Spiritual leadership 

Being spiritual leaders can be very difficult. What does it look like? Consist of? How do we do it? What are some fundamental principles that constitute good biblical leadership?

The basic idea of discipling anyone, in the biblical model, is to explain and model proper behavior and then allow the student to attempt to imitate it, giving correction as needed.

If you were teaching your child how to throw a baseball, you would show them how to hold the ball and rotate the arm. Then you would have them demonstrate the proper technique. Once they tried it, you would praise proper throwing while instructing them in the details that need correction. Think about how you learned to drive. Learned to dance. Learn to read. It was always instruction, modeling and imitation followed by correction.

Spiritual leadership is the same. Let your wife and children see you reading the scriptures. Let them see you quoting it and discussing it. Let them see you praying. Let them see you giving thanks, singing, confessing, etc. Under duress let them see joy. Let them see virtue. Let them hear you speaking well of your wife, your masters and authorities. Let them hear you explain your fears. Let them hear you discussing the sermon from Sunday with your wife and asking your wife questions about what she is reading or listening to. When you watch a movie, let them hear you judge it.

Then have them imitate you. Have them read the bible aloud and say the family prayers. Let them repent and praise. Correct as they go. Let them comment on movies. Let them explain their fears, ask questions and judge.

Its ok to give a child feedback on their prayers – when is it OK to pray about the Seahawks and Christmas presents? Don’t teach them not to pray about the things that they are really concerned about, instead instruct them in how to do it properly in a Godly way.

Over spiritualizing our spiritual life leads to hypocrisy. God is concerned with the care of sparrows, how much more the free safety on the Seahawks D? And if that is what your son is concerned with, how should they pray about it? How might God be using a pulled hamstring? or the Second string guy? Don’t tell your children not to pray about the things that matter to them, even if those things don’t seem very spiritual – teach them how!!  If your daughter is concerned about what she is dreaming about, then let that be on the agenda. What causes bad dreams? What does praying for the protection of her imagination sound like?

Never turn your kids down when they request you to pray. Never. When you hear a siren, pray for the first responders and person who summoned the sirens – God knows the details even if you don’t – this encourages your children in their trust over His overwhelming sovereignty. When you see a policeman, pray for him. Let your children hear you giving thanks to God for them in prayer.

In homes where male leadership is emphasized, the overreaction is that the man does everything, or sons do everything. And sometimes we fail to lead because it’s a lot to do all by ourselves.  But how will your wife know how to lead the children in prayer when you’re not there? How do you know she is doing it right? Or how will your daughter lead her children, if she doesn’t start to see how a mommy or even Christians, for that matter, pray regularly?

If your children are not participating in their own faith at 8, they won’t at 18. Leading is not micromanaging. Continue reading “Spiritual leadership “

Standing On The Promises

There is unquestionably an element of understanding to faith. But there is more to it than that. For Luther, Faith is fundamentally trust. He uses the word fiducia, which means confidence. Faith is about trusting a God who makes promises, and whose promises may be relied upon.

Luther wrote in The Babylonian Captivity of the Church, “Where there is the word of God, who makes promises, there must necessarily be the faith of the person who accepts those promises.”

Faith lays hold of promise. Assurance is not established on reason or science but on the apprehension and acceptance of the word of God.

Witsius comments on Hebrews 11:1 by stating that there is ‘substance,’ or hypostasisor existence to the objects of our faith, “the properties and circumstances of things have a hypostatis, that is, really exist, and are not mere figments of our imagination. Accordingly, faith causes the thing hoped for, though not yet actually existing, to exist in the mind of the believer; who assents as firmly to the promises of God, as if he saw the blessings promised already present.”[1]

Calvin also used this term hypostasis when referring to the object of our faith. Calvin states, “Faith is the hypostasis, that the support or possession, on which we fix our foot.”[2]

Witsius also states that, “We understand by the term [faith], a principle which pervades all the faculties of the soul, and is the proper mean of uniting them to Christ, and of thus quickening, and making them holy, and happy.” [3]

The final resurrection of all men has not yet occurred, nor does it exist in itself, but faith gives it substance in our mind, because we believe God’s promise. The object of our faith; God’s promise of the resurrection, becomes a fact, a historical event just like the battle of Gettysburg.

