A lesson on Forgiveness:
Corrie ten Boom is a world changer. She lived in one of the darkest times of humanity yet was able to be a light shining bright for Jesus Christ. Her life shouts what forgiveness is in Christ and how we can forgive others because we have been forgiven of much.
Corrie ten Boom was born in the beautiful country of Holland. Her father was a watchmaker and life was good for the ten Boom family.
Her parents raised her and her siblings in the ways of the Lord. At age five, Corrie came to faith. Family worship was consistent in the home. Many of the lessons she would learn in family worship would impact her and prepare her and her siblings for what awaited them. Her father taught them that there is love that one needs to have for God’s people, which would later motivate the ten Boom family as they worked with the underground network to save Jews from the Germans.
Continue reading “World Changer Wednesday- Corrie Ten Boom (1892-1983)”
The Great Awakening took place across two continents (America and Europe). There are a few names that come to mind with the Great Awakening; John and Charles Wesley, Jonathan Edwards, and George Whitfield are among them. When you read the account of Whitefield you are amazed at what he was able to accomplish with the limited technology of the time. It would seem impossible or supernatural. Harry Stout writes that “by 1750 virtually every American loved and admired Whitfield and saw him as their champion.” It has been said that by the time Whitfield died, 80% of the people in the American Colonies heard Whitefield in person at least once in their lifetime (this is before TV or radio)—fascinating! Eric Metaxes attributes to Whitefield the success of American Independence. He states that without the Great Awakening there would be no revival and no revolution. There would be no America as we know it. No one in church history has been able to rally people like George Whitfield and he was used by God for the sake of the gospel as a world changer.
Continue reading “World Changer Wednesday-George Whitefield (1714-1770)”
What room holds the power at church? Is it the room where decisions are made? Is it the office where things get done? Is it the sanctuary where the pulpit stands? No, the room that holds the power is the room where there is prayer for the church! When visitors would come to the nineteenth century pastor, C. H. Spurgeon’s church he would show them the room that has the power, it was the room where Christians would gather faithfully and pray for the church. He called it the “boiler room”
E. M. Bounds so prophetically in his book The Power Through Prayer,
“What the Church needs to-day is not more machinery or better, not new organizations or more and novel methods, but men whom the Holy Ghost can use — men of prayer, men mighty in prayer. The Holy Ghost does not flow through methods, but through men. He does not come on machinery, but on men. He does not anoint plans, but men — men of prayer.”
What do you get when you put Indiana Jones, John the Baptist, and a missionary together? You get John G. Paton. A man who was willing to go to an island where the missionaries before him went and were killed and eaten by the islanders within hours of their landing. If ever there has been an autobiography that read like an adventure novel, it is that of John G. Paton. Though his account is exciting to read, his faith despite difficult situations and his love for Jesus stand far above the adventure. He begins his autobiography by saying, “What I write here is for the glory of God” and truly his life was one lived for God’s glory.
Continue reading “World Changer Wednesday-John G. Paton”
I just picked up my copy of J. C. Ryle’s autobiography printed by Banner of Truth. I love the writings of Ryle. Though I have not ready everything by him,I hope to one day. One of his books that have impacted me more so than many other books is his book Holiness. I have read Iain H. Murray’s biography on Ryle, Prepared to Stand Alone and am drawn to Ryle. I love his insight and though he lived in the nineteenth century his writings still have weight today. I look forward to reading this book and giving a review once I finish.
I like books, more specifically I like biographies on Christians. I am drawn to reading about men and women who have gone before me. The author of Hebrews writes, “We are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses (Hebrews 12:1).” The author was referring to those mentioned in chapter eleven, the “hall of faith” chapter. But, I also believe it is referring to the believers who have gone before us in church history. I find myself as if I am a fly on the wall of their lives. I am drawn in, seeing their lives, God’s plan for them unfolding before me. Granted, when you read a biography it can somewhat be biased but a good biographer will share the good and the bad of that person. I am thankful that the Bible does that. It shares the flaws and the faith of those who are the examples before us. Ultimately they are pointing to Jesus in their lives and we should desire the same thing. You learn from them. You are inspired by them. You are thankful to God for them.
Let me encourage to read the lives of the saints before us. Let it be fan to your flame of faith and we can learn from them. Let the Lord use it to inspire you, challenge you, and encourage you. What Christians have impacted you and why? Please share, I would love to hear from you!
The Word of God Changes Us – Martin Luther
At our church, Harvest Christian Fellowship, Pastor Greg has started a series called World Changers. It is an in-depth look at Hebrews 11, the hall of faith chapter in the Bible. Through this series we get to study many different men and some women mentioned in the Bible who had great faith. The Bible mentions so many world changers, which we get excited to study, and we also know of countless other world changers throughout church history. I love the fact that God uses ordinary people and does extraordinary things. Every Wednesday we will be spending a few hundred words talking about a world changer in church history.
