Of all the things I've read on this historic day, Dr. Mohler has said it the best. Take some time to read this from his website albertmohler.com
1. Make sure your faith is only something you live out in public
Go to church... at least most of the time. Make sure you agree with what you hear the preacher say, and affirm on the way home what was said especially when it has to do with your kids obeying, but let it stop there. Don’t read your Bible at home. The pastor will say everything you need to hear on Sundays. Don’t engage your children in questions they have concerning Jesus and God. Live like you want to live during the week so that your kids can see that duplicity is ok.
2. Pray only in front of people
The only times you need to pray are when your family is over, holiday meals, when someone is sick, and when you want something. Besides that, don’t bother. Your kids will see you pray when other people are watching, no need to do it with them in private.
3. Focus on your morals
Make sure you insist your kids be honest with you. Let them know it is the right thing for them to do, but then feel free to lie in your own life and disregard the need to tell them and others the truth. Get very angry with your children when they say words that are “naughty” and “bad”, but post, read, watch, and say whatever you want on TV, Facebook, and Twitter. Make sure you focus on being a good person. Be ambiguous about what this means.
4. Give financially as long as it doesn’t impede your needs
Make a big deal out of giving at church. Stress the need to your children the value of tithing, while not giving sacrificially yourself. Allow them to see you spend a ton of money on what you want, while negating your command from Scripture to give sacrificially.
5. Make church community a priority... as long as there is nothing else you want to do
Hey, you are a church going family, right? I mean, that’s what you tell your friends and family anyways. Make sure you attend on Sundays. As long as you didn’t stay up too late Saturday night. Or your family isn’t having a big barbeque. Or the big game isn’t on. Or this week you just don’t feel like it. Or... I mean, you're a church-going family, so what’s the big deal?
The first experience I had with Charles Spurgeon was in his devotional book Morning and Evening. My mom gave it to me when I was a junior in college and it completely changed how I studied God's Word. In the book there is a verse for the morning and evening of every day of the year. Each verse is followed by an exposition/devotion by Spurgeon. The beauty of his work is every devotional thought points to the cross, regardless of where the verse is found or how long it is. Since then I have read several of his writings and have grown to love his heart.
I am currently taking Baptist Heritage at SWBTS and one of the requirements is a research paper on a Baptist hero from a list of eight. Spurgeon was on the list and without hesitation I chose him and started my research. I've been overwhelmed by the example he has set for pastors of all generations regardless of cultural happenings. He was extremely and simply focused on two things; prayer and gospel centered preaching.
Spurgeon fervently prayed for revival. He knew if true revival was going to come it would only come from the hand of God. Soon after becoming the pastor of
“The times of refreshing from the presence of the Lord have at last dawned upon our land. Everywhere there are signs of aroused activity and increased earnestness. When I came to
Prayer was at the core and Spurgeon knew that full well but another key contributor to the revival was gospel centered preaching. Spurgeon said…
“Sound doctrine and loving invitation make a good basis of material, which, when modeled by the hand of prayer and faith, will form sermons of far more value in the saving of souls than the most philosophic essays prepared elaborately, and delivered with eloquence and propriety.”
It seems he took 1 Corinthian 2:1-5 to heart. He believed in the life giving power of scripture and believed it alone had the power to free dead souls from the bondage of sin. He said…
“There is a style and majesty about God’s Word, and with this majesty a vividness never found elsewhere. No other writing has within it a heavenly life that works miracles and even imparts life to its reader. It’s a living and incorruptible seed. It moves, it stirs itself, it lives, it communes with living men as the living Word. Solomon says concerning it, ‘It shall talk with thee.’ You need not bring life to Scripture. You should draw life from Scripture.”
As a young minister of the gospel I hope to have half the confidence in God’s saving power as Spurgeon. He truly believed in the sovereignty and providence of God. We must remove ourselves completely if we expect God to move in our lives, our families, our churches, and our world. I think if Charles Spurgeon was to charge young preachers today he would give the same charge Paul gave Timothy.
“All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” 2 Timothy 3:16-4:5
If you have watched any of the news this week you have probably heard of the uprising in Tunisia over political repression and severe economic issues. Some have taken it so far as to completely burn themselves in order to be heard. Tunisia is one of several countries in Northern Africa with less than 1% evangelicals and more than 99% of the population is considered Muslim. The radical action of the Tunisian people is a common factor in the Muslim world. Their willingness to sacrifice themselves for Islam is shocking. From suicide bombers in Iraq to rioters in Tunisia, the dedication is outrageous.
When I see this dedication I am reminded of Elijah and the prophets of Baal at Mount Carmel. 2 Kings 18:28-29 says of the prophets, “They cried with a loud voice and cut themselves according to their custom with swords and lances until the blood gushed out on them. When midday was past, they raved until the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice; but there was no voice, no one answered, and no one paid attention.” Here we see tremendous dedication and self sacrifice to a god that does not exist. After their dancing and worship there was no response. Not because their god was asleep but because he was dead.
The nations are crying out for salvation but their god is dead. They are screaming to be heard but no one will listen. Their sacrifices are tremendous but have no value. When we see the nations crying out it should split us to our core. But does it? Are we broken by their desperation? Listen to Elijah’s prayer later in chapter 18. “O Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, today let it be known that You are God in Israel and that I am Your servant and I have done all these things at Your word. Answer me, O Lord, answer me, that this people may know that You, O Lord, are God, and that You have turned their heart back again.” Can you hear the brokenness in Elijah’s voice? Can you feel his desperation?
As we know God answered Elijah’s prayer. Fire fell from heaven and consumed the altar and the people cried out, “The Lord He is God, the Lord He is God.” The people of Tunisia are crying out. They are longing to be heard. Let us pray with desperation for God to draw these people to Himself. May their cry turn from upheaval to praise.
“Oh how I love your law! It is my meditation all the day.” Psalm 119:97
In November of 2008, I went on my first cruise. If you’ve been on a cruise you know one of the first things you do is the emergency test. The best part of the test for me was the life jacket. Each person on the ship is assigned a life jacket and this is no grandpa’s old boat life jacket. This jacket is intense. It has whistles and flashers and possibly even GPS. As we stood there on the ship with everyone in their life jackets waiting for the test to end, I was intrigued. Everyone was so calm and happy. Why? Because it was only a test. We were about to take off on an amazing voyage. We were standing on one of the most beautiful ships in the world.
During the test the life jacket is important. You trust the life jacket and you believe in its significance but it is just a means to an end. If the ship began to sink you would still see the jacket as important. You would believe in it and trust it just as you had before. But it would take on a whole new meaning. It would be your survival. It would be your hope. It would be everything to you.
How do we feel about God’s word? Are we desperate for it for survival, or is it a just the norm for our “Christian life cruise.” Often times I see the comforts of our life keeping us from desperation. Christians in the darkest parts of the world put their lives at stake by simply meeting to hear the word of God read and it is enough for them. Christians in