Monday, July 27, 2009

Free Books

You can sign up to win over $80 in free books this week at Passion for Preaching. Check out their Christmas in July book giveaway that includes two great books and a $50 gift certificate from WTSBOOKS.

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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Big Truths for Young Hearts

I've posted a book review for Big Truths for Young Hearts at Passion for Preaching. I hope that you will check it out, especially if you are a parent.

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Thursday, June 25, 2009

Infidelity, Grace, and A Christian Response

In light of Mark Sanford's recent confession of infidelity, I admit that my first reaction was very negative. I continue to be saddened by the situation and feel incredible sorrow for the entire Sanford family (as well as the woman involved), however, I am reminded that but for grace, there go I as well. Before we cast stones, let us remember that only God's grace protects us from making sinful blunders, and as soon as we grow confident in our own abilities to resist sin, we will become susceptible to that sin in our own lives.

I am reminded of the need also for accountability. I doubt that Mark Sanford shared with his wife and closest friends that he was tempted into this sin before it ever happened. Instead, this was a "secret" affair. The old adage goes, secrets don't make friends and friends don't make secrets. The only secret you should keep from your spouse should involve cake, candles, and gifts. Other secrets are harmful and potentially deadly to your marriage.

Lastly, I am humbled by the forgiving spirit of his wife. What an example to the world of what forgiveness looks like. I believe that Mark Sanford should honor his wife's commitment to forgiveness by resigning from his position and devoting his time to reconciling with his wife and family. He should also honor the integrity of his position and the people of his state by stepping down.

Be in prayer for the Sanford family and for all families that they could and would resist the temptation to sin and stray.

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Friday, June 12, 2009

Sermon Videos

If you haven't checked out our new website at, you should. It's still got some bugs to be worked out, but it is coming along. On our new site, you can see sermon videos. Below I've pasted the sermon from May 31st, and if all goes well, I'll get the video from this past Sunday up today.

May 31st, 2009 Sermon from Malvern Hill Baptist Church on Vimeo.

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Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Beauty of Silence

In a new article by Albert Mohler he examines the inherit value of silence to human culture, and especially to children.  Here is my favorite excerpt, which he quotes from Susan Hill:

If children do not learn to focus and concentrate in a pool of quietness, their minds become fragmented and their temperaments irritable, their ability to absorb knowledge and sift it, grade it and evaluate it do not develop fully. Reading a book quietly, watching a raindrop slide slowly down a windowpane or a ladybird crawl up a leaf, trying to hear the sound of a cat breathing when it is asleep, asking strange questions, such as, "Where do all the colors go at night?" and speculating about the possible answers — all of these are best done in silence where the imagination can flourish and the intricate minutiae of the world around us can be examined with the greatest concentration.

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Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Worshiping God Because of His Creation

Francis Chan's book, Crazy Love is one that I would heartily recommend to you.  Today, I'm going to type a selection from his book that inspired me to worship God.  I hope and trust that it will do the same for you.
Did you know that a caterpillar has 228 separate and distinct muscles in its head?  That's quite a few, for a bug.  The average elm tree has approximately 6 million leaves on it.  And your own heart generates enough pressure as it pumps blood throughout your body that it could squirt blood up to thirty feet.  (I've never tried this, and don't recommend it.)

Have you ever thought about how diverse and creative God is?  He didn't have to make hundreds of different kinds of bananas, but he did.  He didn't have to put 3,000 species of trees within one square mile in the Amazon jungle, but he did.  God didn't have to create so many kinds of laughter.  Think about the different sounds of your friends' laughs--wheezes, snorts, silent, loud, obnoxious.

How about the way plants defy gravity by drawing water upward from the ground into their stems and veins?  Or did you know that spiders produce three kinds of silk?  WHen they build their webs, they create sixty feet of silk in one hour, simultaneously producing special oil on their feet that prevents them from sticking to their own web.  (Most of us hate spiders, but sixty feet an hour deserves some respect!)  Coral plants are so sensitive that they can die if the water temperature varies by even one or two degrees.  

Did you know that when you get goose bumps, the hair in your follicles is actually helping you stay warmer by trapping body heat?  Or what about the simple fact that plants take in carbon dioxide (which is harmful to us) and produce oxygen (which we need to survive)?  Im' sure you knew that, but have you ever marveled at it?  And these same poison-swallowing, life-giving plants came from tiny seeds that were placed in the dirt.  Some were watered, some weren't; but after a few days they poked through the soil and out into the warm sunlight.

