Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

The Consequences of Feminism...w/ Dr. Voddie Baucham

If you're not familiar with Dr. Voddie Baucham, you will be in the coming years.

He's one of Christendom's brightest Pastors and is gaining momentum quickly in the arena of ideas. He challenges the norm and calls Christ's people back to the bible, as unpopular as that might be.

-Quick note** He's speaking at Moody's Founders Week in Feb'08.

The Value of Family...w/ Voddie Baucham

Is the Church Ready? w/ Voddie Baucham

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Power of the Gospel...

Video produced by Marshill Church in Seattle for their 10 year anniversary back in '06.

It's an awesome thing to see the gospel transform lives!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

When the Enemy Attacks...

This week hasn't been easy. As I've set out to study for my keynote address that I'll be delivering at a Christian Home Educators Conference this Saturday, October 13th, I've found it difficult to concentrate. Everything seems a distraction. Things that don't normally occupy my mind have found a way to build a nest there this week.

So what does one do when these sort of things occur? Well, in reality, there's only one true way to take the hits of the enemy, (and yes, we all get hit at some point), and still serve Christ. The only thing I know to do when I feel mentally distracted with all sorts of cultural activities and find myself wandering off into unsafe waters, is to PREACH THE GOSPEL TO MYSELF. Yes, I preach to myself. I need the gospel today as much as I needed it years ago when I first believed.

The gospel of Jesus Christ shines light on darkness and has this overwhelming ability to loosen the chains that Satan likes to rattle and place on God's children. The power of the gospel is an amazing force. Rely on it. Trust in it. Believe in it.

So next time you feel like your mind is drifting off into the deep where the sharks await. STOP, and preach Christ to yourself. I know that I am powerless in my flesh to deny myself of it's sinful cravings. But Christ in me truly is the hope of glory! Amen.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

The Cost of Discipleship

On Saturday and Sunday, September 5th and 6th, 2007, my family and I headed up to Fellowship Baptist Church in South Bend, IN., to see our friends the Wesco's (who lead there), and always seek to encourage families in the ways of home discipleship.

Well on this particular weekend, they had the Vogrin Family in doing family ministry, and leading the services all together. My wife had seen their music sampler on their website recently and thought it would be nice to see them in person (not knowing that were coming to Fellowship) in order to bless and encourage our children, some of which have musical talents of their own.

So we drove up there on Saturday night and Sunday, because they held a short performance and lecture on Saturday night about different aspects of family ministry, and knew it would be good for us to see it. So all in all, we probably spent about 5 hours commuting both days to and from, and were pretty tired come Monday morning. But it was a good kind of tired, if you know what I mean.

Yeah, we paid a bit in gas, spent hours driving, and had to eat out some, but for what my children were able to see, it was well worth it. It was the cost of discipleship!

The Vogrin family is strong, peaceful, and well versed in the scriptures. The Dad has done an excellent job leading his home, and the Mom has done a fine job building up her home. Not many families are doing family ministry the way their doing it. And the reason for this lack of Godly examples is that it takes time, hard word, and a commitment to the Lord that goes beyond just showing up at church on Sunday mornings.

I was able to spend some time speaking the Vogrin Dad on Sunday and had a very delightful conversation. I asked him point blank, "What must be in a home to produce Godly children who love the Lord as adults?" And without skipping a beat, he looked me in the eye and replied, "You!" "You as the Father must be there!" Ouch, I hadn't been punched like that for a while. But you know, I needed to hear that. I think all Men need to hear that. Right Men?

So Men, on behalf of George Vogrin, I ask you, where are you in your home? Are you somewhere in the background, lurking undetected, paying bills silently? Or are you front and center, leading your family and imparting vision to them about what the Lord has called them too?

Are you there? Are you teaching, discipling, instructing, disciplining, training, and educating your children as God commands you too? Or are you just your "average Christian Dad?" Not involved beyond what the Youth Pastor asks of you?

The answers to these questions will determine in large part, the future of your children. Mediocre, nominal, passive, back-slidden. Or strong, determined, faithful for generations to come!

So go ahead, pay the price of discipleship. Think of something to do soon that won't be easy and may not be free, but will help your children and wife grow stronger in the Lord as they follow your lead and are blessed for doing so!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Here a Denom, There a Denom, Everywhere a Denom...

With over 300 branches listed within Christianity, and apporximately 38,000 different Denominations within those branches, who is right? and who is wrong?

I'll tell you who's right...Jesus! Just Jesus. The rest of us, just using our 3 pound brains trying to figure out an infinite God who created everything that exists. Good Luck!!!

Read the bible, pray, and in the end, trust Jesus. Man can fail us, Jesus can't!

