• Monday, May 30, 2011

    For the past two sessions of CrossTalk I have covered the dynamics of emotions as we are made of both body and spirit. One impacts the other so even if the cause of depression is outside of myself, physical or by an event, it impacts my spirit. Medical doctors can help on the physical side but God's Word and Holy Spirit strengthen the spirit. For the next two sessions we will be looking at the character of God and the how and why we can put our hope in Him when our emotions have such a grip on us.

    Martyn Lloyd Jones, who was a medical doctor before he transitioned to preacher wrote regarding depression and Psalm 42:

    “Have you realized that most of your unhappiness in life is due to the fact that you are listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself? Take those thoughts that come to you the moment you wake up in the morning. You have not originated them but they are talking to you, they bring back the problems of yesterday, etc. Somebody is talking. Who is talking to you? Your self is talking to you. Now this man’s treatment [in this psalm] was this: instead of allowing this self to talk to him, he starts talking to himself. ‘Why art thou cast down, O my soul?’ he asks. His soul had been depressing him, crushing him. So he stands up and says: ‘Self, listen for moment, I will speak to you.’

    ... This self of ours… has got to be handled. Do not listen to him; turn on him; speak to him; condemn him; upbraid him; exhort him; encourage him; remind him of what you know, instead of listening placidly to him and allowing him to drag you down and depress you. For that is what he will always do if you allow him to be in control. The devil takes hold of self and uses it in order to depress us. We must stand up as this man did and say, “Why art thou cast down? Why are thou disquieted within me? Stop being so! Hope though in God, for I shall yet praise Him…” - Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Spiritual Depression p. 20, 21

    Come join us Thursday evening at 7:00 P.M. at the church and hear about our great God who gives us plenty to talk to ourselves about and how to quit listening to yourself.

    Alzheimer's and the Gospel

  • Friday, May 27, 2011
  • One of my goals in doing the class CrossTalk is to address some of the hard issues of life we face as Christians and explore how God’s Word, particularly through the power of the gospel, address them. Having watched families deal with the issue of Alzheimer’s with loved ones is heart-wrenching. I really appreciate this article by Karyn Heath from Carolyn McCulley's website Radical Womanhood. This counsel and perspective works across the board and is a personal challenge for me not only in the area that someday this may be me with Alzheimer’s but in many other areas I may have to face in life.

    Alzheimer's and Gospel Transformation by Karyn Heath
    Recently, I left two years of teaching in China to return to my home and job in the U.S. For me, introductions have become routine. After a few months in China, I could predict which questions would be asked when I met someone and what responses my answers would provoke. Now, as I transition back into my home church and hometown, I am finding that the questions and answers are equally predictable. While “Where do you work?” may seem to be a standard question, people’s responses to my answer are usually revealing.

    I currently work in the activities department of an Alzheimer’s special care unit. This translates into the fact that I spend eight hours per day in a room with 20-30 people who are experiencing moderate to severe dementia from Alzheimer’s disease or another cause. Revealing this usually opens up interesting avenues of conversation.

    Parents & Kids of Faith


    Question: What does God require of us, that we may escape His wrath and curse due to us for sin?
    Answer: To escape the wrath and curse of God due to us for sin, God requires of us faith in Jesus Christ, repentance unto life, with the diligent use of all the outward and ordinary means whereby Christ communicate to us the benefits of redemption.
    Scripture: Acts 20:21; 16:30, 31; 17:30

    (Maybe this happened)

    Deb and I generally get along very well applying the principles of communication and reconciliation from the Scriptures. Recently it has been tough and to help you, we thought we ought to share how a few of our conflicts started:

    Deb walked into our living room and asked me, "What's on the TV tonight?' I replied, "Dust." And then the fight started....

    I was standing in front of the mirror in our bedroom wearing only my skivys and I was not happy with what I saw. So I said to Deb, "I look horrible! I am old, fat and ugly! How about paying me a compliment to make me feel better." Deb replied, "Your eyesight is apparently perfect." That's how that fight got started....