Whatever God's reasons for such diversity, creativity, and sophistication in the universe, on earth, and in our own bodies, the point of it all is His glory.  Gods art speaks of Himself, reflecting who He is and what He is like.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Bad Language in the Pulpit

I encourage you to click over to PassionforPreaching and check out my latest article there titled, Exposition and Explicatives that deals with the issue of bad language in the pulpit. Ephesians 5:4 says "Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving."
Needless to say, I believe that this imperative applies to pastors and preachers as well as those who sit in chairs and pews. After all, teachers will be judged more harshly than those who do not teach (James 3:1).

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Monday, June 01, 2009

Intentional Potential

It has been said that "potential is what you ain't done yet."  Sure, this is not proper English, but it is absolutely true.  Many people love to talk about their potential, but this is simply because they have not yet accomplished anything to talk about.

We all have the potential to be mature Christians, but have you attained to that maturity yet?

Paul says in Colossians 1:28 that it should be our goal to present everyone mature in Christ.  That is my goal, and it is my responsibility as a pastor to equip the saints under my charge so that they may attain to that maturity.  I have to be intentional in my ministry.

However, unless you are intentional in your efforts to grow in Christ, you will remain a baby in the faith, never being weaned from the spiritual bottle.  You have the potential, but are you being intentional in your attempts to reach your potential?

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Thursday, May 28, 2009

Time and Time Again

As a follow up to yesterday's post on planning, I just ran across an article from my buddy Travis Agnew.  He apparently has some of the same kinds of things on his mind these days and has listed some very practical advice for planning your day.  See his blog here.

My favorite quote from Travis today:

Are you leading the day or is the day leading you?

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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

God Is A Long-Range Planner

I am not an incredibly organized person. However, in my quiet time yesterday I encountered Psalm 139:16:

In your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for
me, when as yet there were none of them.

This passage served two purposes for me.
  1. I was encouraged as I was reminded that nothing will happen to me that God does not know about or that God did not plan. God has my every hour and moment in his total control and I can rest confident in the good plans of my God (Romans 8:28)
  2. It occurred to me that if God plans my days and I am called to be like him, then I too should plan my days. Not only will I get more accomplished as I'm more organized, but I will be more like God as I'm planning my days.

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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Free Book

You can win a copy of Greg Mathis new book, God Is Able! But Am I Willing? by clicking here.Add to Technorati Favorites

Monday, May 11, 2009

Albert Mohler on Mother's Day

Now that Mother's Day for 2009 is over, perhaps a bit of second-guessing is in order. Americans have celebrated Mother's Day for over a century, and the observance has grown to become one of the nation's most popular annual events. But is it good for motherhood?

Back in 1858, Anna Reeves Jarvis organized the precursor to Mother's Day as a way to protest a lack of sanitation in rural Appalachia. Later, Julia Ward Howe would organize what became "Mother's Days for Peace" in protest of all war. Howe, who wrote the "Battle Hymn of the Republic," pledged: "Our husbands shall not come to us reeking with carnage. . . . Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy, and patience."

Then, as Ruth Rosen reports at

When Anna Jarvis died in 1905, her daughter, also named Anna, vowed to honor her mother's political activism by creating a national Mother's Day. The gift card and flower industries also lobbied hard. As an industry publication, the Florists' Review, put it, "This was a holiday that could be exploited." In 1914, Congress responded and proclaimed the second Sunday in May to be Mother's Day.

As Rosen explains, the women behind Mother's Day were convinced that the moral superiority of women was grounded in the experience of motherhood.

In 1914, President Woodrow Wilson signed the legislation setting Mother's Day as the second Sunday each May. The focus was not to be on honoring all American mothers in common, but each family's mother in each home, thus Mother's Day -- not Mothers' Day. Wilson's statements reflected both moralism and sentimentalism.

Before long, however, the observance became commercialized. It came early enough to outrage Anna Jarvis, but she fought a losing battle against the florists, marketers, and other commercial interests. She died regretting that she had conceived the idea of Mother's Day in the first place.
Now, Mother's Day ranks number one among all annual occasions in terms of eating out. As for total spending on gifts, some analysts believe that Mother's Day has now pushed Valentine's Day into third place. While not everyone has a valentine, almost everyone has someone to honor on Mother's Day. Counting grandmothers, mothers-in-law, and assorted other maternal figures, this adds up to a huge consumer event.

