Shepherding a Child’s Heart (Book Recommendation)

Everything we say and do flows from what’s in our hearts.  Luke 6:45 says, “out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.”  As Christian parents, we know that our job includes more than making sure our children are fed, clothed, and taught things such as how to read and write.  Tedd Tripp, the author of Shepherding a Child’s Heart, believes that “the central focus of parenting is the gospel.  You need to direct not simply the behavior of your children, but the attitudes of their hearts.”  This book is useful for parents with children of all ages.  Tripp’s purpose is to lay out “a biblical vision for the parenting task: It involves being a kind authority, shepherding your children to understand themselves in God’s world, and keeping the gospel in clear view so your children can internalize the good news and someday live in mutuality with you as people under God.”  We highly recommend this book.  To order a copy through our church office, just let pastor Grant know you’re interested.

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Did Jesus Really Rise from the Dead? Answers to Common Objections to the Resurrection

Easter has always been one of the Church’s greatest days of celebration—and rightfully so.  To quote the apostle Paul, “if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. . . . If in this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied” (1 Cor. 15:14, 19).  But, Easter is also a time when many critics of Christianity raise objections to the claim that Christ rose from the dead.  Historically, there have been three major objections to the resurrection.  This article will present those objections and give brief apologetic responses to each.

1. The Swoon Theory

One of the major objections to the bodily resurrection of Jesus is the swoon theory.  Those who hold this theory claim that though Jesus was hung on the cross, he never actually died; he just “swooned”—kind of passed out or something.  The soldiers took him down (so they say) and put him in the tomb, unaware that he was still alive.  Then Jesus somehow escaped.

There are at least two major problems with this view.  First of all, it ignores the gruesome details surrounding Christ’s death.  The Romans were known for perfecting the art of torture and capital punishment.  What Jesus went through would have certainly killed him.  Second, there is no way a half-dead Jesus would’ve had the strength to role away the stone from the tomb by himself; and even if he did, he would have never been able to make it past the guards.  Jesus didn’t “swoon”; he died.

2. The Conspiracy Theory

Another common objection to the resurrection is the conspiracy theory.  This theory holds that Jesus really did die, but that after the burial his disciples stole his body from the tomb, and lied to everyone, telling them that Jesus had risen.  They did this, so the argument goes, because they wanted the Christian movement to continue.  If everyone knew Jesus was dead, then they wouldn’t be able to draw a crowd anymore.

Again, there are at least two major problems with this view.  First, it would have been nearly impossible for these men to have gotten past the Roman guards surrounding Jesus’ tomb.  Second, and most important, is the fact that most of these disciples wound up being martyred for their faith.  Are we supposed to believe that these men would be willing to face death without denying Christ all in the name of a lie they had concocted?

3. The Hallucination Theory

A third major objection to the resurrection is the hallucination theory.  This theory says that the disciples merely thought they saw the resurrected Jesus, but really they were just hallucinating.

One problem with this theory is the fact that Jesus’ body would’ve been in the tomb.  Are we supposed to believe that the disciples hallucinated about the empty tomb and the resurrection appearances?  Second, after his resurrection, Jesus appeared to multiple people in multiple places at multiple times.  Are we supposed to believe that all of these people had the same hallucination?

Brothers and sisters, these objections are lame.  Let’s celebrate this Easter with the confidence that Jesus really is risen!

 

Dr. Steve Gaines to Preach This Sunday

You won’t want to miss this Sunday morning’s worship service at 10:30.  Dr. Steve Gaines of Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis, TN will be preaching for us.  Dr. Gaines is our pastor’s father, and is a great preacher.

J. C. Ryle on the Duties of Parents

We’d like to recommend J. C. Ryle’s tremendous little book on parenting, entitled The Duties of Parents.  It can be downloaded for free on the internet at www.feedbooks.com/book/4236/the-duties-of-parents.  It only takes about an hour to read and is a great help to parents who are striving to raise their child “in the way he/she should go” (Prov. 22:6).  The book centers around the following seventeen principles:

1. training your child rightly

2. tenderness, affection, and patience

3. much depends on you

4. consider the soul of your child

5. a knowledge of the Bible

6. a habit of prayer

7. diligence in the public means of grace

8. a habit of faith

9. a habit of obedience

10. always speaking the truth

11. redeeming the time

12. fearing over-indulgence

13. how God trains His children

14. the influence of your example

15. the power of sin

16. the promise of Scripture

17. continual prayer for blessing.

If you need help accessing this free resource, please let one of our pastors know and they will gladly provide you with a copy.

The Simple, Yet Powerful Act of Inviting Someone to Church

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In his book, The Unchurched Next Door, Thom Rainer and a team of researchers interviewed hundreds of individuals who do not attend church in hopes of learning something about how Christians can more effectively reach out to them with the good news of Jesus Christ.  After sorting through all the information from the interviews, they discovered ten characteristics that were true of the majority of these unchurched people.  Some of them are quite surprising.

  1. Most of the unchurched prefer to attend church on Sunday morning if they attend.
  2. Females are likely to be either the most antagonistic or the most receptive to the gospel.
  3. Most of the unchurched feel guilty about not attending church.
  4. 82 percent of the unchurched are at least “somewhat likely” to attend church if they are invited.
  5. Very few of the unchurched have had someone share with them how to become a Christian.  And Christians have not been particularly influential in their lives.
  6. Most of the unchurched have a positive view about pastors, ministers, and the church.
  7. Some types of “cold calls” [i.e., showing up on someone’s doorstep unannounced] are effective; many are not.
  8. The unchurched would like to develop a real and sincere relationship with a Christian.
  9. The attitudes of the unchurched are not correlated to where they live, their ethnic or racial background, or their gender.
  10. Many of the unchurched are far more concerned about the spiritual well-being of their children than of themselves.

All of these facts about our non-church-attending neighbors are interesting, but I want especially to draw our attention to #4.  82 percent of the unchurched are at least “somewhat likely” to attend church if they are invited.  This ought to give us great confidence!  Don’t be afraid to invite your neighbors, coworkers, or children’s friends to church;  chances are they’re part of the 82% that are likely to come if they are asked!  Why not invite someone to next week’s service?

March 2011 Newsletter

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To download our March 2011 Newsletter click here or click the picture on the left.

Worship Song: “Lord I Lift Your Name on High”

This was sung at our Sunday morning worship gathering on 2.27.11. Download mp3