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Browse Worthy: Being Dad

After a full summer schedule, we are enjoying family vacation before we head back into the busyness of fall. As I work this week on reconnecting with my children, these videos recently viewed provide good reminders of the importance of being Dad.

Though my children were perhaps not quite so persistent, it’s good to remember sweet scenes like this one when they were younger when you are with family.

Often Dad has to be there to save the day, as this compilation shows. Of course, many times what dads are saving their kids from is their own father’s antics, as this compilation also shows!

With all of the Olympic moments of glory witnessed these past few weeks, this emotional scene provided by Derek Redmond and his father from the 1992 games remind dads of the importance of being there during painful times.

The son below has a father suffering from Alzheimer’s, yet when the father sings it is like he is back for a few minutes. Watching the son’s joy as his dad croons gives me hope. Perhaps one day my children, who are pretty regularly asking me NOT to sing around the house, will change their ways (though my kids would quickly add that at […]

With Love, Your Single Daughter

The following post is a guest article written by Rachel Dinkledine, a young woman I have had the pleasure of watching grow up since the day I took her brothers to see her at the hospital the day she was born. Rachel works as a registered nurse in the Indianapolis area.

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There are more than enough “Why Singles are Marginalized in the Church” articles floating around cyberspace.  My aim is not to add to their number.  By God’s grace, there are also many pastoral and theologically-sound resources on singleness.  My aim is not to improve upon these (I don’t think I can!).  So what is this article all about?  

Whether you are single or married, your theology of singleness will profoundly influence the life of the church. Instead of writing a five-point essay defending this statement, I submit to you a letter, a letter inspired from the experiences of many godly single women, from 20-somethings to 70-somethings.*  While the letter is written to parents, most aspects can be profitably read as addressed to a congregation from a single sister.  May the Lord use this to propel you to develop and live out a biblical theology of singleness.  

Dear […]

On Being Persuasive

From parenting to preaching, seeking to persuade others about the truths of the Bible and obedience to it is a fine art. One can easily veer off course and come across as harsh, demanding, exasperating, and legalistic. An over-correction in the other direction can make one sound nagging, permissive, whiny, and lacking in authority. Learning how to persuade others winsomely is a skill that needs to be cultivated. As Proverbs 16:23 says, “The heart of the wise makes his speech judicious and adds persuasiveness to his lips.”

In his work on preaching originally titled Sacred Rhetoric but now usually printed as Evangelical Eloquence, Robert Dabney, a nineteenth century theologian, has a fascinating section on this topic. Dabney reminds us that just as there are laws governing other aspects of nature, so there are rules for appealing to people to work toward a true, willing acceptance of the words that they are hearing rather than a blind obedience, grudging compliance, or outright rejection of them. He says that

…there are facts and laws belonging to man’s emotive system which must also be regarded in dealing successfully with it. It is the emotions which immediately move the will. To produce volition it is not enough that the intellect be convinced; affection must also be aroused.”

In […]

Seeing Is Believing

This is a guest post by J.K. Wall who is a writer in Indianapolis. His modernized abridgment of William Symington’s work, Messiah the Prince Revisited, was published in 2014 by Crown & Covenant Publications. You can e-mail him at jk.wall@gmail.com.

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In all ages of human history, belief has required sight.

It is true now in our scientific age, in which we demand observation and quantified data before we’ll accept anything as fact. It has been true for centuries in western legal systems, where crimes were proved only by eyewitness testimony. It is true in many of the world’s religions, which construct idols to represent the gods.

So why doesn’t Christianity allow idols, to help us believe in God?

The Bible, in the Second Commandment, expressly forbids the worship of idols. Even more, it rebukes those who demand any visual proof in order to believe. For instance, when the Jews kept asking Jesus for a sign (which is to say, a miracle) before they would believe, He excoriated them. (Matt. 12:38-39).

Does this mean that living the Christian life requires a completely blind faith? Not at all. Christians have no idols because, instead, we have our neighbors.[i]

That truth has important implications for our life […]

The Miraculous in the Mundane

The following is a guest post by J.K. Wall who is a writer in Indianapolis. His modernized abridgment of William Symington’s work, Messiah the Prince Revisited, was published in 2014 by Crown & Covenant Publications. You can e-mail him at jk.wall@gmail.com.

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When Christians think about work, they often get stuck on a theological see-saw.

At times, church work is valued most. Other times, office work is raised up in importance.

These priorities bob up and down in most Christians’ minds, particularly young people, as we figure out where the Lord wants us to serve. It’s not clear how to value the parts of life that happen outside a church and in places where Christ is not named.

Since the time of Martin Luther, who correctly declared that the work of ministers and merchants (and mothers, too) was all equally good and godly, nearly every individual Christian has struggled to actually keep this see-saw level. Our secularized culture now prizes work outside the church far, far more than work inside it. This can lead Christians either to devalue church activities or, conversely, to identify overt acts of ministry as the only truly “Christian” work.

