I’m reading The Shepherd Leader at Home and being super duper encouraged. Probably the best book I’ve read on how awesome a responsibility and a privilege it is to be a husband and a dad. It’s all about stepping up to the call God has given us as men. It’s a must read for all the WBC men.
For now I just triple dog dare you to listen to this short video. The author, Tim Witmer, shares how men should know and pray for their families on the deepest levels.
As Jesus’ followers, it is imperative that we keep the gospel central in all we say and do. Sadly the gospel could so easily get lost in the discussion surrounding same sex marriage. The most important question is: do you believe that Jesus is who said and showed he was? Do you believe that Jesus is Lord? Jesus’ lordship rules over all of our orientations and lifestyles and marriages and gender and sexuality. Therefore, what one believes about Jesus is far more important than one thinks about homosexuality. We must remember and communicate that Jesus saves and transforms all sorts of sinners. We must remember that Jesus zealously opposes our sins of lust and greed and porn and anger and self-righteousness and pride and impatience and (you get the point).
So, I encourage you to equip yourself with some thoughtful, biblical instruction.
Host: So how do you reconcile the command to love all people with a position on homosexuality that some would say is radically intolerant?
Pastor:(smiling) If you think my position on homosexuality is radical, just wait until you hear what else I believe! I believe that a teenage guy and girl who have sex in the backseat of a pick-up are sinning. The unmarried heterosexual couple living down the street from me is sinning. In fact, any sexual activity that takes place outside of the marriage covenant between a husband and wife is sinful. What’s more, Jesus takes this sexual ethic a step further and goes to the heart of the matter. That means that any time I even lust after someone else, I am sinning. Jesus’ radical view of sexuality shows all of us up as sexual sinners, and that’s why He came to die. Jesus died to save lustful, homo- and heterosexual sinners and transform our hearts and minds and behavior. Because He died for me, I owe Him my all. And as a follower of Jesus, I’m bound to what He says about sex and morality.
Look no further for our culture’s confessional statement in three points:
God made me this way.
He wouldn’t deny my natural desires.
And I don’t have to explain myself to you or anyone else.
You won’t understand the challenge facing Christians regarding homosexuality until you see how these three points permeate our culture. On the surface, we appear to be locked in a battle of rights we can’t win. Christians declare our right to speak out and legislate according to religious conviction in defense of traditional institutions. Gays pursue their right to life, liberty, happiness with regard to their sexuality. But homosexuality fronts a much bigger challenge that threatens us all.
Same-sex marriage makes sense if you assume that the individual is the center of the universe, that God—if he exists—is there to make us happy, and that our choices are not grounded in a nature created by God but in arbitrary self-construction. To the extent that this sort of “moralistic-therapeutic-deism” prevails in our churches, can we expect the world to think any differently? If we treat God as a product we sell to consumers for their self-improvement programs and make personal choice the trigger of salvation itself, then it may come as a big surprise (even contradiction) to the world when we tell them that truth (the way things are) trumps feelings and personal choice (what we want to make things to be).
A friend recommended a post today, and after reading it I wanted to pass it on. Steve Cornell writes,
A wife once told me that she planned to leave her husband because (in her words) she “just didn’t love him anymore.” I asked her to change the way she worded what she planned to do. I suggested that it would be more accurate to say, “I am choosing to no longer value my husband and to break my commitment to remain faithful to him.”
She insisted on using terms that made her a victim of feelings she could not change. Ironically, she also thought her decision was virtuous in its honesty and lack of hypocrisy. Over the years, I have had people tell me they want to be married because they love each other and I’ve had people (like this woman) tell me that they want out of their marriages because they no longer feel love for their mate.
This has led me to ask some serious questions about the nature of love. What is love? Is it something we can fall into and fall out of? Is it chemistry? Infatuation? Is it an emotional response or a choice? In my evaluation, I’ve concluded that we need to distinguish two dimensions of love.
Courageous the Movie opens in theaters September 30. The tag line says it all–“Honor Begins At Home.” Hollywood’s not putting out too many movies with that message these days! Personally I’m intrigued to see how they encourage fathers to be biblically courageous in leading their homes. I need that, don’t you ?! That’s a hard task to do–to avoid a simple, moralistic “be courageous!” What we need is gospel encouragement–“You can’t be courageous on your own. You need the grace and power of God through Jesus!”
Though I haven’t seen it yet, I’ve seen some great reviews that say the movie actually pulls it off. I highly recommend you read Andy Naselli’s review. And if you’re going to see the movie, try to make it opening weekend. That will help show the movie people that there’s a real demand for movies like this.
Sept 9th and 10, Lakeside Community Church in Waterboro will be hosting speakers Stu and Ruth Ann Batstone from World Harvest Mission. They will be covering topics in marriage, taking the opportunity to help couples view their marriage through the lens of the gospel. The format for this workshop is unique, in that the Batstones will each present their topics then discussion will be held between husband and wife.No uncomfortable group therapy discussions—just good one-on-one time with your spouse. The hosts are also recommending that people clear their schedules to allow for a lunch date on Saturday, immediately following the workshop, to continue their conversations.
Cost is $20/couple.
Friday, September 9 at 6:30pm-9:30pm thru September 10 8:30am-12:30pm
Below is a post from Acts 29 welcoming the Berniers into the A29 church planting Network. Lots to thank Jesus for!
Briefly describe your story of your call to plant a church
After I was saved, I went to a Bible school where I heard about the dire need in Montreal. When I heard that, it soon became apparent that I was headed there. But I did not know in what capacity. It was at that point I started listening to some of Mark Driscoll’s sermons and heard about one talk he gave called “The Ox”. It was through that message that I really sensed God calling me to plant a church in Montreal.
