May 30, 2007

Bringing Us To Manhood Through Preaching

The "Church Planter's Symposium" this weekend, has caused me to read John Calvin's section in "The Institutes of The Christian Religion" on the church. Calvin speaks of the two signs of the true church: the preaching of the Word and the celebration of the Lord's Supper.

He viewed the practice of preaching the Word of such importance that he encouraged that it be honored, even from the lips of insignificant men, for it brings us "to manhood."

“Those who think that the authority of the doctrine is impaired by the insignificance of the men who are called to teach, betray their ingratitude; for among the many noble endowments with which God has adorned the human race, one of the most remarkable, is that he deigns to consecrate the mouths and tongues of men to his service, making his own voice to be heard in them.” Book 4, p285

“Still everyone who listens with docility to the ministers whom God appoints, will know by the beneficial result, that for good reason God is pleased with this method of teaching, and for good reason has laid believes under this modest yoke.” Book 4, p288

“We see that God, who might perfect his people in a moment, chooses not to bring them to manhood in any other way than by the education of the Church. We see the mode of doing it expressed; the preaching of celestial doctrine is committed to pastors.. We see that all without exception are brought into the same order, that they may with meek and docile spirit allow themselves to be governed by teachers appointed for this purpose... Hence it follows, that all who reject the spiritual food of the soul divinely offered to them by the hands of the church, deserve to perish of hunger and famine…. For faith cometh by hearing… (Romans 10:17) Book 4, p284

The Church Edified By External Preaching

This week we are working toward our church planters symposium, June 1-3 where we will attempt to define Biblical church life that all church planters need to establish wherever their plantings may take them. Christ makes us His sons and daughters, and when He does, we need help from heaven. Our inner resources and intuition and wisdom are not enough for we need to be transformed in every area."

Here is John Calvin in "Institutes" on the nurturing external power of preaching in the church:

“The church can only be edified by external preaching and that there is no other bond by which the saints can be kept together than by uniting with one consent to observe the order which God has appointed in his Church for learning and making progress. P286

He says that the people in the church, “…stand in need of external helps…God, in accommodation to our infirmity, has added such helps, and secured the effectual preaching of the gospel, by depositing this treasure with the Church. He has appointed pastors and teachers, by whose lips he might edify His people (Eph 4:11); he has invested them with authority, and in short, omitted nothing that might conduce to holy consent in the faith and to right order.” Book 4, p280

“We see that God, who might perfect his people in a moment, chooses not to bring them to manhood in any other way than by the education of the Church. We see the mode of doing it expressed; the preaching of celestial doctrine is committed to pastors.. We see that all without exception are brought into the same order, that they may with meek and docile spirit allow themselves to be governed by teachers appointed for this purpose... Hence it follows, that all who reject the spiritual food of the soul divinely offered to them by the hands of the church, deserve to perish of hunger and famine…. For faith cometh by hearing… (Romans10:17) Book 4, p284

May 29, 2007

Telling the Providence of God and Honoring our Fathers

The Church family of Hope Baptist Church in Wake Forest, NC as well as friends and neighbors provided a Memorial Day Picnic on the Brown farm. It is a unique event featuring speeches by veterans, rides in military vehicles, Southern Bar B Q, in an old fasioned picnic setting. We ask our speakers to do three things not commonly found in modern memorial day ceremonies. First, we ask that they tell a story that praises the goodness of God during their time of service to our country. Second, to honor those who have died and who have served. Third, to preach the gospel with clarity and boldness, for there is salvation in only one Name - Jesus.

We sang America the Beautiful... and more

This year our speakers were Steve Breagy, Ashley Brown (above), Dr. David Lanier, Jim Dyer, Bill Henderson, Buck Bunn, Bill Brown and Bill Snead.

Speakers, Buck Bunn, Jim Dyer, Bill Henderson

The National Guard sent over an Apache attack helicopter - Stole the Show!

We were mezmerized by that Apache... as the looks on the faces prove.

The pilots were good sports and good educators... Thank you CW4 Jack Duffey and Copilot/gunner MAJ Vance Hill

A Sample of The Next Generation Ready to Protect Women and Children

The Marine Corps League of Wake Forest Posted the Colors

Like Bill Henderson said, "If you don't have anything to die for, you'll have nothing to live for."