Watch this short clip from Mark Driscoll on Denominations. He says it pretty well!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Lifehouse Everything Gospel Skit...

This is an incredibly powerful gospel drama. The best I've ever seen!

To view in larger window click here Life House Drama.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Sweet Times at Home Pt. 3 - Family Worship

How important is this to you? Feeding your children spiritual food, so that they can grow into spiritually mature followers of the Lord.

This is the question that I must constantly ask myself, in order to stay on track with what's most important in the lives of my children.

It's sooooooooo easy to lose focus and begin to drift into the world of normalcy without realizing what is happening. (Like a frog placed in a pot of cool water, not realizing the temp rising as the water begins to boil, and eventually allowing himself to cook to death, when all he had to do was jump out!)

If that's you, then there's two of us in the pot. So what do you say...lets jump out together, and not allow the culture of laziness so prevalent in too many Christian homes to define who we are as Spiritual leaders. We are called to Pastor the flock that the Lord has been so merciful to give us. He has entrusted us with these precious gifts called children and this blessing known as our wife.

Let us not fail our Lord or our homes. Let us fight the good fight of faith. Let us run the race with endurance. Let us look to the author and perfecter of our faith for strength!

Remember Men, we, not the Pastors of our churches, but we, are responsible for discipling our children, and leading our homes spiritually.

I leave you with this:

2 "Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD to the shepherds: "Woe to the shepherds of Israel who feed themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flocks?
-Ezekiel 34:2-

4 And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
-Ephesians 6:4-

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Sweet Times at Home - Pt.2

Hey Men, want to have a very interesting bible discussion with your kids? Watch the Rapture video below this post and ask your kids some questions about it. It's bound to spark some serious conversation.

We watched it altogether the other night, and man did it raise some questions. All the kids had questions they needed answered. I was surprised at the level of theological depth that such young minds can have. I loved helping my kids better understand the necessity of believing in the Lord Jesus before its too late!

So go ahead and do it with your families, then let me know how it went. I'd love to hear about it!

Monday, July 9, 2007

Friday, July 6, 2007

Happy 36th!

Yesterday was a special day for me, as I enjoyed greatly, taking my wife June out for lunch to celebrate her 36th birthday on July 5th!

She chose to eat at Tiffany's Tea Room and Cafe. (Not a place where masculine men hang out, like the Male Domain, but nice because she was there)

We had a nice lunch, along with very good tea for June, and masculine coffee for me. It was a blessing to me to be able to be with her for the early part of the day, as I had to work in the afternoon.

After lunch we headed back home to sing happy birthday, eat some ice cream cake, and read the cards that the kids made for her when we were gone. Janai, our oldest, also decorated with streamers!

It was a very nice and peaceful time for a very nice and peaceful Woman of God!

I Love You June, and hope your day was a blessing!

Happy 38th!

On July 1st, we celebrated with my brother Israel on his 38th birthday. We all began the day worshiping the Lord at various churches, then headed to Home Run Inn for some great pizza!

After all of us were good and full, we went to my sisters house to loosen our belts and enjoy the day hanging out with Is on his special day.

For those of you who know Israel, I don't have to convince you that he's a great guy. You know that already.

If you've never met him or don't know, let me tell you, you won't find a nicer guy out there than my brother Israel. He's a one-of-a-kind kinda guy. The kind of guy you'd love to call your friend!

We had a great time celebrating with him, and wish all of God's blessing upon him as he seeks to glorify the Lord with his life that has touched so many lives already, and will touch many more in the future ahead!

God Bless Is, and keep serving Him who loves you more than you'll ever know!

Saturday, June 30, 2007

15 Blessed Years!

On Friday, June 29th, my wife and I celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary with a little get away to a bed-n-breakfast in Chesterton, IN., called The Gray Goose Inn.

We had a GREAT time!

While there we enjoyed a nice Italian dinner at a little cafe called Lucrezia in Chesterton just a few minutes from the Inn.

After dinner we decided to go to the Indiana Dunes which was just 10 minutes away and took a walk barefoot along the seashore while visiting with one another and sitting for a time while overlooking the lake front.

June waiting for a kiss from her Knight!

Me and my love!

A nice sunset!

My love and Me!

Birdwatching room at the Inn!

My foot!

Hi Kids!

Homeschooling Ducks!

The end of a day!

22 ¶ Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the LORD.
Proverbs 18:22

Amen. And thank you Lord!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Happy Father's Day!

On behalf of The Male Domain, I wish to extend a hearty and robust, HAPPY FATHER'S DAY to all the Fathers out there and hope that your day will be filled with family and friends, fun and laughter, and lots of well cooked food!

I'll leave you with some words from my friend The Apostle Paul, written to his son in the faith Timothy!

