March 27, 2007

A Most Unusual Generation of Young Women

There is an unusual generation of godly young ladies in the church today. I believe there have been few marriageable young women like this in the last one hundred years. At least three generations of Americans has never seen anything like this. What has happened to create this situation?

Here are some of their distinctives:

1. They saw the bitter fruit of feminism and began to understand it’s bankruptcy and destructiveness.

2. They “kissed dating goodbye” and decided in their youth that they would abstain from the modern dating debacle.

3. They trusted their fathers encouragement toward them to fulfill the biblical and normative pattern of scripture regarding the roles of women and began to prepare themselves to be wives, helpers and home makers as a life strategy – in contrast to the feminist vision of independent workers outside the home.

4. They rejected the immodest, worldly but common clothing options of their culture and the Lord put it in their hearts to be faithful to God’s commands regarding feminine dress and modesty.

5. They are striving to preserve themselves sexually for their future husbands, instead of test driving numerous partners before marriage.

6. They are spending their time serving the enterprise of the home as assistants in their fathers businesses and assisting their mothers in the teaching and raising of the children in the home.

7. They were told by their parents that if they were faithful and obeyed, they would be blessed.

8. One of the blessings they are anticipating is godly husbands.

Here are a few related thoughts.

There seem to be fewer young men with the same distinctives.

But, on the other hand, there is also a rising generation of exemplary young men as well. These may be slower in the development curve. There seem to be very few of these in their late twenties, a larger group in their early twenties and an even larger group in their teens.

Here some questions to ask:

What are the responsibilities of fathers in conditions like these?

Should this demographic reality (crisis in the church) serve as an encouragement to young men to set aside unprofitable activities and step up more quickly to their callings? How about instead of pursuing entertainments, extreme sports and games – which are not necessarily evil - that instead, young men prepare themselves to become the heads of households they were meant to be.

Should fathers consider if they are aiding and abetting their sons in things that slow down their maturity and readiness for marriage by their involvement in irrelevant occupations of time.

Should we fast and pray for the marriages of this new generation of unusual daughters?

I say “yes’ we ought to be fasting and praying. I believe that this is a strategic time in history for the forming of marriages for these precious daughters for glory of God.

Many men from all over the country have committed to prayer and fasting on April 3, 2007. Would you join us? Please sign up on this site if you wish

March 24, 2007

Biblical Thoughts About Fasting

Here are three observations to guide our thinking about fasting, and an example in Acts 13.

I. Three Observations from scripture:

First we observe that there is no command in scripture to fast, but Jesus assumed his followers would fast and there are many examples in scripture of the practice that would lead us to participate. Here is a short list; 1 Cor 7:5 (part of marriage), Isaiah 58:3-6 (for love and blessing for others), Matt 6:16-18 (don’t put on the gloomy face of a hypocrite), Daniel 9:3-19 (with humiliation and repentance), Ps 35:13 (for the sick) , Isaiah 58 (for the poor).

Second, there are two kinds of fasts – public and private. We see both examples in scripture. Jesus speaks of fasting and prayer in your closet (Matt 6:16-18) , and there are numerous corporate fasts in scripture (Acts 13, Daniel 9).

Third, there are temptations related to fasting in the area of outward spirituality, pride and trumpeting our works (Matthew 6:16-18).

II. Fasting in Acts 13

1. It was something the whole church did together. The fasting was corporate – the whole church was fasting and praying as well as the leaders.
In the sermon on the Mount, Jesus warns about fasting to be seen by men and that your heavenly Father who sees in secret will reward you. But here we have a public fast.

2. It was to help with discernment regarding important issues of direction of peoples lives in the church.

3. It caused the spread of the gospel to Asia Minor, Greece, Rome and Spain.

4. It was in response to a need. The importance of this time of prayer and fasting is hard to overestimate. This fast had a dramatic impact on world history, for it launched the first wave of missionaries to the gentiles.

March 23, 2007

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A Call for Prayer and Fasting for Daughters

I would like to invite you to consider setting aside April 3 to cry out to the Lord in fasting and in prayer for the marriages of daughters yet to be married.

If you would like to participate in this please fill out the form above.