I have a proposal, not merely to level out this […]

When Trouble Comes

So many resources to point you to!

Justin Taylor interviews Philip Ryken below regarding his new book When Trouble Comes. Though I have not yet read it, I respect these men greatly and enjoyed this interchange over lunch today. As Dr. Ryken speaks personally about his own struggles, it is helpful to hear him explain how he turned to the means the Lord has given us to persevere during troubling times. Many folks are going through such times, so perhaps you as I would be benefited by reading this work and making it available to others.

The Psalter Project

Here at Gentle Reformation, we love the recent rediscovery of singing the Psalms among many Christians. So many have never experienced this great treasure and we are happy to promote efforts to see these words of God’s praise written on people’s hearts.

The following article “Why Sing Psalms?” is a guest post from Emily Moore, co-founder of Psalter Project, a community resource for singing the psalms with fresh arrangements of faithful translations. Emily and her brother, Pastor Derek Moore, desire to see the broader church know and sing the psalms. They have their first album “Highways in Our Hearts” now available. 

To hear a sample of the music, listen to “To Dwell with God – Psalm 15.”

http://gentlereformation.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/to-dwell-with-god-psalm-15.mp3

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Often when I introduce fellow Christians to Psalter Project for the first time, their response is “What a great idea!” The psalms contain some of the most beloved passages in the entire Bible.  Likewise, music is a form of expression so instinctive it’s considered “the universal language.”

However, too often initial interest is dampened by various difficulties.  The lyrics of the psalms may seem too foreign, too confusing, or too difficult to accept.  The psalms don’t naturally fit our familiar musical mold.  Many of us don’t […]

RPIC 2016 Messages

As Nathan explained a few days ago, several of us at Gentle Reformation were at the quadrennial Reformed Presbyterian International Conference last week. A number of people have inquired how they might listen to the messages that were given at the conference, so I thought it would be helpful to have the links collected in one place for easy reference.

Preaching Sessions

Several brothers preached throughout the week. I was grateful to sit under the Word as they brought powerful, relevant, and searching messages to us.

A Child’s Powerful Witness (II Kings 5:1-5) | Gordon Keddie

Power. Prayer. Providence. (Ephesians 3:7-21) | Matt Kingswood

Seasoned for the Flames (Matthew 5:1-16) | Jeff Stivason

Can You See It? (Nehemiah 6) | Peter Smith

Plenary Sessions

I spoke five times on the theme of “The Sacrificing Church: Ministering Faithfully as Priests in the Local Congregation.”

The Sacrificing Church As a Worshiping Temple (I Peter 2:4-10)

The Sacrificing Church As a Praying Priesthood (Revelation 8:1-5)

The Sacrificing Church As a Believing Community (Romans 12:1-21)

The Sacrificing Church As a Merciful People (James 1:26-2:13)

The Sacrificing Church As a Mission Outpost (Hebrews 10:19-39)

Kingdom Catalysts

As a younger man, I was privileged to do a pastoral internship under Dr. Roy Blackwood in Indianapolis. One of the many lessons he taught me and demonstrated with his life that summer was that we should always be what he called “catalysts for the kingdom of God.”

Roy was trained in chemistry, and understood a catalyst was “a substance that causes, or at least accelerates, a chemical reaction between two other substances without being affected itself.” For a household example of a catalyst, if you have those white, lime spots on your glassware from your dishwater, you can soak them in some vinegar to get rid of the spots. But it takes quite some time for the spots to disappear. However, add to the vinegar some rubbing alcohol, which serves as a catalyst, and the vinegar works much more quickly to do the job.

Similarly, Roy understood that often our gifts are not the best ones to employ for a need at hand because we lack the “proper chemistry.” Instead, many times the best thing one can do for the kingdom of God is to introduce two people or even two ministries to one another that could benefit mutually and then “get out of the […]

Calvin on Christian Sobriety

One of the devotional habits I have practiced over the past few summers is to read slowly, section-by-section, through A Guide to Christian Living. A gift from a friend, this small book is taken from Book 3 of John Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion. The teachings are laid out clearly in short sections. I find these meditations orient heart and life, for Calvin helps the believer see how union with Christ leads to the proper practice of our Christian duties.

I share now a short section on sobriety with you I recently read and, in the battle with my own flesh, keep striving to practice. Calvin is commenting on Titus 2:11-14, where we are told that Christ’s salvation teaches us to cast away “all ungodliness and worldly desires, and thus to live sober, righteous, and holy lives in this world” as we await Christ’s final coming. Note that by speaking of sobriety Calvin does not just mean abstaining from drunkenness, though certainly that would be included. Rather, he means the moderate use of any of God’s gifts to us.

Sobriety designates chastity and moderation, and a pure and disciplined use of God’s gifts, together with patience in a time of poverty…Nothing, […]