¶ Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus....

Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ....

Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses....

I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith....

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Mark Driscoll on Denominations

Emerging Vs Emergent

Filmed during John Piper's National Desiring God Conference in 2006. Mark Driscoll (who's featured here) spoke along with Tim Keller, Voddie Baucham (who's one of my favorite speakers), and of course John Piper.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Sweet Times at Home

Not sure if you do family bible studies at your home, but if you don't, you should. They're some of the sweetest times you'll ever spend with your wife and kids.

I know many Men who would most willingly lead a Men's bible study, or co-ed bible study, for their church but aren't leading family bible studies at their home, and I think I know why.

If you're like me, you grew up in a home that didn't practice family devotions, and now that you have your own family, you don't do it with them either. That may seem like a justifiable reason not to do them, after all, how can we expect you to do them if you don't know how to do them, right?

Well, If you didn't grow up in a family doing family devotions, and don't know how to lead a family devotion, then how is it that you're able to lead a Men's bible study? How, by sheer desire to impress those who you deem important. Perhaps you were asked by a Pastor, and he can put your name in a bulletin, and that bulletin can be read by the whole the church, and the whole church can esteem you and hold you in high regard, and if esteemed enough, maybe you could get a reward or certificate at the church banquet coming up, and hear your name announced before the congregation as someone who is "on fire" for the Lord. Wow, who wouldn't want all that.

And your family, well....what will they say about you? What can they offer you for leading them in family devotions? Will they esteem you? Will they give you a certificate or a promotion to group leader from assistant? Does your wife and kids only get to see you at your best like the guys in your group? I'm sure you know the answers to these questions, and you know what I'm getting at.

If you can lead a bible study for Men your not in covenant with, won't give an account for, and aren't responsible for spiritually, don't you think you can do it for those God will hold you accountable for, responsible for, and are in covenant with? Yes you can. How do I know? Because God wouldn't put more on you than you can bear. And if the Lord says to do it from Genesis to Revelation like he does, then He'll equip you to do it.

Over the last few nights my family and I have discussed the parable of the sower and who were the Christians in the parable, and last night we stayed up late talking about various aspects of theology. If you haven't been asked theological questions by your wife and kids, then you haven't been asked questions! What a blessing it is to have your 14 year old engaged in a parable and have your wife asking about the differences between Arminianism and Calvinism. Praise the Lord!

Don't miss the blessing guys. Your children need you to evangelize them and to disciple them. Their souls are depending on you. Will you rise up and lead them? Or will you take the road most traveled, and allow your children to fend for themselves in a culture that would love to wrap it's arms around them and claim them for itself? It's your call!

Examing Two Enemies of the Gospel

Got 43 minutes? Care about the Gospel?

If so, watch this video of Mark Driscoll speaking at the "Creative Church Conference" in Grapevine, TX. back in February of this year.

It's worth the time.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Our 1st Gift from theLord!

This is Janai Marie, our 14 year old, and oldest child in our family.

Janai is quite a young lady. She's friendly, intelligent, and very beautiful. (See what happens when you marry well!)

The Lord knew exactly what our family would become when He decided on giving us Janai first. She helps Mom in so many different ways, I can hardly begin to share them in one post.

She rises early to do school, and makes sure her little sister Naomi gets up with her during the week. She gently cares for her baby twin brothers, Christian and Josiah. She allows Mom time to go food shopping and to run household errands without having to take everyone with. She can pull together whatever food Mom has on the menu, and see to it that it's ready on time. Janai's skills in the kitchen already put her at the top of the list for future brides-to-be!

Janai is also very talented musically. She plays piano, violin, and recorder. When Janai plays her music, it brings a soothing effect on the whole house. Thank you Lord for Janai and her musical talents!

Another terrific attribute about Janai is her great sense of humor. She laughs at all of my jokes and always likes to join in on some good clean fun. She enjoys music, is an avid reader, and likes to spend time outside in the yard. Janai also greatly enjoys blogging on her and Naomi's blog site "Daughters of the King." Check it out, you'll enjoy it!

One other thing to mention about Janai is that she truly loves the Lord. She has read through the Bible cover-to-cover, I believe 3 times, and she's only 14. Wow!

Every family should have a Janai because she's a tremendous blessing to our home. I couldn't have picked a better first child to have than Janai. Thank you Lord!

And Lord, may you continue to mold Janai into the kind of Woman you desire her to be. Give me wisdom as her Dad to see the future as you see it, and to help Janai make good choices in this world. Amen!

Sons of Thunder!

Here they are, my baby twins who will be turning 1 on June 6th. Christian Elijah is on the left, and Josiah Lucas is on the right.

They are, as one friend said, "a blessed handful."

