Kirk Cameron: "I'll Only Kiss My Wife."

The movie Fireproof opens today in theaters nationwide. I highly recommend it. Our church is going to see it tomorrow afternoon. There is about 50 of us going. This week Kirk Cameron did a round of interviews about the movie with different media outlets. On the one below with The Today Show he discusses his committment to only kiss his wife and how that played itself out in the making of the movie.

Mohler On the Economic Crisis

Al Mohler has written wise words concerning the current economic crisis our country is facing. Here are a few excerpts. You can read the entire article here.

This current crisis should also remind Christians that we are not called to be mere economic actors, but stewards. Everything we are, everything we do, and everything we own truly belongs to God and is to be at the disposal of Kingdom purposes. This world is not our home and our treasure is not found here. We are to do all, invest all, own all, purchase all to the glory of God.

Finally, this current economic crisis just might help Christians to focus on another issue -- retirement. Where in the Bible are we told to aspire to years and decades of leisure without labor? There is nothing wrong with saving for what the world calls retirement. Indeed, that is just good stewardship. Furthermore, there is nothing wrong with workers enjoying the fruit of their labor. But Christians should think of retirement as an opportunity to be redeployed for Kingdom service.

Today's crisis in the financial system should not be a threat to the long-term health and vitality of our economic system. There is cause for concern, but no justification for panic. Rather than hit the panic button, spend that energy thinking about how Christians should glorify God in our economic lives. We should watch the developments and debates in Washington and New York with interest, but we should investigate our own hearts with even greater urgency.


A Great Answer to the Question, "What Is the Gospel?"

In the heated topic of exactly "What is the Gospel?" and rather our gospel is too narrow or too broad, Greg Gilbert has written an excellent series of post that give the best answer to this issue that I have read thus far. In this series of post, Greg answers two questions about the Gospel:

1.What is the gospel? Meaning, what does a person have to believe to be saved.
2.What is the gospel? Meaning, what is the entirety of the Good News of the Kingdom.

Very well done and highly recommeneded. Read the whole serires of posts here, but here is a great excerpt from the final installment,

I think we can get at an answer to all those questions by realizing that the Gospel of the Cross (that is, the narrow sense of “gospel”) is not just any part of the Gospel of the Kingdom (that is, the broad sense of “gospel”).* Rather, the gospel of the cross is the gateway, the fountainhead, even the seed, so to speak, of the gospel of the kingdom. Read the whole NT, and you quickly realize that its univocal message is that a person cannot get to those broad blessings of the Kingdom except by being forgiven of sin through the death of Christ. That is the fountain from which all the rest springs.

Doing Things Right In Matters of the Heart 11

Chapter 11 of John Ensor's Doing Things Right In Matters of the Heart is entitled "His Unmet Desire Drives Him Towards Marriage...Hers Is Rewarded With Marriage." In this chapter the value of waiting for sexual intimacy is explored as well as the maturing aspect of sexual desire.

“My point, and that of the apostle Paul, is that unmet sexual desire is the means by which God takes a young man who hasn’t given two minutes of his whole life to think about marriage and prompts him to consider it, prepare for it, and then take the plunge.”

“Unmet sexual passion is like carrots: it helps a man see better what he really wants in life. Unmet sexual passion brings into focus a vision for being a husband and potentially a father. Unmet sexual passion drives him toward removing all the obstacles, whether they are inner fears and doubts or the need to work hard toward preparing him to know her family, to talk about their future, and to finish up what needs to be done in order to be able to make a living. It drives us to solve problems and get ready. It matures us.”

“For women, waiting is their reward. They find a good man by waiting. They are rewarded for waiting a short time when later they dong wait endlessly for him to work out all his stuff.”

“Unmet sexual desire is a gift, a disturbing gift, but nevertheless a gift. Receive it well, and until the day comes when it is time to set it aside for the better gift, use the time to make sure that when it comes, you have already set in place the marks of a healthy, tender, passionate, enduring, mutually fulfilling relationship.”


Abortion Reduction: Logical Position?

Senator Barack Obama has said repeatedly that he is in favor of reducing the number of abortions in this country. I got to thinking today if that is really a logical position to take. Why would you ever want to reduce something? Logically, you would want to reduce something because you see that something as wrong or not the best coarse of action.

That then leads to the question, "If there is nothing morally wrong with abortion, then why would we make the argument of reducing it?" You don't need to reduce something unless that something that you want to reduce is a moral wrong.

And so in making the argument to reduce abortion, you must agree that there is something morally wrong about abortion. That something is that it is the murder of a human life.

Then this leads us back to the point of a previous post. If you want to reduce abortion, then you must see that abortion is wrong and what is wrong about it is that it is obviously the taking of a human life. How then is it logically, much less a morally defensible position to say that a person should have the right to choose to end that human life?

One Issue Voting

Sometimes those of us who are one issue or single issue voters get the reputation of being, well, too single-minded and narrow in our criteria for choosing which candidate to place in office. We even see this argument from among Christians.

