Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Frank Page and Others Respond to Supreme Court Ruling for Gay Marriage

"We believe this is a wrong decision with far-reaching moral and religious liberty implications. With one stroke of the pen, this court has redefined the universal, historical and biblical ideal of marriage as a monogamous relationship between one man and one woman.

"From a biblical perspective, the normalization of homosexual behavior and the legitimization of same-sex marriage are clear marks that God's hand of favor has been withdrawn from society (The New Testament, Romans 1:24-32). This court has formally disavowed His rule over our personal lives, our families, our communities and our nation.

"The withdrawal of God's restraining hand of influence will directly impact our children and grandchildren. They will be increasingly marginalized by the mainstream entertainment and news media, facing overt persecution for their faith unless we experience a mighty movement of God to awaken us to biblical redemption through Jesus Christ.

Read the entire article here on Baptist Press.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Pray for Your Pastor - Sermon Preparation

Most church members give little thought to the amount of time it takes a pastor to prepare each sermon. In reality, sermon preparation is a large portion of a pastor's workweek. Unfortunately, this work is invisible to typical church members. They don't realize the enormous amount of time it takes just to prepare one sermon.

I recently conducted an unscientific Twitter poll to ask pastors how much time they spend in sermon preparation. For this question I asked for the amount of preparation time for one sermon. Many pastors must prepare more than one sermon per week, so their workload to prepare to preach is even greater.

I am pleased and appreciative for the number of responses I received. Here are the results of the poll by three-hour increments . . .

Read the entire article by Thom Rainer here.

Summer in Louisville

Ah, it does my heart good to see this picture of the campus of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in one of my very favorite cities in the United States - Louisville, Kentucky!  Every June my mind and heart seem to return to Louisville and SBTS.  I think I miss it most in June and October.   Very wonderful memories of my wife and I falling in love and enjoying the campus and the city of Louisville together.  June makes me think of strolling along the Ohio River, eating at The Old Spaghetti Factory downtown, taking J-term classes, and throwing baseballs and Frisbees in the Josephus Bowl at the seminary.  We were engaged in the steeple of the chapel in the forefront of the picture! 

Children Need the Great Outdoors! Nature-Deficit Disorder and Our Children at Risk

Author Richard Louv believes that America’s children are now suffering from a syndrome he identifies as “nature-deficit disorder.” In his 2005 book, Last Child in the Woods, Louv suggests that the current generation of American children knows the Discovery Channel better than their own backyards–and that this loss of contact with nature leads to impoverished lives and stunted imagination.

Louv begins by recounting an anecdote involving his son, Matthew. When the boy was about ten years of age, he asked his father: “Dad, how come it was more fun when you were a kid?” The boy was honestly reflecting on his knowledge of his father’s boyhood. Richard Louv, like most of us who came of age in his generation, spent most of our playing time outdoors, building forts in the woods, exploring every nook and cranny of our yards, and participating in activities that centered in child-organized outdoor fun. Louv reflects, “Americans around my age, baby boomers or older, enjoyed a kind of free, natural play that seems, in the era of kid pagers, instant messaging, and Nintendo, like a quaint artifact.”

Louv argues that this represents nothing less than a sudden shift in the way Americans live, raise their children, and engage the natural world. “Within the space of a few decades, the way children understand and experience nature has changed radically. The polarity of the relationship has reversed. Today, kids are aware of the global threats to the environment–but their physical contact, their intimacy with nature, is fading. That’s exactly the opposite of how it was when I was a child.”

Read the entire article by Albert Mohler here.

The King Who Sought the Lord

2 Kings 22 / 2 Chronicles 34-35

His name means “the fire of the Lord” or “Jehovah supports”

Four-fifths of them were deficient in brains and morals, a combination of wickedness and folly, with nothing of the king about them but the name.  But here and there you come upon a man amidst all of these royal puppets.  It is like finding a jewel in a heap of sham trinkets.  Josiah breaks a long, monotonous series of absolutely worthless monarchs.  Before and behind him are moral waste and darkness.  He stands out as a figure worth looking at and loving.  Josiah’s good reign was like a burst of brilliant sunset, before the final darkness comes on.  – Herbert Lockyer

Josiah devoted himself to pleasing God and reinstituting Israel’s observance of the Mosaic Law.  That a wicked king like Amon could have such a godly son is a tribute to the grace of God.


