Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Cost of Being a Disciple

I love reading Charles Spurgeon’s devotional book, Morning And Evening -and, when I read this on November 10th, I copied it down and wanted to bring it to you before the end of the year. I hope it blesses you as it has blessed me:

“It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master.” Matthew 10:25

No one will dispute this statement, for it would be unseemly for the servant to be exalted above his Master. When our Lord was on earth, what was the treatment he received? Were his claims acknowledged, his instructions followed, his perfections worshipped, by those whom he came to bless? No; He was despised and rejected of men. Outside the camp was his place: cross-bearing was his occupation. Did the world yield him solace and rest? Foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head. This inhospitable country afforded him no shelter: it cast him out and crucified him. Such-if you are a follower of Jesus, and maintain a consistent, Christ-like walk and conversation-you must expect to be the lot of that part of your spiritual life which, in its outward development, comes under the observation of men. They will treat it as they treated the Saviour-they will despise it. Dream not that worldlings will admire you, or that the more holy and the more Christ-like you are, the more peaceably people will act towards you. They prized not the polished gem, how should they value the jewel in the rough? If they have called the Master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household? If we were more like Christ, we should be more hated by his enemies. It were a sad dishonour to a child of God to be the world's favourite. It is a very ill omen to hear a wicked world clap its hands and shout Well done to the Christian man. He may begin to look to his character, and wonder whether he has not been doing wrong, when the unrighteous give him their approbation. Let us be true to our Master, and have no friendship with a blind and base world which scorns and rejects him. Far be it from us to seek a crown of honour where our Lord found a coronet of thorn.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Dates to Keep in Mind

I just wanted to use this post to remind our church family of some very important upcoming dates for 2011. Please mark these dates on your calendar as a matter of prayer and make them a priority for your attendance.

• January 5th - AWANA and Wednesday night meals will begin again.

• February - We will begin our Men’s Bible Study from 6am-7am (the January 13th date posted earlier was a misprint)

• The entire Month of February will be “I Love My Church” month. This will be an exciting time for our church family. More details will come in the coming weeks.

• March 6-9 - Revival with Rick Coram. This will be our only 4 day meeting this year, but it will be phenomenal! Make plans to be here and expect God to do a great work.

• October 21-23 - Trinity’s First Annual Missions Conference And Fair

•  November 13 - One Day meeting with David Miller

In addition to this, we have some incredible mission trips ranging from Arizona to Paraguay, to Vancouver. Let’s pray and ask God to allow the Gospel to flow forth from Trinity like it never has before. I look forward to the work God is going to do this year!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas!

I want take a moment to thank each of you for following this blog this year, and a special thank you to my Trinity Church Family! I love you and have counted it such a joy to be your Pastor for another year. I look forward to 2011 and many other years together as we work in our Lord’s Kingdom. Thank you for your e-mails, comments on Facebook, and the personal discussions we have had regarding this blog over the course of the last year… and for the many discussions regarding other areas of ministry and growth in our Church lives as we walk alongside each other. May 2011 be a year that we look back on and see a great work in our church by the one true God. Have a wonderful, Merry Christmas and know that I love you and love serving alongside you.

Bro. Chad

Monday, December 20, 2010

How Unattractive is the Gospel: Part 4

This will be my final post on the wonderful book written some time ago by John MacArthur entitled, Hard To Believe. We have looked at three admonitions or “strategies,” as MacArthur puts it, to remember as we share the gospel. Today, I will mention numbers four and five. Because of the length of the text, I will not post it on the blog, but you can look at it in 2nd Corinth. 4:8-16. To combine the final two thoughts, we can say: We Will Not Seek Popularity AND We Will Not Look At Earthly Success.

It would be absolutely crazy to expect this narrow gospel message to be accepted by the masses. This does not prohibit us from passionately carrying forth the gospel to the masses…to every tribe, tongue and nation…but we should understand that we will be hated for giving the true gospel. Now, it should be understood that if we are going to give the true gospel and seek to please our Lord, that success is going to be found in the delivery of truth - rather than the numbers that respond. This is next to impossible for the modern American church to embrace. In America, bigger is better, health and wealth must equal spiritual blessings. We have an “American Gospel” that, in the majority of the world, it would be openly rejected because there isn’t as much health and wealth floating around - so it can be easily refuted. The rule of thumb is, if I have a gospel that can not be proclaimed in a third world country, but rather it can be proclaimed and understood only in my little corner of the world, IT IS NOT A TRUE GOSPEL.

When I look at John 3 and watch Christ proclaim the gospel message, how different does that look than our modern evangelism practices? MacAuthur says it like this: “I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; it isn’t just holding up your hand or walking down an aisle and saying, ‘I love Jesus.’ It is not easy, it is not user-friendly or seeker sensitive; it isn’t a rosy, perfect world where Jesus gives you whatever you want. It is hard, it is sacrificial, and it supersedes everything.” If the enemy can’t destroy the church, he will be satisfied confusing her. If we can’t articulate the gospel, we are ineffective for the Kingdom. This will redefine missions, this will redefine grace, justification, the exclusivity of Christ, it is a message that is absent of God’s truth. Therefore it is a message that it is synthetic - it may look like a gospel message but it is a message that is damning.

In closing, read books like Hard to Believe and The Gospel According to Jesus, by John MacArthur…or What is the Gospel by Greg Gilbert, or so many other wonderful books - but by all means we must get this right. Go to The Way of the Master website or view their training materials that do a wonderful job explaining the gospel. If there is anything we must get a firm grasp on, it is the truth of the glorious gospel of Christ!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

How Unattractive is the Gospel - Part 3

If you want to see the premise of this post, then look at Part 1from a week ago. I want to jump right into these “strategies” or admonitions that MacArthur uses in his book, Hard To Believe. The second point he gives is found in:

2nd Corinth 4:2 - “We have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness or handling the word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.”

The admonition is: We Will NOT Tamper with the Message.

This admonition builds perfectly on the first strategy - if I am ashamed of the message or too cowardly to present it in truth, then the tendency will be to tamper with it…to weaken it or to change it to fit my comfort level. We see this a great deal in our day but, in truth, I think there has been a tendency to do this in every generation. I will tie this second admonition, along with MacArthur’s third one, together in this blog because they fit so well together and, most of the time where you see one, you inevitably see the other. The third admonition is found in the next two verses:

2nd Corinth. 4:3-4 “even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.”

The Admonition is: We Will Not Manipulate People To Get The Desired Superficial Results.

MacArthur rightly points out that the problem here is “the soil - not the seed.” A wonderful friend of mine was telling me about a program he saw on the Discovery Channel - it was discussing farming and crops (I have no idea what drew him to this program, but that is beyond the intent of this blog). This friend said the documentary explained that the only way something can grow in “dead/bad soil” is if it is created from a synthetic seed. This describes what has happened all too often in our churches - and sadly, it has happened many times by well intentioned people - they are just not gospel focused. So many churches and pastors become decision focused and “results” obsessed. That is why muscle bound men in wife beater tee-shirts can come in and rip phone books and give a cute synthetic gospel presentation - then can claim hundreds saved. To the casual observer everyone wins! The church is happy (if they are Southern Baptist they may get an award), the preacher gets noticed, the muscle bound men get paid and feel good that they saw such a “movement of God” (their definition), and it is good entertainment! If you dare to protest this by pointing out the fact that, though you baptized 100 people the next Sunday - you probably won’t be able to find them in a week or two – you are somehow cold, calloused and not evangelistic! Never mind that there was never a call for real repentance, no concept of counting the cost, no discussion of Lordship or surrendering your life to Christ - only some magical special prayer that God is now obligated to come through on since you repeated it. Again - if you actually have the unmitigated gall to point this out - brace…brace…it’s about to get ugly because you, my friend, obviously don’t care if people get saved! Some well meaning person will point out that if even ONE came to Christ and all others were false, it was worth it. To that I say, NO! The damage done by a false gospel and a false hope IS SIN!

Some of those who tamper with the message in order to get some desired results, no doubt have a desire to get people to come to Christ…but I am guessing that, too often they forget the reason they are sharing is not to “make a sale,” but to deliver truth. As children of God, our number one calling is to glorify God in all we do - the only way I can do that in witnessing is to get the Gospel right! It is not my message to change (it is arrogance to believe I can give it the way I want), it is simply my task to deliver it! It is exciting to see the ever growing passion at Trinity for this great task.

Monday, December 13, 2010

How Unattractive The Gospel Is: Part 2

In my last blog, I began a series by discussing how unattractive the Gospel is to a person who has not been born again. I referred to one of my favorite books of all time, Hard To Believe, by John MacArthur. This book does an incredible job of explaining the Gospel, the necessity of presenting it faithfully, and understanding that the Holy Spirit is responsible for the work in the heart. MacArthur gives five strategies, as he calls it, but they are more like admonitions - I want to take the next several blogs to remind us of them as we share the Gospel in our day to day lives….

