Have you considered how feminist ideals have affected your perception of the role of women? At the Fall 2009 Northbrook Conference for Women, we considered popular ideas of women in the home, workplace, church, and culture, and how these ideas compare to God's wise and gracious design for women.
Our speaker, Carolyn McCulley, is a former feminist who now accepts the biblical distinctions between men and women.
I will close with a record of something God did 130 years ago in New York City. It illustrates how God has started every harvest time in history through the concerted prayer of his people. Toward the middle of the last century the glow of earlier religious awakenings had faded. America was prosperous and felt little need to call on God. But in the 1850s . . .
Secular and religious conditions combined to bring about a crash. The third great panic in American history swept the giddy structure of speculative wealth away. Thousands of merchants were forced to the wall as banks failed and railroads went into bankruptcy. Factories were shut down and vast numbers thrown out of employment. New York City alone having 30,000 idle men. In October 1857, the hearts of people were thoroughly weaned from speculation and uncertain gain, while hunger and despair stared them in the face.
On July 1, 1857, a quiet and zealous businessman named Jeremiah Lanphier took up an appointment as a City Missionary in down-town New York. Lanphier was appointed by the North Church of the Dutch Reformed denomination. This church was suffering from depletion of membership due to the removal of the population from the down-town to the better residential quarters, and the new City Missionary was engaged to make diligent visitation in the immediate neighborhood with a view to enlisting church attendance among the floating population of the lower city. The Dutch Consistory felt that it had appointed an ideal layman for the task in hand, and so it was.
Burdened so by the need, Jeremiah Lanphier decided to invite others to join him in a noonday prayer-meeting, to be held on Wednesdays once a week. He therefore distributed a handbill:
HOW OFTEN SHALL I PRAY?
As often as the language of prayer is in my heart; as often as I see my need of help; as often as I feel the power of temptation; as often as I am made sensible of any spiritual declension or feel the aggression of a worldly spirit.
In prayer we leave the business of time for that of eternity, and intercourse with men for intercourse with God.
A day Prayer Meeting is held every Wednesday, from 12 to 1 o'clock, in the Consistory building in the rear of the North Dutch Church, corner of Fulton and William Streets (entrance from Fulton and Ann Streets).
This meeting is intended to give merchants, mechanics, clerks, strangers, and business men generally an opportunity to stop and call upon God amid the perplexities incident to their respective avocations. It will continue for one hour; but it is also designed for those who may find it inconvenient to remain more than five or ten minutes, as well as for those who can spare the whole hour.
Accordingly at twelve noon, September 23, 1857, the door was opened and the faithful Lanphier took his seat to await the response to his invitation. Five minutes went by. No one appeared. The missionary paced the room in a conflict of fear and faith. Ten minutes elapsed. Still no one came. Fifteen minutes passed. Lanphier was yet alone. Twenty minutes; twenty-five; thirty; and then at 12.30 p.m., a step was heard on the stairs, and the first person appeared, then another, and another, and another, until six people were present, and the prayer meeting began. On the following Wednesday, October 7th, there were forty intercessors.
Thus, in the first week of October 1857, it was decided to hold a meeting daily instead of weekly.
Within six months, ten thousand business men were gathering daily for prayer in New York, and within two years, a million converts were added to the American churches.
Undoubtedly the greatest revival in New York's colorful history was sweeping the city, and it was of such an order to make the whole nation curious. There was no fanaticism, no hysteria, simply an incredible movement of the people to pray.
Is there a Jeremiah Lanphier among you?
There was a stark difference between the two acceptance speeches. As I listened to the two speeches, all I could think of was the old commercial catchphrase, “Like Mike... If I could be like Mike.” Unfortunately, in this instance, Mike was the last person anyone should aspire to be like. This was definitely not a Michael Jordan highlight. Jordan’s Speech was self-centered, indulgent, arrogant, and at times embarrassing. In contrast, David Robinson rose to the occasion and made a brief, inspiring, encouraging speech (see his speech here) that made his family, his team, and his friends proud.
1. Aim to give our kids a huge view of God who is gloriously delightful.2. Teach them the gospel.3. Teach them that boundaries bring freedom and obedience is a blessing.4. Talk to them sooner than later about sex.5. Begin to train your kids on how to interact with the opposite sex.6. Guard who your kids spend time with.7. Put Your Computer in a Public Place and Turn Off The T.V.8. Seek to cultivate a relationship with your kids such that they feel as though they can be open with you about anything.
