August 29, 2006

Wedding Moments

I have rehearsed this moment in my mind many times over the years. I consider it an honor to experience it in this life.

Final moments with Kelly, with my sweet wife and brilliant counselor to her children.

Doug Phillips, Friend and Officiant of the wedding ceremony... brimming with godly vision.

Scene at the wedding feast: notice the pictures of two generations of intact marriages on both sides of our family. In the foreground, a wedding picture of Tom and Carol Albright (Deborah's parents) Next to the right, Bill and Mary Brown (my parents) and the last one on the right of Scott and Deborah Brown, married on January 23, 1982.

Some of the best young women alive today...

Pictures can be ordered directly from this wedding photographer

My Daughters In Place

Everything was in place:

The groom
The bride
The brothers and sisters
The daughters of Zion
The friends of the bride and bridegroom
The elders
The parents and grandparents
The father who gave a wedding feast for celebration
The Lord Jesus who did his first miracle at a wedding

And my daughters...

Kelly and Blair, the Maid of Honor

Blair and her little friends and understudies - the Breagy girls

My youngest daughter Claudia, an intimate witness to the marriage covenant of her sister and new brother in law... in the center with the prettiest and sweetest flower girls ever to walk the aisle. The daughters of Zion rejoice before their King, as they hear the marriage covenant spoken.

A tear is shed as Kelly and Peter drive away... They leave and cleave and make a new life for the glory of God and the cycle of life continues as God planned it. Daughters set in their glorious place are treasures.

Using Biblical Images to Communicate The Content of Marriage

Peter and Kelly desired to collect the images and personalities and language from texts where there were instructions or patterns regarding marriage, weddings, brides or bridegrooms etc, in the Bible and use them in as many parts of the wedding as possible.

Doug Phillips has Captured this wonderfully on his blog post.

Below are the children gathered to celebrate...

”...Gather the children and the nursing infants...” Joel 2:16

Using Bible Words for Wedding Vows

One of my favorite parts of my daughter's wedding was that the couple composed their vows using scripture alone. There are four options for wedding vows: you can use someone elses, create your own, you can go to scripture, or you can mix and match scripture with your own thoughts. Peter and Kelly chose to use scripture alone.

I have performed lots of weddings, but these vows were my favorite. Here they are:

I, Peter David Bradrick
, covenant before God and man, to you Kelly Jeannette to be your loving husband, and to lead you, to protect you, and provide for you in the fear of the Lord[1]. I vow to love you as my wife even as Christ also loved the church, to lay down my life for you[2]; to wash you with the water of the word[3]; to love you as my own body and to nourish and cherish you even as the Lord the does the church; to render unto you the affection due you, knowing that I do not have authority over my own body but you do[4]; to dwell with you according to knowledge, giving honor unto you, as unto the weaker vessel, and living together with you as heirs together of the grace of life[5]. You alone will be my delight as the wife of my youth[6]. I will fight for you, for our sons, for our daughters, and for our household[7]. The Lord do so to me, and more also, if anything but death parts you and me[8]. I will be yours in times of plenty and in times of want, in times of sickness and in times of health, in times of joy and in times of sorrow, in times of failure and in times of triumph. I pledge to you my life as a loyal and faithful husband[9].

1 Timothy 5:8, Ephesians 5:25, Ephesians 5:26, 1 Corinthians 7:4, 1 Peter 3:7, Proverbs 5:18, Nehemiah 4:14, Ruth 1:17, Hosea 2:19-20

I, Kelly Jeannette
, covenant before God and man, to you Peter David Bradrick to be your loyal wife and to submit myself under your headship[10]. Just as the Church is subject to Christ[11], so I will be to you in everything. I will live first unto our God and then unto you, loving you, caring for you, obeying you, and ever seeking to please you as my earthly lord[12]. I will be your discreet, chaste keeper at home[13], diligently, industriously, and faithfully caring for the affairs of your household so that your heart may always safely trust in me[14]. If the Lord chooses to so bless us, it will be my delight to be your fruitful bearer[15] of children, and I will help you diligently teach them the commandments of the Lord as we talk of them in your house, as we walk by the way, when we lie down, and when we rise up[16]. Wherever you go, I will go; and wherever you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, And your God, my God[17]. The Lord do so to me, and more also, If anything but death parts you and me[18]. I will be yours in times of plenty and in times of want, in times of sickness and in times of health, in times of joy and in times of sorrow, in times of failure and in times of triumph, I pledge to you my life as an obedient and faithful wife.