The first admonition he mentions is found in 2nd Corinth. 4:1 “Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we do not lose heart.” The admonition is: Don’t Surrender In Cowardice. Paul assumed people would reject him - he knew that hatred would meet him at every corner, and the same should be true with us. In a culture (even in many of our churches) which has so watered down, changed and twisted the Gospel, the true call of the cross, the true explanation of Lordship, it is too often met with hatred. You had people in that day that called Paul a liar, who said he was preaching a false Gospel - all because he was teaching what God required and not what the religious group had heard all their life. All we need to do is read Luke chapters 1-4 and watch the change. In Luke 1 – 4 (about halfway through chapter 4) Jesus’ ministry is going pretty well, but when He has the audacity to stand up and preach the truth in His home town to those who knew Him best, they rose up and wanted to throw Him off a cliff. We should be reminded that the true Gospel was no more of a crowd pleaser then, than it is today. One of the most wicked lies today, is that it is easy to become a Christian - the truth is, it is difficult! It is through a narrow gate - a brokenness over self, dying to yourself, forsaking all and turning to Christ. For this to happen, it takes a miracle of God, not a slick talk, promises of wealth or fame, a cool track, or even a former Miss America pageant winner.

One can afford to be wrong when it comes to secondary issues of our eschatology… or can differ from you or me on some secondary doctrinal issues, but the great tragedy is that there are far too many who miss the Gospel today. When one misses the Gospel, they miss eternal life. The way I view the Gospel determines the methods I will use in presenting the Gospel - or if I present it at all. As we are sharing the truth of Gospel, let’s not be ashamed of it… let’s present it the way Christ did - not add to or soften it - let’s be passionate about it and let’s watch God do His saving work!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

How Unattractive the Gospel Really Is

I have been so blessed to be raised under godly men! Men who, while being far from perfect, have a great hunger for the things of God. I was blessed by having been raised by a Dad who, not only loved the things of God, but had me around great men of God. Men like Bro. David Miller, Bill Stafford, Herb Reavis and countless others. Not only have I been blessed by being around such wonderful men, I have been blessed by the great men of God that have influenced me through their wonderful books. Men with a passion for revival like Leonard Ravenhill, or with a love for doctrine and truth like John MacArthur, or even great preachers like Charles Spurgeon. Obviously, I could name countless others, both living and dead. But, one of my top 2 or 3 favorite books would be entitled, Hard To Believe by John MacArthur. I have mentioned this book a year or so ago before on this blog, but it is one of those books that I go to so often – so I thought it would be worth mentioning to you again. It exhorts me in presenting the Gospel correctly and encourages me to stand on it and preach truth in good times, and in adversity.

The Gospel has never been attractive to the natural man – but unfortunately, we have many churches today that desire nothing more than to put a new twist, or slight change, on it to make it more palatable. I was sharing with a pastor a little while ago, that there is no reaction that incites the Pharisees’ anger and frustration spoken of in Scripture, than when one stands and declares the Gospel clearly. When one points out the novel idea that walking down an isle, or filling out a card or “feeling saved” even, means absolutely nothing – their blood boils. The reaction especially in the “Bible-belt” can be astounding. The exclusivity of the Gospel has always been an inconvenient message to sinners, but the truth of the Gospel can not be negotiated. For the next few blogs, I am going to hone in on a couple of truths from Hard To Believe and use it as a reminder as to what we as believers should be doing, and understanding.

The title of Chapter 3 of Hard To Believe , is “Truth In A Privy Pot.” MacArthur uses 2nd Corinth. 4:5-7 and reminds us that, those God has called to proclaim the treasure of the Gospel are called “earthen vessels.” Now, I certainly don’t want to be crude, but an “earthen vessel” is a cheap baked clay pot, that is easily replaceable and valueless. God took these plain, replaceable pots and put the glorious light of the Gospel and called us to shine into a dark world! MacArthur says “We’re baked dirt, that’s what we are, carrying around the message of God’s eternal kingdom of light and life.” Is this ever more clearly illustrated than in the life of Paul, who was not a handsome man, who demonstrated no oratorical skill, who was crass, at times, to say the least? Paul has to be one of the greatest, if not the greatest demonstration of a believer, who ever lived. We are compared to “privy pots,” there is no need for explanation…we are clay bedpans. Isn’t it great that God is in the business of passing up the gold and silver bowls and just puts the treasure of the Gospel in us? Want a little self-esteem boost? Well, 1st Corinth. 4:13 calls us filth. We are called bedpans, then we are called scum. That is what the filth is, the scum that stays at the bottom of the pot. Wow, we have moved from bedpans to scum… that is not an upgrade. See, this is what is so difficult about a true Gospel…it has nothing to say “good” about us before salvation, and then when we are saved, there is nothing better about our flesh - but it is He who resides in us, that is wonderful. It is Christ that we can glory in! Now, this aids in the killing of pride, but what can our strategy be as believers? How can we deliver a true Gospel message? Calling people to hate self, calling people to die to self, telling people that we are not saved to do anything except bring glory to God in our life through our witness and in all that we do?  MacArthur mentions five strategies that we will discuss over the next few weeks on this blog that I believe will help us tremendously! There is nothing to glory in ourselves about, but there is plenty for us to passionately proclaim of our Christ.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Giving Thanks...from Guest Blogger, Bro. Jeff Summers

We (that is me…and I know I speak for parents - and for children who can’t say “thank you” now, but will in years to come!) ought always to give thanks (I know I don’t say “thank you” enough) to God for you, brothers (and sisters - who serve in AWANA, KidCare Nursery, children’s Sunday BFG’s , Kids’ Worship, Mothers’ Day Out, VBS, or in the Hopper. Every good and perfect gift is from above, and you are definitely right where God wants you to be. I thank God for you. You give Him the glory when you serve children and their families.), as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly (The reason we serve is because of God’s grace and mercy for us. He is the one who has placed the desire in you to serve as you wipe noses in nursery; helping a child memorize a verse in AWANA; encouraging the red team to cheer for their teammate as they run around the AWANA circle; as you spend hours during the week preparing to teach the Word of God; as you spend time in prayer for the children you lead; as you depend on God to empower you; faithfully serving even when you don’t see many results; serving with excellence showing that you believe that you serve a God who is sovereign, all-powerful, true and truth, pure, and righteous, sacrificing, faithful, giving, and seeking to save the lost) , and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing (because you serve faithfully in nursery so that parents can worship without distraction, when you contact your students and parents to let them know you are praying for them, or miss them, when you work as a team focused on ministering to others’ needs, rather than your own, when you demonstrate patience with children, parents, and other church members; and your commitment) . ~ 2 Thessalonians 1:3

I thank God for YOU! This kingdom work is too big for one person to accomplish. It takes a team of people who love our Lord, and express that love by serving people whole-heartedly. You are invaluable! I love and appreciate you, my Trinity brothers and sisters in Christ!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Thankfulness....from Guest Blogger, Bro. Greg Stringfield

It is indeed a blessing and a privilege to serve my church family as your administrator. I can remember when I first felt God leading me into fulltime ministry. My first reaction was “Are you kidding?” Two years prior, I had just completed my masters degree in Personnel Management and wasn’t ready to consider another masters degree. Now, fast forward thirteen years and I can truthfully acknowledge how thankful I am that God saw fit to use me in this manner. Through these years there have been trials and challenges that have increased my reliance on God’s providence.

This Thanksgiving, we will all have the opportunity to reflect on the many reasons we have to be thankful. Of course, I’m thankful most of all for my relationship with Christ and also for my wife and my two boys. Outside of that, I receive a true blessing in serving you. The joy I experience day after day only comes from being in God’s will. There is no doubt in my mind that, at this time in my life, God has called me to serve the Trinity family. God has put together a staff that loves the body of Christ... and a staff that truly enjoys serving along side of each other. I have served in four different churches and none of them had the continuity that our staff exhibits. I’m grateful and thankful for that continuity. I would have to admit that at times working in the area of finances has been challenging and has caused me to pull a few hairs out...but, in the end, I can’t imagine serving my God and my church family in any other manner!!

Monday, November 29, 2010

It Is Good to Give Guest Blogger, Bro. Jon Rushing

“It is good to give thanks to the LORD, to sing praises to Your name, O Most High;” (Psalm 92:1 ESV)

Thanksgiving can be, as with most holidays in the U.S., a season of very meaningful, God-centered worship, or a season of people-centered sentimentality. I guess I am overly sensitive to this because I am charged (alongside Brother Chad) with leading Trinity to worship Christ corporately, week in and week out. So, when I came across Psalm 92 this week, the Spirit really let me see how this psalm helps us worship through giving thanks.

First, right out of the shoot, the psalmist tells us that this hymn is for our gathered worship times. The heading calls it, “A Song For The Sabbath.” So this is for us, not just for me, as an individual. He wastes no time beating around the bush, but reminds us next, that it is a wonderful thing to “give thanks to the LORD, to sing praises.” (vs. 1)

Then, in vs. 2-3, he gives us some specifics on how this can be accomplished.

“To declare Your steadfast love in the morning, and Your faithfulness by night, to the music of the lute and the harp, to the melody of the lyre.”

It is God’s “steadfast love” (His character) and His “faithfulness” (His actions) that are declared as reasons to worship God. Also, note that this corporate thanksgiving praise takes place in the morning and at night. Now, I would never try to use this as a proof text saying we should always have A.M. and P.M. worship gatherings, but in the very least, we are reminded that we should meet regularly as a faith family to offer thanksgiving and praise to God. Another thing to notice here, is that although elsewhere in the Psalms, there are commands for fully orchestrated times of praise (Psalm 150), the three instruments listed here are small stringed instruments that would be much more conducive to an intimate, more personal setting. God calls us to both types of gatherings…loud, boisterous praise…and quiet, thoughtful worship.