    As the time was approaching for our upcoming anniversary, I hinted to Deb that what I really wanted was something that would go from 0 to 200 in about 3 seconds. Deb bought me a scale. That's how that fight got started....

    I also asked Deb where she wanted to go for our anniversary. Her face melted in sweet appreciation for asking and she replied, "Somewhere I have not been in a long time!" I suggested then "How about the kitchen?' And then another fight started....


  • Tuesday, May 24, 2011
  • This Friday night, May 27 at the Loft, I will be presenting part 2 of Spiritual Intimacy in Marriage. Last time we had 6 couples and there is plenty of room for more. We will begin at 7:00 P.M. and finish no later than 8:30 so you can stroll through the Haymarket district and enjoy a variety of experiences for a date. Topics that will be covered are:  Marriage as a spiritual discipline, what is the will of God in your marriage, and the role of prayer, the Word, and worship in your marriage.

    FYI:  Session 2 of CrossTALK was recorded and can be accessed here or at the Faith Bible website  The other sessions did not record at the sessions but I will record them later this week for access.

    Parents & Kids of Faith

  • Friday, May 20, 2011

    Question: What does every sin deserve?
    Answer: Every sin deserves God’s wrath and curse, both in this life, and in that which is to come.
    Scripture: Eph 5:6; Gal 3:10; Prov 3:33; Ps 11:6; Rev 21:8

    (Maybe this really happened)

    At Sunday school last week, my kindergarten grandson, Isaac, was learning how God created everything, including human beings. Isaac was especially interested when Mrs. Marge told him that Eve was created by God taking a rib from Adam’s side.

    The other night, Deb and I were babysitting the boys and noticed Isaac was not feeling well. He stretched out on the couch and had a look on his face as if he was in pain. I asked, “Isaac, what is the matter?” Isaac responded, “I have a pain in my side. I think I’m going to have a wife!”

    This continues the subject of modesty. It is in Parents and Kids of Faith because the principle of modesty needs to be taught to our children and practiced by parents, especially as we are moving to the time of year when it seems to emerge. The trends in fashion are not making this any easier for parents. Though most of the issues fall to the side of the women, dads and young men need to pay attention. Dads need to be faithful fathers to their daughters and protectors of their wife and young men need to learn how to think biblically when they find their gaze moving their heart to lustful thoughts.

    Modesty: God, My Heart, and Clothes (pt. 3) CONCERN AS A PASTOR
    by C.J. Mahaney from his book, Worldliness: Resisting the Seduction of a Fallen World (Crossway).

    It’s been almost two thousand years since Paul penned his letter, but 1 Timothy 2:9 remains a pastoral concern. Today the issue is immodest and sensual clothing more than ostentatious attire. And it’s no small challenge to address this matter. I know the great risk for offense or misunderstanding that I take by broaching this topic, the potential that you may feel I am sinfully judging or wrongly accusing.

    Please know that I don’t write as a self-appointed critic. I am simply a concerned pastor who charitably assumes that most Christian women who dress immodestly are ignorant of the war with lust that men confront on a daily basis. They probably don’t have a clue what goes on in a man’s mind and what effect their bodies have on the eyes and hearts of men young and old.

    SHAMELESS APPEAL: CrossTALK This Thursday

  • Wednesday, May 18, 2011

  • This Thursday, May 19, is session 2 on addressing the issue of depression and how our feelings can paralyze our faith. These sessions are for those who want to know how to minister to someone struggling with depression (statistics would tell us that if you know more than 5 people, you probably know someone who struggles with it), and for those who are struggling themselves. Here are some topics I will be addressing this week:

    • Some of the reasons that contribute to the feeling of depression. Things outside of us and things within us.
    • Understanding our heart and the statement “I feel that …” How our heart can be vague to what is real and what can deceive us.
    • What role our experiences, emotions, our beliefs, and desires play in depression.
    • How do we deal biblically with our heart and the fight with our feelings?

