March 31, 2006

Father Daughter Retreat - Day One

This Vision Forum Father Daughter Retreat 2006 is dedicated to the proposition that God speaks clearly about fathers and daughters and the ways they were created to relate to one another. We go directly to the wisdom of God... Solomon described God's wisdom correctly, 'Her ways are pleasant ways and all her paths are peace" (Prov 3).

The Browns and the Phillips family started the day by visiting the Butterfly Conservatory where you will find a very arresting display of beauty. God spreads His beauty in every detail of creation from the 50,000 foot level to the microscopic level. Beauty is everywhere in creation, which tells the story of the beauty and the love of God.

Butterfly Conservatory was a wonderful reminder of the beauty and wisdom of God. For example, we learned tht the Monarch butterfly begins it's journey from California to Canada, but it takes at least four generations to make the trip. Since these butterflies only live two to six weeks the next generation must carry on.

A highlight of the Father Daughter Retreat is always the "unity games", which bring fathers and daughters together for exercise and fun. These games are designed to create trust and unity and enjoyment between father and daughter.

A game to test the ability of daughters to follow the voice commands of a father

Pat Walsh and Family
A wonderful surprise... Candace Joy Walsh was released from the hospital only a few days ago after enduring forty days and forty nights in the hospital. Her family and hundreds of thousands of people around the world fought for her life through prayer while her body was attacked by a bacteria that was consuming her body.

Don Hart giving voice commands to keep his daughters Emily, Katy and Hannah walking circumspectly not as fools but as wise

Barry and Cori Daming three legged racing and beating all competittors

Doug and Liberty Phillips desperately Trying to catch up with Pat Walsh and Candace Joy (on his shoulder) and Katherine on the ground.

Picnic Lunch on the Lawn at Calloway Gardens

The Browns joined with Kyle and Kennedy True from Casper Wyoming for dinner on the lawn.

Kelly and Peter who will be married on August 26

An exercise in wooing. A father sings Eidelweiss to his daughter to demonstrate his love for her. Most singers on the stage were nearly tone deaf, but their daughters got the message. Fortunately, singing on key is not a biblical requirement for fatherhood.

More wooing both off key and on key...

To kick off the evening meeting, Anna Sophia and Elizabeth Botkin made beautiful melodies with Be Thou My Vision.

Doug Phillips gave a call for the recovery of biblical manhood and womanhood as it relates to the lifestyles and attitudes of fathers and daughters. He closed the evening with the story of "The Princess and the Kiss"

The Road Trip to the Father Daughter Retreat Begins

Scott Brown and his three daughters, Kelly, Blair and Claudia are Traveling with Barry Daming and his daughters, Erica, Elizabeth, Monica, Cori and Heidi. We are on our way to the Vision Forum 2006 Father Daughter Retreat at Calloway Gardens Georgia - in full bloom.

The Road Trip Begins

We are traveling from our home in Wake Forest, riding in style in a big motorhome with enough fuel to make the whole nine hour trip without stopping.

Barry Daming, Motorhome Driver and Father of Six Daughters

There is nothing like a road trip to make a day of rejoicing in the Lord.

Since I like road trips so much, I decided to take a quick poll. The question is, “what do you like about road trips?”

Monica: “the adventure”

Kelly: “Drammamine for car sickness”

Claudia – “everybody together talking”

Elizabeth: “The food”…

(Note, if were here you would see that the Daming girls do not simply make lunch – we are talking about “presentation” and culinary creativity. We are now eating some “tapenade’,(can anyone please tell me what this word means) followed up by a Brick Pressed Sandwich.”

This is NOTHING like traveling with guys. Daughters possess a particular glory!

Now we turn to one of my personal favorite things about road trips – Scripture Memory. We memorized Psalm 127:1-3, my father’s “life verse”.

“Do not be envious of evil men nor desire to be with them. For their heart devises violence and their lips talk of troublemaking. Through wisdom a house is built, by understanding it is established, by knowledge its rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches.”