Vs. 4-5 gives an answer to the question “Why give thanks in this way?”

“For You, O LORD, have made me glad by Your work; at the works of Your hands I sing for joy. How great are Your works, O LORD! Your thoughts are very deep.”

I love this truth! When God saves us, joy in Him follows!! Through His Word and by the Holy Spirit we are able to rejoice in His activity and pursue the riches of who He is. (Ephesians 1:17-23)

Here’s where Psalm 92 turns a corner. I am tempted to stop here, but the psalmist doesn’t do that. The rest of the hymn contrasts differences between those who belong to God and those who don’t. These verses speak for themselves.

“The stupid man cannot know; the fool cannot understand this: that though the wicked sprout like grass and all evildoers flourish, they are doomed to destruction forever; but You, O LORD, are on high forever. For behold, Your enemies, O LORD, for behold, Your enemies shall perish; all evildoers shall be scattered. But You have exalted my horn like that of the wild ox; You have poured over me fresh oil. My eyes have seen the downfall of my enemies; my ears have heard the doom of my evil assailants.

The righteous flourish like the palm tree and grow like a cedar in Lebanon. They are planted in the house of the LORD; they flourish in the courts of our God. They still bear fruit in old age; they are ever full of sap and green, to declare that the LORD is upright; He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.” (Psalm 92:6-15 ESV)

Evil will be present, even when the church gathers to worship. But take heart, evil will be short lived and God’s work among His people is ongoing and everlasting!

As I wrap this up, let me speak personally.  Trinity, “Let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” (Galations 6:9 ESV) What God is building here is eternal. It WILL last and those who stand against Him will not. As me and my family move into this season of Thanksgiving, we are thanking God for what He is doing in our midst and for allowing us to be a part of Trinity Baptist Church.

Just remember, “…It is good to give thanks to the LORD…”

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Joy and Thankfulness...from Bro. John Miller

As we approach this wonderful time of the year, Thanksgiving and Christmas, it brings to my mind I Thess. 5:18. Do you know what this Scripture says? Stop, take your Bible, and read it. Did you see that thankfulness should characterize the Christian life in every circumstance? Psalms 100:4 - do you know what it says? Stop, take your Bible out and read it. Wow!  We should enter His gates, Trinity Baptist Church, with thanksgiving and joy… why? So, we can praise Him, honor Him, and acknowledge Him as our God.

I thank God that He has allowed me to be admitted into His service for over 30 years and so thankful He has allowed me to serve at Trinity Baptist Church for almost 20 glorious and joyful years. Our Lord has blessed us beyond any measure I could ever expect. What a source of joy and thanksgiving this Body of Believers has been to me, and is for so many others as well!

How could anyone not be full of joy and be very thankful while ministering to the Senior Adults at Trinity? God has blessed us with Senior Adult mentors to look up to, with Senior Adults serving throughout Trinity, willing to do what it takes to glorify Jesus. Thank you for giving unto the Lord!

I’m thankful for the past but, like Paul, “forgetting what lies behind”, we must press on toward the eternal finish line in front of us, and we must refuse to focus on yesterday because today holds out our hope.

Where do we find joy and a thankful heart?

As I was looking at the past and fearing the future. . .
My Lord was speaking:
“My name is I AM,”

“When you live in the past, with its mistakes and regrets it is hard. I am not there. My name is not I WAS.”
“When you live in the future, with its problems and fears, it is hard. I am not there; my name is not I WILL BE.”

“When you live in the moment, it is not hard. I AM here”.
 Bro. John

Monday, November 22, 2010

When the Holiday Season Rolls Guest Blogger, Bro. Brad Walker

When the Holiday Season rolls around, I often reflect on the things in my life for which I am most grateful. I have never gotten over the fact that a sinner like me was met by the saving hand of God and confronted by the truth of the Gospel. It is a divine exchange beyond comprehension: the righteous for the unrighteous, the innocent for the guilty, and Jesus’ perfect record for my filthy rags (II Cor. 5:21). Likewise, my Heavenly Father has called me to be a Pastor, and it is an absolute joy that I get to fulfill my calling at Trinity Baptist Church. I have seen hundreds of churches and hundreds of student ministries, but I have never seen a church with more potential to reach the nations through the caliber of teens and families and the resources that God has blessed us with. The potential for student ministry and the possibility of influencing the future leaders of our world with the Word of God wakes me up in the morning. I love preaching. I love counseling. I love discipling. I love building relationships and having fun with students. I love sharing the gospel and building a ministry team. I love seeing the needs of ministry, identifying an individual’s gifts and helping people connect the two. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to fulfill all of these passions.

Also, I am continually overwhelmed by the student ministry team that God has raised up here - they are much more talented than the student pastor! My assistant, Emily Beitz, continually serves with her skill and organization. I am grateful that she often covers up my weaknesses and makes what we do more effective. Our mentors, interns, directors, student leaders, and parent leaders are top notch. While much of the work they do goes unseen by people, it is not unseen by the God of the Universe. The backbone of our ministry is the faithfulness of the humble servants on our team. I am also grateful for the fantastic parents that are trying to raise their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. I have never been lacking any resource or need in order to fulfill our ministry goals at TBC. What a blessing it is to have the relevant and state of the art facilities in order to minister to students and their families!

I realize that few people on this earth wake up every day excited about their vocation, and I am one that is blessed to have such a job. While there are many challenges, some heartaches, crazy hours and lots of responsibilities of student ministry, we love it! It meets the needs of my family financially and provides me the opportunity to fulfill my calling with joy. This joy is enhanced by the Godly and talented staff team and pastors. The depth of fellowship that we have in the midst of battle is deep and the fun is great. I am also thankful for a senior Pastor that is my pastor, boss and friend. There is no other pastor in the world that I would rather serve with than my Pastor.

Finally, the number of acts of kindness, babysitting, notes of encouragement, cooked meals, and loving gifts for my family are too numerous to mention. Thank you church family for loving me as one of the Pastors of your Church body. Thank you for loving my family and serving us in a way that humbles and edifies us. Thank you for extending grace for my many weaknesses. Thank you for helping us to raise our boys. Thank you for keeping us accountable to God’s Word. Thank you for reminding us often of Jesus Christ and His work. Thank you for being our family. Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Our Trinity Family....a Blog from Guest Blogger, Bro. Bubba Crowder

Whitney and I were, just this past week, thinking back upon our first Holiday Season at Trinity. We had only been here a few months and didn't know many people very well. Although we were thankful for where God had us, it made for an unusual first Thanksgiving in Southaven - to not have anyone really treat us like "family".

Three years later it could not be more different. The great people of Trinity have made it a joy to serve, live life, and begin raising a child here. Not only do our members at Trinity do this personally, but they do this in ministry as well. Looking across the ministries I have the pleasure of serving in, from our Adult Bible Fellowship Groups to Recreation, to our Media ministries, one thing remains the same: the people are willing to do whatever it takes to serve. It is such a blessing to know that our faithful members understand their responsibility in ministry as part of being "the Church". Without this kind of service, many of our weekly ministries would not be possible! I'm thankful for a Church that "gets it"!

In every aspect of life and service, it truly is a joy to call Trinity our home!

-Bro. Bubba

Monday, November 15, 2010


1st Thess. 5:18…give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.   (ESV)

Over the next several blogs, I will have several of our staff members as “guest bloggers” writing about things they are thankful for in their ministry at Trinity. God has been exceedingly good to us as a Church, and it is good for us to take some time to give thanks to God, and the Body at Trinity, for what is going on. Let me say in advance, that no staff member has looked at the other blogs to get ideas so; if anything is repetitive it is strictly because they have been blessed. As of writing this blog, these men have not shown me or spoken with me about what they are writing. I believe this holiday season will be a sweet time for Trinity and this is a great opportunity for these wonderful, Godly men I serve with to just stop and share their thankfulness. I will begin by saying I am thankful for Trinity in many areas - but for the sake of time and space I will name two.

First, I am thankful for the growth in our families over this past year. It has been overwhelming as I listen to so many of our men that have stepped up and are now leading their homes in family worship. I’m blessed and encouraged by the number of books we have sold that aid in teaching doctrine – and we have had great openness and honesty regarding the struggles we all face in leading in our families as we study together! The number of books that have been purchased and actually being read is nothing short of phenomenal. It has lead to us having more people who think Biblically, who see and understand roles in the family and the ministry of the body. It has led to an increased comprehension of accountability to one another in the church. It has led to open and honest communication of struggles and victories. It has helped marriages, and has given Biblical application in our day to day lives. This statistic is not one that churches make graphs and charts on, but it yields results in the Kingdom of God – and, after all, that is the audience with whom we should be most consumed. I am excited about where this depth of growth and study leads over the next few years as we see what God’s grace produces in this Body of Christ!

