• Tuesday, September 9, 2008

  • Most people would like life to be black and white. The Bible does indeed divide our hearts and behavior in a black and white manner called wisdom and foolishness. It makes some of the things we deal with our children easier (and ourselves) when we ask the simple question – “was that wise or foolish?” The problem comes in identifying what is wisdom and foolishness.

    Wisdom is defined as the fear of the Lord. The fear of the Lord is reverence and awe of God. It is something that even a very young child can learn.

    Foolishness can be defined by Psalm 14:1 – “The fool says in his heart, ‘there is no God.’” In other words, I make myself a law and pursue what pleases me without consideration to what pleases God.

    Foolish pursuits can be found on the following paths:
    The pursuit of pleasure
    Indulging in substances
    The pursuit of sensuality
    Defining success by accomplishments or wealth
    Placing faith in education as giving life meaning and purpose

    The pursuit of wisdom leads to blessings such as:
    Long life
    Godly values
    Moral sensitivity
    Eternal joys
    Spiritual success
    Education that teaches a care for God’s world and increases our knowledge so we can glorify God.

    1. Have you been demonstrating foolishness as a parent? Do you express selfishness? A temper?

    2. How are you demonstrating wisdom as a parent? Do you show a response to the holiness of God? A hatred to wickedness? A love that shows compassion, grace and mercy?

    3. When you are in a discipling situation with your children, do you ask questions that help them discern wisdom and foolishness?

    4. Look for opportunities to teach the difference between wisdom and foolishness. Situations abound: Watch others at ballgames. Evaluate TV shows or movies. Give situations to your children to evaluate.

    INSTRUCTING A CHILD'S HEART - Chapter 8: Giving Children a Vision for the Glory of God

  • Sunday, August 31, 2008

  • Children are instinctively worshipers and the challenge as with all of us, is how to help children be dazzled by God's greatness and worship Him. Worship is a response and it is either to the greatness of God or we exchange the truth of God for a lie (Romans 1:21-23)

    To love anything more than God is called idolatry. Ezekiel 14:2-3 indicates as much as there are physical idols, the danger is that we establish idols of the heart. These can be power and influence, pride and performance, possessions, pleasures and sensuality, fear of man, friendships or being in the know.

    When idols of the heart are replaced by the greater, more pleasing delights of Christ, they lose their grip on our heart. The Tripps provide a wonderful section on God's glory in the Psalms to help reinforce this principle.

    The heart of the gospel is the glory of God. God does not exist to satisfy our desires but we exist for God. A proper interpretation of this truth is essential for children and for us. This helps you as a parent the following ways in teaching your children: (Evaluate how you are doing in these areas)

    1. Children sin for pleasure

    2. We are not to feed their idols

    3. We must be dazzled by God

    4. We need to meditate on spiritual truth

    5. We must provide ourselves with spiritual enticements

    6. We need to express spiritual delights

    7. We must know that children can "get it."

    8. We must know and teach that the glory of God is the beginning and the end.

    INSTRUCTING A CHILD'S HEART - Chapter 7: Auhtority is God's Plan

  • Sunday, August 24, 2008

  • Authority begins with God. He is over all and there is no equal. All of humankind and creation stands under the sovereign might of the Lord. His authority carries over to His care, provision, and protection which is the general principle for all who God gives authority to - including parents.

    God's Word makes it clear that blessing is found when children honor and obey their parents (Ephesians 6:1-3). Obedience is submission to God's authority and honor is the way we respond to that authority. The promise of God is that when children follow this, they will find great joy and happiness.

    When children do not follow God's design for authority in their life under parents who pursue God's plan of care, provision, and protection, the child falls into all the dangers of being a fool.

    We as parents must model to our children submission to authorities in our lives - in the home, society, and to God. We should show and talk to our children about the struggles of doing this and the grace and strength that God provides for obedience.

    As children grow, they need to be taught to be good decision makers. To understand boundaries and how to apply wisdom in situations where they are free to choose. Teens need parents to shepherd them and to model good decision-making processes.

    Our ultimate shepherd-model is Jesus Christ. Point children to His wonderful example.

    1. Why is authority so important to all of us?

    2. What does God provide as the authority structure for the home? How does your home demonstrate this model?

    3. How are your children fitting the "circle of blessing" on page 83? Are things going well or are they struggling? Why?

    4. Do you have a method of appeal in place for your older children when there are decisions they would like to discuss?

    5. How are you teaching your older children to be wise decision makers?

    INSTRUCING A CHILD'S HEART - Chapter 6: The Sowing and Reaping Principle of Scripture

  • Tuesday, August 19, 2008

  • Galatians 6:7,8 states, “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction. The one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.”

    Consequences are a vital part of the instruction, discipline and correction of our children. These consequences however must be understood as God designed them, not as the world teaches them.

    The goal of Christian parenting is the heart of our child, not their behavior. The hope that we have to accomplish this is the transforming power of the gospel. Sowing and reaping needs to be connected to the redemptive purposes of God and not just random acts of behavior modification.

    Dr. Tripp covers the biblical vision of sowing and reaping in this chapter by showing the blessings of sowing to the Spirit, the biblical reality of sowing and reaping, and the behavior consequences of sowing and reaping from Scripture.

    There a 2 types of consequences:
    Natural – those that happen if no one interferes
    Those that are shaped by authority

    There are at least 6 inevitable consequences to all thoughts and actions:
    We reap in relationship with God
    We reap in habits for life
    We reap in reputation
    We reap in human relationships
    We reap in long-term usefulness in Christ’s kingdom
    We reap for eternity

    Just trying to change a child’s behavior may work to do exactly that but it also may obscure the gospel. We are teaching our children that we can live in God’s world without Christ and do just fine.

    What to do?
    Be a student of the Scriptures
    Shepherd yourself – let God’s Word be on your heart so you may impress it on your child’s heart (Deuteronomy 6:6)

    1. What does your instruction, discipline and correcton reveal about your real concern for your children? Does it show you are more concerned with their behavior or their heart?

    2. What does it mean “He who sows to the Spirit?” How can you teach this to your children?

    3. Check the comparison charts on pages 67-69. Have you been deceived in thinking that rewards and punishment are the same as biblical sowing and reaping?

    4. Do you have a tendency to interfere with the 2 types of consequences and thus possibly interfering with the progress of the gospel in your child’s life?

    5. Develop a plan as to how you can start teaching the inevitable consequences of all thoughts and actions?

    Next week: Authority is God’s Plan

    INSTRUCTING A CHILD'S HEART - CHAPTER 5: Getting to the Heart of Behavior

  • Friday, August 1, 2008

  • How many times today did you ask at least one of your children, "why did you do that?' And then you were met with the answer, "I dunno!"

    All decisions and choices we make in life have an origin - it is found in what we love and desire and the Bible identifies this source as our heart. We nor our children can intrepret life correctly until we understand that it is the heart that directs all of our life.

    So how do we deal with our children's hearts? The first step is to realize that many of us, most of the time focus on the behavior of our child and lose sight of the attitudes of heart behind the behavior. We can learn to manipulate our child's behavior through obedience therapy techniques of rewards and punishments - but this will never touch a stony heart. Only the work of God through grace can accomplish this (Ezekiel 36).

    1. How have you seen your child's desires and passions expressed lately?

    2. Write out what the Scriptures tell us that the heart does (page 52) and adjectives that describe the heart (page 53).

    3. How have you been attempting to control your child's behavior without addressing the heart?

    4. What is the "when", "what", and "why" of behavior?

    5. Read Ezekiel 36: 22-32. How does this speak of the grace of God? How does this apply to your parenting?

    6. According to Hebrews 3:12-13, why do your children need you?

    7. According to Galatians 6:1, what is your ministry to your children? what warning is there for you in this verse?


  • Monday, July 14, 2008

  • Hay season was particularly hectic for us this past month trying to get the hay cut, dried, baled, and into the barn in between rain storms. Several nights we were picking up bales with the beauty and the fright of lightning about us. We picked up the last bale from the fields for this year last Friday night, just as the storm was entering the area.

    Deb and I are going to take a few weeks off from ministry and so I may put an article or two on the site here or I may not. We still have storm damage to clean up from the Spring on the farm and horses that need as much exercise as we do.

