when we know that folly is what is stored up in their hearts (Prov. 22:15)?  The point is, that every person who teaches your child that does not hold to the same standard of Truth that you do, will have influence over your child (sometimes subtle, sometimes profound).

Mohler goes on to say in his blog “For Christian parents and students, this should be a matter of deep concern and active awareness. The secularization of most educational institutions is an accomplished fact.”  Mohler is speaking of Colleges and Universities, but the same can be said of Secondary Education.  Why should you as a parent be concerned? Because every day of the 2010-2011 school year, your student will be spending about 7 hours under teaching that undermines the Truth of Scripture (besides blatant falsehoods like macro-evolution and misrepresentations of our Nation’s founding, think about how school subtly teaches us to “think” apart from God.)  That’s 1260 hours a year (based on 180 school days a year).  Over 13 years (K-12) that’s 16,380 hours!

Again, I know this statement sounds harsh, but we have to understand that there is a battle being waged for our students’ hearts, minds, and souls.  This is a battle some teachers don’t even realize that they are playing a part in! (See Eph. 6:12 )

So what do we do?

If you teach in the Public School system, then you realize that in many areas your hands are tied.  You must seize every opportunity that you have (legally) to present Truth.  Also, be sure and be intentional in seeking out quality text books.  The most popular, and the most “teacher” friendly books, are not always the best teaching material.  Finally, there is the option of teaching in a Christian Private School, not always a possibility but could be where God is calling you.

If you are a parent, then you have to know your options.  Homeschooling is not something that everyone is able to do, but should be something that at least parents pray about while their students are young.  Another viable option is Christian Private School…

I believe that both of these options should be prayed about and sought after if possible because we must understand that as parents we are responsible for what our students are learning.  That being said, I know that the majority of parents out there are in a situation where homeschooling and private schools are not an option. Is all hope lost? No, but we must be intentional about discipling our kids!  This means we discuss the things of God with them in all facets of their life, including school.  As hard as public education may try, schools will never be able to remove God, because there is no area of our life that God is not God!  How are the hours you spend discipling your kids compared with the amount of time they are being “discipled” at school?

I write this today to remind parents and teachers of what’s at stake!  I’m not trying to scare you out of Public Education (although, if God is leading you in that direction…) but I just want to remind you that Christ and the world are opposed…  We should not marvel that the world would try to undermine the Truth.  Keep your head up, be on guard, and run this race well!  Children are a blessing and it is our privilege and responsibility to raise them well…

To read the full article by Albert Mohler mentioned above CLICK HERE

The Christian Hope in Suffering

10 08 2010

We’ve recently had some tragic deaths in our community this past week.  In response to those things I wanted to post some notes from my sermon on Sunday.  The text is Romans 8:18-30. Now first of all, I want to say that I understand how richly packed these 13 verses are.  We literally could probably preach 100 sermons from this text alone! The sermon from Sunday was more of a “fly over” of these verses due to time constraints.  Because of the situations in our church this is a passage that the Lord laid on my heart to preach.  However, this is a passage that all Christians need to be reminded of because we all will experience different levels of suffering in this life on almost a regular basis until Jesus returns or we leave this life to meet Him in glory.

I. Understand Sufferings’ Cause (v. 19-23)

Key Word: SIN

When God created this world He created it in a state of no suffering.  Adam and Eve had the perfect set up, a place where they could enjoy life and God without the presence of human Sin.  But the Fall, in which we all had a part with Adam, ended this state of no suffering.  Back to our passage, Paul says that Creation is groaning because of Sin.

We need to understand the full effect of the Fall. In one since I don’t think we will ever really be able to fully understand the depths of our own depravity but passages like this in Romans 8 help remind us that Sin is a big deal. That everything is out of whack because of Adam’s decision (and ours) to disobey God.  This doesn’t always mean that a direct sin causes a direct suffering (although that definitely can be the case).  In other words, it doesn’t mean that because you lied God gives you cancer.  It means that because of this broken world, bad things happen.  Yes, we are all held culpable for Adam’s Sin and we all deserve death, but many passages of Scripture tell us that God, because of His love, grace, and mercy, does not delight in our suffering or even our death (cf. Lam. 3:32-33, Ezekiel 18:32).

