Search This Blog

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Sermon on Family Life Today

I really count it a great privilege to have a sermon I preached "Why God is Enough" to be aired on Family Life Today on November 24-25th. I love their ministry and how they help families.

If you are in the Los Angeles area, KKLA at 99.5 FM will air it at 8:30am. If you are outside of the LA area, click here to  find a time and station to listen.

Or you can go directly to their website and hear it Familylifetoday.

I pray you have a great Thanksgiving thanking God for His amazing grace.

Grace and peace,

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

‘Back when we were Negroes’ - Charles E. Richardson -

‘Back when we were Negroes’ - Charles E. Richardson -

There was a time until the early 1960s when the terms to describe those of African decent, like me -- African-American or Black or Afro-American -- were almost unheard of.

I remember a distinct conversation with a friend discussing descriptive terms for ourselves in 1963 or ’64. The term “black” was just coming into vogue and he didn’t like it one bit. “Call me a Negro,” he said, “but don’t call me black.”

Now, the word “Negro” (publications used a lower case “n”) has almost become a pejorative, so I was a little surprised when my pastor, the Rev. Willie Reid, used it during Thursday’s revival. “Back when we were Negroes,” he said, and listed several things that were different about black life in America back then.

That got me to thinking. Back when we were Negroes in the 1950s, “only 9 percent of black families with children were headed by a single parent,” according to “The Black Family: 40 Years of Lies” by Kay Hymowitz. “Black children had a 52 percent chance of living with both their biological parents until age 17. In 1959, “only 2 percent of black children were reared in households in which the mother never married.” But now that we’re African-Americans, according to Hymowitz, those odds of living with both parents had “dwindled to a mere 6 percent” by the mid-1980s. And check this, in Bibb County, more than 70 percent of the births in the African-American community are to single mothers.

Back when we were Negroes and still fighting in many parts of the country for the right to vote, we couldn’t wait for the polls to open. We knew our friends, family and acquaintances had died getting us the ballot. Dogs and fire hoses were used to keep us away and still we came. But now that we’re African-Americans, in a city of 47,000 registered -- predominately black voters -- more than 30,000 didn’t show up at the polls July 19.

Back when we were Negroes, we had names like Joshua, Aaron, Paul, Esther, Melba, Cynthia and Ida. Now that we are African Americans, our names are bastardized versions of alcohol from Chivas to Tequila to C(S)hardonney. And chances the names have an unusual spelling.

Back when we were Negroes, according to the Trust For America’s Health’s “F as in Fat,” report, “only four states had diabetes rates above 6 percent. ... The hypertension rates in 37 states about 20 years ago were more than 20 percent.”

Now that we’re African-Americans, that report shows, “every state has a hypertension rate of more than 20 percent, with nine more than 30 percent. Forty-three states have diabetes rates of more than 7 percent, and 32 have rates above 8 percent. Adult obesity rates for blacks topped 40 percent in 15 states, 35 percent in 35 states and 30 percent in 42 states and Washington, D.C.

Back when we were Negroes, the one-room church was the community center that everyone used. Now that we’re African-Americans, our churches have lavish -- compared to back-in-the-day churches -- community centers that usually sit empty because the last thing the new church wants to do is invite the community in.

Back when we were Negroes, we didn’t have to be convinced that education was the key that opened the lock of success, but now that we’re African-Americans, more than 50 percent of our children fail to graduate high school. In Bibb County last year, the system had a dropout rate of 53,4 percent.

Back when we were Negroes, the last thing a young woman wanted to look like was a harlot and a young man a thug, but now that we’re African-Americans, many of our young girls dress like hootchie mamas and our young boys imitate penitentiary custom and wear their pants below the butt line.

If I could reverse all of the above by trading the term “African-American” for “Negro,” what do you think I’d do?
Charles E. Richardson is The Telegraph’s editorial page editor.

Interesting thoughts!

