Posts Tagged ‘Christian’
Far and away one of the best books I’ve ever read on child-rearing is Standing on the Promises, by Doug Wilson. If you were to ask to borrow my copy, I’m not sure it would do you any good because you probably wouldn’t be able to read the words from all my markings. It’s that good.
Yet, if you are looking for a “how to” book to help you raise your children, you will no doubt be very disappointed indeed. While the book is not without practical application, Wilson is far less concerned with giving you twelve easy steps to parenting godly kids as he is to giving you a firm foundation upon which to do so. But, I hasten to add, the book is anything but abstract and impractical. It is encouraging, instructive, and even inspiring. I heartily recommend it to any and all parents who are seeking to raise godly children in this ungodly age.
Here are a few choice quotes from the first chapter that I think are worth passing on…
The Fountainhead of Culture
The biblical family is an instituted government, established by God at the very beginning of human history. The constitution for this government was written by him, and revealed to us in his Word.
Parents bring up their children to be colonists at the proper time, planting families of their own.
Consequently, each family is designed to be a culture – with a language, customs, traditions, and countless unspoken assumptions. God has made the world in such a way that children who grow up in the culture of the family are to be shaped and molded by it. The duty of the husband and father is to ensure that the shaping is done according tot he standards of the Word of God.
[A common problem among modern Christians] is that of forgetting the family is a culture at all, and allowing, by default, outside cultural influences to take primacy in how the children are shaped. When the biblical cultural mandate for the home is abandoned in the home, the vacuum will not be there for long.
By nature, children are malleable. They will either be shaped lawfully, by those commanded by God to perform the task, or they will be shaped unlawfully, by outsiders. But as children, they will be shaped.
Stay tuned for more gems from Wilson’s book.
Posted in Christian Living, Dale Tedder, Discipleship, Encouragement, Freedom, Galatians, God's Law, Gospel, Grace, Liberty, Ministry, Sanctification, Sin, tagged Christian, Dale Tedder, Discipleship, Encouragement, Freedom, Galatians, Gospel, Grace, Law, Legalism, Liberty, Licentiousness, Living, Ministry, Narrow, Path, Sanctification, Sin on July 13, 2012 | Leave a Comment »
After my last post, a Christian brother shared with me his struggle to faithfully teach grace to the folks he disciples. I certainly share in that struggle. I have often said that faithful discipleship is a narrow path between the two ditches of legalism and licentiousness.
Of course, I didn’t come up with that. The Apostle Paul had to deal with the same issues. On the one hand he had to warn the Galatians about the ditch of legalism espoused by the Judaizers. On the other hand he had to give an emphatic “NO” to those whose philosophy was… “let’s sin up a storm so that we can experience more of God’s grace.” The narrow path between the two ditches is narrow indeed and Christian history is littered with examples of how individuals (as well as groups of people) have fallen into one ditch or the other. Regardless of which ditch you fall into… you still end up dirty and smelly.
To my struggling brother, and as a reminder to myself, I offer some counsel I once heard. I take comfort in the struggle because the Apostle Paul experienced the same. Grace is a dangerous thing. I think if we faithfully and accurately teach the biblical doctrine of grace, there will always be the risk that someone might distort it in a libertine direction… just as a faithful and accurate teaching of obedience might lead some into the legalistic ditch. I guess, like evangelism, we are called to be faithful… even though we can’t control the results.
I think that those of us who take the ministry of discipleship seriously will always struggle. However, perhaps we can use this struggle between the two ditches… the struggle of the narrow path… to motivate us to be careful, loving, grace-filled, and faithful in our teaching, discipling, counseling, correcting, etc.
I know that walking the narrow path is hard enough for me… and I’ve been at it for some time. I can still remember the early days of my walk with Christ; I often found myself walking a little too closely to one side or the other… and sometimes found myself climbing out of one ditch or the other, cleaning myself off (actually, repenting… and begging for more of God’s Spirit and grace) and then getting back on the narrow path.
This reminder of my own history will hopefully encourage me to be patient with those whom I disciple… especially those who are just beginning their own way down the narrow path. Thank God for his ever-present grace!