All this was enough to make Anna Jarvis regret her idea, but consumerism is not the worst thing to happen to Mother's Day. The worst part of Mother's Day is the flood of sentimentality that masquerades as affection and honor.

Sentiment drives Mother's Day as a gargantuan observance. We Americans feel better about ourselves when we honor motherhood -- or when we spend a few dollars on overpriced greeting cards, flowers, and food and convince ourselves that this is honoring our mothers.

There is nothing wrong about sentiment in itself, but there is something pornographic about the pathos of sentimentalism that this observance produces -- a sentimentalism so often devoid of content.

The Christian vision of motherhood is more about courage and faithfulness than about sentimentalism. The mothers of the Bible are a tough lot. Jochebed put her baby in a floating ark of bulrushes, defying the order of Pharaoh that all Hebrew male children be put to death. Rachel, mother to Joseph and Benjamin, died giving birth to Benjamin. Hannah promised her son to God, and presented Samuel as a young boy for service in the House of the Lord. Mary, the mother of Jesus, risked shame and disgrace to bear the Savior, and to provide all Christians with a model of brave and unflinching obedience. She was there when Jesus Christ was crucified. As Simeon had told her just after the birth of Christ, "Behold this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed." [Luke 2:34-35]

A corsage hardly seems appropriate.

Christians must resist the reduction of motherhood to sentimentality, and particularly that sentimentalism that undermines what mothers are truly to represent -- nurture, fortitude, courage, dedication, faithfulness, discipline, and trust in God.

Mother's Day is a bad idea because it subverts the reality of faithful mothering and robs faithful mothers of their true glory. Mothers deserving of honor are handed cards and taken to lunch, when songs of praise should instead be offered to the glory of God. Undeserving mothers, who abdicate their true responsibility, are honored just because they are mothers. Children, young and old, who ignore and dishonor their mothers by word and by life throughout the year, assuage their guilt by making a big deal of Mother's Day.

So, Mother's Day is a bad idea.

Then again, Mother's Day is impossible to ignore. What quality of ingratitude marks the son or daughter (or husband) who does not honor mothers on Mother's Day? There was I yesterday, with son and daughter, honoring both their mother (my dear wife, Mary) and my mother-in-law. Yes, we had a celebratory meal out and we passed out greeting cards with our own personal inscriptions. Gifts were delivered, and all the right things were said. Calls were made to my mother, several states away.

In the end, we are all like little children who push crumpled hand-made greeting cards toward Mom, who then accepts our grubby offerings with love and gratitude.

So much for avoiding sentimentality. Let's just make certain that there is more to Mother's Day than sentiment. The mothers we should honor are those who raise children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, who honor their marriages and live faithfully, who teach and nurture and discipline by the Bible. These are mothers who defy the spirit of the age, protect their children from danger, maintain godly discipline and order in the home, and feed their children the pure milk of God's Word.

These mothers deserve honor upon honor, and their reward will be great in heaven. Yet, in the meantime, a card and a kiss on Mother's Day won't hurt. It's just not nearly enough.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

New Book: Big Truths for Young Hearts

Bruce Ware has a new book coming out tomorrow that I have not yet read but that has received wonderful reviews so far. I will be reviewing this book in the next couple of weeks, but I feel pretty confident in recommending this book to parents now. The books is titled, Big Truths for Young Hearts: Teaching and Learning the Greatness of God. You can find a review of the book here, and a Q&A with Bruce Ware here.
Parents and Children's workers should take a serious look at this book.

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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A different Kind of Sermon

A couple of years ago I was introduced to Sermon Jams. Essentially, Sermon Jams are portions of sermons set to a beat, usually a hip-hop beat. Since then, I have become a huge fan. The guys with this ministry now have five volumes of Sermon Jams available for free download at (I would reccommend volume 5, Strength Remix by Piper). One of my favorites comes from Ravi Zacharias and can be seen and heard below. This is a great and unique ministry that you may find beneficial.

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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Matt Chandler Video on Irrevrent Silly Myths

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Monday, April 20, 2009

Great Sundays Make Great Mondays

Mondays are tough, no doubt about that. But, I have come to realize that showing up at the office on Monday is not so bad when it is preceded by a great Sunday. I'm thankful for a church family that gives me so many wonderful Sundays.

Yesterday was a great Sunday for us. God blessed us with the presence of his Holy Spirit in an amazing way and for that reason, I am anxious and excited to work and study today. May God give us all many more great Mondays in the future because of great Sundays of worship.