Monday, August 22, 2011

What Would Jesus Say (WWJS) about Abortion

What Would Jesus Say (WWJS)?
Abortion & the Bible

On January 22, 1973, the Supreme Court rendered a (7 to 2) ruling based upon the 9th and 14th amendments, that the Constitution guarantees a woman's "right to privacy," a right that extends even to abortion. At the very heart of that ruling stood the question, “When does life begin?” In his majority opinion, Justice Harry Blackmun wrote, and I quote:

"If this suggestion of personhood (for the fetus) is established, the appellant's case (the argument for abortion), of course, collapses, for the fetus' right to life would then be guaranteed specifically by the Amendment. The appellant conceded as much on re-argument.”

WWJS to Judge Blackmum and abortion proponents?: Let’s consider four answers Jesus gave, and conversely, we, must give today.

1st God creates life.  

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth,” Gen. 1:1. Other key texts: John 1:1-4; Psalm 127:3; Job 33:4; 34:14-15

Life comes from God. However, to say that life originates from God does not answer the question, “Does human life begin at the point of conception?”

2nd God creates life in the womb.

Key Texts: Jer. 1:5; Psa. 139:13-14

Contrary to those who assume life begins with breath, the whole teaching of the Bible confirms it begins at conception. Since the Bible states that life comes from God, and it does, and since the Bible states that God gives us life in the womb, then does the baby in the womb have God-given protective legal rights?

3rd God grants babies legal protective rights in the womb.

The battleground verse over abortion rights of a mother is Exodus 21:22-25

The words gives birth prematurely or miscarriages are literally the words go forth from or come out of. So the text says as a result of the woman being hurt in this fight her baby comes out. With that reading, it is clear that the progression of the passage describes what happens to the child. It gives two scenarios: one where the child lives, in which case it was simply a premature birth; and two, where the child dies, in which case the man who caused the injury has to pay for the loss of the child’s life with his own.

While this passage is clearly not talking about abortion, it clearly shows that the Bible considers the unborn child a living being, and therefore the law requires the ultimate penalty of capital punishment for taking the life of the child in a mother’s womb.

4th God commands that we protect the life of children.

The reading of Roe v. Wade defined the health of the mother not only in physical terms but in terms of emotional well being. This means that if a woman believes having the child will make life harder then she can choose to take the child’s life so that she can have an easier life. What does Bible say?

Key Texts: Psa. 94:6-10; 106:38
Israel wanted to trust the gods of the land. They were agricultural gods. Israel then began to sacrifice their children for prosperity. God condemns that practice as a gross evil.

In the Bible the highest virtue isn’t saving your own life, but sacrificing it for others. Consider the following examples: Paul, Acts 20:24; Jesus, 1 John 3:16; tribulation saints, Rev 12:11.


Are Christians judgmental when we say in love that abortion is wrong that it is actually murder? No, Christians are saying What Jesus Would Say (John 12:48). But we also must gladly say that there is forgiveness with God. There’s good news for sinners. For the same God who considers abortion murder sent His Son, Jesus, to die in place of guilty sinners. Having fully satisfied the just payment for all sin, including murder, Jesus rose from the grave with authority to pardon any and all sinners who repent and turn to Him for forgiveness (John 5:22).

Armed with the above truths about WWJS, Christians must pray and use their Bibles to talk like Jesus in order to bring the conscience-searing evil of abortion to an end. Just as brave women like Harriet Tubman and Harriet Beecher Stowe stood together and risked all to bring legal slavery to an end, all Christians must raise their voices in love and say the time for change has come.

But whatever happens, let’s stop being silent and with conviction answer Justice Harry Blackmun’s question, “When does life begin?” by saying what Jesus would say!

·      God grants physical life (Gen 1:1).
·      He grants life at conception (Jer 1:5).
·      He grants every unborn child legal protective rights (Exod 21:22-25).

And He wants abortion to end now! 

For other helpful resources to fight against abortion check out abort73.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Why God is Enough

Here is a link to a recent sermon that I preached "Why God is Enough"
I am discussing how God is ministering to me, Naomi and the kids through our trial by fire.

Grace and Peace,
Pastor Bobby Scott

Friday, July 29, 2011

Legacy Sola Fide Purity Workshop Notes

The following link will take you to a detailed explanation of what I covered in my Legacy purity workshop.

