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

Thirteen Souls (Africa Journal #1) by R.C. Sproul, Jr.

One of my many weaknesses is that I don’t, at least in my heart, believe that missionaries have weaknesses. I see them as super-heroes. How wonderful they must be to leave the comforts of home and family to go and serve. My mind knows better, but the heart has its reasons. Missionaries, I know objectively, are not super-spiritual people who do not sin. They are instead super-spiritual people whose consciousness of their own sin fuels gospel gratitude which in turn leads to sacrificial love for others…

To read more, Go here:

Thirteen Souls (Africa Journal #1) by R.C. Sproul, Jr.

War of the Worldviews with Eric Holmberg to air Monday evenings on the NRB Network

TRFW is excited about the new shows on the NRB Network –

Prime time is heating up with Apologetics programming featuring many great teachers, one of whom we have spotlighted right here on our blog.

War of the Worldviews with Eric Holmberg will air every Monday evening on the NRB Network – channels 378 on DirecTV and 126 on Sky Angel – 8 pm Central Time, 9 pm Eastern. War of the Worldviews is a new series from well-known Christian cultural apologist, Eric Holmberg (Hell’s Bells 1&2, Sound of War, Red Pill Forum, Marks of a Cult, and more). Eric is the founder and national director of The Apologetics Group and Reel to Real Ministries.

The first show will be Monday, May 17th.
8-9 pm CST
9-10 pm EST

Meant to challenge both the believer and non-believer, this program takes the truth of God’s Word to the frontlines of popular culture, philosophy, theology, and politics.

The National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) is located in Nashville, Tennessee, and offers non-profit programming distributed through a channel on DIRECTV. Please check your local provider for details.

Watch for updates weekly – invite your family, friends and co-workers to watch!

http://www.nrbnetwork.tv/schedules/Pages/default.aspx

War of the Worldviews with Eric Holmberg to Air Monday Nights on NRB Network