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Thursday, April 09, 2009

Recessions and Religion

Revivals are often birthed out of recessions, out of tough times. Three things go up in recessions: church attendance, bar attendance, and movie attendance. Why those three things? They represent the three things people are looking for: meaning, connection, and relief.
- Pastor Rick Warren

More on this later

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Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Emotional (Angry?) Preaching

I've built upon my short post on this site earlier this week and have written an article about Hard Hitting Preaching which you can find here.

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Monday, March 30, 2009

Hard Hitting Sermons

Sometimes, my sermons are pretty harsh. It's just my nature to be blunt and loud, but it's the nature of God's word to divide and conquer your flesh. I once heard an old preacher say that if it seems as though the preaching of God's word is stroking the cat the wrong way, it's not the job of the pastor to change the word, it's the responsibility of the cat to turn around.

When my preaching is loud and abrasive, my concern and prayer is that my tone will not overshadow the message of God's word. I hope that my messages always convey the love of Christ to his people and the love of this pastor toward his church. My prayer is that my love, however, will always be true love that speaks the truth and never feigned love that lauds sin in the name of being nice or elevating self-esteem.

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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Marriage and Men

This is a sermon that every man and every married couple in America should watch. This makes a great follow up to my last post concerning men performing as Spiritual leaders in the home.

Mark Driscoll never minces words, and this is a great example of a hard hitting sermon challenging men to step up to the plate.

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Training Men To Lead Their Families

I've posted a great article here about training men to lead their families. This is an article that I wish every member of our church--especially the men--would read. Even though God is doing great things in our midst, we are (like many other churches) in dire need of strong men to step up to the plate and lead in the home and in the church.

The Bible is clear about the responsibility of the husband/father in the family to lead as Christ leads his church. It is my hope and prayer that God will raise up men in the church to lead. It is also my conviction, however, that in our church and in every church it is the responsibility of the church to seek out the men and challenge and train them up to be the leaders in the church and in their homes. For all interested, this is the reason for our one day men's retreat on May 2nd.

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Monday, March 23, 2009

For The Sake of His Steadfast Love

Last night, I preached from Psalm 6:4 where David cries out for God's salvation with these words:

"Save me for the sake of your steadfast love."

I would challenge you today to ponder on this thought, God's salvation is not ultimately because of anything I've done or even because I am worthy of it. Rather, God has chosen to save us for the sake of his steadfast love.

Jesus' death on the cross accomplished all that was needed for our salvation (see my sermon on The Ten Accomplishments of the Cross), but his motivation was not my sin. Rather, his motivation was the will of the Father, And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will (Matthew 26:39).” It was the love of God that held Christ on the cross. The love of God for himself and his own glory ultimately, and the desire to see his creation restored to right relationship with him.

We must be careful as Christians to view the cross, not as man-centered, but as God-centered. On the cross, Christ reconciled sinners to himself, but he did so so that God would be glorified through his acts of grace and mercy. He saved us, not for our own sake, but for the sake of his steadfast love.

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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Twitter in Church?

Ok, some of you don't even know what Twitter is (click here for the wikipedia definition). Basically, Twitter is a relatively new way of Instant Messaging, only you send one message that can be read by anyone who follows you at the same time. Think of passing notes in class, but instead of passing one note to one person, you can pass one note to tons of people all at the same time. You can do it via the internet, your smart phone, applications on your computer desktop, or simply with text messaging. Anyone with a computer or a cell phone can twitter, and it is EASY.

Below, I have pasted a link to a video about Mars Hill Church in Seattle which encourages twittering in church. It's a concept I didn't really think about, but that is probably worth while. Click to watch Congregation at Seattle Church All A Twitter.

I don't know if this will catch on in Camden soon, but if it is an opportunity to spread the gospel, why not?

Also, as a side note, there was a time when I told a friend (Terry) that I did not see any value in Twitter...I confess that I was wrong and repent in dust and ashes. You can follow my tweets (messages sent through twitter) on the left side of this page.