Truth in the City: How Nakedness Affected the Fall:

Grace and peace,
Pastor Bobby Scott

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Our House Caught on Fire

The following is a guest post from my mom. I love you mom and thanks for keeping everyone updated until I get time to write something.

For those of you who haven't heard our son Bobby's home in CA caught fire early last Sunday morning. We thank God that they all got out safely. The fire started in the dryer, spread to the kitchen, up the wall to the roof and across the roof to master bedroom. Naomi said when they all got in the front yard they could see orange flames consuming the kitchen. I have attached a few pictures.


Bobby said God has blessed them by sending many people to help. The fire chief told him that people would be showing up asking to represent him, but not to sign anything. His insurance company deposited money in his account by Sunday evening. They are staying at a Residence Hotel until they can find an apartment or house to rent. Please pray about that. Their church family has set up meal delivery, they have been given clothes and the children were taken on a shopping trip.

Micaiah turned 10 on May 26 and Amariah turned 6 on May 27th. They had planned a Spring Theme party for Memorial Day. Our great-grandson and great-granddaughter were also in the house Saturday. Some of the ladies called Naomi and offered to have the party at their homes, but she declined so they said let's go to a park. The party was a wonderful surprise for the girls and the family. The ladies had invited all the kids friends from their neighborhood, church and the homeschool association.

Bobby has lived in this house over 10 years and they know everybody on the block. Bobby was at the house yesterday meeting with insurance co., appraisers, etc., he saw their mailman coming and went down the street to meet him.  Ralph has been their mailman all these years and the kids love him. They give him water, sodas, cookies and he loves the family. Bobby told him that they were all well, but the house caught fire. Ralph started crying because he was so glad they were ok and Bobby started crying with him. The neighbors responded the same way and are keeping watch over the house.

The house is being checked to determine degree of asbestos. If the count is low they may be able to go in Thursday to retrieve somethings. But, right now they are doing ok and are not in need of anything. The kids are homeschooled and may have to complete their work this summer.

Please continue to pray that they find somewhere to stay for 8 months, that all the paperwork and rebuilding go well.

Friday, May 27, 2011

I Will Wait for You by Janette...ikz

For all the single sisters out there who love Christ, you have to check this out and pass it along. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Oh, If I Had Time to Write

Normally, I only teach one class per semester. Pastoring is my first love. But for a lot of reasons, some that I couldn't control, I am teaching 3 classes this semester. I must say I thoroughly enjoyed the courses and in some ways they impacted me as much if not more than anything classes I have ever taught . However, the load also made it next to impossible for me to write. I'll be finished with all of my classes next week so I am hoping to start writing again.

So much has happened to reflect upon from Osama Bin Laden's death, to the ongoing tragic weather catastrophes, to Family Hour's Doom's Day prediction, and to Israel's Prime Minister Netanyahu's historic speech to the house.  Plus, I agreed to write three book reviews which I will include. So please pray for me, I am looking forward to using my Mondays (my day off) to start writing soon.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Excellent Counseling Conference

If you are anywhere near southern California, you have to look into this conference. It is as good as any counseling equipping conference in the country. And you don't have to be a counselor to attend. Check out the details here. 

Summer Institute 2011 from IBCD on Vimeo.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Why the Internet is Full of Temptations (and what we can do about it)

This is a guest post from Luke Gilkerson. He is the general editor and primary author of Breaking Free, the Covenant Eyes blog. Luke has a BA in Philosophy and Religious Studies and is working on an MA in Religion from Reformed Theological Seminary. Before working at Covenant Eyes he spent six years as a college campus minister. He is also the author of Porn in the Pews: Teaching Your Church about the Dangers of Pornography. He lives in Michigan with his wife Trisha and two sons, Bradley and Cameron.

How many times have you heard a story about an Internet-related problem in the past few months? I’m not just talking about things like identity theft or cyber crime—I’m talking about all the poor uses of the Internet that seem to ruin lives and dissolve our most important relationships.
  • Headlines speak of the latest Internet predator caught in the act of grooming a teenager. 
  • New reports come out weekly about how slanderous words exchanged over e-mail or Facebook lead to broken hearts or shattered reputations.
  • More and more studies show modern families are becoming engrossed in technology, so much so their face-to-face relationships are suffering.
  • Literally millions of websites with graphic and degrading sexual content are available to see at the click of a mouse, and this doesn’t even include all the “grey areas” of temptation and titillation.

