Scripture not „fun” programs bring young people to Christ

School students kids

Jared Moore via http://theaquilareport.com

The church largely today expects to be entertained, and instead of pastors and Sunday school teachers standing up and trusting the word of God, imploring hearers to listen because of the authority of the book itself, we have watered it down, and have chosen instead to add entertainment to the text in order to feel good about ourselves. Our mentality seems to be that if our children want to come to church on Sunday Morning or Wednesday evening, the reason they want to come is really irrelevant to us; as long as they want to be there.

Throughout Christian and Secular education, there is a mentality that as long as our children and youth learn, the methods we use to teach them are irrelevant. “The end justifies the means,” seems to be the song of the day. The problem is that the end we are arriving at is not where we want to be. A few weeks ago a young man knocked on my door; he was selling children’s books door-to-door as part of a summer internship. These children’s books were outstanding in that they were the coolest children’s books I had ever seen. His pitch was, ”If children enjoy learning at an early age, then they will enjoy learning and continue learning when they get older.”

Does this sound familiar? Does this not describe nearly every Evangelical church’s and, dare I say, Southern Baptist church’s mentalities? If we can simply get children and youth to enjoy learning the word of God, then they will continue in the word of God when they get older. How we get them to learn is really irrelevant. We seek to make learning as enjoyable as possible, not because learning is enjoyable in and of itself, but because fun is enjoyable. Thus, we do what we need to make learning the Scriptures and learning about God “fun.”

We cannot lose what we never had to begin with. We think that if we get children to come to service or to come to Wednesday night, or to memorize Bible verses, etc. then we have succeeded. My question is if we really believe this, then why not carry this out to the extreme? Let’s start paying children, youth, and adults to attend church, memorize Scripture, etc. if the goal is simply to get these truths in their heads. The goal however is to get them to love the Lord, and live for His glory alone, and this cannot be accomplished by bribing children, youth, and adults to enjoy Him. God the Holy Spirit is the only One who can accomplish this, and He determined before the foundation of the world to accomplish this “through the foolishness of the message preached” (1 Cor. 1:21).

May God have mercy on us…

Until our children and adults understand that they are responsible before God to study, live, and apply His Word, then they will never grow in Christ. Some may be thinking at this point in the article, “You cannot get children to study the Scriptures if you do not make it fun,” or, “they will not listen if you do not make it fun.” My reaction is simply this: if only the early church had our expertise, then maybe they would have baptized thousands more? If children and adults have God the Holy Spirit, not only will they listen, but they will want to listen. Once God the Holy Spirit makes them realize their responsibility to listen, they will make themselves listen, because of Who they are learning about, not because of how they are learning.

In conclusion, children will enjoy and have fun doing what they love to do. If they love God, and know that the Bible is His word, then they will enjoy studying it to “show themselves approved before God” (2 Tim. 2:15). If they understand their responsibility to learn because they live in God’s world, and are stewards of the intellect He has given them, then they will learn for His glory, regardless whether the subject is His Word or His world. If we seek to make them enjoy learning the Word of God or learning about His world for the same reason they enjoy cartoons, then they will grow very little, if at all, in their Christian lives. The only answer to the problem of voluntary Biblical ignorance by Christ’s church, regardless of age, is not in trying to pragmatically get them to like and enjoy what they profess to hate by their actions.

READ THE ARTICLE in its ENTIRETY here – http://theaquilareport.com

In awe of God’s Creation – my little brother singing ‘I know that my Savior loves me’ – Baietel de 4 ani – Coplesit de Creatia lui Dumnezeu

thanks to Gabi Bogdan (via A. Miclea) for this awesome video! (and he is not any of of our little brother- he is the little brother of the youtube uploader- hence the title)
Screen Shot 2013-04-26 at 9.00.30 PM

I usually post spectacular videos of the universe, of nature, but this time, I am just in awe of this 4 year old boy, Clayton Manwaring (at the time, he is 5 now) who sings a song about Jesus, after having just eaten a red popsicle (hence the red lips).

De obicei postez fisiere video sau poze cu maiestatea lui Dumnezeu prin natura, dar de data aceasta l-am vazut pe acest baietel scump, cu numele de Clayton Manwaring, care avea doar 4 ani cand a fost filmat aici (are 5 ani in prezent). Are buzele rosii pentru ca, ne explica fratele lui care i-a postat cantecul, ca micutul a mancat o inghetata pe bat rosie (popsicle). Dumnezeu sa-l creasca mare si sa il foloseasca in lucrarea Sa.

David Platt on Biblical Mahood and Womanhood

Click for David Platt RESOURCE PAGE

What better day to listen to David Platt giving the biblical perspective on manhood and womanhood, than on March 8 – the official international woman’s day.

adam eve gardenIn Part 1 – Platt gives a Summary of Manhood  & Womanhood in Genesis

Some of the Bible’s statements may sound chauvinistic or domineering in our contexts today, if they’re not understood in the context of the Scriptures’s teaching in Genesis 1&2. In part 1 we see 3 truths:

  1. Equal dignity. God created man and woman with equal dignity, both man and woman created in the image of God, and likeness of God, as representatives of  God. Man, not superior to woman, woman not superior to man. Any man who belittles a woman is violating the design of God. Any woman who disparages a man  is undercutting the beautiful design of God.
  2. Different roles. At the same time, men and women are created with different roles. Roles that don’t call into question one’s dignity and worth in any way. This is clear, we look to Genesis and walk through 8 reasons we know this is true. Man created to be the head, in a position of authority, Created first by the design of God with responsibility, representation, authority, entrusted by God. And woman, created to be the helper. Genesis 2:18 and 20 woman created as suitable helper for man, equal in dignity, different in roles in a complementary way, in a good way, not unfair, not demeaning. Cause God did this as a reflection of Himself and of the Trinity- God the Father, God the Son, God the Spirit- Equal in essence, worth, different in role. It’s not chauvinistic, domineering for God the Father to have authority over, and for God the Son to submit to God the Father. This is where we see, the understanding of the personhood of God is huge for understanding our own manhood and womanhood.
  3. For our good and His glory. So, He created all of us, men and women with equal dignity, different roles, for our good and His glory.

David Platt – Biblical Manhood and Womanhood Part 1

Platt recounts the points from the first part (video) and begins the second part message at the 9:30 minute mark.

Sin has woefully distorted those 2 roles. , and we bear, feel the effects of sin. Broken relations with men and women abound. Distorted ideas of manhood and womanhood abound all across our culture. What I want to show you is that it all goes back to Genesis 3.  Every detail is important. The anatomy and the consequence of sin are intertwined directly with manhood and womanhood. I want to show you how sin affects men differently than it affects women, how it expresses itself differently in man and in woman, how the results of sin are different in man and in woman. As sin expresses itself in man and in woman, we see how there’s an active picture and a passive picture.

Manhood-

  • Spineless abdication of his responsibility. This is the essence of what Adam did in verses 1-5. He stands by and does nothing. The serpent, in the very way he is tempting this couple, he is subverting the design of God. He does not come to the head (the man), he comes to woman. The serpent’s saying to woman, „Why don’t you lead the way? Why don’t you make this decision?” The serpent is undercutting the design of God, in the very way he is tempting. Then, when you get to verse 17, when God speaks directly to Adam, „Adam, because you have listened to the voice of your wife…” before He even addresses the fact that Adam ate the piece of fruit- direct disobedience to the command of God that Adam had been given. He says, „Fundamentally, you listened, instead of leading. You stood silently by, doing nothing.” Like a wimp, and then has the audacity, when God confronts his sin, to blame the woman.  Spineless abdication of responsibility in men, and dads, that is alive today because men refuse to lead. They sit and watch TV, play video games, surf the internet, who never come home from work, who don’t step up and take responsibility for wives and children. Males who think they are men, but in reality are little boys, shirking the responsibility that God Himself has entrusted to them. (13:00)
  • Aggressive: Selfish abuse of his authority. Then you go to the other extreme. And what you have is a more aggressive picture, selfish abuse of his authority. A man will rise up and say, „I’m not gonna be a wimp in this relationship, I’m gonna dominate this relationship. Some believe the end of v. 16 „he shall rule over you”, that word there is depicted of harsh, forceful, oppressive rulership, domineering, which is a distortion of God’s design. Headship does not equal domination, man’s controlling woman, man abusing his authority in his position of authority in the relationship. 
  • He will experience pain in his role of breadwinning. Notice of how punishment for sin in man’s life is then specifically linked to his responsibility. As a result of sin, man shall experience pain in his role of breadwinning. This is something that man was commanded to do in a way that woman was not commanded- working the ground and providing for the family. This is gender specific punishment for sin.

Womanhood-

  • Passive: Spineless dismissal of any responsibility. We can’t misunderstand the picture here. It’s not that woman was not responsible for her sin, here in Genesis 3. Man certainly had a level of responsibility, we see that when God confronts man for the accountability for sin, but, woman was obviously and clearly directly responsible for her disobedience to God. And, there’s a distorted picture, as a result of sin that leads, particularly when it comes to submission. Sin distorts this role and causes women to think, „Ok, well, if I’m the helper, he’s the head, then I’m not accountable for what I do. Maybe a woman sees her husband or her children doing something they should not be doing, she doesn’t do anything about it because she says, „That’s my role.” Or maybe she has a husband who is abusing her and she sits idly by, thinking that’s what submission is all about. That is a tragic distortion of biblical womanhood. God has created no woman to be a door mat. He’s created women with a responsibility towards God for how they think, for how they live, for the choices they make, the way they use and present their bodies. SIDE NOTE here- as we come up on summer here. I want to say to the women in our midst that you have a responsibility before God for the way that you dress for the summer, not to lead men into sin. Some would say, „Well, it’s their problem .” It is their problem and it is most definitely your problem. Do not do what Eve did in Genesis 3, leading your brother into sin. Run from every appearance of that. Guard your brother from sin in every way you can. 
  • Agressive: Selfish defiance against authority. In v. 16, as a result of sin, God says to the woman, „Your desire shall be for your husband.” Now, why is that bad, that the woman will desire the husband, as a result of sin? What does that mean- desire? You go to ch. 4:7, and you see the same word, the same language used when God is speaking to Cain about sin in his life. Listen to what God says to Cain, „If you do well Cain, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. It’s desire is for you. But, you must rule over it.” Same language there. Sin’s desire is for you. Is it good for sin to desire you? No. Sin’s desire is to overpower you, to oppose you, to work against you. That’s what sin does. And so, it’s the same picture that’s being used here in 3:16, when God says, „Your desire will be for your husband.” You will desire to overpower him, to oppose his leadership, to work against his leadership. This is defiance of his authority. Your desire will be to usurp his leadership with your own leadership. Not in a complementary way, but in a competitive way. The result of sin in you is you will say, „I wanna do this my way, my rule, regardless of what my husband says or does. I’m in charge here. That is a very sinful sense, desiring the authority that God has given to man.
  • She will experience pain in her role of childbearing. Here, the same way that we saw God’s punishment, uniquely fitted to man, we see God’s punishment and  sin uniquely fitted to women. As a result of sin, women will experience pain in her role of childbearing.Just as God had given man a specific role in providing, working the ground, God has uniquely given woman the role of bearing children. So, God says to woman, I will surely multiply your pain as a woman. You bring forth children. In other words, that which I have created you uniquely to do as a woman, will bring about pain in your life as a woman. You put this together and you realize just how much sin is intertwined with manhood and womanhood. This is not just a generic picture of sin in Genesis 3. This is a picture of sin that is a direct assault, from the adversary on manhood and womanhood , as God has designed it to be. (20:00)

