As we saw with men, there are distinct challenges when it comes to women fulfilling their roles biblically in the current culture we live in. Charles and Daniel identify and discuss what these challenges are. Join us!
In Part 1 of ‘Biblical Manhood’, Charles and Daniel looked at the challenges that men face as they pursue the God ordained purpose for being a man. This week they are looking into what are the essentials of biblical manhood.
Our last series was on marriage, so it is only natural that we would move right into talking about biblical manhood and womanhood. Today, Charles and Daniel begin Part 1 in their discussions on biblical manhood.
Many times, believers fail to understand how marriage is a figure of something far more greater than just marriage itself. Our marriages proclaim something of far more eternal significance than earth can offer. Charles and Daniel discuss the ramifications on CrossTalk.
There is such a shortage of it. It is not impossible to find, but it gets crowded out by the bad news. The big three, “sin, sorrow, and death”, seem to be having their way. They own the news. Meanwhile, righteousness is diminished, and wickedness abounds. It is somewhat frightening.
The anti-God forces are having their way. It is seen in radical Islam killing many and terrifying many others. It is seen in the advance of secularism in the United States; a militant secularism that will not be satisfied until it silences every voice and every remnant of Theo-centric, Christo-centric, and Biblio-centric truth. We see it in a church that still pins its hopes on a national leader who will turn the tide in another direction: a church far happier with its comforts and conveniences than with Christ and Christ alone. It seems as though we spend our days waiting for the next big tragedy and wondering if anything can stop the forces of darkness. As Christians, we can hardly help wondering if our day is one that will witness an onslaught of persecutions that western Christianity has not yet seen. If we are not careful, we could be caught up in the uncertainty and dread that grips the world. We could succumb, at least subconsciously, to such fear.
But what is actually happening around us? Are things as they appear? The answer is yes and no. Yes, the world is rife with evil. In the United States, the days of cultural Christianity are gone with hardly noticeable remnants here and there. Judeo-Christian values and a Puritan ethic that once dominated the cultural landscape have all but disappeared and are fodder for jokes and cynicism even in some Christian circles. The leaders of our nation pay lip service to Christianity, while denying and undermining every vestige of Christian and Biblical orthodoxy.Sin and perversion are applauded while righteousness is hated. The nations rage, and the people imagine a vain thing. But Psalm 2 does not make that as a statement. It poses it as a question. “Why do the nations rage, and the people plot a vain thing?” The question is as appropriate today as it was in the day of the Psalmist. Why indeed do the rulers of the world set themselves? Why indeed do they take counsel together against the LORD and against His Christ? For what appears to be the triumph of evil men, is but a prelude to their ultimate fall. “He Who sits in the heavens laughs. He scoffs at them.” The world may be falling apart around us, but our Lord is having His way. “He does whatever He pleases.” Fret not because of evil doers,… They shall soon be cut off and wither as the grass. Be still before the LORD, and wait patiently for Him; … Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil.” Shall we fret and not trust our mighty God? Shall we fear that His Gospel will not prevail? “If God is for us, who can be against us?” For those who know Christ, the good news of the Gospel overshadows all the bad news, and it is that good news that we gladly bear as a light to the nations.
There is a reason why the family is to operate in a certain manner. The family structure and its function are woven into its creation. Charles and Daniel talk about what this biblical structure and function should look like.
The Christian ministry is more than preaching and teaching. To many, this is the most attractive aspect of being a pastor of Christ’s church. But it is far from all there is to ministry.
When asked to teach a two-semester class on pastoral ministry, I was provided an opportunity to think through and communicate the serious nature of presuming to call one’s self a minister of the Gospel. It is a daunting task.
Over a period of about eight weeks, seven pastoral aspirants and I spent our Lord’s Day mornings considering such topics as The Man of God and His Calling; The man of God and His Companion; The Man of God and His Character; The Man of God and His Congregation; The Man of God and His Challenges; The Man of God and His Children; The man of God and His Crown. This semester was about pastoral ministry and leadership, those aspects of ministry that undergird the preaching ministry of the Pastor. Every effort was made to challenge the students to take a serious look at their call to the ministry. The call to the ministry is often viewed from a subjective perspective, while paying inadequate or no heed to the more important objective aspects found in I Timothy chapter 3. In fact, we learned that all of ministry is guided by the objective truth of God’s Word, especially the I Timothy passage. We approached the class under the premise that what every Christian should be, the man of God “must” be. He cannot be perfect, but he must be exemplary in his personal life, his marital life, his parental life, his social life, his financial life. Our goal was to lead every man to enter and execute the ministry with the utmost care and commitment. Pray that our Lord will cause these things to bear fruit in the lives of those who attended.
But while preaching the Word is not the only aspect of Christian ministry, it is certainly primary. One cannot preach the Word effectively without the foundational matters mentioned above, but he must set his sights on preaching the Word of God effectively. This will be the focus of the second semester of pastoral ministry and leadership. The preaching of the Word is not the vocation of one who has a “gift for gab”. It is the weighty responsibility of one whose calling and consuming passion is to communicate God’s truth by the help of the Holy Spirit. This requires preparation, proficiency, and plodding, persistent labor. It requires a man to be unwaveringly committed to understanding and communicating the text of Scripture and avoiding man-made ideas of relevance and attractiveness. It requires exposition; the proclamation or teaching of a text of Scripture in its Biblical and historical context based on sound inductive study with a view to sound Biblical application.