Grace and Truth,
We beseech thee, O Lord, to behold us, members of this household, with thy favor. Be patient with us still; suffer us a while longer to endure, and if it may be, help us to do better. Bless to us our extraordinary mercies. Go with each of us to rest; if any awake, temper to them the dark hours of watching; and when the day returns to us, call us up with morning faces and with morning hearts, eager to labor, eager to be happy – if happiness should be our portion – and, if the day be marked for sorrow, strong to endure it. Amen.
Taken from The Methodist Book of Worship for Church and Home, 1965
O give us homes built firm upon the Savior,
Where Christ is Head and Counselor and Guide;
Where every child is taught his love and favor
And gives his heart to Christ, the Crucified;
How sweet to know that, tho’ his footsteps waver,
His faithful Lord is walking by his side!
O give us homes with godly fathers, mothers,
Who always place their hope and trust in him;
Whose tender patience turmoil never bothers,
Whose calm and courage trouble cannot dim;
A home where each finds joy in serving others,
And love still shines, tho’ days be dark and grim.
O give us homes where Christ is Lord and Master,
The Bible read, the precious hymns still sung;
Where prayer comes first in peace or in disaster;
And praise is natural speech to every tongue;
Where mountains move before a faith that’s vaster,
And Christ sufficient is for old and young.
O Lord, our God, our homes are Thine forever!
We trust to Thee their problems, toil, and care;
Their bonds of love no enemy can sever
If Thou art always Lord and Master there:
Be Thou the center of our least endeavor –
Be Thou our guest, our hearts and homes to share.
words by Barbara B. Hart, 1965
Posted in Christian Witness, Dale Tedder, Discipleship, Evangelism, Faith Once Delivered, Good News, Gospel, Jesus Christ, Revival and Reformation, The Church, tagged Christian, Dale Tedder, Discipleship, Evangelism, Gospel, Jesus Christ, Revival, The Church, Witness on June 5, 2012 | 6 Comments »
“If people like us, they’ll like Jesus too. If they think we’re cool, they’ll think Jesus is cool too.” Such is the wisdom of the world. Such is the way the church thinks all too often.
But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.  He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things–and the things that are not–to nullify the things that are,  so that no one may boast before him. (1 Cor. 1:27-29)
Why is it that when a celebrity – whether an actor, musician, or sports star becomes a Christian, we immediately want to parade them around in front of the world? They are immediately put on the speaking circuit, often without any preparation, study, etc., at all. Is it perhaps because we are thinking that, “If the world sees that we have “so-and-so” on our team, they’ll have to take notice of us”? It’s the same mentality of sitting at the “cool table” in middle school. We hope we’ll be “cool” by association. And if they think we’re cool – they’ll think Jesus is cool too.
Gone is the offense of the Cross – of our message. In verse 17, Paul wrote,
For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel–not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.
If the church isn’t parading celebrities or local sports heroes around like King Tut’s fortune, then it’s very often genuflecting toward Madison Avenue, asking the PR gurus what sells. And what never sells is a hard message. The sharp angles must first be sanded down so as not to stick would-be seekers. Rather than heed Scripture and trust God, we seek to rob God of his message – his only message for a dark, decaying and lost world – and replace it with our own. We empty the cross of its power by our words of human wisdom. Like a magician or confidence man, we engage in misdirection with our audience, hoping that they won’t see the real Jesus and his Cross under the trapdoor.
For a variety of reasons, we all too often neuter and distort the message of the Gospel beyond all recognition. We ask seekers to just “add Jesus” to their lives. After all, just like Coca Cola, things go better with Jesus. No dying to self – no cross-carrying – no hell or wrath; it’s easy believism for everyone. (And don’t forget about our celebrities.) Message to world: Not only are we cool, but we’re so easy to get along with too.
It must be asked if the “Jesus” being presented to thousands today is the Jesus of Holy Scripture. Is it the same gospel at all? If you are persecuted (as Jesus promises to those who follow him), if you are ashamed of his gospel from time to time, if you occasionally offend someone simply by stating the gospel – then chances are awfully good that you have that which is considered “foolishness to those who are perishing.”
On the other hand, if you’ve never felt ashamed, never been persecuted, never once offended a person by merely declaring the message of Christ and his Cross, then it must be asked, “What exactly have you been sharing?”
Make no mistake about it; the Gospel of Jesus Christ – in all its fullness – is an offense and stumbling block. But to those who are being saved it is the power of God – it’s majestic – it’s beauty incarnate – it’s precious and lovely – it’s indescribable.
Let’s resolve not to “improve” upon God’s message once for all delivered to the saints. Mind you, we don’t need to rush out and become Jerks for Jesus as we share it. Instead, let’s be winsome, compassionate, persuasive, and wear big smiles on our faces. But let’s not alter the message to gain social acceptance like a high school freshman smoking a cigarette. Let’s trust God. “For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength” (1 Cor. 1:25).
Grace and Truth,
Posted in Dale Tedder, Discipleship, Jesus Christ, Kingdom Discipleship, Southside UMC, tagged Christian, Dale Tedder, Discipleship, Jesus Christ, Kingdom Discipleship, Minister of Discipleship, Sermon on the Mount, Southside United Methodist Church on May 30, 2012 | 2 Comments »
Almost 13 years ago, my church’s Vision Committee, after much prayer and discussion, decided that Southside’s Mission Statement would be:
Building the Family of God into Faithful Disciples of Jesus Christ.
But they also wanted to make sure that this wasn’t just another church with just another mission statement. They didn’t want to simply talk the talk…they wanted to walk the walk. And so, with that in mind, the church put together a search committee that would be tasked with the goal of finding a person whose ministry would focus on helping to build the family of God at Southside into faithful disciples of Jesus Christ.
In doing this they were showing how seriously they were taking the familiar words of Jesus at the end of Matthew’s Gospel –what we call the Great Commission. Jesus said…
“Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them…and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”
By God’s grace…at least from my perspective…I was hired as Southside’s Minister of Discipleship. The idea and goal of discipleship is vital to the life of Christ’s Church. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t thank the Lord for putting the burden of discipleship on my heart and allowing me to do what I at Southside.
Can any church be faithfully living out its calling… its commission… if making disciples of Jesus Christ is not a priority? But that, of course, raises the question: What exactly is discipleship and what text would be helpful in giving us a deeper understanding of it? I mean, after all, you can be a disciple of anything or anyone? What makes a disciple of Jesus Christ a faithful disciple? Obviously this subject is not peripheral in Scripture. It’s front and center throughout God’s Word.
Having said that, as I pondered what text to preach, one stood out in my mind that I thought would help us in understanding what it means to be a faithful disciple of Jesus Christ. Matthew 7:24-27.
Our text comes at the very end of what we call, “The Sermon on the Mount.” For three chapters Jesus taught what we might call, “The norms of the Kingdom.” Or, what I like to call Kingdom Discipleship. Our Lord is basically focusing on what our character and conduct should look like if we would be faithful citizens of his Kingdom. (By the way, this character and conduct are grounded in the Gospel that Christ preached in Matthew 4. This is no “self-improvement” program Jesus is running.)
Jesus begins these concluding remarks in verse 24 with these words…
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine…”
His very first word here is “therefore.” And remember my number one rule about the word, “therefore.” Whenever you see the word “therefore,” always ask what it’s there for. The reason why is because it usually means something like this: “Based on what I’ve just said…go and do such and such.” And that’s exactly what it means here.
Again, Jesus says in verse 24…
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine…
In this verse, Jesus is telling us exactly what the “therefore” refers to – “these words of mine.” He’s referring to the words that he had just been preaching, which we call…”The Sermon on the Mount.” Of course, Jesus’ words can never be separated from who he is. You see, Jesus embodied everything he said. His person, works, and words are all part of the same package. They always point to his Father in heaven…and to him.
Next time we’ll take a look at what “these words of Jesus” are and what they mean… and why it matters.
Grace and Truth,