Submission To Jesus

“As we submit to the claims of Christ and the demands of the Gospel, we receive Jesus by grace through faith. He comes into our lives in the Person of the Holy Spirit, plants a flag on the beach of our souls, and radios back to heaven that we now belong to our rightful Father, and no longer to the father of lies.

Following Jesus means submitting to Him in every area of our lives. We may not pick and choose with Jesus. He is not Someone for merely a part of our lives, at our beck and call whenever we like; He is Lord of all, and that means Lord of all our lives, every moment, every situation, for our good and His glory . . .

. . . We do not claim Jesus, or possess Him. Quite the opposite, in fact.”

T. M. Moore

Crisis in Biblical Literacy

From Michael S. Horton in a recent White Horse Inn email . . .

There’s a crisis of biblical literacy on three levels:

1. The basic storyline – including famous episodes and characters in Scripture – meet blank stares, even with young people raised in the church.

2. Many who can identify key names and events express confusion about how it all fits together. They might have pieces of the puzzle, but they don’t know the big picture.

3. Still fewer of those who can put it together can explain it to someone else. And because they don’t understand the drama of redemptive history, they unwittingly revise the entire story.

The Bible In 240 Words

God is the sovereign, transcendent and personal God who has made the universe, including us, his image-bearers. Our misery lies in our rebellion, our alienation from God, which, despite his forbearance, attracts his implacable wrath.

But God, precisely because love is of the very essence of his character, takes the initiative and prepared for the coming of his own Son by raising up a people who, by covenantal stipulations, temple worship, systems of sacrifice and of priesthood, by kings and by prophets, are taught something of what God is planning and what he expects.

In the fullness of time his Son comes and takes on human nature. He comes not, in the first instance, to judge but to save: he dies the death of his people, rises from the grave and, in returning to his heavenly Father, bequeaths the Holy Spirit as the down payment and guarantee of the ultimate gift he has secured for them—an eternity of bliss in the presence of God himself, in a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.

The only alternative is to be shut out from the presence of this God forever, in the torments of hell. What men and women must do, before it is too late, is repent and trust Christ; the alternative is to disobey the gospel (Romans 10:16;2 Thessalonians 1:81 Peter 4:17).

D. A. Carson in “The Biblical Gospel” in For Such a Time as This: Perspectives on Evangelicalism, Past, Present and Future, ed. Steve Brady and Harold Rowdon (London: Evangelical Alliance, 1986), 80

[HT:  Of First Importance]


Book Review: Intentional Parenting

It’s a snow-and-sleet-stay-home-from-work-and-school-day here at our house today.  What a great day to read a book about gospel-centered parenting!  ‘Cause I’m telling you, there’s nothing like having one third grader sick with flu and twin pre-teens cooped up in the house with a tired mom and a grouchy dad to make a parent acutely aware of his need for grace. [Pause for giant sigh.]

Most parents would probably stay away from a book on parenting on a day when “FAIL!” could be stamped on the living room family photo.  But Tad Thompson’s book didn’t beat me up.  Oh, don’t get me wrong, Tad’s book makes clear the responsibilities I have as a Christian parent, but it also makes clear the gospel of grace that sustains responsible parenting.  Intentional Parenting: Family Discipleship by Design encouraged me today.  I was reminded that God does indeed expect me to disciple my children, but that through his gospel and his people and his Spirit he also will equip and empower me to do that which he expects.

Here are a few things I like about this little primer on parenting:

  • Tad’s writing is clear, engaging, illustrative, and biblical.
  • He always goes back to the gospel, both as the core curriculum and motivation for family discipleship.
  • The Bible doesn’t say much about parenting really, but Tad teaches from the major passages of Scripture that do (i. e. Deuteronomy 6, Psalm 78, Ephesians 6, etc.).
  • I appreciated his brief and accessible explanation of the seven categories of biblical teaching that we need to use to train our children:  Gospel, the Big Story (biblical theology), the Big Truths (systematic theology), the Great Commission, the spiritual disciplines, Christian living, and biblical worldview.  See?  I just typed all of those in order without looking back.  And though some of these words may scare parents who feel inadequate to teach the Bible to their kids, Tad does a great job of explaining these categories in a way that removes the threat.
  • I love how Tad broadens our understanding of family discipleship as training that involves more than just having “family devotions” but as a whole-life curriculum of both planned and unplanned teaching opportunities.  And he gives practical suggestions on how to use those opportunities.
  • The book is set up for use as a study guide for couples and small groups.  At the end of each chapter Tad includes questions that help the reader immediately put into practice the principles he’s given them.
  • The suggested reading list at the back of the book is a great resource for parents.  (I would add Robert Vaughn’s God’s Big Picture: Tracing the Storyline of the Bible to the “Big Story” reading list.  That short book has connections with two of the other books on his list and is a great introduction to understanding the Bible as a whole.)

This book is a fantastic introduction to gospel-centered family discipleship.  I am the pastor for discipleship at our church and I plan to recommend (if only I could require!) this book to every parent in our congregation.  I will especially be looking for opportunities to use this to train new and young parents.

In my twenty plus years of youth ministry I have seen the fruit of the lack of family discipleship, legalistic family discipleship, and also loving, grace-based family discipleship in the students I’ve served.  It doesn’t matter so much what the youth group does or doesn’t do, or whether your kids go to public, private, or home schools, if they are trained by word and example at home to repent and believe the gospel, they are more likely (though not guaranteed, as Tad explains) to treasure Jesus.  If you want to know how to build that kind of family life, Tad Thompson has designed a plan for you in Intentional Parenting.

Oh, and Tad wants to talk with you about his book and about your adventure in parenting at his new blog