Forever Family!

Every Child needs a home - regardless of age!  Prepare to cry...



Here is the back story...



5 Ways Wives Can Encourage Their Husbands


Jared Wilson again...

An excellent wife who can find?
She is far more precious than jewels.
The heart of her husband trusts in her,
and he will have no lack of gain.
She does him good, and not harm,
all the days of her life.
-- Proverbs 31:10-12
1. Praise Him Verbally
Private nagging and public nitpicking are common temptations for wives of husbands who are sinners, by which I mean wives, but a wife ought to know that this is Chinese water torture on his heart. Most men carry around in their souls the question "Do I have what it takes?" The gospel answers this question, "No, but Jesus does, and what's his is yours." This is the only acceptable way to answer in the "negative." When you nitpick and nag, you give mouthpiece to the accuser who wants your husband to know not only does he not have what it takes, he is worthless because of it. So find ways to constructively criticize and help him repent, but more than that, tell him what you like about him, how you find him attractive or admirable, how you respect him or are impressed by him. Outdo him in showing honor (Rom. 12:10).

2. Submit to His Leadership
This is not a call to be a doormat, but in my pastoral experience I encounter many a wife who says she wants her husband to lead her but then makes it clear in some way that this will only occur when she agrees with his decision. There's few things more demoralizing than a demand to lead with no commitment to follow. Instead, if your husband is not leading you into sin, your followship of your husband is a reflection of your trust in God. Peter writes:

For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening. (1 Peter 3:5-6)
3. Reject Relational Legalism
If your husband always feels as though he is only in your good graces when he has performed to your standards or met your expectations, he will not see you as his lover, friend, or partner, but as his boss. Do you know how deeply you want to feel approved of despite your flaws, sins, and failures, that your husband would know the real you and love that you? He wants the same thing, even if he never expresses it.
4. Take an Interest
It's not always that your husband doesn't like to talk. It's just that perhaps he's learned that your favorite subjects are things he doesn't have much to say about. Communicating with you in ways that edify and engage you is his command to obey with joy; communicating with him in ways that edify and engage him is yours. This might mean asking him questions about sports or hobbies or movies or power tools. Or maybe it doesn't mean talking but sitting on the couch to watch the game with him or invading his "man cave"* with your presence but not your agenda.
5. Make Love to Him
This is not universally true, but it is generally true: The number one way a husband feels encouraged is when his wife has sex with him. I put it last because it's likely the touchiest point (no pun intended), but it is (again, generally speaking) top of the list. If you're thinking, "Well, for some husbands maybe, but not mine," ask him. For most men, sexual intimacy is directly wired to feelings of encouragement, confidence, approval, attractiveness, and self-esteem. The things that you likely need in order to feel open to sexual intimacy are the things he typically feels afterwards -- closeness, respect, approval. I know it's weird that God set it up that way, but I think he did so that we would serve each other graciously with our bodies, learning to put each other first in a neat little "No, after you" kind of dance. In any event, one of the chief ways -- if not the chief way -- you can build up your husband is by bedding down with him.
Carolyn Mahaney's chapter "Sex, Romance, and the Glory of God: What Every Christian Wife Needs to Know" in the Piper/Taylor book Sex and the Supremacy of Christ is excellent on this subject. You can download the entire book for free here.




5 Ways Husbands Can Sanctify Their Wives


Jared Wilson writes...


Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.
-- Ephesians 5:25-27

1. Put Her First
Sacrifice is in view here, as is the understanding of "sanctify" in the sense of "setting apart for special use," as in consecration. Husbands honor their wives not among others, but before and above others.

2. "Gospel" Her
Yes, I know it's not a verb, but you get my meaning here. The passage says Jesus sanctifies the church by "washing" her with the water of the word. The understanding of "sanctify" as "cleanse" is in view here, and a husband who wants to sanctify his wife will share with her the word of God, speak to her the word of God, remind her who she is in Christ, forgive her sins, give her the opportunity to forgive his in word-driven repentance, and in general make sure she is gently, lovingly covered in the Scriptures.

