• 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.


  • Wednesday, February 13, 2008
  • Andy Farmer from Covenant Fellowship Church, Glen Mills PA has come to our rescue. He writes:

    It’s Valentine’s Eve, and at this point the world of married couples is divided into two camps – those who have made plans to celebrate Valentine’s Day, and those who haven’t. For those who have, congratulations on your foresight, may your Valentine’s Day be a truly romantic experience.

    However, for those who haven’t made plans, let me offer some practical advice (from experience – both good and bad) on how to rescue your Valentine’s Day.

    First, some DON’TS:

    DON’T panic. Valentine’s-oriented businesses make their money on people who panic and go for the big score to rectify a missed opportunity. Don’t buy into it.

    DON’T be guilt-motivated. Your spouse can tell the difference between a thoughtful gift or romantic plan and something you’ve thrown together out of guilt. Trust me, its along way from guilt to romance.

    DON’T judge or compare. I think every couple who has been married for more than a few years has an experience where one spouse’s romantic gesture seems a little more, let’s say, substantial, than the other’s. Let’s not be critical of any attempts to express love or romance.

    And that leads us to some ‘DO’S’.

    DO be grateful for whatever your spouse does to show love, even if it is not much different than what they might do any other day. Last time I checked Valentine’s Day was not a national holiday. Let’s not raise our expectations simply because the calendar page has flipped.

    DO be honest. If you forgot it was Valentine’s Day, or never followed through with something you thought to do, acknowledge it. Consider whether the oversight was due to a sinful motive or selfish neglect. If so, confess and repent to your spouse. And Spouse – you forgive, as you have been forgiven much worse by your Father in heaven.

    Do carve out a special moment. Valentine’s Day is 24 hours long. Work together to carve out a little piece of it as mutual declaration of your love for each other and your commitment to a God-glorifying marriage. Twenty minutes of ‘stop everything, you matter to me’ will do much more to build your marriage than panic driven, guilt motivated, budget busting last minute extravagance.

    Happy Valentine’s Day!


  • Thursday, February 7, 2008

  • Question 3 on the list of 31 questions to consider brings me to a Valentines Day suggestion and counsel to you men. The question is, "What is the single most important thing you could do to improve the quality of your family life this year?" My answer is shaped by one of my favorite authors and speakers, C.J. Mahaney from his book, “Sex, Romance, and the Glory of God”

    I learned much from the book, but in particular after 35 years of marriage, I learned I needed to be far more intentional in devoting time each week with Deb. For the past 37 years, I have studied Deb and I do know what pleases her, excites her, honors, encourages, and refreshes her. I still have more to learn but I know much now. From that knowledge of studying and gathering information about her, I have committed myself in answering question 3 by intentionally planning each week how I can surprise her in ways to lead and love her. The key that I learned from C.J. is planning. I start each week with my date/time book (I have yet to be converted to a PDA). As part of planning for the week is a planned encounter with Deb. I am not much with creative romantic ideas but I know that Deb appreciates even the clumsy attempts.

    An example was this past week and my desire to as C.J. puts in the book, “to touch the heart and mind of your wife before you touch her body.” I suggested to Deb we go for a ride on our horses. Now you need to understand that this was not just a romantic gesture on my part, but was actually of the heroics of the grand stories of the Knights of the Roundtable. Deb loves to ride and the weather is not a factor to her. I’m ok with riding when the weather is good. Deb grew up on horses, I was chased by horses in New York with police in the saddle. Monday was pretty cold, a front was coming in, and my horse, Dakota, had not been ridden in quite awhile and he is to put it mildly, very spunky. Ride was 5 miles on the road – I traveled at least 7 with Dakota through the extra moves of circles, swerves, spins, and a few vertical yards at times from bucking. I was freezing to death and to make the story short, I impressed my wife in incredible ways. Not only in taking the time to do this, but in my riding skills which was actually my looking like I was in control but actually was the grip of one in terror.

    Men, take time to study, gather data, and implement a plan of romance to your wife. Valentines Day is an expected opportunity. Why not “touch her heart and mind” each week with intentional plans of impressing her.