1.         Josiah receives at a young age godly shaping, training, and instruction from godly advisors (2 Chron. 34:1-2). 

·         They resisted his father’s idolatrous influence.
·         Josiah becomes king at age 8 upon his father’s death.
·         Young Josiah was subjected to violence and a civil war.
·         Josiah had a godly mother named Jedidah.  No doubt she labored to influence him for the Lord, and her labor had its sweet reward. 

2.         Josiah begins to seek the Lord for himself  as a young adult (2 Chron. 34:3).

·         He began to seek the Lord at age sixteen (2 Chron. 34:3).
·         Josiah turned from the ways of his father and grandfather and took his nobler and remote ancestor David as his model.

·         In life’s fair morning, Josiah set his heart to seek the Lord.  - Lockyer

3.         Josiah cleanses the land of idolatrous objects at age twenty (2 Chron. 34:3-7).

·         Out went all forms of idolatry.  He swept away the groves full of abominations.

·         He personally supervised the destruction of the altars of Baal, the incense altars, the wooden images, the carved images, and the molded images.

·         Would that the fervent zeal and righteous enthusiasm of this earnest, passionate man might characterize more young men today!

·         The New Testament refers to Josiah as Josias (Mt. 1:10).

4.         Josiah leads in a major reform and renewal of worship (2 Chron. 34:8-33; 35:1-19).

a) Josiah orders the Temple repaired under the direction of the high priest Hilkiah at

age 26 (2 Chron. 34:8-13).

·         This consecrated young man saw that it was of no use destroying idols unless he had something better to replace them.  Thus, when his destroying fever had spent its force, Josiah began to rebuild and repair the house of the Lord.

b)  Josiah makes the Word of God central in their lives and land (2 Chron. 34:14-33).

·         In the process, they discover the Book of the Law.  In turning over the rubbish of the  Temple, they came across a buried and forgotten copy of the Law.

·         When it was read to Josiah, he was horrified to learn how far they had departed from the law of God.  This discovery provided a new momentum for the reformation that was already in progress.

·         The Book of the Law was probably the first five books of the OT.  Josiah would have displayed grief in reaction to statements in Deuteronomy concerning the role and responsibility of the king as covenant leader of the people (Dt. 17:18-20).

c)  Josiah celebrates the Passover (2 Chron. 35:1-19).

·         He provides opportunity and resources for the renewed worship of Jehovah. 

6.         Josiah dies after a battle with Egypt in Megiddo in 609 B.C. (2 Chron. 35:20-27).

·         Pharaoh Necho II marched to assist Assyria in her fight with Babylon for world supremacy.
·         Josiah saw Necho’s campaign as a threat to Judah’s security.
·         Josiah was seriously wounded in battle and returned to Jerusalem where he died.
·         His death is followed by widespread lamenting.  Josiah was loved by his people.



1.         Never underestimate the value of investing in the spiritual-moral-and mental shaping of children.  Pour into them!

2.         A bad past does not necessarily limit you or your family to a bad future.  Re-dig the old wells!

3.         The worship of God in our lives can become neglected and cluttered.  Prepare yourself to worship God.

·         Are there idols that need to be relentlessly torn down?
·         How are our weekly habits of worship with God’s people?
·         Does God’s Word need to be rediscovered in our life and family?
·         Are you preparing yourself and your family to regularly encounter God?
·         What kind of offerings are you giving to the Lord?
“Prepare yourselves by families.” – 2 Chronicles 35:4

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

21 Qualities Every Family Needs to See in a Dad

I preached the following as a Father's Day Message this past Sunday.  I modified some notes from Danny Akin and added to it!

1.         One who is saved and seeking a daily walk with God (Gen. 5:24; 6:9).

             It creates in the family a hunger for God.

2.         One who prays for and with his children (1 Cor. 11:3; Col. 3:18-21; James 4:1-3, 5:16).

It teaches children respect for authority; it teaches sons how to be godly leaders as husbands and daughters godly followers as wives.  It will teach the family to trust in and depend on God to meet their needs.