Adam and Eve Casted Out from the Garden Genesis 3:24You can almost picture Satan, at the end of Genesis 3, just laughing, saying, „I’ve got things so distorted now, they’ll never figure this thing out.” You have aggressive man, and you say, „You need to be more passive.” You’ll have passive women, and you’ll say, „You need to stand up and be aggressive. Now, go back and forth between distortions, i.e. contemporary culture, and you’ll never get to the root of the issue. So, take us to the root of the issue: When you put all this together, and the results of Genesis 3 are all across this room.

So, what shall we do? This is the beauty, that in a sense, this is the worst chapter in the Bible. Genesis 3:15 is the promise of grace- the proto evangelion- the first Gospel. And it’s God saying, at the midst of the entrance of sin into the world, to the serpent, „I’m gonna raise up an offspring from woman, and He shall bruise your head, you will bruise His heel.” It’s a promise. God says, at the first entrance of sin in the world, „I’m going to send one, from woman, who is going to conquer sin and Satan and who will bring my redemption. And so, what shall we do, in light of the effects of sin on our marriages, in our homes, and our cultures, on manhood, and womanhood? What we must do is look to Christ. Because He is the one who conquers sin and its effects.

And this is the beauty, you realize. You come to Christ, you’re saved from sin. You trust in Christ as your Lord and Savior and follow the process of sanctification, where you and I, as followers of Christ are being made  in the image of Christ. Sanctification, all growing into the image of Christ. This is where we realize, that as you and I are conformed into the image of Christ, we’re not just conformed into the image of Christ generically. Certainly, some generalities across the board. But, we’re being formed into the image of men and women, and sanctification. If sin affected and is expressed in certain ways, among men and women, then  salvation and sanctification will then be expressed in certain ways among men and women. And our salvation in Christ is not just about becoming the people that God desired us to be, but, our salvation in Christ is about becoming the men and the women God desires us to be. Turning from sinful expressions of manhood, and womanhood, sinful inclinations of manhood and womanhood, to where in Christ be redeemed as the men and women He desires. SO, that’s where we come to God’s design.

This is God’s ideal- God’s design. None of us are there. How can we, from our unique situations, by the grace of Christ, pursue God’s design?

Manhood-

  • praying husband and wifeMan’s primary responsibility is to lead. 1 Corinthians 11, Ephesians 5, God has entrusted, in His design, from the beginning, man for the primary (not sole, but we’ll get to that) responsibility to lead, for the good of the woman. It was good in Genesis 1, and turned bad since Genesis 3. It was good in the design- good for man and for woman. This was not leadership for self appeasement, for self gratification, self exaltation.
  1. This is leadership for the good of others. Christ is our leader and He is good. He is a good leader, and so we gladly submit to Christ, our leader. God’s design , and that’s the whole picture, His design is for men to lead in a way that reflects Christ. Some say, „What about men who area abusive do women, domineering over women?” That’s not good, and that’s not God’s design. There’s a manual on church discipline from the 2nd century. And this manual gives the following instruction. „If there is a man that is abusing his wife in the church, the pastor should take 2 stout elders and go visit that home…”
  2. So it is for the good of woman, and ultimately for the glory of Christ. Man realizes that he is a leader under authority. Man is not the ultimate leader. He is the head. Christ is the head of man, and Christ is the ultimate leader, and man, in the design of God, never resumes the authority of Christ over woman. Man leads in a way that points woman to the authority of Christ. That’s God design from the beginning. That’s why God setup the whole picture, to show who Christ is. This is what drives men to lead: The good of woman and the glory of Christ.
  • In that, man is accountable to God for two things, based on what we see in the first 3 chapters.
  1. Man is accountable to God for protection of his wife and of women. It is clear here in chapter 3 that he does not protect his wife from the adversary. And this is what we see all throughout Scripture in spiritual warfare, in physical warfare, family warfare, man is protector for all of God’s people. In the Old Testament, it’s the men who go off to war, not women. In the New Testament, Joseph is told by God to protect Mary and the child, and go into Egypt. Men are commanded in the church, in the New Testament to protect the body.  In a general sense, we all know this. If you have 2 single guys, and 2 single ladies walking down the street together, and an attacker comes up, we all know it is not a sign of manhood for the men to step back and push the ladies forward. Spineless abdication. It is outside the design of God. Man is accountable to God for the protection of his wife.
  2. Man is accountable to God for provision in the home. When God doled out his punishment for sin, he’s directly addressing the responsibility He had given man to work and to provide for a family. A man feels accountability for provision. Now, it doesn’t mean sole accountability. The Bible’s not saying that it’s wrong for women to work outside the home, or to help provide for the family. But, the primary accountability here is upon man, the leader in the home. (29:00)

