February 21, 2007
I realize this is a little late. I thought I had posted this and linked to at the beginning of the month, but after a kind individual sent me an email, realized I had not.
So, here is the link to Eric Liddell’s February Devotions. I post them on my church’s website so that you can open it as a Word file and print it. For some reason, I have trouble preserving the formatting on the blog.
By the way, I plan to have the link for March by March 1st. Sorry for any inconvenience for those of you using this resource.
February 14, 2007
Happy Valentine’s Day. Here is a link to a survey that I believe was well constructed, fair, and could be helpful to many ladies who want to serve their brothers in Christ and honor their Lord by cultivating modesty.
I participated in the survey. I have not checked all the final results. It takes awhile to load each question, but the ones I have checked indicate that the guys were trying to be fair, balanced and helpful.
Ladies, moms and dads — take a look.
February 14, 2007
I have a 19 month old daughter, so I am not a practical expert in the area of children in church. However, I do believe that young children (as young as 3 or 4) can and should be with their parents during the Sunday morning worship service.
Please note, this is a personal conviction. I don’t impose it on others. I don’t judge others who come to a different conclusion. In fact, the church I pastor does offer a Kid’s Bible time during the sermon. However, I plan to have my children remain in church at a very young age. I have also seen a number of families do it very successfully; although, it is not easy!
Here are a couple of links that I’ve found helpful in thinking and planning for my daughter to attend and profit from the Sunday morning worship of the church:
Pastor Paul Martin: Helping Little Ones Sit in Church
John and Noel Piper: The Family Together in God’s Presence
February 9, 2007
Growing Up Christian is a book I wish I could have written. I wasn’t a “church kid” growing up. But, I have spent the past ten years around “church kids.” For those of you who don’t know, a church kid is someone who has grown up in the church. According to Graustein, “they come from Christian homes, have Christian parents, and have attended church their entire lives. They live in a Christian culture surrounded by Christians at home, church, and often school.” Karl Gruastein addresses the unique issues “church kids” face better than anyone I’ve come across.
Graustein understands both the privileges and dangers of growing up in the church. He begins by addressing the dangers of false assurance, taking God’s grace for granted, and wanting to be like everyone else. He issues a strong call for teenagers to be sure of their own faith and not just coast along with their parents. Graustein then spends five chapters helping teenagers to build a biblical worldview of humility, conviction and thankfulness based in a love for the Scriptures and God. He finishes with three chapters on Christian living that focus on battling sin, growing spiritually and using your talents. Throughout it all, he keeps the gospel directly in view.
Graustein does an excellent job of encouraging teenagers to evaluate themselves in the light of Gods’ Word and then act on what they see. He also includes helpful discussion and reflection questions. His two page chart comparing what the world says to what God says regarding a number of areas is a great help (pp. 72-73)
I highly recommend this book. Every teenager in the church would greatly benefit from carefully reading and considering what this book has to say. This book will also help those who work with Christian teens to refocus on the particular issues they face. I believe that if more “church kids,” their parents and pastors heeded the lessons of this book we wouldn’t see as many people abandoning their faith when they get out of High School.
You can order the book here: Growing Up Christian
February 8, 2007
As you read through Genesis 39-41 you can’t help but notice Joseph’s godly character. Here are a few of the qualities that particularly impress me:
He remained faithful in difficult circumstances.
He refused to sin against God, even in the face of repeated temptations (39:7-10)
He was helpful to people in trouble (40:6-8)
He always pointed people back to God (40:8;41:16)
My hope is God in His grace will give you and I the same godly character.
February 6, 2007
Most (if not all) of us long to be successful and significant. In Genesis 39 you will find the story of Joseph, who is called a successful man. He prospers in all that he does. He is consistently elevated to “management.” (39:2-6, 8, 22-23). God blesses those who are associated with him.
The key to Joseph’s success is simple. It is mentioned at both the beginning and end of the chapter — “the Lord was with Joseph.” (39:2,21).
What is interesting about Joseph’s success is his situation. If you are unfamiliar with the story, Joseph has been sold into slavery by his brothers. This successful man is a slave in Potiphar’s house. He will eventually be thrown in prison on false charges of attempted rape (because he refused Potiphar’s wife’s advances). Most of us would not think of this as a situation of success. Nor would we naturally conclude that the Lord was with us. Yet, that is what the Bible says.
What lessons can we learn from this? First, our definition of success is frequently wrong. Second, success is not dependent on our cirucmstances, but our faithfulness. Most importantly, success is a result of God’s presence in our lives.
February 1, 2007
The Peacemaking Pastor is was written by Alfred Poirier, the pastor of Rocky Mountain Community Church in Billings, Montana and the chairman of the board for Peacemaker Ministries. Poirier issues a stirring call for pastors to redefine their role to include Biblical Peacemaking as one of their chief responsibilities.
The book is organized in three main sections: who we are as people in conflict; who God is as a reconciling God, and how pastors are to effectively respond in shepherding their people.
Practically, he gives sound instruction on the nature of conflict, confession, forgiveness, conflict resolution within the church and the heart and practice of church discipline. He approaches all of these issues with sound Biblical insight, gracious humility and wise pastoral counsel. You will learn much as this seasoned pastor guides you down the paths of peace. He closes with some suggestions on how to develop a peacemaking culture in your church.
I found the chapters on church discipline and his explanation of how and why his church welcomed a convicted child molester into membership particularly helpful.
If you are a leader in your church, you should read this book. It is challenging, convicting and helpful. It will renew and restore your vision of what the Church of Jesus Christ should and can be.
If you are not a pastor, considering getting this book for your pastor. You may also be interested in The Peacemaker, by Ken Sande. It presents the same practical Biblical principles for both church leaders and lay people.
You can order the book by clicking here.