II. Feel Sufferings’ Comfort (v.24-27)


Continuing in our passage, Paul says that not only is creation groaning, but we too are groaning.  He explains that although we are “saved” in the hope of Christ, we have not ultimately met that salvation until we see Him face to face.  Christians still face sufferings.  In fact, sometimes we face more sufferings because we are Christians (persecutions, trials, etc.).  We are still very much dependant creatures even though we are saved.  The truth is that now we are able to acknowledge our dependency and Who we must be dependant upon: Jesus Christ.

Paul goes on to say that the Spirit of God, the Holy Spirit, helps us in our weakness. I believe in context that this is all tied to suffering (see v.18 and 28)! And then Paul says that not only is Creation groaning, and that we are groaning, but that the Holy Spirit of God is groaning in our behalf! This means that when we suffer we have not been left alone.  We must fight the urge to “be strong” and try to get through this on our own.  We must become weak and allow God to work in our hearts.  Sometimes suffering causes so many emotions that we just don’t know what to say and the Bible says that in those times the Holy Spirit will talk for us (cf. 8:26).

In our weakness, the strength of God is shown and He is glorified (cf. 2 Cor. 12:7-10).  Also, Hebrews 4:14-16 tells us that Jesus is able to relate to our trials because He is the God-man.  Remember Jesus’ response when Lazarus died? He wept! Yes, Paul says that he can do all things…But all things through who? Christ!  During times of suffering God must be our strength.  We must not be proud and deny our own human inability.  We must become weak and turn to God as the only source for true healing and comfort.

III. Trust Sufferings’ Conqueror (v. 28-30)

Key Word: GOD

Now, these final 3 verses (8:28-30) could honestly be 90 out of the 100 sermons we mentioned earlier! There is a lot of truth here, but I want to talk about how these 3 verses pertain to our suffering.

First of all, God is not a God of “reaction”.  God is a God of action!  This passage does not mean that “all things” are “good”.  Hurting and suffering are not good things. But guess what? NOTHING can escape the providential sovereignty of God. The good, the bad, the neutral are all used by God to bring about His plan! All things here means this: ALL THINGS, everything, God is in control of, and using, all.

God is not caught off guard by our suffering, rather it is in His plan to bring about our sanctification.  Through suffering He is making us more and more like Jesus.  This is why “all things work together for good” for those who love God. We know that all things work together for our good because we desire to be like Christ and for God to be glorified.

Now, R.C. Sproul comments “God orders His providences so as not to cancel out secondary causes”.  This means that humans are still held responsible for our actions.  The story of Joseph really helps to illustrate this: Gen. 50:20.  Also, so does Christ going to the Cross: Acts 4:26-28.  In other words, God was in complete control of these things that were bad and that were done with the intention of causing suffering.  The whole time one force was pushing towards evil God was the ultimate force in control of those situations pushing them towards good.  The more evil people thought they were doing, the greater good God was completing! God is in control of every particle of dust that you stir up traveling down a dirt road- Not only is He in control of it, but He has ordained the very place that each particle of dust will land!

The anchor for this whole passage of Scripture is Romans 8:29-30. What solid truth! Before the foundations of the world God chose a group of people (refered to as the “elect” in the Bible) who He would save from total depravity and conform them into the image of His Son!  When we think of the splendor of God’s election, then we should be comforted to know that God is so much bigger than our suffering (cf. 8:18).  He will ultimately conquer our suffering and one day we will reside with Him forever in a place where there will be no more suffering!

C.H. Spurgeon said this about suffering: “I have learned to kiss the wave that strikes me against the Rock of Ages.”  Simple statement, but hard to apply to our lives in the midst of our trials.  I know that during this time many people are feeling a wide range of emotions.  There are no words that I have that can ease your suffering.  The Bible, however, has those words.  During your time of suffering I pray that God comforts you, and that you will turn to Him as your source of peace and strength.