Martin Luther 1483–1546
October 31 is known by many as Halloween but it is also a day called Reformation Day. It is a day that the church remembers what took place almost 500 years ago with a man who was strong in his conviction about what the Bible says.
Continue reading “World Changer Wednesday: Martin Luther”
There is no ignoring Halloween. It is everywhere you go; from the store to your neighbor’s house, some form of decoration is pointing to Halloween. It is one of the most marketed days of the year. There are many arguments to how a Christian should view Halloween. Should we fight against it, ignore it, or should we embrace it? I don’t know if the answer is that simple. You can’t just overlook the fact that there are some demonic sides to Halloween; it is pretty blatant. There are arguments about the evil background and history of Halloween. On the other side is that the starting of Halloween was “All Saints Day” to remember the martyrs who have been killed for their faith and then through history this holiday merged with heathen practices.
Here are a few thoughts on a parent’s approach to Halloween.
1) Be cautious and wise.
There are some parents who don’t have a problem with their children participating in Halloween and they exercise wisdom and discernment. For example, they allow their children to wear a fun, innocent costume. They don’t see candy as something bad (just in moderation).
As a parent who allows their children to participate, you want to use wisdom by not letting your children be around something evil or scary so you pick which house is good to go to and which houses are not. We do live in a day and age when you need to be careful of strangers and you also know that you are called to protect your children.
Some parents may choose to participate in other ways. For example, they may bring their children to a church-run event such as the Harvest Fest. This limits what their children will be around and with whom. There are many places that are safe for kids to have fun, dress up, and have some candy.
There may be some parents who do not want their children participating in something that they view is spiritually compromising. I respect the family that makes a stand that their children are not participating in Halloween activities. A parent that takes this stand needs to communicate with their children about why they are making that stand, knowing that they will have questions from other people.
2) Teach your children.
Everything is a teaching moment. Though Halloween may have some superstitious backgrounds, as a parent you are not approaching Halloween that way. There is nothing inherently evil with dressing up for fun or eating candy. If you have toddlers this may happen every day (maybe not the candy part)! What matters is our approach as parents. Teach them that we follow the Word of God, that there are evil spirits and the devil, and he is not more active on Halloween than any other day of the year. What a great reminder for us to know that Jesus Christ is greater in us than he that is in the world (1 John 4:4). Jesus is King and Lord and He has dominion and power over evil.
3) It is a day that you can use to witness to people who come knocking on your door.
You can choose to turn the lights off at your house or you can look at giving candy and talking to parents of kids as an opportunity. This is a great opportunity that you can use and be a light during a dark time. You can pass out witnessing tracts and candy. You can be friendly and start conversations with other parents.
On a day that points to death and despair, we have the gospel message of eternal life and hope. We should look at this as a perfect opportunity to share Jesus Christ with others!
Personal Note: I understand that not everyone will do what we do, nor do I expect that, but you may be curious how my family approaches Halloween.
We allow our children to dress up in something fun and innocent. We, in past years, have dressed up as a whole family. We communicate to our children that they can dress up and have candy. We invite family and friends as we go to Harvest for the Harvest Fest, where they have a great time, hear the gospel, and meet with the church family. We then spend some time in our neighborhood as I want us to use the opportunity to meet our neighbors and be somewhat present to them. I try to encourage our children that we can have fun but there are also dark and scary things about Halloween—but they are of God and have overcome those things, for “He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4 NKJV).
What are some things that make you say, “That was awesome”? Maybe it is standing on the beach and watching the waves crash, hearing the thunderous sound and feeling the cool spray of the ocean’s mist on your face. Maybe it is sitting in an airplane and looking out the window at 40,000 feet and seeing how big the world is as you fly high above the ground. Maybe it is looking up at night and seeing the moon in the sky like a big pizza pie and the stars and everything that displays God’s handiwork. You can’t help but say, Awesome! These are just a glimpse or a snapshot of God’s glory and power.
Why is it important for us to be reminded of God’s glory? Continue reading “Being in Awe of God”
It is that time again when we spend a few moments reflecting on what we did this year and what we didn’t do. Sometimes we come to a new year with a wave of regret, wishing we would have done a few things differently. Sometimes we come to the new year with a spark of excitement, looking forward to what God has for us. Maybe it is a little bit of both. What have you thought about when it comes to 2016? What are some goals you have for you and your family with this new year?
Let me encourage you with the following thoughts.
- Everything we do is for God’s glory.
The Bible says, “For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen” (Romans 11:36 ESV). Everything we do in this life should point to the Creator. We were created so God could receive glory from us and through us.
This is way bigger than any accomplishment or goal we have in mind. In fact, through our goals and accomplishments we can give God glory. How do we do that? Through good works. Good works aren’t just sharing the gospel or going to church. Good works would be doing whatever we do in life and whatever we say to point to who God is and what He is all about. Our good works bring attention not to us but to the God who created us.
