RSS feed for this section

Archive | Family

The Gospel is Not Paralysed

The following article is a guest post by Sarmishta “Shammi” Venkatesh. This article is a follow-up to yesterday’s post “Two Broken Hearts, One Love.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Adoption is risky. As someone who evaded this possibility for several years, I know how it feels. After losing our two children in the womb, I became somewhat withdrawn from children in general. Sure, I taught middle school children Sabbath school. Sure, I baby-sat for several of my friends. But that was all on the Lord’s insistence to heal me. Not once was I able to attach myself to any of these children whom I taught of shared life with. That would mean tearing open my womb again. Seeing the blood spill. The grief would be too much to handle. Adoption was a scary thing for me. How would I be able to bond emotionally with someone whom I have not birthed? How can I love when my womb is still bleeding?

When Venky and I applied to the central adoption agency in India, I had to trust my husband’s lead. Trust my Lord’s sovereignty in closing all other doors. Lean on His Fatherly provisions. If I had to mother a child, I had to receive […]

Wanting to Silence those who Show us up?

Introduction

I’m planning to preach tomorrow on the murder by Cain of Abel. Time is pressing on so I’ll try to be fairly brief.

Text

John brings out Cain’s main motive for his murderous act, in 1 John 3.12:

“We should not be like Cain who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s were righteous!”

The word ‘RIGHTEOUS’ shows us that the deeds of Abel conformed to the standard God set, whereas, in comparison, in the case of Cain, they fell woefully far short.

The problem with Cain’s offering?

The problem with the gift was neither that it was cereal, nor just a token expression (this common popular interpretation is probably a part but not the heart of the matter), nor even because there was no blood (blood, of course, was required for without death of a sacrificial victim there is no pardon or acceptance – Moses is teaching Israel, in Genesis, during their wilderness wanderings, so mention of gifts, lambs and fat parts assumes some kind of knowledge of the Old Testament sacrificial system): have there not been many false religions in history that offered blood of sacrificial victims […]

Husbands, Be Good Managers

1 Timothy 3:4-5 says of those called to the office of ruling elder in the church, “He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, 5 for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church?” (ESV).  There are many qualities listed by Paul in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1 that are requisite for a man who would be an elder.  Many of those qualities can be summarized under the heading of “spiritual maturity.”  An elder is to be able to teach (or be teachable) as well as one who is dignified and respected in the community.  In addition, he should have an interest in ministry to people in the context of the church (1 Peter 5).  The thread that holds it all together is having a mature and lively faith in Christ.  One of the clearest signs that a man has the proper temperament, wisdom, and faith is how he operates in his home if he has a family.

Paul says that he must manage his own household well.  The word translated “manage” can also be translated “rule” as it is rendered in the Authorized […]

Why do you read about heaven to people dying with cancer?

Not presumably because you were taught to do that in your pastoral theology class! Nor because that’s what you saw an elder doing when one of your relatives was sick! Nor because you just like saying comforting things to other Christian people!

The far better reason to do it is because it is the means of grace that God has appointed for Christian people to be strengthened in their trials, particularly in deeply distressing times of suffering and sickness. When we minister in this way, with careful thought and prayer, from a heart full of gentleness, kindness and love, great blessing often flows to both reader and receiver.

Of course there are many other things people do to make things a little easier for a loved one or friend in their dark hours of need. You can show them kindness by purchasing a thoughtful card or writing a letter or buying them a present. You can try to cheer them up by saying perhaps you will be cured (which experience and medicine indicate may be a little falsely optimistic at best). You can share some humorous comments which may engender a wry smile or elevate their mood temporarily – but inappropriate humor […]

Child-like Maturity and Childish Adulthood

What does it mean to have a child-like faith?  And how in the midst of their stormy youth are we adults to guide little ones away from childishness and toward the child-like maturity which Jesus commends as the only way to receive his kingdom?  We could begin by shoring up our understanding of “child-like” vs. “childish.”  Often without realizing it, and always to kids’ detriment, we adults tend to get those categories confused.   