2 To know wisdom and instruction,
to understand words of insight,
3 to receive instruction in wise dealing,
in righteousness, justice, and equity;
4 to give prudence to the simple,
knowledge and discretion to the youth—
5 Let the wise hear and increase in learning,
and the one who understands obtain guidance,
6 to understand a proverb and a saying,
the words of the wise and their riddles.
7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge;
fools despise wisdom and instruction.
In the rise of your university education . . . in the decentralized . . . character of your local governments . . . in your championship of free speech, and in your unlimited regard for freedom of conscience; in all this . . . it is demonstrable that you owe this to Calvinism and to Calvinism alone.
Under the terms of a peace agreement with the northern government of Mr Bashir signed in 2005, the south is expected to vote for secession in a referendum in 2011. The prospect of gaining a new country, South Sudan, raised hopes of an end to Sudan’s civil war between the predominantly Muslim north and the Christian and animist south, which lasted on and off for the best part of 50 years. At last, the flattened south would rebuild itself.
Now, however, even many southerners, let alone their fiercely partisan foreign backers, worry that the region’s progress towards independence is going awry. Not only is there the increasing rate of intertribal violence and the hostility of the north to contend with. But the south’s woes have been added to by the incompetence and corruption of the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS), mainly composed of former guerrilla fighters in the SPLM, the political movement of the SPLA. They have managed to spend about $5 billion in oil revenues over the past four years with very little to show for it, apart from weapons. At the present rate, South Sudan will fail before it has even been born.
Before we come to confirm and apply this truth, it will be requisite to make a more clear discovery of this secret idolatry, the most that are guilty of it not taking notice of their guilt, because they account nothing idolatry but what is openly and outwardly so.
When the mind is most taken up with an object, and the heart and affections most set upon it, this is soul worship, and this is due only to God. For He being the chief good, and the last end of intelligent creatures, it is his due, proper to him alone, to be most minded and most affected; it is the hour due only to the Lord to have the first, the highest place, both in our minds and hearts and endeavors.
when the mind and heart is set upon anything more than God; when anything is more valued, more intended; anything more trusted, more loved, or our endeavors more for any other thing than God.
Secret idolaters shall have no inheritance in the kingdom of God.
Indeed, every reigning lust is an idol, and every person in whom it reigns is an idolater. The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life are carnal man's trinity.
To give that honor and worship to the creature which is due only to God.To transfer that respect which is due only to God, from Him to the creature.
The devil comes dressed as an angel of light (2 Cor. 11.14), but don’t go on the date ‘til you’ve considered his resume. We all know a little of what it means to gloss up - to look our best our for certain situations. For many settings this is completely appropriate. You don’t dress the same for a banquet as you do for movie night at home. Obviously.
But our dress gets dangerous when it’s hiding something.
Integrity is a theme of biblical proportions. One definition of integrity is “being whole and undivided.” Integrity isn’t measured by your best moments. It’s measured by all your moments. This means that the ultimate issue is the state of your heart.
Even the prophet Samuel had to be reminded of the importance of the inner heart rather than outer appearance. When searching for the next king Samuel was greatly impressed by appearances of height and strength. God set things straight by declaring, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” (1 Sam 16.7)
The heart is where the Lord is looking, and that’s where we ought to be focusing our attention as well. Jesus continually dropped this reality on the church-folk of His day. When they were uptight about His hygene before lunch, and He went after their hearts. He insisted, “But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. (Matthew 15.18-19)”
Later it will come to cursing. That’s what Jesus inevitably gives to the fakes. He proclaims,
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. 26 You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside also may be clean.
27 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people's bones and all uncleanness. 28 So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness. (Matthew 23.25-28)
This hurts. On the outside, things can look clean and white, meticulously cared for. We’re trying so hard to make sure everyone knows we’ve been churchy. But inside? A tomb of filth.
So who are you, really? How’s your heart? Only the Lord knows that perfectly. But there is a sign, a map, a hint, a clue. We find it in 1 Timothy, where Paul is giving Timothy the knowledge he needs to make sure he’s getting leaders of true heart. He writes,
2 Therefore an overseer must be… above reproach, the husband of one wife… 4 He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, 5 for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God's church?
Let deacons each be the husband of one wife, managing their children and their own households well. 13 For those who serve well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and also great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus. (1 Timothy 3.1-13)
Where does one look to check for integrity? One key place to look is at home. You are who you truly are at home. The health of your heart is revealed in your closest relationships. It’s the season for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day…so how’s your heart at home?
If there were a situation where your husband, your wife, your son, your daughter, your closest friend, could and would speak honestly, what might that testimony reveal about your heart? Would there be found, not perfect of course, but genuine integrity? Or does your churchy best hide a tomb?
