DADS

One of the greatest needs in our homes, churches, schools, sports teams, and nation today is DADS, . . .

Delivered by the gospel.

All of us dads were born spiritually dead, living under the control of Satan, self and the world and under God’s wrath (Ephesians 2:1-3). As much as we think as a man we can fix our sinful condition, work our way to heaven, fill the hole in our soul, we are forever lost. We cannot fix the greatest crisis in our lives.

Here’s the Good News! But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. (Ephesians 2:4-9)

The most important aspect of being a dad is for Christ to live in us that He may live His life out of us so that our children see Christ and not us (Romans 6-8; Galatians 2:20; Philippians 3:4-10; Colossians 1:27).

Daily we surrender to Christ. Daily we come to Christ (Matthew 11:28-30). Daily we seek Christ (Matthew 6:24-34). Daily we look for Christ return (John 14:1-6; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). Christ is our life (John 10:10; Galatians 2:20).

Adores his wife

Merriman-Webster defines “adore” as “to regard with loving admiration and devotion.” According to Ephesians 2:7, the reason God saves us is to show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. Dads, just as God demonstrates His grace toward us through Christ every moment of each day, we can through Christ adore our children’s mom, our wife. God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us (Romans 5:5).

Dad, show your children how to love and respect their future spouse.

Demonstrate before them a grace-enabled, God-honored marriage (Ephesians 5:18-33)!!

Disciples his children

Dads spend hours teaching and coaching their children how to hit or field a baseball. Perhaps it’s how to drive a car. Maybe it’s training in construction.

The best training a dad can give his son or daughter is how to know Christ as personal Lord and Savior (Ephesians 2:1-9); to love, read, and study the Bible (Psalms 19:7-11; 119:1-176); to know how to share Jesus with others (1 Peter 3:15); to know how to pray (Study how Jesus prayed and the prayers of Paul, Ephesians 1:15-23; 3:14-21; Colossians 1:9-12); to know how to praise the Lord and enjoy life (Psalms 100, 150; Hebrews 13:15); to know how to live the Christ-life (Romans 6-8; Galatians 2:20) and to know how to laugh and have fun (Proverbs 17:22)!!

Seeks the eternal things

One day your children will depart from your home and your training. May that which they love above all things and seek after be the eternal things. Life here is so temporal as is power, prestige, position, possessions, and property. We will leave it all behind one day.

May you live in such a way that your children see you seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33), having set your mind/affection on things above, not on things that are on earth (Colossians 3:2)., that in all things Christ has the preeminence (Colossians 1:18) because the passion of your life is to know Christ (Philippians 3:4-10).

Happy DADS Day!! Be encouraged!! Stay the course!! Grace is sufficient!!

So very grateful for my Christ-centered dad, for the blessing of being of dad, and for my sons-in-law who are and will be godly dads!!!

Teach Me to Hit a Ball

For years I watched it happen in the back yard of our next door neighbor.

There was Dad patiently, sometimes frustratingly, teach his son and daughter the mechanics of pitching a ball, swinging a bat or fielding a grounder.

There it was . . . discipleship . . . mentorship . . . training in action!

Discipleship is not the latest “buzzword” in Christian circles.

Discipleship describes the Christ-life, who we are as believers in Christ.

Discipleship is a growing, intimate follower of the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 1:9; Philippians 3:10; 2 Peter 3:18) whose passion in life is to help others come to know and follow Christ (Matthew 28:18-20).

But it does not end there. The goal for God’s glory is to see a disciple disciple others; it’s reproduction (1 Timothy 1:2; 2 Timothy 2:1-2; Titus 2:1-10; Heb. 3:12-13; 10:24-25).

As I would watch my neighbor teach his kids how to play ball, he was sharing what he had learned from someone else. One day, perhaps, his children will teach others as well.

Today, the local church needs:

  1. Believers living out the Christ-life of discipleship.
  2. Believers who are hungry to grow and change in Christlikeness, willing to meet with others for the purpose of searching the Scriptures and learning to appropriate who we are in Christ in practical ways.

Are you a genuine, passionate follower of Christ?

  • Would you be willing to mentor that young lady who is longing for help in her marriage and blended family situation?
  • Would you be willing to meet with that man who is struggling with a divided heart, wanting to live for Christ but experiencing a strong pull from the world’s allurements?
  • Would you be willing to meet every other week with a man at a restaurant and read through Scripture and/or a book like Disciplines of a Godly Man?
  • Would you be willing to invite a lady into your home to study the Word and then train her how to plan and cook a week of meals for her family?
  • Would you be willing to sit down at a coffee shop with a young man who just graduated from high school who needs encouragement to continue to follow Christ?