I. Suggestions for what to Pray For
For mighty marriages to be formed for kingdom purposes
For daughters to wait patiently for God to work
For young men to turn their hearts toward God with a holy vision for marriage
For fallen or stumbling daughters

A friend of mine has stated quite beautifully one of the motivations for prayers like these,

“What would Adam and Eve’s fruitful oneness have accomplished? The answer at least in part, is a world filled with God-honoring, sinless worshippers united under one purpose: to subdue and rule the world for the glory of God! One can conclude, then, that while the union of the man and woman and the procreation of offspring are immediate ends of marriage, the ultimate purpose is the experience and expansion of the worship of God in all the earth!” Mark Liederbach, Quoted in, Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, Fall 2004, p6

II. Suggested Date:
Tuesday April 3
Last meal: Evening meal on April 2, Next meal Evening meal April 3

III. Wisdom from Scripture on prayer and fasting:
1. Isaiah 58 provides abundant wisdom regarding the reasons for and the results of fasting.

2. Acts 13 shows how the united prayer and fasting in the Antioch church changed the course of history with the sending of Paul and Barnabas on the first missionary journey. God seems to bless His people when they fast and pray, and there is no way to anticipate the good things that can spring from it as God looks down on his pilgrim people as they cry out to Him for help.

IV. How to conduct ourselves:
"When you fast, do not put on a gloomy face as the hypocrites do, for they neglect their appearance in order to be seen fasting by men. Truly I say, they have their reward in full. But you, when you fast, anoint your head, and wash your face, so that you may not be seen fasting by men, but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will repay you." Matt 6:16

V. When to pray:
1. When you feel hunger, pray and acknowledge your need and dependence upon God.

2. Use the time normally spent for preparing meals and eating, as prayer time.

3. Set aside special times of prayer throughout the day.

VI. What about children?
We encourage you to engage your children in fasting, but that each family should regulate what age is appropriate.

VII. Twelve examples of fathers who cried out for their children
1. Job cries out daily for his children, Job 1:4-5

2. Abraham prays about his and Sarah’s lack of a child, grieving that he had no other heir, Gen 15:1-6

3. Abraham and Isaac on the alter of sacrifice, Heb 11:17-19

4. Abraham prayed for help in finding a wife for Isaac, Gen 24:12-14

5. Isaac prayed about Rebekkah’s barreness, Gen 25:21

6. Jacob at the loss of Joseph, Gen 37:33-35

7. Pharoah cries out for his first born, Exodus 12:30

8. David cries out for Absalom, 2 Samuel 18:1-33

10. David prayed for his son Solomon, that God would grant him a faithful heart to leader Israel and build the temple, I Chron. 29:16-19

11. Solomon cries out for his son through the entire book of Proverbs, 1:10, 3:1, 3:11, 23:26

12. Man with a demon possessed son cries out, Mark 9:14-29

Principle: We ought to cry out for our sons and daughters daily.

March 20, 2007

Lest We Hang Ourselves on Our Pride in Accomplishment

John Owen, Author of "Mortification of Sin"

This morning, Aaron Sultan, one of the men at Hope Baptist, led us in our weekly early morning discussion of John Owen's, "Mortification of Sin." He reminded us that if we missed what Owen was saying here, "we might hang ourselves on our pride in accomplishment."

He reviewed chapter six of the book. Here are a couple of highlights from Aaron's presentation:

What mortification is not… Four things that Owen mentions:

First, Not sinlessness

“It is not the utter destruction and death of sin.”

Second, Not outward improvement

“It is not changing a certain area of your life: “When a man on some outward respects forsakes the practice of any sin, men perhaps may look on him as a changed man. God knows that to this former iniquity he has added cursed hypocrisy, and is not on a safer path to hell than he was before.’ p70

Third, Not a suppression of passion

It “is not the improvement of a quiet sedate tenure… “let these men cultivate and improve their natural frame and temper by discipline, consideration and prudence and they may seem to themselves and other very mortified men, when perhaps, their hearts are a standing sink of all abominations.”

Fourth, Not occasional conquests over sin or the maturity of old age

“alterations in men’s constitutions, occasioned by a natural progress in the course of their lives, may produce such changes as these. Men in old age do not usually persist in the pursuit of youthful lusts, although they have never mortified any one of them.”p71

March 16, 2007

Marriage "For the Expansion of the Worship of God in All the Earth"

Tonight is the first session of our Hope Baptist Church Marriage Weekend.

We will begin this evening with "A Story about a Married Couple", and then a talk entitled,

"The Shared Mission of Marriage."

