Faith and Freedom Tour – Day 3

Today I Walked among Giants

July 7th, 2010
Fredericksburg, TX

Today I walked among giants as we walked the streets of Fredericksburg, TX.  No there are not nephilim roaming the streets, I walked with men who are giants of the faith. I spent time following Doug Phillips, Scott Brown and Lt. Bill Brown around listening to them tell the stories of the true history of our nation. I watched them with their families. I heard them cast the vision given them by the Lord and watched the passion such calling brings. Their vision and excitement is contagious.

It also made me feel very small. Feeling small is not necessarily a bad thing, we all need humility. I am reminded of how far I have to go, just how little I measure up to the biblical standard of manhood. I am reminded how measly my own vision for my family is and how poor my leadership is. I am rightfully known as The Pauper for I am a mere beggar among such godly men as these. It is not that I believe that they somehow do not put their pants on one leg at a time like the rest of us or that I think they are perfect for they are not. They are merely the type of men who inspire the rest of us to excel still more. They are the type of men who I wish I  could spend time with regularly to hope that some of their wisdom, vision and passion could somehow rub off. They are the type of men a godly man would want as mentors. They make me long for that discipleship in my own life, they make me long for the company of real men, men unafraid of challenge, men ready to defend what God has given them to guard.

Since God has seen fit to move  me away from the men who have done that in the past for my life, I am glad for 3 days to follow such men at a distance and learn. However, it makes my desire for such companionship of arms that much stronger and deeper. It casts my lack in  sharp relief. So what is one to do? I am that much more committed to encouraging the men God has put in my circle. I want to inspire them to be the type of godly man the Word encourages, men of action not words, men of fearless mettle, men who will defend the innocent with their last breath, men who will fight to the end for their families, who will die fighting the good fight. I aspire to this not because  I have arrived but because, I have not and I need those type of examples in my own life.

Lord, make me a better man. Make me faithful to the end and give me a vision for your kingdom that will outlive me and my grandchildren. May your name be great in all the earth and may we be known as your faithful servants.

Acquit Thee like men!

Texas Faith and Freedom Tour – Day 1 cont.

7-5-10
San Antonio, TX

Today we walked holy ground. I don’t mean spiritually holy ground  but holy in the sense of consecrated ground, ground set aside by the blood of the men who died there. We walked the grounds of the Alamo today. As an unwilling hostage in the state of Texas I often think that Texans have an inflated view of themselves and their state. This sense has certainly filtered my thoughts of the Alamo through the years. However, today I began to understand why the Alamo should matter to every christian father in the US and maybe the world. You see this little band of 180+ Texicans stood against tyranny in the face of overwhelming odds and they did so like men!

These brave men, knowingly or not were firmly in the middle of a battle of worldviews. On one side the Spanish heritage and worldview of the divine right of kings, Catholicism, imperialism driven by greed, and hunger for power was represented by Santa Anna who had set himself up as dictator and had as his aim the subjugating by force everyone within his reach. On the other the heritage of freedom born of the Protestant Reformation, incubated in Calvin’s Geneva, birthed and given legs in the Puritans of the American colonies and carried out through the vision of settling families to create a nation which would become a city on a hill to light the world with the gospel of Jesus Christ represented by the Texas colonists. There was no mistaking the prize in this battle, it was the fate of freedom that was being decided at this little Spanish mission. Both sides recognized it and neither was willing to cede their position.

It is these high stakes that make this significant to us today because when Santa Anna raised the red flag over his headquarters, he was declaring he would give no quarter. It is this declaration that makes these Texans important, they could have tried to run or sue for peace in the face of overwhelming odds but instead they did not hesitate but returned this ultimatum with a cannon volley declaring that they would rather die like men then shrink from their duty. Today we have lost most of the ideals of manliness and do not understand what it means to fight and die like men but those men did not. They clearly understood what Col. Travis was saying when he drew the line in the sand and asked who was willing to die with him. Every man who stepped across that line would die within the walls of that mission and they knew it but they crossed the line anyway. What is even more significant is that many of these men were not merely adventurers but family men who many would say had so much for which to live. Yet they saw it as they had so very much for which to die. And to the last man, they acquitted themselves as men fighting so long as they had strength, each one meeting his maker on that fateful day but each one meeting him as one dying like a man.

What is the lesson for us? What is your line in the sand? What is so important to you that you would go down fighting to the last man? What is so important in your life that you are willing to suffer deprivation, ostracision, persecution, and even prison or death to follow your convictions? May we as fathers be the protectors we are called to be and may we acquit ourselves as men fighting even to the death if neccessary in defense of our families, country and the gospel of Jesus Christ.

A Quote I Just Can’t Shake

“Flip pointed to a friend of his in the audience who has 16 children. He told of how this family went to stand in the gap for Terry Schiavo when she was being killed. The father was arrested in front of his children as their eyes filled with tears and fear.

‘Watch, children’, he said. ‘We are in a battle for life and truth. It’s a battle you will be called to fight too. And if I die in the battle, you trample over my dead carcass and continue to storm the gates of hell‘.” (Emphasis mine)

– Kelly at http://generationcedar.com quoting a message by Flip Benham from The Baby Conference

Family Vision

Moses Austin

Day 1 Texas Faith and Freedom Tour

Father of Vision

07-05-10
San Antonio, TX

Today as we embarked on this 3 day odyssey we began the day at the monument to Moses Austin. Here the historians leading our tour began to unpack the heritage and vision of this man and how he fit into the larger picture of providential history. Here was a man who had such a vision for his family that when he led his family to move from the east coast to Missouri he wrote a 37 page letter to his not yet 4 year old son, Stephen F. Austin, to explain the reasons why they moved so that when he was old enough to read it he would see and embrace his father’s vision. Then when Stephen was 11 Moses would again be writing his son to help him become a man and stressed that this was important because he never knew when death might come to Moses and Stephen would then be the family patriarch so he needed to be ready should that occur. Little did Stephen know that a mere 11 years later he would be called to leave his comfortable study of Law in New Orleans to do just that, fulfill his father’s vision to settle Texas. So equipped was this young man at 22 that he was named the Empressario of the new settlement effort and acquitted himself with distinction.