Discipleship is hard, supernatural, rewarding work. The needs are great! Every believer should be involved in the lives of others helping them take the next step toward Christ.

Will you pick up the spiritual bat, ball and glove and show someone how to follow Christ? The rewards are eternal!

10 for 10

Over the past ten days, my wife and I have enjoyed many blessings of ministry of which here are ten. They are shared here for God’s glory and appreciation for His kindness to us in these days of such sin and sorrow!

1. Officiating and directing a wedding! Wow! How special to see two lives brought together in the will of God! The wedding was Christ-exalting and so very romantic! I love weddings!! (Side note: In respect of the newlyweds, I will not post any pics until they do.)

2. Providing a place to rest in our home for two days for a fellow servant in ministry! Quiet walks, prayer, porch time, mountain drive, sharing scripture, etc.!!

3. In 2014, my wife and I had the joy of leading the Missionary Teen Retreat in the Basque region of Spain. We have kept up with several who are now young adults. Daniel and Jessica celebrated their first anniversary with a return trip to Gatlinburg, TN. Their anniversary celebration included worshipping with us in both Sunday gatherings plus a meal and afternoon spent at our home. What a special treat! I call that “clipping grace coupons”!!

4. Preaching the Hebrews 12:12-19 passage in the morning gathering at BCBC!! What a solemn and joy-filled honor it is to prepare and preach the Word of God verse-by-verse!! The Word works!! (2 Timothy 3:16; 4:2)

5. Leading and teaching the Biblical Counseling Elective on Sunday mornings!! “The heart of every issue is an issue of the heart.”

6. Follow-up visitation of church visitors. Made to feel so at home with these folks!!

7. Having coffee with a young man from our church who just finished his first year of college. My heart was greatly encouraged to see how he has grown both spiritually and as a young man!!

8. Discipleship with another man in our congregation. Met for lunch and read together through a chapter of Disciplines of a Godly Man, R. Kent Hughes. Iron sharpening iron (Proverbs 27:17).

9. Small Group gathering on Thursday night! What can I say?!?! A highlight of every week! Singing, prayer, transparent testimonies, Bible study, fellowship around the bar counter and in the living room, laughter, tears, bearing burdens, and rejoicing in answered prayer!!

10. Attending a high school graduation of a young man that has attended BCBC through his teen years. Another opportunity to encourage a young man to follow Christ, not his heart!!

That’s only 10! There were so many more!! Oh! How marvelous is the goodness and grace of God!! And, I got to share in all of these with my wife, except for #8.

It is the blessing of the Lord that makes rich, and He adds no sorrow to it. (Proverbs 10:22)

Men, How Would You Answer?

The following question was given on Facebook:

Which would you rather be known as:

  1. A good man
  2. A man who is “good at being a man?”

Why?

The first thought that came to my mind was the human connotation of being known as a “good man” (#1); a morally good man, a nice person.  Nothing wrong with that, but goodness alone will not get me to heaven (Romans 3:10; 5:6-8).

Then I considered the second option and quickly said, “No.”  In every area of the world, even in my own neighborhood, there is a varied criteria for what makes up a man.  So the standard for being “good at being a man” would fluctuate like corn stalks in the wind.

men

So which is the correct answer?

I chose #1.  Why?  Well, when it comes to having an absolute standard on the issues of life, you turn to the Word of God.  These passages of Scripture give us the characteristics of a good man.  Check’em out, men!

Psalm 37:23 – The steps of a good man (“a strong man, a warrior”) are ordered by the Lord, And He delights in his way.

Psalm 112:5 – A good man (“happy; joyful; benevolent”) deals graciously and lends; He will guide his affairs with discretion.

Proverbs 12:2 – A good man (“happy; joyful; benevolent”) obtains favor from the Lord.

Proverbs 13:22 A good man (“happy; joyful; benevolent”) leaves an inheritance to his children’s children, But the wealth of the sinner is stored up for the righteous.

Proverbs 14:14 – The backslider in heart will be filled with his own ways, But a good man (“happy; joyful; benevolent”) will be satisfied from above.

Matthew 12:35 – A good man (denotes the soul considered as a compilation of pure thoughts which are brought forth in speech) out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things.

Acts 11:24 – For he was a good man (upright, honorable), full of the Holy Spirit and of faith.

In reality, a good man is he who has surrendered to the Christ-life (Romans 6:1-14; Galatians 2:20; Colossians 1:15-18, 27; 2 Peter 3:18)

So men, which would you rather be known as?  #1 or #2?

