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I have been woefully absent from blogging for a long time. In the midst of life adjustments I forgot about blogging, but I think I’m back. And I have also moved.

Come check out the new digs here: www.EveryManComplete.com

“All missionary ministry should be intricately connected to the planting of local churches. Church planting is not one of the things that missionaries do–it is the thing.”
God’s plan for social transformation is the gospel. Man is God’s method & God chooses men and women from local churches to go out and plant more local churches.

Quote is from David Doran’s book “For the Sake of His Name”, pg 128

My pastor would get a kick out of this…

HT: Justin Taylor

How often do you pray for your church leaders? Paul writing to the church in Colosse:

9 And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10 so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.” Col. 1:9-10

Pray for your church leaders, pray that God would protect them from error, from sin, from things that would distract them. I commit to pray for my church leaders daily, how about you?

Over at Kevin DeYoung’s blog he posts some good questions to consider for those that are involved in missions overseeing in the local church. His first point was spot on and wanted to quote a section for proof.

“Likewise, though our missionaries don’t have to be perfect (and we shouldn’t expect them to be), they must be growing in godliness and live lives above reproach. We certainly don’t want to create an adversarial relationship with our missionaries by constantly checking their life and doctrine, but by some mechanism (e.g., through an annual report, through personal contact, through denominational oversight) we want to make sure we are sending out the sort of people we would be happy to have serving in our own churches.”

Take 5 minutes and pop over to his blog to get the low down on missions for your local church.

image.phpI just recently finished Mark Dever’s book “Nine Marks of a Healthy Church” and was thoroughly impressed with it. Joshua Harris in the Forword says it right, “For a young pastor wrestling with questions of what success looks like for a church, this book is a godsend.”

I echo that statement wholeheartedly as this book laid out things concerning how “to do church” from a leader’s standpoint so well. He also did a excellent job in answering some of the most pressing questions for church leadership. What does it mean that a church be faithful? How should a church act? How do you define success in ministry in a local church?

I feel this book should not only be read by church leadership (Pastors, Elders, Deacons, Trustees) but also would be very beneficial to those that sit in the pew each week and serve in the church. I plan on using this book for future ministry in church planting! Another good resource for those that attend and serve at church is “What is a Healthy Church Member” by Thabiti M. Anyabwile.

Tim Challies is blogging from the reFocus Pastor’s conference at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago Illinois this week. As I usually do each morning, I clicked over to his blog and read his review of messages thus far. One that stuck out to me was delivered by Voddie Baucham, Pastor of Preaching at Family Baptist Church in Spring Texas. I was first introduced to Baucham through a book that was part of the 2006 Desiring God Conference. (Here is the book: a synopsis of the entire conference general sessions).

At this weeks conference he delivered a message from Titus 2, talking about command to train others in Christlikeness. Talking specifically to pastors, challenging them to take more seriously the need for support for family discipleship. He divided it up into three parts; (1) Mature believers as a disciple-making tool, (2) manly elders as a disciple-making tool, (3) the family as a disciple-making tool.

the discipleship process laid out in the first two chapters of this epistle is like a 3-legged stool and the pastor has a unique role to play in propping up each of those three legs.

The first and second point you can read over at Challies blog, but the third point is where I want to camp briefly. His third leg is that the family is a God-given disciple-making tool for father’s and husbands. (on a side note, Baucham has taken great lengths to teach about the Man’s role in his family through his writing, and one particular that is on my list for future read is “What He Must Be:… If He Wants to Marry My Daughter.” the other book is “Family Driven Faith”)

He continued,

the primary disciple-making tool God has given the world is the family. The church gets just a few hours out of the week where the family gets almost the whole week.

This is something that was very evident in my years as a youth pastor. The need for father’s to see their role as the primary bible teacher in the home and to look for opportunities to train their children. And as a former pastor I acknowledge we are guilty of not training men to do this. We expect them to, but don’t give them the tools. And then as Baucham points out at the end of his talk:

…we’ve institutionalized the church so we now have a systems analysis rather than an organic approach to ministry. So now we no longer evaluate pastors and elders based upon organic principles. Why is it that we disqualify pastors based on being people who take even a single sip of alcohol while we ignore other words in the same paragraph and lower the qualifications based on having faithful children. Why? Because we’re more American than Christian. If we spent more time looking to the qualifications for pastors and did so in an organic rather than institutional way, we’d have fewer pastors and stronger churches. Instead we say, “Don’t you dare have a sip of alcohol but your family can go to hell.” We’ve institutionalized the church and in many cases we’ve missed God. (emphasis added)

I believe that God has called us fathers/husbands to a much larger ministry in our homes. To take seriously the role of training our children in godliness. I also believe that the church should regain a more balanced view of evaluating leaders and to not forget about grace.