3. Protect Her

Husbands will present their wives in some way to the Lord when that roll is called up yonder as an evidence of their own faithfulness to him. Do we want to be proven true children of God, full of faith in Jesus and his gospel? Then we will show the fruit of faithful husbanding, which is a wife "without spot or wrinkle or any such thing." No, we cannot sanctify our wives the way the Spirit does, and no, neither our salvation nor our wife's salvation is contingent upon our perfect husbanding (thank God!), but manhood is responsibility-taking, and this means taking the responsibility to shield our wives from sin and its temptations, accusations, attacks, unnecessary burdens, hurtful expectations and assumptions, and the like. This can mean everything from taking on housework so she gets to rest or go out with friends to warding off or rebuking people who take advantage of her. It also means no verbal, emotional, or physical abuse. It means no pornography or sexual exploitation. It means treating her and ensuring treatment of her that is gentle, loving, and edifying.

4. Serve Her
How did Jesus the King position himself over the church as its head? By becoming its servant, sacrificing to the point of death in loving service to her betterment.

5. Lead Her

This encompasses all of the above and more. Male headship requires repetitious repentance, deep humility, desperate God-reliance, and a high, passionate commitment to the grace of God for the glory of God, not the gratification of self for the glory of self. Lead, don't push. Set an example in speech and conduct. Show yourself flawed but trustworthy but God as failproof. Refuse to make excuses or pass the buck. Shoulder the burdens and take responsibility.


Tebow and the Hand of God in Sports


Great article by Owen Strachan over at TGC blog.  He closes with this great statement...

"The most important story here is not that Tebow and the Broncos are winning in dramatic fashion, but that the Lord seems to have worked in this man such that, though faced with unbelievable fame, major wealth, constant attention, and the classically all-American success story, Tebow seems only to want to talk about the gospel."




Little Drummer Boy!



That's how we roll up North!

Jesus has AIDS


Russell Moore has written an excellent article here.  The title is provocative; he says as much.  But he addresses and defends it brilliantly.  Don't let the title get you bent out of shape in the wrong way, rather let it get you bent out of shape in a way that spurs you into action for the King and His gospel.


"(S)ome of you are angry because you believe that the statement I typed above is an affront to the dignity of the ruler of the universe. He doesn’t have some immune deficiency disease; he’s ruling from the right hand of God.
Yes.
Yes, but we cannot see Jesus only in his Head but also in his Body, also in his identification with those he calls “the least of these, my brothers” (Matt. 25:40). Jesus isn’t right now hungry, is he? He isn’t naked, is he? He isn’t thirsty, is he? He isn’t in jail, is he? Well, yes, he is…in the nakedness, hunger, thirstiness, and imprisonment of his suffering brothers and sisters around the world.
When we stand in judgment, we’ll stand, Jesus tells us, accountable for how we recognized him in the trauma of those who don’t seem to bear the glory of Christ at all right now. We see Jesus now, by faith, in the sufferings of the crack baby, the meth addict, the AIDS orphan, the hospitalized prodigal who sees his ruin in the wires running from his veins.
I wonder how many of us will hear the words from our Galilean emperor, “I had AIDS and you weren’t afraid to come near me.”
And so, if we love Jesus, our churches should be more aware of the cries of the curse, including the curse of AIDS, than the culture around us. Our congregations should welcome the AIDS-infected, and we shouldn’t be afraid to hug them as we would hug our Christ. Our congregations should be on the forefront of missions to AIDS-ravaged regions of the world. Our families should be willing to welcome those orphaned by this global scourge."
Read the entire article here...