How To Talk About Your Church (2)

Many, many thoughts were shared yesterday across America about the Sunday church services—the preaching, the music, those born again, the length of the service, the nursery, the interruptions, the coffee and donuts at fellowship time, the bulletin, the temperature in the building, baptisms, the empty pews or full-house, etc.

What were some of your comments?

Last week, I shared the first part of How To Talk About Your Church. Today I want us to consider another familiar statement made about the local church that I hope will encourage and edify.

“I’m not getting fed at our church.

Certainly it is every pastor’s privilege and responsibility to teach the Word of God (1 Timothy 3:2; 4:12-16; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; 4:2).  This mandate is not to be taken lightly.  We have been commanded to feed the flock of God (1 Peter 5:2) with “good grain” from the Word. 

That being said, the responsibility for your spiritual growth is not the pastor’s. You are to be a student of the Word (Joshua 1:8; Psalm 1:1-3; Hebrews 5:12-14) hiding it in your heart (Psalm119:11) and making it your own in daily application.  As the pastor feeds you, it whets your appetite to grow and know your God more and more.  If your pastor is weak in that area, pray for him.  Pray that his early morning hours will be a time of intimate relationship with God. Pray that Truth will so grip him that on Sundays he will preach from the “overflow.” The hours he spends in sermon preparation is time consuming as well as physically and mentally demanding.  Perhaps he is doing too much in ministry.  Ask him what you can do to lighten his load so he can pray and study.  He has not been “hired” to do the entire soul winning, visitation, discipleship, and administration of the church.  You need to join up with him in teamwork for the Savior.  Meet with your under-shepherd for coffee and pray that you may come to know him, encourage him and be his “Barnabas.”  Remember them . . . who have spoken unto you the word of God . . . . for they watch for your souls, as they must give an account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief (Hebrews 13:7, 17).

I close with a reminder.  The local church consists of sinners.  It is a spiritual hospital for a sin-sick, mentally-hurting, heart-broken, doubting, discouraged, worn-out society.  For every issue of life, Christ and His Word is the answer, the remedy.  Therefore, point to Christ first in all things in the church (Colossians 1:15-19).  It is His Church. He died for it (Ephesians 5:25).

By the way, a lost world is watching and listening to us.  Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers (Ephesians 4:29).  What have you said about your local church this past month?  What have you said about your Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ?

See you Sunday!

How To Talk About Your Church

  • “Well, I walked into church, and no one spoke to me!” 
  • “Every Sunday, my heart is stirred, and I leave knowing I have met with my Lord!” 
  • “Our preacher (fill-in-the-blank)!” 
  • “All our church knows to do is ask for money!” 
  • “Our kids’ ministry is awesome!”

These and a whole host of other statements, both positive and negative, true and false, have been and continue to be said about the local church. In connection with yesterday’s post, Covid’s Speech Lesson, I want us to consider what is said to others about the local gathering we attend. Let’s look at one of them.

“Our church (or, That church) is so unfriendly!”

There’s a quick remedy for that one. Proverbs 18:24 reminds us, He that has friends must himself be friendly.  Next Sunday, before you get out of your car, pray by yourself or with your spouse or your family, “Lord, I surrender to You, Who dwells in me, to be friendly, compassionate, listening, and caring to all we meet. And, lead us to the seats in the auditorium where You want us to sit today that we may help move folks around one step toward Christ.”

Think about it. If we are given to say that our church is not friendly, then perhaps we are not friendly because we are the church. We as born again believers are the body of Christ. Therefore, when we gather, we are more than just friendly on “the outside.” We desire to go deeper by showing mercy to those around us. We greet others with a firm handshake or a fist-bump or with raised eyebrows (for mask-wearers) and a word of greeting. Try to refrain from the norm, “How you doing?” and move on.

If you are greeting a visitor/guest, stop, speak to them, give your name, listen for their name(s) and use their name(s) immediately so you can begin to remember it. Put yourself in their shoes. Consider how you can make them feel at home; as if they were entering your living room. As you chat with them, don’t be in hurry. Introduce them to those serving at the Welcome Center. Ask questions and give guidance to the auditorium or nursery or fellowship area. Pray with them.

Sometime during the week, send a thank you note or a text or give them a call to let them know you have prayed for them. Make sure they know you genuinely care.

True friendliness is grounded in the person of Christ. He spent time with His disciples and others (John 3:22). He initiated conversations (John 4:7-42). He came to serve others (Mark 10:45). He prayed for others (John 17). He visited in homes (Luke 19:1-10). He reached out to sinners (John 8:1-11).