    I am looking forward to extended time reading the Word and hopefull a few books to nourish my soul. Also some recharging to continue to grow as a pastor and servant.

    The picture is of Deb and I heading out for a load of hay bales taken by her sister.


  • Sunday, July 6, 2008


    This is an easy week of reading (3 pages) but require a lot of thought and assessment of your methods of teaching your children. It will likely hit you in your comfort zone.

    The Tripps introduce “How to share biblical concepts with children so they understand.” How do we get our children to understand words, phrases, doctrinal declarations from God’s Word? We have difficulty with it ourselves! The attitudes and conduct we expect from our children depend heavily upon a spiritual foundation of understanding. The Tripps propose 3 principles to help with the process:

    1. Don’t mix imaginary stories with true Bible stories. I fully agree with this and it is the reason why a couple of years ago I cleaned out the Faith Bible Church children’s library of “Veggie Tales” videos. They are fun entertainment that teaches good morals but they are horrible teaching tools for the Bible.

    2. Don’t trivialize the gospel to be “relevant.” If you have taken the advanced training for children’s ministry at Faith Bible Church then you know I address this. A common method of children’s ministry (and adult teaching as well) is to try and make the Bible relevant to our lives. WRONG and DANGEROUS! Help your children understand that their life is to be relevant to God’s Word and the gospel – confession, repentance, forgiveness, reconciliation, mercy, grace, and on and on…

    3. Help young children to relate Bible stories in tactile and physical ways. Be creative. Children learn best when multiple senses are involved. Help them beyond just hearing the stories, but help them see it, touch it, and speak it.

    APPLICATION: Very simply evaluate yourselves in all 3 areas and begin to prepare yourself for changing the way you instruct your children.

    Declaration of Independence from Tyranny

  • Wednesday, July 2, 2008

  • I prepared a message last weekend to minister to a group of residents at Windcrest Retirement Home on 4 tyrants over which Christ has won the victory in view of the upcoming Independence Day celebration. Much of this comes from John Stott’s book, The Cross of Christ.

    1. We have been delivered from the tyranny of the law. God’s good gift for it is holy, righteous, and good. Galatians 3:23 states that “before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law.” The reason the law is a tyrant is because it condemns our disobedience and brings upon us the curse or judgment of disobedience. Because of Jesus Christ, the curse or judgment of the law is broken so that we are not under its condemnation and set free to obey the law. (Romans 8:1-4)

    2. We have been delivered from the tyranny of the flesh. Our flesh is our fallen nature or self that we inherited from Adam. It represents all the characteristics of our self-centeredness. Jesus stated that everyone who sins is a slave to sin but He added, “if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” This freedom from our fallen nature and its self-centeredness comes to us through the cross of Christ. (Romans 6:6)

    3. We are delivered from the tyranny of the world. The world is the means which the devil exerts pressure upon us outside of our flesh. The world represents the godless human society which is hostile to the church and its values and standards. The Apostle John was outspoken in 1 John stating that to love the world and to love God were totally incompatible. The world is the community of unredeemed people whose outlook is dictated by their nature. John summarizes their nature as natural desires, superficial judgment and arrogant materialism. John lets us know in 1 John 5:4, 5 “for whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world – our faith. And who is the one who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.” When we believe in Jesus, our values change and we are weaned from worldliness by the cross of Christ. (Romans 12:1,2; Galatians 6:1-4)

    4. We have been delivered from the tyranny of death. The fear of death is universal. Jesus has unseated the devil and sin as stated in Hebrews 2:14, “that through death He (Jesus) might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil.” The sting of death is sin and the reason why death is a painful thought. Sin has caused death and is the judgment for it. But Christ has died for our sin and taken them away so that we can shout at death the way Paul does in 1 Corinthians 15:55-57, “O Death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” Death and the devil have no reply so we shout in triumph, “Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Because Christ has taken away our sins, death has no power to harm or to terrify us. Jesus summed it up in 1 Corinthians 15:26, “the last enemy that will be abolished is death.” And John 11:25-26, “I am the resurrection and the life, he who believes in Me shall live even if he dies and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die.”


  • Wednesday, June 25, 2008

  • When I was a college athlete, our trainer had a famous line that he often used when we were injured. We would say to him, "Jack, when I do this, it hurts!" He would reply, "Well son, don't be an idiot. Just don't do that!"

    Sin hurts and I am an idiot often or as the Bible calls it - a fool. Grabbed this short article from Desiring God this morning and it inflicted pain as I thought of my own foolishness in blaming others for my sin. I also thought of how often I allow others, either in my family or in the church who are "unloading" on me do the same. Let's follow my old trainer's practical advice and stop it or better yet, obey God's command and deal properly with it.

    The following is a guest post by Ben Reaoch, pastor of Three Rivers Grace Church in downtown Pittsburgh, PA.
    * * *
    It started in the Garden. Adam said to God, The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate. (Genesis 3:12)

    The first man, caught in the first sin, turns to blame his wife. And he extends the blame to God as well! He implies that he would have remained innocent if God hadn’t put Eve in the garden with him.

    The blame-shifting in the Garden continues today. Our proud hearts send us desperately looking for someone else to point to every time we’re confronted with our own sin. There must be someone else—our spouse, sibling, parent, boss, co-worker, pastor, friend, or God, himself.

    We are so desperate to justify ourselves that we become irrational. Here are 12 examples.

    1) Anger
    I wouldn’t lose my temper if my co-workers were easier to get along with, or if my kids behaved better, or if my spouse were more considerate.

    2) Impatience
    I would be a very patient person if it weren’t for traffic jams and long lines in the grocery store. If I didn’t have so many things to do, and if the people around me weren’t so slow, I would never become impatient!

    3) Lust
    I would have a pure mind if there weren’t so many sensual images in our culture.

    4) Anxiety
    I wouldn’t worry about the future if my life were just a little more secure—if I had more money, and no health problems.

    5) Spiritual Apathy
    My spiritual life would be so much more vibrant and I would struggle with sin less if my small group were more encouraging, or if Sunday school were more engaging, or if the music in the worship service were more lively, or if the sermons were better.

    6) Insubordination
    If my parents/bosses/elders were godly leaders, then I would joyfully follow them.

    7) A Critical Spirit
    It’s not my fault that the people around me are ignorant and inexperienced.

    8) Bitterness
    If you knew what that person did to me, you would understand my bitterness. How could I forgive something like that?

    9) Gluttony
    My wife/husband/roommate/friend is a wonderful cook! The things they make are impossible to resist.

    10) Gossip
    It’s the people around me who start the conversations. There’s no way to avoid hearing what others happen to say. And when others ask me questions, I can’t avoid sharing what I know.

    11) Self-Pity
    I’ll never be happy, because my marriage/family/job/ministry is so difficult.

    12) Selfishness
    I would be more generous if we had more money.

    Making excuses like this is arrogant and foolish. It’s a proud way of trying to justify our actions and pacify our guilty consciences. And it keeps us from humbling ourselves before God to repent of our sins and seek his forgiveness.

    Consider James 1:13-15, which leaves us with no way of escaping our own sin and guilt. We cannot blame God, for he “cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one.”
    Instead, we have to accept the humbling truth that “each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.” This will end the blame game, and it will send us pleading for Christ’s mercy and grace.


  • Sunday, June 22, 2008

  • Formative instruction is defined as that teaching that "forms" our children.

    It enables them to root life in God's revelation in the Bible.

    It helps them to understand the dignity of mankind as God's image bearers.

    It provides a way of interpreting life through the redemptive story of God, who reconciles people to Himself.

    Formative instruction is not the same as correction. It is part of the foundation of parenting by instructing and training where correction is to use tools to reinstruct and retrain.

    The goal is that we and our children and our grandchildren fear the Lord, walk in His ways and enjoy long life - Deuteronomy 6:1-9.

    Questions and Application:

    1. Consider the ages of your children. Think then about some of the assumptions you make about what and how they understand their world.

    2. When do you do most of your instruction to your children? Is is when they have done something wrong? What is the problem when we mix formative instruction with correction?

    3. Read Deuteronomy 6:1-9 carefully:

    a. Who are the commands directed to?

    b. What does it mean to "impress?"

    c. When and where do you impress these things on your children?