Beautiful Feet







HT / Brett Sanner

Man Up ~ 1:1SIX



The most terrifying truth about God...He is good



Paper Candle: CD Review


Let me begin by saying I love this record.  Justin Anderson (think Mainstay) has released the first of what I hope will be many more albums.  Musically it is simple.  Please hear me on this, I mean that in a positive way.  It is honest, genuine, not dressed up.  In the words of one of my favourite bands, there are no “glittering prizes and endless compromises” or “illusion(s) of integrity” in this offering. On Paper Candle, Anderson proves himself to be a musician, an artist first.  No doubt he wants to sell many records, but I doubt that was the driving force behind producing this one. 
I will openly admit that as I listened to album (over and over and over...it is that good) I did feel an uneasiness about Anderson’s faith.  I mean I really loved Mainstay.  They were from Piper’s church and all that!  Now they’re “on a break” and Justin Anderson is baring his soul and his struggles with Christianity...perhaps the “fledgling is falling.”  I have seen too many simply walk away.
However there was nothing different coming from Anderson’s lyrics that hadn’t been warring in my own mind.  I think the whole point is to examine yourself.  I’m pretty sure I’ve read that somewhere before!  I remember simply crying - I’ll admit it - after listening to “The Prince and The Idiot” and just remembering the gospel.  Incidentally, that is my favourite track on the record.
Personally, I could feel the emotion in this record.  This is my life, my wars, my struggles, and ultimately my hope set to music.  I had really hoped to send some questions to Justin to speak more about his music.  As it turns out, someone beat me to the punch - you can check it out here.  One more question, I would’ve loved to ask.  Any chance for Mainstay coming back from their “time out”?  
I’ll end where I began; I love this record.  Like reading a great book, I was drawn into the story.  If you know what I mean, that is great feeling.  It is not always comfortable, but it’s genuine.  That is the mark of a good artist.
If you are looking for simply another “Christian” album you should avoid this one.  If you are looking for a sort of pseudo-Mainstay record buy the first track and tell yourself good job. If you are looking for simply a great record; look no further.  Paper Candle is just that.  Check out Justin's (yeah, we're on a first name basis now...lol) first single...





Greatest World Series Game Ever!

Last night's game was a great game - no question it was a classic.  But the greatest game ever?  Really... really ... no seriously, really.  Obviously there is a serious case of memory loss south of the 49th.  It's like '92 and '93 never existed, they never even were. But ... anyone with an ounce of fluid brain must concede that game 6 was indeed the greatest of all time, just not game 6 of 2011.  No the honour will always belong to game 6 in '93.  I would argue that game 4 of '93 was better than last night's game, but that's for another time!  

I remember I was sitting with Jennifer at my parent's place watching this one.  When Joe came up to bat, I looked at her and said, "Joe's gonna take him deep."  True story - I called that one!  Let's relive the magic moment together...



What a game!  Where were you when "Joe went deep"?  And, if you think last night was better, why ... defend your choice?

The Gospel - Love it - It never gets old!



To Mommy & "Dabby"


A mother is forever
A mother always cares
A mother is forgiving in every little way

Mothers are kind; they add a sweetness to your life

A mother is for loving
A mother always shares
A mother loves her children and husband all the way!

But most important...
A mother loves Jesus Christ more than anything!

A mother is a gift from God and she always cares!

I would love to take credit for that one, but I cannot.  This beautiful poem was left on my wife's pillow last night by our daughter, Kyra Faith.  Needless to say, we cried, and we thanked our God for His amazing grace in the life of an 11 year old little girl.

I got a card as well.  

You help me when I'm hurt!
You forgive me when I disobey!
You make our date days the best!
I love you "Dabby"!

Each statement had a picture beneath it.  Just what I needed after a rough day.  I simply love being "the best 'Dabby' in the world" to my little girl. (When Kyra was really young, she couldn't say Daddy - she said "Dabby"...it stuck, and I love it!)



Invest 33 minutes!



"Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can't Lose!"

Glad to see Friday Night Lights get some love! Simply one of the best shows to ever appear on television.  The acting and the writing were second to none.  Why do all the great shows get cancelled?  Anyway, congrats "Coach Taylor".







Already Dead?

Pat Robertson’s cruel answer to a question regarding a man having an affair was that if he’s going to do anything, he should divorce his wife who has Alzheimer’s. When asked by his co-host about marriage vows till death do us part, Pat Robertson said that essentially, since she already had Alzheimer’s, the wife was already dead.  Already dead?  The sheer stupidity of that answer is shocking.  
A better, biblical response is given by another Robertson...