3GT Episode 57: Dads, Daughters, & Dating

The young fathers with young daughters want to get ready! So they ask the old guy for advice, since he has one married, one dating, and one he’s trying to keep from thinking about it. Many topics then arise: loving mom, daddy dates, listening, listening some more, dating rules, talking to interested young men, and guarding hearts. And in the process, the old guy learns who John Cusack is and which 3GTer looks like him!

Listen to 3DT once again – Three Dads Theologizing!

https://threeguystheologizing.files.wordpress.com/2017/10/3gt-episode-57.mp3

Download

You can also subscribe to 3GT on iTunes!

Funerals are for the Living

Attending my elderly neighbor’s funeral yesterday, the Lord impressed upon me again something I have been thinking about lately. As others have noted, funerals are really for the living, not the dead.

Certainly funerals, by their very nature, remember the dead. Yet the purpose of a Christian funeral is to give place for those still living and who are connected to the deceased to do the remembering, to grieve, and to hear the hope of the gospel. Thankfully, the funeral I attended yesterday did just that.

Providentially, the Lord prepared me beforehand to attend the funeral. Pastor Ed Blackwood, Director of Admissions and Student Services at RPTS, preached a wonderful chapel message yesterday morning on Abraham’s burial of his wife Sarah. The Lord used Ed’s Biblical insights and pastoral experience in a great way with students and faculty alike. Watch this brief message below for encouragement on how we should think about life, death, and funerals.

Fathers, Avoid Exasperating Your Children

Recently in class, I was reminding pastoral students that they learn to shepherd a congregation, and show they are qualified for it, by caring for their own families (I Tim. 3:4-5; Tit. 1:6). As fathers, one of the Scriptural duties we have toward that end is not to provoke our children to anger. “Fathers, do not exasperate your children, so that they will not lose heart” (Col. 3:21).

What are some of the ways fathers fail in this area? Here are at least six provocations to avoid.

Neglect of time and attention. Babies are born attention-getters, with parents devoting day and night to their care. As they develop into young children, they keep asking for attention. They ask a thousand questions, and want the parent’s approval, confirmation, and affirmation for every little thing they do. By nature, the nurturing mother provides a great deal of this attention primarily (though not exclusively) in the earlier years. Yet as the child ages, there is an increasing need for attention from the father. Without diminishing the mother’s role, teenagers and young adults need the guidance and wisdom their fathers are to bring to them. The Book of Proverbs illustrates this truth for us, as it is […]

3GT Episode 53: Plants & Pillars

In this episode, 3GT becomes 3DT – Three Dads Theologizing!

For Aaron read Psalm 144 and, boy, is he full of questions! First, he wants to know why daughters are described as palace pillars and sons as productive plants in Psalm 144. Then he wants to know how to raise them this way. Then he wants to know whether this description speaks to gender issues. Then he really wants to know how to see the blessing of this psalm in his children’s lives. Simply put, Aaron wants to know!

Do you? Then listen along as the 3DTers meditate together on this psalm!

https://threeguystheologizing.files.wordpress.com/2017/08/3gt-episode-53.mp3

Download

You can also subscribe to 3GT on iTunes!

The Half-Way Covenant & Whole-Hearted Youth Ministry

Baptists and Presbyterians can agree regarding one application of child baptism in church history. What was known as the Half-way Covenant was a bad idea. Yet from it we can gain a valuable lesson regarding the church’s gospel duty to young people.

Jonathan Edwards was the pastor during colonial America to the Congregational church in Northampton, Massachusetts. His preaching in the mid-1700’s was one of the means God used to create the Great Awakening, where multitudes of people turned to the Lord. Yet in the midst of this great fruitfulness, a difficulty arose prompted by a practice in the church established by Edwards’ grandfather, Solomon Stoddard, who preceded Edwards as the minister in Northampton.

Children had been baptized in the Northampton congregation, grown up, and had not clearly professed Christ. Yet their names were left on the roll as baptized members. Then they began to have children. Stodddard, in the hope of influencing this later generation with the gospel, allowed the grandchildren of believing members to be baptized. In response, since church membership at the time was socially desirable, many parents who did not have saving faith in Christ readily agreed to have their children baptized. This Half-way Covenant, as it came […]