Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The spiritual lives of busy moms

Modern Reformation ran a good article by a mom of two younglings about feeling like a second-class Christian. I'm sorry it's not available on-line without an account, but I think a summary may still be helpful.

Moms' days are filled with sippy cups, bottles, diapers, Elmo, crayons, chores, church activities, and occasional moments of coveted nap-time solitude. Their individual spiritual practices? Let's just say they don't involve hours spent alone under the trees with their Bible.

How can they stay spiritually healthy, much less grow in grace, without quiet time and the spiritual disciplines?

Conventional advice recommends two or three minutes of Bible reading, a little bit of journaling, a snatch of prayer, etc. All helpful suggestions. But something really big is missing from this counsel and much of evangelicalism.

Here's the key question, who is responsible for sanctification? Ultimately it's not up to us. Self-betterment has nothing to do with sanctification, even when the attempts are to better ourselves spiritually.

Thus sanctification is not a work you undertake through various methods and disciplines, but an amazing act of God's grace. You simply turn to him in your brokenness and receive from him the treasure of grace. This is fundamentally different from believing that it is up to you to cultivate spiritual growth through the faithful practice of spiritual disciplines.

So, if it's not ultimately up to you to assure your own growth in Christ, then how do you grow spiritually? Do you just sit around waiting for God to do something?

When we look to the early church members' own practice, they "devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer" (Acts 2:42). In other words, they listened to the Word preached in fellowship with other believers and reflected on it; they made it a priority to be there when the church celebrated the Lord's Supper; and they were consistent in prayer-not just on their own, but with other believers.

These are the "means of grace"--the places where we can expect God to meet us, and the manner in which we know he will sanctify us. Your spiritual life is shaped by meeting with God in the presence of his people and hearing the Word preached by someone set apart to preach it.

You are not sentenced to second-class status in the Kingdom of God because you are a busy mom. The Lord is faithful and he has promised to complete the work he began in you (Phil. 1:6).

Monday, May 25, 2009

Pig Roast!

The Newnams have proven again to be "good people". They opened their home and acerage and roasted 80 pounds of pork to provide a great time of fellowship for our church family.

I didn't do too well documenting the great time we all had, but hopefully other church blogs will make up for my lack of photos. One picture I wish I would have thought to take was Zeke asleep in the car before I even started the engine to head home. That's a sign of a good time!

Why Memorial Day is Worth Remembering

Pastor Kevin DeYoung on why Memorial Day is worth remembering:

"This may be controversial to some, but I believe the facts of history will demonstrate that on the whole, the United States military has been a force for good in the world. Obviously, as a military power, we have blundered at times, both individually and corporately. But on the whole, the men and women of our armed services have fought and are fighting for causes that promote freedom, defend the rights of human beings, and reject tyranny. War is still hell and a tragic result of the fall. Praise God for his promise to one day end all human conflict. But in a world where people are evil by nature and leaders are not always reasonable and countries do not always have good intentions, war is sometimes the way to peace–at least the best peace we can hope for between peoples and nations this side of heaven.

So thank God for a day to remember God’s common grace to America and his special grace in enlisting us, poor weak soldiers that we are, in service to Christ our Captain and conquering King."

Read the whole thing.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Graduation Celebration

I commend my wife for another fine year schooling the children. Besides a little help from me, we were also assisted this year by RGES (1 day of classes per week for Eli) and Oak Grove (2 days per week for Grace and Isaiah). Next year we plan to continue with RGES for Eli and Grace.

To celebrate the end of the school year (we finished yesterday) we did Charles E. Cheese, Chick-Fil-A, a park, and then the library for a fresh supply of books. We finished the day off with a free dinner at the Officer's Club. It was family night and they had a kid's buffet, a clown, games, and prizes. Faith was excited to win!

Kristin also had the bright idea of having the children set goals for this summer. We hope that provides some good motivation for all of us.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

9 signs of life

I've enjoyed reading a letter a day from the pen of one of the great Scottish puritan Presbyterians. The Letters of Samuel Rutherford (1660-1661) were mostly written during his imprisonment for the sake of the Gospel.

This excerpt from my reading today provides a good example of the richness of 17th-century devotional literature:

Loving Brother, Hold fast Christ without wavering, and contend for the faith. You may put a difference betwixt you and reprobates (those without Christ), if you have these marks,

1. If ye prize Christ and his truth so as ye will sell all and buy him, and suffer for it.

2. If the love of Christ keepeth you back from sinning, more than the law, or fear of Hell.

3. If ye be humble, and deny your own will, wit, credit, ease, honor, the world, and the vanity and glory of it.

4. Your profession must not be barren and void of good works.

5. Ye must in all things aim at God's honor; ye must eat, drink, sleep, buy, sell, sit, stand, speak, pray, read, and hear the word, with a heart-purpose that God may be honored.

6. Ye must show yourself an enemy to sin, and reprove the works of darkness, such as drunkenness, swearing, and lying, albeit the company should hate you for so doing.

7. Keep in mind the truth of God, that ye heard me teach, and have nothing to do with the corruptions and new guises entered into the house of God.

8. Make conscience of your calling (as a Christian), in covenants, in buying and selling.

9. Acquaint yourself with daily praying; commit all your ways and actions to God, by prayer, supplication, and thanksgiving; and count not much of being mocked; for Christ Jesus was mocked before you.

Monday, May 18, 2009


He's too modest to just blurt it out, but Justin was recently named a Distinguished Graduate of Squadron Officer School! This is a high honor in the Air Force and sets him apart from most of his peer group. Way to go, Justin!

Parenting a Child's Heart

Paul Tripp in a recent interview was asked these practical questions.

Is there a valid way to use guilt and threats to motivate good behavior? Yes...(more)

Is it ever OK to use "materialistic rewards" for immediate, temporary needs, such as keeping your child quiet for the next 10 minutes in church? Sure...(more)

For some more great parenting advice, read the classic by his brother, Tedd Tripp.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

When pastors knew their office

The Gospel Ministry is remarkable in that this 18th century ordination sermon given by an obscure, young man now serves as a judgment sign upon 21st century pastorates.

Foxcroft understood faithfulness to God in a minister's character, preaching, care for a flock, the needs of souls, diligence in selflessness, and the source of strength. He served faithfully in the same church from the time of his ordination until his death.

I'm grateful that Soli Deo Gloria re-published this handsome little book; it's a needful reminder about the office of pastor.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

Dedicated to my amazing wife...

HT: Steppin Heavenward

Monday, May 04, 2009

Moms Stay Out

We all enjoy the Mom's Day Out that some kind ladies in our church offer. We know Faith enjoys it, too. She calls it Moms Stay Out!, which I guess makes sense to her.