Special Thanks To:
Lester Barham and cooking team
Homer Buffalo for the stage
Daylight Donuts...
The Bulman family for Breakfast
Mr. Mizelle for the slaw
Luther Howard Perry for the pork Bar B Q
Inez Perry for the delicious Bar B QSauce
My wife Deborah and our children
The people at Hope Baptist
Tim Decker and family from Va.
Dan Page, Piano

Karen Sultan, Piano
Guy and Jake Creep, tent set up...
Austin Cooper, Bugler
for taps
Paul Campbell, Bugler
for Assembly, Mess, Reveille

Three Real Men from Vision Forum

Joshua Harris, Chance Winberry and Nathan Barnes

Over the weekend, three men came from Vision Forum to stay in our home to help us with our Memorial Day Picnic. Five things were observed by all: 1. From the moment they arrived it was obvious that they were looking out for the interests of the Brown family and Hope Baptist Church and seemed to care nothing of their own interests. 2. They looked for ways to lighten the loads of others. 3. They worked happily and were a constant source of indiscriminate encouragement. 4. They worked heartily, as unto the Lord. 5. They worked tirelessly.

And, when it came time to leave, they thanked us for all we had done for them, when in reality, we did nothing for them, while they did much for us.

When the men of Hope Baptist reflected on the behavior of these young men, the conviction was unanimous - let's spend the next few years training our sons to be just like them!

May 25, 2007

Apache Attack Helicopter To Land Memorial Day on Brown Farm

The National Guard is sending a monster attack helicopter this year to our Memorial Day Picnic, piloted by Jack Duffey and gunner Vance Hill. The Apache can carry up to 16 Hellfire laser designated missiles. With a range of over 8000 meters, the Hellfire is used primarily for the destruction of tanks, armored vehicles and other hard material targets.

The four missiles on the left are Hellfire missles while the ones on the right are for smaller targets.

"Daddy, there's a boy outside..."

N.C.Dem. John Edwards Urges Protest Signs at Memorial Day Celebrations

This year, North Carolina Democrat, John Edwards wants us to use Memorial Day to protest the war and is asking people to carry anti war posters in parades and gatherings. Rubbish! I agree with Paul Morin, national commander of the American Legion who said the idea was “revolting.”

We are going do the following:

1. Honor those who died - all day long.

2. Give thanks for God’s help toward them during their time of service.

3. Pray for them.

4. Praise them for their service, and give some of them the microphone to speak.

5. Read the casualty list and have a time of prayerful silence for their sacrifice and for their families at 3pm.

Protest signs will not be appreciated at the Brown Farm on Memorial Day, for our appreciation will be directed to God and to those who served or died.

Dan Heimbach, Vietnam

May 24, 2007

Militant Fecundity

Peter and Kelly Bradrick shown with their first baby. Not shown are their hopes and prayers for fecundity.

"Fecundity" is, "producing young in great numbers, fruitfulness or fertility."

Following is an article by an author who says that a Christian answer to the culture war is to have lots of babies. Kairos Journal reports:

“Procreating for a Demographic Revolution—David Bentley Hart
David Bentley Hare is an Eastern Orthodox theologian, social commentator, and regular contributor to the journal First Things. In an article, from June 2004, discussing censorship, Hart observes the chasm between secular modernity’s obsession with choice and Christianity’s emphasis on true freedom being found in choosing only what is good. He therefore argues that Christians need to get into a culture war, and quickly. The best way they can do this, and hope to win, is by obedience to God’s initial commandment to humanity: Be fruitful and multiply!”

"Procreating for a Demographic Revolution" -- David Bentley Hart

May 18, 2007

2.8 billion lost in 6 minutes on internet gossip

Apple computer was exposed to internet gossip this week and experienced a sharp reversal.

Because of a spoof email sent out by hackers to Apple employees fraudulently announcing that the release of the Iphone as well as the release of Apple’s newest operating system, Leopard, was being bumped back several months investors on Wall Street panicked and the Apple Stock dropped 2.8 Billion dollars in 6 minutes. After Apple announced that the email was a fraud stocks climbed back up all day and ended near where they had been before the panic.


1. Don't instantly assume what you read on the internet is true.
2. People can be mean and it can damage companies, churches and individuals.
3. Rumors can be effective.
4. Verify your sources by referring to original source documents to see if they have been misrepresented.
5. Make sure the decisions you make are based on fact.
6. People who start rumors have motives.
7. Do the right thing: Reject a divisive man after the first and second admonition, knowing that such a person is warped and sinning, being self-condemned. Titus 3:10-11
8. If you repeat a rumor, you may be just as guilty as the one who started it.