    4. Go through the truth to impress on your children from page 41. How are you doing in these areas? What can you do better?

    5. What is the ultimate hope in our instruction to our children?


  • Tuesday, June 17, 2008
  • England's longest marriage: Frank and Anita Milford celebrate 80 years together
    By Richard Smith

    Frank and Anita Milford celebrate their 80th wedding anniversary today, and equal the record for England's longest marriage.

    Devoted Frank, 100, and Anita, 99, who married on May 26, 1928, have reached their oak wedding anniversary and match Percy and Florence Arrowsmith who reached the milestone in 2006.

    Sadly, Percy from Hereford died a fortnight after his 80th anniversary.

    Frank and Anita celebrated the event with family and friends at a party held at their care home in Plymouth, Devon. They have two children, 78-year-old Marie and Frank, 73, plus five grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren, The couple list the secret of their happy marriage as "a little kiss before bed, trips to bingo and good plain English food".

    Anita said: "Couples these days don't last long because they don't take enough time for each other. There just isn't enough respect.

    "Our advice to young couples would be to make time for a little romance every day."

    Retired dock worker Frank added: "We're very proud of what we have achieved.

    "When we started we had low wages and worked very hard.

    "The war years were tough - a bomb even dropped on our house.

    "But we have come through it. Young people today want it all too fast."

    The couple met at a YMCA dance in 1926 and married two years later at Torpoint register office in Cornwall. It was the same year the first £1 note came into circulation and Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin.

    Their son Frank said: "Being married for 80 years is a wonderful achievement.

    "It is fantastic for them. They are doing very well but enjoy the quiet life nowadays."

    According to the Guinness Book of Records the longest marriage in Britain was between Thomas and Elizabeth Morgan who lived in Caerleon, Wales.

    They wed on May 4, 1809, and remained married for 81 years 260 days until Elizabeth's death on January 19, 1891.

    The Guinness Book of Records lists the world's longest-recorded marriage as a couple who were together for 86 years.

    Cousins Sir Temulji Bhicaji Narima and Lady Narima, who lived in India, were married from 1853 to 1940.


    Amelia Earhart became the first woman to fly an aircraft across the Atlantic on June 18.

    Scientist Alexander Fleming announced his discovery of penicillin on September 3.

    First Coca-Cola was drunk in Britain, after being brought over to Europe during the Amsterdam Olympics that year.

    Women over 21 got the right to vote thanks to Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin passing the Equal Franchise Act.


    1st Paper

    5th Wood

    10th Tin

    15th Crystal

    20th China

    25th Silver

    30th Pearl

    35th Coral

    40th Ruby

    45th Sapphire

    50th Gold

    55th Emerald

    60th Diamond

    65th Star Sapphire

    70th Platinum

    75th Diamond

    80th Oak


  • Sunday, June 15, 2008


    Getting the big picture is imperative. Those who have been in any of the Parenting by Faith classes know that we emphasize that we do not place our belief in what our children do today but believe what can happen to our children if we are faithful and obedient to the promises and commands of God.

    The Tripps give us in this chapter 5 perspectives or goals to focus on that shapes formative instruction.

    1. To remember that Scripture is our personal history. The storyline of Scripture is Creation, Fall, and Redemption and it is in this context that we understand life.

    2. We are to teach our children to develop habits of life that reflect truth. Having a clear, consistent presentation of biblical reality reveals their sinful nature and helps them read and interpret this reality.

    3. We are to instruct our children to apply Scripture to issues of authority, obedience, conflict resolution and God-given roles in relationships. It is how we respond to these areas and the crisis of life that makes our theology real.

    4. We are to model spiritual vitality for our children. The home is the laboratory of life.

    5. We are to strive to grow into a mutual relationship of living and working together for Christ’s kingdom.

    1. Have you given serious consideration to goals for your children? What do you want them to look like in the next 5, 10, 15 years?

    2. Do you understand the Scriptures from a full storyline perspective or do you see it as just a bunch of stories? If not, will you commit yourself to understanding the whole story? See Pastor George for resources.

    3. How are your habits to apply the Scriptures to all situations of life? Check the box on page 27 for an example of teaching the habit to your children.

    4. Assess the spiritual vitality of your home. Are the storms of life seen as opportunities to grow? Are the children seeing how to rejoice? Persevere? Trust and obey?

    5. Are you setting up a future vision in accordance with Psalm 78 – where one day your children will arise and teach the next generation?


  • Sunday, June 8, 2008

  • For the next 15 weeks we will look at how we can change or develop the worldview of our children. How our children think is directly related to the issues of their heart and through the instruction of Tedd and Margy Tripp, we will see how we can "instruct their hearts."

    Chapter 1 - The Call To Formative Instruction

    We are in a battle for the minds and hearts of our children with the secular culture. It's voice is compelling and loud. With slickness and skill, the message to our children (and to us) is that life is all about me. The things we deserve, want, what it takes to be happy, and what we can't live without. It has produced young people who are characterized by depression, restlessness, who are critical, argumentative, unmotivated, and unimpressed with the previous generations.

    Throughout this study, we will look at formative instruction - that which "forms" or "shapes" our children from the Scriptures. It is actively teaching our children to live the reality that God defines life. He has spoken and calls for parents to commend His words to the next generation.

    Formative instruction and corrective discipline are not the same thing. Formative instruction is happening all the time where discipline occurs when behavior needs to be corrected.

    Those who have the book, read chapter one and those who do not, get your copy right away and join the reading and discussion. Here are some questions to consider after reading the chapter:

    1. The authors state we are in a war with the culture. What and where in your home is the enemy asserting power and influence? (Romans 12:2)

    2. Take a look at some of the values that your family are living out - dress, actions, thing that you do? All of these have been shaped by someone or something. Who are you and your children imitating?

    3. Assess the attitudes in your home. Do you or your children tend to be critical? Restless? Cynical? Argumentative? Unmotivated? --Why?

    4. What are the sources of instruction to your children? What are they watching, listening to, reading and who is influenicng them? How many hours each day and week are they being influenced by whom Psalm 1 calls "the counsel of the wicked", "the way of sinners", and "the seat of mockers."

    5. How are you presenting the Scriptures to your children? Are they tools to beat up on your children's behavior? Are they words of mercy and grace that reveal the incarnational love of Christ, redemption, and hope of the gospel of Jesus Christ?

    6. Are you loving God's Word so your children will?


  • Wednesday, May 28, 2008

  • Baseball starts this week for my grandsons and so it starts for me. This will take a huge chunk of time in my kid's family life and for Deb and I. Four of Bill and Brit's boys are playing on three different teams so for the next two months, every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday night I do not have a church event, I will be at a baseball diamond.

    I do not want to waste this time just being a spectator so I am committing to the following:
    1. I want my grandsons to learn to be a witness for Christ in sports. I will be writing more about this in the weeks to come but I will reinforce instruction I know they are getting from their mom and dad. They need to:
    -Obey their coach
    -Respect the umpires
    -Guard their tongues
    -Always encourage others
    -Always play hard
    -Watch their attitude
    Oh yeah ---Grandpa needs to as well from his lawnchair.

    2. I want to pray for evangelism opportunities and seek to witness the gospel of Jesus Christ. The way I handle myself at games and the way my grandsons play can open up doors to engage others.

    Look for upcoming posts titled "Beyond Sportsmanship" as the principles of the gospel ought to take us to a different level of understanding sports, work, and life than the unbeliever. I trust you will not waste your opportunities this summer at the diamond.

    One Reason I Am Thankful for Deb

  • Wednesday, May 14, 2008
  • I am blessed to have my 7 grandsons live nearby and I do enjoy being with them, even babysitting. There is one catch though that I must confess and that is while at least one is still in diapers, I will only babysit when Deb is with me unless it is an emergency. Though part of my daily chores at our acreage is to "scoop poop" every night at the barn, I at least do that with a manure fork about 5 feet long. No such device is available for little boys. I can relate to the following video:

    HANDLING A HOT TOPIC - Home verses Christian verses Public School

  • Sunday, May 4, 2008

  • A hot topic over the years at Faith Bible is how we educate our children. The subject of home school verses Christian school verses public school seems to spark debate often. Cliques are formed and judgments thrown around. In our home we have experienced all three avenues having started our children in public school, then Christian school, and home schooling a foster child. As a family pastor, I have been told that I am against all three at one time or another and I have heard too often of stories in the church about pride in all three camps.

