Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Gospel-Centered Parenting

I spoke at Grace Community Church this past Sunday. My good friend and overseeing pastor, Aron Osborne is the Senior Pastor of this church. They’ve invited me to share on “Parenting Teens: An Epic Adventure in Gospel-Centered Living”. This is certainly an area in which I have much to learn! I was glad to serve them by speaking on this topic. You can access the message here.

Preparing for this message brought fresh conviction on some areas I need to grow in as a parent. Peg and I have been discussing them and bringing some course corrections to our parenting. Thank God for fresh conviction and instruction from His word!

My preparation also made me aware that there are folks who are hungry for good gospel-centered parenting instruction and examples. So I put together a short list of resources. Please check them out and enjoy the life-changing fruit that God will give you as you depend on him in applying these truths!

God Bless,

Friday, April 25, 2008

Expulsive Power of a New Affection

Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world.
If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
1 John 2:15

"A moralist will be unsuccessful in trying to displace his love of the world by reviewing the ills of the world. Misplaced affections need to be replaced by the far greater power of the affection of the gospel."

Taken from the sermon The Expulsive Power of a New Affection by Thomas Chalmers 1780-1847 via Jeff Haavisto

Take a look at this excellent truth expounded in Thomas Chalmers sermon. Understanding this will change your pursuit of Christlikeness!

God Bless,

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Together for the Gospel

Well, we had a fantastic week at Together for the Gospel 08. Thank God for this wonderful conference, the men who lead it and the 5000+ church leaders who participated in it.

Jeff Haavisto, Phil Lowther, Chris Knowles and I attended and were very encouraged by the excellent teaching, fantastic fellowship and wonderful corporate worship. We came back really jazzed. May God prosper us in these truths to give away what we received!

Bottom line lesson for me: By God's Grace Keep the Gospel Pure and It Will Keep Us for God, His People and His Purposes in love, joy and all the fruit of the Spirit.

Check out the messages here:

T4G 2008

Tuesday April 15 - Thursday April 17, 2008
Kentucky International Convention Center | Louisville, KY

Session I
Ligon Duncan - Sound Doctrine – Essential to Faithful Pastoral Ministry | Play Now|Download

Session II Thabiti Anyabwile - Bearing the Image: Identity, the Work of Christ, and the Church | Play Now | Download

Session III John MacArthur - The Sinner Neither Able Nor Willing: The Doctrine of Absolute Inability | Play Now | Download

Session IV Mark Dever - Improving the Gospel: Exercises in Unbiblical Theology | Play Now | Download

Session V RC Sproul - The Curse Motif of the Atonement | Play Now | Download

Session VI Albert Mohler - Why Do They Hate It So? The Doctrine of Substitution | Play Now | Download

Session VII John Piper - How the Supremacy of Christ Creates Radical Christian Sacrifice | Play Now | Download

Session VIII CJ Mahaney - Sustaining a Pastor's Soul | Play Now | Download
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The Insanity of Doubt

What I am telling you is that it easier for us humans to believe and trust in everything else than in the man Christ, who alone is all in all, and more difficult for us to rely on Him in whom and through whom we possess all things.

Taken from the sermon that Martin Luther preached on the fourth Sunday in Advent 1532 from my friend Jeff Haavisto

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

A Reader's Hebrew Bible

Zondervan has come out with a Readers Hebrew Bible. I plan to get one asap. Check out this post from Justin Taylor on this:

Here's some more information (and an offer at the end):
Ideal for Hebrew students and pastors, A Reader’s Hebrew Bible saves time and effort in studying the Hebrew Old Testament. By eliminating the need to look up definitions, the footnotes allow the user to read the Hebrew and Aramaic text more quickly, focusing on parsing and grammatical issues. A Reader’s Hebrew Bible offers the following features:
  • Complete text of the Hebrew and Aramaic Bible using the Leningrad Codex (minus critical apparatus)
  • Shaded Hebrew names that occur less than 100 times
  • Footnoted definitions of all Hebrew words occurring 100 times or less (twenty-five or less for Aramaic words)
  • Context-specific glosses
  • Stem-specific glossed definitions for verb forms (Qal, Piel, Hiphil, and so forth)
  • Ketib/Qere readings both noted in the text and differentiated appropriately
  • Marker ribbon
Featuring a handsome Italian Duo-Tone™ binding, A Reader’s Hebrew Bible is a practical, attractive, and surprisingly affordable resource.

Page Count: 1680

Size: 7.2 wide x 9.9 high x 2.1 deep in. | 183 wide x 251 high x deep 53 mm
Weight: 3.26 lb | 1477 gms

Available: March, 2008
Publisher: Zondervan
To see some sample pages, click here.