WOMANHOOD – 

  • woman prayingWoman’s primary responsibility is to support. She is a helper by God’s designGenesis 2. She is not devalued by that, but she is honored by that, in the same way the Son is honored by before the Father.
  1. She supports through a humble disposition that yields to man’s leadership. The reason I put disposition there is because I know there are all kinds of circumstances in this room. That’s what makes this issue really difficult to apply. I have yet to meet a woman who has a husband, that desires to show loving, Godly leadership, protection, provision, humble sacrificial care for her, I have yet to meet a woman that is complaining about that- that says God’s design is not good. Now, I’ve met a lot of women who have not seen that. But, when this is there, we see this is good. It’s very good. knowing that there’s all these circumstances in this room, knowing that there’s manhood nonexistent in many cases, the reason I use the word disposition, is because there is in the pattern of God, the design of God and inclination, a disposition that He has designed for women to desire that, in a good way, that kind of leadership. You might say, „What about a situation where you’ve got a wife that is really, really gifted? And the husband, not so gifted?” Should she still follow his leadership? Absolutely. This is the design of God, based on position, not on ability. Any husband is going to maximize his wife’s gifts
  2. With ultimate devotion to following Christ’s leadership. The husband is the head of the wife, but not ultimate head. Christ is the ultimate head. And, biblical womanhood does not say, „Whatever my husband tells me to do, I’ll do it, no matter what. No, biblical womanhood has a discerning spirit that is inclined to submit to a husband, but is further inclined to submit to Christ. And if her husband wants her to do something that goes directly against the word of Christ, she yields to Christ over him.
  3. Affirming her husband’s role. (35:00)
  4. Nurture in the home. She is equipped by God to nurture in the home, in a way that compliments a man’s leadership with the children. He protects, provides; she affirms and nurtures.

That is the ideal, and none of us are living in it. And, the temptation is to think, „I would, if my husband would get right.” Or, „I would, if my wife would start living out womanhood.” You could spend all day figuring out how to fix the other people in your life on this issue. But, let’s step back and see the application to our own lives. Let’s resist the temptation to shift blame and responsibility for lack of manhood and womanhood in our culture, in the church, in our families, and our lives. And, to say, „In my own life, how God, by your grace, can I be the man and woman you designed for me to be?

Overall exhortations to guide the application in our own lives:

MEN

Initiate humble, hardworking leadership. God made you to work hard, for the good of women, and the glory of His name. Work at leadership.

  1. in spiritual devotion. Is your wife and are your children flourishing in their relationships with Christ? 
  2. in marital duties. Don’t wait for your wife to come to you and say, „There’s some problems in our marriage and we need to talk about.” You initiate that conversation every single time. Turn off the TV, stop hiding on the ball field, behind the computer or at work. Go to her, as your wife, say, „How can I love you better?’ That’s your responsibility. Consistently and periodically sit down with her, and she will love you for it.
  3. in parental discipline. Men who don’t stand idly by, while their kids talk back to their wives. But use humble, loving discipline of children.
  4. in essential decision. It is not that men are supposed to make every single decision for his wife and family. But, that man will feel the overarching responsibility for decision making. That his wife and his children will look to him for leadership in decision making. That he’ll be known for making decisions for their good, and for the glory of Christ.
  5. amidst inevitable disagreements, in those tough decisions,  to lovingly, caringly, graciously, make the tough decisions, with a commitment to love, lead, guide, protect, shepherd his family in the implementation of that decision. This is not easy, brothers. None of us can do this on our own. That’s why Scriptures call us to look to Christ
  6. lay down your life to honor women. Honor your wife. Do not belittle our wife for her failures.
  7. train boys to be men. We need to show boys the humble responsibility, what it looks like in action.

WOMEN –

  1. incline yourselves toward wise, willing, submission. First and foremost to God, in constant prayer. Obviously, you need not submit yourself to abuse. You take that to a church.
  2. and then to men. If you are a wife, obviously, incline yourself to wise, willing submission to a husband, as best as you can, in a way that honors Christ.
  3. for the glory of Christ, live in a way that demonstrates Godly respect for men
  4. live in a way that shows girls how to be women.

David Platt – Biblical Manhood and Womanhood Part 2

Sin’s distortion of Manhood and Womanhood

it matters what (that) your kid reads

Jason Lee -Creative Kids Photography

Jason Lee -Creative Kids Photography


Did you ‘get’ the titles of the books these cute sisters are reading? As adults, we have come to know that reading the Bible is the best way to stay strong in our faith. However, we see many who struggle to „make themselves” read. So, it’s important to teach kids to like (if not love) to read.

