Tuesday, May 16, 2017

How can we continue to grow at, equip, work together, and excel as men of God who want to know the Word and be skilled in preaching God's Word faithfully.

It was in the Puritan era that the "Prophesying meetings" gained steam and notoriety.  These were simply "preaching services."  A text would be given to numerous preachers who would then ALL prepare and preach a brief message on that particular text.  Then, after a few of the men preached, the rest present would analyze, respond to, & provide encouragements and helps for improvements.

So, I was thinking of how we could train/equip and grow together as men of Christ Fellowship Bible Church (and others who may be interested).  Why don't we plan to do something like this over the course of the summer:

We'll plan to meet on Saturday mornings at CHRIST FELLOWSHIP BIBLE CHURCH SANCTUARY from 7:00AM - 8:30AM.

DATES *Tentatively Scheduled*            TEXTS                       
Saturday, May 27                                     Psalm 1
Saturday, June 24                                     Revelation 20:11-15
Saturday, July 8                                       Ezekiel 2
Saturday, August 5                                  Colossians 1:15-20
Saturday, September 2                            Mark 8:34-38

*FORMAT: each preacher will deliver a 20-minute message. We will hear 3 men preach each Saturday (=totaling 60 minutes) and then we'll have about 30 mins to debrief together and help each other grow as teachers/preachers of the Word.
7:00AM      opening prayer
7:00-7:20    sermon #1
7:20-7:40    sermon #2
7:40-8:00    sermon #3
8:00-8:30    debrief & evaluation
8:30             closing prayer

This is *building on the Expository Preaching class* that we had LAST SUMMER (download the PDF here & the AUDIO here). 

**PLEASE RESPOND IF YOU'D SO DESIRE TO BE ON THE PREACHING ROTATION. You are most welcome to come & join in the conversation even if you don't *want* to preach. But this is a venue for men who want to preach and improve their skills and see if they have the gift of teaching/preaching. 

Monday, May 15, 2017

The Privilege and Blessings of Godly Motherhood.
Geoffrey R. Kirkland
Christ Fellowship Bible Church

No higher calling exists for mothers than to teach the glories of God and the gospel of Christ. 

This essay provides 5 specific privileges and blessings of godly motherhood.

1) Intentional.
The wonderful grace of motherhood calls upon mothers to be intentional. Mothers must be intention in how they live, how they communicate, how they model, how they probe deep to the heart, and how they point to Calvary. Coasting cannot occur in the calling of motherhood. Mothers must find themselves regularly calling upon God for mercy and wisdom so as to intentionally live for Christ and point the souls of their children to His gospel.

2) Instructional.
Motherhood requires instruction. No one should underestimate the high importance of instructing the children in the word of God and in the ways of the Lord. No greater privilege exists for a woman of God than to lead the children to the Lord so constantly through the faithful and deliberate instruction of God’s truth. Motherhood requires instruction and the wonderful gift that every mother has is the sufficient word of God.

3) Invitational.
Motherhood is a vocation of invitations. Godly mothers interact with the children regularly and call the children to learn about God and follow Him with their whole hearts. Godly women invite the children to trust in the Lord Jesus and to surrender to Him as Lord. Godly mothers take on the role of ambassador, yes, even missionary, in the context of the home as they find themselves regularly ministering to the children (however young they may be) and constantly presenting Christ as a glorious Savior to them and beseeching the children to draw near to Christ through repentance and faith.

4) Intercessory.
A mother must pray. There’s no calling so impossible as that of motherhood. To instruct and discipline and lead and live as a godly example before children is absolutely crucial and yet the godly woman understands that her efforts prove to be futile and vain unless the power of the Holy Spirit awakens the precious hearts of the children to see the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. Thus, this gloriously impossible calling drives the mother to her knees to intercede for her children, by name, each day, with passion. Let no mother underestimate the power of intercessory prayer and persistent supplications before the Throne of Grace.

