Wednesday, December 20, 2017

A Few Thoughts on the Magi & Us

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of teaching our EDGE, Middle School during Wednesday youth covering the topic of the magi. I learned a great deal from my time of preparation and teaching both personally and biblically and wanted to share a few of those thoughts with you…

1) I find it very easy to take my understanding of Scripture and the things I've learned even from childhood at face value. I find I can do this with both the Christmas story and just in general with Scripture. Rather than coming with new eyes of wonder, asking questions, & seeking to learn and grow in my understanding and joy in God, I can stop with only my cursory understanding, not have really interacted with God and His Word, and actually miss the whole point of my time with Him in His Word. It is a battle we each must do on a daily basis as we read the Word, but I think especially as we ponder the Christmas story anew.

2) The story of the Magi is much more awesome, necessary, and full than I could have ever imagined! I would suggest the whole story is given by Matthew very intentionally. In fact, I would suggest it was given as a very strong proof for the Jewish people to let them know Jesus was their Messiah. Let me see if I can present my logic on this and both prove it to you as well, while also exciting your heart with our amazing God's planning and fulfilling of His Word through Christ…

Matthew's gospel seems to follow a great deal of the order of Isaiah as well as draws a good portion of his Old Testament quotes from the book. Thus it seems reasonable to think that Matthew not only knew the book of Isaiah well, but would draw from not only its prophecies but also its pictures to prove the validity of Jesus' Messiahship for the Jewish people.

Observation Questions:
We read of the Magi in Matthew 2:1-12 and from that passage I would suggest a number of questions that might lead to a better understanding of Matthew's purpose and our inclusion of this in the Christmas story.

Why a Star?
– Why of all ways would God choose to use a star to lead the Magi to the Messiah? He certainly could have simply used a dream as He did later in 2:12.
Why from the East? – Why outsiders from the people of Israel? God used angels to bring the shepherds. Could he not have used them to bring the nobility of Christ's nation? Or for that matter, why weren't the leaders of Israel who told the Magi the location of the Messiah in 2:4-6 summoned by the star themselves?
Why those of High Rank or Nobility? – While we cannot be sure there were 3 or that they were kings as the song states, we do know from the gifts and role of these men in their own land that they would be of a high rank. Why would those of importance and governmental roles be important in this story of Christ and his birth/early childhood? Why not simply bring shepherds from other countries like God did in Israel (Lk 2:8-20)? 
Why Gifts? – Why did these men bring gifts at all? The shepherds in Lk 2:8-20 didn't bring anything. And since they did bring gifts, why these gifts? Why not bring more practical/beneficial gifts to Jesus and His family such as livestock, clothes, food, or other such necessities or sustainable benefits?
Why the superabundance of joy in their response? – In 2:10 Matthew writes, "When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy." … think about that… They rejoiced… exceedingly… with great … joy. Matthew seems to be super emphasizing the joy of the Magi if you couldn't tell. =) So why so much joy emphasized?

So here is my suggestion that seems to answer all these questions… A few prophetic statements and pictures from Isaiah. Some of these are well known and already connected to Christ's birth. Others are seen to still need to take place at His Second Coming.

Isaiah 9:2-3 (NASB), " The people who walk in darkness Will see a great light; Those who live in a dark land, The light will shine on them.
You shall multiply the nation, You shall increase their gladness; They will be glad in Your presence As with the gladness of harvest, As men rejoice when they divide the spoil. … For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, On the throne of David and over his kingdom, To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness From then on and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish this." (emphasize mine)

Isaiah 49:5-7 (NASB), " And now says the Lord, who formed Me from the womb to be His Servant, To bring Jacob back to Him, so that Israel might be gathered to Him (For I am honored in the sight of the Lord, And My God is My strength),
He says, “It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant To raise up the tribes of Jacob and to  restore the preserved ones of Israel; I will also make You a light of the nations So that My salvation may reach to the end of the earth.” Thus says the Lord, the Redeemer of Israel and its Holy One, To the despised One, To the One abhorred by the nation, To the Servant of rulers, “Kings will see and arise, Princes will also bow down, Because of the Lord who is faithful, the Holy One of Israel who has chosen You.”" (emphasize mine)