    I am going to let Pastor Joshua Harris speak on this topic as he addressed it to his church recently. I would “amen” his comments and goals knowing that first of all, every parent in our church has made a personal choice and wants the best for their children. We all share the same camp as the church – we are the “saved by grace” camp. Pastor Harris states, “If we don’t all cross the finish line – we all fail. We want to care about other people's kids..them doing well, loving God, being strong…we want hearts that get excited when we see others doing well..see God prospering them..We are all crying out for God’s mercy – it doesn’t matter where your kid goes to school, we all need mercy for it is the only thing that will get us through as moms and dads.”

    Listen to Joshua Harris and then let’s repent of the comments and pray for our families and schools – all 3 camps.

    The Final Chapter: When Sinners Say Goodbye: Time, Aging, and our Glorious Hope

  • Saturday, April 26, 2008

  • Deb and I have been married for over 35 years and are still learning about how to have a Christ-centered, Gospel-preaching, God-glorifying, Bible-saturated marriage. I meet each week with a man who has been married nearly 30 years longer than I have and have learned that at 60 plus years or marriage, it still is a learning process. Dave Harvey says a maturing marriage is one that sees all the way to the finish line and beyond. We do not know what our future holds with health, wealth, or life but this chapter reminds us that we must be prepared for temporary trials up to loss. Are you prepared? Does your marriage exist and point others to the day we have feast at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb? What glory is set before us as sinners who said, “I do.”

    1. If you missed our Faith Family Forum last summer where we had 3 couples who each have been married over 60 years, you missed a very rich experience. Do you know of an older couple whose marriage you admire? What do you admire about them? Why not buy them a cup of coffee or lunch and talk to them about their marriage? (We also have a DVD recording of our time at the Family Forum which you can check out for viewing – see Pastor George)

    2. How did the story of Mark and Carol impact you? What can you learn from it for where your marriage is right now?

    3. How do you need to view your marriage differently in light of reading this chapter?

    4. How can you and your spouse prepare for the inevitability of death?

    5. What did you learn from Jere’s story in the chapter?

    6. In reviewing the entire book, which chapter do you need to go back and re-read? Why?

    Check out Dave Harvey's short message on this chapter:


  • Friday, April 25, 2008
  • As we draw our AWANA program to a close this year, it is always amazing to consider the number of verses the children have memorized or in some cases, recited from the short memory. Even if so, the Word of God spoken by children's lips is powerful. I have over the years learned that the memorization of God's Word is indeed the means to stand firm girding my loins with truth and a means to put on the breastplate of righteousness and to shod my feet with the gospel of peace taking up my shield of faith so I can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. My wife Deb and I like to memorize "chunks" of Scripture rather than a verse here and there. To inspire and minister the power of memorizing a "chunk," listen to Ryan Ferguson recite Hebrews 9 and 10 and see how it comes alive.

    Chapter 9 – Concerning Sex: Straight to the Heart of What Keeps Us Apart

  • Saturday, April 19, 2008

  • There are different places where the health of a marriage may manifest itself. Apart from physical reasons, one of the most obvious places is the bedroom. There is a sparkle and an open demonstration of joy and unity that points a couple to their Creator when there is satisfaction sexually. Pastor Harvey gives a frank, open, and necessary talk about the adventure of sex in marriage. The marriage bedroom becomes a place where all the elements, joys, and meaning or marriage are expressed. Make sure you take time to do the “Let’s Talk” sections with your spouse so you can work to experience the final paragraph, “When Sinners Say WOW!”

    1. Often times, our view of romance and sex has been shaped by different influences. What are some that have shaped your own view?

    2. What are some of the ways men and women may differ in their view of sex? How can these impact physical intimacy in a marriage?

    3. Pastor Harvey gives 3 biblical truths about sex in marriage:
    *It is a protection against temptation
    *It is an expression of service to our spouse
    *It is meant to be a delight for both partners
    Which of these truths would you like to see expressed better in your marriage?

    4. What are some practical things you can do as a couple to strengthen sexual intimacy in your marriage?

    Check out Pastor Dave Harvey speaking about this chapter in the following short video:


  • Friday, April 18, 2008
  • Here is a short video of a message at the Together For The Gospel Conference in Louisville, Kentucky this past week from Ligon Duncan. I need to hear this message over and over until I really get it!

    Chapter 8 – Stubborn Grace: Persistent Power to Run Together

  • Monday, April 14, 2008

  • Titus 2:11-14 states, “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus; who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good works.”

    Sanctifying grace, the grace needed at and after conversion, is good news. It is constantly at work in us, gradually and incrementally, so that we can patiently but diligently run the race set out for us. Grace gives us the power to renounce the old man and take us where God wants us to be. Grace gives us the power to wait and to desire godly works. When we learn to communicate grace, we move beyond our mistakes to find the enjoyments God intends for marriage.

    1. A significant part of the race we run in our sanctification is found in our marriage. Where are you aware in your marriage that you need "persistent grace to run the race?"

    2. Where in your life are you aware God is "coaching" you toward godliness? How are you experiencing this in these 2 areas?

    Making effort to renounce sin that entangles you

    Making positive changes to obey God.

    3. Where are you having to experience power to wait or having to show confidence that God is at work in an area of your life that does not seem to change?

    4. Where are you prone to discouragement? Where is your spouse prone to discouragement?

    5. How can you and your spouse encourage one another better?

    Pastor Dave Harvey explains this chapter:


  • Tuesday, April 8, 2008
  • Bible is the middle name of our church because the priority of our teaching is the Word of God. The center of all teaching and ministry is the preaching that comes from the pulpit. When Pastor Tom opens the Word to us on Sunday, it is a sacred duty that defines our church and lives. We need to pray for Pastor Tom as the preacher of our church and Justin Childers of Wilson, North Carolina offers this advice to this matter:

    In most of Paul’s letters, he included a record of exactly what he prayed for the churches or individuals he was writing to. His prayers are rich with insights into the character of God and Paul’s own love for the churches. However, Paul did not just pray for his readers. He often asked them to pray specifically for him. For example, at the end of Ephesians, he asks the church to pray that he would be given boldness that he might preach the gospel (Eph. 6:19-20). In Colossians, Paul requests prayer for his ability to make the gospel clear when he preaches it (Col. 4:3-4).

    Prayer is essential to the fruitfulness of preaching. God has ordained that prayer be one of the means by which He accomplishes His purposes through preaching. Once, Charles Spurgeon (The Prince of Preachers) was asked about his obvious success in preaching. He simply replied, “My people pray for me.” What a profound insight from a man who knew that he was not alone behind that pulpit. He was confident that God was with him because his congregation was laboring in prayer for him and with him.

    Christians, how often do you pray for your pastors who preach the Word of God to you? How devoted in prayer are you for the work of preaching? The health of the church is dependent on a man of God standing with an open Bible and declaring the glory of Christ’s person and work. The success of the sermon depends upon the sovereign work of God to open our hearts to hear and apply His Word. Thus, we must plead with God for His blessing on the preacher and on the message he preaches.

    Here are a few suggestions of what to pray for those who preach:

    1. During the week, pray for God to reveal the burden of the text to him.

    2. During the week, pray that God would grip the preacher’s heart with His glory revealed in the text.

    3. On Sunday morning, pray that God would free him from distractions.

    4. On Sunday morning, pray that he would proclaim the truth boldly and clearly.

    5. On Sunday morning, pray for God to powerfully speak through him.

    6. On Sunday morning, pray that Christ would be treasured by all gathered.

    Think of the effect on your own heart of praying for those who preach. When we plead with God to do these things, we will wake on Sunday with an anticipation of what He is going to say to us as we hear His Word. All glory for successful preaching should ultimately go to Jesus Christ, who purchased all good things on the cross. However, pray in such a way that your pastor will be able to say, “My people pray for me” when he senses the help of God to proclaim the gospel.