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Thursday, February 26, 2009

I Have Become Resistant To Change

I have become that which I have so often loathed. I, Craig Thompson, am resistant to change. I really didn't realize it until Tuesday night. Angela and I had talked about the need for Wyatt to go to bed all by himself without Daddy and we both agreed that it was a good idea. Tuesday night was our first experience. We read God's Big Picture Storybook Bible together, he told Mommy, Sissie, and Rowdy (our dog) goodnight (kissing each one individually) and down the hall he and I went. He climbed into bed with his monkey and covered up with his manket (thats how he says blanket). I knelt beside him and we said our prayers (which you should all hear, he is awesome), I kissed him on the head, told him goodnight, and I left. Much to my amazement, he did not come toddling down the hall...he just went to sleep.


It is great that dad does not have to lay down with Wyatt to get him to bed now and it is wonderful that our son is growing and maturing, but I don't have to like it. Seriously, it is tough to see him grow up (he now says AMEN instead of MAYMEN) even when I know it is absolutely what he needs.

I now understand why many in our churches are resistant to change. It's tough to see the things you love change. We love our worship style, or the way the preacher dresses, or that song that reminds me of dear old grandma, and so we resist change. Only, in the church it is somewhat easier that it is with my son. I can't stop him from growing, but a small group of people with a mindset to do so can stop a church from growing.

I don't like Wyatt growing up, but I would appreciate you all being sensitive to my discomfort in this area. Likewise, we must be sensitive to the discomfort of those in the church who are resistant to change. However, just as I must accept the fact that Wyatt is growing and rejoice that God is fulfilling his purpose in my son by maturing him physically, mentally, and spiritually; we as church members must embrace change that results in the fulfillment of God's purpose for his church...the Great Commission.

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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Obstacles To Evangelism

Click here to see J.D. Greear's five Obstacles to Evangelism from yesterday's evangelism conference.

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Thursday, February 19, 2009

Communicate Clearly

So I guess we all hope this is a fake. But, if it isn't, it should at least remind you that there is someone out there who is more gullable than you are. It should also remind us all of the necessity of communicating clearly.
Okay so this is how I imagine this conversation went:
Walmart Employee: 'Hello dis is Walmart, how can I help you?'
Customer: ' I would like to order a cake for a going away party this week.'
Walmart Employee: 'What you want on de cake?'
Customer: 'Best Wishes Suzanne' and underneath that 'We will miss you'.

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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Pope To Pelosi: Protect Human Life

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi met Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican Wednesday morning, but may not have had a meeting of the minds if the two statements from their offices are any indication.

No journalists were at the 15-minute encounter and the Vatican and the speaker's offices have not released any photos. However, according to their statements it appears the pope and the politician attended two different get-togethers.

"His Holiness took the opportunity to speak of the requirements of the natural moral law and the Church's consistent teaching on the dignity of human life from conception to natural death which enjoins all Catholics, and especially legislators, jurists and those responsible for the common good of society, to work in cooperation with all men and women of good will in creating a just system of laws capable of protecting human life at all stages of its development," the Vatican wrote, having released the statement moments before the two met.

Several hours later, Pelosi's office gave her take on the tete-a-tete.

"It is with great joy that my husband, Paul, and I met with his Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI today," Pelosi said in a statement released hours after the meeting. "In our conversation, I had the opportunity to praise the Church's leadership in fighting poverty, hunger and global warming, as well as the Holy Father's dedication to religious freedom and his upcoming trip and message to Israel. I was proud to show his Holiness a photograph of my family's papal visit in the 1950s, as well as a recent picture of our children and grandchildren."

The pontiff has a long history of urging Catholic politicians to toe the line on abortion, and has said that those who don't shouldn't take communion. Pelosi supports abortion rights and says she's never been denied communion at her church in San Francisco.

In 2002, the Vatican issued a doctrinal note on "The Participation of Catholics in Political Life," which states rather succinctly that politicians who profess to be Catholic have a "grave and clear obligation" to oppose any law that attacks human life.

That note was approved by John Paul II but signed by none other than Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. He's now the pope.

The speaker does not share that belief, and even got into a verbal slugfest with American bishops last August after her statements on a news program about the Church's view of when life begins.

"I would say that as an ardent, practicing Catholic, this is an issue that I have studied for a long time. And what I know is, over the centuries, the doctors of the church have not been able to make that definition. And St. Augustine said at three months, we don't know. The point is, is that it shouldn't have an impact on the woman's right to choose," she said at the time on NBC's "Meet the Press."

She then added that the Church has only held the view for 50 years or so that life begins at conception. The remarks earned her widespread corrections by Catholic clerics.

FOX News' Greg Burke contributed to this report.