Isaiah 60:1-3, 5-6 (NASB), " “Arise, shine; for your light has come, And the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. 2 “For behold, darkness will cover the earth And deep darkness the peoples; But the Lord will rise upon you And His glory will appear upon you. 3 “Nations will come to your light, And kings to the brightness of your rising. … 5 “Then you will see and be radiant, And your heart will thrill and rejoice; Because the abundance of the sea will be turned to you, The wealth of the nations will come to you. 6 “A multitude of camels will cover you, The young camels of Midian and Ephah; All those from Sheba will come; They will bring gold and frankincense, And will bear good news of the praises of the Lord." (emphasize mine)

Isaiah refers to a light that would rise in Israel that all the nations will come to and be exceedingly glad in His presence. He speaks of nobility from other lands coming to worship Him. He talks of them bringing specific gifts that would honor the King. Ultimately these prophecies won't see their full fulfillment until the End Times as we see in Revelation 21:22-27. However, God in His great grace, even in Christ's First Coming seems to gives us a taste toward the full completion of His prophecies through the Magi. They are the partial picture in His 1
st Coming of what will be completed fully in His 2nd Coming. They and their story in Matthew are both a seal on the faithfulness of God's promises as well as a validation of their Messiah King, Jesus, the Savior of Israel and ultimately, all people.

Just a few thoughts of application for us as we ponder these things…

1) How are you doing at slowing down, reading, & pondering God's Word and the Christmas story?
2) As you read Mat 2:1-19 you see the Magi as men who recognized the value of Christ and pursued Him and His presence at great cost of time, effort, and wealth. Do you look like the Magi in your pursuit of being in the Lord's presence?
3) Upon finding Jesus the Magi rejoice greatly, bow down in worship, and offer their expensive gifts to Him. Does your life reflect a joy in the Lord, a submission to His rule and reign, and laying down of all you are and own to Kingship?

May the Lord bless you and your family with a very Merry Christmas as you ponder the Magi and the Messiah King in the manger!


Thursday, December 14, 2017

A Challenge to Single Men

“How do I know if I’m Ready for Marriage?”; I’m often asked this question by single men. It seems to me that this question is daunting to many men in our culture. Yet I believe young Christian men need to step up to this question and take the challenge seriously. I offer the following questions for you to consider yourself if you are a single man as to your readiness for the relationship of marriage. If you’re discipling or have influence with a single man, you might consider these subjects in your conversation to stir him “to love and good works”. If you’re a single woman, please think thru these character qualities as you consider dating someone. 

Before you start, please hear me, no one will meet these criteria perfectly, no one, but as you think thru this, ask “Am I/is he growing in these areas. The Christian life is identified by growth, not by perfection.  regarding what it is to be a godly man. I pray that this document will stir the hearts of the reader to pursue progressive sanctification for the glory of God and for the good of your soul, whether you’re single or married.

1. Are you truly a Child of God?
o  Have you truly repented of your sin and self-righteousness and fully trusted in Christ alone for your eternal life and for your identity in Christ?

2. How long have you been a believer?
o  Wisdom and maturity come over time. It is very unusual for a “rookie Believer” to be ready for a serious relationship. You must first seek to grow and develop your relationship with God before you’re ready to develop an intimate, human relationship.
o  How long depends on the individual, but I would suggest that it most often will take 1-2 years to learn what it means to be a disciple; it takes time to establish new habits and demonstrate true life-change. 

3. Can you accurately and clearly articulate the Gospel? Are you able to present a clear picture, off-the-cuff, of the following key elements of the Gospel?
o  Who is God and what is He like?
o  What does the Bible say about what it means to be human? Where did we come from and why are we here on earth?
o  What does the Bible say about sin? Where did sin originate and what are the effects of sin?
o  Who is Christ and what has He done to deal with sin?
o  What is grace and why is grace integral to dealing with the problem of sin?
o  What kind of response does the Gospel call for from sinful, fallen humans?
o  What are the results that give evidence that a person has fully embraced the above truths? 

4. What are the specific results in your own life that demonstrate that you have, in fact embraced the Gospel for yourself?
o  True salvation will demonstrate a heart-change manifested in different words and actions. What are the tangible differences that you’ve seen in your life as a result of your salvation? Is there a growing difference between you and your unbelieving friends? If not, why not? If not, what do you believe God would have you do?
o  If a young lady has a father that is thinking biblically and wisely, this ought to be one of his main concerns about you. If you have not developed a life-style that demonstrates that you have been transformed by the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, why would a godly father allow his daughter to develop a relationship with you?
o  If, as a single man, you haven’t demonstrated a hunger and thirst for righteousness and a desire to serve the Lord, it is highly unlikely that you will love and lead a wife the way the Scriptures commands.

