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.......