    A concluding word to parents: What an impact it would make on your children to hear their father and mother regularly praying by name for their pastors.

    Chapter 7: The Surgeon, the Scalpel, and the Spouse in Sin. Spiritual Surgery for Sinners

  • Monday, April 7, 2008
  • For me to grow in holiness, God has graciously provided several instruments, the Holy Spirit, His Word, and other people. Pastor Harvey, using the narrative of David and Nathan, points out that in God’s relentless love for us, He pursues sinners and that He uses sinners to pursue sinners.

    We just finished chapters about mercy and forgiveness, but what do we do when our spouse needs correction? Hebrews 3:12-13 speaks that we are called to correct, exhort and speak truth to the one we love.

    This chapter brings outstanding, careful and necessary biblical instruction and help in how we can receive and give help and receive help. My wife, Deb, is God’s gift to me in many respects, but when I learned to grow in humility (still in process) and receive her insights and concerns, I realized one of the roles of a spouse in marriage is our sanctification. I do not like to be corrected, but it must be welcomed due to the deception of sin. I do not like to correct Deb either, but love demands it and to do it with wisdom, courage, and meekness

    1. Pastor Harvey starts with the narrative of David and Nathan. Have you ever had to be a Nathan to someone? What were your feelings and thoughts as you approached the situation as you went through it and the results afterwards?

    2. If you are to be a Nathan to your spouse, what are the character qualities necessary? What are the issues of character that would be unhelpful?

    3. Pastor Harvey stated to be good spiritual surgeons, 3 spiritual qualities were necessary – wisdom, courage and meekness. What quality do you need the most? Which one second and which one third? Why did you place them in this order?

    4. Review the questions on pages 124-136 and which ones do you need to remind yourself most often?

    5. Biblical repentance is often misunderstood and minimized and/or disregarded. What did you learn about repentance?

    6. How do you need to grow in meekness?

    Listen to Pastor Harvey speak of this chapter:


  • I have been trying to tell this to Deb for 35 years. Perhaps this might help some of you as well.......


  • Monday, March 31, 2008
  • Should We Really Call It a "Quiet" Time? By David Powlison from the website (Between Two Worlds)

    Many years ago I worked through the psalms looking for the vocal cues. By my count, more than 95% of the psalms portray or invite audible words directed to God. You "hear" what is written, because so much of it is out loud: crying out, the sound of my voice, songs, shouts, the tongue and lips, asking God to listen, groaning, roaring, seeking, calling on, making requests, and so forth. In the mere handful of psalms with no vertical verbalization, the psalm speaks about people in relation to God (e.g., Ps. 1), or speaks from God (e.g., Ps. 110), or speaks to other people (e.g., Ps. 49). An audible response is then the most natural thing in the world.

    In the verbal actions of the psalms—rejoicing, asking for help, and expressing thanks (cf. 1 Thess. 5:16-18)—we talk to someone else, in this case, God himself. It's fair to say that having a "quiet time" is a misnomer. We should more properly have a "noisy time." By talking out loud we live the reality that we are talking with another person, not simply talking to ourselves inside our own heads. Of course "silent prayers" are not wrong—1 Samuel 1:13, Nehemiah 2:4, and, likely, Genesis 24:45—but they are the exception. And even in such silent prayers, the essentially verbal nature of prayer is still operative, though the speaking is "subvocal." Words could be spoken out loud if the situation warranted or the state of mind allowed.

    In Jesus' teaching and example, a praying individual seeks privacy so he or she can talk out loud with God. "Go to your room and shut the door" (Matt. 6:6). That's so other people won't hear you, so you can talk straight, rather than being tempted to perform. Jesus "went up on the mountain by himself to pray" (Matt. 14:23). He "would withdraw to desolate places and pray" (Lk. 5:16). He's talking out loud. And when Jesus walked off into the olive grove that Thursday night in order to pray, his disciples could overhear his fervent, pointed words (Matt. 26:36-44).

    We can do the same sort of thing: close the door, take a walk, get in the car—and speak up. Of course, in group contexts throughout the Bible, in public gatherings, God's people naturally pray and sing aloud, just as they hear the Bible aloud. We naturally do the same in corporate worship, whether in liturgy, in led prayers, or in small-group prayer. And even moments of silent confession and intercession, though subvocal, remain essentially verbal in character and content.

    So the standard practice for both public and private prayer is to speak so as to be heard by the Person with whom you are talking. Prayer is verbal because it is relational.

    I've known many people whose relationship with God was significantly transformed as they started to speak up with their Father. Previously, "prayer" fizzled out in the internal buzz of self-talk and distractions, worries and responsibilities. Previously, what they thought of as prayer involved certain religious feelings, or a set of seemingly spiritual thoughts, or a vague sense of comfort, awe, and dependency on a higher power. Prayer meandered, and was virtually indistinguishable from thoughts, sometimes indistinguishable from anxieties and obsessions. But as they began to talk aloud to the God who is there, who is not silent, who listens, and who acts, they began to deal with him person-to-person. It's no gimmick or technique (and there are other ingredients, too, in creating wise, intelligent, purposeful, fervent prayer). But out loud prayer became living evidence of an increasingly honest and significant relationship. As they became vocal, their faith was either born or grew up.

    What about teachings on "centering prayer" or "the prayer of silence" or "contemplative prayer" or "listening prayer," or the notion that God is most truly known in experiences of inner silence? Or what about the repetition of mantras, even using Bible words, attempting to bypass consciousness, seeking to induce a trance state or mystical experience? The Bible never teaches or models prayer either as inner silence or as mantra. That's important to notice: "The Bible NEVER teaches or models these ideas or practices." On the surface, such teachings align with Buddhist and Hindu conceptions and practices, and are designed to evoke oceanic experience. The god of silence has no name, no personality, no authority, no stated will, makes no promises, and does not act on the stage of history. Such private spirituality can produce inner ecstasies and inner peacefulness (I experienced that first hand in the years before coming to faith). But it does not create interpersonal relationships—with God, with others—of love, loyalty, need, mercy, honesty, tears, just anger, forgiveness, purpose, and trust. It is a super-spirituality, beyond words. Jesus and Scripture speak and act in sharp contrast. The Word in person and in print expresses a humanness that walks on the ground and talks out loud. Jesus gives a richer joy and a richer peace than the unnamed gods of inner silence, inner ecstasy, and inner tranquility.

    Of course, God tells us to be quiet and be still. But it's not that I learn techniques to access an inner realm of silence where I transcend my sense of self and experience a god-beyond-words. The true God quiets us so we notice him. This God is profoundly and essentially verbal, not silent: "God said . . . and it was so. . . . In the beginning was the Word . . . and the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us." So we listen to him. We take the time to hear his words of grace and truth. We consider Jesus. And we pay attention to what's going on in our lives, seeing the world and ourselves in truer colors. Then we can pray more intelligently and more candidly. And we can think straight and feel honestly and choose well. There is great benefit in turning off the noise machines, the chatter, the music, the crowd noise, the busy, busy, busy, talk, talk, talk—whether it's playing inside your head, or all around you, or both. When this is what "centering prayer" actually accomplishes for a given person, then he or she is moving along Christian paths, not down the paths of wordless silence. But turning off the distractions is not actually prayer to the living God. It's not how to know Jesus deeply, or how to relate to our Father, or how to "experience" the Spirit. Do be quiet, and for the right reasons: so you can notice and listen, so you can learn to talk. This living God is highly verbal and listens attentively. He made us in his image, but as dependents. We learn to listen to audible Scripture, and so learn to speak audible prayers.

    He wants to catch your ear in order to awaken your voice. When you have your "quiet" time, or as you walk outdoors, or during your commute, may the decibel level rise to joyful noise and cries of need—and may God listen to the sound of your voice!

    Chapter 6 – Forgiveness, Full and Free. How to Unite What Sin has Separated

  • Sunday, March 30, 2008

  • Cancelling an enormous debt makes an enormous statement. As we move from mercy to forgiveness, we see they are intertwined yet distinctive. Mercy can be extended to anyone without even their knowledge but forgiveness involves a transaction.

    Matthew 18:23-35 is a compelling parable that ought to send chills down your spine. In verse 35, Jesus steps out of the parable and makes this pronouncement: “So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from the heart.” Note that it is not just saying “I forgive you” but it involves so much more.