These guys are full of energy and life, and really keep Mom and siblings busy caring for them at home.

They're not identical twins, but some things about them are similar. For instance, they both cost $ to raise!

June and I love having them and consider ourselves truly blessed to have been given them by the Lord. We hope to raise them in a manner worthy of the King who chose to bestow them upon us. Lord give us wisdom....and energy!

Raising twins has proven to be quite enjoyable, especially from the provider stand-point who isn't home with them all day. Seriously,I know my wife enjoys every bit of having them and wouldn't trade them for the world. Having them should keep everyone in my home from getting chubby since there's never an inactive moment.

Thank you Lord Jesus for Christian and Josiah, and help us to raise them in a way that pleases you. May they grow to know and love you and serve you all the days of their lives!

The 'Joy' of My Life!

This is my little Joy Noelle, the happiest 4 year old I know. Joy's full of life and is a very good sister to her siblings.

We call Joy are little strawberry, because she just loves to eat them, and would like to have some with every meal. Joy is always happy, well almost always.

She really brings life to our home and is always looking to learn from her Mom and older sisters.

Joy is extremely handy around the house too. She can tidy up a room with no problem, and is good at helping Janai and Naomi in the kitchen. She's going to be quite a wife for some very fortunate young man out there who we'll find at a much later date!

Joy's always good for a hug and a kiss, and my life wouldn't be the same without her. Her favorite thing to do is to have a tea party with family and friends.

Lord, protect Joy from the evils of the world and give June and I wisdom in raising her to be a maiden of virtue!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The Helpful Ravi Zachariah

This is my second oldest son, Ravi Zachariah. That name may ring a bell for some of you who enjoy listening to Christian Apologetics. My son bears almost the exact name of the world renowned Apologist, Ravi Zacharias!

Ravi is 6, and is extremely helpful around the house. He especially enjoys doing jobs where he can use his God-given strength. Few jobs are too heavy for Ravi. From carrying groceries for Mom, to hauling drywall for Dad, Ravi likes it all.

He also enjoys the fact that he's a boy. He loves to flip over stones in hopes of finding bugs for his bug house. I told him with Cicada season upon us he would need to eat one to maintain his manhood. And knowing Ravi, he'll probably do it.

I look forward to seeing Ravi become the Man-of-God that I know the Lord created him to be. He can use his strong work ethic to build the Kingdom of God. Ravi also has a very big heart and enjoys making others comfortable. This too will be invaluable in building the kingdom for his King!

Lord, may you always keep Ravi's heart close to yours and use him for your glory!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

My Little Joshua Marcus

Meet Joshua Marcus!

He's my very active 2 year old son who enjoys the little things in life like popsicles and chocolate.

He's a good boy who likes to run around outside and try to keep up with his older siblings.

Joshua enjoys wrestling with his brothers and myself. Not to rough though, he's still little and likes to feel no pain!

My desire for Joshy (as we call him) is to serve the Lord Jesus with his life and to become a strong Godly Man with a strong faith in his Lord.

Lord, may you use Joshua to accomplish great things for your Kingdom!

My Sweet Naomi Elizabeth

This is my 9 year old daughter, Naomi Elizabeth. She is truly a gift from the Lord.

Her heart is very gentle and she likes everyone to be happy!

She is an excellent Baker and a very good helper to her Mom and big sister.

My desire in raising Naomi is to protect her heart from anyone or anything that would seek to steal it away and take her off of her mission of serving the Lord Jesus with her life.

She is going to be an excellent wife (if I let her marry!) and whoever approaches me about courting her had better be a Man worthy of such a precious gift!

Saturday, May 5, 2007

A Noble Desire...

This is my 7 year old son, Stephen Josiah Fuentes. His desire for the past couple of years has been to be a Pastor. Paul wrote in 1 Tim. 3, that if any man desired the position of Overseer, (which is synonymous with Pastor, Elder, or Bishop) that man desired a noble thing.

My goal for Stephen is that he would grow and mature to the point that he meets all of the qualifications laid out by Paul in that passage for an Overseer. I pray that the Lord's mercy and anointing would fall on Stephen for his entire life and that He would give him the desires of his heart.

My job in raising Stephen is to protect his heart from anything that would seek to steal his heart and take him off mission with his Lord. How many a young man has begun his young life with the same desires as my son, only to see his life become a spiritual shipwreck because he had a Father who failed to stand at the gate and fight for him when he was unable to fight for himself.

Please pray that I would fight the good fight for my son, along with my other children who I'll write about soon, and that when all is said and done, many will say that their Pastor, Stephen Josiah, is a mighty Man of God!

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Church Planting Driscoll Style!

