Vision

vision

The battle for truth is a serious battle. It’s not a pillow fight, or a name calling contest. It’s the kind of battle where people live and die. It’s estimated that every day over 150,000 people die. Most of them die unexpectedly.

Some saw it coming, but the one thing they all have in common is that it ended too soon. We get on average 75 years or so on this earth. That’s not very long. In fact it’s described as a vapor, here for a little while and then gone. Case in point, how well do you remember your grandfather? How about your great grandfather? Mine died in the early 1970’s and I scarcely remember him.

Most people will leave very little legacy and therefore how important is it for you father’s to have a multi-generational vision for your families?

Exodus 20:4 “You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.

This commandment will tell you a lot about your view of God and your view of yourself. Does God really give multi-generational curses and multi-generational blessings? The answer is a clear yes.

For unbeliever’s this causes them to hate God even more. It’s unfair they say, yet they are unwilling to turn from their evil ways. They won’t believe God, but judge Him as unjust and unloving, yet continue to live in willful disobedience, thumbing their noses at Him as though their opinion is all that matters, even though God has been crystal clear. Obey, be blessed. Disobey, be cursed.

For Believers this is a delight. We desire to walk in truth and we desire to seek to obey God’s laws. If not we should examine ourselves.

Today, I’m thinking about something that 90% of professing Christians willingly disobey. They send their children off to government schools to be educated. Is this something that is going to send them to hell? That’s really a big question isn’t it, and may seem somewhat judgmental on my part?

And when I ask that question who am I talking about? Will the parents be condemned, or will the children be condemned? You will object that I’m probably being a little extreme. I want you to consider today, where is the line? How far and how deep will you decide to expose your children to the world and all the diseases that can be caught and still hope everything will be okay? Is this something you are willing to risk?  I use disease here metaphorically for sin.

Can your children stand against the world? Are they strong enough? Are you sure they are even in the faith, and how do you know?

I want to grow and nurture my children in my own home, where I know the exhortation and teaching they are getting is gospel saturated. I’m so intensely convinced of this that I will go so far as to say if the only thing my children know how to do is read the word of God that is good enough.

If they can’t perform high level math, or even low level algebra I’m convinced God will reward my diligence to teach them about Him, beyond my desire to have what most consider a “superior” education. Although the facts bear out that home educated children perform far better on average in all standardized testing. That does not matter to me.

When I consider a multi-generational vision for my family that begins at the house of the Lord. It begins with the salvation of my children. It begins with me educating them in the fear and admonition of the Lord. It begins with me teaching them when they lie down, when they rise up, when we walk by the way. In short it means all the time. How can I do that if I commit them to 15,000 hours of time with others that are most likely unregenerate? Will not a student be like his teacher?

If you are objecting to this and you are a Believer I’ll encourage you to search the scriptures for the book, chapter or verse that tells you to turn your children over to others to be educated, you will not find it. You will however find the scripture has plenty to say about how you will educate your children.

Alas, if our children lose the crown of life, it will be but a small consolation that they have won the laurels of literature or art. —Charles Spurgeon

Here is a sermon you may wish to consider from Pastor Voddie Baucham called Whoever Controls the Schools Controls the World.

Kevin

Holy Land Day 2 – The Gospel

Jesus was born in Bethlehem, grew up in Nazareth and spent the majority of His ministry based out of Capernaum.  This is hard to visually understand, because we’ve all heard these names but don’t really understand the relationship and what it would have been like to travel in those days.  We just hop in a car and go.

As we took a boat ride today on the Sea of Galilee it came much more into focus for me.  Capernaum was home base for Jesus and His disciples, and was a busy town of approximately 2000 people at the time of Christ.

image

It was here that Jesus performed many of His miracles and changed the course of world history.

Matthew 4:13-17 And leaving Nazareth, He came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is by the sea, in the regions of Zebulun and Naphtali, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: “The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles; the people who sat in darkness saw a great light, and upon those who sat in the regioin and shadow of death light has dawned.”  From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

Isaiah had prophesied this was the place the Lord would dwell and as we walked this area I was struck by what it must have been like in those days.  These were not major metropolitan areas as we know today, just rural fishing villages, but yet all who lived there had busy lives interacting with each other, and Capernaum was a place of commerce and darkness as the scripture tells us.