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Thursday, February 12, 2009

Britain Outlaws Man For Hate Speech

FoxNews is reporting that Dutch politician Geert Wilders has been banned from Britain because of his movie against Islam that calls the Koran a "fascist" book and the Islamic religion violent. This is a huge blow against free speech in Britain.

Britain's Home Office would not comment specifically on the ban, but it said it "opposes extremism in all its forms" and would work to "stop those who want to spread extremism, hatred and violent messages in our communities from coming to our country."

I post this tidbit primarily to point out that in Britain, there is an open anti-Christian campaign, promoted especially by the Atheist community. It would seem that the most important thing for the British parliament is not to oppose extremism, since they do allow sharia law to reign in some areas, but rather to protect the rights of Islam above all else. Just something to think about. Let me know what you think.
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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

What Message Is Your Child's Cell Phone Sending?

What message is your child's cell phone sending? At 8:30 on Wednesday morning, for many of you reading this, my guess is as good as yours. Innocently they could be exchanging homework assignments or they could be engaging in something much more sinister. Many examples abound in recent news of teens and tweens who's picture messages have revealed more than a bad hair day.

Regardless of what messages they are sending today, what messages are you sending to them? Russell Moore of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary has posted a great article about pre-teens and cell-phone use. As parents who take the protection of their children seriously you can hardly avoid reading this straight to the point article. You may not like his conclusions, but it should at least prompt you to think about your decision as to whether or not your children need their own cell-phone. Read Dr. Moore's article, Does Your Child's Cell Phone Preach Another Gospel? and let me know what you think. I'm anxious to know if parents agree or disagree.

Let me go on record as saying that I believe Dr. Moore is spot on with this argument.

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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Christless Christianity

A couple of weeks ago I posted an article based on some information gleaned from my reading of Christless Christianity by Michael Horton. After having completed it, I believe it is one of the best books I will read all year and would encourage any Christian interested in growing in their faith to read it and take it in. I have written a review for the book that can be found here.

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Thursday, February 05, 2009

To The Husbands

Yesterday we posted for we post for husbands. Because too many men do not read (and shame on you), I've posted two video clips from Mark Driscoll for your viewing pleasure (and or conviction). Husbands, you need to pay attention because when your wife sees this, her expectations of you may change, but who could blame her?

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Wednesday, February 04, 2009

How Servant Wives Show Leadership in the Home

What does a godly marriage look like? According to the Bible, it is a marriage characterized by God-directed male leadership and God-directed servanthood from the wife. So, men you should lead your wives to make them all that they can be in God's plan. Wives, however, you too can serve your husbands in such a way that you make them more than they would have ever been on their own. I'd like to illustrate this with some quotes this morning. One from the Bible, one from Spurgeon, and one from, of all people, Stephen King.

What a blessing is a good wife! you women, who would lnot be in your right place if you began to preach in the streets, you can make your husbands happy and comfortable when they come home, and that will make them preach all the better! Some of you can even help in another way if you are prudent and gentle. You can tenderly hint that your spouse was a little out of line in certain small matters, and he may take your hint, and put himself right.
- C.H. Spurgeon, The Soul Winner

My wife made a crucial difference during those two years I spent teaching at Hampden (and waching sheets at New Franklin Laundry during the summer vacation). If she had suggested that the time I spent writing stories on the front porch of our rented house on Pond Street or in the laundry room of our rented trailer on Klatt Road in Hermon was wasted time, I think a lot of the heart would have gone out of me. Tabby never voiced a single doubt, however. Her support was a constant, one of the few good things I could take as a given. And whenever I see a first novel dedicated to a wife (or a husband), I smile and think, there's someone who knows. Writing is a lonely job. Having someone who believes in you makes a lot of difference. They don't have to make speeches. Just believing is usually enough.
- Stephen King, On Writing

Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives--when they see your respectful and pure conduct. Do not let your adorning be external--the braiding of hair, the wearing of gold, or the putting on of clothint--but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the
imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious.

- 1 Peter 3:1-4

Ladies, you of all people can lead your husbands to greater things. It may be to success in winning souls, to success in careers, or even to faith in God, but it will be done with a gentle and supportive spirit. Whether you know it or not, you husband needs and craves your attention and your admiration. Husbands need to know that their wives beleive in them.

Wives, support your husbands verbally, actively, and publicly. Whether you know it or not, your admiration is more important than all of the accolades the world can provide.