The Lord is looking at your heart. Jesus said this of His coming:
19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. 20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. 21 But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.” (John 3.19-21)
A lack of integrity, a churched-up gloss betrayed by hell at home, reveals a resistance to the light. We’ve got those deeds lurking at home – explosions of rage, passive rejection, poisonous words, horrid habits – and, we think, “we must not have those exposed!” So we will not come to the light we so desperately need.
O my friends, this heart probing is painful, but it is about love. Our Lord graciously invites us to the light we so desperately need.
If this is speaking to you personally, Jesus invites you to come to the light. Come to Him. He exclaims, “I am the light of the world!” (John 14.12) He is eager to free us from our fake! And make us free indeed (John 14.36).
How does one go about this? I’ve three ideas:
1) Go to Jesus. Honestly confess in detail. Honestly repent in detail. And put all your hope on the Gospel. He has died as your substitute, for your cleansing, and to enable your transformation. Be forgiven, loved, and changed!
2) Go to those you’ve sinned against. Honestly confess in detail. Honestly repent in detail. Be reconciled!
3) Be accountable. We need one another. There are no Christians who are both maverick and thriving. Find one trustworthy, and honestly share your struggles, inviting confrontation and encouragement in the Gospel.
It’s hard, no doubt. But it’s time for some spring cleaning. There corpses in the corners of hearts. Let’s go to Jesus, the One who is looking at our hearts, and have Him turn on the light, that our hearts might beat of Him at home.
Let’s avoid gossiping. Let’s identify evidences of grace in each other and speak them to each other and abouteach other. Let’s speak criticism directly to each other if we feel the need to speak to others about it. Let’s look for, and assume, the best motive in the other’s viewpoint, especially when we disagree. Think often of the magnificent things we hold in common. Let’s be more amazed that we are forgiven than that we are right. And in that way, let’s shape our relationships by the gospel.
A man will forget that, as a father, he has been welcomed to the transcendent glory of being part of God's work of forming human souls. Instead he will buy into the replacement glory of career success. More and more, his life will be eaten up and defined by his work. Less and less will his sense of purpose have to do with the formative community that only he can offer his children. Sadly, his children cease to be one of the joyful focuses of his living and become an obligation in an already-too-busy schedule. Less and less do his children know him, respect him, trust him, or feel his love.
I remember the story you tell, C.J., of someone asking you after your daughter Nicole was born, “I bet Nicole is the apple of your eye?” And C.J. you responded by saying, “No, my wife Carolyn is the apple of my eye.”
I learned from this counsel (20+ years ago) how to lead my home with an emphasis on my relationship with Cheri. Now that my kids are growing up, getting married, and dumping me like a bad habit, I am grateful that Cheri is my best friend. I am grateful for all the times we have invested in our relationship over all other relationships.
C.J. you have also said that most men fail in cultivating romance with their wives because they fail to put their plans for romance in the calendar (which is required to make sure the above happen).
...when it comes to the entertainment choices of the vast majority of Christians in the vast majority of our churches my strong impression is that there is little difference between what we take in and what the rest of the world goes to for a good time.
And when I rub the marinate into the lamb, blood ponding on plate,
I think of socially acceptable religion, inoffensive theology
and my nostrils fill with the stench of my sin,
and my beating heart hurts for the only God whose wild love
had him tear open a vein and do the repulsive,
become a lamb dragged to the slaughter
for without theoutrageous shedding of blood
there is no cleansing of my gory mess.
I was unfamiliar with the painting before coming across it in one of the last galleries,
shadowed and empty.
But in that startling quiet, I looked into those alive, ancient eyes and there was an instant recognition, electrifying, of that hardly-belief, that aching-hope, the feet running to tomb,
now empty and shadowed.
And all the world flooding with the new dawning.
CUTUD, ANGELES CITY - Dozens of Catholic devotees were nailed to crosses, scores more whipped their backs and others chanted the Passion of Jesus Christ as Filipinos mixed faith and gory ritual on Good Friday.
For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5.21)
But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. (Romans 3.21-26)
From Ed Welch:
God tells us up front that he is the God of suspense...he assures us that there will be times when we feel surrounded, facing insurmountable odds with no apparent way out. That, in fact, is part of his good plan for us. He also tells us that he will bring us to the end of our own cleverness because that is when we are most apt to acknowledge his strong hand alone. (p. 84)
Transcripts are also available at the bottom of each of these pages’ links.
I cannot recommend these talks enough to any parent wanting to be thoughtful, careful, and prayerful in the salvation of their children.