Ancient Synagogue

Can you imagine how the arrival of the Christ turned their world upside down?  Especially those He called to be His disciples.  Ordinary, common fishermen would learn from Him and then go into the world to spread Christianity across the planet.

How amazing!  What kind of a plan was this?  Just like Paul would have never considered how God would use him, neither could those fishermen imagine they would become fisher’s of men.

Kevin

Why is A&E in such a predicament over Duck Dynasty?

duck-dynasty-e

Warning:  The message contained below is a Biblical worldview.  If you wish to express disagreement do so with respect or you will be promptly deleted, if you wish to convince me of a contrary position, present Biblical truth or don’t bother.

There has already been so much written on this subject, that it almost seems hopeless to use my little blog to discuss it.  Yet I’ve had some observations that I want to put on paper, figuratively speaking of course.

The other night a friend sent me a text message asking me what I thought about it.  He and I discuss God quite a bit, although we have very different views on Christianity, he being Catholic and me being a Reformed Protestant.

I’ll get to my response later.

A&E has attempted to make a stand because they’ve responded to a very small segment of the population.  But let’s not be fooled, this segment is powerful in their voice and they will be heard.  They will be heard through any tactic necessary.  Even though very few people agree with them.

Let’s also realize the folks at A&E are in agreement with the aforementioned community and therein lies their predicament.

You see they’ve partnered with something they don’t agree with.  They no more agree with the Robertson family lifestyle than they agree the Bible is truth.  Yet it’s pragmatic for them to partner with the Robertson family and especially as the show grew to be the most popular show on cable and reality television.

In order to appeal to their, I’ll call them their constituency; they must make a stand against Phil Robertson’s comments.  To not do so would certainly cause offense and backlash.  Would it have the same effect as the backlash now against A&E?  That’s arguable, but doubtful.  We need look no further than Chick-fil-A to see which group has more muscle.

The problem for A&E is that they’ve awakened a sleeping giant, ask Cracker Barrel how that worked out.  The much greater share of the population does not approve.  While most of these people are not truly regenerate, born again Christians, many profess Christianity and will agree to some extent that Phil Robertson is not totally out of touch with reality or “modern” America.

So now what does A&E do?  The Robertson Family has clearly stated they won’t go on with the program without Phil.  Phil has clearly stated he is standing behind his statement that the Bible is truth and what he said he believes.

It seems to me A&E has a big problem.  Will they stand by their convictions or will they stand by the almighty dollar?  Do they have the convictions Phil Robertson has about his beliefs?  What an incredibly interesting situation.

The last and most important predicament the brain trust at A&E has them in and it’s by far the most important; they are at enmity with God, I speak generally, because I don’t know any of them personally.

Phil Robertson has placed his trust in God’s word and God’s word tells us all mankind is under the wrath of God.  See Romans 1:18 through 3:20.

My response to my friend was as follows:

I affirm all that he said.  He spoke biblical truth quoting 1 Corinthians 6:9-11.  He probably could have been a little less crass in his description of the homosexual act, but he spoke truth.  It’s certainly a longer conversation than a text message if we were to dig deeper into sin and depravity and what it means to be at enmity with God vs. being at peace with God.  All unrepentant sin is an offense to God.  I would encourage you to read 1 Corinthians and Romans Chapters 1-5.  Let me know if you’d like to discuss.

1 Corinthians 6 9-11 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God?  Do not be deceived.  Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.  And such were some of you. 

This is crystal clear.  You can reject this, but there is no doubt what Paul is saying.  Homosexuality is no worse than adultery.  No worse than fornication (having sexual relations outside of marriage; that’s Biblical marriage, not a redefined marriage).    And so it goes… but let there be no doubt, it’s all sin and if you live in this lifestyle you will NOT inherit God’s kingdom.

But did you notice the good news?  “And such were some of you.”  We must understand that those who are changed by God’s word through the revelation of sin will be saved from the wrath of God.

What a glorious truth.  What a glorious hope for those in sin.  Many people will say his statements are judgmental or unloving.  No, I can’t imagine anything more loving.

The gospel is good news, do you believe that?  Jesus came to earth and lived the perfect life that you and I are incapable of living.  He went to the cross to save those who would believe in Him.  He saved us from Himself.  The Son of God became man, to save Believer’s from God.  What an incredible act of love.