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Thursday, January 29, 2009

Church Done Differently

Mark Driscoll is the pastor/church planter of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, WA. His early years of ministry were frought with controversy that actually won him the title of "The Cussing Preacher." Obviously, foul language has no place in the pulpit and in recent years he has distanced himself from the immaturity and filthiness of his past.

Whether you agree with all that Driscoll does or says, he is very orthodox and is reaching people with the message of the gospel in one of the most unchurched cities in America. I encourage you to watch this video and see how church is done differently to reach a different audience with the same old message.

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Churched Teens Have Little Knowledge Of The Gospel

I'm reading a new release by Michael Horton titled Christless Christianity. So far this book is incredible and may be the best book I'll read all year. One terrifying observation made in his book, however, is that recent research suggests that there is little difference between churched and unchurched teens in their ability to articulate the actual content of their faith. Citing Christian Smith, Horton makes the following observation.

Smith observed that most teens--including those reared in evangelical churches who said their faith is "very important" and makes a big difference in their lifes--are "stunningly inarticulate" concerning the actual content of their faith...In contraast to previous generations that at least had some residual knowledge of the Bible and basic Christian teachings, it seems there is very little serious ability to state, reflect upon, or examine their beliefs, much less to relate them to daily life. Many young people seem to be living on the hype and the familiar circle of friends in the youth group, both of which eventually lose their influence, especially in college.

It seems then, that for many teens, church is a place to belong instead of a place to become. No longer are they challenged to learn God's word and be changed by it, but instead are invited into a safe place for "relationship building." Pastors, parents, and youth pastors need to wake up to this growing trend in the church. These are the future leaders of the church, and the gospel they will be peddling will not be the gospel of the Bible, but instead the gospel of what Smith and Horton call, moralistic, therapeutic deism. Moralistic, therapeutic deism is defined this way

1. God created the world
2. God wants people to be good, nice, and fair to each other, as taught in
the Bible and most world religions.
3. The central goal o flife is to be happy and to feel good about
4. God does not need to be particularly involved in one's life except when
needed to resolve a problem.
5. Good people go to heaven when they die.

In simpler terms, this is the gospel popular TV icons such as Joel Osteen and Robert Schuller, but it is not the gospel of grace. This distorted and perverted gospel will serve to turn the church into an institution of damnation rather than salvation because it explains away sin and had no need of a savior or of redemption. As Mark Dever writes, A gospel that in no way offends the sinner has not been understood. Why? Because the message of the cross is a message of offense. It's not a message of self-esteem and fitting in, it is a message of death and life in Christ.

If the best our teenagers can offer to explain their salvation is that they have "Jesus in their heart," they do not have a firm grasp on salvation. Salvation is God's miraculous activity of giving life to the spiritually dead. It is the reconciling act of Christ on the cross that appeases God's wrath so that his enemies can become his children. Our teens need to know the true gospel, not the feel good gospel and it is the responsibility of their parents and pastors to educate them.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Piper Thunders To Obama on Abortion

HT: Denny Burk

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Abortion, Genocide, and Pro-Lifers in Obama Land

A recent Newsweek article explores the changing face of the pro-life movement in America, especially since the political landscape has changed under the leadership of Barak Obama. In Pro-Lifers in Obama Land, Sarah Kliff looks to those in the pro-life camp who are leaning toward legislation and agendas that aim at reducing abortions rather than eradicating the awful practice.

Though, I agree that one life saved is worth the fight and that a reduction of even a small percentage in the number of abortions would be a victory, I do believe that the battle of abortion is more about life than about numbers. When our focus is on reduction rather than eradication, our ethical standards have to shift. For instance, which area should we focus on reducing abortions? Should we focus on minorities, on the poor, or on the rich? Should our efforts at reduction focus on sex education, economic improvement, or visible fatherhood? In other words, which lives are worth saving and which lives are to be ignored?

The Obama administration claims to have abortion reduction as its goal (and I hope that it happens), but President Obama's track record is not one that speaks of abortion reduction (click here for an example). However, Obama's hero, Abraham Lincoln, did not have slave reduction as his goal. Instead, Mr. Lincoln saw slavery for what it was, an evil brutish act that robbed people of their basic human rights. Lincoln fought to end slavery and Wilberforce was used by God to pave the way.

Abortions will be reduced as we continue to fight to see the practice of abortion ended. Until that day arrives, however, we must continue to stand firm on the priniciple that an unborn child is a human life. Any policy that continues to allow for on-demand abortion does not take into account the value of the unborn life.