5. What are your personal, spiritual disciplines? 
o  Are you pursuing and walking in integrity and purity thru a focused, biblical prayer-life and a disciplined pursuit of God thru daily reading, studying and meditating on scripture?
o  Are you being discipled? Are you learning how to handle the Bible biblically?
o  What does your discipler/parent say about your overall maturity? 
o  What do they say about your “readiness” to be a head of a household? 
o  How do you respond when others suggest you need to grow in certain areas?

6. Are you a committed member of a local church?
o  A man who is not willing to submit to authority is a man who is not likely ready to lead others. It takes humility and submission to lead in a way that inspires others to submit to you.
o  Have you served long enough to have considered how God may have gifted you?
o  Do have a vision for where your life might best glorify God?
o  Are you committed to growing as a servant of the Lord by serving others?

7. What is your reputation in the local church?
o  Do you know your elders? What do they say about your maturity, integrity and your heart for serving others? 
o  What do those who know you say about your integrity? Would they say that you live out your claim of Christianity? (1 John 2:6)
o  Have you served long enough that others who know you can identify your giftings?
o  Do others ask you to help because you’ve developed a reputation of serving and caring for others?
o  What others say about your maturity and commitment to serve God in the local church can be a good indicator of your “readiness” for marriage. If you have not shown yourself to be faithful in serving others, it’s not likely that you will serve your wife “and give yourself up for her” the way the Bible calls you to.

8. What are your closest relationships like?
o  Do you have a healthy, respectful relationship with your parents? 
o  Do you invite them to speak into your life and decisions? 
o  How do you show love and compassion to your parents and siblings?
o  Have you learned how to seek and offer forgiveness?
o  Do you have any broken relationships that you refuse to reconcile?
o  Have your dating relationships been pure and respectful? 

9. Are you growing in your ability to lead others spiritually?
o  Are you discipling others less mature than you are?
o  Do you take opportunities to speak into others’ lives spiritually – in the church body, at school and/or work?
o  Are you concerned with others relationship with the Lord?

Men, no one will be able to say “yes” to 100% of these questions, however if you lack the desire to grow in these areas, you would be wise to post-pone seeking a long-term relationship. 

If you, and others who know you, can say that you are growing in these areas and that your heart desires to continue to grow within the community of the local church, then you may be ready to consider seeking a life-long help-mate. As you move forward, seek good counsel from someone who will speak the truth to you about your maturity to help you make wise, well-informed choices.

You might work thru the book, Marry Wisely, Marry Well, by Ernie Baker for help in thinking thru these themes more specifically.
For help with understanding how to know God’s will, check out Decision Making and the Will of God, by Greg Koukl, (CD Audio or Mp3 download @

May God bless you as you seek to know Him. As you do, you will be equipped to love and lead a wife for her good and for God’s glory.

Kent Kloter

Friday, December 1, 2017

Who would you recommend?

Pastors often get asked their opinions on authors. Sometimes it is an easy answer, and sometimes it is complicated. Some books I would recommend highly. Some books are “gleaners”—meaning that one can glean some good things out of it, but I can’t stand behind all of it. Some books are too difficult for me to recommend.

Long ago, Kevin Sauder, now senior pastor at New Castle Bible Church, interned at Bethany Community. He put together a great resource for us called a Discernment Guide. It helps us to think through whether a resource is man-centered or God-centered. 

At the end of the resource, an “incomplete list of recommended authors” is listed. I love the wording of it. It is not saying that the guide has the corner on the market on knowledge. There are others that are just as good if not better. 

In that vain, let me give you my incomplete list of recommended authors that have blessed me beyond measure:

Kevin DeYoung: DeYoung is a pastor who just moved to help lead a church in Charlotte, North Carolina. He has a great blog located on the Gospel Coalition site ( and has authored some very helpful books like:
Crazy Busy
Taking God at His Word
Just Do Something

Mark Dever: A pastor in our nation’s capital and leader of 9Marks ministries, Dever’s love for the local church and desire to equip her are something for other pastors to model.
Helpful books to me by Dever are:
9 Marks of a Healthy Church
What is a Healthy Church?
Other great audio, video and resources at

John Piper: Piper’s name will be long remembered in Christiandom from his time as pastor at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minnesota to his works and messages logged at Helpful books:
Don’t Waste Your Life
A Godward Life
Desiring God
Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ
Let the Nations Be Glad

Tim Challies: A pastor in Canada, I am most familiar with him through his blog where he writes but also posts a list of the 5-7 most helpful articles/blogs he finds on the internet each day.

