Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Are You a Low Information Christian?

Watch the full message "Not the Spirit of the World: The Spirit of God vs. the Zeitgeist" by Phil Johnson given at the 2014 Shepherds' Conference here.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

The Juvenilization of the Church

This is a must watch for anyone not attending church! Watch the full message: "Fellowship" by John MacArthur given at the Shepherds' Conference 2014 here.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

What Will Your Children Remember About You?

Author: Steve Burchett
When my first child was just a baby, I’m sure my mindset was something like, “I might have 18 to 20 years with this gift from God. That’s plenty of time to train her up in the way she should go (Proverbs 22:6).” But the older she and her siblings get, the more I find myself saying, “Where has all the time gone? They are getting so big, so quickly!” I have yet to meet a conscientious parent who didn’t feel the same way.

Of course, the ultimate desire of believing parents is that their children become followers of Jesus Christ. This is an urgent matter that requires diligently teaching them God’s word, carefully exposing their sin, and faithfully proclaiming the gospel to them. In Paul’s words, we must “bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).

But is parenting only about words? I don’t think so. Most adults, when sharing memories of their parents, don’t typically remember too much of what their mom or dad said, but how they lived. For example, a son or daughter might say, “My dad was such a hard worker, he typically went to work even if he was sick,” or, “When my mom saw our ailing neighbor outside, she always stopped what she was doing to cheer her up.”

Here are two statements I hope my kids say about me when they grow up:

“My dad trusted in God to take care of our needs.”

Stress is normal for all of us. Work situations, financial difficulties, and physical troubles are just a few sources of potentially great anxiety. But God is powerful, and He is always faithful to His children. I want to live a life that demonstrates my belief in that.

The famous missionary to the cannibals, John Patton, was deeply influenced by his mother’s faith in God. He recorded one story about her “because of the lasting impression made upon my religious life.” [1] They didn’t have much when he was a boy. He remembers a season of “deep distress” because of a miniscule harvest. His father had even left the home to find work, and they were eagerly anticipating his arrival the following evening. However, they were very hungry now. Patton said his mother got all of the children to bed, “assuring us that she had told God everything, and that he would send us plenty in the morning.”

The very next day, not knowing their desperate situation, Patton’s grandfather sent them a bag of potatoes and “the earliest homemade cheese of the season.” Patton recalls, “My mother, seeing our surprise at such an answer to her prayers, took us around her knees, thanked God for His goodness, and said to us, ‘O my children, love your Heavenly Father, tell Him in faith and prayer all your needs, and He will supply your wants so far as it shall be for your good and His glory.’”

“My dad loved the local church.”

At one point during Jesus’ ministry, his mother and brothers came to take Jesus home—thinking he was “out of his mind” (Mark 3:21, 31-32). When they arrived to seize Jesus, He was teaching in a crowded house, so they sent for him. Mark recorded what happened next.

And he answered them, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” And looking about at those who sat around him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother.” (Mark 3:31-35)

The family Jesus came to save—the group of people that did God’s will—took priority over even His biological family! Shouldn’t the same be true of us regarding our relationship to the local church? This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t ever love and interact with our earthly family. But choosing to eagerly and whole-heartedly participate in the life and meetings of the church will affect how our children view the bride of Christ, and even Jesus Christ Himself. What are we really communicating to our children if we typically choose family parties or outings instead of the church meeting?

I am a pastor. So, perhaps you might then say, “Of course your kids will say that you loved the church!” Not necessarily. It is essential that they see me faithfully live out the “one anothers” of the New Testament. And if I want to leave a legacy of love for the church, it is critical that I talk about fellow church leaders and members with words full of love, respect, and appreciation.

When your children grow up, and they are asked, “Tell me about your dad,” or, “Tell me about your mom,” what do you think they will say?    

[1] This story and all quotes are from John G. Paton, John G. Paton: Missionary to the New Hebrides (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 2007 [Reprinted]), 21-22.
Copyright © 2014 Steve Burchett.
Permission granted for reproduction in exact form. All other uses require written permission.
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Friday, July 4, 2014

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Is Your Church Operating In The Power of The Spirit?

Watch, listen or download the full message: What To Do With What Is Left by Joe Roof here.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Biblical Tests of True Faith (Trailer)

Watch, listen or download the full message by Paul Washer here.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Are You Sure?

Listen to the full message: Deceptions by Geoff Thomas here.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Dangerous Men, Dangerous Churches

by Pastor Ron Bridge of Rehoboth Baptist Church

When pastors get together the conversation often turns to the subject of church membership. It did so during one of the panel discussions at the New England Conference on Expository Preaching that I attended earlier this week. One question pastors frequently ask is: “Why is it that many members are not in regular attendance at the worship services of the church?” The frequency with which this question arises could be seen in the reaction of those on the panel. One shook his head while looking at his feet, another put his head in his hands and another looked wistfully at the ceiling – all before they looked at each other hoping that someone would have a fresh response. One of them did. But, before I tell you what he said we need to rehearse the usual response one hears to the question. By usual response, I mean that which is regularly heard from conservative ministers. Here they are:
- People are just not as committed today. They do not like to be constrained by the rules of membership. The proof of this is that people do not join any organization (religious or secular) in the numbers that they used to. We live in a culture that puts stress on individual freedoms and the rules of church membership are seen as restrictive. 
- People have been brought up in a culture that tells them to put self first. Anything that gets in the way of what one really wants to do takes second or third place, and that includes church. 
- People are just too busy – they have too many other things to do. 
- People are tired of the same old fashioned approach to church. Hence they flock to larger, trendy churches for a more uplifting experience. Experience is what counts more than commitment. People can “hide” in large churches and avoid the demands of membership. Indeed, many of the large churches do not have formal membership so if you miss a week or two, nobody notices.
Conservative pastors are likely to agree that no amount of encouragement, or chastisement, will make much difference if a person's heart is apathetic toward God. Apathy, otherwise known as backsliding, is a particular and systemic problem in the modern church. So, what was the fresh response? The reason for irregular attendance is that many Christians no longer fear God. Referencing Acts 5:1-13 (the account of Ananias and Sapphira), the panel member said: “It used to be that people were afraid to go to church, church was a dangerous place. If you went and lied – you died (Acts 5:11,13).”

It seems to me that many of our churches are no longer dangerous. For example: few churches practice discipline and pastors that attempt to do so are seen as unfeeling and unloving. As a result, there is no fear – no danger - of sinning because the church is unlikely to do anything about it. Steve Lawson recently said “preachers should be dangerous men.” Adrian Rogers put it this way: “The problem with many preachers today is that nobody wants to kill them.” The same could be said of churches in the USA – nobody wants to kill us.

It is different in other parts of the world where preachers and churches are under attack. They are so because they are dangerous – they are dangerous to the powers that be, they are dangerous to family members and neighbors. They are dangerous and they grow. People flock to them despite the threat of persecution because they fear God more than they fear men (Mat. 10:28). The pastors of those churches don't need to ask the question: Why is it that many do not attend the worship service? The answer being that the members are too afraid of God not to attend – walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit they were multiplied (Acts 9:31). 

Saturday, May 24, 2014