And here's an offer from Zondervan for readers of this blog: they will send a complimentary copy ($49.99 retail) to the first five people who (1) post a link to the Amazon page for A Reader's Hebrew Bible, (2) agree to write a blog review about the book after receiving it, and (3) email chris (dot) fann (at) zondervan (dot) com.

How Do New Englanders Come to Christ?

Check out this information via the Baptist Convention of New England and VNE:

Vision New England has recently conducted a study on how people come to faith in Christ in New England.

Pastors were contacted for names of recent adult converts in their congregations. About 200 recent converts were contacted and agreed to a ten minute questionnaire. These people had all been Christians for two years or less. This study has much interesting data for reaching New Englanders for Christ.* Here are the top twelve discoveries that were made through the study.

1. The Power of Relationships: 71% of the respondents said that a caring Christian was the most important factor in their coming to faith in Christ.

2. Conversion Process: 86% said they came to faith in Christ over a period of time. 32% took several months to a year, and 54% took several years. Only 14% responded to a one time presentation of the gospel.

3. God is Reaching All Generations with the Gospel: all age groups were represented in the survey: GenY - 21%; GenX - 36%; Boomers - 34%; Seniors - 9%.

4. A Major Disconnect: 80% of New England churches say evangelism is one of their top three priorities, yet only 2% of churches show ongoing adult conversions.

5. Church Service: going to church (63%) is second only to personal relationships in the process of conversion. This is especially true in smaller churches. 49% said meeting with the pastor was key; 45% said a class for adults was a strong factor; and 43% said coming to church with a need or a crisis was the turning point for them.

6. Alpha's New England Impact: 28% of new converts said they were reached through the Alpha course. This Bible study course has had a tremendous impact in New England.

7. Effectiveness of Classic Approaches: Only 14% of converts came to faith in a one time gospel presentation approach. It seems that "confrontational evangelism" approaches are not as effective in New England as "relational evangelsm."

8. Educational and Economic Factors: these do not seem to be a factor. People from all economic and educational levels are coming to Christ.

9. Church Involvement of Converts: 77% of new converts report attending church at least four times a month. Only 23% say they attend less than four times a month.

10. Mercy Ministries Help Hurting Find Christ: a life crisis softens the hearts of the lost and opens them to the gospel. Church ministries to hurting people help them come to Christ.

11. The Pastor's Role is Critical: a church will not develop a culture of reaching out to the lost without the pastor's leadership. He leads the way in developing personal relationships and by providing an example.

12. Spiritual Seekers: a group of respondents indicated that they were simply searching for something. This group represents all demographic levels. Even if a person has had a negative experience with church, he/she may be open to a friendship that will enhance his/her spiritual search.

*You are encouraged to purchase the full study from Vision New England by calling 978-929-9800, or by e-mailing info@VisionNewEngland.orgThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it . The cost is $10.00.

Faith and Joy

Just as Abraham. in pure and strong faith, laughed for joy, so too, Mary and Joseph marveled, not from unbelief but with mighty faith and uncommon understanding. That is the unique nature of faith, that the firmer one believes, the more one marvels and the happier one is. In contrast, when faith is absent, there is neither joy nor enthusiasm.

Martin Luther from a sermon preached on the first Sunday after Christmas in 1531from Jeff Haavisto, King of Grace Church

Promises for a Repentant Sinner

The repenting sinner can go to God with boldness in prayer and look upon him not as a judge, but as a father. He is "born of God" and is heir to a kingdom (Luke 6:20). He is encircled with promises. He no sooner shakes the tree of the promise but some fruit falls.

Taken from the book The Doctrine of Repentance by Thomas Watson 1668 from Jeff Haavisto, King of Grace Church

Those That Live with a Broken Heart

I have heard of people dying of a broken heart, but I always bless God when I meet those that live with a broken heart, because it is written, "A broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise" (Psalms 51:17).
If you have that broken heart within you, beloved, Christ came to cure you; and He will do it, for He never came in vain. "He shall not fail nor be discouraged" (Isaiah 42:4).
With sovereign power, anointed from on high, He watches for the worst cases. Heart disease, incurable by man, is His speciality! His gospel touches the root of the soul's illness, the mischief that dwells in that place from which all the issues of life spring Prov. 4:23).

Taken from the book God Loves You by Charles Spurgeon 1834-1892 from Jeff Haavisto, King of Grace Church

Be Often Among the Godly

Be often among the godly. They are the salt of the earth, and will help to season you. Their counsel may direct, their prayers may enliven you. Such holy sparks may be thrown into your breasts as may kindle devotion in you. It is good to be among the saints to learn the trade of godliness: "He that walketh with wise men shall be wise"(Prov 13:20).

Taken from the book The Godly Man’s Picture by Thomas Watson 1666 from Jeff Haavisto, King of Grace Church