5) Incessant.
Every godly mother knows that her labors must continually go on. There is a constancy and a longevity about the mother’s labors that particularly crown her work. She must daily rely on God’s grace, fervently plead for His power, and supplicate for God’s blessing. She mothers in such a way that she knows her instruction is not to cease, nor is her love to wane, nor is her example to falter. And for this reason, she relies upon the Lord’s Word and walks in His grace each day. The high privilege of motherhood rests in the incessant calling to serve Christ and love her children.
Thank God for your trials.
Geoffrey R. Kirkland
Christ Fellowship Bible Church

Trials. We talk about them. To varying degrees and with various intensities, we all go through them. The Lord instructs His people to rejoice at all times. Furthermore, believers are told to give thanks in all circumstances. But to the natural mind, and even to the converted mind while undergoing the trial, thanking God and suffering in trials just don’t seem to belong together. They seem opposite. It often feels better to say, “when I come out alright on the other side of this suffering, then I’ll give thanks to God.” But it’s hard for me to thank God during the trial. And harder still, how am I supposed to thank God for the particular trial that He has put in my life?

Why should you thank God for your trials? I’ll provide 5 reasons.

1. Because trials humble you.
The genesis of all sins is pride. Pride is that monster, that mad and baseless thing that exists in every single heart of men. And God most graciously provides trials of various kinds and sufferings in various degrees to wean us off of ourselves and to cause us to go elsewhere for hope. Even still, the problem is that even when these trials come, our pride leads us not to trusting in God alone for His grace through the trial but it leads us to find our strength and hope in something — anything! — else. Trials humble us. They unfasten our grip on our control on a situation. They loosen our fixation with self and drive us to be lowly at heart and in mind.

2. Because trials grow you.
God most mercifully gives trials out of the Fatherly hand of love to grow us as His blood-bought children. Let no Christian wrongly receive a trial as God frowning with anger or gleefully punishing His people. Rather, let Christians realize that God graces us with trials to grow us, to refine us, to chisel away remnants of pride, selfishness, self-centeredness, and self-inflation. God loves His people too much to not bring trials as boons for their growth. As a man who works out exercises and stretches his muscles to increase strength and endurance, so God stretches His people to gloriously increase their strength and endurance -- not in themselves but deepening in their trust in the good Hand of the One who orchestrated and brings the trials.

3. Because trials refocus you.
Our minds succumb to distractions easily. Without even trying, we are a distracted people and we find ourselves dazzled and gripped by trivialities in this world with no eternal significance. O we are eternal souls! We are citizens of the heavenly kingdom! O the living God calls us “friends” and has secured our eternal inheritance. And yet we can be distracted by earthly items that tug our hearts and woo our hearts away from God. And out of His oceanlike love, God brings trials to refocus His people. Going in the fire of trials can refocus us on the power of God, the sovereignty of God, the goodness of God, the soon-coming reality of heaven, and the sweetness of Christ’s promises. O let us, like Paul, receive the thorns that are ordered by heaven’s throne as opportunities to manifest God’s grace in us and to keep us from exalting ourselves so that our boasting would be in God and in Him alone. Trials refocus us toward dependence on God and pressing close to Christ in ways that trial-less days are unable to do.

4. Because trials form you.
To bend metal, it requires intense heat. To bend us away from ourselves and to form us more into the blessed likeness of Jesus Christ, intense heat comes. And the intense heat may come from innumerable sources and in countless ways (and intensities) and yet the invisible and sovereign Hand behind it all has one ultimate end: to conform us more into the likeness of Christ. The glory of heaven is that Jesus Christ receives the eternal praise from sinners that have been redeemed by the blood of Christ and who have been fully conformed into the image of the Blessed Hero of heaven, the Captain of their salvation, the Lord Jesus Christ. God brings trials to form us into Christ’s image. Trials cannot, then, drive Christians more into themselves and away from the body of Christ. On the contrary, God’s design for trials is for Christians to be weaned off of themselves and to tirelessly devote themselves to the body of Christ.

