Charles Spurgeon & Family Worship

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I remember the day, the hour, and the chair I was sitting in at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary’s library when I first read Charles Spurgeon’s sermon, A Pastoral Visit. My wife was pregnant, and I was training to become a pastor.

I was excited and terrified at the same time. Children are an amazing blessing from God and an incredible responsibility.

Spurgeon’s sermon was a great encouragement to me as I prepared to be a father. It was also a great challenge.

Even though I grew up in a Christian home, I had never experienced what Spurgeon called “family prayer.” To my recollection, we did not have a specific time set aside to worship together as a family. My parents loved Jesus and took us to church, but they were unfamiliar with the concept of family worship (“family prayer” as referenced by Spurgeon).

Family worship is a daily gathering of the family, which consists of spending time worshipping God through His Word, prayer, and singing. Noting its importance, Spurgeon proclaimed, “If we want to bring up a godly family, who shall be a seed to serve God when our heads are under the clods of the valley, let us seek to train them up in the fear of God by meeting together as a family for worship.”

Charles Spurgeon emphasized the importance of family worship in his writing, his public preaching, and his private practice. A visitor to Spurgeon’s home once said that Spurgeon was a grandeur man while leading his family in worship than while preaching to thousands.

This should not surprise us at all because it was Spurgeon himself who declared, “Just as I, as a preacher, would never miss an opportunity of saying anything here which I met with in the week, and which I thought you ought to hear, so let the Christian father be studying each day how he may instruct the church in his house in the fear of the Lord more perfectly!”

Charles Spurgeon practiced what he preached. Even though he had a packed ministry schedule, he recognized his primary ministry was at home. Spurgeon faithfully led his family in worship, and when he was out of town, his wife stepped in to fulfill this important role.

Spurgeon’s passion for family worship is contagious. Take a few minutes to read through his sermon, A Pastoral Visit. My prayer is that God would use this message in your life as he did in mine.

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The Great Enemy Of Spiritual Health

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Hurry is the great enemy of spiritual life in our day. You must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life.” (Dallas Willard)

I have yet to meet a Christian that does not have a desire to grow spiritually. In fact, I have experienced the exact opposite…they want to grow and they want to know God’s Word more deeply. They desire an authentic and vibrant relationship with the Lord. They want to see it change their lives.

Yet, it seems like such a struggle…

I think the above quote by Dallas Willard is the key to understanding the struggle. It may seem too simplistic but it is reality. The frenetic pace of our lives coupled with a desire for instant gratification hinders spiritual growth and health.

Let me explain:

(1) The frenetic pace of our lives. For whatever reason we have adopted the mentality that we must be doing something every second of every day. We wake up and turn on the news or pull-up our Facebook app. We get in the car to head to work or school and immediately turn on the radio. We have practices to get our kids to and workouts that need to get done. Dinner has to be cooked or picked up. Homework…TV shows…work email…and the list goes on and on. We have all but eliminated any opportunity to spend time in the Word or in prayer. The time is there but we have so scheduled every second of every day with things (some are very good things) that we have no time for the most important thing…cultivating a relationship with our Savior. Hurry is killing us spiritually!

(2) The desire for instant gratification. Growing spiritually takes time. There is no quick fix for spiritual growth in the same way there is no quick fix for weightloss. If you want to lose weight you must burn more calories than you take in over an extended amount of time. The same holds true if we want to grow spiritually…it takes extended time in God’s Word over a number of years. And here is the secret no one may tell you…you never arrive! The Christian life is a journey. It is a race…a race that ends when we meet our Savior face to face (and ultimately, physical death is really just the beginning!). We are not running a 50 yard dash. We are running a marathon and marathons take time to complete. They also take determination…a willingness to put one foot in front of the other for 26.2 miles. Our only hope to grow spiritually is to daily put one foot in front of the other with the Spirit’s help. You can’t hurry this process.

 

There Will Be No Savior In Washington

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I know that title may cause you to scratch your head but it is true. There will be no Savior in Washington regardless of what the political candidates promise.

They do not have all the answers. In fact, they don’t even have all the questions. It is really quite an interesting predicament.The nature of politics is tricky. The name of the game is to over-promise and under-deliver. Truthfully, it doesn’t really matter if they deliver at all. They are salespeople. Every candidate is attempting to sell the American public on a particular vision for the future.

One side is selling a robust economy and strong national defense. The other is selling free college tuition and accessible health care. Neither is telling the truth. Remember, the name of the game is to make promises…not keep them.

I enjoy politics. I will vote in this presidential election and on election night I will be watching the election results with great anticipation. But, my faith does not rest in any particular candidate.

You see, I know that none of these candidates will be America’s Savior. I’m not at all saying that the election does not matter. It does matter and you should vote.

But, I am encouraging you not to get so wrapped up in this election season and lose sight of reality. There is only one Savior. He promised and he delivered on his promises. His name is Jesus.

 

A Heart That Serves (Reading Notes)

“Some time ago I had dinner with a man who was a deacon in his church. With great energy he told me about how he loved to serve the people at his church. He was so enthusiastic that he gestured a lot as he spoke, and I became a little embarrassed because we were in a packed restaurant. Yet nothing could keep this man’s excitement down as he continued to tell me of his passion for serving God. He constantly looked for opportunities throughout the week to serve the needs of fellow church members, and on Sunday he couldn’t  wait to get to church so he could continue his ministry of service. This man’s zeal for service may seem excessive at first glance, but in actuality, he was exhibiting yet another mark of a man after God’s heart – a heart that yearns to serve.

As fleshly humans, our natural (and selfish) tendency is to take care of our own needs first. We like to make sure there is plenty of time for the things we want to do. Then if we have any time or energy left over, we might be willing to use it to serve someone else. But as men after God’s own heart, you and I need to resist these selfish tendencies and strive instead to see ourselves as servants.” (Jim George in A Man After God’s Own Heart)

Casual Christians (Reading Notes)

“We have too many casual Christians who dabble in everything but are not committed to anything. They have a nodding acquaintance with a score of subjects but are sold on nothing. ‘Of course I’m interested in church – but with my club and my lodge and my golf and my bride and my stamp collecting and my ceramics and my African violets, I just can’t get too excited about religion.’ Our Lord had no place in His program for casual disciples. It was all or nothing.” (Vance Havner in Pepper’N Salt)