The common thread

 What is the common thread for all of these problems? Some want to blame the technology itself. The Internet has given us a level of accessibility that, perhaps, many people are not ready to have. While this is one common thread, I don’t believe is it the most important one. I believe the problem is not mostly technological, but relational.

One of the more insidious common threads that runs through Internet-related dangers is that of anonymity. The Internet gives us the ability to experience, explore, and express ourselves in total secrecy. Knowing no one has to know what I do, what I see, or who I talk to often lowers our defenses and removes our inhibitions.

Many times, this cloak of secrecy brings out the worst in us and exposes us to the worst in others. We are like Gyges of Lydia (mentioned by Plato), who found a magic ring that could make him invisible. Intoxicated with his new power, this once-humble shepherd snuck into the palace, seduced the queen, plundered the palace, and assassinated the king. In a similar fashion, today we hide behind monitors and smartphones so we can be seduced by flickering pixels, squander our time in endless amusement, and slaughter one another with our words.

Accountability vs. anonymity

 In our always-plugged-in culture, the battle must be waged on two fronts.
The first front is the gate of our own hearts. Try as we might, we cannot blame technology for corrupting us. Technology has only exposed how easily corruptible we really are.

The first front, therefore, is our accountability to God Himself. We must admit to ourselves and to God our weaknesses when it comes to living lives of faith in the Information Age. We must train ourselves and our children to recognize that, despite the apparent anonymity of the online world, nothing escapes God’s penetrating gaze. He is always present.

The second front of the battle is our connection to other people. Despite the fact that much of our time online is private time, we should not be seduced into believing what we do online does not impact others.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Desiring God 25th Anniversary Edition Endorsement

This past February, I had the privilege of organizing a meeting for a couple hundred pastors who serve in the urban communities of Los Angeles, with the aim of introducing them to John Piper. Because John is not on the radio in LA, as inconceivable as this might seem, many of the pastors were unfamiliar with Desiring God Ministries (DGM). As I brought John to the pulpit, I stated how I share his conviction that Jesus did not die to build a segregated church. John preached a new wrinkle in his Desiring God message; he titled it “What is the Bottom of Your Joy?” The pastors were moved, God was glorified, Jesus was preached, the Spirit stirred the hearts of His servants, and I have not stopped listening to that sermon. It gave me words to express why God is the bottom on my joy. It plunged my mind deeply into the reservoir of God’s infinite love for me. I pray that the truths unleashed in Desiring God 25th Anniversary Edition will flow to all of Christ’s churches, and that God uses them to saturate more hearts with the joy that comes from marveling at the depth of the glory of His love which He reveals to His saints through Christ.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Wrath of God: Undivided Conference Sermons

To hear the others sermons: David Forsyth, "The Problem of Sin; Alex Montoya, "Substitutionary Atonement;" and Milton Vincent,  Justification by Faith" go to Undivided Conference Media.

Friday, March 25, 2011

LA Legacy Institute

I'm really excited about what the Lord will do on April the 9th at the inaugural LA Legacy Institute. 

The LA Legacy Institute will be a one day Bible conference and concert with Pastor/Teachers: Anthony Kidd, Andrew Choo, Me, Carl Hargrove, PJ Tibayan, Dr. Fred Sanders, Dr. Mark Tatlock with Artists: Shai Linne,  Sho Baraka, Propaganda, Katalyst, Decipha, and Shachah. For more details visit

Monday, March 7, 2011

Dr. Felix's Sermon: The Bible is Wonderful!

The President of the Los Angeles Bible Training School, Dr. Paul Felix, preached at LACBC yesterday. His sermon, from Hebrews 4:12, was compelling, convicting, and motivating. He declared to us 5 affirmations about Scripture that show how wonderful the Bible is. He urged us to affirm that the Bible is "alive, effective, cutting, penetrating, and discerning. You'll have to go to our itunes channel and listen to it. It is a must hear! 