I am so thankful for the many resources available—of these men and so many other men and women. There are so many more I could list. Hope this helps.

Pastor Ben

Friday, November 17, 2017

Two Kinds of Belief

What must a person do to be saved? The answer from Scripture is clear enough: Believe in Jesus! Some of the most familiar words of Scripture are found in John 3:16 which says whoever believes in Jesus should not perish but have eternal life. Similarly, John 3:36 affirms that whoever believes in the Son has eternal life (see also John 5:24; 11:25; 12:46; 20:31; Acts 16:31). But what does it mean to believe in Jesus? In the Gospel of John, we read about belief numerous times and learn that there are at least two kinds of belief: belief that is superficial and belief that is genuine. I will cite an example of each from John’s Gospel.

First, an example of superficial belief. In John 2:23-25 we read, “Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many believed in his name when they saw the signs that he was doing. But Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man.” In these verses, a number of people are said to have believed in Jesus’ name, and yet Jesus didn’t entrust himself to them because he knew what was going on in their hearts. Jesus knew that their belief was superficial. The people who had believed in Jesus’ name had done so because they were enthralled by the signs (miracles) he had performed, but their belief was not genuine.
Thus, it is necessary to ask, “What is the nature of true belief?”  

We can look at the account of Jesus’ healing the official’s son in John 4:46-54 as an example of true belief. In this passage, an official comes to Jesus and asks him to heal his son who was extremely ill. Jesus told the official to “Go!” and that his son would be healed. In verse 50 we learn that the man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and went on his way. In other words, the official trusted that what Jesus said would happen, namely, that his son would be healed, would indeed happen. The official believed in Jesus (John 4:54)! We can conclude that true belief is trusting in Jesus.

We return to the question, what must a person do to be saved? The answer remains the same: Believe in Jesus! We understand that believing in Jesus is more than mere intellectual affirmation of the truths about Jesus. True belief is placing our full trust in the Person and work of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of our sins. 

Blake Gerber

Friday, November 10, 2017

Youth and Membership

On next Saturday, November 18th, Pastor Daniel is teaching a membership class. For the most part, it will be the same as all the classes that have gone before it, however, there will also be one difference. For this membership class we have very intentionally and specifically invited our High School students to join it. This doesn't mean they weren't invited in the past, just that we've blatantly invited them to this class and all our future classes. All this may lead to a few questions about membership in our church and how that relates to our youth and why we have made this shift, or at least, extra emphasize.

I think a few main questions might be similar to, "Why should teens be members when they already act as and feel a part of the church?" or "Why should teens be members when their parents already have membership?"

With those questions in mind I have a few thoughts that might help us process through this…

1) Contrary to what our culture seems to emphasize with a weird hybrid category of "adult-kiddom" known as adolescence where a young person is seen to not be very accountable or responsible and yet is placed in positions where those are necessary, the Bible seems to present us with 2 main categories… that of child and adult. Within this model, Scripture always presents the constant process of growth and striving for adulthood (not for the perks and freedom, but instead for having godly actions and character as an adult) as that which it to be pursued. To see models of this look at Eph 4:13-14, 1 Cor 13:11, Heb 5:12-14, & 1 Cor 3:1-2. 

All that said, there is no unique category for youth/adolescence/teens in the Bible in relation to church involvement. Either you are saved and part of the church or you are not saved and not part of it... There aren't any other options. If you claim to be saved and part of it then that means the next steps are to proclaim that to others (baptism), submit to the leadership in it and commit to it (membership), and begin helping others (serving). That is the Biblical model given for all believers, whether 13, 30, or 130 years old.

2) Somewhat connected to the premise of #1, we need to have a shift in our thinking. Teens are called to take responsibility and serve like everyone else in the church. We strongly believe this and intentionally have started ministries within our youth program to help emphasize this. Our Age 2 Age ministry gives our students a chance to interact with and share life and a relationship with saints in our church who are older than the youth. Our Students Ministering to Students ministry gives them opportunities to care for those in their own peer group. Our service projects allow them to care for other in our church and community. Actions of service like these are a huge part of maturing toward adulthood through the teen years. 

