Sunday, November 18, 2007

Piper on Regeneration

The root of many of our problems in the American evangelical church today is that many (most?) who populate our churches are false converts brought in by the ravages of the heresy of "decisionism." This is discussed over and over in other parts of this blog, often in the form of preaching by Paul Washer. 

However, John Piper is joining the fray with a sermon series begun on November 18th addressing what it means to be "born again." The bottom line is a person who is born again actually is regenerated and thus exhibits the fruit of regeneration.

His first sermon on the subject can be found by clicking HERE and then scrolling down to November 18th. I highly commend the entire series to you...even though I have only heard the first one!!! It could well be the most timely sermon series for our church and for our nation. May his exposition be heard throughout our land....

Friday, November 02, 2007

Opportunity or Distraction?

I had the pleasure of sitting for an entire weekend under the teaching of Gregg Harris. One of the many pearls of wisdom he illuminated for us was this: Often opportunities and distractions look the same; the only way to tell the difference is to have a goal and to compare them to that goal.

I know that often, people are overwhelmed with the considerable number of "good" things available in life. Just think how many opportunities your church offers. Then add in the good extracurricular activities for your children. Then add in your own personal time with God. It doesn't take very long for a person's calendar to become saturated and a person's life to become overwhelmed. And yet, the thought is that they are all "good" things and therefore shouldn't be missed.

Our church has a very good mission statement. It is broad enough to cover virtually anything that could arise at the church and yet specific enough to provide a good filter for maintaining direction. It is: "Bethlehem Baptist exists to spread a passion for the supremacy of God in all things for the joy of all peoples through Jesus Christ." Take some time to consider this statement. Look at how general, yet how specific it is. There is a distinct direction, yet there is broad application. The statement itself is then broken down into its parts, with each part described and discussed, to include the Scripture and Biblical principles behind it. In practice, every new idea, every new program is processed through that mission statement. If it doesn't contribute to the mission, it isn't adopted...regardless of any other merit it may have. In effect, this statement gives our elders the ability to discern opportunity from distraction.

This is what we as families need. We need a mission statement that will give us guidance and set a direction for us. If we will work to develop a statement along the lines of what BBC has as a church (broad enough to cover most aspects of life, yet specific enough to provide direction) and if we will base it on Biblical principles...we will give intentional direction to our lives and to our families. Once developed, this statement becomes a filter through which you as a family can process all opportunities in order to discern true opportunities from distractions.

A person or a family with Bible-saturated, God-centered direction is a person or a family that is intentionally building the Kingdom of God in this dark and wicked world. They are intentional. They are focused. They are bound together in common work. They are witnesses to the world. And above all, they are witnessing the love of God through Jesus Christ to their sphere of influence.

May I challenge you to sit down with your spouse and begin to hammer out a vision, a direction for your family? You will be blessed in the long term for doing so.