Lastly, I am thankful for these men of God that will be writing on this blog for the next few weeks. Their passion for Christ, the accountability we have within our staff, their love and sacrifice for this body – all of this makes it a wonderful honor to serve here. Over the past 17 years, Trinity had watched over 50 staff members come and go, leaving no consistent path of ministry. This is not a knock against a single one of the prior staff members - it just explained a lack of direction in many ministry areas. The top two concerns I had when praying and searching for staff was (1) Doctrine and (2) Commitment. I wanted men who knew the Word of God and who could teach doctrine… but I also wanted men who would be committed to Trinity. We needed men who would make a commitment for the long haul. Over the last two years it has (some times) been humorous to note the number of people who have asked me, and almost every staff member, the question, “You guys aren’t leaving, are you?” Let me state this for the record – we, as a staff, are committed to this body, to carry out the work God has called us to do. We, as a Church, are not what we should be, but praise God, we aren’t what we used to be and, better than that…we aren’t what we are gonna be! Thank you for allowing me to serve as your Pastor and thank you for loving these wonderful men of God that we have serving at Trinity. I hope you enjoy their posts over the next couple of weeks.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

We Need the Gospel Daily...

I have been writing about the gospel and I know of no one who can articulate the daily need for the Gospel better than John Piper. Take two minutes of your day and let this encourage you.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Sin Makes Us Stupid

I am amazed at how stupid I am when I sin! I try explaining why I sinned - and I will call it anything but what it is! I will even change terms and soften the sound of my sin...come on, we all have done this, haven’t we? Instead of looking at my wife and being honest -that I am responding this certain way because I am self seeking and unbecoming, I simply tell her that I’m just not in a “good mood.” I have heard men who were under strong Biblical teaching and, at one time would hold to the things of God, debate leaving their family because they were in adultery! They utter such nonsense as “I’m just not happy with my wife, and God wants me happy. I think this may have been His will all along.” Really? I was unaware that God gives us a command in His Word for you to commit adultery and murder your marriage if you are unhappy. I think some of this happens because we don’t really use the names the Bible uses for sin anymore…we “desensitize” ourselves to our sin. We are in a culture that, when we lie or our children lie, we say, “They were not truthful” or “They told a story.” Problem - I am not calling, nor defining things as God has called them or defined them. We allow our culture to define and rename what the Bible clearly calls sin and, in fact, gives it a name. A wonderful book by Jerry Bridges entitled “Respectable Sins” goes in great detail to deal with sins that we gloss over – those that in most churches many people would have difficulty even defining properly. A pastor friend shared with me that he was burdened by this very problem - he had a member that could not define what “gossip” was. Shortly after this, I too had an almost identical conversation with a member of our church and, in truth there have been countless times in counseling sessions that sins like gossip, slander, and even adultery have had to be defined. Below, Jerry Bridges does an outstanding job of giving a Biblical definition to these sins, as well as many others, that we think are “respectable.”

Gossip is the spreading of unfavorable information about someone else, even if that information is true.” (Respectable Sins-Confronting the Sins We Tolerate, Jerry Bridges)

“Slander is making a false statement or misrepresentation about another person that defames or damages the person’s reputation. We slander when we ascribe wrong motives to people, even though we cannot see their hearts or know their particular circumstances.” (Respectable Sins-Confronting the Sins We Tolerate, Jerry Bridges.)

I want to encourage us, as believers, that when we talk, rebuke, correct, or teach with one another or with our children, let’s make sure to use Biblical terms and call sinful things by their sinful names. Otherwise, we will simply raise another generation that can’t rightly define sin and that will learn from us, how to tolerate these “respectable” sins!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

BIG ME...little we

One of my favorite books is written by Edward Welch entitled, “When People Are Big and God Is Small.” In this book, Dr. Welch talks a great deal about the sinfulness of fearing man and how, in fact, all of us struggle with this in some area of our lives. One of the areas that feeds into this sin is the “me” culture that we have inside and outside the church. He gives a powerful illustration as to how individualistic we are, even when we approach the Word of God. Our tendency is to think about “me” before “us.”

“For example, since our culture has taught us to think individually rather than corporately, we are prone to think about me rather than us. Our interpretation of “do not give the devil a foothold” (Eph. 4:27) is a classic illustration. This passage is consistently applied to the individual. That is, if you are sinfully angry, Satan will have some sort of control in your life. Although this may be true, the passage is speaking in the context of the church. Ephesians is about unity in the church. The foothold refers to Satan’s divisive influence in the body of Christ rather than Satan possessing an individual. The treatment is to hotly pursue unity in the church.”

I write this blog to encourage each of us to remember that this Christian life is not about us, it is about Christ. If you want to know what is on the next rung of the ladder below Christ…it is “others.” This will completely negate the idea of church, ministry, and in fact, life in general, being about me. It is amazing how many times we hear statements within the Body of Christ that actually state or imply “I have a right to say this about this person….” Or “I have a right to feel this way about this person.” Yet they never consider the weaker brother or sister, they never take into account that our rights were purchased at Calvary. The modern “feel good” theology that honors self more than the one true God, sees the unpardonable sin as to “suppress” your emotions. Why? Because emotions point to my need, and my needs are all that matters. If I “need” approval, love or praise to feel good about self, then inevitably I will be controlled by the person who dispenses the approval, love or praise. This will cripple me and force me to rely on someone other than Christ as my provider. I write this as an encouragement for all of us to live out the idea that my life is not MINE, it is His! I am His slave and should glory in that. Ministry, service, witnessing, church, and worship is not about me, it is about Him and then about others. When we believe this, we will behave this: when we behave this, we will find true joy!

Monday, November 1, 2010

One Final Post from My Guest Blogger

From Michele:
Following my first post on how we, as women, have fallen into the trap of this modern culture of climbing the corporate ladder and being all things to all people...I have had a surprising amount of our ladies ask me,"How do I change that? I'm there - and I do feel trapped. So, how do I break free?" One lady summed it up for me... "A few of us recently decided that we have educated ourselves too much for our husbands to allow us to "simply" stay home and be the Proverbs 31 woman. Trap is such a good word for this situation!!" So many others have said, "We bought this house and now, whenever I talk about staying at home, he reminds me that we cannot afford it without my income. I hate this house - I wish we never moved in it." One particular mom this week told me "I would sell anything and everything I had to so that I could stay at home with my kids...the problem is, he thinks we need this stuff." So, the question rings in my ears as I write..."how do we get out of the working-mom, never-at-home, mediocrity trap that we are in now?"

Now men, before I get started in this, realize that this is not a male-bashing fest...we are not about to blame all of this on you, however does the Bible not put the ultimate responsibility for making sure that your family operates according to the Word of God, on you? I believe so. IF your wife has expressed these desires to you, and IF you have had these is time to make a serious plan to change. Not put it off or hope that these "maternal instincts" settle down. It will settle down - into a resentful and miserable wife! Begin taking steps toward helping her to fulfill this calling - talk about what can be "given up" and find where sacrifices can be made. The enemy will ensure that it will not be easy - following Scripture rarely is....but we are called to do it nonetheless. Ok - I'll let my husband speak to that more at another time...but I just wanted you to see that if your wife is ASKING to be at home, to be a helpmate to you and to influence her children for Christ, which is a unique calling for Biblical feminity, why would you see that as an obstacle to overcome rather than as a blessing?

Now ladies, I have been asked "how" - how do we make that happen? How do I get out of the trap? How can I make everyone at work happy AND everyone at home - I feel like I am failing EVERYWHERE! Sadly, I know EXACTLY how you feel! There have been times in our marriage where I have worked outside the home, some before children and even some periods since the boys have come along. There have also been times where my church activities have kept me so busy that I have felt like I was in this "trap" of letting everyone down...We can find ourselves there so easily and for so many reasons - so, some practical pointers:

1. Realize that you are to HONOR GOD in all that you do. Colossians 3:23 is speaking in the context of submission to authority and it says "whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward" It means that whatever situation you find yourself in at this moment, do not allow your circumstances to dictate your behavior! If you are unhappy with the workplace, your boss, the fact that you are not at home, you feel overwhelmed at home...whatever - YOU WORK HEARTILY, AS UNTO THE LORD...He is the one you are serving and you cannot forget that. In answer to some of the ideas I have heard lately - NO, you cannot start letting the chores at home "fall" so he will notice and see that you need to be at home to get them done. NO - that is manipulation and God will not be honored in that. HE knows YOU! He knows your heart even when you are not capable of knowing it yourself (Jeremiah 17:9). You give your all...every moment...for the Lord - He is the one you are serving. Honor and Glorify HIM in all that you do and do it with the attitude of love and service that glorifies Him - trusting that HE will direct you and your family.

2. Pray for your husband! If you have asked him and talked with him about your feelings on this, clearly and openly (NOT just hinting at it) - then HUSH! Proverbs 27:15 says that we can become worse than a "continual dripping" of a leaking roof! Ooohh ladies - let's watch our nagging! We want something so badly and feel justified in it because we can back it with Scripture - but that does NOT give us the right to become quarrelsome or nagging. PRAY for your husband - we show by our nagging that we do not believe that God can change him or change this situation. Do we TRUST God with our life, our home, our career, our husband? GOD can "get hold" of our husband's hearts in ways we cannot with our words....TRUST Him! After all, He can work through this situation to change US!

3. Focus on Priorities - Sometimes what seems urgent in our lives is really not most important! Remember when you feel pressure from all sides - when you have deadlines to meet, when the boss is pulling and home is on priorities. Take a moment and think - in light of eternity, what is my calling and my Biblical mandate to do in this situation? There may be times when submission to the boss takes precedence over soccer practice - you signed on for that job, made a committment and soccer is a game...But, there WILL be other times when you will be faced with saying NO to that promotion or NO to those extra pay hours because neglecting your family's needs is not an option. Your children MUST KNOW cannot become the nanny who tucks them in at night after the mom at daycare wiped their nose all day....THEY NEED YOU to talk with them, open the Word of God with them, to hold them and ask about their day at school...You may be trapped in a job you don't want right now, but you do not have to continue the downward spiral in the quest for more money, more prestige or furthering the career you say you don't want.