So how should we respond to Pat Robertson?
When Christian leaders, who someone has no private access to, make public statements that aren't minor or secondary errors but which undercut something as basic as the sanctity of life and the sanctity of marriage, it is not only appropriate but necessary to speak up.
The "judge not, just pray" approach some have advocated in the comments sounds virtuous. But in fact either what Pat Robertson said—heard now by 10s of millions of people in the network prime time news broadcasts—was true or it was not. It was either important or not. If it dishonored Christ, then my first obligation is to defend the truth of Jesus, not to defend the man who spoke a cruel and terrible untruth.
I am all for praying for Pat Robertson, and I have prayed for him. I have also prayed for those around him that they will step up and correct him and refuse to go along with this and other unbiblical statements he makes, even if it means losing their jobs. This is the loving thing to do for everyone, including Pat, because as Jesus said “But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken” (Matthew 12:36).
To not speak up against what Robertson falsely spoke as a so-called representative of Christ would be, in my opinion, moral cowardice. I speak against a brother's words only with great sadness, but the alternative of silence is unacceptable, because silence connotes approval. And if by our silence we approve of the notion of a man divorcing his wife because she becomes mentally disabled, then God help the church.
Christians who care little about keeping sacred vows "for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, till death do us part" have nothing to offer the world or each other.


Angry Calvinists?


“When we Calvinists are ungracious, unnecessarily combative, proud, and arrogant, we are not being true Calvinists. We are posers.”
Ed Stetzer interviews Joe Thorn on the topic of “Angry Calvinists”.  It is a good read for all who love the doctrines of grace.  Come to think of it; it is a good read for “Anti-Calvinists” as well.  There are, after all, some equally “Angry Anti(s)” out there as well...but that’s another post for another day!
Are you still here?  Click the link, it’s ok...go ahead...click it.


What is Beautiful?



















What is beautiful to Jesus won’t make the cover of Vogue.
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 3:4
Beauty has a cost. Between potion for wrinkles, serum for age spots and cream for gray hair, my cart runneth over with beauty products I can’t afford. Inner beauty has a cost also. As I get older and the battle for beauty becomes pronounced, I find myself asking questions about beauty. What does it mean to be beautiful? Who defines beautiful?

Redefine Beauty
Men, what is beautiful to you? At what point does a pretty lady that catches your eye become old or worn enough to lose that label? Husbands, is your wife becoming more beautiful to you as you see her emulate Jesus? Beauty does not begin and end with mere age, dress, or ability to appeal to the senses.
“A heart made alive by Jesus is a beautiful thing indeed.”
Consider the woman who is, in her beauty, more like Jesus than a Cover Girl.  If God lovingly instructs women to beautify themselves from the inside out, you certainly should consider a woman’s beauty as originating and emanating from her heart.  A heart made alive by Jesus is a beautiful thing indeed. 







HT / Z

The Sermon On the Mount







HT / JT

In My Seat



Slow Down...Stop and Think...Behold


There is something about moments that I'm sure we're meant to wonder over.  Not wonder as in, "what's going on" so much as wonder as in, "WOW!"  Today, I dropped my son off for his first day of High School.  To fully appreciate this fact, you need to know that he has been home-schooled since the second grade.  
I am not quite sure what I'm feeling right now.
But, one thing I keep coming back to is the gospel.  In my concern, Jesus loves me...wow!  That fact, is enough to bring me to worship - to simply allow worry to fade and to trust the Saviour.

What do you do in the moments?  Where do you turn? Whom do you trust?  Take the time to slow down, to stop and think, to "behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us that we should be called the children of God."  How often we hear these words of Scripture and simply just fly over them...
“In order for Jesus to suffer and die,
He had to plan way ahead of time
because he couldn’t die.
Immortal, He didn’t have a body
And yet he wanted to die.
For you.
So, He planned the whole thing
by clothing himself with a body,
so that He could get hungry
and get weary
and have sore feet.
The incarnation of Jesus is the preparation
of nerve endings
for the nails,
the preparation of a brow
or thorns pressed through.
He needed to have a broad back
so that there was a place
for the whips.
He needed to have feet
so that there was a place
for spikes.
He needed to have a side
so that there was a place
for the sword to go in. 
He needed to have fleshy cheeks
so that Judas would have a place to kiss
and there would be a place for the spit
to run down that the soldiers put on him. 
He needed a brain and a spinal column
with no vinegar and no gall,
so that the exquisiteness of the pain
could be fully felt."