Road Trips are For Singing

We broke out the hymn books a couple of times and I felt burdens lifting as we sang “This is My Father’s World”, “Nothing But the Blood”, “Great is Thy Faithfulness”, “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms”, “Rock of Ages”, “Standing on the Promises.”

When we hit gridlock in Atlanta, we sang, “This Train is Bound for Glory”, “Clementine”, “Oh Sussanna”, Home on the Range. For the finale’ we sang two particularly epistemologically self conscious “Whoopi ti yi yo” cowboy songs, “Git Along Little Dogies” and “Back in the Saddle Again.” Little known factoid: Gene Autrey sang both of these songs to our troops on Iwo Jima, and my dad got to wear his hat for an hour.

March 28, 2006

Teacher, tender, comrade, wife

On this, the 87th day toward our 25th year together as husband and wife, I would like to give praise to God with these verses, for Deborah, the wife He gave me:

As unto the bow the cord is,
So unto the man is woman;
Though she bends him, she obeys him,
Though she draws him yet she follows’
Useless each without the other

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Teacher, tender, comrade, wife,
A fellow-farer true through life,
Heart-whole and soul-free
The august Father gave to me.
Robert Louis Stevenson

March 24, 2006

Spurgeon on Amusements

Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“But,” says one, “are we not to have amusements?” Yes, such amusements as you can take in the fear of God. Do whatever Jesus would have done. GS291

I have nothing to say against recreation in its proper place. Certain forms of recreation are needful and useful; but it is a wretched thing when amusement becomes a vocation. Amusement should be used to do us good “like a medicine”: it must never be used as the food of the man. From early morning till late at night some spend their time in a round of frivolities, or else their very work is simply carried on to furnish them funds for their pleasures. This is vicious. Many have had all holy thoughts and gracious resolutions stamped out by perpetual trifling. Pleasure so called is the murderer of thought. This is the age of excessive amusement: everybody craves for it, like a babe for its rattle. 2040.476

March 23, 2006

Report: Workshop on Expository Preaching

Scott Brown gave the first address, "The Need of the Hour' at the Vision Forum Expository Preaching Conference in Wake Forest, NC. Men came from ten states, some from established churches and others representing around ten fairly new family integrated church plants. Some men came simply to learn how to better explain scripture to their wives and children.

Dr. Andy Davis blew us away with his exposition on Psalm 2. If you would like the CD, or a complete conference set, contact David Brown at

Kevin Herrin Graciously recorded the whole conference and blessed us with a really good room set up.

Dr. Wayne McDill. Several people mentioned to me how helpful it was be infected by Waynes childlike delight in scripture.

Happy Men: Jay Valenti, Scott Brown, Jason Dohm

Matt McDill Explaining how to mine the Text

One man reported, “The most important thing to me was the convicting preaching of Gods Word and the genuineness of the speakers. They didn't talk over our heads, they cared about us and were open and willing to talk personally after they were done speaking. The Lord has changed me because of this conference. Do not attend this conference if you don't want your life changed along with your family and church. The drive home with my 14 year son was so awesome, just talking about what we took in.”

We wrapped up the conference with a Sunday afternoon discussion in my home with scrambled egg sandwiches and chocolate shakes. We memorized Psalm 119:92, and spoke of it’s implications for all of our handling of scripture “Unless your law had been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction.”

The McDills Passing the Baton

Wayne and Matthew McDill, An Inspiring Father and Son...

I was inspired over and over again during the “Workshop for Expository Preaching” as I watched father and son labor together. Wayne McDill, (the father) has spent his entire life encouraging men to preach the Word. Now his son, Matthew, is doing the same thing. It is always encouraging to see with your own eyes the successful passing of the baton of faithfulness to the Word of God.

It reminded me of another father and son duo from the seventeenth century – Phillip and Matthew Henry. Matthew is best known for his wonderful commentaries on all of the books of the Bible entitled, An Exposition of the Old and New Testaments. His warm hearted and accurate expositions are beautiful, and he was walking in his father’s footsteps.