4. Set a Schedule - when you are at work - work hard! But, when you are at home, leave work at the office. Your children and your husband MUST know that you are with them...and that they are not "in the way". They are top priority and they have your attention. If you have older kids - they are perfectly capable of doing some of the household chores (and SHOULD BE doing chores). Get done what you can in the evenings, but do not let the chores become the focus of what you do. A family who enjoys being together can even make chores a non-event or even a fun-event if Mom's attitude is right. Remember though ladies, it is OUR responsibility to be over the home - the Bible does not say, "unless you work - then it is 50-50%" is ours - the less we gripe and the more we do, the quicker it gets done and the less we sound like that leaking roof. The more our children see a right attitude and a serving heart that does even chores out of a love for our family. Children SHOULD be doing chores (they are learning how to do things for their future home) - husbands should NOT. If you have a "chore list" for your hubby...(ouch, right?)...we are going too far. It is not wrong to ask for help with something here or there - but if you have a constant list of items that he is supposed to do, you are putting off what God says is yours to carry. We are in danger of trying to be MOM instead of HELPMATE.

5. Remember HELPMATE was our first name (Genesis 2:18). That is our first role. We are to be a helpmate to our husband - saved or unsaved, working or not, agreeable to spiritual roles or not...we are to be a helpmate to him. Let God deal with the heart. HE told us this is our role - we just need to be the best at it we can possibly be, to the glory of God - and trust HIM that He will take care of us in that. There may be times that you feel taken advantage of, or maybe you are the only one working right now and doing housework (in our society, this is happening more and more) - do not give in and reverse roles just because these circumstances allow it...the enemy can make that easy for us to justify or rationalize in our minds - but it is still not right! Before the job, before the kids, before the church...our role is to be a HELPMATE for our hubby. To make it easy for him to be a man of God. To make home a place he wants to be, to be a wife that is easy to lead and looks to him for leadership, and to focus our children (positively) on him as the head of our family and our authority.

6. Be Careful - so many times we focus on only the negatives of our circumstances and we grumble beneath our breath - our own attitude is our downfall. We can never be a helpmate to our hubby, set a good example for our kids, let alone please God if we are grumbling and complaining! Remember our earlier quote "a few of us recently decided..." means that a few of us were talking! Be careful ladies - our conversations with friends can quickly turn to husband bashing or complaining...focusing our energy in this area is never honoring to God and it defeats us in our attitudes. Make sure that we are "doing him good" and making him "known in the gates" for the right reasons (Proverbs 31:12, 23). Watch our words ladies - they are usually our downfall. My mouth is ALWAYS getting me in trouble....let's guard it as the dangerous weapon it can be!

Ladies, there is SOO much more that can be said - Scripture is clear on how we should treat our families and our husbands, even our bosses, if we don't "muck it up" with our "but my husband..." and "if only he would..." rationalizations. Ladies, our enemy will always place before us opportunities to justify our sin - the question is, are we content to do so or are we determined to serve God, regardless of our circumstances, and trust that He has us right where we are for a reason. Your job situation, your home situation - none of it catches God off guard or poses a dilemma for Him...He knows you, He knows your heart and He even knows what direction He is taking you. SERVE HIM where you are by being the Godly wife/helpmate you are called to be first, the Godly mom second and the Godly employee third. THEN, trust HIM to show you the path out of the trap. You may have gotten yourself into this trap (don't we always?), but the grace of God can teach you something in it and, if you are willing to do whatever it takes that God lays out before you when the time comes (even if it means letting go of "stuff"), He can lead you out. For some, this balancing act may be ongoing for a while - determine to be like Paul and Silas in prison, and praise God regardless of your circumstances. Serve with all your heart and remember it is HIM that you are serving.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Biblical Feminity and the Way We Dress....

From Michele:
Well, Chad has allowed me one more post since I went off on a soapbox during the last blog! Let's see if I can stay on topic today: given our topic...some of you may be wishing I wouldn't! But really ladies, let's give some serious thought to why we wear what we do. Wow...I can see it now - some of you already have your finger hovering over the "x" ready to close down this page if I do what you think I'm about to do - meddle in your fashion sense! Yes...I have heard it all before - "it's hard to find skirts that are not too short" or, "I don't want to look completely old fashioned."...There are all kinds of lines we use. The bottom line is, we like getting noticed. At all ages - young or not so young.

Tons of ways to justify what we want, whether it be what we do or what we wear - we can always find a way to rationalize it in our minds! But, I wonder if we have really thought about the choices we make when it comes to our dress. We will SAY that we are just being fashionable - but are we? We are not really so ignorant as to NOT realize what we are doing to our male friends out there when we wear that low-cut blouse or skin tight skirts, are we? We say we want to be attractive - what we mean is we want to attract (attention). We don't really care if we are pushing the men around us to look where they shouldn't, or causing thoughts that they will have to struggle with overcoming. We just like the attention, right? Now, I'm not saying that everyone has to dress without waistlines or that bare arms are of the enemy - but I'm calling us to some common sense! My hubby found the post below and I think it makes a very IMPORTANT and SIGNIFICANT argument for consideration by every Christian lady out there: Am I dressing consistently with the calling on my life to glorify God in all that I do? Am I edifying those around me or tearing them down with the way I dress and conduct myself? This is the reason I asked him if I could post it - it was a great wake up call to me, and I hope to you. So, read along and evaluate. I know I sure have - and it means shopping with a new set of priorities!

From: Dan Phillips at:

Preface: "What are you? Nuts?!" Just thought I'd lead with the question you'll be wondering in a few minutes. I am about to stick my finger in the fan, about up to my elbow, and I know it. But I really think someone needs to say this — and why not me? I have less to lose than many who've thought the same thing, but daren't say it.

So here we go.
What will change, and what won't. Spring's sprung, and summer looms. Mercury rises, fashions change. But one thing that won't change, unless I'm happily mistaken: some good Christian sisters will not dress as helpfully as they could.

I chose that word with care: "helpfully." I am not talking about sin, shame, indecency, wantonness, or the like. Perhaps I could, with some justification. But that's for another time — and probably another writer. At this point, I just want to talk about being helpful.

Sister, if there's one thing you and I can certainly agree on, it's this: I don't know what it's like to be a woman, and you don't know what it's like to be a man. We're both probably wrong where we're sure we're right, try as we might. So let me try to dart a telegram from my camp over to the distaff side.

"Sheol and Abaddon are never satisfied, and never satisfied are the eyes of man" (Proverbs 27:20). Solomon doesn't use the Hebrew words that would indicate males exclusively, so this and Ecclesiastes 1:8 may apply across the gender-board. Libbie pointed out very ably that we men wrongly assume that we alone battle with temptations entering through the eye-gate.

But. But if men aren't alone in the battle, they may have a particular weakness for this aspect of it. Consider passionately-godly King David, whose psalms express aspirations after God beside which our own are pale, bloodless things. One day King David is in the wrong place, at the wrong time; sees a naked woman bathing next door, and boom! — he's gone (2 Samuel 11). Family, kingdom, God — all forgotten, consumed in the flash-flame of a lust that was only visual in its inception.

And what of that Israelite Philistine Samson and his own "eye trouble?" He sees a fetching young pagan, and bellows at his dad, "Get her for me, for she looks good to me" (Judges 14:3 NAS). Where did Samson's passions take him? How did his course end?

Unless all the men I've known personally or at a distance are completely unrepresentative, it's a lifelong struggle, a lifelong weakness. As I recall from a Proverbs lecture on mp3, Bruce Waltke says that his dad, at around age 100, told him, "Bruce, I still have the same struggles I did when I was 50." It was sobering for Dr. Waltke to hear; sobering for any man! (In fact, put me down for "disheartening.")

Where am I going with this? Oh, don't try to look so innocent. You know exactly where I'm going.

This is... church? So here comes this brother into the assembly of the saints, hoping for a rest from the battles of the week, a moment to regroup, sing, pray, get the Word, fellowship. He looks up to the choir, or to his left or his right — and in a tick of the clock, he's facing the same struggle he faced every time he turned on his TV, opened a magazine, or went down a city street. He's seeing things that make it far too easy for him not to keep his mind focused where it needs to be focused.

And he's not in a nightclub, he's not at a singles' bar, he's not at the beach. He's in church.

Now, some very direct disclaimers:
Every man's sin is his own, and every man's struggle is his own (Proverbs 14:10)
No one makes a man think or feel anything (Proverbs 4:23)
It is each individual's responsibility to guard his own heart (Proverbs 4:23)
Beauty is a wonderful gift of God (cf. Exodus 28:2; Song of Solomon 1:8, 15, etc.)

Having said all that: while it may be true that I'm the one holding the matches, you won't help me if you pile twigs all around my feet and douse them with lighter fluid. To be a little more specific: if you know I've had trouble with drunkenness, you won't wave a glass of wine in front of me tauntingly. If you know I battle covetousness, you won't take me window-shopping in high-end stores I've no business frequenting.

That is, you won't do those things if you love, if you care for me at all.

So I put this question: what are some sisters thinking, in how they dress?