What books will you recommend that your kids read? And how do you instill the love of reading in your kids? Here is a link on 10 ways to get kids excited about reading.(One example-Show your kids that reading will introduce them to new people, take them to faraway places, and let them travel through time. Start a family or neigborhood book group) If you click on #3 it will take you to a page where you can sign up for a free e-newsletter for Printable Worksheets and age specific Activities for the Family in the following age group ranges-    0-3     4-6     7-11     12-18.

Here’s how you can make reading a part of your kids’ everyday lives. by Cindy Bond


1. Show your kids that reading will introduce them to new people, take them to faraway places, and let them travel through time. Start a family or neigborhood book group.

2. Sign up your kids (and yourself) for a book club.

3. Print out these bookmarks and your kids will never lose their place again!

4. Make the connection between fact and fiction for your kids. If they loved Stellaluna, point them toward this quiz on bats.

5. Have your kids recommend their favorite books to friends and get their friends’ recommendations.

6. Turn your kids into supersleuths. After they read a book, they can create an unbreakable, crazy code.

7. Be sneaky! Take our kids on a „book nick.” It’s kind of like a picnic, only better!

8. Remember that practice makes perfect. Help your kids practice rhyming words, drawing lines and shapes, and moving their eyes and hands from left to right.

More on: Learning to Read Read more on FamilyEducation: http://school.familyeducation.com/reading-fun/parenting/38335.html#ixzz1v3P3rHO6

This picture reminds me of my own childhood… My dad had bookcases lining the walls of several rooms, he always had a book in his pocket in case he had to wait at an appointment, and even when he took us to the park to play he sat quietly on a bench and read. Like father, like daughter. He instilled the love of reading into me for which I am forever grateful. My favorite book? The wisest, the most interesting, historic, literary and redeeming book of all- the Bible!

Mami,cand credeai ca nu te vad

Videourile Vodpod nu mai sunt disponibile.

1st collector for YouTube – mami,cand credeai ca nu te vad
Follow my videos on vodpod

Family Series 16 – Single in Christ: A Name Better Than Sons and Daughters – John Piper

from Desiring God

Videourile Vodpod nu mai sunt disponibile.

Single in Christ: A Name Better Than Sons and D…, posted with vodpod

Isaiah 56:1-7

Thus says the Lord: “Keep justice, and do righteousness, for soon my salvation will come, and my deliverance be revealed. 2 Blessed is the man who does this, and the son of man who holds it fast, who keeps the Sabbath, not profaning it, and keeps his hand from doing any evil.” 3 Let not the foreigner who has joined himself to the Lord say, “The Lord will surely separate me from his people”; and let not the eunuch say, “Behold, I am a dry tree.” 4 For thus says the Lord: “To the eunuchs who keep my Sabbaths, who choose the things that please me and hold fast my covenant, 5 I will give in my house and within my walls a monument and a name better than sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name that shall not be cut off. 6 “And the foreigners who join themselves to the Lord, to minister to him, to love the name of the Lord, and to be his servants, everyone who keeps the Sabbath and does not profane it, and holds fast my covenant— 7 these I will bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer; their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.”

I will start and end with my main point and, in the middle, cover a wide terrain of Scripture to support it. My main point is that God promises those of you who remain single in Christ blessings that are better than the blessings of marriage and children, and he calls you to display, by the Christ-exalting devotion of your singleness, the truths about Christ and his kingdom that shine more clearly through singleness than through marriage and childrearing. The truths, namely,

  1. That the family of God grows not by propagation through sexual intercourse, but by regeneration through faith in Christ;1
  2. That relationships in Christ are more permanent, and more precious, than relationships in families (and, of course, it is wonderful when relationships in families are also relationships in Christ; but we know that is often not the case);
  3. That marriage is temporary, and finally gives way to the relationship to which it was pointing all along: Christ and the church—the way a picture is no longer needed when you see face to face;
  4. That faithfulness to Christ defines the value of life; all other relationships get their final significance from this. No family relationship is ultimate; relationship to Christ is.

To say the main point more briefly: God promises spectacular blessings to those of you who remain single in Christ, and he gives you an extraordinary calling for your life. To be single in Christ is, therefore, not a falling short of God’s best, but a path of Christ-exalting, covenant-keeping obedience that many are called to walk.

Better Blessings Than Sons and Daughters

Now let’s step back and look at the Scriptures. And here let me give credit to Barry Danylak for his research on this issue and his very helpful paper “A Biblical-Theological Perspective on Singleness” (PDF). Let’s start in the middle of the Bible at Isaiah 56:4-5,

Thus says the Lord: “To the eunuchs [those who cannot procreate but turn their lives into a unique service instead of marriage] who keep my Sabbaths, who choose the things that please me and hold fast my covenant, I will give in my house and within my walls a monument2 and a name better than sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name that shall not be cut off.”

God promises to bless obedient eunuchs with blessings that are better than sons and daughters. In other words, God promises those of you who remain single in Christ blessings that are better than the blessings of marriage and children.

The Bigger Picture in Redemptive History

But to see this more clearly we need to get the bigger picture. In the created order that God put in place before sin was in the world, and in the covenantal order that God put in place with the Jewish people from Abraham to the coming of Christ, “God is primarily building his covenant people through the mechanism of procreation.”3 God was focusing his covenant-keeping faithfulness mainly on an ethnic people. Therefore, being married and having offspring was of paramount importance for one’s name and one’s inheritance and for the preservation of God’s covenant people.

