The Ministry of Prayer and the Reformed Church

So many conferences, so little time. Conferences for pastors and leaders in the church abound every year, and it seems as if the Reformed camp is the most enthusiastic about gathering in large groups to discuss theology, history, and any number of church practices. Not to mention the great times fellowshipping with like-minded people, catching up on each other’s families, showing off baby pictures, graduation pictures and the like..

But this article by Tim Challies really caught my attention, and I knew I needed to repost it.

Challies calls attention to something I think may be overlooked a lot simply BECAUSE the Reformed camp is so male centered – Prayer. (Ouch!) So, you male leaders of the Church, suck in your breath and start reading… and start praying (if you haven’t already been doing it).

“This isn’t an easy ministry. Nor is it a visible one; nor is it one whose results are easily seen. And yet they are committed to it. It’s all kinds of awesome.” ~~ Tim Challies on the ministry of Prayer

LINK: Notes from True Woman – Prayer Warriors

Singleness, Courtship and Marriage Through a Biblical Lens: Guard Your Heart by Nancy Wilson

Guard Your Heart (Nancy Wilson)

“Marriage is not an end in itself; it is a means of glorifying God.” ~ Nancy WIlson

This article is directed to unmarried women, whether young and in their fathers’ households, older and on their own, or widows who would like to remarry. The principle is that you must guard your heart so that it does not become entangled emotionally without the protection of a covenant. Many of these exhortations that follow may seem a trifle negative, but believe me, the results will be positive.

When a woman leaves her heart unguarded and becomes attached to the wrong man, she exposes herself to great hurt or harm. Many women, anxious to be married, respond to the first man who comes along and even allow themselves to become physically involved when they “know better.” It is easy to have convictions as long as you are not called upon to stand up for them, especially if you must stand up to a man you have allowed yourself to fall in love with. Never assume you are “strong” and can “handle” being alone with a man that you are attracted to. Remember, whoever he is, if he is not your husband, you have no business submitting to him in any area, especially if he wants you to engage in a little physical affection when there is no fence of covenantal protection around the relationship. Virginity is a priceless inheritance you bring into marriage.

You must guard your imagination if you want to guard your heart. Don’t feed a lonely heart with cheesy romance novels or chick flicks and fantasize about the men or the relationships described. This can quickly become lust—lusting to be lusted after. Don’t allow yourself to imagine someone is interested in you when he is just being friendly. Don’t imagine that he had a tender look when he said hello to you, when he was really just giving you a polite greeting. In other words, do not develop wild crushes. If the man in question shows an interest elsewhere, you will be hurt, and depending on how much you indulged your imagination, you may be devastated. Be realistic about the men who show you attention. If you are too eager for a relationship, you can imagine he is godlier, funnier, sweeter, smarter, older, or taller than he really is. If you have to talk yourself into someone, you are not being realistic about this man. Don’t get desperate! Don’t allow yourself to get involved in an inappropriate relationship because you are lonely. Don’t look for a man as a ticket out. You may want to move out or move on, but that is not a good reason to get married.

Just because a man shows an interest is no good reason to assume he is the one for you. There is no fire. Think about it. Get input from someone who knows you. Take your time. Don’t fling yourself in his arms as soon as he shows his hand. Women are sometimes in love with being in love, longing for a relationship more than they long to please God. Marriage is not an end in itself; it is a means of glorifying God. There is one thing worse than being single: being married to the wrong man.

Cultivating male group friendships is a healthy alternative to the world’s dating system, but we must not use these friendships to fill a void. Friendships can be sexually charged, and women are usually very ignorant about this. Friendships should not be intimate, but good-naturedly distant. Would you be able to maintain the friendship on an equal footing if you were married? If not, it is probably an inappropriate friendship. Women should have the kind of friendships with the brothers that are characterized by purity and propriety. If you have to alter your behavior after you are married, you have probably been behaving in an unwise or ungodly manner. This means you should not be spending one-on-one time with men (unless it is in the context of courtship), whether you are married or single. If you are going out for coffee and allowing men to pour out their troubles to you, this behavior will have to stop if you marry someone else. That tells me you should stop now.

Beware well-meaning friends. “He’s so good looking,” they say, but you know he is also so ungodly. Don’t encourage them by talking too much about your interests. Things have a funny way of getting back to the person. And if he isn’t interested, you will just feel foolish, and you may get hurt.

Finally, when in doubt, throw it out. Do not stay in a relationship that you have doubts about. It is very unwise to marry someone hoping for changes in him. If you have concerns about his godliness, his character, his theology, his relationship to his parents, his lifestyle, or anything else, back off, and maybe you should back out. Of course you have protection in the counsel and advice of your parents, but be careful not to marry someone simply to please your parents. Surely your parents have good intentions, but you must be honest with them about your hesitations. I cannot imagine parents (if they are loving and godly) pressuring a daughter to marry someone she did not want to marry!

Do cultivate a biblical view of marriage. Do cultivate godly group friendships. Women can learn a lot about how men think from being friends with men in groups. Do cultivate a godly character in yourself because marriage amplifies all you are. Look for likemindedness in a man: do you agree doctrinally? Are you similar culturally? Is he attractive to you? Be realistic, trust God, and be content.

(Italics mine. Original post http://www.credenda.org/old/issues/Vol11/Femina%2011-5.html)

What Forgiveness is Not – Mark Driscoll

To truly understand the principle of forgiveness, you must also have an understanding of what forgiveness is NOT. Pastor Mark Driscoll explains this better than any other I’ve heard.