    We will be in room 2/3 starting at 7:00 P.M. and done no later than 8:30.


  • Saturday, May 14, 2011
  • Several of you have expressed appreciation for the article Parenting 101 as a relief that we are perhaps making parenting too complicated. Here is a great quote by David Brooks from his book The Social Animal that I hope encourages you as well:

    If there is one thing developmental psychologists have learned over the years, it is that parents don’t have to be brilliant psychologists to succeed. They don’t have to be supremely gifted teachers. Most of the stuff parents do with flashcards and special drills and tutorials to hone their kids into perfect achievement machines don’t have any effect at all. Instead, parents just have to be good enough. They have to provide their kids with stable and predictable rhythms. They need to be able to fall in tune with their kids’ needs, combining warmth and discipline. They need to establish the secure emotional bonds that kids can fall back upon in the face of stress. They need to be there to provide living examples of how to cope with the problems of the world so that their children can develop unconscious models in their heads. (60-61)

    Parents & Kids of Faith

  • Friday, May 13, 2011

    Question: Is any man able perfectly to keep the commandments of God?
    Answer: No mere man, since the fall, is able in this life to perfectly keep the commandments of God, but daily falls short of inward and outward perfection.
    Scripture: Eccl 7:20; Gen 6:5; 8:21; 1 John 1:8; James 3:2, 8; Rom 3:23; 7:15; Phil 3:12


    As many of you know, Deb and I are blessed to have 8 grandsons (6 live very close to us and 2 within an hour away). Spending time seeing them in their home environments and having them spend time with us teaches us some very important lessons, such as:

    1.) A king size waterbed holds enough water to fill a 1000 sq. ft. house 6 inches deep.

    2.) If you spray hair spray on dust bunnies and run over them with roller blades, they can ignite.

    3.) A 3-year-old boy's voice is louder than 200 adults in a crowded restaurant.

    4.) If you hook a dog leash over a ceiling fan, the motor is not strong enough to rotate a 42 pound boy wearing Batman underwear and a Superman cape. It is strong enough, however, if tied to a paint can, to spread paint on all four walls of a 20x20 ft. room.


  • Wednesday, May 11, 2011
  • Here is an excellent article by Kevin DeYoung, a pastor in East Lansing, Michigan.

    Does it seem like parenting has gotten more complicated? I mean, as far as I can tell, back in the day parents basically tried to feed their kids, clothe them, and keep them away from explosives. Now our kids have to sleep on their backs (no wait, their tummies; no never mind, their backs), while listening to Baby Mozart surrounded by scenes of Starry, Starry Night. They have to be in piano lessons before they are five and can’t leave the car seat until they’re about five foot six.

    It’s all so involved. There are so many rules and expectations. Kids can’t even eat sugar anymore. My parents were solid as a rock but we still had a cupboard populated with cereal royalty like Captain Crunch and Count Chocula. In our house the pebbles were fruity and the charms were lucky. The breakfast bowl was a place for marshmallows, not dried camping fruit. Our milk was 2%. And sometimes, if we needed to take the edge off a rough morning, we’d tempt fate and chug a little Vitamin D.

    Trial by Error

    I don’t consider myself a particularly good parent. I was asked to speak a few years ago at some church’s conference. They wanted me to talk about parenting. I said I didn’t have much to say so they should ask someone else (which they did). My kids are probably not as crazy as they seem to me (at least that’s what I keep telling myself anyway), but if I ever write a book on parenting I’m going to call it The Inmates Are Running the Asylum.