"Attractive"? As the ladies pick clothes, they'll consider what's pretty, what's flattering, what's attractive. Who could blame them? But, "attractive" to whom? In what way? To what end? With what focus?

I want my lure to attract trout so they will bite and get hooked, and I can kill them and eat them.

A business wants to attract buyers so they will spend money and acquire their product or service and make them rich.

By that blouse, those pants, that skirt — what are you trying to attract? Attract to what, so that they will focus on what and feel what, and want to do what?

Consider the questions again. "Is it pretty?" Fine question, no evil in it. "Is it comfortable, is it complimentary, is it fun?" No problem. I'd just suggest you add one more question: "Is it helpful, or is it hurtful, to my brothers in Christ? Will this unintentionally contribute to their having a focus that is harmful to their holy walk?"

Now, lookie here:
In that day the Lord will take away the finery of the anklets, the headbands, and the crescents; 19 the pendants, the bracelets, and the scarves; 20 the headdresses, the armlets, the sashes, the perfume boxes, and the amulets; 21 the signet rings and nose rings; 22 the festal robes, the mantles, the cloaks, and the handbags; 23 the mirrors, the linen garments, the turbans, and the veils (Isaiah 3:18-23)

...likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, 10 but with what is proper for women who profess godliness--with good works (1 Timothy 2:9-10)

Do not let your adorning be external--the braiding of hair, the wearing of gold, or the putting on of clothing-- 4 but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious (1 Peter 3:3-4)
What it isn't. Immediately we'll swing in, as we always do, and say, "Now, the writer's not saying that women can't dress nicely, or wear jewelry, or blah blah blah." And we'll all disown our Fundie forebears who focused on nylons and lipstick, and came up with precise hemline measurements. We'll want to make sure that we're not advocating a new line of Bible Burqaware™ for evangelical women. All that will be true and valid enough.

But... what is it? But I'm concerned that, in our anxiety to be sure to prevent the wrong interpretation, we effectively cut off all interpretation. We have swung from making the passages say silly things, to not letting them say anything. These passages have to mean something! They must have some application! What is it?

Surely the passages warn against vanity, externality, sensuality; and promote a focus on a godly character as true beauty. Who you are; not just what you look like. Remember: "As a ring of gold in a swine's snout, So is a beautiful woman who lacks discretion" (Proverbs 11:22 NAS).

Oh boy, I'm going to make it worse now. Deep breath....

Say what? What are your clothes saying about you, sister? What are they supposed to say to your brothers? "Hey, look at this?" Well, they actually are trying to look at the Lord; it's not good for them, not helpful for them, to be looking at that. No, it's not your fault that they have a problem. We established that. And it's really great that God has made you beautiful. May your husband (present or future) celebrate your beauty.

But, please hear me: you can help the brothers who aren't your husband, or you can not-help them. Which are you doing? If you're not married, and a man looks at you, is he thinking, "What a great character"? Or are you giving him reason to think something else about you is "great"?

I know many of the responses. I've heard them. "You don't know what it's like to buy women's clothes, you ignorant man!" Mostly true. My first just-for-fun purchase of (what I thought was) a pretty blue dress for my wife was... well, it was appalling. What a good sport my wife was. I took it back to the store immediately, and made a much better choice.

"I caaaan't." But this: "I can't find anything modest! It's all too revealing! It's impossible to get something that looks nice, yet isn't too tight, or too short, or too-something / not-something-enough!"

Sorry, but baloney.

I put modest women's clothing Christian in Google, and 63,500 pages come up. (Up from 43,200, last year.) Yes, some are funny and quaint at best. But are they all Amishwear? "Can't find?"

More fundamentally: I do not accept that anyone has to wear clothes that are too tight or too sheer or too short — unless you are the largest and tallest woman living in the hottest part of the planet. Because I see larger, taller women than you walking around in hot weather, and they're all wearing clothes, every last one of them. They got those clothes somewhere, I reason. You could too.

"But — but they won't look good on me! The shoulders will be wrong!"

Need-to-not-know. I'm not sure that's necessarily true, but let's accept it and pose a counter-question. You tell me. Which is worse: your shoulders hanging a half-inch too low? Or a blouse/skirt that simply (shifting into turbo-delicate) provides need-to-know information to those with a need-to-not-know?

I'm sure we all agree that there are clothes that show off what others have no helpful business seeing. Here's what to show, in clothes-selection: show a Godward focus, discretion, a godly character.

And show mercy.

Parting thought. Darlene pointed me to a statement by Arthur Pink, which makes everything I've just said look awfully mild. But there's no denying that Pink has a point. I'll close with it:

Again, if lustful looking be so grievous a sin, then those who dress and expose themselves with desires to be looked at and lusted after-as Jezebel, who painted her face, tired her head, and looked out of the window (2 Kings 9:30)-are not less, but even more guilty. In this matter it is only too often the case that men sin, but women tempt them so to do. How great, then, must be the guilt of the great majority of the modern misses who deliberately seek to arouse the sexual passions of our young men? And how much greater still is the guilt of most of their mothers for allowing them to become lascivious temptresses?
Now, note, Pink and I speak to different audiences. I speak to those whom I charitably assume are inadvertently dressing in an unhelpful manner. Pink speaks to those whose intent is to allure. Between the two of us, I can pray we've provided food for thought, prayer, reconsideration, and needed change.

One last thought: it is a mistake to think I exclusively have church-attire in mind. That is lifted as a particularly egregious example of what-are-you-thinking? In what I say, I have in mind any place where both sexes are present.

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Most Beautiful Guest Blogger....

I have held the blog below for some time and recently looked at it again while preparing to teach our young men on biblical manhood and Michele is teaching our young ladies on biblical womanhood. I sent this to Michele thinking it would aid in her study, and then we began discussing her writing a blog on it. While she has never blogged for me, she is a much better writer; she is much smarter and incredibly beautiful. To me she exemplifies what biblical femininity is and I love her more than I could ever express in a blog. So I will turn this over to her:

From Michele:
I had the recent privilege of being invited to the pampered pajama party with our young ladies! We had a great time eating from a chocolate fountain and doing pedicures/makeovers...but what I was most impressed with was the urgency with which most of the ladies listened as we talked about Biblical Feminity. A topic that many ladies today shy away from, or roll their eyes at. Why? Because it hits us where we live...we have fallen into line with what the world deems as important - we have bought it - hook, line, and sinker...and just the mention of the term "Biblical Feminity" conjures up ideas of tender mothering, patience, lovingkindness - a softer side that most of us have left behind for the world of CEOs, dog eat dog politics in an office and afternoons of fighting with the daycare. We don't want to hear that there is "more out there" for us because we don't know HOW to change - we feel trapped where we are and, for the most part we don't even know how we got here. I spoke with our young ladies about Biblical Feminity, we looked at Proverbs 31 and the mother's admonition that the wife did her husband good "all the days of her life"....that means NOW!! Before you are even married! So - get to work NOW deciding what type of wife you will be! And our young ladies were very open to that...of course, we had the few who do as their mothers and our society have conditioned them to do when you speak about submission, respecting your husband, etc....they rolled their eyes and did the long sigh - but not many! Most of these ladies realized that there is more out there than just settling for a marriage of 50-50%, kids that don't get in fights at daycare and working yourselves into a mortgage you can't afford. Most of these girls wanted to know how to trust God more for guidance on finding the right mate, loving him completely once you marry him, and truly "doing him good" all the days of their lives. You could see the hurt in their eyes - they wonder if it is possible to really have a marriage that will last through the years...they wonder if you can enter a marriage without a "backup plan" to fall back on if he cheats...Oh, what have we done to the next generation coming behind us? What messages have we sent? God forgive us as mothers for not taking the time to teach our children where true priorities are and what is essential in this life! Let us strive now to lead our children to goals greater than just a "good job" and a "great salary". There is soooo much more that God has for them - but I fear too often we don't paint that picture accurately! It is up to us Moms...the Bible puts it in our hands to set the thermostat in the home - to train our children what the Christian home should be and the Biblical roles that we are called to. We often hear the dads challenged with praising Bible memory more than learning the curveball - but ladies, are we leading our children to Godly roles for Biblical Manhood and Feminity? Or just raising up the next generation for the "rat race"? Are we growing MEN who will stand on the WORD and ladies who will be the helpmate and support? Or are we more concerned with teaching them how to "get ahead" in life?

Next blog...Biblical Feminity in the way we dress....ouch. This will be the link that Chad referenced above and that he is graciously letting me blog about...that is, until he realized that I am taking TWO posts to do it!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Wild Ones

A couple of weeks ago I had the joy of speaking at our “Men VS Wild” student event. Let me say how blessed we are as a body of Christ, to have someone like Bro. Brad Walker: a man who will lead a weekend that takes young men and, while having fun he uses the opportunity to teach Biblical manhood. While speaking to them that afternoon, I concluded with some insights from Ray Van Neste’s article “Pursuing Manhood.” It was so amazing to teach these young men and then listen to them, as we discussed the matter of Biblical manhood. I just want to list the final pieces to our discussion based on Mr. Van Neste’s piece.