Josh Harris, pastor of Covenant Life Church recently received a letter from a Christian couple who humbly took issue with a recent sermon preached that focused too much, in their opinion, on the issue of abortion as the principle issue in this election. You can read the whole letter here, as well as Josh's response. They wrote at one point in the letter:

While we do view abortion as an egregious sin, our experience is that such an unbalanced focus on abortion as a single hot button issue, especially within the church, not only does harm to our political process, but weakens the capacity of congregants to think for themselves about how to reflect the character and heart of God in the midst of a world that has far more going on than just abortion.

I tend to agree with Josh's response to this concern. Yes, there are certainly other issues in our world that we as Christians need to voice our position more frequently and more loudly. However, there is no issue that we should speak to more frequently or more loudly then the issue of protecting the life of the unborn. At one point, Josh responds in humble disagreement with this couple:

First, I agree that there are other important topics that Christians should consider. And I would even say that Robin could have done more to highlight these other issues. Neither I, nor Robin, would want to try and argue that it was the perfect message on this complicated topic. But what I would argue for is the view that few other issues in our generation rise to the same level of moral urgency as abortion. When we’re talking about millions of innocent lives being taken, and I’m just not aware of another issue where Scripture speaks so clearly. If this were an issue of a candidate supporting human trafficking or the sex trade, would we say that other issues were just as important?

The Bible speaks clearly on this issue, more clearly than on any other issue on the table during this election season. For that reason, I will always be a single issue voter in regards to seeing the day when the right to end the life of an unborn at any stage of pregnancy is no longer an option in this country. This one issue automatically disqualifies a man or woman from public office--murdering the life of the unborn.

Would we say that the support of slavery should not be a single issue through which we filter our vote for public office? Would we really think it ok to place a man or woman in office who supported the right of a person to buy and sell another human being and to rob them of their freedom? Why then do we think that it is acceptable to put a man or woman in office who supports a person's right to choose to end a human life?

When the issue is the life of the unborn, that is the only issue that matters above all the rest.

Doing Things Right In Matters of the Heart 10

Chapter Ten of John Ensor's book Doing Things Right In Matters of the Heart is entitled, "He Abstains to Protect...She, To Test." In this chapter Ensor shows how chastity on the part of the man is a means of protecting the woman and expecting chastity of the man is an effective tool to filter out the kind of man a woman shouldn't marry.

"Men protect women by their chastity. Women, by their chastity, test the maturity and character of the man pursuing them.”

“Brothers, practice sexual self-control out of a desire to protect her from sin, guilt, shame, embarrassment, pregnancy, and the fallout that all women bear so disproportionately from sex outside of marriage.”

“The immature, self-centered, ungodly man will test negative in a matter of weeks. The deceitful and cunning predator will test negative in a matter of days. Men willing to wait, and wanting to wait, will test positive. It is not a lack of sexual interest: it is a healthy fear of God. It is love, which at this point rightfully expresses itself as protection from sin and shame. If he weakens, help him succeed. If all else goes well in the development of the relationship, you know you are marrying a godly man, one who has self-control and a clear sense of his calling as a man.”


Is Biden Qualified To Be VP?

Senator Joe Biden made an interesting and shocking statement concerning his position on abortion during this past week's episode of Meet the Press.

“I’m prepared as a matter of faith to accept that life begins at the moment of conception. But that is my judgment. For me to impose that judgment on everyone else who is equally and maybe even more devout than I am seems to me is inappropriate in a pluralistic society.”

As a matter of faith, Sen. Biden believes that at the moment of conception human life begins. However, he is not prepared to force that view on someone else, but rather support there right to murder that human life. Wow! What if we followed that line of reasoning concerning the abolition of slavery.

Is a VP candidate qualified to be VP, much less President, who believes that murder, of what he believes to be a human life, is a matter of personal choice and completely acceptable in a pluralistic society?

Doing Things Right In Matters of the Heart 10

Chapter 10 of John Ensor's book Doing Things Right In Matters of the Heart is called "He Protects...She Welcomes Protection." In this chapter, he describes how men are called/designed by God to be the primary protector and deep down a woman is more fulfilled and satisfied, not in resisting that protection, but embracing it because that is how God has designed her.

“Mature manhood carries with it a sense of protecting women and children.”

“Suppose there is a fire—do women really think it makes no difference who is the last one to scurry out the window? Do wives really practice egalitarianism in such moments? ‘We are equal, so it’s simply a first-come, first-out situation. If he gets to the window first, I want him to go first. We’ll have no gender-biased fire-escaping around here!’ Women don’t think like this. Women are honored by men who look after them as the weaker sex and therefore help them and serve them first.”

“Women do not like egalitarianism; they are better than that.”