For Believers Phil Robertson’s stand should give us cause for great joy.  What an opportunity to start a conversation with someone today about their eternal destiny.  What an opportunity to show them God’s word.  No matter what you think of Phil Robertson, or certain positions his church might teach let’s look at this as a wonderful opportunity.

Philippians 1:15-18 Some indeed preach Christ even from envy and strife, and some also from goodwill:  The former preach Christ from selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my chains; but the latter out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel.  What then?  Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is preached: and in this I rejoice, yes, and will rejoice.

Soli Deo Gloria!

 

Kevin

What are you talkin’ about?

fear

Evangelism should be an important part of the life of a Believer.  There is plenty of scripture that leaves no doubt about the truth of this.  The Lord Jesus Christ commanded us to “Go” did He not? (Matthew 28:19)

The gospel is “good news”, the word means news, Euaggelion glad tidings of salvation through Christ the proclamation of the grace of God manifest and pledged in Christ, the gospel, as the messianic rank of Jesus was proved by his words, his deeds, and his death, the narrative of the sayings, deeds, and death of Jesus Christ came to be called the gospel or glad tidings.

What’s the last thing you were excited about?  Something you discovered that you really wanted to tell people, and let them know this is something that should interest them?  I’ve told lots of people how great Dropbox is.  I’ve told plenty of people how cool my new Thinkpad is with a solid state hard drive.  This really excites me and causes me to want to share the news with others.

Yet I forgot to tell them that Jesus offers sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf and eternal life to the dead, all spiritually speaking of course.  Ooops, how did I leave that one out?

But I must tell them

I can’t let myself off the hook by saying “use words when necessary”.  Words ARE necessary.  Romans 10:14 How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed?  And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard?  And how shall they hear without a preacher?

The preacher is a proclaimer.  Not just your pastor or the professional evangelist.  You and me, Believer are preachers.  We can’t proclaim unless we open our mouths.

So now what?  How do we do this?  The fact we should proclaim is clear.  The most notable verse about this comes from 1 Peter and one most Christians are quite familiar with.

This all begins with the concept that those that proclaim the good news are going to be persecuted for it.  In case I forgot to mention it, you will be despised when you bring God’s word to bear.

It’s not optional.

Isn’t this why the modern church has changed the message to be palatable?  It’s easier to talk about the love of God because that is just easier to swallow for most people, those fire and brimstone sermons are just not much fun.  Everyone likes the god that forgives sin, loves everyone and never expects anything in return, certainly doesn’t require us to pursue righteousness and turn from sin.

1 Peter 3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meeknesss and fear.

I remember before salvation I really didn’t understand this verse.  I get the always be ready part, but I wasn’t sure about the sanctify business and what does it mean with meekness and fear.  What am I supposed to fear?  It just didn’t come together in my mind.  Of course I couldn’t grasp it because my mind was at enmity with God.

Sanctify – means to make holy, that is (ceremonially) purify or consecrate; (mentally) to venerate: – hallow, be holy, sanctify.

The word heart does not mean the muscle beating in your chest; it’s the thoughts and the control center of your being, so when we sanctify the Lord God in our hearts, we are to set Him up in a special place in our minds that He is pure and holy.

Have you sanctified the Lord God in your heart?  This is not something to gloss over; it’s the starting point of this verse.  It’s a directive, not simply a question or a suggestion.  If we desire Him above all things, this should come easy, but it won’t.  It’s not easy; the Christian life is never easy.  This is why the Lord said to strive to enter by the narrow gate.

Charles Spurgeon: Have your doctrinal views, and all your knowledge of Christ, packed away in a handy form, so that, when people want to know what you believe, you can tell them. If they wish to know why you believe that you are saved, have your answer all ready in a few plain, simple sentences; and in the gentlest and most modest spirit make your confession of faith to the praise and glory of God. Who knows but what such good seed will bring forth an abundant harvest? (1 Peter 3 Commentary)

In considering Spurgeon’s exhortation, we must know Scripture.  This doesn’t mean you will be able to give a snappy answer to every non believer that comes along.  This is not the point of this verse it’s a Believer’s responsibility to share their story and offer scriptural truth in a world gone wrong.  The opportunity to point someone to Jesus as the One true hope.

What about the meekness and fear.

The word meek denotes a gentle spirit, or mildness of disposition.  Simply put we don’t need to be aggressive in our approach of presenting the hope we have and as many people will take this as an aggressive stance, we must not offer that in response.