Mark Liederbach comments on one particular aspect of this concept with these words,

What would Adam and Eve’s fruitful oneness have accomplished? The answer at least in part, is a world filled with God-honoring, sinless worshippers united under one purpose: to subdue and rule the world for the glory of God! One can conclude, then, that while the union of the man and woman and the procreation of offspring are immediate ends of marriage, the ultimate purpose is the experience and expansion of the worship of God in all the earth!” (Quotation taken from Mark Liederbach's article, Manliness and the Marital Vow: a look at the meaning of marriage and its implications for men as they enter into the covenant of marriage, in Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, fall 2004, p6)

March 14, 2007

Families - Nurseries of the Church on Earth... and Heaven

Scripture defines very well the way the church and the home were meant to interact with one another, supporting and building up each other. Here is a pastor writing in 1859 on the subject,

"The church on earth is called the nursery of the church in heaven. Christian families are called the nurseries of the church on earth, because in the former its members are nursed and propagated for the purpose of being transplanted into the latter." (Rev. Samuel Phillips, in "The Christian Home as it is in the Sphere of Nature and the Church", 1859)

In contrast the modern church almost seems to have declared war on the family by always separating them for worship and instruction, missions. It segregates them into tight age groups, excluding them from the wider relationships that true families supply. Because of this, there are thousands of believers around the country, in every denomination who are beginning to believe that the modern church is actually destroying families instead of building them up.

When Science and Scripture Disagree - The Puritan View

In the seventeenth century God raised up a wave of people who threw themselves trustfully on the authoritative and perfect Word of God and believed it for what it said about church and home and every other area of life. It was the continuation of the reformation whose fires led to the martyrdom of many.

Robert Boyle, the eminent seventeenth century chemist, identifies the Christian view of scientific inquiry and trustful faith in Christ when he said,

"So when Philosophy [term includes 'science'] and ye Scripture disagree; it is always the safest course to believe what is taught by God; whose exact veracity is included in his most perfect nature; who possesses an Intellect not only of a Superior Order to ours, but truly Omniscient..." (Boyle Papers, Royal SocietyLibrary)

"...the revealed truths, which reason is obliged to comply with, if they be burdens to it, are but such burdens, as feathers are to a hawk, which instead of hindering his flight by their weight, enable him to soar toward Heaven, and take a larger prospect of things, than if he had not feathers, he could possibly do." (Excellency of Theology)

Who is Robert Boyle (1627-1691)? He was an Irish natural philosopher, chemist, physicist, and is considered to be among the founders of modern experimental scientific practice. He is most well known as the discoverer of Boyle’s Law that states that the volume of a gas has an inverse relationship with pressure at a constant temperature. He was a devout Christian, and in addition to his scientific work he wrote widely on matters of theology and apologetics. He never married, but he did win a large circle of personal friends by his wit and charm.

March 13, 2007

Mortification of Sin, Chapter 4

This week the men of our church were meditating on chapter 4 of John Owen's, The Mortification of Sin and particularly the effects of unmortified sin.

Owen argues that unmortified sin distracts the affections of the soul which are supposed to be upon God and witholds the peace, vigor and comfort that the mortification of sin supplies. Some of my favorite statements on unmortified sin are these,

"It lays hold of the affections, rendering its object beloved and desirable, so expelling the love of the Father; so that the soul cannot say uprightly and truly to God, "thou art my portion," having something else that it loves."

"(unmortified sin) is a cloud, a thick cloud, that spreads itself over the face of the soul, and intercepts all the beams of God's love and favour.'

"The unmortified heart is like the sluggards field - so overgrown with weeds that you can scarce see the good corn."

March 12, 2007

Zell Miller says Abortion the Cause of Many of America’s Problems

The abortion of over 45 million American citizens over the last 30 years has had many economic and political impacts that the proponents of abortion never thought about. One of these unintended consequenses is the wiping out of an entire generation of Democratic voters who are not here to vote Democratic in the upcoming election, because they were aborted.

The former Georgia Senator, Zell Miller addressing the fund raising dinner of the crisis pregnancy center, "Save A Live" said that abortion is the cause of many of Americas problems. He said,

“How could this great land of plenty produce too few people in the last 30 years? Here is the brutal truth that no one dares to mention: We’re too few because too many of our babies have been killed,”

“Over 45 million since Roe v. Wade in 1973. If those 45 million children had lived, today they would be defending our country, they would be filling our jobs, they would be paying into Social Security,” the former Georgia governor said. “Still, we watch as 3,700 babies are killed every single day in America. It is unbelievable that a nation under God would allow this.”

For Video of his speech:

March 08, 2007

Bringing Abominations Into Your House, or...

Households are prime targets for defiling abominations brought in via television, DVD's, web sites, songs... Moses speaks to this issue to the families of Israel during the last month of his life at age 120.

"Nor shall you bring an abomination into your house, lest you be doomed to destruction like it. You shall utterly detest it and utterly abhor it, for it is an accursed thing."
Deut 7:26

Instead, we have a brilliant and refreshing alternitive to bring in, "whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy--meditate on these things." Philippians 4:8

Marriage Weekend Coming Up

Next weekend (Mar 16-17) the married couples in our church are gathering for a weekend of centering our marriages on the Lord.

