In the same spirit as what I call, Kingdom Discipleship, this is Session 1, from Tony Evans' video series, Kingdom Man. I'm not sure if the other five sessions are available online, but I thought this was worth sharing as it is such a vital message for men today to hear and embrace. Our culture is in desperate need for Kingdom Men who will faithfully follow the Lord Jesus Christ into every sphere of life.
Every now and then God is particularly good. Of course he’s always good, but every now and then his goodness is lavished in our lives in such a way that we immediately sense how undeserving we really are.
That was how I felt about 17 years ago when I stumbled upon a book that revolutionized my faith, ministry, and life. The book is entitled, The Micah Mandate, by George Grant. (Get this book!) It’s a marvelous, God-honoring study of what a biblical worldview is and how it should ignite those who hold it dear. Up to that point I had read every book around on the subject of Christian worldview, but those books seemed to only focus on the abstract and philosophical. Grant’s book expanded my world and broadened my horizons. He emphasized that worldview isn’t just something for the ivory towers of academia, but for all of life. Our worldview – our treasured faith – is for every sphere of life. I haven’t been the same since.
With that book's influence moving throughout my heart and mind, I began a weekly men’s discipleship ministry about a year later. My hope was that a few men would gather together around God’s Word and be saturated and transformed by it. I prayed that men would be renewed and revived. I deeply desired that biblical, God-glorifying, Christ-exalting, Spirit-filled disciples would be born – men who would change the world – beginning with themselves, then in and through their families, workplaces, churches, communities, the culture, and then perhaps, one day, the world. God honors such efforts. Reformation and revival happens in such ways.
My hope for the men’s ministry way back then, as it is today, was for God to penetrate the hearts, minds, and souls of our men with his Word, so thoroughly, that he would cultivate in their lives a framework (worldview) for viewing, interpreting, and applying their faith in every sphere of life. God has been pleased to work mightily in the lives of many of our men in such a way. Soli Deo Gloria.
Grace and Truth,
Far and away one of the best books I’ve ever read on child-rearing is Standing on the Promises, by Doug Wilson. If you were to ask to borrow my copy, I’m not sure it would do you any good because you probably wouldn’t be able to read the words from all my notes and markings.
However, if you are looking for a “how to” book to help you raise your children, this is not the book for you. While the book is not without practical application, Wilson is far less concerned with giving you twelve easy steps to parenting godly kids as he is with giving you a firm foundation upon which to do so. But, I hasten to add, the book is anything but abstract and impractical. It is encouraging, instructive, and even inspiring. I heartily recommend it to any and all parents who are seeking to raise godly children in this ungodly age.
Here are a few choice quotes from the first chapter that I think are worth passing on…
The Fountainhead of Culture
The biblical family is an instituted government, established by God at the very beginning of human history. The constitution for this government was written by him, and revealed to us in his Word.
Parents bring up their children to be colonists at the proper time, planting families of their own.
Consequently, each family is designed to be a culture – with a language, customs, traditions, and countless unspoken assumptions. God has made the world in such a way that children who grow up in the culture of the family are to be shaped and molded by it. The duty of the husband and father is to ensure that the shaping is done according tot he standards of the Word of God.
[A common problem among modern Christians] is that of forgetting the family is a culture at all, and allowing, by default, outside cultural influences to take primacy in how the children are shaped. When the biblical cultural mandate for the home is abandoned in the home, the vacuum will not be there for long.
By nature, children are malleable. They will either be shaped lawfully, by those commanded by God to perform the task, or they will be shaped unlawfully, by outsiders. But as children, they will be shaped.
I've shared this piece a number of times over the years, primarily because of the impact Ken Boa made (and continues to make) in my life. I also share it because, in many ways, his influence shows up in much of how I think and minister, as well as what I write. When I begin a new website, (or a website reboot), I try to make sure I include this small gesture of gratitude. I now appreciate the time and effort Ken invested in me as much as when I first wrote this.
