Monday, July 25, 2011

Pro-"Choice", Anti-Woman

On my way back home from Texas, I listened to quite a bit of talk radio. In between St. Louis and Peoria, a comment by an angry listener caught my attention. She made the statement that she would never vote for a politician that was “anti-choice.” Such an individual, she claimed, demonstrated too little respect for women.

Such thinking, I believe, is ultimately demonic. Like all demonic thinking, it deceives people into believing that which is false and calling evil good and good evil. I was reminded of her comment this morning when I read the following post by Pastor John Piper:

163,000,000 unborn baby girls have been killed in Asia over the last three decades. That’s more than the entire female population of the United States.

Aside from the mounting up of blood-guilt, and the treasonous shredding of God’s image, the result is a dangerously imbalanced population. “Normally, about 105 boys are born for every 100 girls. The ratio in India is 112 to 100, in China 121 to 100, with some Chinese cities reaching 150 to 100” (First Things, Aug/Sept, 2011, 69).

This is dangerous for women not only because females are the ones being killed, but also because of what men will do when there are not enough women to marry—prostitution, rape, polygamy, and who knows how many other destructive forces unleashed in such societies. Such efforts to predict the poisonous fruit of girl-killing are unnecessary for those who simply say: It’s wrong. Don’t do it.

But where the goddess 'choice' is still enthroned, we may pray that the people will see the painful price of her deceitful rule before long.

For if ‘choice’ is the moral imperative guiding abortion, then there is no way to take a stand against ‘gendercide.’ Aborting a baby because she is a girl is no different from aborting a baby because she has Down syndrome or because the mother’s ‘mental health’ requires it. Choice is choice (First Things, Aug/Sept, 2011, 69).

And of course, killing any baby because of any disability, is monstrous. Perhaps killing her because she is a girl will help us see this.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Grandma Jean and Children's Ministry

This week, the kids and I will be travelling to Texas to attend memorial services for Whitney’s grandmother.  Grandma Jean passed away suddenly on Saturday afternoon and Whitney has been with her family since Saturday evening. 
I’m grateful that Whitney’s sister and brother-in-law graciously drove Grandma Jean and Grandpa Bob up here last month.  We were able to visit with them and have a cook out.  Grandma took Hannah to get her ears pierced, just like she had taken Whitney when she was a little girl.  We also were able to pray and read God's Word together as a family in the evenings. 
Whitney often thanks God for our family’s “legacy of faith” and Grandma Jean embodied that legacy.  Her love for the Lord has impacted our immediate family in significant ways.
Her devotion to her husband was a model for how spouses should sacrificially love one another.  Her care for her family was a model for parents who desire to nurture their children.  Her prayer for the proclamation of the gospel was a model for those who love the glory of God.
When Grandma Jean prayed in our home, it was obvious that one of her greatest desires was that her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren would walk with the Lord.
That’s the essence of effective children’s ministry, of course: having such a love for the Lord Jesus Christ that you are passionate about seeing the next generation carry on that legacy of faith.  It is a tragedy when, as the writer of Judges tells us, a generation arises that does not know the Lord or the great things He has done.
Grandma Jean strove to ensure that the generations that followed her would know both the Lord and the great things He has done.  Please pray for Whitney's family, especially her grandfather, as they minister to one another during this loss.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Worship and Architecture

Worship & Architecture

Can the design of a building help us worship God? I would suggest that the answer is yes…but not for the reasons you might think. It is a question many of us in the church ponder with greater frequency as we watch the amount of our outstanding debt rapidly decrease due to your generous giving.

Let me first say this very clearly: A building should not be the impetus for our worship. The building itself is not a “sacred space” (see link below). It troubles me to hear believers talk of “feeling closer to God” when they visit ornate churches or historically significant buildings of worship. While it is appropriate to praise God for the creativity He has given His creation, our contemplation of man-made buildings should not be the cause of our worship.

This is not to say that the design of a building is unimportant or unrelated to worship. There is, I believe, such a thing as God-glorifying design in building. A well-designed building helps us in our worship in the following ways…

1. A well-designed building will help us proclaim the Word of God effectively. The auditorium, sound system, and classrooms in a God-glorifying structure will help the church fulfill her task of teaching Scripture.

2. A well-designed building provides us with space to serve others. A God-glorifying structure is designed with the needs of others in mind.

3. A well-designed building will point people to God and not us. This does not mean it should be an elaborate structure. It means that the building should not distract people from God. As we build a church building, we are not designing a Tower of Babel that will serve as a shrine to ourselves. It will not be so ornate that it distracts people from the contemplation of God.

4. A well-designed building will ensure that we have resources for doing ministry. A wise church will not tie up so much of its financial resources in its building that it is unable to do anything else.

5. A well-designed building will demonstrate to the community our commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ. Building a church gives the community of faith a common goal and our shared giving reveals a willingness to sacrifice for the sake of the gospel.

As your read through this list, notice that a building is not essential for our worship to take place. A well-designed building is an outgrowth of worship and not a prerequisite for worship. I can proclaim the Word of God with or without a building. The building simply helps me do so more effectively. I can serve others with or without a building. The building simply helps me do so more effectively.

My friend Luke sent me a link to an ongoing conversation at the Gospel Coalition blog: As you can see, some godly men are wrestling with how best to construct God-glorifying buildings. I am sure our own church will wrestle with these questions as well as we think about how best to implement these principles.

Praise God for His continued provision…and pray that God would give us wisdom as we consider the church building in which we will gather to glorify His name.