Since we can do all things through Christ as He lives His life through us, we can ignite a culture of biblical friendliness in our local congregation that will be contagious for Christ and to others!!

“That congregation is so friendly! They are genuine; they really care!”

A Husband’s Assignment

We men are extremely task-oriented. We love to accomplish, conquer, and fix things. Over the years, I have jumped too quick to take care of my wife’s needs and find out that the task would have been simpler if I’d just waited a moment, listen to her further, or best of all, prayed about it. But, I was the man on the job!

When it comes to tasks, projects, and accomplishments, husbands, do know about the assignment God has given you in Ephesians 5:25-28?

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. 28 So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself.

This passage is a beautiful word picture of the relationship between Christ, the Bridegroom, and His Church, the Bride. Because Christ is the Savior of the Body (Ephesians 5:23) and gave Himself up for the Church (5:25), He will present her to Himself in awesome, holy splendor as a bride adorned for her husband (Revelation 19:7-9).

Since this word picture uses marriage as its example, I believe there is something very telling in this passage for husbands. Christ has given Himself for us, sanctified us, and will present us to Himself. Husbands, in the word picture, are you discipling your wife in such a way that you could present her to the Lord as a woman of God because you intentionally invested in her spiritual growth? Could you look at Christ and say, “I’ve done my best to help my wife know You, love You, serve You, and walk with You.”?

How can that happen? Here’s some suggestions:

  1. Pray with her every day; before you go to work, during the day from work, at meal times and when you go to bed. Hold hands and meet at the greatest place in the universe—the Throne of Grace (Hebrews 4:14-16).
  2. Make sure she has time to study God’s Word. If you have young children and her time is maxed taking care of them, when you come home from work, spend time with the kids and give your wife the opportunity to get alone with God.
  3. Give your wife spiritual growth opportunities such as sending her to the Ladies Retreat @ the Wilds or Ladies Prayer Advance (christlifemin.org), and/or making sure she participates in a ladies Bible study at church, and be faithful to attend your local church.
  4. Pray specifically for her to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18).
  5. Share with each other every day what you have learned from your time in the Word and prayer.
  6. Share how you have seen God at work in your lives.
  7. Read a book together on a date, before you go to bed, after supper, etc. (i.e. Marriage, Christian growth)
  8. Rejoice with her with she sees answers to prayer, and weep with her when her heart is burdened (Romans 12:15).


Men, we have an awesome responsibility to come alongside our wives and grow together in Christ! The eternal things are of far more value than the temporal, earthly things. You take the lead; you encourage; you disciple. Be ready “to present” her to the Lord!

Let’s Read & Grow in 2022

Recently I heard someone say that we need go into 2022 not making resolutions but developing habits.

One action/habit that I have been challenged to make in this new year is to read more books. Not just to read more but to have an intentional plan for reading. While scrolling through Twitter the other day, I came across Scott & Becky Aniol’s G3 Reading Challenge 2022. https://g3min.org/readingchallenge2022/

Consider the following from their blog post:

Whether you’re a voracious reader, an occasional reader, or a wannabe reader, join us for the G3 Reading Challenge 2022. The goal with this challenge is not only to get Christians reading but also to stretch us all—as parents, pastors, parishoners—to read more widely. We hope these categories will motivate you to both complete some books you’ve been meaning to read and also venture into topics and genres that don’t normally make it onto your bookshelf. One thing is certain: You’ll be better for it.

Don’t think you have time to read 12 books? Audiobooks available through your local library or a subscription service will read to you while you drive or dry dishes. Also, statistics tell us that picking up a book instead of scrolling social media could allow the average American to read over 200 books a year! Consider doing the challenge with your spouse, a friend, or a church group to provide community and stimulate healthy conversation.

I’ve accepted the challenge and want to share the books I have chosen for 2022, with a few personal changes to the categories of books.

A Bible Reading Plan

The Lookout Bible Reading Plan (YouVersion Bible app)

A Hymnal

Hymns Modern & Ancient

A Christian Biography (or autobiography)

Courageous Faith, Charles Stanley

Hudson Taylor and the China Inland Mission The Growth of a Work of God, Vol. 2

A Book about Culture

Christianity and Wokeness, Owen Strachan

A Puritan Paperback (or any book by a Puritan)

The Fountain of Life, John Flavel

A Book about Worship

Sing, Keith & Kristen Getty

A Book by an Inkling

Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis

A Book on Pastoring/Ministry

Elders in the Life of the Church, Matt Schmucker and Phil A. Newton

A Novel Written before 1922

David Copperfield , Charles Dickens (1849)

A Book about Gender or Sexuality

Love Thy Body, Nancy Pearcy

A Christian Classic You’ve Been Meaning to Read

God in the Whirlwind, David F. Wells

A Book on Prayer

Quiet Talks on Prayer, SD Gordon

Will you join me? My heart’s desire is to have several men come along for the ride this year so we can sharpen one another in our walk with Christ and life. What do you say, men? Choose your books, and let’s read and grow!!