Any person who has ever taken a class I have taught has heard the name “Ken Boa” more times than they ever wanted. Ken was a mentor of mine from 1989-1992, while I attended seminary in Atlanta.
I first “discovered” him through an audio tape someone let me listen to. After that, I went to the seminary library and read everything I could get my hands on. I also started attending as many of Ken’s Bible studies and small groups as possible.
Sometimes, at seminary, students can actually become spiritually malnourished as God becomes more of an object to be studied rather than a Person to be loved. Ken served as a great antidote to that disease in my life.
I enjoyed the privilege of getting to know Ken one-on-one and was even allowed to teach some of his classes from time to time. I will always appreciate the time and effort he poured into me. He must have exercised great patience in having this young seminary student trailing behind his every step. But if he did, I never knew it. He was always very gracious and helpful.
After graduation and moving back to Florida, I continued studying under Ken via his audio tapes and books. I have listened to his teaching and read his books over and over again. In fact, I wrote him a few years ago and told him his influence has been felt at every church I have served.
Today I can still keep up with Ken through his website. I can receive daily devotions and prayers, download and listen to his teaching, read many of his articles, etc. And if I want to feel even more like I’m back in one of his studies, I can watch him teach via video.
I haven’t kept up with Ken over the years very well. I have mailed periodic “thank you” cards to him from time to time. But it’s nice to know I can still keep up with him and his teaching. He was, and remains, a very influential mentor in my life. My ministry reveals it as the folks I have been privileged to teach and disciple can easily attest.
Below is an introduction to Ken that I took from his website. If you are interested in spiritual formation, apologetics, or some really good Bible studies, I would encourage you to visit his website and get to know more about him. I am indebted to him and thank God for him.
Grace and Truth,
Kenneth Boa is engaged in a ministry of relational evangelism and discipleship, teaching, writing, and speaking. He holds a B.S. from Case Institute of Technology, a Th.M. from Dallas Theological Seminary, a Ph.D. from New York University, and a D.Phil. from the University of Oxford in England.
Dr. Boa is the President of Reflections Ministries, an organization that seeks to encourage, teach, and equip people to know Christ, follow Him, become progressively conformed to His image, and reproduce His life in others. He is also President of Trinity House Publishers, a publishing company that is dedicated to the creation of tools that will help people manifest eternal values in a temporal arena by drawing them to intimacy with God and a better understanding of the culture in which they live.
Recent publications by Dr. Boa include Conformed to His Image, 20 Compelling Evidences that God Exists, Face to Face, Augustine to Freud, and Faith Has its Reasons. He is a contributing editor to The Open Bible and The Leadership Bible, and the consulting editor of the Zondervan NASB Study Bible.
Kenneth Boa also writes a free monthly teaching letter called Reflections. If you would like to be on the mailing list, visit http://www.kenboa.org/ or call 800-DRAW NEAR (800-372-9632).
Our local church, Southside United Methodist Church, was born on Easter Sunday, 1950. It was on that day the men and women, boys and girls of Southside assembled together as an official congregation of the Methodist Church to lift their hearts, minds, and voices in worship to God for his grace and goodness in bringing them together. It was also an opportunity for them to commit themselves to the service of Christ and his kingdom.
The men’s ministry, interestingly, was actually born the day before.
It was on the preceding day, Holy Saturday, the men of Southside decided to meet together to get everything ready for the next day’s events. These faithful, servant-hearted brothers also thought it would be a good idea to meet a few hours early for the purpose of cooking breakfast and then enjoying it and fellowship together. Southside men have been meeting every Holy Saturday since then for our annual “Men’s Easter Breakfast.”
I share this bit of history to communicate that this wonderful tradition of Southside men represents how long Southside’s commitment to men has existed. It also shows how far back our men’s commitment to Christ and his local church, Southside UMC, actually goes.
Much of today’s literature that is devoted to men’s ministry is saturated with tales of woe regarding the absence of men in the church at large. Men, they tell us, have been alienated from feeling welcome or comfortable in church settings for a variety of reasons. Perhaps there’s truth to that in some churches.