Through my support raising, God made it more clear about how I should be planting churches in Montreal. Missional communities really became the most logical & missiological means to plant in Montreal in order to hold together good community on mission as well as good theology. After raising our support, we got our necessary papers to be able to come to Canada and work in a full-time job which allows us to be here to plant.
What were the biggest challenges you faced in planting your church (and/or currently facing)?
Myself. It seems that I keep bringing my agenda, pride, and ideas to the table. It is so hard sometimes to see that we are the problem.
Churched. People who come with a church background have an idea of what they think the church should be, when in reality, we are moving a different way. It is a calling to challenge worldviews in the church just as much as those outside the church. Continue reading →
For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name in serving the saints, as you still do. —Hebrews 6:10
That is one of the most ridiculously awesome promises in all the universe–God REMEMBERS all the little (and big) things we do out of love for his name as we serve one another. We might be tempted to think that others don’t care or notice. They might, they might not. But God always notices!
The author of Hebrews wanted his church family to be confident that their trust in God’s promises and radical obedience wasn’t a waste. So he reminded them how their supreme love for God had overflowed in sacrificial service to each other (Hebrews 10:32-36)…
They faced public ridicule and persecution, verbal and physical abuse. They felt the pain of others.
They stuck by those who ended up in prison, knowing that could possibly land them there too.
They didn’t freak out when their property was confiscated by their enemies. They knew their real treasure was with God, was God.
They joyfully loved God and joyfully served each other in the nitty, gritty details of life as they followed Jesus together.
Can you imagine being a part of that church family?! In way we are! We are their brothers and sisters in God’s Family because of Jesus. And as God’s children, all of us are also Servants. It’s in our Gospel DNA. We are Servants of God who serve others as a way of life. We serve because God serves!
WBC, let me encourage you to be confident that your trust in God’s promises and your radical obedience in serving one another is not a waste! God notices. God cares. God will reward. Let me remind you and praise God for how his love for you is overflowing in your love for another!
You joyfully open your homes to others and even families, blessing them so they can pay off debt and save for their own home.
You take in children for a week from the city—not merely to give them a taste of Maine but of Jesus and his glorious gospel.
You prepare meals for those who have been sick or injured or have given birth or just because! (Nothing says “We love you with God’s love” like a pan of lasagna!) Continue reading →
Supposedly 7 out of 10 kids abandon the church by the time they’re 23 years old. Tim Challies reminds us that the gospel is more powerful than the pollsters are alarming. Read the whole thing. You’ll be blessed and encouraged. Let’s keep the gospel “of first importance” at WBC…for the eternal joy of our children.
I wonder how many of those 7 out of 10 kids who abandon the church, how many of the 94 percent, how many of the 6 of 10—however you want to interpret the numbers—I wonder how many of them have ever truly encountered the true gospel. I wonder how many have heard that gospel and then seen it consistently lived out in the lives of parents and friends’ parents and pastors and young people and old people. I have no doubt that 60 or 70 percent of young people do, indeed, abandon church. But I have no doubt that far, far fewer than this abandon the church when they have been raised in homes and churches that treasure and model and celebrate the gospel.
I am convinced that the reason so many young people abandon the church is that they have seen far more hypocrisy than gospel; they have had their emotions stirred but never their souls.
Helen Lee’s book, The Missional Mom, really helped me to understand better how to live out our callings as Moms with the intentionality to also live out God’s calling for all of us (to bring the gospel to all people)….to live out God’s mission within our home, but also outside our homes. She encourages us to teach this to our children, so by God’s grace, we can create missional families serving God together!
There is a lot of practical advice on how to start becoming more intentionally missional as a Mom, and great examples of women that have and are living it now. These Missional Moms made their families a priority but also desired to make a difference in our world and acted on this desire by helping the poor, serving others, opening their homes to others, etc — all to bring the gospel to those God has place in their community. This is a must read for all Moms wanting to serve God outside the home, while balancing her calling within the home!
A few of my favorite quotes are:
“In today’s culture, helping people embrace Christianity is less about convincing them and more about inviting them into your community and helping them see and find Christ in you.”
“And missional moms have to fine-tune their sensitivity to cultural forces because being missional is often about doing the very opposite of what the culture around us encourages us to do….If I do not take the time to understand cultural influences, then it will be far too easy for me to adopt practices and lifestyles at variance with God’s intentions and plans for me.”
“One way missional moms live counter-culturally is to resist focusing only on what is happening within the walls of her own house and instead to take notice of the needs outside her doorstep. Certainly missional moms give their families high priority, and certainly there are seasons of life, particularly when children are young, when it’s difficult for a mother to do much else but focus on her family. Mothers are called to “watch….over the affairs of her household” (Proverbs 31:27) and to be a nurturing, supportive presence for family members. But managing one’s household is not the same as retreating from God’s mission for Christ-followers to care for the world. God has strong words for His people when they spend too much effort building their own households at the expense of His house.”
Cindy and I want to tell you about a wonderful opportunity for couples who want to invest in their marriage. Family Life (the people who put together the Weekend to Remember conferences which we promote) have put together a powerful video presentation/conference which will be coming to our area on Friday evening, June 3rd and Saturday, June 4th. Basically, the video conference is the same great information that you would get at the Weekend to Remember but in a condensed, fast paced, high quality, entertaining format, and the cost is only $40/couple. We hope that you’ll consider taking advantage of this great opportunity and will tell others about it as well.
Your brother in Christ,
Friday, June 3, 2011 from 7:00 PM – 9:30 PM Saturday, June 4, 2011 from 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM