It appears that the Sunday School blog has gone cold, so I apologize for heating it up again in advance. Some of our discussions on Sunday, however, prompted some critical thought on my part and I wanted to share what I’ve been thinking about to get some of your thoughts.

I was listening to a sermon series today by Voddie Baucham entitled “Family Driven Faith” (If you’ve never heard him preach before, I encourage you to visit his website and download or order one of his CDs or DVDs). He challenged some of my perceptions about what the Christian faith should look like in both the family and the church.

Specifically, as a man, this series probably hit me harder than even our discussions regarding how we are to love our wives as Christ loved the Church. As if we weren’t already bloodied by that little nugget of truth, Voddie dropped an anvil on my head by saying that we (as the fathers and husbands) are “called by God to be the Priest, Prophet, Provider and Protector” for our wives and for our children. I don’t know about you, but I struggle just to be the Provider for my family and completely fail at the other three.

We are called to be the primary spiritual influence in our wives’ and children’s lives and to equip them with spiritual knowledge, understanding, and wisdom thru nurture in the Word of God. We are to disciple our children in the faith and train them in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. We are to be involved in leading home worship as the primary means of catechizing our children into the Christian faith. We are to provide for our families financial needs and to protect them from harm, which includes training them to be obedient to their parents, protecting them from the lies of our culture as well as from those who would prey on their youth and naivety.

I will be the first to admit, I am not a very good spiritual leader to my wife. I have been of the belief that “she’s an adult, she can fend for herself”. I was wrong, she needs me to be the spiritual leader, not just for the kids, but for her as well. It is my responsibility, not the Church’s, to ensure that my family is taught righteousness and sound doctrine. My kids are a little young, but I almost shy away from talking to them about Christ because I honestly don’t want the hassle of explaining things that can’t be summed up in a few words. I have done my wife and my children a huge disservice and will, if not corrected, set up my family for disaster.

We, as men, have a much greater responsibility than we even thought. Not only do we have a high standard to achieve, but our wives have a high standard to hold us to. We are to be the Pastors of our family. I’ve been a lousy Pastor… how ’bout you?

I want to encourage you all to step up to the plate and be the Priest, Prophet, Provider and Protector for your family and to help keep me accountable to do the same.

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We read this passage in parenting class last night:Christ is our righteousness

...but let him who boasts boast about this:
that he understands and knows me,
that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness,
justice and righteousness on earth,
for in these I delight...

-Jeremiah 9:24

We were discussing this within the context of family and how there needs to be a balance, but is this not part of our mission? Kindness, justice and righteousness is what we should be seeking, not only for ourselves, but others. Be kind to others, Seek justice for others, bring righteousness to others (not the best way to say that…).

1 Cor. 16:1-11

May 24, 2007

Now concerning the collection for the saints: as I directed the churches of Galatia, so you also are to do. On the first day of every week, each of you is to put something aside and store it up, as he may prosper, so that there will be no collecting when I come. And when I arrive, I will send those whom you accredit by letter to carry your gift to Jerusalem. If it seems advisable that I should go also, they will accompany me. I will visit you after passing through Macedonia, for I intend to pass through Macedonia, and perhaps I will stay with you or even spend the winter, so that you may help me on my journey, wherever I go. For I do not want to see you now just in passing. I hope to spend some time with you, if the Lord permits. But I will stay in Ephesus until Pentecost, for a wide door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many adversaries. When Timothy comes, see that you put him at ease among you, for he is doing the work of the Lord, as I am. So let no one despise him. Help him on his way in peace, that he may return to me, for I am expecting him with the brothers.
(1 Corinthians 16:1-11 ESV)

We missed you all

May 21, 2007

How did Sunday go? We were in Knoxville for my parent’s 50th anniversary (photos to prove it). They asked me to do the vows. It would’ve been nice if I didn’t CRY LIKE A LITTLE GIRL. Ah well. Ran across an good article (book promo really) talking about reading the bible “deeply”. They talk about Reading with the Rule of Faith, reading an passage beyond what the original authors intent was, but remaining faithful to the text. Read with the Giants is reading with Augustine, John of the Cross, early church fathers. We’ve made some historical figures to be protestant saints, but if you read them you see their frailty and humility before God. Reading with Prayer discusses reading the bible slowly and meditatively. And finally Reading in Contemporary Community is not what I expected, but still true, passing traditions down to the next generation.

ed·i·fi·ca·tion

May 16, 2007

I don’t think we’ll have time to cover everything, but… Here’s the text for Sunday: 1 cor 14 (ESV) The purpose of the gifts (v. 12) is for the “edification of the church“. I think we fall into a trap here thinking we do what we do for the improvement of the physical space we occupy on Sunday morning. The story of FRWY is a great example of “Intellectual, moral and spiritual improvements” made to the church. FRWY (short for Freeway) is a Salvation Army church plant in one of the poorer cities in Canada. Their purpose is to be neighbors in the community.

Not sure if this really is the passage for this week, but it wont hurt to read it…

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

from ebible.com

For the sake of further discussion, here is the passage that we went through last week.

For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body–Jews or Greeks, slaves or free–and all were made to drink of one Spirit. For the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, administrating, and various kinds of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? But earnestly desire the higher gifts. And I will show you a still more excellent way. (From the English Standard Version)

One thing I wanted to bring up in Sunday School, but didn’t have the time to, was the assumption that it seems Paul makes in this passage. In reading it, there seems to be a clear message that every believer is supposed have a spiritual gift or role in the Church. However, I have known believers (and have been guilty of this myself) who had no desire to be a “body part” or have any kind of service. What do we do when we encounter this in others, or see it in ourselves? Now I am not talking about giving all of our available time to the church or it’s activities, but more in the sense of seeking what spiritual gift(s) the Holy Spirit has for us (12:31, 14:1) that can be used when we come together. It often seems like in many of today’s congregations there are a lot of people who just want to be an unseen member. Does anyone have any opinions about this?