Political Conventions & Church Growth

Someone needs to tell the RNC and DNC that having someone stand up and speak for over an hour to a crowd of people is not an effective way to communicate their message. Someone needs to inform them that our culture just does not learn that way anymore. Someone needs to give them a clue that people just will not sit down and listen to someone speak for more than twenty minutes at a time.

Is that not what the modern day church growth movement tells us? People just will not sit down and listen to a preacher preach for an extended period of time. Twenty minutes is the longest a sermon should last. The preacher should not be standing up behind a podium. He needs to be sitting on a stool. He needs to move around and be flamboyant. He needs to be creative and use a bunch of stage props to get his point across.

Well, how do we explain the strategy of the national political convention speeches we just witnessed over the last two weeks, much less their enormous success. I mean more than 80,000 people listened to Barack Obama stand up and give a speech behind a podium for at least an hour. This week more than 30,000 sat/stood at attention to listen to Gov. Sarah Palin and Sen. John McCain speak for over an hour a piece. All three were effective in what most church growth strategists will tell you is an outdated method that needs to be discarded in churches today.

Maybe Paul and the rest of the NT writers knew what they were talking about in regards to the growth of the church. Preach the Word.

Eric Raymond has written an excellent post on this whole issue called "I Thought Preaching Was Outdated." Be sure to read the entire post in context, but here are some great excerpts:

Does this not sound a bit old fashioned to the sophisticated evangelical pastor? After all, we are told by many ‘experts’ today that talking to people in large chunks of time is not effective. Furthermore, it is often said to be arrogant and archaic to stand up behind a podium and have people sit down while you talk.

Think of how out of place it would have looked last night for Governor Sarah Palin to sit on a stool or on a couch to deliver that speech. She didn’t even walk around! She just stood there and talked. And she talked for quite awhile.

The ‘experts’ would have you to believe that Americans (those in or out of church) cannot sit and process information in this format; we have changed, we are a culture that feeds on the narrative. However, if we listen to the political crowd they tell us that the speech is where the candidate actually connects with the American. It seems to me, in looking at what politicians do, that we actually do have the ability to process information over an extended period of time. These conventions become a helpfully instructive social study.

Pastors need to stop trying to be innovators and belly up to be expositors. If guys would just start studying, practicing and teaching the truth their lives would change and so would there congregations. Instead of becoming irrelevant in an attempt to become relevant, pastors would actually be relevant by meeting real needs with real solutions.

I’m tired of hearing pastors complain about preaching when they do not do it in the first place and while the public craves answers to real problems. We have much to say and there are many needs to be met. And at the end of the day the needs will be far better met and God will be far better glorified through exposition rather than imagination.


Ministry and Ministry to Your Family

In promotion of the upcoming Gospel Coalition Conference Tim Keller and John Piper give excellent words of wisdom to pastors trying to juggle ministry to the church and ministry to your family.

I especially enjoyed Keller's realistic advice that some people are always going to mad at you over something in the church. If you choose not to drop some things that people expect you to do or be in the church and sacrifice your family for those things, people are still going to be mad at you over something. Therefore, you might as well put your family first, which will mean that some people will be unhappy with you because you are neglecting certain things because it is much more pleasing to God that you minister to your family like you are supposed to and have people mad at you rather than neglect your family and have people mad with you.

Piper's clip reminds us as parents to aim at the heart of our children.

Moore On Adoption

Russell Moore in a recent clip for the upcoming Together For Adoption Conference gives a great word connectiong physical and spiritual adoption.

Doing Things Right In Matters of the Heart 9

Chapter Nine of John Ensor's book, Doing Things Right In Matters of the Heart is entitled "He Protects...She Welcomes Protection." In it he encourages women to not buy into the current cultural clamor that women don't need much less want a man's protection. God designed women for that need, for men to meet that need, and women are happiest when they welcome that protection and men when they provide that protection.

“Mature manhood carries with it a sense of protecting women and children.”

“Suppose there is a fire—do women really think it makes no difference who is the last one to scurry out the window? Do wives really practice egalitarianism in such moments? ‘We are equal, so it’s simply a first-come, first-out situation. If he gets to the window first, I want him to go first. We’ll have no gender-biased fire-escaping around here!’ Women don’t think like this. Women are honored by men who look after them as the weaker sex and therefore help them and serve them first.”

Commenting on 1 Peter 3:7

“But taken in context, men are being taught here to think of their wives as better by showing them honor, and weaker by providing them strength. The aim of this passage is the enhancement of womanhood by means of godly manhood. In this my wife can find no offense.”

“Women do not like egalitarianism; they are better than that.”

I especially enjoyed this last bit of wisdom. Like most men, I have a hard time riding or relaxing while riding when my wife is driving. This quote has given me a new rationale for driving--not because my is not a good driver but because I simply feel like I can protect her better when I am driving. Thank you John Ensor.

“Some men wear a seatbelt more out of a desire to be safe for their wife and kids than for the obvious safety to themselves. Some men like to take the lead in driving for the same reason. They feel more able to protect from behind the wheel than riding passenger-side.”