Take responsibility and reject passivity: We live in a “blame culture” rather than a “responsibility culture”. We see people blame their present situations on their parents, and too often we see men blame their dad for their failures. We see people shift responsibility for their sin on another person, or at least try to alleviate the conviction/guilt of their sin by convincing themselves and others, that it is someone else’s fault. May God give us men who will take responsibility for their family and lead them spiritually.
Do Your Work: I explained to our students that this is for them. If their parents continually have to stay on them for not taking out trash or cleaning their room, they can hardly be called a man. However, we have males in our culture that may work well at a job, but who refuse to take the leadership role and work spiritually as God has called us to do. We have men who will not aggressively look for a job, but send their wife to work every day, or who will walk away from a job for convenience sake because they know their wife is bring in income. There are grown men who, the highlight of their day is the score they got on their X-Box for Medal of Honor.
Own Your Failures: I never recall a marriage counseling session I have had where the couple has walked in on the first meeting and the husband has said, “We are in here today because I have failed to be the man God has called me to be.” The marriage is always failing because of the mistakes of someone else. We come up with reasons why we run late - be it traffic, kids or anything else for that matter, rather than admitting our mistakes.
Reject Laziness: Does this really need to be expounded upon? We were created to work. We were created to do things for the glory of God! There are certainly times we don’t “feel” like doing something - but if all we ever do is what we “feel like,” we would get very little, if anything, accomplished. There is more to laziness than not going to your job - we can grow lazy spiritually, in our time with God, or in our leadership among our family.
Reject Whining: God has not called us to whine, he has called us to do! He has given us the unique ability to be problem solvers. When we whine at our situation we are in fact, whining at God’s providence. There are always going to be things we do not necessarily “like,” but we do not pout and whine about our circumstances – we find a way to adapt, prevail and bring God glory in them!
Embrace Commitment: In our day the thought is that we should shun commitment. We are to pass the buck, so to speak. Instead of coming up with reasons why my family is not worshipping at home, I should see it as my obligation to remedy this. I don’t have to whine, I must embrace the fact that God has given me this responsibility, and that I get to do this!
Sacrifice: In our flesh there is nothing good. We don’t want to sacrifice, we don’t want our “to do list” to be messed up. The entire Christian life is to be one of sacrifice: we have as our model, Jesus, who demonstrated this sacrifice all the way to the cross.

My prayer is that God will continue to rise up men to lead, love, and sacrifice in a way that only God can cause us to do!

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Change at Trinity...

On October 8-9th, Grace Bible Church hosted a Family Driven Faith Conference here at Trinity with Voddie Baucham. I shared with someone that it was one of the most enjoyable conferences I have attended. I am very familiar with Bro. Voddie, and most of what he said I had read before or heard before... but it was such a joy to watch 600-700 people come with their families, desiring to learn how to better lead them in worship. The one statistic that he gave that really alarmed me was: 1% of Christian parents regularly teach their children about the things of God at home. Less than 5% have EVER DONE IT. About two years ago, when I asked this question of some of our leadership here, there were few if any that acknowledged they were having family worship at home on the regular basis. Today, there are few Sundays that go by that I am not discussing something about Family Worship with one of our men! As your Pastor, that is not a statistic that is turned in nor is it one that has traditionally been charted, but it is strong, biblically based families that will cause us to have a strong, biblically based church.

The same point was made at the conference as is made regularly at Trinity; the problem isn’t that we don’t know how to disciple our kids - most parents are phenomenal at it. Want proof? There are kids in our church and in our society, who are amazing instrumentalists, great athletes, and very scholarly… but the problem is that on THAT DAY - none of those things will matter. God will not hold me accountable for teaching my boys how to get in a proper 3 points stance or how to throw a curve ball. I will not be asked why I did or didn’t explain to them the intricacies of the 3-4 defense VS the 4-3 defense. God will not drill them on their multiplication facts or check to see that they knew the difference between an adjective and an adverb…I will be held accountable for what they have been taught about the Word of God. Bro. Voddie brought up the question as to why Christian parents don’t disciple their children in the things of God. Let me give you four reasons and a response to them:

1. No Training: Many parents just don’t know how to disciple their children. In our church and, in truth in our day, this excuse frankly doesn’t hold water. We have a book table with great books that can equip you in doing this. We have several catechism books and can supply great websites - we are even doing a class on things like this on Sunday evenings. I do believe this is the reason for the incredible increase in the number of parents at Trinity committing to disciple their children.
2. No Plan: Refer to the above statement. This is not rocket science - it is a very simple plan… I just have to make a decision that the one true God is going to be primary in our home.
3. No Goals: Everyone has goals for their children. Most of them consist of things like: getting married, getting a good job, graduating college and so on. Why is it that one seldom hears of spiritual goals for children? If you are a godly parent you may say “I want to see them come to Christ” but that is as far as you go. What doctrine, what truths do they need to know by the time they leave your house?
4. No Accountability: Our goal is to create an environment at Trinity where it is just an expectation of men to lead their home in worship. If the man is not a believer or is not present, then the mother makes a decision to lead their family in worship. If this is not being done - then there is some concern by our people - as if a child was sick and parent refused to get him/her medical care. There should be people trying to help, encouraging them, and equipping them to step up and take responsibility.

I am thrilled at the progress we have made as families in Trinity! We will continue to grow together, strive for unity and growth in foundational truths so that our children may be raised in a culture of accountability and an expectation of holiness! May God continue to raise up parents who take their responsibility seriously.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

This is a Book?

A few weeks ago I went to this blog to see a reprint from a man of this blog
So I am going to re-post it here for you... When I read this, and I see the number of churches in conflict, I was wondering if this is actually a title of some secret book that is floating around. But when I read it in light of our study about the Church and dealing with fallen people saved by the grace of God, along with our Peace Maker’s series, I thought it very fitting.

How to wreck your church in three weeks
Week One: Walk into church today and think about how long you’ve been a member, how much you’ve sacrificed, how under-appreciated you are. Take note of every way you’re dissatisfied with your church now. Take note of every person who displeases you.
Meet for coffee this week with another member and “share your heart.” Discuss how your church is changing, how you are being left out. Ask your friend who else in the church has “concerns.” Agree together that you must “pray about it.”
Week Two: Send an email to a few other “concerned” members. Inform them that a groundswell of grievance is surfacing in your church. Problems have gone unaddressed for too long. Ask them to keep the matter to themselves “for the sake of the body.”
As complaints come in, form them into a petition to demand an accounting from the leaders of the church. Circulate the petition quietly. Gathering support will be easy. Even happy members can be used if you appeal to their sense of fairness – that your side deserves a hearing. Be sure to proceed in a way that conforms to your church constitution, so that your petition is procedurally correct.
Week Three: When the growing moral fervor, ill-defined but powerful, reaches critical mass, confront the elders with your demands. Inform them of all the woundedness in the church, which leaves you with no choice but to put your petition forward. Inform them that, for the sake of reconciliation, the concerns of the body must be satisfied.
Whatever happens from this point on, you have won. You have changed the subject in your church from gospel advance to your own grievances. To some degree, you will get your way. Your church will need three or four years for recovery. But at any future time, you can do it all again. It only takes three weeks.
Just one question. Even if you are being wronged, “Why not rather suffer wrong?” (1 Corinthians 6:7)

Monday, October 11, 2010

A Great Blog...

There are some incredible men out there who do a great job blogging. As in any case there are also kooks! A friend on facebook posted this blog to his page and I thought it very fitting. At Trinity, we have people that are “abounding” and “abasing” - some are looking for jobs, some have businesses that, by their words are doing as well as they have ever done. Regardless this blog should speak to all of us as stewards. Hope it blesses you as it did me.

The Grace of Cheerful Giving
by Frank Cavalli

In the last few years, the U.S. economy has faced its greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression, and Americans are not out of the woods yet. This financial debacle, fueled by failed mortgages, has rippled through every sector of the economy. The values of homes and investments have plummeted. Consumer confidence has fallen to an all-time low. Millions are out of work, wondering how they will make ends meet. Since charitable giving is one of the first areas to suffer in an economic downturn, churches have felt the pinch and many have been forced to slash budgets and lay off staff. There’s no question we live in challenging times, but with each new challenge comes opportunity.
Through this crisis, when the idols of our materialistic culture lie shattered on the floor, like Dagon before the ark of the Lord, and the nation’s sense of security is in jeopardy, God has given the church an opportunity to demonstrate to the world that allegiance to Christ results in a distinct set of values and priorities. As we find our joy and treasure in Christ we are set free from debilitating worries about money and an insidious slavery to things. In Adam we worship and serve “the creature rather than the Creator” (Rom. 1:25). In Christ our hearts are set aright. Our perception and response to this global economic meltdown ought to be different because we are a peculiar people, a people who no longer belong to this world but to God. Jesus taught that if we love only those who love us and fail to love our enemies, we are no better than the pagans. Likewise, if we are generous and cheerful in our giving only when times are good and our bank accounts are robust, how are we different from the world? Christians in the West have enjoyed an extended season of plenty. In this season of want, perhaps God intends to teach His people some fresh lessons about the grace of giving.
In his second letter to the Corinthians, the apostle Paul exhorts the church to give selflessly and cheerfully, inspired by the magnanimity of the Macedonians and Christ Himself. In chapter 9 he offers this summary statement: “The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work” (vv. 6–8). It is unbelief and fear of loss that constrain our liberality, but here Paul compares giving to sowing. Seed sown in the soil seems lost, but the farmer knows a season of harvest will follow. As we sow bountifully with faith in the benevolence of God, not only can we expect to reap a harvest of earthly blessings, but we store up for ourselves a good foundation for our eternal future (1 Tim. 6:19).
In one sense, how we give can be more important than what we give. We must be cognizant of how our giving appears in the sight of God, for He loves a cheerful giver. To give cheerfully is to give without grieving — to give with ease, spontaneity, and pleasure. It is necessary to honor God with our tithes and offerings, yet no sacrifice is pleasing to Him unless it is voluntary. Our Father desires the cheerful obedience of His children.
Paul cited the Macedonian Christians as exemplars of this spirit. In spite of their poverty and affliction, their joy in Christ resulted in abounding liberality. “For in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part” (2 Cor. 8:2). Severe affliction and extreme poverty do not usually add up to a wealth of generosity. Such circumstances would seem to provide justification for withholding whatever resources one has left in the interest of self-preservation. But their joy in Christ was so abundant that it could not be contained. Joy, like gratitude, seeks expression. The question for the Macedonians was not “How little?” but “How much?” If God’s grace has truly gripped our hearts, we will not be calculating the minimum we can offer, but the maximum we can give to Christ and His church. Cheerful givers always wish they could give more. Our tendency today is to spend beyond our means, but the Macedonians gave beyond their means: “for they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord, begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints” (vv. 3–4). Pleas from the pulpit and desperate appeals from the deacons were unnecessary. God’s people begged to help their brethren in Jerusalem. That’s not something you hear very often.
How do we account for their extraordinary munificence? Paul attributed it to the grace of God (v. 1). To give sacrificially with joy is not natural; it is supernatural and requires the presence and prompting of the Holy Spirit. Giving is an act of worship and a work of grace.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Let's Be Ready for Sunday!