Avoid The "Temperate Zone"

R. Kent Hughes writes of the passion of the apostle Paul and how important it is to take action,

“We need, like Paul to have hearts that because of a passion for souls and for God’s glory are willing to run the risk of unwise decisions. Some hearts never risk anything... They desire a temperate zone free from the storms of sin and from the tempests that accompany a life of service. Never burn for the souls of others, and you will avoid rejection. Never suggest a plan to reach the community or the world, and you will never be criticized for it. Never give counsel to someone undergoing the pain of separation or divorce, and you will never give errant advice. But just think of all the heavenly checks you will never cash for yourself or others”

Kent Hughes, Commentary on Acts, p296

May 15, 2007

50% High School Seniors Think Sodom and Gomorrah Were Married

Cathy Lynn Grossman, writing in USA Today, says "Americans get an 'F' in religion"

"The article goes on to say,

"Sometimes dumb sounds cute: Sixty percent of Americans can't name five of the Ten Commandments, and 50% of high school seniors think Sodom and Gomorrah were married.

Stephen Prothero, chairman of the religion department at Boston University, isn't laughing. Americans' deep ignorance of world religions — their own, their neighbors' or the combatants in Iraq, Darfur or Kashmir — is dangerous, he says.

His new book, Religious Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know — and Doesn't, argues that everyone needs to grasp Bible basics, as well as the core beliefs, stories, symbols and heroes of other faiths."

Here are two scary implications of these statistical realities: First, when a people do not have an accurate historical context, they are subject to any historical reinterpretation - which is often at the root of tyrrany and persecution of the church. Second, when people are inattentive to the Bible, they become like chaff in the wind (Psalm 1).... or, like Sodom and Gomorrah!

Memorial Day Coming Up - May 28

One of my favorite days of the year is Memorial Day Picnic - the day we honor our veterans and give thanks to God for his kindness toward us.

Great Speeches from 11:00-3:00 From Veterans

Rides in Vintage Military Vehicles

It is an Old Fashioned Memorial Day Picnic for the Whole Family

You will meet re-enactors of various Kinds, like David Lanier - Storyteller, Balladeer and Proclaimer of Good News

You Will Meet Colorful Characters and Old Friends - From All Over the Place - Here is Jim Dyer - Vietnam

For Directions, go to mapquest and find 3721 Quarry Road, Wake Forest, NC 27587

For a fun look at our Memorial Day Picni, Click Here

May 14, 2007

Harvards First Female President - and Other Gender Related Firsts

Drew G. Faust is Harvard’s first female president, first Catholic president and the first president to be appointed with no degree from Harvard. She is an eminent historian and academic leader who has served since 2001 as the founding dean of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. She will become the twenty-eighth president of Harvard University, effective July 1.

The day after this announcement, Yale followed suit with their first female president, Sharon Kugler. She is Catholic and now the top religious official at the school that graduated Jonathan Edwards, Timothy Dwight and other theological luminaries.

Here are some other firsts in the last year:

Nancy Pelois is the first female speaker of the House in it's 371 year history

Condoleeza Rice, the first female Secretary of State in US history

Bishop Gene Robinson, the first openly homosexual bishop of the Episcopal Church USA

And, to shift from gender to religion how about this... we now have the first Muslim congressman, Keith Ellison.

May 13, 2007

Without the Gospel

I am preparing tonight for preaching tomorrow in Acts 21:1-16 which displays Paul's indomitable resolution to face the suffering that awaits him in Jerusalem. What kind of gospel would make a man open himself up to so much trouble? What could be sweet enough to make an urgency like this rise up inside a man so that he would make a beeline to so much suffering. Only something more wonderful than life... The gospel of the grace of God. I was brought to this tonight from reading a sermon by Charles Spurgeon entitled, "A Gospel Worth Dying For". He said,

I know that by Grace we are saved through faith and that not of ourselves—it is the gift of God! What more do I need to know? You may leave this Rock, if you like, my Brother, for you may be able to swim. But I must stay right where I am, for I would drown. When the crack of doom shall be heard, I shall be here, God helping me, believing Gospel of the Grace of God and no other creed...