But how. This will be our focus in the coming weeks. Pray that God’s Spirit will make it happen. “Who is sufficient for these things?” In the words of Sinclair Ferguson; “Thank God our sufficiency is in the Lord Jesus Christ.”
In our culture, the concept of the family has become deluded. It’s actually evolving, which is a symptom of a bigger problem of not believing in a final authority. Charles and Daniel dig into the authority of scripture to understand the biblical foundation of the family.
Have you ever felt like God designed you for a specific time and place? Somewhere He put you on purpose? On Sunday evening, just over four weeks ago, I looked out over a field of grass, dirt, and little cabins built of concrete blocks. There is an entrance to this landscape just to the left of my view and through it are driving four large buses, aboard it are 86 Ecuadorean children and numerous young helpers. They are coming because God has a plan that is bigger than we can fathom. Just two short weeks earlier this moment seemed impossible, like it might never happen. You see, every year we host a group of kids in a small beach town on the coast of Ecuador. But this year, because parents were worried about the earthquakes and families didn’t have the money, camp was in jeopardy of happening. When Pastor Benjamin informed us that camp would not happen this year, we decided that something had to be done. We prayed, called friends back home, and used social media to spread the word. As a result we raised $10K plus to send 90 kids to camp who would otherwise never have come.
As these kids poke their heads out of the bus windows their eyes are met, many of them for the first time, with the landscape that has for me become so familiar over the last few years. They know nothing of what God has in store for this next week, a fact I will soon realize we share in common. You see, most of these children would never be here but for the donations of so many who sponsored this opportunity for Ecuadorean children to play at the beach, watch skits put on by American young people, play soccer at camp, and most importantly hear the gospel of Jesus Christ preached to them over and over again.
Their faces are a mix of curiosity, pure anticipation, and all out excitement to be here. The hugs are plentiful and the feel of love and welcome of our team from the U.S. is unmistakably genuine. These kids need this love and attention.
The hellos are plentiful but soon over and the week gets started. Time fails me to give you detailed description of the days ahead. They are filled with early morning time alone with God interrupted by children laughing and wanting attention, eating food with 140 people loudly cheering in a mess hall style building, cheers for camp team colors – Verde! Roho! Tomate! Morado! Azul! – and let’s not forget the kitchen team, Amarillo!
Rotations everyday give the children time to be split up in individual small groups and hear about God’s message of salvation and who He is by experiencing crafts, games, and stories. Beach time, “vamos a laplaya” is a common cry each afternoon. Taking 86 kids to the beach is no small feat but the experience is worth the “trouble”. Returning to camp with 100 plus sweaty, sandy, and all out messy people is a daily routine that never gets old.
Then we begin down time and some futball [soccer] with the kids, which rounds out our free time. Every evening, we line up the teams after dinner to the dreaded sound of the whistle. This is an ever threatening call to the kids as they come screaming from every corner of camp so they can win points by being, the first, second, or third team to make it. “Wave your flag” plays over the PA as the children run single file into the chapel where we sing and actually wave each team flag to this popular tune. Verses, songs, and a crazy skit with a serious message, round out the evening.
Saying goodnight, hugs, selfies, water games, stopped up toilets, battidos [milk shakes], quiet times in the hammocks (never), slamming cabin doors, yells of “GOAL!”, soccer tournament, serious questions about salvation, more hugs, tense moments playing games, “Una Fila chicos!” [One line kids], more clogged toilets, creepy poodle dogs that bite, mosquitoes, demon ants that bite, ecua volley, beach time, water fights at the beach, waves and holding little handicapped boys afloat – experiencing the ocean for the first time – are just a few memories that flood my mind. But you see, the children are gone and I’m looking at an empty field covered in these memories. The buses are rounding the corner leaving these scenes and this week behind but carrying with them memories that will last, for me a lifetime.
As I look back on three weeks of working with kids, I can say it was not always easy, in fact at times it seemed downright impossible to go on. The truth is life is not easy for the believer. It was never promised to us, and we should never anticipate or expect it to be. We should revel in the difficulties, because whether we know it or not at the time, those are the experiences that will shape our relationships with others and Christ. They define who we are.
The people we worked with, the places we went, and the memories that I will forever hold in my heart serve to remind me of my humanity and need for Christ. We are each of us given times and opportunities designed to be light for Christ and to create a stronger relationship with Him. Will we fail? Absolutely, but only when we fail and see our inability will we turn to Christ and see our total need of Him.
Have you ever felt like God designed you for a time and place? Somewhere He put you on purpose? On Sunday evening just over three weeks ago I looked out over a field of grass, dirt and little cabins built of concrete blocks dreaming about the week that had just passed so quickly, too quickly. Yet, knowing God had me right where He wanted me to be. All the difficulty in the world cannot separate you from the love and success of living a life devoted to Christ when you are looking to Him. Success is not defined by the world but by Someone else. We do not know how or when God will use our inabilities. So, we must keep seeking Him and trusting Him wherever you are, and when you reflect on life you can rest in the knowledge that it’s not you that carries the weight of the results. Some things – many things – change, but there is a consistency, an unchanging truth we can and must rest in as time goes by. God has put you just where He wants you, here on earth for a very short time. So, don’t waste time fretting about the results or about what is next. Trust in an all-powerful, all-knowing God whose sovereignty should remove all doubt from the believer.
Photo Credit: Meagan Wanschura