Showing posts with label Discipleship. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Discipleship. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Reading the Bible in a Year: Ligonier Ministries

Ligonier Ministries has done us a great favor by posting several tools to help believers read through the Scriptures in the coming year.  Some plans have morning and evening readings.  Others have 5 day schedules (presumably weekends are for catching up).  Others feature a 'chronological' reading of the the Scriptures.  Of course this requires some judgment calls since the Scriptures are not compiled in a chronological fashion.  For instance, Job is believed to be one of the oldest books in the Bible but its placement just before Psalms causes us to think otherwise.

In the years leading up to seminary I read the Bible chronologically.  That practice, probably more than anything else, helped me piece together the story of redemption.  At seminary all students were required to take a Bible Knowledge exam to see how well they knew the Scriptures.  Though I did not come to faith until I was in college I scored higher than many of my fellow students (many who grew up in Christian homes) and tested out of an obligatory class.

Click on the link below and select your Bible reading plan.

Ligonier Ministries: Bible Reading Plans

Monday, October 31, 2011

It's a Funeral--Bring the Kids

I came across this thoughtful piece and thought it was worth sharing.  Not long ago I talked to someone who would never do this to her daughter.  Seems a little over-protective to me.  Enjoy!

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October 31, 2011

It's a Funeral--Bring the Kids



Last week, my five-year-old son spent a week in Connecticut with my mom and dad. When he returned, shod in new tennis shoes and somehow taller, I plied him with questions about what he had done with Grandmother and Grandfather.

“We went to McDonald’s,” he began. “And Sonic. And Pumpkintown. And a funeral.”

When ministry kids visit ministry grandparents, the itinerary is sure to be interesting.

My son is actually quite familiar with funerals. As I was writing this, my husband and I counted at least 12 funerals or visitations that our kindergartener has attended in his lifetime. And, while he was attending his thirteenth with Grandmother, my three-year-old and I were at a funeral visitation here.

Our kids have been introduced to death. And I’m thankful.

This month, of course, even my local Kroger has been filled with skeletons and tombstones. But real death—standing in the chapel three feet from a crying widow and the temporal body of her husband—is far more horrible. The plastic bones in aisle 12 trivialize the impact of death. In the covenant community, death means real grief for friend, child, and spouse.

Read the rest here

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A Generation of Bandwagon Jumpers – Kevin DeYoung

Kevin DeYoung, Pastor of University Reformed Church in Lansing, Michigan has a great article for the under 40 crowd, especially those who have begun to understand reformed theology. He has credibility for he is a member of that crowd. He writes...

There are two ironclad rules of Gen XYZ Americans: (1) They like to be trendy, (2) but only until everyone knows what they’re into is trendy. We want to be like everyone else but, at the same time, different. So we gravitate to whatever people are into as long as it doesn’t feel like everyone else is into it.

This leads me to a few thoughts on the young, restless, reformed movement. I believe God is at work in the under-40 generation, doing something doctrinally, ecclesiologically, and doxologically healthy among many youngish Christians. Further, I believe this work of God is being mediated through a remarkable network of like-minded pastors, preachers, and scholars. I don’t know when there have been so many folks, often friends, saying and writing more or less the same things about the gospel, the atonement, the Scriptures, the glory of God, the doctrines of grace, the centrality of the church, the importance of preaching, the roles of men and women, and on and on it goes. We are blessed with an inordinate and growing number of good teachers, good books, good blogs, and good conferences.

But our desire for biblical truth, as understood (for the most part correctly, I believe) by Calvin, Edwards, Piper, Carson, etc. must be a passion for God, not a passion for trendy.


We must embrace historic protestant orthodoxy in general and, for many of us, particular Reformed expressions of it, not because it makes us feel superior to them (whoever them is), but because it is the best way to know Him. The goal is not to be a T4G-TGC-CHBC-ACE-PCA-SGM-DGM groupie. The goal is to know God, love God, and serve God–all of which can be helped, and is being helped, by the love for gospel truth in these groups (and many others).
Now, what interests me in all of this is the opening sentence of this last paragraph.  What does it mean to 'embrace historic protestant orthodoxy' and 'a particular Reformed expression of it'?  Does it mean to simply affirm that one follows a particular teacher or pastor (take your pick)?  Does it mean that one consciously says that "I am a reformed baptist, a reformed charismatic, etc."?  Or does it mean that one do more than give intellectual assent to a tradition or even give permission for others to label them as a certain type of Christian, but that one actually puts shoe leather to his/her profession and actually joins a church in that tradition?  I would hope that DeYoung has this in mind but I'm not sure. 

I, for one, am a bit tired of all of the talk about how much the younger crowd loves reformed theology.  Visit where they choose to worship (note I didn't say the church where they are a member) and you often find little that relates to historic reformed piety or practice.  Ask a few questions and it becomes clear that they are there for the music, the programs, the entertaining preaching, the big screens, the success, and the big budgets. 

There are real reformed churches out there -- places where pastors spend more time over their books than chewing the fat over a Starbucks.  You just need to look for them.  Are they perfect?  Hardly.  Do they have all the trendy things of the larger churches?  No, but they have what is essential: the true preaching of the Word, the right administration of the sacraments, and church discipline. 

Here's an analogy.  What's a more authentic dining experience?  Going to the mall and eating at a national chain restaurant or finding some hole in the wall place run by immigrants that serves food based on family recipes from the old country, with huge portions, and a propreitor that genuinely cares about your well-being?  That's the difference between the franchise model mega-church and the authentic reformed church. 