I would like to ask President Obama if it is his goal to reduce genocide or end it? My hope and prayer is that he would like to end genocide because it destroys innocent human life. I hope to end abortion because it does the same to victims who are far less capable of defending themselves.

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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Links That Choose Life

Echoes of Babel- Trevin Wax examines our new national sin.

Our Struggle for The Soul of Our Nation- Princetion professor, Robert P. George reflects on Roe v. Wade and its implications for our country then...and now. This is a great piece on abortion and the pro-life movement. I encourage you to read it.

Being Pro-Life Christians Under a Pro-Choice President- John Piper preached this sermon in 1993, but it is just as applicable today. An excerpt from this sermon is found at the link above.

Lincolns Logic on Slavery Applied to Abortion- Again, from John Piper with the full text pasted below.
On January 12, 2009 Samantha Heiges, age 23, was sentenced to 25 years in prison for drowning her newborn in Burnsville, Minnesota. If she had arranged for a doctor to kill the child a few weeks earlier she would be a free woman.

What are the differences between this child before and after birth that would justify it’s protection just after birth but not just before? There are none. This is why Abraham Lincoln’s reasoning about slavery is relevant in ways he could not foresee. He wrote:

You say A. is white, and B. is black. It is color, then; the lighter, having the
right to enslave the darker? Take care. By this rule, you are to be slave to the
first man you meet, with a fairer skin than your own. You do not mean color

You mean the whites are intellectually the superiors of the blacks,
and, therefore have the right to enslave them? Take care again. By this rule,
you are to be slave to the first man you meet, with an intellect superior to
your own.

But, say you, it is a question of interest; and, if you can make it
your interest; you have the right to enslave another. Very well. And if he can
make it his interest, he has the right to enslave you. (“
On Slavery

There are no morally relevant differences between white and black or between child-in-the-womb and child-outside-the-womb that would give a right to either to enslave or kill the other.

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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A Truly Christian Prayer to the Christian God

Follow the link to read my article on the prayers of Rick Warren and Rev. Lowery yesterday during the inauguration. The prayers of these men betray their belief systems.

Read A Christian Prayer to the Christian God

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Church as a Minister of Damnation

Pastor John Piper, of Bethelehem Baptist Church has written a telling article critiquing President-Elect Obama's decision to have Gene Robinson, the first openly gay and non-celibate bishop of the Episcopal Church, deliver the invocation at the inaguration kick-0ff.

Dr. Piper writes:

This is tragic not mainly because Obama is willing to hold up the legitimacy of homosexual intercourse, but because he is willing to get behind the church endorsement of sexual intercourse between men.

It is one thing to say: Two men may legally have sex. It is another to say: The Christian church acted acceptably in blessing Robinson’s sex with men.
The implications of this are serious.

It means that Barack Obama is willing, not just to tolerate, but to feature a person and a viewpoint that makes the church a minister of damnation. Again, the tragedy here is not that many people in public life hold views (like atheism) that lead to damnation, but that Obama is making the church the minister of damnation.

Of course, Obaba is not alone in making the church a minister of damnation, but all of those who have upheld Bishop Robinson's heretical activities. But, as president of the United States and a man who professes faith in Jesus Christ, Obabma is sending a powerful statement. Unfortunately, as Dr. Piper writes below the message is more destructive than Mr. Obama or Mr. Robinson know...

The apostle Paul says,

Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not
be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers,
men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves , nor the greedy, nor
drunkards, nor
revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And
such were some of
you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were
justified in the name of
the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God. (
1 Corinthians 6:9-11)
What is Paul saying about things like adultery, greed, stealing, and homosexual practice? As J. I. Packer puts it, “They are ways of sin that, if not repented of and forsaken, will keep people out of God’s kingdom of salvation.” (Christianity Today, January 2003, p. 48).

In other words, to bless people in these sins, instead of offering them forgiveness and deliverance from them, is to minister damnation to them, not salvation.

The gospel, with its forgiveness and deliverance from homosexual practice, offers salvation. Gene Robinson, with his blessing and approval of homosexual practice, offers damnation. And he does it in the name of Christ.

It is as though Obama sought out a church which blessed stealing and adultery, and then chose its most well-known thief and adulterer, and asked him to pray.

May we be in prayer for the church of the Living God, that God's people would awaken from their slumber and rise up against the sin that invades its ranks. May we also pray for our country, that we, who claim to be one nation under God, would honor that God who has so richly blessed us.

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