I want to encourage you to please be in prayer regarding this Sunday October 10th. Bro. David Miller will be with us for our Sunday morning and evening service at Trinity. Bro. David has preached many Founders’ Days at Mid-America and many members of Trinity have probably heard Bro. David there. I heard Bro. David Miller as a young boy and was enchanted at this man whose body was in a wheel chair, but whose mind and ability to communicate the Word of God was extraordinary. If I had only one Preacher that I had to listen to the rest of my life, I believe Bro. David Miller would be that Preacher! He has served as a counselor, an encourager and at times a living commentary that I have called to get his thoughts on a particular passage. He has been used in the conservative resurgence in our Southern Baptist Convention, and specifically in the role of being a Trustee at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He deals with the Word of God honestly and holds nothing back in dealing with the text. In a day when so many men will stand before a church but become weak when having to preach the Word, Bro. David sits in a wheel chair before the church and stands as strong on the Word of God as any preacher I know of. Please be in prayer for this meeting, and ask God to prepare your heart to receive the Word of God. Looking forward to Sunday!!!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Continual Repentance

My favorite day of the week is Sunday, when I have the joy of worshipping with the saints of God. But my favorite day of the work week would have to be Monday. I get the joy of spending a great deal of time with the staff of Trinity. The things we talk about, pray through, confront one another on - always flows with incredible grace. I have shared with our Trinity family that one of the first things we do in our staff meeting is read one of the Puritan Prayers from the wonderful book “The Valley Of Vision”… when I came across this one, it struck a cord in me and I hope in every believer that reads it.

O God of Grace,
You have imputed my sin to my substitute, and have imputed his righteousness to my soul, clothing me with a bridegroom’s robe, decking me with jewels of holiness. But in my Christian walk I am still in rags; my best prayers are stained with sin; my penitential tears are so much impurity; my confessions of wrong are so many aggravations of sin; my receiving the Spirit is tinctured with selfishness.
I need to repent of my repentance; I need my tears to be washed; I have no robe to bring to cover my sins, no loom to weave my own righteousness; I am always standing clothed in filthy garments, and by grace am always receiving change of raiment, for you always justify the ungodly; I am always going into the far country, and always returning home as a prodigal, always saying, “Father, forgive me,” and you are always bringing forth the best robe.
Every morning let me wear it, every evening return in it, go out to the day’s work in it, be married in it, be wound in death in it, stand before the great white throne in it, enter heaven in it shining as the sun.
Grant me never to lose sight of the exceeding sinfulness of sin, the exceeding righteousness of salvation, the exceeding glory of Christ, the exceeding beauty of holiness, the exceeding wonder of grace.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Hold to God

Several weeks ago Bro. Jeff Summers posted this blog to his Facebook page. As I read it blessed me so much I wanted to share it with the readers of this blog. You can go to the link or read it below.

Real Lasting Rest
September 8, 2010 | By: Paul Tripp | Category: Commentary

Do you ever struggle with God’s sovereignty? Do you wonder why he has ordained for you to face the things you face? Are you ever tempted to doubt his goodness or question his love? Or do you experience rest of heart even when your relationships are messy and your circumstances are difficult? The following words are about where the rest can be found.
I did it again and again when our children resisted our instruction and correction. I did it again and again when they debated a command or questioned our plans. I did it again and again when they opposed our authority and quested for self-rule. I did it again and again for two good reasons.
To begin with, my wife and I had brought children into this world who thought they didn't need us! Like us, each of them at some point fell into believing they were far more knowledgeable and capable than they really were. Like us, they often assumed that their intentions were noble and their plans were sound. Like us, they tended to think they were capable of determining what was best, even when they lacked important information and experience. Like we often do, they simply felt they were in possession of a better way.
But there was a second reason I did it again and again. Our children were too young to grasp the abstract, strategic, and often theological purposes underlying my instruction. Even if I explained everything in as age-appropriate a way as I could, they would still have no actual understanding. They just did not yet have the categories or the capacity to grasp the parental logic behind the plan or command.
So I did the same thing again and again. I would kneel down in front of them at eye level and say, "Please look at Daddy's face. Do you know how much I love you? Do you know that your Daddy is not a mean, bad man? Do you know that I would never ask you to do anything that would hurt you or make you sick? I am sorry that you can't understand why Daddy is asking you to do this. I wish I could explain it to you, but you are too young to understand. So I am going to ask you to do something—trust Daddy. When you walk down the hallway to do what Daddy has asked you to do, say to yourself, 'My Daddy loves me. My Daddy would never ask me to do something bad. I am going to trust my Daddy and stop trying to be the Daddy of my Daddy.'"
God does the same thing with you, over and over again. He meets you in one of the difficult hallways of your life, kneels down before you in condescending love, and asks you to trust his loving and wise rule, even though you don't have a clue what he is doing.
He knows there are many times when your life doesn't look like there is anyone ruling it, let alone someone wise and good. He knows there will be times when you will wish you could be the author of your own story. He knows that at times you will be overwhelmed by what is on your plate. He knows that his plan will confuse and confound you. And he knows that real rest cannot be found in understanding, because, like my children, there are things, as a limited human being, you simply do not have the capacity to understand.
Real rest is found in trusting the Person who is in control of the things you don’t understand.
He is willing to have the conversation with you again and again, and he has made sure that his Word assures you of his rule again and again. (For just a few examples, see 1 Chronicles 29:11-12, Psalm 103:19, Psalm 115:3, Proverbs 21:1, Isaiah 46:9-10, Daniel 4:35, and Ephesians 1:11.)

Monday, September 27, 2010

Thank the Lord for Books....

It has been such a joy to have the opportunity to have a round-table discussion on Sunday evening with parents and “soon-to-be” parents on biblical parenting. It is also an amazing joy that, at Trinity we have a book table in our foyer along with a church library that has at least one copy of each book we have on the table. I thank the Lord that I have spoken to several people who have said: “I have read more in the last year than I ever have in my life previously.” I thank the Lord for those who work at our book table and those ladies who so diligently work in our library – I was thinking of them when I read this by Charles Spurgeon:

“When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, also the books, and above all the parchments.” - 2 Timothy 4:13

We do not know what the books were about, and we can only form some guess as to what the parchments were. Paul had a few books which were left, perhaps wrapped up in the cloak, and Timothy was to be careful to bring them. Even an apostle must read. Some of our very ultra Calvinistic brethren think that a minister who reads books and studies his sermon must be a very deplorable specimen of a preacher. A man who comes up into the pulpit, professes to take his text on the spot, and talks any quantity of nonsense, is the idol of many. If he will speak without pre-meditation, or pretend to do so, and never produce what they call a dish of dead men’s brains – oh! that is the preacher.
How rebuked are they by the apostle! He is inspired, and yet he wants books! He has been preaching at least for thirty years, and yet he wants books! He had seen the Lord, and yet he wants books! He had a wider experience than most men, and yet he wants books! He had been caught up into the third heaven, and had heard things which it was unlawful for a men to utter, yet he wants books! He had written the major part of the New Testament, and yet he wants books!
The apostle says to Timothy and so he says to every preacher, “Give thyself unto reading”. The man who never reads will never be read; he who never quotes will never be quoted. He who will not use the thoughts of other men’s brains, proves that he has no brains of his own. Brethren, what is true of ministers is true of all our people. You need to read. Renounce as much as you will all light literature, but study as much as possible sound theological works, especially the Puritan writers, and expositions of the Bible. We are quite persuaded that the very best way for you to be spending your leisure, is to be either reading or praying. You may get much instruction from books which afterwards you may use as a true weapon in your Lord and Master’s service. Paul cries, “Bring the books” – join in the cry.
-C.H. Spurgeon