Sing With Shiloh!

1 Who is he born in the stall,
at whose feet the shepherds fall?
Who is he in deep distress,
fasting in the wilderness?
Refrain:
‘Tis the Lord, O wondrous story!
‘Tis the Lord, the King of glory!
At his feet we humbly fall,
crown him, crown him, Lord of all!
4 Lo! at midnight, who is he
prays in dark Gethsemane?
Who is he upon the tree
dies in grief and agony? [Refrain]
5 Who is he that from the grave
comes to heal and help and save?
Who is he that from his throne
rules thro’ all the world alone? [Refrain]

Tears of joy ran down my face Sunday morning as we congregationally sang the rich text of Who Is He in Yonder Stall?. As the full song recounts the life of Christ, the refrain resounds with praise and attention given to the Lord Jesus Christ in His humiliation and kingship! Indeed, He alone is worthy of our worship!

Joy also flowed because this was my first Sunday back in church since November 28th due to covid.

But that’s not all. Joy welled up in my heart in response to the congregation singing! From my vantage point on the back row, it sounded like a full choir seated in the pews ringing out praises to our matchless Savior and Lord!

Folks, that’s the way it should be in every Sunday gathering! Indeed, I am grateful for every aspect of music ministry in a service, but a congregation singing with all their hearts to the Lord is hard to beat! As each believer thinks through the words of each song while focusing their attention on singing to the Lord and to one another, something grand occurs . . . worship, discipleship, praise, presence, conviction, unity, encouragement, emotion and adoration! The issue is not talent but a heart engaged in proclaiming the greatness of our God and our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ!

If you want an example of what I am describing, you need to join me on Sunday morning as my five year old grandson, Shiloh, gives uninhibited praise to God! Yesterday, he joined in as we sang:

I rejoice in my Redeemer
Greatest Treasure,
Wellspring of my soul
I will trust in Him, no other.
My soul is satisfied in Him alone.

(Keith & Kristen Getty)

After the service, several folks mentioned to his mom and my wife that they could hear Shiloh singing! Where did he learn to sing like that? By being in church watching others around him as well as the influence of his home.

God wants us to sing, and He wants to hear you sing!

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. (Colossians 3:16)

Oh come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise! (Psalm 95:1-2)

So, this Sunday, will you join with other believers around the world as well as those seated around you in singing praise to our God? I’m looking forward to singing with Shiloh this Sunday, too!

The White Blazes

We made it!!

If you have ever wondered what it is like to hike the Appalachian Trail, it is apply defined by the words extreme adventure!

As you trod over the well-worn path, one step after another leads to decisions, caution, carefulness, speed, slowness, rest, joy, possibilities, views, varying weight, anticipation, etc.

As I recently hiked a section in Virginia with a friend, the AT reminded me of participating with Christ in living His life, the Christian life! Indeed, when Jesus invites us to follow him (Matthew 16:24), a good synonym would be extreme adventure!

As you hike the AT, there are many items needed such as hiking shoes, back pack, trekking poles, tent, food, much planning, and major will power to make this trek successful. But above all, there is something you must have to make it from Springer Mt. in Georgia to Mt. Katadhin in Maine. What is it? The infamous white blazes. There are approximately 165,000 of these rectangular 2 x 6 inch white markings that are found on trees, posts, and rocks. The distance between each blaze varies but they are the “law” on the trail; they are the surety markers if you are to stay on trail.

In this extreme adventure of following Christ, we have an eternal white blaze that guides us every step in this journey of life, the Word of God (Psalms 23:1-3; 32:8-9; 119:105; John 14:6; Colossians 2:6). Just as I cannot stay on trail without the white blazes, neither can I participate in Christ’s life without His Word (Galatians 2:20).

This life will offer many different side paths to take (e.g. blue blazes) that may or may not be beneficial. There will be rocks, creeks, roots, decisions, caution, carefulness, speed, slowness, rest, joy, possibilities, views, varying weight, anticipation, etc. along the trail of life, but you must daily follow the white blaze of God’s Word. These white markers are surety on the AT; the Word of God is the same in this trek of life.

For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17 For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. 18 And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount. 19 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: 20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. 21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. (2 Peter 1:16-21)

Establish my footsteps in Your word… (Psalm 119:133).