As we take this whole chapter in context Peter is setting us up for the reviling and the suffering that will undoubtedly come our way when we present God to them.  So as a gentle answer turns away wrath, so can we offer our hope with meekness.

What does it mean to fear?

Are we to fear the people we are presenting our hope?  Have you seen the shirt “Fear This”?  Does the wearer of that shirt expect you to be afraid of him or should he be afraid of you?  What he’s trying to let you know is you need to be afraid of him because he’s a tough guy.

Who should we fear?

Proverbs 1:7 Fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Matthew 10:28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.  But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

The word fear means to fear and it also means awe and reverence.  We cannot revere God if we first don’t fear Him as one that has complete power and authority over our lives.  So when we present our hope never forget who we are to fear.  Let’s present a gospel message that will give the listener a healthy dose of fear.

The message Jesus loves you generally won’t cut it.  Unbelievers must know they are headed to hell without the saving work of Jesus Christ, which is something to seriously fear.

There is a delicate balance here to offer the message with a gentle but firm dose of reality.  This is something to enter into with fear and trembling knowing that we represent the God of the universe.  He is worthy to be feared.

Kevin

 

Should Christians Homeschool?

LydiaWhat is your primary desire for your children?  I think the way you answer this question determines your worldview.

Many people will say they want their child to be happy, or they want them to be successful in life or a number of different variables of this sort.

Then the other worldview is parents that desire their children to be saved.  Perhaps these things are not mutually exclusive.  As a Believer I want my child to experience happiness, but I would rather them experience joy.  I want my child to be successful but what does success really mean?  Does that mean financially or some other manners of what looks like worldly achievement?

Even in the world of Christianity most parents have a very strong desire for this type of thinking.  They want their kids to get good grades so they can go to a good college and get a good job.  But where does this lead them?

Does a good job provide lots of money to spend on things you “need”?  I say that sarcastically.

In Kevin Swanson’s study of Proverbs He says “Over the last one hundred years in this country as well as in Europe, North America, and Asia the birth rate fell by half, while the average square footage of homes doubled in size.  Evidently, the modern world has come to appreciate drywall more than children!”

I’ve been there, I understand that thinking.

Deuteronomy 6:4-9 “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart.  You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.  You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.  You shall write them on the doorposts of your hose and on your gates.

These words which I command you today…  For me this is strikingly clear.  God has spoken and I must consider this a directive from the LORD.  Not a maybe, or if you feel like it, but a clear and concise call to parent with all diligence my children.

It’s pretty easy to go through the rest of this and come to the conclusion that God is telling us is that our children are to spend the majority of their time under our supervision.  I didn’t notice any exemptions, like you don’t need to worry about them when they are at their friend’s house, or when they go to public school.  Doesn’t Proverbs 13:20 warn us about who they should spend their time with?

I realize there is going to be pushback when I make this declaration.  Our worldview is challenged by this statement.  My worldview was challenged by this statement.

God gives us direction for our own good doesn’t He?

Deuteronomy 6:11-14 …–when you have eaten and are full—then beware, lest you forget the LORD who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage… 14 You shall not go after other gods, the gods of the peoples who are all around you…

We are a people on the earth that are full and we live in beautiful houses.  How easy it is to chase after the gods of this world.  We have been indoctrinated to believe that our children’s education must be left to the professionals, when God says “No”; I want you to do that.

Is home-education better by a worldly standard?  Actually it is, How American Homeschoolers measure up, but this should not be the primary reason.  My goal is training my children first and foremost in the “training and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).   Teaching them to Fear the Lord and understand His goodness and righteousness in hope that He will grant them repentance.

I must also do this in light of the gospel.  If I don’t train their hearts to understand the gospel I will only train little Pharisees.  Proper education includes a healthy dose of their separation from a Holy God and also the remedy that He came to seek and save them and they must turn from their sin in faith and repentance.

This is the gospel, the good news that Jesus Christ did the work.  He paid the price to reconcile sinful man to a Holy God.  Is Home-education a better option for your child?  I believe it is but not for the reason most people think it is.  It’s better because we have an opportunity to teach them diligently all day long without the destructive influences of a socialist institution that despises God.

May the Lord grant mercy as He shows us His design for education.

Kevin