The Battlefield of the Heart

Virtual Purity_tThe biggest surprise for many people who are engaged in the battle for virtual purity is that the battle is not primarily won by software (filters, DNS Servers, and the like). Those are certainly part of the strategy and we will address those fully in the final sermon. However, the primary tactic to win against online temptation is to foster godly affections. The battle isn’t fought in the mind, but in the heart. It’s all about what you hate and what you love.

We began the study of Virtual purity last week by learning how and why we are to Hate Porn. We continue the study this week as we look at Embracing Authenticity. Join us this Sunday at Capshaw – www.capshaw.org

 

 

Meals and Mission – Episode 1: Russia, Beef Stroganoff and Russian Salad

[DON’T MISS THE VIDEO AT THE BOTTOM OF THE POST]

Dining is, quite seriously, a religious experience in our home. A friend of mine quotes his father as saying,

“I do not eat, I dine”.

I know exactly what he means! The greats have always viewed meals as special! Henry David Thoreau said,

“He who distinguishes the true savor of his food can never be a glutton; he who does not cannot be otherwise.”

Meals are special. History can be understood as a series of meals from the first bite of forbidden fruit (Genesis 3) to the marriage supper of the Lamb (Revelation 19) with one major meal, the Last Supper, in between (Matthew 26). Jesus’s strongest critics focused on when he ate (Mark 2), how he ate (Mark 7), what he didn’t drink (Matthew 11), and whom he ate with (Mark 2). According to most biblical historians, practically every service in the early church involved a meal.

So, it is not surprising that the primary discipling of our families is expected to happen around the dinner table.

Deuteronomy 6:6–7 (ESV) And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.

We have found that there is no better place to disciple our children than around the dinner table. That is why we make it a priority to have an evening meal together at least 4 nights a week.

The conversation often turns to what God is teaching us, what we are studying in the Scriptures, and how we are trying to influence others for the Gospel. Recently, my wife and I wondered if there was a way to use that evening meal time to keep the Great Commission (Matthew 28), the mission field, and the work of missionaries in front of our children and in our regular conversation. We have created a tool to help to that end – we call it Meals & Mission.

My wife (Julie) is an incredible cook. She specializes in ethnic cooking. Since we are already in the habit of cooking one or two ethnic meals a week, we wondered what it would look like if we were more intentional in the selection of the meals. Seeking to find recipes from around the world that will allow us to circle the globe in the course of a year is our goal. Simultaneously, I will write a short devotional (2-3 paragraphs) that will communicate the climate of the missionary endeavor in that part of the world, introduce a missionary family, and give a few ways we can pray for the spread of the Gospel there.

From there, the idea began to grow. We figured, if we are going to go to the trouble to produce this material, we might as well seek to share it with you – the readers of my blog. So here is what we are attempting to produce at least once a month:

  • A recipe from a particular mission field
  • A short video that will teach you how to cook the meal
  • A devotion that you can print and read to your family

This will be a major undertaking for our already busy schedule. SO WE NEED YOUR HELP. We would like for you to consider sending us a recipe for an ethnic meal complete with a list of ingredients and instructions. Be sure to tell us where in the world the meal originated and, if possible, which people group you wish to focus on. We will do the research needed for the devotional, but if you have thoughts or resources to be considered, include those as well. You can leave your recipes, meal ideas, and devotional thoughts in the comment section below.

2a8a8d5e-69c4-427a-ba22-3bbb9b9935c3Now that you understand the context of what we are trying to accomplish, let’s begin with Episode 1 – Russia.

The Christmas Family

The following is a fictional story, more of what C.S. Lewis called, “a Supposal”. Suppose we were allowed to look into what occurred in heaven just before Messiah was born. This is what my sanctified imagination came up with…

A Christmas Supposal:

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It happened many years ago, although in the Celestial City, time is irrelevant. The Angelic Hosts were gathered in two companies before the Great Throne, arranged by their rank and duty. The two great ones, Michael and Gabriel, were seated on lesser thrones at the head of each company, with scores of cherubs, seraphs, and soldiers arranged behind them.

The time was at hand. After epochs of waiting, longing, wondering…that of which the prophets have spoken in the Holy Scriptures had arrived. It was now time for Messiah’s Advent. That second Person of the God-Head, the eternal Son of the Almighty, the Manifest One, would now be sent to a tiny blue planet to redeem the creatures on whom His affection was set.