Ephesians 5:22, Ephesians 5:24-25, 1 Peter 3:6, Titus 2:5, Proverbs 31:11, Psalms 128:3, Deuteronomy 6:7; 11:19, Ruth 1:16, Ruth 1:17

[1] 1 Timothy 5:8
[2] Ephesians 5:25
[3] Ephesians 5:26
[4] 1 Corinthians 7:4
[5] 1 Peter 3:7
[6] Proverbs 5:18
[7] Nehemiah 4:14
[8] Ruth 1:17
[9] Hosea 2:19-20
[10] Ephesians 5:22
[11] Ephesians 5:24-25
[12] 1 Peter 3:6
[13] Titus 2:5
[14] Proverbs 31:11
[15] Psalms 128:3
[16] Deuteronomy 6:7; 11:19
[17] Ruth 1:16
[18] Ruth 1:17

Someone said to me after the wedding: "those vows sure started some tongues wagging especially Kelly's vow to seek to please you "as my earthly lord".

Yes, the language might be offensive, particularly those who are either unaware of the language of scripture that explains the creation order regarding biblical manhood and womanhood. Or it may sound foreign particularly for thinking which has been affected by feminism a little too long. The phrase, "as my earthly lord" is taken from I Peter 3:6, exalting Sarah's example of Godly femininity. Kelly wrote her own vows desiring that they would be reflections directly from scripure. What I love about these vows is that each phrase was composed of the sweet and refreshing words of God found in scripture. It seems strange that even people in the christian community would bristle at language like this. Perhaps, it reveals a worldly or in some cases , an apostate church in need of trusting and treasuring the words of Christ for all things above all other philosophies. All we like sheep have gone astray. How much we need God's help to love and proclaim His words more than ever.

Proclaiming The Gospel Through A Wedding

A wedding is a wonderful opportunity to explain the gospel.

My daughter was married to Peter Bradrick on Saturday and I wanted the guests to see the double meaning of earthly marriage and glorify Christ through the proclamation of the gospel through the wedding ceremony. God has given us dozens of ways to proclaim the gospel. Here are two examples. First, when the church gathers, she celebrates communion which is a living demonstration of grace of God toward sinners as we procalim His death until He comes. Second, we perform the ordinance of water baptism to proclaim the death and resurrection that is accomplished in the life of the believer - through faith in Christ.

Marriage, though not an ordinance, is one of God's evangelistic tools and a marvelous opportunity to proclaim the gospel to people in the community

Marriage is a relationship that was created by God to picture the love of Christ toward His Church. Ephesians 5:25-27 makes this plain,

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.

August 21, 2006

"Right to Die" becomes "Duty to Die"

We need to recognize that the right to die has become the 'duty to die" and many more evil propositions.

For more on the worldview that leads to these conclusions that include a loathing for caring for ageing parents, read Al Mohler's post on the subject:

A Primer on Gossip - "Do Not Speak Evil of One Another"

"The Gossip's"
By Norman Rockwell, Saturday Evening Post, March 6, 1948.

Church membership calls for the fulfillment of certain responsibilites. One of those responsibilities is the way that members speak about one another. Scripture has very specific and very strong instructions for regulating gossip.

Here is a sermon preached last Sunday at Hope Baptist Church, which is part of a Series on Church Membership and the responsibilities of church members.

What is at stake is the fulfillment of the whole law, living the gospel instead of just talking about it, and the preservation of love in the church.

One of the most interesting aspects of the Norman Rockwell piece above is that Rockwell put himself in the painting - can you identify him? Both Rockwell's painting and scripture indicate that gossip in church is neither new nor rare.

August 16, 2006

Rediscovering the Forgotten Virtue of Family Entrepreneurship

Doug Phillips
Addresses the Entrepreneur Boot Camp. His keynote the first night of the conference is a "MUST HEAR."

I just returned from a thrilling conference - Vision Forum Ministries, Entrepreneur Boot Camp for Christian Familes. It was not about becoming successful or getting rich, but being faithful to God in the midst of His callings for discipleship and stewardship.