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Former Atheist: Christianity Really Does Make Sense

by Lillian Kwon (The Christian Post)

Holly Ordway was a highly educated atheist who thought Christianity was “a historical curiosity” or “a blemish on modern civilization,” or both.

“Smart people don’t become Christians,” she thought, according to Biola University.

Her worldview, however, began to change at age 31. She recounts her journey from atheism to Christianity in the recently released Not God’s Type: A Rational Academic Finds a Radical Faith.

“It is no light matter to meet God after having denied Him all one’s life,” she writes in the book. “Coming to Him was only the beginning. I can point to a day and time and place of my conversion, and yet since then I have come to understand that He calls me to a fresh conversion every day.”

Ordway, a professor of English and literature at a San Diego-area community college, wasn’t raised in any religious faith. She never said a prayer in her life and she never went to a church service. Her exposure to Christianity while growing up was minimal and her few encounters with Christians involved televangelists or hellfire and damnation preachers.

“Religion seemed like a story that people told themselves, and I had no evidence to the contrary,” she said in an interview with Biola University, where she is currently studying for her second MA, in Christian Apologetics.

To her, the Bible was a collection of folktales and myths – no different than the stories of Zeus or Cinderella.

“I was a college professor – logical, intellectual, rational – and an atheist,” she writes…

To read the rest of the article, Go here: Former Atheist: Christianity Really Does Make Sense

John Piper on why Rick Warren is speaking at the 2010 conference.

John Piper speaks on choosing Rick Warren to participate in the 2010 conference sponsored by the Desiring God Ministries.

Other speakers include Albert Mohler, Jr., R.C. Sproul, Thabiti Anyabwile, Francis Chan, and of course John Piper.

For more information on this much anticipated conference, go here:

Think: The Life of the Mind & the Love of God

Will Sharia Be Enforced in the U.S.? (video)

“Shariah can’t be enforced in the U.S.! It’s foreign law based on religion – the Constitution expressly forbids the establishment of religious law here.”

Or so they’ll tell you. But watch what happens in Dearborn, Michigan when several Christian evangelists demonstrated what city police do when Christians decide to spread the Good News of the Gospel of Christ anywhere near muslims. Apparently they’ve had experience with this happening before.

If you think Shariah can’t be enforced by law enforcement in the U.S., think again.

Free Speech Rights Under Fire – Harassment and Death Threats Against Prop 8 Supporters

Source: Mapping Political Persecution by Chuck Colson

Posted 2/24/2009
http://www.breakpoint.org/

Dotting the streets on a certain online map are hundreds of red teardrops. Click on a teardrop at a particular address, and come up with the words, “Patricia Greenwood. Insurance agent. $100.”

Miss Greenwood had better watch her back. Angry supporters of same-sex “marriage” are using Google Maps to tell the world exactly where she lives, and that she donated money to support Proposition 8—the California initiative banning same-sex “marriage.” Now, I made up the name Patricia Greenwood, but the names and addresses on this map belong to real people.

The only point of identifying Proposition 8 supporters is to encourage people to harass them. And the tactic is working.

Opponents of traditional marriage have sent threatening emails and vandalized churches. They have forced supporters out of their jobs and boycotted their businesses. They’ve made abusive telephone calls and even threatened their neighbors with death. Hundreds of cases of harassment have been documented.

Ron Prentice, chairman of the pro-Proposition 8 group ProtectMarriage.com, says the message of the maps “is unmistakable: Support traditional marriage, and we will find you.”

This is unbelievable in a democracy. In fact, domestic terrorism is not too strong a word to use for what’s occurring in California—and it’s a reminder of what happened when citizens allowed similar tactics to go unchallenged in another time and place.

Seventy-odd years ago, Adolf Hitler turned loose his brown shirts on Germany. These vicious young thugs went street by street, seeking out Jews and communists and trade union leaders. They beat them up and destroyed their places of business. In this way, Germany, a strong country, was taken over by an evil man and regime.

How much easier the brown shirts’ job would have been with a Google map! If vigilante-type movements are allowed to bully their opponents, we’re not just talking about suppression of religious freedom. We’re talking about the undermining of the very character of democracy. Political zealots of every stripe will learn that if they cannot persuade their fellow citizens by reason, they can “persuade” us another way—with clubs, scorn, and social ostracism.

It could get to the point where people will be afraid to get involved in politics at all—and if that happens, it will sound the death knell of representative liberal democracy. This is precisely why laws were passed giving Americans the right to a secret ballot.

ProtectMarriage.com and the Alliance Defense Fund have gone to court to protect the privacy and free speech of those who contribute to future campaigns—and to protect them from harassment. They are challenging state campaign finance laws that force disclosure of personal information of those who donate even small amounts of money to political campaigns.

Campaign disclosure laws must balance the public’s right, of course, to know who is donating money to political campaigns with an individual’s right to privacy, freedom of expression, and the freedom not to be threatened for their beliefs.

And we need vigorous law enforcement. If we prosecute hate crimes, why shouldn’t federal and state prosecutors go after those thugs who are abusing innocent people for exercising their right to vote?

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Now a syndicated columnist, Charles Colson was once labeled a “hatchet man” during his tenure under former President Nixon and was feared in Washington and elsewhere by many in politics. Now as a repentant and devout Christian, Colson preaches a message of reconciliation to “the least of these” – prisoners and their families as well as crime victims and their families all over the world. PFM (formerly Prison Fellowship Ministries) was founded by Colson in 1976 and continues to minister to millions worldwide today.