He concluded his sermon with an emotional illustration that referred to a tribal people receiving their very first copy of the NT with tears of joy. One of our members found a copy of the video, I'll posted it for your edification below. 


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Today I Said Good-Bye to a True Saint

 Elmira Delery was a true Christian. I know that she was, because Jesus said that “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” If you knew anything about Elmira, you knew that she knew how to show the love of Christ. At her Homegoing service on Saturday, February 26, 2011, story after story was shared, testifying about her sacrificial love for her family and church. There were funny stories, touching stories, powerfully inspiring stories. There were lots of stories because Elmira Delery knew how to love, and she loved us all so well.

If you were down and out, Elmira would take you in, so she could pick you back up. If you were sick and shut-in, she would jump in her car and travel to you and nurse you back to health. If she thought you were hungry, she would make you the best food this side of heaven. If you were broke and in need, she would joyfully and sacrificially give. If she thought you needed a miracle she would pray the Red Sea open for you. If you had a question and God hid the answer deep inside His hidden counsel, her wise words would put you at rest to trust in God.

Elmira was one special lady. She was elegant. She was graceful like a doe. She was wise. She was beautiful all the time. She loved and she cared. She was bold enough to dare to believe in God even in the hardest of times. She really was one of a kind. She loved the Lord, and He loved her, and everyone near was blessed with the overflow.

During her homegoing service, one of our dear seniors and my nine year old little girl both said, “We are really going to miss her.” We all are going to miss her because there is soooo much to miss. That’s what makes saying good-bye to her (for now) so hard, but let me try:

Elmira, in life you were so beautiful, beautiful in every way. As you aged, you were so graceful, and all of us wanted you to stay. But in death we know that your spirit soars, that you are being satisfied and filled with the richness of Christ’s love. So perhaps the best way to say good-bye is to remember why we cry, to remember your legacy, and to embrace the lessons of your life. You taught us many things both in words and deeds, lessons like “It is always better to give than to receive.” We’ll remember how you lived, how you loved, and how you gave. And most of all, I pray that we will remember what you believed. You believed that Jesus loved you, enough to die and to rise up from the dead to give you eternal life. So in actuality, this doesn’t have to be a good-bye, because if we, like you, love Jesus, then we’ll have our reunion in the sky.

We’ll miss you, Sister Delery, and for now, good-bye.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Martin Luther King's Letter from Birmingham Jail

In light of Martin Luther King Day, I have posted in its entirety his letter written from a jail in Birmingham. I openly acknowledge as a biblical theologian that there are significant grounds of contention one can justly hold against Dr. King.  Perhaps I'll address those in a post on another day. For now let it suffice to say for the record that I disagree with his liberal theological bent. With that being stated, I however, firmly believe that his Birmingham letter is as profound and significant contribution to our nation as anything that has ever been authored by an American of any period and for any cause. 

The context of Dr. King's letter is as follows: It was a response to a published statement by several white clergyman titled "A Call for Unity." They reproved Dr. King's efforts in Birmingham to bring integration. They specifically questioned what seemed to them to be "extreme measures" taken by Dr. King. Here is Dr. King's response written from a jail in Birmingham after he had been arrested during a peaceful demonstration. The typographical errors are from the original and have not been corrected. 

April 16, 1963


While confined here in the Birmingham city jail, I came across your recent statement calling my present activities "unwise and untimely." Seldom do I pause to answer criticism of my work and ideas. If I sought to answer all the criticisms that cross my desk, my secretaries would have little time for anything other than such correspondence in the course of the day, and I would have no time for constructive work. But since I feel that you are men of genuine good will and that your criticisms are sincerely set forth, I want to try to answer your statements in what I hope will be patient and reasonable terms.

I think I should indicate why I am here In Birmingham, since you have been influenced by the view which argues against "outsiders coming in." I have the honor of serving as president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, an organization operating in every southern state, with headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. We have some eighty-five affiliated organizations across the South, and one of them is the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights. Frequently we share staff, educational and financial resources with our affiliates. Several months ago the affiliate here in Birmingham asked us to be on call to engage in a nonviolent direct-action program if such were deemed necessary. We readily consented, and when the hour came we lived up to our promise. So I, along with several members of my staff, am here because I was invited here I am here because I have organizational ties here.