- Our time is short.
Ephesians 5:15–17 reminds us to be careful how we live and to make the best use of our time because the days are evil. The Bible tells us that our life is like a vapor, here one moment and gone the next (James 4:14). If our goal is to do everything for God’s glory, then we do not want to waste our time on meaningless tasks. Part of using our time is knowing where it is going, (planning helps in this area), but we also need to think about where our time is not going.
Take a moment and reflect on how you spend your time. What areas can you grow in? Are you resting and getting enough sleep? What ways can you grow to be better with your time?
- Heaven is our home.
We should not want to waste our time on earth doing meaningless things, and I think if we have our eyes on eternity we have a different perspective. Paul said, “Our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Philippians 3:20 ESV). Our permanent place of dwelling is heaven. This place where we are now is just the staging area for eternity. When you live with heaven in mind, it changes how you live.
With these points in mind, what are some goals that you have personally or as a family? What are some things that the Lord is putting on your heart for a new year and a fresh start? Let me encourage you in a few areas:
Growth as a Christian
Bible reading is key for us as believers. A helpful link in regard to picking a Bible reading program that is right for you and for your family is faithlife.com. You can set up a free account and choose a Bible reading plan.
Another way to just grow in wisdom and knowledge is to read good books. Reading is a struggle for many and the only way we can get better at reading is to read. Here is a helpful blog post that I came across for setting up a reading goal for 2016: Tim Challies’ 2016 Reading Challenge.
Getting into God’s Word as a family is not only precious but also needed. Here are a couple of ideas:
- The Family Worship Book by Terry Johnson is a great resource with many suggestions for the family about gathering together and doing worship together. You can purchase this book online or at the Harvest Bookstore.
- Old Story New and Long Story Short by Marty Machowski are devotional books intended for the family. Click on the titles to purchase on Amazon (which you could buy as a digital book) or pick them up at the Harvest Bookstore.
Probably one of the biggest goals that families have is getting out of debt and budgeting properly. My wife and I have been tremendously helped by going through Financial Peace University by Dave Ramsey. You can find out more by going to FPU.
Paul told Timothy that bodily exercise is of some value, but godliness is profitable for all things. Paul was not dismissing the importance of exercise. There are many great things that come with eating right and exercise, such as longer life, more energy, and less money spent on doctors for poor health, but the greatest is to be used by God more and more.
Pastor Jonathan M. Lee
I love that children by nature want to experience so much. They are inquisitive and desire to be part of everything. I love that God made them that way. I have been asked about children partaking in Communion. When should a child participate in Communion? Is there a proper age? This is a great question to look at.
I have seen it: the Communion elements are being passed out and a parent sitting with their children asks, “Is this for kids?” Children by nature want to participate because you as a parent are doing it.
There cannot be a set age limit. I believe it varies based on their understanding of Communion and their spiritual maturity. Jesus tells us that we should partake of Communion often in remembrance of Him (Luke 22:14–23). Paul gives us the warning not to eat of it in an unworthy manner (1 Corinthians 11:27). This needs to be applied to children as well as adults. The remembrance of the Lord’s Supper is for the believer. This is to remind us of the cost of our sin, Jesus’ death, and to reflect on God’s grace. It is to be a reminder of how greatly loved you are by God. It is to remind you of your need for Jesus and Him alone for salvation. It is to be a time of celebration that your sins have been paid for by Jesus. The warning of “not taking it in an unworthy manner” means that not just anyone can partake of it.
I have heard different sides to this question. Some may suggest for children to wait until they can fully grasp the depth of Communion, such as in the teenage years. Others suggest that when a child has made a confession of faith in Jesus Christ alone for salvation, they are ready.
What matters before anyone can partake in Communion, regardless of age, is the “why.” Why are we doing this? If your child sees you partaking of Communion and wants to participate just like you, what a great opportunity for you as a parent to express what Communion is all about. You get to be their teacher! You can evaluate to see if they are ready. Here are some important thoughts when allowing children to participate in Communion.
- Your child needs to have confessed Jesus as Lord and Savior (Romans 10:9).
- Your child needs to understand the significance of Communion (1 Corinthians 11:17—32).
- Your child should desire to be walking in obedience (2 John 6).
But, what if they ask during Communion and you know they are not ready? You may be afraid because you don’t want to make a scene by saying no when they don’t understand why they can’t. First, I would encourage you to talk to your child before this situation comes up. You should let them know what the Lord’s Supper is and why we remember it. There is nothing wrong with encouraging them to wait. Waiting is not a bad thing. You are viewing Communion as something very special and very serious. You do not want it to be taken flippantly or casually. Communion is a very serious time when we reflect on what Jesus has done and it shouldn’t just be taken by anyone and everyone. By guarding Communion as a special time, it will make that time much more important for your child when they are ready to partake of it. They will see it as important by your example and explanation. As a parent, use wisdom and discernment regarding when your child is ready.