5. Because trials encourage you.
Maybe the greatest promise in all the Bible can be read from Matthew 28 when Jesus assures His disciples that he is with them always -- even to the end of the age (Matt 28:20). Just after this, the Lord ascended in a cloud to heaven no longer to see them again. Then, the unstoppable gospel came with power in Jerusalem as the word was heralded and God saved many sinners through repentance and faith. And when the hardships, the persecutions, the threats, the scatterings, and the injustices came, God’s people found great encouragement in these times. The church was strengthened, built up, ignited, driven to prayer, and standing solidly on the sovereignty and promises of God. So when the times of suffering come, remember that God is with you. As David prayed in Psalm 46 that God is an ever-present help in trouble. O let this so encourage the soul of every child of God no matter how intense or life-threatening the moment may be.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

How a Pastor Loves His Flock.
Geoffrey R. Kirkland
Christ Fellowship Bible Church

The measure of a pastor’s love for God is directly linked to his deliberate care for Christ’s sheep. That’s what the Lord told Peter after Peter affirmed his love for Christ. The Lord said: “shepherd my sheep” (John 21.16). So, how can a pastor love Christ? By loving Christ’s church. How, then, can a pastor love his flock well? In this essay, I’ll provide 8 helpful ways.

1. By preaching Christ to them.
A pastor’s preeminent duty in the ministry consists in the regular feeding of God’s people with the Word. A steady diet of biblical truth must exude from the pulpit of a healthy church. The pastor loves his flock well when he preaches Christ to them and constantly, prayerfully, and tirelessly points them away from themselves and this world to Christ Jesus, the Lord. No Christian should ever underestimate the divine power that attends the faithful heralding of the Word of God. If a pastor does all else but fails to feed his sheep, they’ll die. So every faithful pastor must preach Christ -- the sum and substance and sweetness of Christ -- to His people relentlessly.

2. By praying constantly for them.
A pastor must give himself to the hard and holy duty of prayer. He must long to be alone when others are content to live without it. He must desperately plead the mercies of God, the power of the Spirit, and the illumination into the word of Christ not only for his own soul but also for each of his sheep. Let no Christian belittle the wondrous power of intercessory prayer. The providence and sovereignty of God propels the man of God to fervent and believing prayer.

3. By caring affectionately for them.
A pastor must have a shepherd’s rod to fiercely ward off the dangerous wolves and he must at the same time care for Christ’s people with a tender staff of guidance, love, care, and protection. Indeed, the pastor’s heart should soar with affection for his people tantamount to that of a nursing mother for her children. O the heart-warming affection! O the constant attention! O the longing for their maturity and growth! He cares for them by communicating to them, ministering to their needs, speaking truth to them in love, encouraging them in Christ, reminding them of their union with Christ and the future hope of the coming and immediate presence of Christ.

4. By developing leaders within them.
A faithful pastor loves his people when he reduplicates himself. Wise is the man who replicates and replaces himself. The serving soldier seeks to find faithful men to whom he can invest himself and disciple them. With a towering trust in God’s timing and sovereignty, he looks for faithful men who desire to grow and he holds nothing back in sharing his heart with them, ministering the Word to them, holding one another accountable, and equipping in practical godliness, family-worship, and church-related matters. He knows that the church of Christ will never rise above the spiritual maturity of the male leadership, so he gives himself happily and regularly to the training and shepherding of other men through instruction, example, and prayer.

5. By modeling holiness among them.
A pastor understands the power of example. He has read and understands why the Apostle Paul urges the believers to imitate him and follow his example. A minister realizes that verbal instruction is one (important) matter but his holy conduct is just as vital. He cannot preach one thing in the pulpit and unpreach what he has just said through his sinful conduct. A shepherd says to the sheep: follow me as I follow Christ. There must be a model of godliness and an example of the pursuit of Christ that the flock can find in their pastor. This above-reproach lifestyle is unquestionably necessary in every man of God.

6. By urgently man-fishing with them.
A pastor loves his flock well by teaching, leading, bringing, and going out with his people in evangelizing. Proclaiming Christ in the pulpit is undeniably crucial (and no faithful pastor would deny that) but urging sinners to repent of sin and flee to Christ before they die and go to hell is also important. Jesus said: “go!” Indeed, he said: go to the “highways and the hedges.” One way a pastor can love the flock well is by teaching them to evangelize and taking them out to evangelize. He can proclaim the gospel with his people and go man-fishing together with them to equip them and energize them to do the same. A church rarely rises higher than the church-leadership in the area of evangelism. If the leadership isn’t doing it, seldom is the congregation doing it. But Jesus said: “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men!” Go man-fishing! Soul-winning is one of the chiefest tasks of the minister of the gospel.

