Faith Begins In The Home

For the last couple of months I have put off reading a book by Voddie Baucham Jr. I sometimes do this when I suspect that a) the book will bore me, or b) the book will hugely convict me and challenge my current habits.

I had put Baucham’s book, ‘Family Driven Faith’ in the latter category. Whatever weight the book relieved me of as a pastor was counter balanced by the responsibility he placed on me as a husband and father. The book begins with what I would regard as an accurate diagnosis of our current predicament:

Our children are not falling away because the church is doing a poor job–although that is undoubtedly a factor. Our children are falling away because we are asking the church to do what God has designed the family to accomplish.

Ouch!!! Voddie Baucham’s assertions are carefully measured and entirely drawn from the pages of Scripture. When Baucham makes an observation from experience, he is careful to note that in distinction to what the Bible requires.

One of my favourite sections in the book is where Baucham distinguishes between shaping our children’s worldview and giving them rules. It’s not enough to say ‘We don’t do this’ or ‘We don’t do that because we are Christians’–or even ‘because the Bible says so.’ We need to do more than parrot the commands of Scripture; we need to explain them. By explaining why the commands of Scripture exist, by reasoning them with our children, we shape their worldview and we help them to think biblically. This is critical because, as Baucham notes:

(my children) will do what I tell them as long as I am around. But once they leave home, they will live in accordance with their worldview, not my rules. Thus I must spend as much time shaping and molding their thinking.

In other words, rules do little more than temporarily fence our children in.  If, however, we shift our priority to shaping our children’s worldview, we will find that their desire to go beyond the limits of the ‘fence’ will be greatly diminished.

I commend this book to every husband, wife, parent and church leader. This book will do more than shape your viewpoint, it will inspire a tangible response. This book exposed a lot of my shortcomings as a husband and father, and that’s ok….I want to be better. This book is a huge help. Thanks Voddie.

6 Days To Launch!

As I sit here overlooking the Atlantic Ocean on this beautiful sunny day in Bermuda, I can hardly believe how close we are to finally launching The Well. I have had some substantial holiday time and study time this summer and I’d like to believe that the Lord has used this time to refresh me, focus me, and prepare me for what awaits.

I am truly excited about ministry this Fall—not just for The Well, but for all that I’m engaged in at St. Giles Kingsway. My hope and prayer is that our existing congregation views The Well as their mission, that this is our way of being a faithful steward of all that God has supplied for us. I’m hopeful that the response to The Well will be so positive that it hugely encourages our existing congregation.

Many of my friends and colleagues are aware of the time I have spent thinking and praying about the opening sermon series for The Well. As I kind of expected, after a year of deliberation, the sermon outlines did not emerge until my study leave a couple of weeks ago. I concede that there were a myriad of options/themes that would have been suitable for launching a ministry such as this, but the one I settled on is the most transparent, and and the most central to what we’re all about. The sermon series for the first 8 Sundays is called ‘The Road With Jesus‘. Some might ask, ‘Don’t you mean, ‘The Road To Jesus’?’

No. I don’t merely want to introduce folks to Jesus, I want to go  further and speak about what a relationship with Him would look like from start to finish. I’ve designed these messages in such a way that I anticipate they will be helpful, relevant, and informative for the not-yet-convinced visitor and for the experienced follower of Christ. With some minor variations, each message will be delivered at, both, The Well (11:15 am) and St. Giles Kingsway (10:00 am).

Here are the 8 message titles, with corresponding dates, and key themes:

Keep It Simple” (Sept. 7) – many tend to overthink what it means to be a Christian

Simply Difficult” (Sept. 14) – why leading a Christian life is not easy

The Alternative To Religion” (Sept. 21) – what Jesus offers us is different than what most religious institutions offer

Drink Life.” (Sept. 28) – following Jesus is the most satisfying way to live

Lasting Satisfaction” (Oct. 5) – the satisfaction we gain from following Jesus is enduring

To Whom Will You Go?” (Oct. 12) – the case for following Jesus in a world full of alternatives

Bigger Than Religion” (Oct. 19) – the claims Jesus made about Himself affect how we can regard Him

Heart Proximity” (Nov. 2) – going through the motions of following doesn’t cut it

Of course, there will be much more to The Well than just the message. Our music will be led by the hugely talented Cliff Cline. Beyond September, we’ll have a rotation of gifted musicians leading us. Another huge aspect of The Well will be our hospitality. From parking your car, to registering your kids, to getting some coffee, the hosts for The Well intend to communicate that you not only matter to God, but you also matter to us.

I have no idea what Sept. 7 will bring in terms of the response to this initiative, but I’m comforted that God knows. My faith, our faith, is in Him.

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