Yet Southside has been blessed by the men (and, of course, the women) who have stepped up in many ways over the years to be used by God in the building up of his body. From administrative leadership to teaching Sunday school classes to serving the community, Southside men have a rich history of following Christ, which has left an enduring legacy to the Southside men of today.
I give thanks for those men of God who have gone before us. May the men of Southside in each and every generation faithfully pursue our United Methodist Church’s mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
Soli Deo Gloria,
(April 14, 2010)
Trying to find a Bible storybook you can read to your young children is often a challenge. Some aren’t much more than “Jesus loves you” messages – page after page – with a few baby cherub pictures thrown in. Then there’s a variety of other versions that add value in different ways. And, of course, it’s hard to beat simply reading a regular version of the Bible to your child. My experience is that a good children’s Bible storybook supplements a regular reading of the Bible in very helpful ways.
A few years ago I came across a set of Bible stories I have read to my children ever since. These stories come in a Ten Volume set, entitled, The Bible Story by Arthur Maxwell. You can learn more about the book and the author by clicking here.
The series covers the entire Bible. No story, (I’m pretty sure), has been left out. Because the purpose of God’s Word is not always to give us every detail of a person’s life (example: Jesus’ childhood), the author respectfully (and I think fairly faithfully) “speculates” about such things. He never makes up things a Bible character said or did. And if he’s just exercising a little “imaginative wonder,” he clearly communicates that.
The pictures are fantastic. Very colorful. My kids love the pictures as well as the stories. We bounce back and forth between an Old Testament volume and then a New Testament volume.
One of the things I like most about the series is it was written in the 1950s. I know there is no golden era of the Christian faith (though the Puritans come in at the top for me). However, I really like the fact that this is not another children’s book trying more to be “relevant” to the child rather than faithful to the text. Who needs that? The author gives a faithful rendering of the story (with bits and pieces of the actual biblical text interspersed throughout the story) in a winsome way that gives my children a real love for the stories and a deep desire to hear them again and again. You just can’t beat that.
Here’s the link again to the website that sells this series. I wasn’t able to find it at Christian Book.com. I didn’t check Amazon.
The Bible Story
More than four hundred stories in ten volumes covering the entire Bible from Genesis to Revelation
by Arthur S. Maxwell
I encourage you to buy this series at once and begin reading the stories to your children. You won’t regret it. It’s an impacting and fun way to shepherd your children. And, as I said earlier, you just can’t beat that.
Grace and Truth,
The practice of catechesis is vital for the health of both the church and family. Several years ago I came across the following two articles that do a great job of addressing this topic. Both deal with J.I. Packer’s recent book and his comments about the importance of catechesis, and when Packer talks, we all need to listen.
The first one is found at Christianity Today and is an excerpt from his book, Grounded in the Gospel: Building Believers the Old-Fashioned Way, which he cowrote with Gary A. Parrett. Here’s a snippet from that excerpt…
Historically, the church’s ministry of grounding new believers in the rudiments of Christianity has been known as catechesis—the growing of God’s people in the gospel and its implications for doctrine, devotion, duty, and delight. It is a ministry that has waxed and waned through the centuries. It flourished between the second and fifth centuries in the ancient church. Those who became Christians often moved into the faith from radically different worldviews. The churches rightly sought to ensure that these life-revolutions were processed carefully, prayerfully, and intentionally, with thorough understanding at each stage.
Click here to read the whole piece.
The other column is by Mark Earley at BreakPoint. Here’s an excerpt from it…
There is generally need for three distinct forms of catechetical ministry. They say it’s protocatechesis, which refers to teaching what many today would call “seekers” or what the ancients called “inquirers”; catechesis proper, which refers to the formal work of preparing children or adult converts for baptism or confirmation; and ongoing catechesis, which is the never-ending teaching and formation of believers.
Click here to read the whole column and make sure to see the links at the bottom of it.
Grace and Truth,
Below is an interview with J.I. Packer on the importance and need for catechesis.