Saturday, February 18, 2006

SGPF (The Artists Formerly Known as FRiPS)

A long time ago, a few faithful pastors came up with an idea to sharpen one another and promote mutual fellowship. They called this group the Fellowship for Reformation and Pastoral Studies, or FRPS (pronounced "frips"by the faithful).
The idea was to schedule 10 meetings a year where different men would present a substantial research-type paper on a particular topic. A small break followed and a question and answer period with the paper's author.
When I first heard about this, I thought it sounded like the most boring thing since sliced spam. But once again I was totally wrong!
SGPF is open to everyone, so if you would like some great fellowship on Monday - be sure to join us!
Lots of info here.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Walter Writes on Your Family and Getting to Church on Time

Click here to read the whole thing:

Walter is this old guy who writes letters to our church that I occasionally read on Sunday nights. I liked this part of his last letter

"Not too long ago, most folks up here understood the Sabbath to mean something. I’m not so sure about their theology, but one thing I did like – they got themselves ready for Sundays.

The movie player (whether DVD, VHS, or BETA) has done more to trick the saints regarding Sundays than most care to admit. I am always saddened when I watch certain families walk into church bleary-eyed and wrinkle-faced all because they were up to 2:00AM watching a bunch of dogs rescue a teenager or lion kill a witch. I am not talking about the wisdom of what you watch, rather the wisdom of when you watch!

I am sure it seems like a nice thing to sit down on a Saturday night with your brood gathered round, eating popcorn and cheering the good guys on your television screen. But when such a thing is done too late, you are teaching your family. And I fear what you are teaching them is a Biggie-sized combo of “movies are life” and “God’s not that important.”

Now, I am picking on the movie-goers and movie-watchers, but only as they represent the point I am trying to make. The diversion of choice may be different for every family... having company for one, visiting family for another... but the issue is the same.

In the old days, a man set a bed time for Saturday nights so that his family would be rested and ready for the Lord on His day. This was because that man valued that time at church with the Lord’s people. Just like a business man who makes sure he gets a good night’s rest before a big appointment, so these fathers would make sure that everyone was in and accounted for in good time so they were all ready in the morning to meet with the Lord.

My first piece of advice then, for family worship, is to learn to go to bed on time. I like to make some money on the farm – that’s how we live! So, I value hard work at the right time. Fact is, the cattle need milking every day at 5:30AM. That’s just when it’s got to be done. Since I value my income, I get up every day and do the milking. Now, I think if you truly value the Lord, you will get to bed on time and to church on time... wide awake and bushy tailed!

I don’t recall the verse that suggests that a gathering of the elect in this world ought to be for the purpose of a nap. We ought to be awake, at least, when we meet with our God. “Worship now – Nap later” ought to be one of the mottos branded across the back of our favorite pew.

Now, it may sound strange, but you may want to think about having a departure time in order to get to worship on time. I don’t know too many bosses that will let you show up late week after week and keep your job. So a man who is always late to church ought to think a little about how to get himself there on time. If he is always late, he always misses out on the fellowship before the service, prayer for the service and important parts of the service like announcements and singing.

If you are going to pick up your friend at 2:00, then you do a little math to figure out when you have to leave your house in order to get to that pick up place on time. Seems to me that your church services are in the same place week after week, so you should be able to find a time that you need to leave. Once you have done that rocket science, you come to the most important part... you remember it and do it! In fact, you may even learn to schedule in a little more time than you actually need just to take care of things like ice on your windshield, closed highway exits and a line up at the Timmy’s. If being with the Lord’s people is important, and it is, then I think that the most of us could come up with some kind of workable plan.

So, you need to go to bed on time, then get up and leave on time. If you do those two things you will find your stress decreases and your joy overflows!"

You can read the rest at the link above...

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Piano Lessons

Higher Voltage: Piano Lessons

Jim Stowe plays keyboards at our church worship services and is a rather great guy. I noticed on his blog the other day that he is open to teaching others how to play! Looking for someone to teach your kids who, not only is an excellent musician, but is also a godly man? Contact Jimmy!

Nikopedia: How to Waste a Day!

Nikopedia: How to Waste a Day!

My man Nick has a great little post here on how to plan for uselessness!

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Pray for Your Pastor....

Martin Luther responded once with these words to those who worked hard physical labor and considered the occupation of study a soft life.

“Sure, it would be hard for me to sit "in the saddle." But then again I would like to see the horseman who could sit still for a whole day and gaze at a book without worrying or dreaming or thinking about anything else. Ask ... a preacher ... how much work it is to speak and preach ... The pen is very light, that is true ... But in this work the best part of the human body (the head), the noblest member (the tongue), and the highest work (speech) bear the brunt of the load and work the hardest, while in other kinds of work either the hand, the foot, the back or other members do the work alone so such a person can sing happily or make jokes freely which a sermon writer cannot do. Three fingers do it all ... but the whole body and soul have to work at it.”

Self-control, spirituality, honesty, integrity, discipline - these are all needed in a man who spends time alone with a Bible and his God. Pray for your pastor, whoever he is, that God will bless him with these attributes.

Teaching at Toronto Baptist Seminary

This is probably a little weird to blog about, but I just finished grading papers for my Pastoral Theology II: Running a Baptist Church class and I got to thinking...
What a fantastic bunch of young men I have in this class. They are all eager, articulate, thoughtful, engaging and just plain fun to be around. We have had a great start to the semester talking about everything from how to structure your physical office to how to understand a budget.
One of the highlights so far was the role-playing of church member’s meetings where I invited the guys to be as disruptive as they liked! One by one they chaired the meeting and had to graciously handle being interrupted, corrected, challenged and detoured. Even though there was a lot of laughter throughout, there were also a lot of wheels turning as my brothers tried to think on their feet, implementing Biblical wisdom into difficult situations.
I guess what I like most though is the growing camaraderie amongst these men. There is nothing quite like a room full of spiritual men intent on becoming the best pastors they can be. Especially after our pre-class meeting at Starbucks!
Pray for us, won’t you? And ask the Lord to raise up these men and work his grace through them far beyond whatever you or them or I could ever imagine!

Monday, February 13, 2006

Stanley Kurtz on Marriage in Canada

Stanley Kurtz has a telling article here on the abolition of marriage agenda of the former Liberal government. National Review is no liberal-friendly news source, but that does not negate the assembly of quotes and facts Kurtz has made. I think this is a good article to read and consider.

Read the whole article here:

One quote: "It’s like this. The way to abolish marriage, without seeming to abolish it, is to redefine the institution out of existence. If everything can be marriage, pretty soon nothing will be marriage. Legalize gay marriage, followed by multi-partner marriage, and pretty soon the whole idea of marriage will be meaningless. At that point, Canada can move to what Bailey and her friends really want: an infinitely flexible relationship system that validates any conceivable family arrangement, regardless of the number or gender of partners."