    There are already scores of books on parenting, many of them quite good. I’ve read several of them and have learned much. I really do believe in gospel-powered parenting and shepherding my child’s heart. I want conversations like this:

    CrossWalk Next Friday at the Loft

  • Friday, May 6, 2011

    2nd and 4th Friday of each month, 7:00 - 8:30pm, (beginning May 13th, 2011)
    The Loft, 301 N. 8th St, Suite 300 (northwest corner of 8th & Q streets) Directions to the Loft
    (no RSVP necessary; no childcare provided)

    The principles of family life belong to God, Who has unique claim on the design, purpose and goals for a family. Our marriages and our parenting belong and exist for Him, not for ourselves. The struggles we usually face in marriage and parenting are often blamed on communication problems, commitment of a spouse or our children, or lack of information, but the Scriptures say that our main problem is our own heart.

    In Family Crosswalk, we will discuss marriage and parenting from a variety of views, all leading to understanding that what is behind most of our issues is our own heart. By doing so, we can learn to deal with the real problems of marriage and our parenting and how to apply the gospel, which is the power of God over sin. These courses are open for anyone (we will finish early enough for you to make it a date night!).

    The first topic will be “God’s Design for Intimacy: 1+1=1”. The word “intimacy” comes from the Latin term; “intimus” which means inner. In the medical world, the “intima” is the inner-most part of an organ. So by using the term intimacy, we will be looking at the different ways a husband and wife are to open their inner selves to each other. The two sessions in May will be on spiritual intimacy, June will be emotional intimacy and the two in July will be physical intimacy.

    Parents & Kids of Faith


    Question: What is required in the tenth commandment?
    Answer: The tenth commandment requires contentment with our own condition, with a right and charitable frame of spirit towards our neighbor, and all that is his.
    Scripture: Hebrews 13:5; 1 Timothy 6:6; Romans 12:15; 1 Corinthians 13:4-17; Leviticus 19:18

    This ends learning the 10 Commandments. Do you and your children know them? J. C. Ryle wrote this about the 10 Commandments: “Beware of despising the law of the Ten Commandments. Let us not suppose for a moment that it is set aside by the Gospel, or that Christians have nothing to do with it. The coming of Christ did not alter the position of the Ten Commandments one hair’s breadth. If anything, it exalted and raised their authority. (Rom. 3:31) The law of the Ten Commandments is God’s eternal measure of right and wrong. By it, is the knowledge of sin. By it, the Spirit shows men their need of Christ, and drives them to Him. To it, Christ refers His people as their rule and guide for holy living. In its right place it is just as important as the glorious Gospel. It cannot save us. We cannot be justified by it. But never, never let us despise it. It is a symptom of an ignorant and unhealthy state of religion, when the law is lightly esteemed. The true Christian “delights in God’s law.” (Rom. 7:22)


    Bottle feeding: An opportunity for Daddy to get up at 2 am too.

    Defense: What you'd better have around de yard if you're going to let the children play outside.

    Drooling: How teething babies wash their chins.

    Dumbwaiter: One who asks if the kids would care to order dessert.


  • Wednesday, May 4, 2011
  • So I got you to see my 4 year old grandson is cute. Now who is going to help teach young children? I am not giving this appeal without leading for Deb and I have volunteered to teach a Sunday school class for lower elementary. I can't wait because the great thing about kids is that they will actually believe what is taught! Their questions will send me into my thick theology books for answers for in their innocence, they do think deeply.

    One of my favorite theologian is J.C. Ryle. Here is why we need teachers:

    We must labor to do good to our children even from their earliest years. If Satan begins so early to do them harm, we must not be behind him in diligence to lead them to God. How soon in life a child becomes responsible and accountable, is a difficult question to solve. Perhaps far sooner than many of us suppose. One thing, at all events, is very clear–it is never too soon to strive and pray for the salvation of the souls of children–never too soon to speak to them as moral beings, and tell them of God, Christ, right and wrong. The devil, we may be quite sure, loses no time in endeavoring to influence the minds of young people. He begins with them even from childhood. Let us work hard to counteract him.

    From: Expository Thoughts on the Gospels: Mark, [Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1985], 182. {Mark 9:14-29}

    If you want to help out and stomp the devil with me, contact the church office.