With this in mind, while membership does mean that the church will intentionally give focused care to you both for growth and correction, it is also much more. Membership is not just about what I get, but even more about what I give. Membership is a way doors are opened for a believer to more fully serve others. This applies to older adults as well as our youth.


With commitment and selfless service on the decline over all in our society, what better way is there to help train up the youth of this generation than telling them that God has built and calls them toward more. Our youth are built with hearts, emotions, energy, and strength God has given them to radically invest into His kingdom work. Membership is a very helpful means toward that end. Our youth are longing for connection and community that can't be found online or in secular institutions. Membership brings them into a community that lasts and has an eternal purpose. 

In short Membership is not just for the older adults of our church. It is for our teens, who by God's grace, are striving toward adulthood, using their gifts and abilities to benefit the Kingdom within the context and community of our church.

May the Lord continue to bless and grow our church!

Want to think about this more? Here are a few articles to read through…

2. Overview of Why be a member:

3. Good in depth look at becoming a member:

Friday, November 3, 2017

7 Questions to Nurture God-Honoring Conversations

Sticks and stone may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” I can still “see” Miss Farley preaching that with great emphasis to my 4th grade class. She’d raise her voice and shake her fist in the air as if she was beating this into our heads. I would look around the class wondering if other people were buying this; I certainly didn’t. Even as a 7-year-old, I knew that wasn’t true. I’d been on the harsh end of a few confrontations, in fact I can still ‘hear’ my class-mate John’s voice on the south side of Edison School playground calling me a name. I’m sure you can relate to being on both sides of conversations and conflicts like this. When you’ve said some hurtful words to another person, do you ever wish for “a do-over”? I have many times.

I’d like to offer the following seven questions to help us plan ahead so that we can be more likely to offer 
“words that build up and not tear down.” Perhaps you can share them with your children or grandchildren and begin training little minds with a different way to approach others who may disagree with them. Maybe we might learn to model this in the process.

1. Am I willing to pray first?    Pray for a Christ-like attitude. Eph. 4 begins with Paul’s urging to live and act in Christ-like humility and gentleness. If you notice, this is the first application of the life-changing power of the Gospel as revealed in chapters 1-3. This also is the beginning of a very practical treatise of how to live in harmonious human relationships. Notice the practical commands and heart-attitudes in chapter 4 alone. Pray for God’s help Pr. 3:5b says we are to acknowledge God in everything we do. John 14:13-14 says, “13Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.” Pray, believing that God will in fact give you all you need to think and act in a way that will please Him.
2. Am I fostering a “Log-hunting” mentality? Jesus, in Matt. 7:5, commands us to “first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” The clear implication is that individual who fails to “log-hunt” is unable to see clearly regarding any imperfections in another person. “Log-hunting” is clearly one of the most important elements in redeeming conflict.
3. Am I sure that I have the facts right? Pr. 18:13 says that a person who makes statements or comes to conclusions before having the facts is a shameful fool. Make sure that you understand both sides of an issue before coming to conclusions. Always encourage yourself and others to take personal responsibility to respond with godly attitudes and responses, regardless of other’s failures. 
4. Should love cover? 1 Pet. 4:8 says that “love covers a multitude of sins.” When you are sinned against, meditate on the immense amounts of mercy that God has given you each day before responding to others. Christ-exalting love will choose mercy first and be willing to overlook many offenses. Pray for wisdom to know when love should speak and when love should cover. Thankfully, God does not confront us about our every single sin; if he did, we wouldn’t survive.
5. Is my timing wise? If a conversation is necessary, Pr. 15:11 describes the effects of words offered at the right time and the right way. The KJV version puts it this way, “A word fitly spoken [is like] apples of gold in pictures of silver.” You’ve no doubt heard true words that were spoken at an inappropriate time; these words can be very painful and debilitating. 
6. Is my attitude right? Eph. 4:15 says that the goal or our words should be to strengthen or build up the other person’s soul. Truth can be spoken in such a way that actually harms or discourages another person. Truthful words without grace is painful at best, and is often hurtful and harmful.
7. Are my words loving? Eph. 4:15 says that our words should be motivated out of love for the other person. “Love is contra-conditional, other-focused, selfless giving (in this case, the giving of words), for the eternal good of the other person, to the end that God is glorified.”

Kent Kloter

Friday, October 27, 2017

Reformation Sunday- Why Should I Care?