Creation

So in Genesis 1:28, the first thing God says to Adam and Eve is, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.” And in the account of Genesis 2:18, when woman was not yet created, God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.”

Abraham and Isaac

And when Abraham was chosen as the father of God’s people, God took him out and showed him the stars and said, “So shall your offspring be” (Genesis 15:5). And when Abraham could not have a son because of Sarah’s barrenness, Abraham said, “Oh that Ishmael might live before you!” But God answered, “No, . . . Sarah your wife shall bear you a son.” In other words, the physical offspring mattered. And it would come in God’s way.

God reaffirms the same to Isaac in Genesis 26:3: “I will be with you and will bless you, for to you and to your offspring I will give all these lands, and I will establish the oath that I swore to Abraham your father.” Again physical “offspring” are crucial for the covenant.

David and Saul

These offspring are crucial not only for the preservation of the covenant but also because a person’s name would end without children. So Saul asks David to swear that he will not cut off his offspring for the sake of his name. First Samuel 24:21: “Swear to me therefore by the Lord that you will not cut off my offspring after me, and that you will not destroy my name out of my father’s house.”

Levirate Marriage and Ruth

Remember the whole elaborate system of Levirate marriage—that is, the marriage of a man to his deceased brother’s wife so that the name of the deceased brother would not be lost. The rule was that the first son born would bear the dead brother’s name. Deuteronomy 25:6: “The first son whom she bears shall succeed to the name of his dead brother, that his name may not be blotted out of Israel.” That’s an amazing provision for the perpetuation of the name through physical seed.

The most famous instance of this is when Boaz agreed to marry Ruth to preserve the name of Elimelech her father-in-law and Mahlon her husband. Boaz said, “Ruth the Moabite, the widow of Mahlon, I have bought to be my wife, to perpetuate the name of the dead in his inheritance, that the name of the dead may not be cut off from among his brothers and from the gate of his native place. You are witnesses this day” (Ruth 4:10).

Jephthah’s Daughter

So you can see how crucial marriage and offspring and the preservation of a name and an inheritance were in Israel. No wonder that Jephthah’s daughter asked for two months not to bewail her impending death but that she was never married. Judges 11:37-38a: “She said to her father, ‘Let this thing be done for me: leave me alone two months, that I may go up and down on the mountains and weep for my virginity, I and my companions.’ So he said, ‘Go.’”

Isaiah’s Prophecy: “He Shall See His Offspring”

All of this is the background that makes Isaiah 56:5 shine like the sun to eunuchs and others without marriage and children: “Thus says the Lord: ‘To the eunuchs who keep my Sabbaths, who choose the things that please me and hold fast my covenant, I will give in my house and within my walls a monument and a name better than sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name that shall not be cut off.” So without marriage and without children. these covenant-keeping eunuchs get a name and a memorial better than sons and daughters.

Where did this amazing promise come from? What’s the basis of it and what is it pointing toward? Turn back to Isaiah 53. This is the great prophecy of the sufferings of Christ who “was wounded for our transgressions [and] . . . crushed for our iniquities” (Isaiah 53:5). In this chapter, we sometimes overlook these words in verse 10: “It was the will of the Lord to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.”

He shall see his offspring. Here is a great prophecy: When the Messiah dies as an “offering for guilt” and rises again to “prolong his days,” he will by that great saving act produce many children: He will “see his offspring.” In other words, the new people of God formed by the Messiah will not be formed by physical procreation but by the atoning death of Christ.

Which is why the next chapter (Isaiah 54) begins, “‘Sing, O barren one, who did not bear; break forth into singing and cry aloud, you who have not been in labor! For the children of the desolate one will be more than the children of her who is married,’ says the Lord” (Isaiah 54:1). And this is also why our text (Isaiah 56:5) says that unmarried covenant-keeping people will have “a monument and a name better than sons and daughters . . . [and] an everlasting name that shall not be cut off.” In the true people of God formed by Jesus Christ, monuments, names, offspring, and inheritances do not arise through marriage and procreation.

Jesus, Paul, and Peter

So when we come now to the New Testament, Jesus makes clear that his people—the true people of God—will be produced not by physical procreation but by spiritual regeneration. So he says to Nicodemus, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3).

And Paul says in Galatians 3 to the Jews and Gentiles alike, “Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham. . . . In Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith” (Galatians 3:7, 26). In other words, it is not physical descent from Abraham that makes you part of the covenant people of God but faith in Christ.

And Peter says that our inheritance comes not through marriage and offspring but through the work of Christ and the new birth: “According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you” (1 Peter 1:3-4).

So Jesus and Paul and Peter all say: Children are born into God’s family and receive their inheritance not by marriage and procreation but by faith and regeneration. Which means that single people in Christ have zero disadvantage in bearing children for God, and may in some ways have a great advantage. The apostle Paul was single in Christ, and he said of his converts, “Though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel” (1 Corinthians 4:15). Paul was a great father, and never married. And let him speak for single women in Christ in 1 Thessalonians 2:7: “We were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children.” So it will be said of many single women in Christ: She was a great mother and never married.