The link below will take you Mark Driscoll's blog where you can watch a short video he did recently on the subject of church planting. It is intended for SPIRITUALLY MATURE MEN. If you're not sure if you're spiritually mature, ask someone who is. If you're not sure if you're a Man, look for a counselor!

It was received well by most, but not all. Watch it to see why!

After viewing clip, let me know what your thoughts are on it.
  • Do you think it's theologically sound?
  • Should it have been banned from being given out?
  • Is there a place for Women church planters?

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Are You Missional?

Isn't this a great picture? A church firmly grounded in mid-air! Not connected to the vast assortment of life all around it. Having influence on only the birds capable of flying up to it's level.

Perhaps you're life is like this church...maybe your family. Just an ornament in the kingdom of God. I the one I'm writing to?

As I get older, and life continues to progress into the future, I have to ask myself whether or not I'm a member of that church. Am I having influence on people around me? Do I matter to more than just the birds who live with me? Do I even matter to those birds?

What would your kids say?... how 'bout your wife?
What about your co-workers? People you interact with regularly? Family members? Neighbors? Would any of these people say that, without a doubt, you're on mission with God!

That's what it means to be missional. To be on mission with God. To live your life with the same mindset of Jesus. To interact with the culture all around you. To share what you know about God with other people. To befriend people you're not suppose to be seen with. Like Jesus with the Samaritan Woman. To enjoy life with those closest to you. To become all things to all men that you might win a few, like our brother Paul said in 1 Corinthians 9:22 "To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some."

Who was the last person you became like to see them come to know Christ? Have you ever done it? What keeps us from becoming like men to see them saved? Is it our traditions... our convictions... or maybe our personalities. Is it fear of what people might say about us? What would people say if they saw us talking with a Samaritan... Drinking a beer with a tax-collector... or traveling with a motley crue of men like the apostles! Might they say what they said of Jesus - a drunkard and a glutton, and a friend of sinners (oh my!). I'm sure Zacheus and his buddies were glad Jesus chose missional over traditional.

The point is, people are gonna find something negative to say about you anyway, so don't fear what might be said of you as you live your life on mission with God. What matters is that the Lord is pleased. What matters is that your wife is loved and hugged. What matters is that your kids have a Dad who loves them and laughs often with them. What matters is that you wear the coat of Christ well as his ambassador. So go out and engage the culture God has planted you in.

As we part, I'll leave you with a quote from Mark Driscoll from his book 'Radical Reformission'

"Reformission Christians and churches exist to perpetuate the gospel
and should
be swift to change their cultural forms if they are not the
most beneficial for
achieving that goal. Reformission churches have to
continually examine and adjust
their musical styles, websites, aesthetics,
programming, and just about everything
but their Bibles in an effort to
effectively communicate the gospel to as many people
as possible in the
cultures around them."

If you choose not to be missional, you'll soon find yourself detached from the world around you and influencing few to none like the birdhouse church above!

Click here to read a good article on what a missional church is.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Is Leadership Spiritual?

Recently while listening to a message on church planting, the speaker, Darrin Patrick, posed the question to his listeners about whether or not they thought leadership was spiritual.

I thought the question was intriguing, and would like to ask you, the reader, what your thoughts on the subject matter are?

He pointed to a recent interview/debate between Andy Stanley, Pastor of North Point Community Church located near Atlanta, and business expert and author Jim Collins, who wrote the very popular 'Good To Great.' You can read some excerpts from that interview by clicking here.

Do principles of leadership carry over from business life to church life, or even family life for that matter, without any problems? Is leading in a ministry capacity much like leading in a corporate capacity? Hey Pastors...Is leading a church anything like leading a company as Andy Stanley seems to say it is?

I'd like to hear what you think. Is Leadership Spiritual? Can a non-believer be just as effective in the realm of leadership as a believer? If yes, how so? If not, what advantage does the Christian have over him? Leave a comment and let me know your thoughts!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Culture and Community

"...reformission evangelism is about seeing the many real needs of people in the culture and realizing that our kindest gift is to connect them to Jesus and his people. To do so, we must delve into the culture to understand the real needs of people..."
Mark Driscoll, from 'Radical Reformission'

How well do you know the needs of the culture? How connected are you to the culture? My guess, if you're really honest, is not to well. You're probably a lot like me. I hear that people are lonely, depressed, suicidal, etc., etc., but unless the people struggling with those emotions come to me and ask for help, they remain just a stat.

I'm not an evangelist. I don't have the gift of evangelism. I'd rather someone else tell unbelievers about Jesus and if they want to know more, then I'm very happy to step in and use my giftings. But to go to strangers, co-workers, neighbors, friends, and family members who aren't already believers and tell them that they have a problem without them admitting it, that's tough.