Hey Generation XYZ.  Do something counter-cultural.  Join an authentic reformed church that subscribes to reformed creeds and confessions.  You won't be disappointed. 

A Generation of Bandwagon Jumpers – Kevin DeYoung

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Stopping the Loss of Our Children from the Church

I heard that there is a food-fight at World Magazine's on-line site on this topic. I've not visited because I pretty much know the positions that are being articulated.

A few weeks ago I saw this post by PCA colleague, Rev. Andrew Webb. I've held off writing something until now. Here is his opening paragraph:

"A recent America's Research Group survey has confirmed the dire stats earlier reported by the Southern Baptist/Lifeway survey, namely that 88-89% of broadly evangelical kids leave the church by college. To quote from the article in the Christian Post: "According to ARG's survey, 95 percent of 20- to 29-year-old evangelicals attended church regularly during their elementary and middle school years. Only 55 percent went to church during high school. And by college, only 11 percent were still attending church."

According to Webb, there are several things that won't fix the problem: homeschooling, more church programs, making church relevant and hip, or pretending that there isn't a problem.

He also lists some solutions: Preach the whole GOSPEL (his emphasis); Rediscover PRAYER and PRAYER MEETING (his emphasis); Parents don't delegate your responsibility to the church and/or youth group, and Reinstitute Family Worship and Catechesis.

I, for one, found the article refreshing. You can read it in its entirety by clicking on the link below.

Stopping the Loss of Our Children from the Church

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Cal Thomas - The Voice Claims Another Victim

The first thing that should be acknowledged about South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford's admission to an extramarital affair is that it could happen to any of us. That is not an excuse (and no, it has not happened to me, or to my wife). Every married person has heard the voice; the one that says you deserve something "better."

Gov. Sanford should have been familiar with the voice because of the Bible studies he attended. The voice began seducing humanity a long time ago. It told our first parents that they needed more than the perfection of Eden. The voice told them that G-d knew that if they ate of the tree of knowledge of good and evil they would be like G-d. But they already were like G-d, because they were made in His image.

Stick with me you secularists and non-literalists, because there is a point to be made for you, too.

Psychiatrists explain that married people tire of one another after 10 or 20 years (it used to be seven years, as in that Marilyn Monroe/Tom Ewell film "The Seven Year Itch." Must be inflation.). Good marriages are the result of hard work. Forsaking all others is more than a wedding promise. It is a daily denial of one's lower instincts. Temptation is everywhere. The key to overcoming it is to realize you are fighting an adversarial force that wants to destroy you, embarrass you and cause ridicule to be heaped on the G-d you claim to worship.

Read the rest @
Cal Thomas

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Reading through the Bible in a Year

One of the most important things we can do is immerse ourselves in God's Word. As a relatively new Christian I read through the Bible several times and benefitted greatly.

PCA pastor Eric Costa, has produced a schedule to read through the Bible in 50 weeks. Here is his rationale:

There are many existing plans for reading through the Bible in a year. Some have you reading from four places in the Bible every day. Some go through the Psalms and/or the New Testament twice. This one is meant to give you weekends off, be late with that New Year's Resolution, allow for temporary backsliding, and take you very simply through the Old and New Testaments simultaneously. And if you absolutely must be legalistic about it, I even gave you checkboxes.

I looked it over and think its a great schedule. Click here
to find a link to download a PDF. I think that I'll be using it myself.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Emergent Church or Detergent Church?

Columinist Doug Giles writes about what is really needed in the church -- a good cleansing. He writes for a younger audience not academia, and addresses their concerns about what is wrong in the church today. Here is his top 10 list for cleansing evangelicalism's temple:

1. Get men who dig being rowdy back in the pulpit.
2. Could we have some sound doctrine, por favor?
3. Preach scary sermons (at least every fourth one).
4. Get rid of 99.9% of “Christian” TV and sappy Christian music.
5. Quit trying to be relevant and instead become prophetic contrarians, I’m talking contra mundus, mama!
6. Put a 10-year moratorium on “God wants you rich” sermons (yeah, that’s what we need to hear nowadays, you morons, more sermons about money, money, money!).
7. Embrace apologetics and shun shallow faith.
8. Evangelize like it’s 1999.
9. Push lazy Christians to get a life or join a Satanic Church.
10. Demand that if a Christian gets involved in the arts that their “craft” must scream excellence and not excrement.

Read the rest here:

Townhall.com::Columnists::Columnist

Monday, April 28, 2008

How Can I Bless My Pastor? Desiring God Ministries

By John Piper April 25, 2008

The following is an edited transcript of the audio.

How can I bless my pastor?

Lead somebody to Christ. Live a holy life. Don't lose your faith when you get cancer. Bring up your kid to love Christ. Do something radical for missions.

The common denominator for all of those is that you prove by your life that I haven't wasted mine.

Don't give me a Rolls-Royce when I turn sixty. I would've wasted my life if you think you're blessing me with some big financial gift when I'm sixty. I want to see your life changed. I want to see you pour yourself out for others. And I'm sure that's what you're asking about.


I get in prayer meetings and listen to my people pray, and I say, "That's what I'm living for."

They're holding on to Jesus. Life is falling apart for them over here, but they're not giving up on the Lord. They're rejoicing in him. Or I hear a man tell about how he shared Christ at his work.

Those are the things that make a pastor endure anything.

© Desiring God

Click on the link below to listen to the audio version.

How can I bless my pastor? :: Desiring God Christian Resource Library

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way and do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction. For web posting, a link to this document on our website is preferred. Any exceptions to the above must be approved by Desiring God. Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website: desiringGod.org