    As a pastor I shout a big “AMEN” to Pastor Harvey that the subject of forgiveness is the most misunderstood and misapplied means of grace in marriage. Read this chapter to change this in your marriage.
    Check Dave Harvey talking about the chapter at

    1. What have you learned about forgiveness from the chapter that you did not know before?

    2. Have you ever done something to someone else and not been forgiven for it? How does it affect your relationship with that person?

    3. Considering the story of Jeremy and Cindy, though you may or may not have experienced the reality of adultery in your marriage, are there things they said or did that you do identify as similar points in your own marriage?

    4. What are some of the 100 denari (small things) that you do against your spouse? Do you rationalize them? Do any of the following statements sound familiar in your vocabulary?
    -Don’t be so sensitive
    -You do it too
    -I did not mean it
    -This is just a bug misunderstanding
    -Sorry, but I am having a bad day
    -(your own favorite line)
    When you use comments like this, why do they not make as much sense to your spouse as they do to you?

    5. List 3 specific sins you know that God has forgiven you from through the atonement of your sins by Jesus Christ? “On the cross, Jesus brought forgiveness from God to me for …”


  • Saturday, March 22, 2008

  • The first time I read this chapter, I felt like my breath was taken away and though I may not often show emotion, I confess tears did come. Luke 6:27-36 jumped off the page and sent me into a tailspin. Mercy- “God’s mercy means His kindness, patience, and forgiveness toward us. In His compassionate willingness to suffer for and with sinners for their ultimate good.”

    My book dropped from my hands unto the table when on page 81 it states, “Have you thought that passing along God’s mercy may be one of the reasons you’re married?” My response was “no!” Being unmerciful to Deb keeps me in a position of one-up on her. It helps me to be the “head” of the household and feeds my self-centeredness and pride. Luke 6 ruined my life.

    Please do not read this chapter fast. Read it again if you have to for we have come to the understanding of the impact of my sin and my wife’s sin in the marriage – but mercy is the beginning of the solution and will make the rest of the book make sense.

    Dave Harvey states, “Mercy is never strained because it is able to cover all it touches. It sweetens all it touches because it comes from heaven – from the very throne of the merciful Savior. Mercy is a blessing to those who receive and those who give.”

    1. What have you learned about mercy from this chapter?

    2. Is there a time when you experienced mercy from someone? What effect did it have on you?

    3. Read Luke 6:27-36 again and then determine if there is a situation that you have faced or are facing that you are finding mercy difficult to give.

    4. What are some ways that you can be expressing kindness in your marriage and home where you have not done so?

    5. What questions on pages 91-92 did you find most helpful to ask yourself when you feel wronged?

    6. Though Gordon and Emma’s story seems a bit extraordinary – there are similar types of stories at Faith Bible Church. What does their story say to you about your marriage?

    There is not a video that goes with this chapter but you can download Dave Harvey preaching on the topic of mercy for no cost at:

    Also "When Sinners Say I Do" is available in audio book with Dave Harvey narrating.
    You can get if from
    Or from other major book purchasing companies such as Amazon.


  • Friday, March 21, 2008

  • I am an early morning devotion guy. I do not understand those who do them late at night for first of all, I am too tired and I am often still buzzing from the day and have too many distractions. I like the morning because nothing has happened yet and so it has been an easy day so far.

    As much as I do love my devotional time, it is not easy getting to it. I am in desperate need of time in the Word, prayer, meditation, and reminding myself of the incredible gifts of grace through the gospel. I need God and sometimes “finding” Him is not so easy early.

    I was encouraged to read I am not alone by someone who has impacted my passion for God through his writings and messages – C J Mahaney. In a recent interview he stated this about going to the cross early in the morning:

    "Well, what brings me here so early in the morning is my need for the Savior, an awareness of my need for the Savior, and some eagerness that I will, through my meditation on Scripture, freshly encounter the Savior. So that is what brings me here.Although I need to add that I am never brought here apart from a conflict in my soul. Indwelling sin is a particular and formidable opponent against all practices that involve the spiritual disciplines. So this does not take place effortlessly. I’m now 54 years old, so even after 35 years, I can assure you that tomorrow morning when I first awaken, the first voice I hear will be a voice of protest. That voice will be distinctly the presence of indwelling sin appealing to me and seeking to persuade me to stay in bed. That voice never subsides. And that voice also negotiates, so that if I make an initial movement, that voice doesn’t subside and assume that that voice has lost. No. That voice continues to exert effort, and then presents to me various distractions."

    Jeff Purswell who serves with CJ as Sovereign Grace Ministries added:

    "It encouraged me one time to hear Dr. Piper say, “I feel like I have to get saved every morning. I wake up and the devil is sitting on my face.” I can relate to that.So now I am no longer surprised. I can be discouraged at times, but the coldness that I feel just reminds me how badly I need God. Because apart from him I can do nothing. And apart from getting food for my soul this morning, I will be starving.…"

    "I am seeking to encounter God, to draw near to him and to experience a sense of his presence—again, not an emotional encounter—but a sense of his presence. To have my heart set upon him. To have my faith in his promises stirred, and now facing this day standing on his promises, standing on the truth of his Word."

    Daily devotions can easily become rote or just a routine activity. They do not have to. For me, it is just a matter of getting to them and as an old West saying goes, “Where you at…be all there.”

    Chapter 4 – Taking it out for a Spin. A Test Drive for your Doctrine

  • Saturday, March 15, 2008

  • The drive that Dave Harvey is referring to is going down the road of wisdom or making decisions as one rightly related to God. Wisdom in marriage is not to be found in “how to” books but by putting our beliefs in gear.

    1. At the top of this webpage is “2 Ways to Live.” Take a few minutes to click on the icon and go through the presentation of the gospel and then consider why it is important that we not take any claims of our own righteousness in our relationship with Christ.

    2. Why is being “self-suspicious” such a good thing?

    3. Have you ever tried to “fix” your spouse? How did that go?

    4. What are some things that you do that tend to raise the “oil temperature” in your spouse’s life?

    5. Much is made these days about “unmet needs” which leads to unbiblical conclusions. How much of your life do you think of in terms of needs? How does the Bible address this issue of needs?

    6. How would you respond to someone who would tell you they are having irreconcilable differences with their spouse based upon reading these first 75 pages?


  • Friday, March 14, 2008

  • Al Mohler’s commentary today (Dr. Mohler is the president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) is titled “The Tempter in the Child’s Bedroom—Television.” Now I realize that this is not going to make friends among some of you but I must admit astonishment and perplexity as to why any parent would do this. But I know some of you do so I post this hoping maybe some of you would follow the advice of the famous TV psychiatrist, Bob Newhart and “STOP IT!”

    A summary of his report is this:

    The New York Times published this past week a report claiming that the mere presence of a television set in a child’s bedroom is a direct threat to the child’s health. Documented is, “Children with bedroom TVs score lower on school tests and are more likely to have sleep problems. Having a television in the bedroom is strongly associated with being overweight and a higher risk for smoking.”

    The staggering number to me is that according to one study, 70% of third-graders had a television set in the room. SAY WHAT? These are 8 year old kids!

    The reporter for the Times concludes, “So while many parents try to limit how much television and what type of shows their children watch, that may be less than half the battle. Where a child watches is important too.”

    Cornelius Plantinga, President of Calvin Theological Seminary has said, “But there is also real evil in it, and the trouble is that a lot of the evil is aimed at young people and children. The trouble is that when you're ten you can't always tell the difference between what's good and what's evil--and especially not if evil is made to look very, very attractive.

    Do you know that even conservative Christian parents buy TV sets for the bedrooms of their ten-year-olds and then let them watch pretty much whatever they want? They buy a TV set for their fifth grader, hook it up to the cable system, hand their child a remote, and let their child close the door.

    And now, day by day, night by night, their child's soul is in the hands of the Philistines… Every sick joke about God; every celebration of lust or revenge; every cynical assumption about the motives of good people--all this pours into the soul of a ten-year-old just as if her parents had hooked her up to an IV serviced by a profiteer.”