Whitefield, and Spurgeon used Matthew Henry’s commentaries, and recommended them faithfully. One commentator says, "Whitefield read it through four times, the last time on his knees. Spurgeon said
"Every minister ought to read it entirely and carefully through once at least." (Commenting and Commentaries, p. 3)

Matthew Henry

March 21, 2006

Al Mohler on, The Return of Patriarchy? Fatherhood and the Future of Civilization

on Wednesday, March 01, 2006, Al Mohler writes,

"A truly Christian response to this argument must go further than cultural concerns alone can sustain. In the biblical vision, patriarchs establish a trans-generational vision for their families, looking to generations beyond with the promise that the father will give himself to the task of fatherhood and leadership in order to perpetuate the promise and establish the line.

Beyond this, Christians should understand that the Bible reveals a form of patriarchy as the norm--with men called to lead within the marital union and the family, as well as the church."

For full article go to:

March 16, 2006

Heads-Up Hunters - Good News

This Just in...

February 21, 2006, WASHINGTON, D.C. -- A white house source stated that Congress is considering awarding Vice-President Dick Cheney the Medal of Freedom, the national highest civilian commendation, for his act of bravery in shooting an attorney. The source was quoted to say, "All Americans have wanted to shoot a lawyer at one time or another and Cheney actually had the courage to do it."

In a related story, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, which issues hunting licenses, said that it will start requiring hunters, wishing to bag a lawyer, to have the new "lawyer's stamp" on their hunting license. Currently Texas hunters are required to carry stamps for hunting birds, deer, and bear, at a cost of $7 annually. The new "lawyers stamp" will cost $100, but open season will be all year long. The department further stated that although the "lawyers stamp" comes at hefty price, sales have been brisk and it is believed it will generate annual revenues in excess of $3 billion dollars the first year.

Other states are considering similar hunting license stamps. Impatient with efforts to close the courts to litigants, the Administration literally fired the first shot in its groundbreaking "No Lawyer Left Standing" initiative.

Vice President Cheney, hunting on a private lawyer ranch near Kingsville, Texas, bagged an impressive buck (Harry Whittington, UT Law '50). Under the new program, hunters may take one white shoe in-house lawyer or three outside lawyers daily. The limit has been suspended for trial lawyers. "We've just got to thin the herd," said the Vice-President. "We've tried tort reform and caps on damages, but people are still suing." Cheney added, "It's easy and fun. In Texas, you can shoot in almost any direction and hit a lawyer."

Media Triviality Shrivels Joy and Worship

John Piper said this during his "Gravity and Gladness" on Sunday Morning series, makes pointed statements about TV. You can find the sermon by clicking here:

'You’ll never hear me on Sunday morning saying, “The problem with this service is people don’t come here to give, they only come to get.” That’s not the problem. You know what the problem is? The problem is people stuff their faces with the white bread of the world and then they come to the banquet table of God’s word and they’re not hungry. And I’m talking television mainly and a lot of other junk that we waste our time on. The world as I look at it is just filled with triviality. . . . Almost all T.V. is trivial. Almost all ads are trivial. They’re silly. It’s an epidemic of silliness, so that the soul that feeds itself on this an hour or two a night . . . can’t help but just shrivel up to the smallest capacities for real, magnificent, glorious joy. . . . 'How . . . much silly stuff . . . can you watch before you begin to realize you’re a stick-figure, you’re a puppet, you’re just a silly little echo of the silliness coming through that tube continually? . . .'

March 14, 2006

The Need of the Hour

One of the addresses I am going to be giving at the Expository Preaching Conference is entitled, "The Need of the Hour", in which I desire to extoll the importance of the study and preaching of the Word of God in churches. Of course, this is the theme of the whole conference.

Here is something I plan to communicate which comes from the Introduction of John MacArthur's book "Preaching". It explains why we do some of the things we are doing at Trinity.