But more basically, I am in Birmingham because injustice is here. Just as the prophets of the eighth century B.C. left their villages and carried their "thus saith the Lord" far beyond the boundaries of their home towns, and just as the Apostle Paul left his village of Tarsus and carried the gospel of Jesus Christ to the far corners of the Greco-Roman world, so am I. compelled to carry the gospel of freedom beyond my own home town. Like Paul, I must constantly respond to the Macedonian call for aid.

Moreover, I am cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communities and states. I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. Never again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial "outside agitator" idea. Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider anywhere within its bounds.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Meet the Founder of the Legacy Institute—Brian Dye

Mark your calendars. On April 9th 2011, the Legacy Institute is coming to Los Angeles. Birthed in Chicago to impact urban youth and young adults, God is transforming the Legacy Conference into a nationwide movement drawing together Bible-centered urban leaders to awaken our young people with an uncompromising passion for Christ and biblical discipleship.

Here is a video clip of the founder Brian Dye and his wife Heidi. After you see it, you'll know why I posted it. God can reach our urban communities. He has the plan to impact our urban community. He alone has the power to transform our urban communities. The only question is: who will trust God enough to go? When confronted with the holiness, power, and grace of God, Isaiah said, "Here am I. Send me!" What will you say? Here's Brian and Heidi's answer. I think it will inspire you.

Click here for more information about Legacy and the upcoming April LA Legacy Institute Conference.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Pray This for Your Children

Last Sunday, I preached my annual state of the church address. As one of my main points, I emphasized the need for our church to pray more. Then on Tuesday morning, I was emailed a post written by Dr. Greg Harris. Greg is the author of a series of Glory Books, the pastor of Lake Hills Community Church, and a Professor of Bible Exposition at The Master’s Seminary. You can find his works here at Glory Books Ministry.

Back to his blog. When I read it, I immediately thanked God for sending it to me. It ministered to me as a timely word to a father of six who desires to pray more effectively for his children. It instructed me with sagely wisdom in how to lead the saints to be faithful advocates before the throne of grace for their children. It gave strength to a weary warrior needing the hope of the promise of prayer for the children in his church. I pray now that it will minister to you.

I again thank God for Dr. Harris and for his gracious consent to let me share his post with you. The remaining words in this post are from Dr. Harris.

“I Pray This For My Children”
by Greg Harris
Copyright 2010

            The Bible clearly shows that parents during Jesus’ earthly ministry wanted Jesus to bless their children: “Then some children were brought to Him so that He might lay His hands on them and pray; and the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, ‘Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.’ And after laying His hands on them, He departed from there” (Matt. 19:13-15). Nothing has changed other than Jesus not being currently visible (1 Pet. 1:8); we still want—and so desperately need—Jesus to bless our children. This shows both our continuous looking to Him and the realization of our vastly limited capacities as parents.

As with most items related to discipleship—and parenting as Christians most definitely is a God-ordain and commanded aspect of discipleship (Eph. 6:1-4), I have learned there is much more to Jesus blessing Betsy and my children than merely asking Him to do so. Of course, asking Jesus to bless our children is not bad in and of itself—only quite limited.

For instance, when our children were younger, they would frequently accompany me many places I went, including the seminary where I taught. I was asked dozens of times, “How do you get them to do that? How do you get kids at the age be so well-behaved and be such a blessing?” Always the answer from the heart would be, “Betsy and I are not perfect parents, and our children are not perfect children.” Often people would not believe that based on the scenario they saw before them. We most certainly did see God’s blessing on our children, but we knew they were still quite young and had not at that time yet faced the teenage and adult years with all the temptations and snares and dangers before them (Prov. 1–9). While seeing God’s hand of blessing, I realized the battle was only just beginning for us—and at times it was indeed a battle, and a very intense one at that, as both the world and the evil one actively worked to attract them to the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the boastful pride of life (1 John 2:16).