Philip Goodwin, an English Puritan writing in 1655 spoke of the glories of biblical home life and the corrosive effects of the world,

“It was comfortable when Christ turned water into wine, but tis lamentable when the World turns wine into water.”

What a struggle it is when a marriage loses its lustre. Why would it do that? Answer: The world the flesh and the devil. Worldly thinking, worldly meditations, worldly actions and worldly psychology will always turn the wine of marital joy into a plain and lifeless thing.

We will be reading and discussing scripture together to sweeten the wedding wine He has given.

March 07, 2007

Killing Sin God's Way - by the Holy Spirit

The men of our church are working their way through John Owen's, Overcoming Temptation - The Mortification of Sin. This week we read chapter 3 which argues that the work of mortification happens by a supernatural work of God through the Holy Spirit, which takes away all our pride and helps us see our technique in proper perspective. Owen says,

"The Holy Spirit is the Great Sovereign Cause of the Mortification of Indwelling Sin."

Romans 8:13 is the foundation of the argument which says, "if by the Spirit’... which means,

"He (the Holy Spirit) is the only sufficient for this work; all ways and means without him are as a thing of naught; and he is the great efficient of it – he works in us as he pleases’... In vain do men seek other remedies; they shall not be healed by them...”

He speaks of the inadequacy of Roman Catholic techniques (Popish religion), “rough garments, vows, orders, fastings, penances, preachings, sermons, books of devotion… they all look this way’... That the ways and means to be used for the mortification of sin invented by them are still insisted on and prescribed”

‘Because many of the ways and means they use and insist upon for this end were never appointed of God for that purpose… Who has required these things at your hand? Isa 1:12 and, ‘in vain do you worship me, teaching for doctrines the traditions of men” P58-59

Owen says that if we use human means and ignore the work of the Holy Spirit, we will "always learning but never coming to the knowledge of the truth 2 tim 3:7 so they are always mortifying but never come to any sound mortification.”

He reminds us of the words of Exekiel and the Lord Jesus Christ who said,

“I will give my Spirit and take away the stony heart Ezek 11:9, 36:26, and "without Christ we can do nothing’ John 5:31

March 01, 2007

Al Sharpton: It's Much Worse Than You Think

Al Sharpton was "shocked" to learn he is related to the late Senator Strom Thurmond.
See this from Aol News

He shouldn't be. The Bible (and the Human Genome project) make it clear that we all descended from one couple - and that makes us all related which is really bad news if you are racially over sensitive. See Ken Ham's book, "One Blood"

If you "couple" this with the fact that any two individuals on the planet, regardless of color, are 99.9% the same genetically you have to admit - we are, as the singer said, "Family."
See page 11 on this link: Human Genome Project

This makes Al Sharpton the descendant of some folks that might make him madder than he is now.

That we are all related by blood gives me a reason for rejoicing, instead of loathing. For we are one human family, with one common blood, with one genetically transmitted moral bloodline, that is healed only by the shedding of the blood of one savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Thanks be to God that we are related because Jesus Christ died on the cross for the sons of Adam.

Why Family Size Matters - Numbers 1-4

Recently, our family read the first four chapters of Numbers. We noted that the book of Numbers begins with heads of households reciting their geneaologies and the number of fighting men twenty years old and above. This was seen by us as an amazing feat, as we could hardly imagine being so well versed.

We saw how these families were posted in various positions around the Tabernacle and performed particular services to the Lord. Each family had significant strength of numbers.

For example the sons of Reuben were 46,500, while Simeon had 59,300. Judah had the most fighting men at 74,600 while Manasseh has the least, at 32,200 .

Here were some of our observations:

1. They had an intimate understanding of the status of their families and were able to recite their genealogies in detail.

2. They had an awareness of the numerical strength of their families, because the numerical strength of their families mattered to them.

3. The strength of these families is staggering.

4. The families worked together in the service of the Lord having specific duties which indicates that there was a division of labor according to families as families specialized in particular tasks.

Here are some thoughts to consider:

First, a statement: If you want to provide more warriors and perform more service to the Lord, have lots of children.

Second, a question: is your whole family mobilized for the service of the Lord as they were here?

Third, a proposition: our modern day idea of birth control influences the numerical strength of the church.

Fourth, a question: are the families in your church organized together into a division of labor which mobilzes particular families in the performance of particular duties?

Fifth, a question: is this possibly one reason why scripture is filled with the idea of "fruitfulness" and "multiplying greatly" in the land (Genesis 1:28, Deut 6:1-9...)?