Likewise, this principle works backward in time to lay hold of the promises of past events. Christ’s declaration in John 19:30 that “It is finished,” though stated in the past and fulfilled in the future, has substance or existence as truth in the present by faith.

Also, in communion we believe that Christ is present in the elements because He said He is, and faith in those words makes the communion, not a figment of our imagination, but something substantive and real. We believe and by believing we come to know that it is not merely bread and wine we hold. And this faith animates our spiritual life and relationship with Christ.

Faith lays hold of God’s words, objects both past and future, and makes them present.  This supports the soul, upon which it steadfastly fixes its foot and stands firm.

[1]The Apostle’s Creed, Vol. 1. Witsius, Herman. 43

[2]The Apostle’s Creed, Vol. 1. Witsius, Herman. 44.

[3]The Apostle’s Creed, Vol. 1. Witsius, Herman. 35.

Raising Children To Shape Culture

The point of saturating chidlren in the word of God and cultivating a curiosity about God in every subject of study is to prepare encultured Christians who shape culture faithfully, from the basis of the Scriptures, with Wisdom and true understanding.

Don’t let your kids get up from the school table and go on auto-pilot. The ditches are utter renunciation of the world or wholesale whoredom with it.

God doesn’t want ghettos and he doesn’t want communities that are undistinguishable from the world. God wants children, standing on the firm foundation of His word, wisely shaping culture – their work, the arts, the media, sports, politics, medicine, etc with wisdom and devotion to Him.

Sit down with your children and teach them at a young age how to engage culture. Watch their favorite program. My little pony, for example. Ask them – what kind of God rules this world? Is there sin? How is sin atoned for? Is individual or community more important? What is the show about?

Read them Pooh Bear and ask what kind of God does Pooh believe in? Continue reading “Raising Children To Shape Culture”

Neutrality is a lie

There is no neutrality in Education because there is no neutrality in anything. No aspect of human existence allows us to be both the servant of God and the servant of Satan. The servant of self and the servant of God.

Double minded, double tongued men who are tossed about by every wind of an idea are abhorrent to God.

John Frame, “Christians think differently from non-Christians; and when they don’t, they should. In describing the difference between Christian and non-Christian thinking, Van Til argued that the two groups of people hold different presuppositions. A presupposition, for Van Til, was the most fundamental commitment of the heart, a commitment that governed human life. Some people are committed to Jesus Christ and seek to “take every thought captive” to him (2 Cor. 10:5). The rest are committed to something else, either another religion, a philosophy, a political movement, or their own reason. There is no neutrality. To paraphrase bob Dylan, “you gotta serve somebody.” Our presupposition always commitments govern all our life decisions, indeed all our thinking. And in the end there are only two presuppositions: the supremacy of God and the supremacy of something in creation, which scripture calls idolatry.”[1]

The Fear of the LORD is the beginning of Knowledge.

1:7The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.”

“Knowledge” and “wisdom” are closely tied together in Proverbs: “knowledge” tends to focus on correct understanding of the world and oneself as creatures of the magnificent and loving God, while “wisdom” is the acquired skill of applying that knowledge rightly, or “skill in the art of godly living.”[2]
Continue reading “Neutrality is a lie”

The Crown of Wife

In Genesis God states that it was not good that man was alone. Adam, upon meeting his wife spoke the first recorded words of man, and in Hebrew, it is a poem.

Adam said, “This is bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh.” Essentially, this woman is me. 

It’s better that you are married. But we have to understand that marriage is not the reward for responsible men – marriage is the means that God uses to make responsible men. Without your wife you were incomplete. And your response to her should be poetic praise. 

That completeness isn’t like icing on the cake. It’s not about having a cook or a housecleaner or extra income or something pretty clinging to your arm as you go about impressing everyone. 

Your wife completes you because she brings into your life all of the glorious qualities that make men higher beings than the animals. She softens you into creatures that are images of Christ. 