A Radical Relational Reordering

Take heed here lest you minimize what I am saying and do not hear how radical it really is. I am not sentimentalizing singleness to make the unmarried feel good. I am declaring the temporary and secondary nature of marriage and family over against the eternal and primary nature of the church. Marriage and family are temporary for this age; the church is forever. I am declaring the radical biblical truth that being in a human family is no sign of eternal blessing, but being in God’s family means being eternally blessed. Relationships based on family are temporary. Relationships based on union with Christ are eternal. Marriage is a temporary institution, but what it stands for lasts forever. “In the resurrection,” Jesus said, “they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven” (Matthew 22:30).

And when his own mother and brothers asked to see him, Jesus said, “‘Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?’ And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers!’” (Matthew 12:48-49). Jesus is turning everything around. Yes, he loved his mother and his brothers. But those are all natural and temporary relationships. He did not come into the world to focus on that. He came into the world to call out a people for his name from all the families into a new family where single people in Christ are full-fledged family members on a par with all others, bearing fruit for God and becoming mothers and fathers of the eternal kind.

“Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts at which you nursed!” a woman cried out to Jesus. And he turned and said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!” (Luke 11:27). The mother of God is the obedient Christian—married or single! Take a deep breath and reorder your world.

“Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel,” Jesus said, “who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life” (Mark 10:29-30). Single person, married person, do you want children, mothers, brothers, sisters, lands? Renounce the primacy of your natural relationships and follow Jesus into the fellowship of the people of God.

Let Him Who Is Able to Receive This Receive It

What shall we say then in view this great biblical vision of the secondary and temporary nature of marriage and procreation? We will say what Jesus and Paul said. Jesus said in Matthew 19:12, “There are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let the one who is able to receive this receive it.” We need not take this (“made themselves eunuchs”) to mean any kind of physical sterilization any more than we take Jesus’ words “tear out your right eye” to mean physically blinding ourselves. But it does mean that Jesus approves that some of his followers renounce marriage and sexual activity for the sake of serving Christ’s kingdom. “Let him who is able to receive this receive it.”

That is what Paul chose for himself and what he encouraged others to consider in 1 Corinthians 7. “To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is good for them to remain single as I am. . . . I want you to be free from anxieties. The unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to please the Lord. But the married man is anxious about worldly things, how to please his wife . . . . I say this . . . to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord” (1 Corinthians 7:8, 32-33, 35). In other words, some are called to be “eunuchs” for the kingdom of God. Paul speaks about each having his own gift: “one of one kind, one of another” (1 Corinthians 7:7). In other words, “Let him who is able to receive this receive it.”

Better Blessings

So now we end where we began with all this Scripture in our mind. God promises those of you who remain single in Christ blessings that are better than the blessings of marriage and children.

If someone asks, wouldn’t it be better to have both? The blessings of marriage and the blessings of heaven? There are two answers to that question. One is that you will find out someday, and better to learn it now, that the blessings of being with Christ in heaven, are so far superior to the blessings of being married and raising children and that asking this question will be like asking: Wouldn’t it be better to have the ocean and the thimble full? And the second answer is that marriage and singleness both present us with unique trials and unique opportunities for our sanctification. There will be unique rewards for each, and which is greater will not depend on whether you were married or single, but on how you responded to each.

So I say it again to all singles in Christ: God promises you blessings in the age to come that are better than the blessings of marriage and children.

Uniquely Displaying the Glories of Christ

And with this promise there comes a unique calling and a unique responsibility. It is not a calling to extend irresponsible adolescence into your thirties. It is a calling to do what only single men and women in Christ can do in this world, namely, to display by the Christ-exalting devotion of your singleness the truths about Christ and his kingdom that shine more clearly through singleness than through marriage. As long as you are single, this is your calling: to so live for Christ as to make it clearer to the world and to the church

  1. That the family of God grows not by propagation through sexual intercourse, but by regeneration through faith in Christ;
  2. That relationships in Christ are more permanent, and more precious, than relationships in families;
  3. That marriage is temporary, and finally gives way to the relationship to which it was pointing all along: Christ and the church—the way a picture is no longer needed when you see face to face;
  4. And that faithfulness to Christ defines the value of life; all other relationships get their final significance from this. No family relationship is ultimate; relationship to Christ is.

To him be glory in the Christ-exalting drama of marriage and the Christ-exalting drama of the single life. Amen

1 I borrow here from the expression of Barry Danylak, “A Biblical-Theological Perspective on Singleness” (PDF), p. 15. “The propagation of the people of God in the New Testament occurs not through physical procreation as in the Old Testament, but rather through spiritual regeneration.” This is an unpublished paper and reflects Barry’s present doctoral studies at Cambridge University. This sermon has drawn heavily on Barry’s approach to the issue of singleness in the Bible.

2 The literal translation of the Hebrew is: “within my walls a hand and a name better than sons and daughters.” For the sense behind the word hand (translated as monument), compare 2 Samuel 18:18 where Absalom says, “‘I have no son to keep my name in remembrance.’ He called the pillar after his own name, and it is called Absalom’s hand to this day” (literal rendering, usually rendered “monument”). Absalom had built this memorial by himself and for himself (v. 18a). So he had extended his memory into the future by his own hand. Perhaps then the idea of hand is that the good that comes to us in the future or the memorial that keeps us in remembrance in the future is our ongoing effect as though our hand were still active.