Titus 2:11 ESV For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, 12 training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, 13 waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.

There are many that have never heard a clear explanation of preaching, but John Piper does pretty well in less than 7 minutes from last weeks Sunday sermon introduction.

-jeff

I thought for this post I would reference The Resurgence’s website for all of the notes from the conference and give a few highlights from day two and three.

For most of the past 10 months I have been carrying around a Moleskine journal. I have never been much of a journal type of person, but this has come in handy for note taking and general good ideas (of which there are many empty pages for the second one). I couldn’t help but notice a lot of attendee’s carrying around a Moleskine journal during the conference (must be the “fad” thing to do, glad I figured that out and now I am offically cool!).

So, I will open up my Moleskine journal and share some thoughts that stuck out from day two and three.

Kenneth Edward Copeland (not to be confused with Kenneth Copeland) was the first speaker and was great, probably the best in my opinion. He preached from 2 timothy 3:1-9, preaching in the last days. “Since we are in the last days, we have no time for recreational preaching!” Some people will gather up preachers to tickle their ears, but we need to preach truth and preach it now. Another one of his phrases throughout, “You can arrange the wood – but God can only send the fire!” What a impacting sermon – download it here for listening pleasure.

Bryan Chapell was next and preached on 2 Timothy 3:10-4:5. His message was entitled “Preach the Word!” He did a great exposition of this passage and here are a few highlights. “Augustine said, ‘When the Bible speaks, God speaks! The church is God’s mouth house.” He talked about how the inerrancy of scripture is fading away among churches in this last generation. “Ultimately believing that the Bible is the word of God is an act of faith. May we all be faithful!.” You can download the message here – enjoy!

Day three:

First up was Ligon Duncan. I have heard Duncan preach before and sometimes he can be hard to follow, but after he finished his lengthy introduction he jumped into the passage and was clear, concise and very convicting. His job was to close the letter of 2 Timothy (4:6-22) and he did an excellent job expounding the text. Here are a few highlights: “Theology informs our methodology – not the other way around! God will build His church.”

He talked about the warnings in 4:14-18: “Paul said to Timothy to not be surprised when you find yourself alone. Being faithful in gospel ministry does not mean you won’t be all alone. Don’t wimp out!” The benediction in the letter was very convicting on how we communicate with God’s people. “When that benediction comes we don’t leave the Lord, but He goes with us! Grace be with you – that is how we can go and serve, through grace.” What a great message and one you will want to listen to – download it here.

D.A. Carson was last to end the conference and he also didn’t disappoint. I would like to summarize his message, but feel I wouldn’t do it complete justice so I again encourage you to download it and hear for yourself. Carson is one man that when I hear him preach I almost have to put away my notes and zero in on what he is saying and hope to listen to the message again. And that is what I need to do, so no notes for this message.

I hope this was a blessing as it was to me! Thanks to all for the encouragement to go to this conference, it was well worth the time.

-jeff

This session was not following the same pattern of the rest, as is normal for Driscoll. It was somewhat like a comedy routine at the beginning, although it seemed Driscoll was not necessarily going there. It also seemed like everyone under the age of 30 was hyped up to hear him, like he was the rock-star of the conference. After his somewhat calm introduction, he didn’t disappoint them.

He had an interesting and somewhat difficult passage (2 Timothy 2:14-26) to preach in this arena, and so he took it in another direction rather than expounded the text. It seemed to work with this crowd. He began by stating that there are three types of people in your churches – Positive, Negative and Neutral. He then jumped off in a effort to list 20 characteristics of Negative people that will or have been in your church. (see The Resurgence for the list). This list seemed to take a long time, mostly because he paused for comedy between each one, which was needed and understood by all that were there.

One thing he did mention was that Paul was the one that was pointing out to Timothy’s church who the negatives were, which I’m sure was huge help to Pastor Timothy who didn’t need to name names. In this you can see Paul’s deep concern and care for Timothy to succeed in this ministry.

Driscoll continued to share then a list of 20 Positives from the text (see The Resurgence for the list) and this was good, uplifting and every encouraging.

I think I came away from this all with a real sense that Driscoll was opening up his heart to everyone. Admitting he has made mistakes and that he is still growing, as all of us should be in our ministries. His final thought that stuck out to me was this, “God always uses negatives for positives. He brings the fruit.”

-jeff

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