I know people need Jesus, but do I, or you for that matter, really believe they need Jesus. Is my belief that they need Jesus more intellectual assent, or is it heartfelt, proactive, engaging culture, life altering belief. Like seeing someone asleep in a burning building. All of us would try and wake such a person. So why don't we share our faith? Aren't people in a burning building called the human body. Isn't sin a death promoting thick smoke, that if inhaled too long, dulls the conscience and lures people into a sleep that they're unable to awaken themselves from?

I enjoy seeing people change their lives based on the word of God and coming to know Jesus. I love teaching the word of God, and helping those interested, and sometimes those not so interested, come to see the blueprint for our lives when it comes to issues of marriage, parenting, family life, masculinity, chivalry, etc. But I know God wants me to do more for those are His, but don't know it yet.

I recently listened to a message from a Pastor speaking to church leaders and potential church planters about how the mission of the church is to continue the work that Jesus began during His earthly ministry. In Mark ch.1 wee see Jesus proclaiming to all people that the time was fulfilled and the kingdom of God was at hand. He then urged people to repent and believe in the gospel. What he does next directly relates to us. While walking along the sea shore He sees Simon and Andrew casting their nets in the sea of Galilee for their daily bread. Jesus walks up to them, without knowing them, and tells them to follow Him, and He would make them become fishers of men.

If Jesus is a King, and he said the kingdom of heaven was at hand, I wonder, did Jesus leave the kingdom here on earth, or did He take it back with Him when He ascended back to heaven? If it's still here, what are we suppose to be doing with it?

Paul answers the question about the kingdom in Colossians 1:13 when he says of God; "Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:." So we see that the kingdom is still here. What about us? What are to do with this kingdom? We are to populate the kingdom. A King reigns over a kingdom. And the more powerful the king, the bigger the kingdom. Well how do we populate the kingdom? The Gospel! The way we populate the kingdom is by dragging the net of the gospel in the sea of culture in an effort to catch the fish that belong to God.

Remember what happened when Jesus told Simon to cast his nets in the same waters that had yielded him very little fish in all day fishing expo. When Simon finally did what Jesus had asked, he caught so many fish that he couldn't retrieve them all. When Jesus says to cast the net, don't worry about the catch!

So maybe the people around us that are sick and dying are in fact just waiting to be caught. You and I were caught weren't we? Thank God the fishermen around us weren't afraid to cast their nets. The best fishermen are the ones who don't mind getting wet and smelly. If you're expecting a large catch, expect to smell fishy. And the only way to smell fishy is by handling a lot of fish.

We all need Jesus.

We need Jesus in our homes, our marriages, our singleness, our parenting, our jobs, our hearts, our minds, our education, our ministries, our lives. We need him to define to us what life really is. Then we need to tell that to the culture. We need to live that in our homes. We need to live that in our relationships. We need to raise our kids to become that. We need to arrange our families to reflect that. We need to let our lifestyles proclaim that.

If Jesus is going to be attractive to unbelievers, shouldn't he be proactive in us? Or do we just play church on Sundays? His Lordship must rule and reign in every area of our lives. When it does, we begin to experience life as God intended. And when we begin to experience that, we can then begin to have an effect on our culture.

So go ahead and delve into culture like Driscoll says to. The culture of loneliness all around you needs the message that you have!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Steve Meets the President!

And not just any president mind you, like of the most powerful nation in the world. No, this President happens to be a modern day prophet who declares the word of God with courage and vigor like few have in modern times. His name...Doug Phillips...founder and president of Vision Forum Ministries located in San Antonio, TX, and in the hearts and minds of God's people throughout the great nation of America and around the world.

On Saturday, February 24th, 2007, June and I loaded up the kids and headed down to Arlington Heights, IL., for a celebration known as Liberty Day. This was the 9th Anniversary for Liberty Day which begun as a family celebration by the Roger Erber Family. We had a great time learning about American History through music, theatre, keynote addresses, and dancing, like the Virginia Reel, which my daughter Janai thoroughly enjoyed. It was also quite enjoyable seeing my friend Herb Devine dance with his little daughter Sara as well!

As much as I enjoyed the hours spent hearing and seeing what I mentioned above, I must admit that the most memorable 10 minutes were the 10 I spent conversing with Mr. Phillips. We chatted about our families and Doug even took time from his busy schedule to pray for me and my family as we seek the Lord's direction for our family. What an honor it was!

For those who know Doug, or at least about Vision Forum, understand that at the heart of Doug Phillips is a desire to see Christian families return once again to the blueprint of family life that God has so clearly laid out for His people in Scripture. He tirelessly proclaims the way of the Lord for Christian homes today and has impacted thousands of homes for the Lord throughout the world. If I can't speak for all of them, I can surely speak for one, my own!