What’s the big deal with Reformation Day?  Why should I be reminded about it? Why should I care?  October 31, 1517 was the day that the “light of the gospel broke forth out of darkness. It was the day that began the Protestant Reformation. It was a day that led to Martin Luther, John Calvin, John Knox, and many other Reformers to help the church find its way back to God’s Word as the only authority for faith and life and to lead the church back to the glorious doctrines of justification by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. It kindled the fires of missionary endeavors, it led to hymn writing and congregational singing, and it led to the centrality of the sermon and preaching for the people of God. It is the celebration of a theological, ecclesiastical, and cultural transformation.”1

Over the next two Sundays in our gatherings at Bethany we will look at two of the five solas that framed and began that reformation.  This Sunday Kevin Sauder from New Castle Bible Church will speak on Soli Deo Gloria (to the glory of God alone) and the following Sunday Daniel will preach on Sola Fide (Faith alone).  In our meetings we will sing, read, pray and study God’s Word together – all for the glory of God. I invite you to join us as we are reminded to keep the light of the gospel at the center of all we do.  

Here is the order of our worship this week:

Call to worship –Psalm 8
Songs of Praise - Come Praise and Glorify
Elder Led Prayer
Offering/Congregational Song
Song of Response

- A Mighty Fortress is Our God
- Fairest
Life at Bethany (What’s Happening at Bethany)
- Reformation Song
Message – “To the Glory of God Alone”
- Look and See

1 Nichols, Stephen.  “What is Reformation Day?” 2016.

Mike Chambers

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Encouragement for the Christian Wife

Every so often, my wife, Casey, shares something with me and I say, "You should write that up for the blog." Below is something I'm sure you will be glad she was willing to share.
Pastor Ben

As a Christian wife, how does the Gospel help me in my relationship with my husband? How can I use the Gospel to remind me of truths that can help me act towards and respond to my husband in a godly way? Below are four practical ways to apply the Gospel to my role as a Christian wife.

1) Read through Ephesians 1:3-14. This will help you be thankful for the blessings you have in Christ and help take your eyes off your circumstances. This passage will remind you of who you are in Christ. Because you are child of God, you have a treasure far greater than any earthly happiness. When we meditate on this passage, we realize we cannot complain when our husbands sin against us.

2) Because of the Gospel, you are no longer a slave to sin (Romans 8:2). This means you do not have to be angry, demanding, emotional, bitter, unkind, selfish, etc. Since Jesus, through his resurrection, conquered sin and death, then we as wives can practice self-control and confront our husbands lovingly. We do not have to keep track of every wrong that our husbands commit against us. If our husbands sin against us we can choose to let love cover it or we can lovingly confront. 

3) Because of the Gospel, your love for your husband will become less and less about getting your needs met. Your love for your husband should be defined as a "sacrificial giving of yourself for the eternal benefit of your spouse." This is what God, through Jesus, did for us on the cross (Romans 5:8). Jesus humbled himself and modeled for us how to love others even when they "don't deserve it." 

4) It is often difficult to be a godly wife because we often don't feel like obeying especially when we have been sinned against. We have to ask for God's grace to submit to our husbands and to keep our hurtful comments from being spoken. The good news is that there is joy and blessing when we obey. Because of the Gospel, our hope is secure (1 Peter 1:3,4). God's promises never fail. There is much joy, peace and satisfaction to be found as we obey and become more like Christ. This is something promised to us no matter how our husbands do or don't treat us. 

Thankful for the Gospel,
Casey Davidson

Friday, September 29, 2017

Kids in God's Word

One of the major goals of our youth ministry at BCC is to help encourage and equip parents as they build into their kids. This is very important to us as we believe parents, rather than the youth ministry, are the ones given, equipped, and called by God to be the instruments of growth and discipleship in the lives of the kids in our church. We also believe the chief way anyone is grown in the Lord after their salvation is through the regular input of God's Word into their life and heart. All that said, if you are a parent, grandparent, neighbor to kids, or even wanting to just help grow yourself in a better understanding of God and His Word, here are a few resources I would recommend you looking into…

The Bible Project's "Read Scripture" Plan
The Bible Project has gone through and created a reading plan to take you through the whole Bible. Along with the plan, they've made easy to follow videos outlining each book of the Bible and some of the major themes of Scripture. This is a great resource for both kids and adults to help them get into and better understand God's Word.
You can check out in the intro video here:

The Biggest Story: How the Snake Crusher Brings Us Back to the Garden
This story book is written for those ages 5-11 but is applicable for all to see the major story of Scripture and how it is woven through the whole Bible.
You can see more about the book and purchase it here:

"Exploring the Bible: A Bible Reading Plan for Kids"
This book is designed to be read alongside your regular Bible reading to help your child grow in their understanding of not just what is being said, but how to study the Bible for him or herself.

