On Sunday, we began our new series, Preparing for Christmas. One of the big takeaways for me was the selflessness of Luke, and the extent that he went to share the Christmas story. I like the fact that he didn’t appear to be a great speaker or a prominent leader. He was a behind-the-scenes guy, but he used the skills and opportunities that God gave him and he, perhaps more than anyone, has been used to bring the message of Christmas to people all over the world. His example inspires me to want to get the word out about Christmas, myself. I was challenged by Thom Rainer’s list of obstacles that keep Christians from sharing. Two are related to theology, two are related to lifestyle, and two are emotional in nature. Consider the obstacles he lists and which ones you need to confront to share the message of Christmas this year.
When relationships break down and conflict erupts, how do we get ourselves out of it? How can we find peace where there is no peace? In Matthew 5:9, Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God,” but how do we become a peacemaker? James 3:18 promises that “a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace,” but how do we make peace? We’ve all seen people we respected and admired for being able to bring peace where there was conflict. At our last association meeting, I had an opportunity to learn from one. Let me share what I learned.
This week, I’m at the national convention of The Fellowship and in between reports and business sessions, Dr. John Neufeld has been speaking about the Reformation. In Tuesday morning’s talk, he touched on the influence of a man named Origen on Bible reading and interpretation in the Christian church. That talk sparked my interest to learn more. Origen had a rare determination in his faith and he had an incredible intellect. Despite that, he made some terrible blunders that are repeated by many in our day. Let me share three things we can learn from his mistakes.
The story of Priscilla Nicoara is for me a very powerful account of the power of love in a person’s life. She tells the story of her encounter with the love of Jesus at the web-site, I Am Second. We sometimes think of love in abstract terms or in purely romantic terms, but Priscilla’s life demonstrates the human need for love, the search for love and the transforming power of love.
On Sunday, we hosted the second in our two-part parenting seminar with Paul Tripp. He helped us deal with what he felt was the biggest weakness in Christian parenting – dealing with the surface rather than the substance. He said that he often hears from parents about children who have gone off to university and leave the faith. Often, he felt, they hadn’t left the faith at all. What had happened was that children with a veneer of Christianity had stepped out from under their parents’ tight control and demonstrated that their faith really didn’t go beyond mere parental compliance. This, he sees, is the common product of parenting that aims to regulate behaviour without reaching the heart. Let me explain.
Two weeks ago, we hosted the first of a two-part parenting seminar with Paul David Tripp. It differed from many talks and books on parenting in that it wasn’t particularly prescriptive. While it was incredibly practical, it didn’t aim to give a list of tips: “In this situation, do this.” Instead, it gave a holistic mindset for parenting by which parenting strategies can be better evaluated and incorporated. It helped parents lost in the trees, catch a glimpse of the forest. Three highlights stand out.
Last Thursday I went to Cambridge for a daylong seminar on Preaching the Book of Deuteronomy with Old Testament scholar, Dr. Daniel Block. For many people, Deuteronomy is a dull book to be avoided. But the 74-year-old Dr. Block was neither dull nor tentative in his treatment of the book. Full of passion and love for its teachings, he sometimes shouted, sometimes laughed, and at one point even broke into song as he was preaching. He shared how he had begun teaching through Deuteronomy in an adult Sunday School class at his church. Initially 60 people signed up to join him, but how many would continue, particularly given how slowly he was working through the chapters? Well, he still has a couple of chapters to complete, but he’s been teaching that class for seven years now and he averages 180 to 200 people each week. Obviously, there’s more to be learned from this book than most people think! There were many lessons I took away from the series of lectures, but perhaps most helpful was his perspective on how Christians can enjoy reading the Old Testament.
On Sunday October 15 and 29 from 2 to 5 pm (not October 14 as announced earlier), Grace Baptist Church is hosting a 2-part parenting live stream seminar with Paul David Tripp.. I hope you'll make time for this important opportunity. In order to introduce the speaker, today's post features him again as a guest contributor, introducing the principles of his book. In our parenting seminar, he'll be covering the first four topics.
I still remember doing a survey of the church building we erected in Japan. The foundation had just been laid and the supervisor walked the perimeter with me and got down on the ground to show me how perfect the angles were. He said, “Get the foundation perfect and you’ll have a stable building. But make a small mistake here, and you’ll always have problems.” Thankfully, they did get the foundation perfect. And we were very happy with the finished product. Over the years, I’ve seen again and again that getting the foundation of Christianity straight is crucial to a healthy relationship with God. The problem is that you can’t get everything straight. There is too much to know in the Bible to know it all equally. So you need to be able to discern what the foundation is and get that straight and then over time do your best to add to it. Do you have the foundation straight? Have you helped your children get the foundation straight? When people ask you about your faith, do you get the foundation straight?
On Sunday October 14 and 29 from 2 to 5 pm, Grace Baptist Church is hosting a 2-part parenting live stream seminar with Paul David Tripp.. I hope you'll make time for this important opportunity.. In order to introduce the speaker, today's post features him as a guest contributor..
In 1997, I wrote my first book, Age of Opportunity: A Biblical Guide to Parenting Teens. I felt God calling me to write more books, but I was equally as persuaded that Age of Opportunity would be my only one on the topic of parenting. But for the past two decades, as I saw how people were using that book (and my brother Tedd’s book Shepherding a Child's Heart), I grew increasingly uncomfortable. Something was missing in the way these parents were interpreting and applying the strategies detailed in the pages of our books. It took me a while to figure out what was off. Then it hit me: the missing piece was the gospel. It sounds obvious, almost cliché, but it’s more significant in our lives than we realize.