Don’t ever be afraid of what your children pray.  Just teach them that God does not always answer the way we want, but He does answer.  If you really want to keep your kids on your team, you must teach them to pray.  I want to stress the importance of praying with your children, starting when they are young, but if they are older, start today.  It is never too late to start.  – Charles Stanley, How to Keep Your Kids on Your Team

3.         One who teaches his children to have their own quiet time.

If you have set the example and have had times of family prayer together and your children have grown accustomed to God’s answering prayer, it will be natural for them to set aside some time alone to talk to God and to read His Word.  – Charles Stanley

4.         One who honors the Bible as God’s Word in attitude and action.(Ps. 119, James 1:22-25).

It will build respect for God’s Word, and it will also build respect in the children for a dad who reads, studies, and obeys God’s Word.  It will encourage family members, especially the children, to form their own biblical commitments and live by them.

5.         One who leads in participating with other believers and the church  (He. 10:24-25).

6.         One who loves unconditionally (1 Cor. 13). It builds acceptance and a sense of self-worth.

7.         One who loves mother and shows it (Eph. 5: 25-33).It builds security in the life of the family.

8.         One who disciplines in love (Eph. 6:4, Heb. 12:5-13).

It builds a sound relationship with the children for future responsibilities and relationships. Correction belongs ultimately to the father rather than the mother!

9.         One who is the cheerleader and encourager for the family, and controls his tongue (Jm

             3:1-12; Col. 3:21).  It builds a deep sense of belonging, worth, and trust.

10 .      One who leads the way in a servant spirit (Matt. 20:26-28; Jm. 2:14-17). It builds a family

             attitude of humility and willingness to serve others just like dad.

11.       One who confesses his failures and is willing to say, “I’m sorry, I was wrong” (James

             5:16).  It creates openness and respect by the children towards dad.

12.       One who has a forgiving spirit (Eph. 4:32, Col. 3:13).

             It creates the security of genuine love and needed assurance for your children.

13.       One who expresses gratitude and appreciation to God and others (Col. 3:15).

             It builds an attitude of gratitude in the family, and fosters joy and thankfulness.

14.       One who listens attentively and shows affection – verbally and physically (James 1:19-

             21). The family gains a sense of personal value and importance.

15.       One who keeps his word (Num. 30:2, Prov. 6:16-19).

             It builds faithfulness, truthfulness, and responsibility in the children.

16.       One who cares about the spiritual needs of others (1 Thess. 2:8; Col. 2:1-3).

             It will teach the family to care about investing God’s Word into the souls of people.

17.       One who works hard and provides for his family (1 Tim. 5:8).

             It models for them the value of responsibility.

18.       One who is spirit-filled and seeking to be like Jesus (Rom. 8:28-30, Gal. 5:22-23, Eph.

5:18). It will give the family a visible example of a godly, Christ-like individual. For that example to be the husband/father would be most pleasing to our Lord and Savior.

19.       One who seeks to develop both his wife and his children into their full potential (Pr.

             22:6).  It will help those arrows to fly and make your family productive and fruit-bearing.

A woman’s relationship with her father,  more than any other relationship, is going to affect her relationships with all other males in her life.  – Kevin Leman

20.       One who plans fun activities for his family and plays with them (Eccl. 3:1-12).

             It bonds the family in spirit and memories for years to come.

21.       One who teaches his family what it means to be a man (Prov. 1:8; 3:11-12).

Hang-loose fatherhood, no matter how loving, it not an acceptable answer for today’s young men.  They need something more to keep them from losing their way.  Sons are looking for the substance of life.  They are looking for the best things.  In the absence of these anchors, sons drift.  But when loving dads add these into the manhood mix, their sons flourish.  They become noble men, gentle men, men of valor, principled men, knights.             – Robert Lewis

Definition of manhood

·         A real man rejects passivity.
·         A real man accepts responsibility.
·         A real man leads courageously.
·         A real man expects the greater reward.

-          Robert Lewis in Raising a Modern-Day Knight

All over this country little children are reaching for fathers who aren’t there. I want to evangelize as many people as possible, but my number one job is to evangelize my children. If America is going to survive, it will be because husbands and fathers begin to put their families at the highest level of priorities and reserve something of their time, effort, and energy for leadership within their own homes.    - Dr. James Dobson

Common but Anointed for Spiritual Service

We have been discussing writing from our unique gifting and what that might look like.
Yesterday when I walked into our local large box bookstore, I scanned the shrinking selection on the shelves, gravitating to the ones that held my particular interest, ignoring many others.
So many titles, yet I will like and benefit from just a few.

Rules for Dating My Daughter

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

How to Cope with Conflict

In this world, conflict happens. Jesus put it this way: “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

What’s the best way to respond, then, from a biblical perspective? Here are some of the most powerful relational tools I’ve ever discovered. But first, I want to issue some precautions.