 Part of the answer I gave people who asked me about raising our children would be that we repeatedly prayed for them and tried to raise them as God would have us do, especially as shown in Scripture. Even then, Betsy and I knew we were not in full control; you cannot save your own children; you cannot live their lives for them. We would stand on the sideline and actively watch as our children walked with God, or, in one case, not walk with Him for a prolonged period. I have been both the Prodigal Son and the father of a prodigal—and by the sheer grace of God and by no means a given—I have been the rejoicing father of a prodigal who has returned to the Lord.

Then following along the lines of “The Cup” chapter question repeated in The Cup and the Glory of “What do you pray for . . . when you pray?” would repeatedly come a similar question by many, especially from younger parents: “What do you pray for your children when you pray for them?” I have also been asked this question dozens of times.
Below is the answer for some of the prayers prayed for our children. It is not that my answers are exhaustive, nor does it mean that each element had to be prayed in every prayer session. Also, seasons of life necessitate changed elements within the prayer. But here is what I pray/prayed for my children:

I pray . . .
—as a child to my heavenly Father before praying as a father for my own children (1 Peter 1:17).
—for my own walk with God (Eph 4-6) before I pray for their walk; it starts with me, not with them. 
—for my wife Betsy’s walk with God (singular) and ours collectively as husband and wife.

Any true ministry (and parenting most certainly is a ministry, and an incredibly responsible ministry at that) is merely an extension of your walk with the Lord (or lack thereof). And though we fail miserably at this at times, I pray that our children will see Betsy and my relationship with God (Eph. 5:22-33)—although obviously imperfect—will be a natural carryover to our working with them (Eph. 6:1-4). 

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Rev. Jesse Jackson That's Not What Christmas is All About

A very discerning friend shared this article with me a couple of days ago. It represents the type of thinking that urban Christians really need to start rethinking. I have included the entire article, and my response below it. 

Jackson Shares Views on Christians and Christmas
The Los Angeles Sentinel - Dec 29, 2010 at 11:51 PM
© The Los Angeles Sentinel

Here's the article.

By Cora Jackson-Fossett
Sentinel Religion Editor

The Rev. Jesse L. Jackson is urging Christians to explore the real meaning of Christmas and take action to improve conditions in Urban America.

He delivered the passionate message on December 20 during a visit with the editors of the L.A. Sentinel as he prepared for convening an Economic Summit in New York City in January.

"I see more and more people going to church, but that doesn't mean more people have faith and substance.  During this season, so many of us are worshipping Santa, not Christ," said Rev. Jackson. 

"Christmas has nothing to do with Santa Claus, the culture of St. Nicholas, reindeer and electric lights. Christmas is about a people, who are oppressed under Roman government, looking forward to an Emancipator - a kind of Martin Luther King or Caesar Chavez, upon whom shoulders governments will rest.  An Emancipator who will help the poor, delivers the needy, and heals the brokenhearted."

Comparing the main figures of the Christmas story with today's times, Rev. Jackson described Mary as a freedom fighter. "When Herod sought kill all the first-born, Mary didn't submit. She and Joseph went to Egypt and made Jesus a refugee until He was 12.  Jesus grew up poor, under Roman oppression.  Today, 45 million Americans are in poverty.  How do we treat that? Jesus was an at-risk child. How do we treat at-risk children today?"

Rev. Jackson recommended that congregations mobilize and work together to fight oppression.  "Churches must act en mass, fighting the Herods of our times and Roman governments of our times until righteousness and justice come. 

"In the past, ministers were revolutionaries fighting injustice. They fought illegal segregation with Dr. King and marched to fight for the right to vote.  But our mission is not accomplished because in many areas, businesses are closed, houses are in foreclosure, and we seemed to have adjusted rather than fight back."

Explaining that people who are oppressed must not adjust or get comfortable, Rev. Jackson said, "One thing works in slavery and that's adjusting. Instead, we need a plan for reconstruction of urban America. Until there is some plan, we must be restless about unemployment, about housing, and about more black boys in prison than in colleges."

Rev. Jackson concluded by urging Christians not to become only admirers of the cross of Jesus Christ.  "Jesus said to follow Him, pick up the cross. Believers must pick up the cross to fight for justice, peace, fairness, equality.  We must not have silence from the pulpit during these times.  We must have hope and substance to survive these times."''