Many years ago when I first became acquainted with Vision Forum via cassettes, yes cassettes, lent to me by a good friend, I heard a message entitled "The Blessed Marriage" by Doug Phillips, and must say it challenged just about everything I thought a good marriage looked like. When you listen to Doug's messages you usually go through about three different stages. After the first listening, you normally feel convicted. After the second, you repent. And after the third, you apply! This happened to me with this message!

By the grace of God ministered to me through men like Doug Phillips, June and I today are who we are. We love one another dearly, love our 8 children, and most importantly, we love the Lord more. Doug's ministry helps us stay focused on the vision and mission that the Lord has put on our hearts to accomplish. Namely, for June to be a full-time keeper of the home, for us to homeschool our little blessings, and for me to lead my family spiritually. We don't do all these things perfectly, but by God's grace, we're making progress.

So thank you Lord Jesus for your gospel,... for the cross,... and for life everlasting!

And thank you Doug Phillips for your prophetic voice that cries in the wilderness to the elect of God challenging them to choose this day whom they will follow! May you stay strong as you stand on God's grace!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Look to Christ

1 ¶ Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Hebrews 12: 1-2

Men, life is tough, and the weak bow to the pressures of life. But we are not of that stock. We are of those who like Christ, persevere for the joy set before us.

Stay strong as you seek to rebuild the culture of your life and family and always look to Jesus when the going gets tough and you feel like bowing out. I'm in your corner and so are those of us who choose to live counter cultural lives.
One income homes, homeschooling, patriarchy, and everything else that renders you a freak of nature, yes and Amen!

God Bless You Men as you seek to stand your ground for your wives, your children, and ultimately for your Lord!

"And I looked, and rose up, and said unto the nobles, and to the rulers, and to the rest of the people, Be not ye afraid of them: remember the Lord, which is great and terrible, and fight for your brethren, your sons, and your daughters, your wives, and your houses."
Nehemiah 4:14

For further encouragement on the topic of Male leadership click here to read Douglas Wilson's article entitled 'Men Without Chests.'

Friday, February 2, 2007

Nehemiah: The Man of God - Part I

1 ¶ The words of Nehemiah the son of Hachaliah. And it came to pass in the month Chisleu, in the twentieth year, as I was in Shushan the palace,
2 That Hanani, one of my brethren, came, he and certain men of Judah; and I asked them concerning the Jews that had escaped, which were left of the captivity, and concerning Jerusalem.
3 And they said unto me, The remnant that are left of the captivity there in the province are in great affliction and reproach: the wall of Jerusalem also is broken down, and the gates thereof are burned with fire.
4 And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven.
(Nehemiah 1:1-4)

As I read through Nehemiah as part of my daily bible reading, I was really struck by the character of this minor prophet. He is the kind of Man that I could learn from in my quest to be a Godly man. So my next few posts will focus on some attribute of Nehemiah that I believe can help us as men in our roles as leaders, husbands, fathers, and sons of the Most High.

In the passage above, we see that Nehemiah was sensitive to the Spirit of the Lord. Now we as men tend to think of 'being sensitive' the same as being 'soft', but that need not be the case. When I speak of being sensitive, I don't mean that you like chick flicks and cry when watching them. If you do, you probably think Yanni and Richard Simmons are masculine. They're not. The kind of sensitivity I'm speaking of is the kind that Jesus had. We read in the gospels that when Jesus saw crowds coming to Him, he had compassion on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd. He had compassion on them because He was sensitive to them and to their spiritual needs. Like Nehemiah weeping after he heard the condition of Jerusalem. He knew that wasn't what the Lord wanted for His people.

What about you as a husband...are you sensitive to the needs of your bride, like Jesus was to His? If you're not, you have an unloved wife. See, our wives feel very loved when we as their husbands and protectors are sensitive to them. Don't get me wrong, there's a time to knuckle-up and fight, and we'll see this later in Nehemiah 4, but when you're with your wife take the armor off and put the sword down, she's not your enemy. Or she's not suppose to be anyway! She is one with you and in covenant with you. She is the one who the bible says you should delight in and enjoy in all ways. She is the one that Paul told men to 'love as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for'. This means we are to love our wives as Christ has loved us. Sacrificially, completely, etc., etc.. This is not accomplishable without being sensitive to her as a lady, by not "living with her in understanding as the weaker vessel", as the bible says in 1 Peter. Your wife is like fine china, not cement. You be cement, let her be fine china.

So go ahead and try it. Try being sensitive to your wife. Try meeting her emotional needs. Try loving her as Christ loved the church. Then get ready for what's coming when the lights go out!!!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Book Review: Confessions of a Reformission Rev.