Just as both knives and scalpels are sharp metal objects capable of promoting either healing or destruction, these biblical relationship tools are very “sharp” and can be used for good or evil. It all depends on our motives. Though eminently practical, they are also theoretically idealistic. Only one person in history was capable of getting them right consistently. So give yourself grace as you learn to use them.

Read the entire article by Pastor Jared.

Monday, June 17, 2013

The Secret of the Homeschooling Father

This is a message to fathers who are homeschooling. The question I want to answer is: Does Christianity provide much guidance to fathers about homeschooling?

I am going to say yes, but first I want to back up a bit.

You and your wife are in it together, so let us be honest. In practice, much of the heavy lifting, the hard work, the long hours of homeschooling, falls squarely on your wife’s shoulders. If your home is like ours, then it is your wife who is the star. Too many husbands—including me—behave more like bystanders than partners. In addition, there is the tendency for mothers to be undervalued and taken for granted. Be honest, most of us know we do not appreciate our wives as we should—and they know it too—but they keep laboring. Then include the fact that most mothers also run the household, preparing the meals, doing the laundry, changing the diapers, providing oodles of emotional support, taking care of all that cleaning up…all on such a regular basis that fathers forget just how much work is involved. Now, add in the reality that our modern culture encourages men to abdicate their manly respon­sibilities for boyish pleasures. Men are discouraged from growing up, and wives see this.

Read the entire article by Tucker Teague here.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Ouch! Pitfalls that Will Keep Us from the Promise - Part One

Ouch!  About ten days ago after cutting grass amidst a swirl of dust, I felt sharp pain in my right eye.  For the next several days, I experienced slightly blurred vision and recurring pain.  I expected that I had either slightly scratched it or had a very bad case of allergies!  For a few days I took eye drops.  After a week, still experiencing periodic pain, I visited the eye doctor. 

Dropping the dye in my pupil and zoning into my eye, he began laughing immediately.  “There is definitely something in your eye!  You must have a high-pain tolerance, because a lot of people would have been in the next day with this.”  He numbed my eye and pulled out some piece of grass or other yard-debris.  Amazingly, with the culprit removed, my eye almost immediately returned to normal.  No more pain and vision restored!

In our personal journeys, we collect debris along the way that can hinder our own spiritual vision.  This debris may be unnoticed or unrecognizable, but it can hinder our walk with God, create pain, and hinder our future fruitfulness.

Recently I challenged our church with four pitfalls that kept the Israelites from entering the Promised Land.  We know that unbelief led to their downfall.  They refused to believe God.  However, that unbelief manifested itself in four behavioral qualities.  The apostle Paul exhorts Christians in 1 Corinthians 10:1-13 to not succumb to these four pitfalls.  Like that piece of grass in my eye, these four encumbrances make our journey painful - and possibly disastrous.

The Israelite failed.  A tremendous beginning ended miserably.  An incredible deliverance through the Red Sea, perhaps the greatest moment in Old Testament history, led to a refusal to trust God and enter Canaan.  Their children stepped over their bleached bones in the desert – a memorial to unbelief.  Their massive failures warn us to not follow their example.

What behavioral qualities manifested their unbelief?

Pitfall Number One – They indulged in idolatry (1 Cor. 10:7).

In Exodus 32, they created a golden calf and threw a wild party.  The Bible says that “the people sat down to eat and drink, and rose to play” (6).  The Hebrew word sahaq suggests immorality and unholy indulgences.  Unrestrained, the people gave themselves to that which displeases the Lord.  The text suggests that at least some of the people had an immoral orgy. 

While Moses and Joshua were on Mount Sinai receiving the law of God (the 10 Commandments), the people bow down to an idol that they made with their own gold - gold that should have been saved to build the tabernacle!  The apostle Paul later told Christians that a day would come when people would commit a different kind of idolatry - one of the mind.  Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools. . . .  They exchanged the truth of God for a lie and worshiped and served created thing rather than the Creator.  (Romans 1:22,25).  Paul says that this awful exchange will always lead to lowering our sexual standards and engaging in sexual sins. 

Today that idolatry takes the form of people turning their backs on the Bible, the United States government ignoring or removing references to their biblical-spiritual heritage - like taking the 10 Commandments out of public places, or believers who do not regularly spend time in God's Word.  Unopened Bibles lead to idolatry!