"So I plead with you, when you’re reading the Bible and you read texts like: “He loved you and gave himself for you,” you wouldn’t go too fast over it. Linger, linger, linger, and plead with Jesus that your eyes would be opened."

(from the end of song by Json based on a sermon by John Piper)


Dancing in the Minefields

It was 15 years ago today that Jennifer and I began our dance.  Thankful to our Lord for his grace toward us.  Thankful to Andrew Peterson for this song as well.




Awe"struck"

I like many people I know love to watch storm cells when they near.  There is something about the raw power that I find simply stunning and beautiful while at the same time frightening and terrible.  It becomes for me a time of worship.



It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God - but - only by falling into His hands can you truly know the living, loving God.





HT / Alex Johnson (#fb video)

Only Then


“Would you like to be rid of this spiritual depression?  The first thing you have to do is to say farewell now once and forever to your past.  Realize that it has been covered and blotted out in Christ.  Never look back at your sins again.  Say: ‘It is finished, it is covered by the blood of Christ.’  That is your first step.  Take that and finish with yourself and all this talk about goodness, and look to the Lord Jesus Christ.  It is only then that true happiness and joy are possible for you.”
Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Spiritual Depression (Grand Rapids, 1965), page 35.

"Stunningly Gospelicious" by John Calvin



A big hat-tip to Justin Taylor for pointing this one out.  And for giving me such a SWEET title!

From a stunningly gospelicious preface John Calvin wrote for Pierre Robert Oliv├ętan’s French translation of the New Testament (1534)
“Without the gospel everything is useless and vain; without the gospel we are not Christians; without the gospel all riches is poverty, all wisdom folly before God; strength is weakness, and all the justice of man is under the condemnation of God. But by the knowledge of the gospel we are made children of God, brothers of Jesus Christ, fellow townsmen with the saints, citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven, heirs of God with Jesus Christ, by whom the poor are made rich, the weak strong, the fools wise, the sinner justified, the desolate comforted, the doubting sure, and slaves free. It is the power of God for the salvation of all those who believe …” 
“It follows that every good thing we could think or desire is to be found in this same Jesus Christ alone. For, he was sold, to buy us back; captive, to deliver us; condemned, to absolve us; he was made a curse for our blessing, sin offering for our righteousness; marred that we may be made fair; he died for our life; so that by him fury is made gentle, wrath appeased, darkness turned into light, fear reassured, despisal despised, debt canceled, labor lightened, sadness made merry, misfortune made fortunate, difficulty easy, disorder ordered, division united, ignominy ennobled, rebellion subjected, intimidation intimidated, ambush uncovered, assaults assailed, force forced back, combat combated, war warred against, vengeance avenged, torment tormented, damnation damned, the abyss sunk into the abyss, hell transfixed, death dead, mortality made immortal. In short, mercy has swallowed up all misery, and goodness all misfortune.
For all these things which were to be the weapons of the devil in his battle against us, and the sting of death to pierce us, are turned for us into exercises which we can turn to our profit. If we are able to boast with the apostle, saying, O hell, where is thy victory? O death, where is thy sting? it is because by the Spirit of Christ promised to the elect, we live no longer, but Christ lives in us; and we are by the same Spirit seated among those who are in heaven, so that for us the world is no more, even while our conversation [life] is in it; but we are content in all things, whether country, place, condition, clothing, meat, and all such things. And we are comforted in tribulation, joyful in sorrow, glorying under vituperation [verbal abuse], abounding in poverty, warmed in our nakedness, patient amongst evils, living in death. This is what we should in short seek in the whole of Scripture: truly to know Jesus Christ, and the infinite riches that are comprised in him and are offered to us by him from God the Father.” 



Piper Interviews Giglio Pt 2



Piper Interviews Giglio



The Truth About Planned Parenthood

The Witherspoon Institute:

An in-depth investigation of Planned Parenthood by Americans United for Life, the nation’s first pro-life public-interest law and policy organization (where I serve as Senior Vice President and Senior Council), demonstrates that abortion is central to Planned Parenthood’s business. The AUL Report, however, uncovers much, much more than just the importance of abortion to Planned Parenthood operations. It reveals Planned Parenthood practices that are irresponsible, dangerous, and fly in the face of the organization’s claims of dedication to women in need of medical services.