Marriage is a long obedience in the same direction and God uses it to shape men into little Christs. 

Gentleness, Patience, kindness, self-control – all the things you need to handle the weaker vessel. And the weaker vessel is the weaker vessel like gold is the softer metal. Gold is soft so that it is malleable –able to be shaped, molded and altered by the forces applied to into adorning objects of Beauty.  

You are that force.  Continue reading “The Crown of Wife”

Your Wife and Lady Wisdom

…husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way…(1 Peter 3:7)

Many of us do not understand our women because we do not understand wisdom. We do not understand wisdom because we do not treat her like a woman. Throughout the book of Proverbs – a book teaching wisdom to young men – wisdom appears as a woman. Wisdom is personified as a noble lady whom one should pursue: 1:20–33; 3:13–20; 8:1–36; 9:1–18.

Lady Wisdom is contrasted with Lady folly and the whole book leads to a description of wisdom ultimately as a wife (Proverbs 31). Not all the aspects of Lady Wisdom are applicable directly to a man’s wife, but many are.

For example, Lady wisdom is an instructor, a schoolmarm ready to rap our knuckles (Prov. 1:20-25) reproaching us for tracking mud in the house, for our foul language and course manners. Lady wisdom instructs boys in how to be men; how take the initiative and bear responsibility. The man who pursues wisdom should learn to sit up straight and use his inside voice. Wisdom is pursued in humility.

Furthermore, Lady Wisdom is a wealthy patroness who invites us to a feast. Wisdom has built her house; she has hewn her seven pillars. She has slaughtered her beasts; she has mixed her wine; she has also set her table (Proverbs 9:1–2). A man who pursues wisdom ought to act like he was invited to a banquet at the palace of a fine lady. He should respond to the invitation properly, not eat like he was raised in a barn, but rejoice in what is served while rejoicing in the wisdom that comes alongside bread and wine. Wisdom is pursued with gladness and joy; wisdom is gained with a fork and knife.

The remaining features of feminine wisdom are more directly relevant to the man who wants to pursue wisdom as a means of learning how to live with his wife in an understanding way.

Lady Wisdom is a sexually attractive woman (Prov. 7:4) and should be sought as any sensible suitor would court a beautiful and intelligent woman. The name sister in this context should be taken the same way it is taken in the S.O.S. (Song 5:1).

The man who eagerly pursues wisdom is protected in the next verse from the “strange woman,” who flatters with her words. When wisdom is pursued and courted, seduction ceases to allure us. When Lady Wisdom is courted a man is protected from very real tramps, seductresses and harlots. The appeal for easy women is driven from us when we diligently court Lady Wisdom. When we come to see how beautiful Lady Wisdom is and we seek to win her hand, we are protected from sexual sin.

A man is instructed by Solomon to pursue and marry this woman and is instructed to be faithful to her. She is a precious treasure, never to be forsaken. “Get wisdom; get insight; do not forget, and do not turn away from the words of my mouth. Do not forsake her, and she will keep you; love her, and she will guard you” (Proverbs 4:5–6). is a description of marriage.

The man who fails to honor his wife shows that he has no honor for Lady Wisdom and is therefore, a fool.

Furthermore, we read that Lady Wisdom is a mother, “And now, O sons, listen to me: blessed are those who keep my ways. Hear instruction and be wise, and do not neglect it” (Proverbs 8:32–33). But viewing wisdom as a mother enables a man to see his wife as a mother also, recognizing her high and holy calling.

This attitude toward wisdom – treating her as a woman – collides sharply with the approach of our age which sees wisdom as a pile of matter to be sorted, counted and organized into smaller piles by color, size and weight. The world teaches us that wisdom is a matter of brute facts as cold and unfeeling as an Allen wrench factory.

The bible says wisdom is a woman to be approached with a rose, a sonnet or both. If we want to obey Peter and live with our wives with understanding, we have to think biblically. Modern men have a false conception of wisdom that leads to little understanding about the world in which we live. No wonder we don’t understand our wives.