David Brown and Joshua Phillips,
Two Exemplary Young Entrepreneurs

Here is the core of the message from my perspective:

Faithfulness and Stewardship
Mattthew 25 and the parable of the talents was central to the message. It paints a picture of faithfulness with resources, based upon a transcendent principle: servants should be faithful with what they have been given. Servants of the King of Kings should be risk takers and not bury their assets. They should be spiritual entrepreneurs.

Wealth and Covenant
Deuteronomy 8:18-19 declares that we are given resources for one reason: so the covenantal blessing will be passed from one generation to the next… to make the people of God mighty in the land. It is impossible to have a biblical view of entrepreneurship unless you have a biblical understanding of the family and God's desire for "Godly seed"... God says, I am giving you wealth for covenant.

Deuteronomy 8:18-19 "And you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers as it is this day."

Family Enterprise or Flophouse Consumption. The need of the hour is to recover a biblical vision of the family that encourages the whole family working together to intensify the discipleship mandate of the family. Today the home is a flophouse of sloth and consumption where each member operates as independent autonomous units. We need to foster the unity and interdependency that creates discipleship instead of individualism. We wanted to paint a picture of father and mother who need one another for enterprise; children and grandparents who contribute and benefit from one another's labor; fathers discipling their daughters and sons combining their assets together for the building of strength in the next generation.

These young ladies already have a big vision for Kingdom faithfulness as domestic entrepreneurs.

Arnold Pen't
theme was Faith, Prayer and God's definition of success - faithfulness
Goeff Botkin's theme was building spiritual wealth through stewardship of resources.
Nick Logan's theme was breaking the chains of a culture that has gone off course.
Jim Leinenger's theme"God works through failure and humility."

Don Hart's
theme was faithful stewardship of God's resources.

Wade Myers
theme was a call for the applicaton biblical principles of finance, debt and planning
Isaac Botkin's theme was an appeal to use the tools of God's provision to proclaim the gospel

This conference was all about rediscovering the forgotten virtue of family entrepreneurship.

There seems to be a building wave of activity in family entrepreneurship afoot in the land. Praise the Lord!

Chilling Trends in Public Opinion

Terri Schiavo: victim of court approved, citizen endorsed death by starvation - March 2005

Michael Schiavo is still angry as the article below indicates. What strikes me about this article is that the cold and heartless disposition of Michael Schiavo seems to be rubbing off on the rest of us. The opinions of Americans indicate that we are, as a culture embracing a culture of death.

In a recent poll of 134,000 respondents, 73% indicated that the right thing to do to Terri Schiavo was to pull her feeding tube (starve her to death), and only 27% indicated that she should have been kept alive.

Our culture is accepting reasons to eliminate people who cannot have a "quality of life" that others impose upon them. The next step is to eliminate those who are a burden or possess some quality that is undesirable. Michael Schiavo's anger against his former wife, and her defenders brings up thoughts of:

Founder of Planned Parenthood, Margaret Sanger's racist eugenics:

Nazi Germany: and

Japan's Unit 731:

These are the prophetic voices that should tell us where all of this leads. "Baby Boomers" and their successors, future health care options will quite likely be under the influence of this philosophical genre.

The question is, will the church have the moral courage to speak up for the despised, protect the defenseless and stand against the savage tide?

August 07, 2006

Calling the Church to it's Center - The Gospel

On Sunday we had our last sermon on the Book of Hebrews, summing it up. The writer of Hebrews is calling the church to it's center - the gospel of Christ.

To listen to the sermon click here:

The author is constantly arguing for the supremacy of Christ over all things. This concept runs in every chapter, and it is stated with crystal clarity in Chapter 8:1 "This is the main point of the things we are saying: we have a high priest in heaven."

The message of the gospel has been the sweetest thing to people like Jonathan Edwards:

"I have loved the doctrines of the gospel; they have been to my soul like green pastures. The gospel has seemed to me the richest treasure; the treasure that I have most desired, and longe that it might dwell richly in me... Sometimes, only mentioning a single word caused my heart to burn within me; or only seing the name of Christ, or the name of some attribute of God." (p 99-100, Jonathan Edwards, A New Biography, by Ian Murray)

August 04, 2006

"You Have Offended Me"

Check out Albert Mohler's blog and recent post for some wisdom on, "The Culture of Offendedness--A Christian Challenge".

Not only are there challenges of offending and being offended between the Christian and the secular culture, we live in a church environment where people have a hard time living with one another because they do not know how to handle their differences.

Here is an excellent and thoughtful article on getting offended and offending from Al Mohler.