AUL’s Report pulls together in one place, for the first time, a litany of scandals associated with Planned Parenthood, demonstrating the breadth and persistance of the organization’s abuses. The Report shows that the “fuss” about Planned Parenthood is currently, if anything, about far too little. What follows in this article are just a few examples of the many reasons, all documented by the Report, why state—and federal—legislatures are (and all Americans should be) rethinking their dedication to Planned Parenthood.
The conclusion:

Planned Parenthood claims to be a “trusted health care provider,” but the AUL Report clearly shows that there is little to trust about Planned Parenthood. Even so, the Report only scratches the surface. Congress should use its power to investigate Planned Parenthood futher and determine, once and for all, if it deserves our support, our loyalty, and our money. Until Planned Parenthood answers for its behavior, the surprise is not that the people of Indiana, Kansas, North Carolina, and Texas want to take away their funding, but that Planned Parenthood has not already been stripped of taxpayer dollars throughout the nation. Slowly but surely, Americans will become aware of how little Planned Parenthood deserves our trust, our respect, and our tax dollars. It is time to consider if you really know about Planned Parenthood.

If you would like to learn more and read the complete report published by AUL, please visit www.aul.org.
Read the rest.  








HT / Z

Beck & Sting



It really doesn't get much better than that right there!





HT / Ray Ortlund

The Church and Culture


Chandler, Horton, and Keller on the Church in Culture from The Gospel Coalition on Vimeo.


The Facebook Obsession




Josh Garrels New CD - FREE!

If you don't know Josh Garrels, let this be your introduction.  I discovered this guy on youtube awhile back and instantly became a fan.  Hopefully, I'll get a chance to do a complete review for the blog shortly of his new album.  For now, I'll say that my early faves are "The Resistance" and "Beyond the Blue".

The great thing is that for now you can get "Love & War & the Sea In Between" for free at either Garrels' home page or through noisetrade.  I would recommend the artist's site for the simple reason that you can choose practically any download form you desire!

Here's a taste of Josh to whet your appetite...


Gospel-Centered Personal Renewal

Here is a great little resource on - well, the title says it all.  The author, Timmy Brister, compiled together a series of blog posts to make a full downloadable pdf document.  If you don't follow "provocations & paintings" you are missing some good stuff.  I have found much wisdom, grace, and humility there.

Do yourself a favour and check it out along with this great series...

Here’s the blog series:

>> To download the series as a PDF, click here


What Happens When We Believe the Lie



Almost every adultery situation I’ve ever seen includes a cheating spouse who honestly believes that he or she is not going to get caught. The cheater often doesn’t want the marriage to end in divorce. Instead, like the characters in today’s headlines, he or she instead wants to keep everything the same: spouse, kids, and lover too. That’s irrational and completely contrary to the way the world works. Anyone can see that.
But you can convince yourself…or be convinced…that it will work for you. You’re special, after all. That’s the way temptation functions. We put consequences out of our minds, both temporal and eternal consequences. We start to believe that we are gods, with power over good and evil and life and death. And then we do crazy things.
This doesn’t have anything to do with intelligence. Satan is hyper-intelligent. And yet, even knowing that he will ultimately have his skull crushed, he rages all the more against Christ and his people, “because he knows his time is short” (Rev. 12:12). In terms of the most basic principles of military strategy, that’s crazy. What we need is not intelligence, but wisdom. Wisdom includes seeing where the way I want to go will lead (Prov. 14:12).
I don’t know who you are, reader, but I know you are probably not smarter than Anthony Weiner or Arnold Schwarzenegger or John Edwards. And neither am I. Both of us, you and I, are on the verge of wrecking our lives. We’re probably not on the verge of a situation quite like any of those men, but the gospel tells us we have vulnerabilities just the same, and they all can lead to destruction.
The answer isn’t found in talent or in strategy or in brilliance. It’s found in fear, the fear of the Lord and the vision of his future.
Lord have mercy.


HT / JT