Along with all these resources, much of child's learning to read their Bible is caught not taught from their parents. You are the model for what this should look like in your child's life. Here is one brief article to help encourage you as you seek to model this well for them:

May the Lord continue to guide and give grace as you raise kids for His glory!


** For a few other good Christian resources for kids you can also check out Tim Challies' list:

Monday, September 25, 2017

Introductory Thoughts on Discipleship

I’d like for you to give some thought to what the Bible has to say to you about discipleship. I know you’re busy, so I’ll make this brief and to the point so that when you have some quiet time in the next few days, you can come back to this and think thru these points with Bible in hand to consider the magnitude and practical nature of this subject.

1.     Discipleship is not an option, this was his last command to His followers. If you say you are a Christian, your responsibility is to be involved in making disciples.
18And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matt. 28:18-20)

The Greek word mathetes, (to be a learner, pupil or disciple), appears 269 times in the N.T. it refers to anyone who was a follower of Christ. This concept is integral to the Great Commission. (Matthew 28:19; (see also Ezek. 44:23; Matt 5:19b; Acts 5:42; Acts 18:11; Acts 20:20; Col 1:28; Col 3:16;1 Tim 4:11;1 Tim 6:2; 2 Tim. 2:2)

2.     Discipling might not be as complicated as you think. Consider discipleship as simply speaking the truth in love in all aspects of your normal, everyday life.
15Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. (Eph. 4:15)

Discipleship involves speaking into others’ lives as well as allowing others to speak into your life every day.
12Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. 13But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. (Heb. 3:12-4:13)

3.     You might struggle with knowing what to say and how to say what needs to be said. First, we’re better off not speaking at all if there’s a lack of biblical wisdom and knowledge
2The tongue of the wise commends knowledge, but the mouths of fools pour out folly. (Pr. 15:2)

To put it another way, I need to pursue wisdom by learning doctrine so I will know how biblical truths relate to life. I do not want to give unbiblical, hurtful advice like Job's friends.
11The words of the wise are like goads, and like nails firmly fixed are the collected sayings; they are given by one Shepherd. (Eccl. 12:11)
The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom, and whatever you get, get insight. (Pr. 4:7)
14so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. (Eph. 4:14)

4.     Wisdom learns to listen carefully to gain an accurate perspective of the person and their needs before speaking.
13If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame. (Pr. 18:13)

5.     Commit to growing to become more like Christ, so you can say with Paul, "Follow me AS I follow Christ" (1 Cor. 11:1).
6.     Commit to critical, intentional thinking of how you might incite passion in others to grow in love and obedience.
 23Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. 24And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. (Heb.10.23-24)

7.     You can be and must be confident in the grace of God to empower you to pursue all the above. "Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward" (Heb. 10:35).

Yes, but how?

1.     Ask about one’s personal life.
     a.     Ask about their Past. "What 2 things has God been up to in your life?" (teaching them to be intentional about      
             trusting God to work for "My good, His he conforms to the image of Christ - Rom.8:28-29)
     b.     Ask about the Present. "If I could call God and ask Him, 'What 3 things are you pleased with re: ______"s walk',
             what do you believe He might say?"
     c.     Ask about the Future.  How will you intentionally seek to grow and change?
     d.     Ask about their family and their home life.

2.     Ask about one’s church/ministry involvement.
     a.     Ask about their involvement in the Great Commandment.
     b.     Ask questions that help you understand their love for God, their love for others, especially their closest
             relationships. (Lu.10:27)
     c.     Ask about their involvement in pursuing the Great Commission.  How are they helping others learn to grow and  
             change? (Mt.28:18-20)
     d.     Ask about their spiritual gift(s). Ask them how God is using them to help build the local church. (Eph.4:11-16)
     e.     Ask about how their school/studies are progressing.
     f.      Ask what books they’ve been reading.  A person’s involvement with learning helps you understand their interests
             and commitments to personal growth.
    g.      Ask how you can pray for them.

Kent Kloter