What a challenge to me as a father. Will my children be able to take up the family vision of victory if I am called home to heaven? What am I doing today to prepare them to lead our family after I am dead and gone? What markers am I leaving that point them to our mission for the Kingdom of Christ?

London Baptist Confession – Week 3

1. The Holy Scriptures (cont.)

4. The authority of the Holy Scripture, for which it ought to be believed, depends not on the testimony of any man or church, but wholly upon7 God its Author (Who is Truth itself). Therefore it is to be received because it is the Word of God.

5. We may be moved and induced by the testimony of the people of God to gain a high and reverent estimation of the Holy Scriptures. We may be similarly affected by the nature of the Scriptures—the heavenliness of the contents, the efficacy of the doctrine, the majesty of the style, the consent of all the parts, the scope of the whole, which is to give all glory to God, the full disclosure it makes of the only way of man’s salvation, together with many other incomparable excellencies and entire perfections. By all the evidence the Scripture more than proves itself to be the Word of God.

Yet, notwithstanding this, our8 full persuasion and assurance of the infallible truth of Scripture and its divine authority, is from the inward work of the Holy Spirit bearing witness by and with the Word in our hearts.

72 Peter 1:19-21; 2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; 1 John 5:9
8John 16:13,14; 1 Corinthians 2:10-12; 1 John 2:20, 27

Thoughts from The Little Pauper

This last Saturday The Little Pauper and I were discussing the secrets of the
universe – like the best time to buy an Icee if you were taking a trip.
Referring to a jaunt I would be taking the next day she suggested I should
consider purchasing an Icee for the trip right then. To which I replied that if
I did that it would not be an Icee anymore because the Icee would melt. At which
point she responded, “Yeah, and then it would be called a ‘Melt-ee’!”

(At which point I lost it laughing at such flawless logic from a 4 year-old!)

London Baptist Confession – Week 2

1. The Holy Scriptures (cont.)

2. Under the title of Holy Scripture (or the written Word of God) are now contained all the following books of the Old and New Testament:-

OF THE OLD TESTAMENT

Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel, 1 & 2 Kings, 1 & 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi.

OF THE NEW TESTAMENT

Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts, Romans. 1 & 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, l & 2 Thessalonians, 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon, Hebrews, James, 1 & 2 Peter, 1, 2 & 3 John, Jude, Revelation.

All these books are given by the 5inspiration of God to be the rule of faith and life.

3. The books commonly called ‘The Apocrypha’ not being of6 divine inspiration, are not part of the canon or rule of Scripture and are therefore of no authority to the church of God, nor are they to be approved of or made use of any differently from other human writings.

52 Timothy 3:16
6Luke 24:27, 44; Romans 3:2

Salvation of Children

“58 came forward to be saved last night at vbs! praise God!” – Facebook post by a Friend

This post has rattled around in my head this week and I just can’t shake it. It is not that I do not want to be excited with and for my friend over these children, I do. However, in light of the study I have done getting ready to preach this last Saturday, I am not sure that these invitation-walk-the-aisle experiences are helping anyone. It is not that I think that children cannot be converted at a VBS or during any portion of childhood (God is God and He does what He pleases). The grave concern I have is that children understand salvation properly and I fear that often at things like VBS we are building on a foundation of emotion and not conviction.

I fear that we in the evangelical world have become so accustomed to the Charles Finney revivalism view of salvation (it goes something like this: walk to the front during the moving music after threats of eternal fire, pray a little prayer and HOCUS POCUS! You are now a “christian”) that even adults do not understand the true nature of the gospel and the choice it presents. In reading Luke 9:23-25 it is clear that the decision to follow Jesus is a serious, deep, life-altering commitment from which there is no turning back. This is a decision to follow Jesus no matter what, for the rest of your life. This is a decision to leave everything and everyone else behind if necessary and follow Jesus. If this is the decision that Jesus is asking for, it is reasonable to believe that a child is capable of understanding this decision, much less make such a choice?

Is a young child able to understand what it means to repent of your sin, daily, constantly? Are they able to properly understand what it truly means to confess Jesus as Lord? (Rom 10:9-10)

I am not saying that children can’t make such a commitment (I started my journey following Jesus at 5) but I am concerned that we often make it sound too much like saying magic words and not enough about Lordship and obedience. We focus the “gospel” on us and our felt needs instead of the truth that God commands all men everywhere to repent and believe. Salvation in its essence has little to do with actually saving me from hell and has everything to do with my acknowledgment of God’s rightful place as eternal and almighty God to whom all allegiance and honor is due. The gospel has as its heart the glory of God through the suffering of Jesus the Christ to present former rebels as adopted sons, not for their own sake or to met a need of God but rather to showcase the greatness of his own character and love.

I know nothing about how the group of believers at the VBS mentioned above presented the gospel. They may have done so with the greatest fidelity to the text of the New Testament. For me it was a reminder of the delicacy and patience needed to faithfully share the truth with these little ones. A call to remember that they need to be trusting in Jesus alone for their salvation, not in magic words or an emotional experience but in the quiet assurance that submitting your life to the King of Kings brings. It was a reminder to approach baptism of children and presenting the gospel to my own children with the utmost care. For how terrible would it be to give such precious ones false hope and assurances based on a simple repeated prayer instead on a sure understanding of Jesus work on the cross and submission to his will through repentance of sin and ongoing obedience.