Angelic hearts began to race. They had dreamed of this day. There were so many questions that would now be answered. Some expected the Messiah to travel to earth on a chariot of fire like that which gathered the prophet Elijah heavenward years earlier. Others had heard a rumor that God would form Messiah’s body of the dust of teh ground as he had done in the beginning. Yet, in actuality, eye had not seen, neither had it entered into any angelic heart, what God had prepared for the Advent of His Son.

From the midst of the throne thundered a voice that was at once both terrifying in its power and comforting in its tone. The decree of God sounded forth, informing the Angelic Host that,

“Messiah will transition to Earth by means of that ancient institution, the family.”

One could hear the angels gasp- a family. A human family. Out of all of the potential methods the Ancient of Days could employ, He did that which no one expected. Michael raised the question that was on everyone’s mind:

“Oh, Eternal One,” he asked. “They have all turned aside, all of them have gone astray. Even the mightiest of men wrestle with pride, with fear. Their lives are filled with drama. Who could handle such a responsibility?”

At that very moment, before the throne arose a great mist. Flashes of lightning and circles of rainbows proceeded from the mist, and images began to appear! The angels could now see beyond the Celestial City, through time and space. The images grew clearer and clearer until they revealed a scene unfolding on earth: it was a young man and a virgin at their betrothal ceremony.

Gabriel whispered, “They are so young.”

Then, the Almighty again spoke:

“Behold, My servants, Joseph and Mary of Nazareth, of the tribe of Judah, descendants of David. Mary will carry Messiah in her womb, and she will nurse Him. Together Joseph and Mary will see my Son through His earthly pilgrimage.

Don’t let their humble estate fool you. They have the greatest of all human traits: THEY TRUST ME. They walk by faith and not by sight. These two ordinary people will soon be husband and wife. They will carry all of the stress any other couple carries, and added to that, the enormous weight of being the earthly parents of Deity.”

No angel would dare question the wisdom of the Creator, yet God knew their hearts were troubled about this plan. Once again God explained,

My beloved messengers, the human family is my most mysterious, yet powerful creation. For that reason, the fallen ones from your ranks have waged war against families from the beginning. Yet the truth remains that if a husband and a wife will simply walk with Me, I can make from their union a cocoon that will transform a simple boy into a mighty man of valor. I can convert a little girl into a jewel among women. The very Son of God can grown in favor and stature with God and man, until He is ready to pay the ultimate price.”

“Master, an angel asked, “will we be allowed to set a legion of our best soldiers to watch over this family?”

You will have your part, as always,” answered the Almighty, “but please remember that I forge a family as I form a diamond. They will experience stress and enormous pressure. They will at times fear for their lives and the life of their Son. Yet, as they walk with Me, I assure you that the mission will be accomplished. So, let’s begin…”

There was silence in Heaven for about half an hour as a new star exploded into existence above the hillside of Judea. Then suddenly, the silence was broken by the crying of a baby, as all of Heaven toward Bethlehem did lean.

Israel Trip 2014

 

HolyLand

We are planning a once in a  lifetime trip to Israel September 26 – October 5, 2014. Join us for the unforgettable trip as we see where Jesus walked, and where He will one day walk again. Click Here for the full brochure about the 2014 Israel Trip with Pastor Zach Terry

For more information about this trip please fill out the form below. Please fill out a separate form for each person planning to go on the trip.

Thoughts on Family Worship

I trust there are none here present, who profess to be followers of Christ who do not also practice prayer in their families. We do not have a positive commandment for it, but we believe that it is so much in accord with the genius and spirit of the gospel, and that it is so commended by the example of the saints, that the neglect thereof is a strange inconsistency. – Charles Spurgeon

 

If therefore our houses be houses of the Lord, we shall for that reason love home, reckoning our daily devotion the sweetest of our daily delights; and our family-worship the most valuable of our family comforts. . . . A church in the house will be a good legacy, nay, it will be a good inheritance, to be left to your children after you. – Matthew Henry

 