In this book, Mark Driscoll, who Pastors Mars Hill Church in Seattle, chronicles the journey he has taken overseeing the fastest growing church in Seattle's history.

From 3 families who totaled 12 people meeting in his living room, to hundreds of families who total over 5000 people meeting weekly, Driscoll gives us an inside glimpse into the growth of one of the 50 most influential churches in America.
From planting just over 10 years ago, to growing around 150% a year, its been a whirlwind for Mars Hill and the leadership team there.

This book is a great read. If church planting interests you, or if you're already in some form of church leadership, you'll do good to read Driscoll's book. This book is also good for gaining an inside view on how Pastors view people in their churches and how to best serve their Pastors in their roles as spiritual leaders. Understanding the dynamics of how a church plant functions, or how any church functions for that matter, will make you a much desired commodity in the church you attend.

Driscoll's approach to teaching doesn't appeal to everyone, but from someone who's grown under his sermons now for almost 10 years, I can assure you that what he says in this book is worth knowing. I especially like his emphasis on reaching the Men in his church. Driscoll understands that by reaching the Men you reach the culture, and by growing the Men you strengthen your church.

Driscoll is also the President of Acts 29, a church planting network that he founded to train Men who have a desire to plant missional churches.

If you've read it, post a comment and let us know what you thought!

To purchase off amazon or to view the chapter titles, which are hilarious, click here.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Book Review: The Total Money Makeover

When I finished this book, I thought "this is doable". Dave Ramsey lays out his plan for achieving financial success in his very popular book, "The Total Money Makeover."

For those of you like me who began your education after finishing public school, you'll like Dave's approach to money management. It's straight forward, clear, and achievable. It's not easy, but achievable.

So if you're looking for help in the area of money management, or just enjoy learning about the whole area of finances, go ahead and pick this book up.

Dave's 'baby steps' as he calls them to achieving financial victory are as follows:
  1. Save $1,000 fast.
  2. The debt snowball.
  3. Finish the emergency fund.
  4. Maximize retirement investing.
  5. College funding.
  6. Pay off the home mortgage.
  7. Build wealth like crazy.
  8. Live like no one else.
As husbands who are responsible for our homes, we should see that our financial lives are in good order. Though you may delegate the job of handling the money to your wife, you can never relegate that job to her. As the covenant head of your home you remain responsible for the financial condition of your home. So educate yourself in this area, you won't regret it.

To order this book of Dave's website click here.

If you've read this book post a comment and let us know what you thought of it!

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

The Joys of Fatherhood

Yesterday was a good day for me. I got home from work about 10:30am and after greeting my family I began attacking my "to do" list for the day. The first order of business for me was to re-build and erect our mailbox, which was destroyed about a week ago by a run-a-way car. For this job Ravi(5) and Stephen(7), helped me out. We measured and cut the wood needed, screwed it together, and carried it across the street to put it up. It went well and the boys really enjoyed helping out.

Next on my list was to take a load of old items to the dump in the my truck. Again, Ravi and Stephen helped out. They brought the old chairs, ottoman, box spring, etc., out of the garage and I loaded them in the truck. We also took 6 hay bails from our harvest party, and a swimming pool ladder that's been sitting around for a while. We strapped it all down so it wouldn't fly off as we drove and off we went to Ravi's favorite place in the whole world...the town dump!

The boys had a great time climbing to the top of our stuff and pushing it off so I could throw it in the dumpster. Stephen slid under the wing back chair we tossed while trying to pull it off the truck, then fell off the truck when he tripped on the gate cable trying to jump off. He wasn't hurt, so me and Ravi enjoyed a hardy laugh at all of it.

After unloading everything, we headed for home and on the way stopped off for a snack. I bought the boys a pack of cookies and a much needed bottle of 'bug juice'. They were extremely delighted to receive the snacks. I told them, "when men work, they get to eat, so enjoy it."

After some rest at home, June took our two oldest daughters, Janai(14) and Naomi(9), along with one of our twins, out for some ice cream. She wanted to bless them for being such good helpers. All the work that the boys and I did outside was only made possible by the work the girls did inside; lovingly caring for our baby twins Christian and Josiah, along with Joy(4) and Joshua(2). What a tremendous blessing it is to have daughters who love their siblings and love the Lord Jesus.

While June and the girls were gone I moved on to next item on the list which was to repair a dresser in my daughter's room. For this job Joy decided she was going to assist me and did her best to help and keep me company. The conversation was good and we both enjoyed the doing the job together.

At the end of the day I thought about how the Lord has blessed me with such a wonderful family and how being a Father truly has it's rewards. So if you're a Dad, truly embrace your role and savor every moment you can with your kids, because as you can see in the picture above, they won't be little forever!