*This post was a men’s group message which is a rewritten paraphrase of Ch. 1 “Wisdom of women,” from How to Exasperate your wife by D. Wilson. DW gets all the props.

 

Disciples of the Bridegroom

Mark 1:16–20 Passing alongside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” And immediately they left their nets and followed him. And going on a little farther, he saw James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, who were in their boat mending the nets. And immediately he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants and followed him. 

The men are busy with their own plans, their own lives, vocations and families. The men are occupied.

But they are called out of their plans. I think the wives in our midst might have a better understanding of this

Many of you ladies had aspirations, plans and lives before you met your husbands. Your husbands proposed that you follow them and that meant leaving your families, your occupations and plans to fulfill a high and holy calling to be your husband’s helpmate and the mother of his children.

Yes, I think you ladies might comprehend the radical nature and costliness of being called in this way, better than the men do.

Most men are not called out of their lives; their professions, families, etc. in quite the same way. It isn’t as holistic, and it is largely metaphorical. Most men do not consider their calling to leave everything to become a Christian in quite the same way as a lady is to become a wife.

A good wife is an example of the realities of discipleship. The radical alteration of self that comes with becoming a bride is something that we all need to consider more deeply when contemplating what Christian discipleship is all about.

A Christian’s response to Christ is to be humble, self-sacrificing, submissive and missional.

The call to be a wife reshapes her familial relationships, vocations, personal aspirations, etc.

But the focus is what the lady is becoming. Not what she was but what she is becoming; a bride.

That is what the beauty of a wedding day is all about. What the lady is becoming. The bone of His bone and the flesh of His flesh.

I think this is instructive for us. We are the bide of Christ and collectively it’s important to explore this metaphor to inform our understanding of the Christian life.

Jesus calls four men. Two sets of brothers. He is rebuilding a new family from an old family. Jesus is forming a new Israel out of the Old Israel. Jesus is calling individual men to become His eternal bride – the church.

And what does he call them to? V. 17 “And Jesus said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.”

Jesus is calling them to follow Him and Jesus will remake them.

Again, the truly fascinating elements are what Mark leaves out. The response of the four men are non-verbal. They don’t say the sinner’s prayer. They make no formal, public, verbal declaration.

The men respond to Jesus’ call by action. They obey. They don’t talk; they act.

And the action is a response to Jesus’ declaration that he will remake them. What they will be, is the reason they act.

What Jesus is doing is the reason for their doing.

Discipleship is about what we are becoming. And what we are becoming is the reason for our doing.

Jesus is not interested in words, here. He is interested in obedience.

These four men form the inner circle, the nucleus of the Church, the new Israel, the bride of Christ.

And this betrothal is about fruitfulness. Jesus says He will make them fishers of men. They will cast nets and bring men from darkness to light, from Satan to God, from death to life.

They will bear fruit. They will produce. They will be fruitful and fill the earth as the faithful bride of the Lord Jesus.

I am not talking about the individual men. Applying the bride of Christ metaphor to individual Christians is creepy bad exegesis.

The bride of Christ, a feminine personage, is the collective, the assembly, the congregation. Here in v. 16-20, there is not one man, but four. The first assembly of the new congregation, the new people, the new Israel.

They leave their occupation and their father, just like a bride, to follow their head on His mission.

Their identity is not who they were as individuals when they were called. Their identity is not what they were doing when they were called. Their identity is not the family or worldly possessions they had when they were called. Their identity is found now in what they are becoming. What Christ is making them. Who they are in relation to Jesus.

Their identity is oriented toward the Head of the Church, the Bridegroom, the Lord Jesus.

This is a radical departure from the concepts of discipleship we are often given. Most definitions of discipleship sound like something out of a comparative religion course.

But the uniqueness of the Christian Gospel is that Discipleship isn’t about what you are doing, but what you are becoming. Who you are in relation to Jesus. What He is doing is the cause of our doing. And our doing must be fruitful.

Being a disciple of Jesus Christ is a high and holy calling. It is as radical an alteration as a single lady becoming a bride. Meditate on that.

The church is the bride of Christ who submits to Christ, whom He washes with the word, provides for, nurtures and protects.