"Fifteen unintended negative consequences of the “superficial brand of preaching that is rife in evangelicalism”

1. It usurps the authority of God over the soul. Who has the right to speak to the church?

2. It removes the lordship of Christ from His church. "Who is the head of the church. When we look at contemporary ministry, we see programs and methods that are the fruit of human invention, the offspring of opinion polls and neighborhood surveys, and other pragmatic artifices. Church growth experts have wrested control of the church’s agenda from her true Head, the Lord Jesus Christ.” p. xiv-xv

3. It hinders the work of the Holy Spirit. "What is the instrument the Spirit uses to do His work? The Word of God. He uses the Word as the instrument of regeneration (James 1:18, I Peter 1:23). He also uses it as the means of sanctification (John 17:17)"

4. It demonstrates appalling pride and a lack of submission. “In the modern approach to “ministry” the Word of God is deliberately downplayed, the reproach of Christ is quietly repudiated, the offense of the gospel is carefully eliminated, and “worship’ is purposely tailored to fit the preferences of unbelievers.”

5. Is severs the preacher personally from the regular sanctifying grace of scripture.

6. It clouds the true depth and transcendence of our message and therefore cripples both corporate and personal worship.

7. It prevents the preacher from fully developing the mind of Christ. “...too many modern preachers are so bent on understanding the culture that they develop the mind of the culture and not the mind of Christ. They start to think like the world and not like the Savoir.”

8. It depreciates by example the spiritual duty and priority of personal Bible Study. "Why would people think they need to study the Bible if the preacher does not do serious study himself in the preparation of sermons.’ Pxvi

9. It prevents the preacher from being the voice of God on every issue of his time. Jeremiah 8:9 “The wise men are ashamed, They are dismayed and taken, behold they have rejected the word of the Lord, So what wisdom do they have.”

10. It breeds a congregation that is as weak and indifferent to the glory of God as their pastor is.. “Seeker sensitive” preaching fosters people who are consumed with their own well-being.”

11. It robs people of their only true source of help. “People who sit under superficial preaching become dependent on the cleverness and the creativity of the speaker. When preachers punctuate their sermons with laser lights and smoke, video clips and live drama, the message they send is that there is not a prayer the people in the pew could ever extract such profound material on their own. Such gimmicks create a kind of dispensing mechanism that people cannot use to serve themselves. So they become spiritual couch potatoes who just come in to be entertained.” xvii

12. It encourages people to become indifferent to the Word of God and divine authority. “predictably, in a church where the preaching of Scripture is neglected, it becomes impossible to get people to submit to the authority of Scripture. The preacher who always aims at meeting “felt needs” and strokes the conceit of worldly people has no platform from which to confront the man who wants to divorce his wife without cause.” The man will say, “you don’t understand what I feel”… You cannot inject biblical authority into that”. xvii

13. It lies to people about what they really need. Jeremiah 8:11. “God condemned the prophets who treated people’s wounds superficially. They omit hard truths about sin and judgment.”

14. It strips the pulpit of power. “The Word of God is living and powerful, sharper than any two edged sword.” Heb 4:12. Everything else is impotent giving an illusion of power.’

15. It puts the responsibility on the preacher to change people with his cleverness. “We preachers cannot change people with our insights and cleverness by entertaining them, or by appealing to their human whims, wishes and ambitions. There is only One who can change sinners. That is God and He does it by His Spirit through the Word.”

From the Introduction of "Preaching, How to Preach Biblically", by John MacArthur,
2005, Nelson Reference and Electronic

March 10, 2006

Turning Around and Going the Other Way - Again

I believe that most fathers either have not known the basic tenets of Biblical fatherhood, or they have not paid attention to them enough to really understand them. The result is that they have been going in the wrong direction (with a lot of their friends) for a very long time. This is the most common situation among the men in Christian churches.

But the reality is, they have been going the wrong way.

Have you ever heard of “Wrong Way Riegles”? The moment that created the name happened on New Years Day 1929 at the Rose Bowl. It was The University of California at Berkeley Vs Georgia Tech. Georgia Tech fumbled the ball and Cal defensive back, Roy Riegels picked it up and ran the wrong way. He ran 65 yards when he was finally brought down by his own team mate, Benny Lomm who had chased him down the field hoping to turn him around.

