Thursday, November 26, 2009

A Thanksgiving Day Quote...

“In the midst of plenty…let us not forget the struggles of the past and what we owe to the pioneers who first adventured into this wilderness and made a path for those of us who have followed them. Though they nearly perished of hunger and cold in the beginning, they failed not in faith. When they had but a few kernels of to eat, they still gave thanks, choosing like Daniel to live on pulse with a good conscience rather than to eat from a king’s table. As the Lord prospered Daniel, so hath he prospered us.
Then they all stood with folded hands and bent heads, while he gave thanks for the abundant harvest and prayed that they might be guided to us every blessing to the honor and glory of God. And the Captain said, ‘Amen.’”
~Puritan Twins, by Lucy Fitch Perkins (1921)

Amen and Amen!
May God bless you all this gorgeous Thanksgiving Day, and may He be honored through it!


P.S. Enjoy the turkey :)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Are you living by the sweat of your own performance?

I have been reading Jerry Bridges’ excellent book Transforming Grace. It’s an absolute must read if you haven’t already read it. And if you have, I encourage you to re-read it. As is the case with everything Jerry writes, it is delectably deep and down to earth. I read these sentences last night once again and they really reminded me of just how easily I can drift into a performance driven relationship with God. He writes: My observation of Christendom is that most of us tend to base our relationship with God on our performance instead of on His grace. If we’ve performed well–whatever “well” is on our opinion–then we expect God to bless us. If we haven’t done so well, our expectations are reduced accordingly. In this sense, we live by works rather than by grace. We are saved by grace, but we are living by the “sweat” of our own performance. Moreover, we are always challenging ourselves and one another to “try harder.” We seem to believe success in the Christian life (however we define success) is basically up to us: our commitment, our discipline, and our zeal, with some help from God along the way. We give lip service to the attitude of the Apostle Paul, “But by the grace of God I am what I am” (1 Corinthians 15:10), but our unspoken motto is, “God helps those who help themselves.” The realization that my daily relationship with God is based on the infinite merit of Christ instead of my own performance is a very freeing and joyous experience. Amen. As I said in my sermon last week, the difference between living for God and living for anything else is that when we live for anything else we do so to gain acceptance. When we live for God we do so because we are already accepted. Real freedom (the freedom that only the Gospel grants) is living for something because we already have favor instead of living for something in order to gain favor.

Posted June 5th, 2009 by Tullian Tchividjian

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

While considering potential husbands for our daughters, let’s look at the heart and vision of the young man instead of whether he is completely stable financially. I have a couple of ideas as to what to look for in a young suitor for my daughters. This is not an exhaustive list, but it’s a good start.

1. He must love the Lord with all his heart mind and soul. (The only way to know this is to know him)(Thank you Jesus)
2. His desire must be to glorify God by enjoying Him. (Thank you Dr. Piper)
3. He must have boldness in his faith and an assurance that has lead to a godly vision for his future family. (Thank you Vision Forum)
4. He must see his godly role in the marriage as Priest, Profit, Protector, and Provider. (Thank you Dr. Bachman)
5. He must be sacrificial in his laying his life down for his family (Thank you Dad)
6. He must be teachable and willing to listen
7. He must be a member of good standing in a local church under the headship of several elders.

This is not a recipe on how to find the perfect husband for your daughter, and everyone has their own specifics. However, right now my family believes these are the things we need to be looking for in potential suitors. This is also what we need to be cultivating in my sons. (I’m sure this list will be added to as we approach “courtin’ season” but I doubt we’ll withdraw from it) This means that our future sons-in-law may need a little financial assistance here and there, but I believe that’s what generational faith is. As I see it, we need to look beyond the financial and focus on the spiritual.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

How to care for your pastor/elder

Churches must give their leaders the opportunity to fail. The Holy Spirit often inspires spontaneous ministry and opens unique doors of outreach. These may look risky, probably are, but giving pastors freedom to step out into unknown areas of Christ-centered projects is essential. If failure comes, evaluation is fine, but not recriminations.

The deadly threesome of “woulda, coulda, shoulda” must be avoided at all costs.

BURN-OUT – Perhaps ‘stress’ is a better word. A sense of being driven by deadlines, events and expectations of others, or the animal type of survival instinct – these express the elusive nature of burn-out. That pastors can come to the end of themselves emotionally, spiritually and physically is all too obvious. Let them talk about it without close scrutiny and then love them through it.

Give them rest!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Ageing Youth and its Effects on the Family

Young people are getting married at an older and older age each year. We are “fish in this world and we don’t even know we are wet.” I am a conservative, homeschooling, environmental, Reformed Christian; but I have not found in the Bible where it says a young man must be finished with his education, have a house, a supporting job, and a life’s calling as an elder in a church before he gets married. I believe we are requiring too many so called “Biblical” traits from our children before marriage. We may be doing it for their “best,” but I think we may actually be exasperating them. I don’t know about you, but I am a first generation, multi-generational minded believer. This means that I was not given the advantage that some of our young people have in being debt free when they get married. And guess what? I still have a mortgage. God has been working in our family in a mighty way, but my family is still paying for the sin of their father’s self-indulgence. I will say that those early marriage struggles were hard, but refined us as a couple fully dependent on God. The idea of having to be completely established before being married is possibly a way for the Enemy to keep us from having children during our youth. I believe we, as parents, tend to think that as soon as the child leaves the nest they are on their own. Not me. If I believe I should be debt free; then I will help my children and anyone else I can to be debt free. Our life can’t stop because we have debt. God promises food and clothing to those who love Him and keep His commandments. However, He may not grant shelter from the storm. He is the shelter in the storm, and we tend to forget that. We cannot plan out our lives so much that we completely leave out God’s providence (James 4:13-15).

May God direct and bless fathers and mothers as they grapple with these things.