    Now I know that Dr. Mohler is not suggesting that television is the direct cause of bad grades, sleep problems, and being overweight but there is a causative factor that it is associated with behaviors that do lead to this. The tempter is in the bedroom of children who have television located there.

    To read the entire article, go to


  • Wednesday, March 12, 2008
  • In a recent article from the Christian Counseling and Education Foundation newsletter, Faculty Member Winston Smith was interviewed by Michele Howe of New Growth Press about practical ways that parents can equip their family to think accurately in response to media's powerful messages. Here are some insights from the article:

    On helping your child discern media and the lack of negative consequences:

    “ The foundation for helping our youngsters develop their media antenna is to hone their understanding of the human heart. The Bible says we're all self-deceived. As people live out their belief systems in front of others, our kids need to understand that they're being exposed to someone's worldview, which is frequently inaccurate or skewed when lined up against the Bible. Parents should try not to be reactionary. Rather, they should seek to gently challenge their kids to see what God's Word has to say about such messages”

    On teaching your child about sexual purity:

    “The world presents sex as the hidden animal side of people and as a secret sin. The Bible teaches just the opposite. Sex between a married man and woman is specially designed to communicate love between them. But when sex is used outside God's parameters, we communicate something hurtful. Parents have the responsibility to give their kids a positive vision of sexuality"

    Helping our children understand the culture:

    “We want our kids to know that the culture is always telling them something. As salt and light, we must first hear what the particular message is and then respond. We do not want to be separatists; that is not how Jesus intended us to live. As Christians, we hear, digest, and consider; then we can send back a message that is positive and redemptive."

    On the pop culture of music and Hollywood:

    “Listen to what the lyrics in the music are saying. Ask them to tell what they observe in a person's style of clothing. I'm trying to challenge them to be keen observers of the message conveyed by the choices people make. As they answer, we talk about it. Song lyrics and people's dress can often fly under the radar and convey subtle, yet powerful messages if we don't train our kids to see it. On the topic of body piercings and tattoos, parents must ask their kids what having these adornments means to them. Why do they want it? Remember, an object's value is always tied to the heart motive."

    On rules and discerning wisdom in the home:

    “Parenting is a path of individual wisdom; there isn't necessarily a black and white set of rules. Parents need know their own kids and assess where each child is strong and weak. Moms and dads must ask themselves what their parenting goals are. As a father, my goal is to grow my kids into God-honoring persons of faith. I realize that as they move into adulthood, they cannot simply be rule followers any longer. Rather, they need to be wise decision makers. Parents have to understand their own transition from the rule enforcer to the wise counselor as their children get older. Our roles shift. Of course, how quickly this occurs depends on what each child can handle.”

    To read the complete article follow this link to “Make It Real: Media and the Home Front

    Chapter 3: THE FOG OF WAR AND THE LAW OF SIN. Preparing for the inevitable

  • Sunday, March 9, 2008

  • I have two books downloaded on my home computer. One is “The Art of War” by Sun Tzu written in the 6th century B.C. and the other is the United States Marine Corps manual “Warfighting.” War is very complex and I have found strong parallels with these books and our experiences in the battlefield of relationships and against sin.

    Dave Harvey points out that the cause of marriage battles is not our spouse, but the sin in our own heart. In other words, as the famous cartoon character Pogo once declared, “We have found the enemy and it is us.”

    Just like the cardinal rule of war is that whatever strategy you enter a battle with, it will always have to be adjusted, so sin is crafty, alluring, and always betrays us. But by the cross of Christ, the battle has already been won.

    Marriage is to meet on the battlefield where the war is won. There are no lost causes or hopeless conflicts. Every conflict has redemptive possibilities through the grace and power of our Sovereign God.

    1. Sin is a battle we face within us. John Owen wrote, “Be killing sin or it will kill you.” Describe what the battle of sin within you is like.

    2. Starting at the bottom of page 49, examples are given of how the battle within us can impact our marriage. Describe some similar experiences in your marriage.

    3. Read James 4:1-3 about the cause of conflict. Think of a recent conflict you have had and how does it describe the truth of James 4?

    4. The “law of sin” is a battle we all face. Even the Apostle Paul wrestled with it. Where might it be governing your life right now?

    5. Why is sin so difficult to see at work when we are in conflict?

    6. Are you convinced that you are the worst of sinners? How does Romans 8:1-4 address this?

    Chapter 2: WAKING UP WITH THE WORST OF SINNERS – the News About Who We Really Are

  • Saturday, March 1, 2008

  • Dave Harvey lives in my world. I have been teaching and trying to help marriages and parenting the past 8 years and have been really been teaching myself. Almost every lesson on marriage has been an experience of taking the log out of my own eye before I present the material.

    It is comforting Dave Harvey is there and very comforting the Apostle Paul as well, “The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of WHOM I AM THE WORST.” (1 Timothy 1:15) But of greater comfort is the next verse, “But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display His perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in Him for eternal life.” (1 Timothy 1:16)

    So my sin is painfully ugly but I have been joyfully redeemed by grace through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. My ongoing need of the cross of Christ is because of my ongoing sin against God and as I realize more and more the mercy of God, I see God, myself, and my marriage much more clearly.

    1. Think back to a recent conflict you had with your spouse where you displayed a sinful response. What were you thinking or feeling that led to such a response?

    2. How do you often look at yourself as a sinner?
    *I’m doing the best I can everyday
    *I have good days and I have bad days
    *I am not as bad as some others
    *I am innocent until proven guilty
    *I am the worst of sinners

    3. How does your answer to number 2 affect your approach to God and to your marriage?

    4. John Owen describes humility on page 44. Is this your understanding of it? How would you define humility?

    5. What do your suppose would be some of the differences that can happen in your marriage if for the next 6 weeks you would make it your goal to live with your spouse as if you were the worst of sinners?

    Check out Dave Harvey’s video introduction to chapters 2 through 4 at this link:


  • Wednesday, February 27, 2008
  • My wife is ill. Deb is so sick that she has not been able to do any of her normal duties around the farmstead. When she cannot get up to feed the horses, then things are really bad. Even when Deb has had knee surgery, she got up and dragged herself to the barn.

    Now for me, this has been one of those sanctifying moments in my life. God is speaking – no He yelled at me and I am working out my salvation with fear and trembling through this time of Deb’s illness.

    First it has been an opportunity to serve Deb. Now to serve her when I have no time issues is not that hard. I have applied many disciplines to love her like Christ loves the church, when it is my time and not inconvenient. However when Deb is sick, we have about 30 minutes of chores to do in the morning and another 30 minutes in the evening. Now she could have done at least the morning ones so I am not running around in the dark at 6:00 A.M. She is not paralyzed and she would have all day to recover, at least till supper where she could muster enough energy to have a good meal ready. No, Deb is sick like I have never seen her before and God taught me to serve her and to do it with gladness knowing as I serve her, I am glorifying God.

    Secondly, Deb has shown what a wimp I am. She is really sick and I cannot remember a time in our 35 years together that she has been down as long as this except after surgery. I can remember many times that I have been “bed-ridden” over a clogged sinus, bad cough, or just a bad cold. If you would like a picture of what I can be like, check out this:

    Deb is sick and I am growing in humility.


  • Saturday, February 23, 2008

  • Chapter 1 sets the foundation for the book and our understanding of marriage. Our marriage must begin with a right understanding of God as is revealed in God's Word, the Bible. The heart of the Bible is the Gospel of Jesus Christ which is the good news for sinners. Being a sinner means we need the Gospel every day and in our marriage. Take time after reading the chapter this week to discuss the following questions with your spouse.

    1. Think back on your own wedding day. Why did you marry? How would you have answered an interruption to your wedding ceremony with the question, “How do you know this marriage is going to work?”

    2. R.C. Sproul states, “No Christian can avoid theology. Every Christian is a theologian.” Think of some of the events of your last week. In the way you handled or processed these events, what did it say about your thoughts about God?
    3. “The Gospel is the heart of the Bible” (P.24) If someone asked you what that means, how would you answer?

    4. What does the statement “Marriage was not just invented by God, it belongs to God” mean?

    5. Discuss with one another the basic and challenging claim of the book – all the problems of our marriage can be ultimately traced to one problem – the problem of sin.