From that day forward, Riegles would be known as “Wrong Way Riegles”. Whenever introduced people would say, “Oh, you are the guy who ran the wrong way at the Rose Bowl.” What a discouraging legacy.

During the half time on that fateful day, the dejected Riegles hid in the corner of the UCLA locker room with a towel over his head. His coach, Nibbs Price said nothing to him and had little to say to the whole team. A few minutes before they were to go back out, the coach said quietly, “the team that started the first half will start the second half.” Riegles cried out, “I can’t coach; I can’t go back in. I’ve humiliated the team, the school and myself. I can’t go back in.” Price replied,

“Get back in the game Riegles, the game is only half over’.

What a great coach! I believe that this is the same message of the Lord Jesus Christ for fathers.

We may have run in some wrong directions, but we can always turn around and make headway in the right direction. Solomon expressed this principle in Proverbs 24:16,

“For a righteous man may fall seven times And rise again”

I hope that the expositions at our upcoming "Charting a Roadmap for Biblical Fatherhood", will help to chart the roadmap for fatherhood and will encourage us to get back in the game. We may have made mistakes in the past, but there is always time to get back in the game and start running in the right direction.

Tools for Fathers

I wanted to extend to you an invitation to a couple of conferences in Wake Forest North Carolina that will be an encouragement to fathers. You can get more information here:

"Workshop on Expository Preaching". We will give help for interpreting various kinds of texts (historical, poetic, didactic...) and provide examples of exposition, and teach the principles of expository preaching.

"Charting a Roadmap for Biblical Fatherhood". We will feature Biblical exposition on some of the great fatherhood passages in the Bible: Deuteronomy 6, Psalm 78, Psalm 127, Genesis 18...

March 09, 2006

Fathers as Historians

God makes real men out of fathers and sometimes it means that he makes them something they never thought they could be. Yes, God makes His men... Historians.

I Psalm 78: 2-7 Asaph declares,

I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings of old, 3 Which we have heard and known, And our fathers have told us. 4 We will not hide them from their children, Telling to the generation to come the praises of the Lord, And His strength and His wonderful works that He has done. 5 For He established a testimony in Jacob, And appointed a law in Israel, Which He commanded our fathers, That they should make them known to their children; 6 That the generation to come might know them, The children who would be born, That they may arise and declare them to their children, 7 That they may set their hope in God, And not forget the works of God, But keep His commandments.

One of the points he makes here is that sons should incline their ears to “the things our fathers told us.” This makes historians out of fathers.

In God’s economy, what fathers say matters. The things they say are represented in v2 as “dark sayings of old”, and “a parable”, which means, “story from the past.” In the drama of redemption in human history contained in the stories from the past are importance to men who are teaching the next generation. It is not “the next new thing” that is important to the health of the next generation, but the fatherly stories of old.

Fathers are God’s appointed historians for the next generation.

When they do their jobs well their children have a sense of place in history. One of the blessings of being “the people of God: is that we know who we are because we can recall the things our fathers told us about the past. Our faith is a historical one. Children need to know history under the teaching of their fathers.

March 01, 2006

A Father's Legacy is Shaped by His Affections

Our most powerful legacies as fathers are formed by our affections. Another way to say it is, our most powerful legacies are shaped by what we love. What we desire eagerly will make all the difference in the world, because affections are almost always caught.

Affections are the key to sanctification, for the sanctification process of the people of God is dependent upon affections. Paul said to the Corinthians, “O Corinthians…You are not limited by us, you are limited by your own affections’ I Cor 6:1-18

About one hundred years before Edwards, an English Puritan, William Fenner wrote, with insight and graphic imagery, about the role of the affections.

"The affections are the feet of the soul: for as the body goes with its feet to that which it loves, so the soul goes with its affections to that which it loves. The soul hath no other way to come at that which it loves, but only by its affections."

This is why Moses urged fathers in Israel in Deuteronomy 6:5-6, “you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words, which I command you today will be in your heart. And you shall teach them diligently to your children…”