Without the gospel I would drown...

May 09, 2007

90% Choose Abortion After Downs Syndrome Test

Post christian thinking expresses itself in many ways. Here is one: fetal selection and designer babies are becoming more common, especially with a new test. The sad fact is that when given a test for downs syndrome, 90% choose to abort. A NY Times press release today reads,

"Until this year, only pregnant women 35 and older were routinely tested to see if their fetuses had the extra chromosome that causes Down syndrome. As a result many couples were given the diagnosis only at birth. But under a new recommendation from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, doctors have begun to offer a new, safer screening procedure to all pregnant women, regardless of age."

On this issue, I received this note from a father in our church who has a beautiful downs syndrome daughter:

Regarding that article about Down syndrome. Do you think that we could save more Downs Syndrome babies by proving that they have a smaller carbon footprint since they can't drive and will most likely live at home throughout their adult years? Have a nice day,

May 07, 2007

Long Term Problems With Gossip

R. Kent Hughes in his commentary on Acts 21 tells a story about one of the key practical problems with gossip. Perhaps this is one of the reasons the judgments against it are so strikingly harsh,

"In an eastern land, a woman repeated a bit of gossip about a neighbor, and within a short time the whole town knew the story. The slandered person was deeply hurt and most unhappy. But then the lady responsible for spreading the rumor learned that it was completely untrue, so she went to a wise old sage to find out what she could do to repair the damage. After listening to her problem, he said,. “Go to the market place, purchase a fowl, and have it killed. Then on your way home pluck its feathers one by one and drop them along the path!” Though surprised by this unusual advise, the woman did as she was told.

The next day she informed the man that she had done as instructed. “Now go and collect all those feathers and bring them back to me,” the sage said. The lady followed the same path, but to her dismay the wind had blown all the feathers away. After searching all day long, she returned with only two or three in hand. “You see,” said the old wise man, “It is easy to drop them, but impossible to bring them all back. Likewise, it does not take much to spread a false rumor, but you can never completely undo the wrong.” We Christians must take this to heart!"

Not only does gossip "go down to the innermost being" leaving the hearer forever affected, it lasts longer and travels further than you might have intended. Prov 18:18

For more on gossip:

Handling Differences

Here are two of my English Puritan heroes speaking about wars between Christians over their differences,

Matthew Henry in his commentary on Acts 21, where Paul is slandered by the Jews says,

“It is certain the least judicious are the most censorious, the weak-headed are the hot-headed.”

In a similar vein his father Phillip wrote,

“It is not so much our differences of opinion that doeth us mischief, we may as soon expect all the clocks in town to strike together as to see all good people of a mind in everything this side of heaven. It is not so much the differences that doth us mischief but the mismanagement of our differences.”

Children are Bad for the Planet - Large Families Frowned Upon

A report from the "Optimum Population Trust", says that those with large families are frowned upon for their unusually large carbon footprint. They call it an "environmental misdemeanor". The report reads,

"HAVING large families should be frowned upon as an environmental misdemeanour in the same way as frequent long-haul flights, driving a big car and failing to reuse plastic bags, says a report to be published today by a green think tank.

John Guillebaud, co-chairman of OPT (Optimum Population Trust) and emeritus professor of family planning at University College London, said:

"The effect on the planet of having one child less is an order of magnitude greater than all these other things we might do, such as switching off lights.

"The greatest thing anyone in Britain could do to help the future of the
planet would be to have one less child."

The paper by the Optimum Population Trust will say that if couples had two children instead of three they could cut their family's carbon dioxide output by the equivalent of 620 return flights a year between London and New York.”,23599,21684156-5009760,00.html

May 02, 2007

When Fed not Gospel But Philosophy

We just completed our annual Expository Preaching Conference in Wake Forest, and were thankful for the time to re-calibrate and refresh regarding the centrality (and sweetness) of Holy Scripture for the church. In Robert Reymond's book "The God Centered Preacher" there is the following verse that expresses the heart of what we hoped to leave with one another,

"The hungry sheep look up, and are not fed.
The hungry sheep, that crave the living Bread,
Grow few, and lean, and feeble as can be
When fed not Gospel but philosophy,
Not love's eternal story, no, not this,
But apt allusion, keen analysis,
Discourse well framed - forgot as soon as heard -
Man's thin dilution of the living Word.

Robert Hammond Adams, (1883-1975)