By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website: desiringGod.org

8 Tips for Talking to Kids about the Sermon (via) Joe Holland

Daca aveti copii (mai mici) Joe Holland (tata la 4 baieti sub virsta de 8 ani) explica practic cum sa analizam predica in particular cu copii nostri. Imi place ce spune la punctul #7-Sa ii urmezi pe drumuri de fuga dupa iepuri (adica sa ii lasi sa ia o tangenta diferita ca sa ii intelegi cum gindesc ei- deci sa nu ii taiem din discutie si sa ii aducem abrupt inapoi la subiect. Astfel invatam modul lor de a rationaliza ceia ce au inteles  din predica, si putem sa ne formam raspunsurile noastre conform  intelesului lor).

They sit there next to you and their feet don’t even hit the floor.  You’re thinking, “What, if anything of this guy’s sermon is sinking into my kid’s head?”  And with that little thought you’ve already decided not to engage your child about the sermon.  But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Let me introduce you to the most important rule when talking to your kids about the sermon: They retain more than you think they do. The second most important rule is like it: They understand more than you think they do.

In the interest of these two truths I’m writing this brief guide on how to talk to your kids about a sermon.  I’m writing it both as a preacher and as a parent of four boys under the age of 8.  I’ve failed, succeeded, and failed some more at talking to my kids about Jesus.  Hopefully the tips you find below will help you as they’ve helped me.

At the heart of the gospel is Jesus introducing us to his loving Father.  In worship we get to make a similar introduction—we get to introduce our kids to Jesus.  Don’t miss that opportunity.

8 Tips for Talking to your Kids about the Sermon

  1. Remember the outline. It doesn’t matter if you keep written notes or not.  Remember the gist of what is being taught.  If your pastor preaches for 40 minutes, then try to make a mental note of what you’ve covered at the 20 minute point.  Don’t be discouraged if you can’t get every point.  Get as many of the big ones as you can.
  2. Know the one, main point. Every passage and every sermon—no matter what your pastor says—has a main point.  Grab it when you see it go by and don’t let go.  And as a word of caution, every preacher has a bad day.  Sometimes the structure of the sermon looks like a piece of abstract art.  If so, do the best you can.  But don’t let the guy close in prayer without having a main point in your head.
  3. How is Jesus the hero? Now that you have an outline and main point, make sure you have Jesus too.  How was Jesus the hero of the sermon?  Kids are incorrigibly self-centered—and so are a few adults.  Make sure you have a ton to say about Jesus, no matter what the passage or where the preacher went with it.  Without an emphasis on Jesus your little saints will grow up thinking that the Bible is all about them.
  4. Engage your kids with open ended questions. You know the outline and you can keep to the main point.  You know you’re going to talk a ton about Jesus.  Now engage your kids with any kind of question you can think of… except ones that can be answered, “yes” or “no”.  Here are some examples:
    • In the story questions: “What would have thought if you were an Israelite soldier and saw big ol’ Goliath walking up to little David?”
    • Emotions questions: “If you were blind, how would you feel if Jesus put his hands on your eyes and fixed them so they could see?”
    • Leading questions: “The rich young ruler was wrong because he thought he could earn God’s favor.  Why is it silly to think we can earn God’s favor by doing enough good things?”
    • Action questions: “What would you have done if Jesus had made a hurricane turn into a cool breeze right in front of you?”
    • Application questions: “If Jesus has forgiven you, do you think you can forgive Tommy when he wings a Tonka truck at your head?”
    • Use your imagination questions: You know your kids best.  Make up some questions.
  5. Make sure the gospel is clear. Jesus died for sinners. It’s very simple and can get very complex.  But no matter the passage, don’t you dare teach your kids moralism.  Tell them that Jesus has done everything necessary for them to know that God is overjoyed with them.  When you tell them to do something, feel something, or think something, show them how those things are motivated by God’s love and not by fear, guilt, or pride.
  6. Be the first to pray and confess. Talking to your kids about the sermon is as much letting them watch you learn from the sermon as it is teaching them about the sermon.  If the preacher is helping your congregation diagnose sin, show your kids how it affected you.  You could say, “You know, sometimes, daddy struggles with being angry.  And it’s then that I realize I really need Jesus.”  And when it comes time to pray, let them pray after you.  Model for them what it looks like for a Christian to talk to God.
  7. Chase rabbit trails. Your kids will lead you down them.  Go with them.  You’ll find out a ton about how they think.  And you may just enjoy the unexpected stroll off the beaten path.
  8. Remember the first two rules. After all this, it may be you feel like it was a complete waste of time.  It’s at that point you must remember the first two rules:
    • They retain more than you think they do.
    • They understand more than you think they do.

And I promise you this, they will remember these times with you.  They will forget a ton.  But they won’t forget Sunday afternoons with daddy and mommy talking about Jesus.

(via) Kingdom People/Trevin Wax

Mission Impossible-Do your kids and your family do this? Invata de la toate…

In 2008 Biserica ‘The Branch Church’ a facut acest video, si a indrumat parintii sa isi invete copiii sa isi gaseasca refugiu si, sa pretuiasca timpul petrecut in famile.  Biserica a si creat cite un eveniment lunar unde familiile se adunau impreuna la Biserica pentru ‘family time’. Frumoasa ilustratie!

Blogosfera Evanghelică

Vizite unicate din Martie 6,2011

free counters

Va multumim ca ne-ati vizitat azi!


România – LIVE webcams de la orase mari