Back in the desert, the Israelites engaged in that which God says is wrong.  Today, many such idols and wild parties tempt the modern believer.  Sadly, reports continue to reveal how many Christian men – and how many Christian pastors – are privately addicted to internet pornography.  It is an overindulgence of something that could be wonderful (sex and enjoyment in a godly marriage) but that is taken immorally. 

The result of this wicked idolatry – Aaron and the priests executed 3000 people that day.

Pitfall Number Two – They committed sexual sins (1 Cor. 10:8).

There is a correlation between pitfalls 1 & 2 as well as pitfalls 3 & 4.  In Numbers 25, Israel plays the harlot with Moab.  Camped at Acacia Grove, the region just across from the Jordan River, many men succumb to the temptation of sleeping with harlots from Moab.  Balaam evidently entices the Moabites to offer themselves to God’s people (if he can’t curse them he will try to destroy them morally). 

The sexual immorality becomes brazen and bold.  One man brings a Moabite woman right past the Levites into his tent.  It reminds me of the Garth Brooks song “Shameless.”  He trots this harlot into his tent with the priests looking on – fully aware of his intentions.  As a result of this rampant immorality, God sends a plague that begins killing God’s people.

The Bible says that Phineas, one of the priests, emblazoned with the fear and zeal of the Lord, picks up a spear and runs to the tent.  He runs inside and thrusts the spear right through both the man and the woman (I believe the implication is that he spears them while they are in the act of sex). 

God, honored by Phineas’ act, stops the plague and rewards this priest by making a covenant of peace with he and his family.  23,000 people die as a result of the plague on Israel that day.

Our culture overflows with sexual immorality and the temptations towards it.  The culture has a casual attitude towards sexual sins.  The church, like Israel, is tempted to given into the culture, lower our standards,  and flirt with that which will destroy.

Men, we need a good practice of saying no to the flesh.  Jesus said the first mark of following him is that of denying self.  We are not supposed to be habitually fulfilled through any means other than the Lord.  That means that sexually - just like in other areas of life - there are those times when we simply have to be unfulfilled, submit to God, and trust Him.  Our day does not like the idea of delayed gratification.  We want it all now.  But the Bible speaks of self-discipline, surrendering our desires and needs to the Lord, and trusting Him.  Sin occurs when we try and meet legitimate needs in illegitimate ways - when we are unwilling to wait for the right way for that need to be met.

Pastor Jack Hayford preached a sermon series entitled Why Sex Sins are Worse than Other Sins.   In terms of holiness, any sin makes one unholy.  However, in terms of consequences on self and other people, not all sins are the same.  Sex sins carry much devastation to a person, family, or society.

Remember, idolatry and sexual immorality are two of the pitfalls that kept the Jews from reaching the Promised Land.  Don’t play with these time-bombs or you will miss His promises and purposes for you!



Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Quote of the Day

Camping is nature's way of promoting the motel business.  -  Dave Barry

Monday, June 3, 2013

12 Ways Pastors Move From Burnout to Vision

Great article this week by Thom Rainer . . .

There are few vocations that can engender burnout like the pastorate. The demands on a pastor’s time, emotions and energy can be overwhelming. When I was a pastor, I often felt at least the symptoms of burnout.

I recently spoke with 17 pastors who had experienced burnout, or who felt they came precariously close to burnout. The good news about these pastors is that they moved out of burnout, and now they are re-engaging in exciting and visionary ministries.

So I asked them the obvious question: What did you do to reverse the dark spiral of burnout? The question was open-ended, so they could respond with as many answers as they desired. When it was all said and done, I tabulated 12 different responses from the 17 pastors. Obviously, many of them gave similar answers.

Read the entire article here.

God's Timing and Our Plans

I spend a lot of time around writers and one of the concerns I hear regularly is that they'll never get their big break into the industry. I get it. I’ve had my share of waiting, disappointments and detours.
They get all caught up in the moment—you know—that empty tick of the clock when you feel suspended in your dream. It’s agonizing. You become restless. At that moment, it’s easy to take matters into your own hands and make your own way.
That’s when you must remember God is working in ways you cannot see. He knows the plans He has concerning you. Plans to prosper you. And, if you allow Him to, God orders each of your steps.

Read the entire article by Reba Hoffman here on the May 31, 2013 post.