    6. What are some of the desires God has for your marriage? (P. 32)

    When Sinners Say I Do

  • Thursday, February 21, 2008

  • Even if it did not come across in my speech and actions - I am truly excited about what God will do with our reading of this book. Several testimonies are coming in and we haven't even started yet!

    All the books (175) were picked up and more are on order. If you did not get a copy, you may have to catch up but they should be here anytime.

    This Sunday we will introduce chapter 1, "What Really Matters in Marriage, Theologians at the Altar" with Dave Harvey explaining the chapter and questions and application will be posted on this site this weekend. Be sure to get to church a few minutes early to see the video of if you miss it first service, stick around to see it played right before second service (if we will be able to hear it!)


  • Pastor Tom has been taking us on a journey as a church of close self-examination. It is one where who and what we are as a church is being put to the sifting pan of God’s Word. We are not looking at what other churches do nor or we assessing ourselves to any church growth strategy. Simply what the book of Acts set as the paradigm for the church right after Pentecost in Acts 2.

    The Word cuts with a 2-edged sword and at times with the precision of a scalpel. We look forward with eagerness where this will take Faith Bible Church as we approach our 15th anniversary this spring.

    Tom shared that the church of Acts 2 had 5 effective habits:
    1. They were devoted to the Apostle’s teaching
    2. There was costly sharing of living in Christ through fellowship
    3. There was cross-scarred worship with the breaking of bread
    4. There was radical dependence upon prayer
    5. They devoted themselves to contagious Christian living.

    As we are attempting to be such a church, consider praying this sample of a prayer of preparation for the gathering of the church together on Sunday and then our scattering throughout the week. It is by Tim Challies.

    Our gracious God and Father. I approach Your throne today, knowing that it is only through the name of Jesus that I can stand before You. I thank and praise You for Your goodness in allowing me to do so. I recognize very well that I am unworthy of this honor, this privilege, apart from Your unmerited favor and grace. I come before You to seek Your blessing on the service on Sunday.

    Grant that the Word will come to us with power and with great freedom. Be near to our Pastor and his family. Keep the family close as they serve You together. Protect them from dangers both seen and unseen. May our pastor know great wisdom as he plans his day and his week around the priorities You lay before him. May his schedule allow him much time to study Your word and to pray. May he know that he is serving You and all of us very well as he makes these a high priority. May our pastor’s family time also be protected. Grant that he would be free from all unnecessary busy-ness in ministry. Also grant our pastor sufficient rest and sleep.

    Grant our pastor humility before Your Word as he finishes his preparations and grant that he may be filled with a holy dread and gravity as he stands before Your people. May he know what it is to be filled afresh with the Holy Spirit. May we truly know what it is to sit under the preaching of the Word. Speak to us, we pray. Speak to our hearts through the words we hear. May we never be the same.

    Be with those who will lead us in worship. Be near to those who will sing or play instruments. Grant that in all things they may seek to serve You. May songs be selected that will bring glory and honor to Your name. May they lead us in singing songs that celebrate the beauty of the Savior and sing of Your wonders, Your glory, Your triumphs, Your holiness, Your majesty and Your great gospel. Let everything that has breath in that place praise the Lord together. May our worship be a sweet and fragrant offering to You. Accept it Lord, though we know it is poor and imperfect. Accept it through Your grace.

    Be with the men and women who will be serving this week – those who are responsible for hospitality, greeting and ushering; those who will work in the sound booth, in administration, and with those who will minister to our precious children and youth. Even now Lord, please fill all of these people afresh with Your Spirit. We thank you for the servant's hearts You have given to them. I ask that You will allow them to be a blessing to many this week, even to those who do not yet know You. May the service run smoothly and may Your hand be evident in all that transpires. May Your love truly flow amongst us. May each of us be sensitive to the needs of others.

    Bless our church’s outreach this week, through the words we speak, the love we show and the help we give to others. Bless the proclamation of Your gospel both by word and by life. In Your goodness, bring many to repentance. Direct our conversations, and help each of us to be bold in sharing the good news of Christ with others. Use me and all of our church in outreach this week I pray.

    Would you help all who attend to come to the Sunday service as true worshippers--as those who worship You in spirit and in truth. Remind us that the gathering of Your people to worship is something You have ordained for us. It is a holy and sacred time. Help us to take the Lord’s day seriously. Prepare my heart and each of our hearts even now for what You will say to us then. Grant that we may not come before you as frauds, standing in Your presence filled with unconfessed sin. Give us the strength and wisdom to reconcile ourselves to our brothers and sisters before we come before You in worship. Give us discerning hearts that we may see and confess our sin before You. Open our eyes to see and to know You in a new way. Help us to worship You, not only with our lips, but with our hearts, our souls, and all that we are. Accept the gift of worship we will bring to You. May it please You.

    Be with our pastor as he prepares to preach Your Word on Sunday. Grant that his time of preparation will be fruitful and that You will stir His heart with the great news of the gospel, of the precious truth of justification by grace alone through faith in Christ alone, all to the glory of God alone. May all of us at our Church live in the power of this gospel always. Protect us from the devil’s lies and help us to never be bored by the wonderful doctrines of grace, but grant that they may be the joy and delight of our hearts. Open our eyes Lord to see just how Your glorious gospel affects each and every area of our lives. Grant that our pastor or any guest minister may preach with great power and passion on Sunday morning. May the preaching be God centered, cross centered and gospel centered.

    Be with me Lord. Prepare my own heart for Sunday morning when You speak to us as Your people. I confess that already my heart is polluted with sin. As I think about worshipping You, already I wonder how other men may perceive me. Already I sin against you. Extend Your gracious forgiveness to me that I may come before You with a clean heart. Renew a right spirit within me. Keep the truth ever before me that to obey is better than sacrifice. Help me to be obedient to You in all things. Fill me with Your Spirit. Grant that I may serve You by serving others.

    Grant traveling mercies as men and women, boys and girls come to our Church on Sunday. Keep us safe this week and as we gather together in Your name.
    We pray for peace and unity while we gather together. We ask that there will be mercy and understanding. We ask that there will be a great outpouring of your Spirit. We ask that you will bless us for the sake of the glory of Your great name.
    I ask these things humbly and in the name that is above all names, the Lord Jesus Christ. Grant that I may be expectant and observant in seeking answers to this prayer so that I may praise You for Your goodness. May we all seek Your presence and glory in it together as we worship You this week.


  • Friday, February 15, 2008

  • I am so excited for you if you are a husband or wife who attends Faith Bible Church. If you do not, you can follow along over the next 10 weeks on what will be a great journey.

    This journey is through the book, “When Sinners Say I Do, Discovering the Power of the Gospel for Marriage.” I have read many and perhaps too many books on marriage. Some have been very useful. Most are filled with a worldly perspective that misses the biblical meaning of marriage. Then last year I picked up “When Sinners Say I Do” and it was not long into the book I cried out “FINALLY!” Pastor Dave Harvey gets it and expresses what marriage is all about and the hope we have to live a Christ-honoring, gospel-centered marriage.

    Dave Harvey states that the biggest problem for me and my marriage is found in Galatians 5:17, “For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.” In other words, marriage is the union of two people who arrive toting the luggage of life. And that luggage always contains sin.

    The point of “When Sinners Say I Do” is not a depressing thought. It recognizes that to get to the heart of marriage, we must deal with the heart of sin. Thomas Watson once said, “till sin be bitter, Christ will not be sweet.” This is the profound truth of the gospel. Until we understand the problem, we will not delight in the solution. Grace is truly amazing because of what we were saved from.

    And now the special part. Due to the generosity of a couple who have found and continue to find the benefit of pursuing the gospel in their marriage, they have arranged that we can give a free copy of this book to each couple at Faith Bible Church who will commit to reading and discussing it among themselves over the next 10 weeks. I will introduce you to the book Sunday morning and we will give you your copy which the author Dave Harvey, in appreciation of what we are going to do, has personally signed.

    We will play a short video each Sunday before the worship service of Dave introducing the chapter and then I will post on this site discussion questions and application challenges.

    Join us for an adventure over the next 10 weeks that gives the potential for you and your marriage to be completely transformed by the power of God through the gospel of Jesus Christ.