7. By bringing scripture to them.
A pastor knows that as newborn babies mature and grow healthily through a regular intake of milk so the people of God mature and grow through the living Word that is brought home to their hearts. Pastors bring Scripture to the people knowing that it is the food by which the people of God live. Speaking the truth in love constantly defines his daily ministry. He speaks the Word. He encourages in the Word. He guides and counsels from the Word. He prays the Word. He reproves and exhorts with the Word. He directs the people of God to the Scripture so they rest upon the unchanging and unfailing truth of God.

8. By magnifying God with them.
A pastor directs the hearts and affections of the people of God to the grandeur and glory of God. He makes it his ambition to say with the psalmist: “glorify the Lord with me and let us exalt His name together” (Ps 34.3). He leads the congregation of worshipers to say: “Let God be magnified” (Ps 70.4). He knows that herein lies the path of true gladness and joy when the people redeemed by the blood of Christ have one aim to magnify the Lord Jesus Christ.

Are you prepared to lose your job, social relationships, and comforts for your identification with Christ & His gospel?
Geoffrey R. Kirkland
Christ Fellowship Bible Church

The Apostle Paul provides a wonderful example of God’s grace working in a man even while going through hardships. Paul stated that believer can be sorrowful, yet always rejoicing (2 Cor 6.10). Suffering and hardship is not something Christians can opt out of or choose to steer clear of. Rather, the Bible portrays believers as being destined for afflictions of various kinds and sorts.

Child of God, are you prepared to lose your job, social relationships, and manifold comforts because of your identification with Jesus Christ and your commitment to His gospel?

1. The COST of following Christ.
Let us not forget that Christ demands everything. Every person must count the cost because following Christ requires everything a person has. If one does not love Christ supremely, he cannot be His disciple. If one does not willingly give up all his possessions, he cannot be Christ’s disciple. If one does not carry his own cross and come after Christ, he cannot be Christ’s disciple. Let us never forget the high calling and the demanding calling of Christ. The cost is high. The demands are ultimate. The reward is worth it. Christ Himself is infinitely worth it all!

2. The REJECTION of following Christ.
God’s people receive much hostility from those who reject Christ and hate His free gospel. Many are the enemies of the godly and they hate God’s people with a violent hatred (Psalm 25.19). Believers must readily understand and willingly embrace the call to be rejected by the world and labeled a fool by the lips of nonbelievers for the sake of Christ. Let an adopted child of God rehearse these words without end: “the word of the cross is foolishness [moronic folly] to those who are perishing, but to those who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Cor 1.18).

3. The BLESSEDNESSES of following Christ.
Living as an alien in a hostile world, every Christian must remember and rehearse the happy privileges and hopes of following Christ. Indeed, a believer can say with Paul that he’s suffered the loss of all things and counts them but rubbish so that he can gain Christ (Phil 3.8). The ultimate blessedness of being a Christian and following Christ is not the blessings that it brings but the Possession that the believer enjoys, namely, Christ Jesus. The blessedness of following Christ finds its climax in gaining the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Thess 2.14). With the swarming sins, and the violent hostilities, and the worldly temptations, and the manifold mockings, let every child of the risen King remember that following Christ is the greatest sacrifice but it always comes with the greatest blessedness of gaining Him in His glory!

4. The ALIENATION of following Christ.
One can survey the Book of Acts and quickly ascertain that the church of Jesus Christ spread rapidly. And at the same time, believers spoke of Christ, followed Christ, suffered for Christ, and found themselves alienated from the world. They lived more and more with the undeniable understanding that this world is not their home. You speak of Christ and you’ll find yourself being treated the way Christ was. He loved sinners and found himself the object of their scorn. He was intriguing to sinners and yet the masses refused to submit to his summons to repent and believe for the eternal welfare of their souls. So Christians should prepare that as they speak of Christ — which every believer will do, for we always speak of that which we love — they will find themselves alienated because of their pursuit of Christ. The direction of the Christian’s life is gapingly different than that of the world. The pursuits of the believer’s heart are not those of society. Therefore, let believers pay attention to the precious promises of Christ that comfort and console Christians during seasons (lengthy and harsh, though they may be) of affliction. All the while, let the child of God remember that it’s worth it! Only eternity will show the infinite and unspeakable worth and happiness of following Christ with our all.

More articles can be found at Pastor Geoff's page.

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