Here's what the Bible says:

I couldn't agree with Rev. Jackson more that "Christmas has nothing to do with Santa Claus, the culture of St. Nicholas, reindeer and electric lights." But when Rev. Jackson say Jesus was "An Emancipator (like Martin Luther King and Caesar Chavez) who will help the poor, delivers the needy, and heals the brokenhearted," I scratched my head and asked, "Doesn't Rev. Jackson know that Jesus was much more than a social-economic emancipator?"

John the Baptist, whom God sent to announce Jesus' ministry, called Jesus, "the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!" The writer of Hebrews elaborates, "...when He comes into the world, He says, 'SACRIFICE AND OFFERING YOU HAVE NOT DESIRED, BUT A BODY YOU HAVE PREPARED FOR ME;' Hebrews 10:5. Luke grapples with the indescribable nature of Jesus' advent and purpose with the words "the church of God which He purchased with His own blood."

These biblical passages are proclaiming that Christmas is announcing the historical miracle when God became a man in order to liberate us from our sins by dying for our sins. Amazing, isn't it? But that's the meaning of Christmas. In order to save mankind from our sins, God became a man, and He became a man in order to die in place of man.

With all due respect to Martin Luther King Jr. and Caesar Chavez and their amazing lives, Jesus is more amazing. His work is greater, and He has no parallel in human history. He is God, and history is His story. That is the substance of the Christian faith. Sadly, it is true that many who attend churches don't possess the reality of a faith in Jesus as the God-man who died to save them from their sin.  Yet for all those who know the real meaning of Christmas, they live for Jesus and daily bear their cross to die to this world. True Christians know that because Jesus died for their sins, when they die they will live with Jesus, the King of Kings, forever. Real pastors aren't political revolutionaries (John 18:33-36). They preach the Gospel which is the power of God to rescue sinners from their sin, Satan, and death. They don't fight against flesh and blood (political parties); they wage war against rulers, against world forces of this darkness (Eph 6:10ff). 

My plea to the urban church is that we stop confusing politicians wearing spiritual titles with reverends. Politicians have their place, but they are not substitutes for real spiritual leaders and what they say should never ever be confused with the preaching of the cross of Christ (especially when they distort the Scriptures by ripping them out of context to fit their political agendas). When we get this straight maybe we will see merrier Christmases in our community.

John Piper’s Report on His Leave of Absence

Like many of you, I was stunned by Piper's announcement 8 months ago that he was going on a sabbatical for the rest of the year. In a very discreet way, he confessed that he needed to work through spiritual concerns in his life, marriage, and ministry. This announcement came on the heels of a conference in LA that I helped to organize where Piper preached to a group of urban pastors. His sermon "What is the Bottom of Your Joy?" was the most spiritually nourishing meal that I had all year. It stirred my soul. I blogged about it here. I was also thoroughly impacted by the godly force of his character in our private time driving from the airport. He was in every sense the man of God that I thought he would be.
Then I heard the announcement. Stunned is the word I used earlier, but I should add fearful as well. I was fearful not only for Piper and Bethlehem Baptist Chuch, but I was fearful for my own soul. His announcement turned my eyes not to him, but to my own life and failings. I wondered deeply if I needed to step back for a while and earnestly seek God's help to purge my soul of my besetting sins. I felt compelled to respond to his announcement since I had just hosted him to speak and had just introduced him for the first time to pastors in LA working in our minority communities. As I started to gather my thoughts, I came across a post by Voddie Baucham. In it, he said everything that I had in my heart to say. He graciously allowed me to post his piece as a guest blogger on my site. It is rich. You can read it here. In his post, Voddie encouraged us to pray for Piper during his sabbatical, and I did. And today I was deeply relieved to learn that he is returning back to his preaching shepherding ministry as an enriched man. I won't steal his thunder. I'll let you read about Piper's time away in his own words. I hope it blesses you the way it blessed me.

John Piper’s Report on His Leave of Absence: "John Piper’s Report on His Leave of Absence from the Desiring God blog."