Devotions can be a time of true togetherness when family members share questions, doubts, thoughts, problems, and answers. Hearing one another pray or learning verses of Scripture together regularly establishes and reinforces the fact that God is at the center of the family unit. In my opinion, the success of family devotions relies much more on the parents’ conviction to have them than it does on a specific technique or carefully chosen material. The fact of the matter is this: If you truly consider family devotions vital to you and to your children’s welfare, you will make sure it becomes an integral part of your household routine. – Henry Brandt and Kerry Skinner, I Want to Enjoy My Children

 

What a heritage to pass along to our children . . . memories of home intertwined with memories of praise and laughter and song and the strong, undergirding arms of the living God. (Jack Hayford, “Making Your Home a Worship Center”)

 

If we want to bring up a godly family, who shall be a seed to serve God when our heads are under the clods of the valley, let us seek to train them up in the fear of God by meeting together as a family for worship. – Charles Spurgeon

50 Questions to Ask your Spouse on a Date Night

Today at Starbucks I met with a few guys to discuss how what we have been studying on Sunday mornings at Capshaw practically applies to our lives. One of the big things we discovered was the need for very open communication and date nights with our spouses. To help with that I want to share this list of 50 questions that are to be discussed with your spouse while the two of you are alone. Don’t try to tackle too many in one setting. It’s actually best if you just get through a few but really talk in detail. Let me warn you that a couple of the questions are specifically only for married couples.

1.  What are your 5 favorite foods, with the most favorite first?

2.  What are your 5 favorite kinds of meals, with the most favorite first?

3.  What are your 5 favorite desserts, with the most favorite first?

4.  What are your 5 favorite restaurants, with the most favorite first?

5.  What is your favorite color?

6.  What are your 5 favorite hobbies, with the most favorite  first?

7.  What are your 5 favorite recreations, with the most favorite  first?

8.  What are your 5 favorite sources of reading, with the most favorite  first?

9.  What gifts do you like?

10.  What is your favorite books(s) of the Bible? Why?

11.  What is your favorite verse(s) of the Bible?  Why?

12.  What is your favorite song?

13.  What makes you the most fulfilled or happiest as a woman/man?

14.  What makes you the most fulfilled or happiest as a wife/husband?

15.  What makes you the most fulfilled or happiest as a mother/father?

16.  What makes you saddest as a woman/man?

17.  What makes you saddest as a wife/husband?

18.  What makes you saddest as a mother/father?

19.  What do you fear the most?

20.  What other fears do you have?

21.  What do you look forward to the most?

22.  How much sleep do you need?

23.  What do you consider to be your skills?

24.  What do you believe to be your spiritual gifts?

25.  What are your weaknesses?

26.  To ask wife:  What things (personal, home, car, etc.) need repairing?

       To ask husband:  What things around the home need to be cleaned?

27.  To ask wife:  With what chores and responsibilities do you like my help?

       To ask husband:  How can I make it easier for you to lead our family?

28.  What caresses do you enjoy the most?

29.  What caresses do you enjoy the least?

30.  What action of mine provides you the greatest sexual pleasure? 

31.  What other things stimulate you sexually?

32.  At what times do you need assurance of my love the most?

33.  How can that love be shown?

34.  What can I do that will make it easier to discuss and work on areas or problems that are uncomfortable to you?

35.  What concerns do you have that I do not seem interested in?

36.  What things do I do that irritate you?

37.  What desires do you have that we haven’t discussed?

38.  What do you enjoy doing with me, with the most enjoyable  first?

39.  What things can I do that show my appreciation of you?

40.  What varying desires (spiritual, physical, emotional, intellectual, social, worth, 

            appreciational, recreational, security, etc.) would you like me to provide? 

41.  To ask wife:  In what ways would you like me to protect you (physically, spiritually, socially, emotionally)?

       To ask husband:  In what ways would you like me to respect and reverence you?

42.  In what ways would you like me to sacrifice for you?

43.  What things do you see by my actions that I place first in my life?

44.  What implied or unspoken desires and wishes of yours would you like for me to

            fulfill?

45.  What concerns and interests of yours would you like me to support?

46.  How much time would be good for us to spend together each day?

47.  In helping family members to use their skills and develop their abilities, what

            motivating factors would be helpful for me to use?

48.  What can I do that provides the greatest comfort and encouragement for you when   

            you are hurt, fearful, anxious or worried?

49.  What personal habits do I have that you would like changed?

50.  What ways demonstrate to you that you are a very important person who is as important or more important than I am?