Malarkey! Raising kids, MLK Jr Day and Sufficiency

1. I know it’s funny that Alex Malarkey’s last name has a coincidental meaning in English of “nonsense.” And the book previously drafted by him is nonsense.

But can we stop with the plays on words with the person’s name? Just take for example the fact that both Alex and his mother have repented and are working to amend for the error as enough to say, hey, let’s stop making fun of the kid’s name?

Seriously, he inherited that name from his earthly father, and Alex has a new Father now anyway. I can’t tell you how hurt I’d be if someone with my last name did something stupid and then my last name became a great punchline.

2. If you are going to talk about Martin Luther King Jr., and you don’t allow people to refer to details about the man’s life or teachings which directly relate to his character, well, remember the words of … um … Martin Luther King Jr.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.

I would say allegations of adultery go directly to the “content of his character” regardless of the “color of his skin.” And if the content of a man’s character directly relates to his qualifications as a preacher, then so be it. And if a man isn’t qualified to preach, I have no reason to listen to his preaching on that basis. Now that doesn’t mean MLK never said anything right or true, but it was incidental, for the wrong reason and thus, possibly misdirected.

If me writing what I just wrote makes me a racist in your estimation, then you are part of the problem.

3. Back to the Malarkey or Burpo kid with the Heavenly Tourism stuff. What should be striking is NOT so much that there are ravenous wolves trying to deceive the Church, but rather, that the Church is either so non-Christian or so lacking in discernment that these books are even popular. Seriously, I don’t know the demographics, but my guess is the predominant statistics would tell us it isn’t atheists and Muslims who are buying these books!

Whose fault is it? A number of people, to be sure, but for one thing: pastors and teachers who are afraid to speak ill of these books and name them to their congregation as well as men who do not hold to and consistently teach the sufficiency of Scripture.

4. My baby boy is turning 1 Sunday. After 2 miscarriages, for God to give my wife and me a child is so sweet. This is the first child we are raising together (we had 3 others already when we met). It is really fun to watch the process and to see how we each interact with him. I’ve noticed in the area of discipline something neat.

It seems to me that my wife tries to appeal to him to love her and have a desire to obey her. So when she tells him what to do or what not to do, it is very kind and gentle, almost enticing him to goodness. It’s like subconsciously, she wants him to choose good things for good reasons and love and trust for her.

I am nearly opposite. I am completely happy that he fears me and the consequences of bad behavior. You can see the difference in how we interact with him. It made me think of our Perfect Triune God who really offers both those features to His children to provoke us to love and good works in the fear of the Lord.

Just a few random thoughts for a Wednesday.

How to be Good

Be content with God’s goodness toward you and be thankful for the abundance as it is not owed to you.

1 Timothy 6:6–8 (NASB95)
6 But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment.
7 For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either.
8 If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content.

Goodness is that quality in us which the Holy Spirit produces whereby we desire moral purity and to give charity toward the brethren and the heathen; it is the heart attitude by which our outward behaviors must be judged.

Are you patient or kind or peaceful because you are Good? Or do you try to do those other things to make yourself Good? Your legitimate kindness toward others, your self-control, your gentleness and humility are to be tempered by your Goodness: your moral uprightness as defined by God’s statutes revealed in His Word.

Proverbs 3:27 implies that God, who is always good and knows our need before we do, may seemingly withhold some good thing from us, like a wife or a husband, a job, a position at work or the church. He may let you have a dead child or spouse. He may not save family members as quickly as you’d like, but He is always good and thus, does not withhold good things from them to whom they are due. Therefore, the goodness you expect is either not due to you or it is not what is good for you at that time in His infinite and perfect wisdom.

There’s a preview of today’s Sunday School lesson I’ll teach at Berean Baptist Church where my views may or may not reflect the views of the church :).

Random Acts of Kindness

Preach the gospel at all times, whenever possible include kind actions as well.
–Michael Coughlin

Christian: You can seem kind without giving the most important thing you can give to people. I’m not saying “don’t do kind acts,” and I’m not saying “you can only do a kind act if you share the gospel” … but don’t pat yourself on the back for sending people to hell with full bellies or warm clothes or a free lunch or two.

In a couple hours, I’ll delivery my teaching on “kindness” from Galatians 5:22.

Check back or go to my Sermon Audio page to hear the final teaching.

Everything Else is Idolatry – BIG10 Championship

3 men from central Ohio traveled to Indianapolis for the Big 10 Championship game in 2014, but they didn’t go to watch the football: they went to preach Christ.

Joe Conkle, Caleb Davenport and I went to Indy for this event. In a few hours, we handed out over 4000 tracts. I preached for 2 separate sessions of 30-40 minutes. We were encouraged by believers, mocked by scoffers and ignored by the indifferent.

God granted nice (dry) weather, but in the wind tunnel which was the intersection of Capitol & Georgia, it was freezing. But God brought us through it all.

This is the result. In this sermon, you will hear my heart as I plead for the lives of the men and women for whom I traveled to serve with the glorious Gospel.

OSU vs Indiana Outreach Report

Greetings! On Saturday, November 22, 2014, Fred Triplett and I rode down to Ohio Stadium together to meet newly ordained apostle evangelist, Joe Conkle.

Joe brought 3 men with him who were all eager to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ. Kelly, Johan and David.

We ministered for about 2 hours, from the end of the 3rd quarter to when the crowds died down at Lane and Olentangy River Road. I preached the gospel for about an hour, and thousands of people heard the Word.

While preaching, I read from 1 John 4, Colossians 1, Romans 1 and Psalm 34. As a point of conviction and rebuke to you, dear reader, did you spend that much time in God’s Word yesterday? There are days I have not, to my shame!

I don’t know how many tracts were distributed, probably a thousand or more. I had my share of hecklers and yellers. I did my best to come back to them with winsome, rational comments. Hopefully, someone saw the fault in the anti-God worldview. One guy yelled “Shutup” to me. I replied by asking “Why don’t you?” Afterward, I wondered if it came across as rude or “seventh-gradey,” but I meant it as a serious inquiry into his logic. He didn’t respond.

God protected us from inclement weather and evildoers. That corner is covered in Police directing traffic which makes me feel very safe. After preaching for half an hour, I caught a glimpse of one of Columbus’ finest who was on the corner closest to us. He is a man I have known for years as he is a Christian and the brother of one of my best friends.

We brought a box of 20 Bibles and only gave away 1 of them. This is one area where I want to do better. I ought to be more prepared and have a sign that says “FREE BIBLES.” I suppose if people don’t know we have them, they aren’t going to just ask for a Bible. What was interesting is that while preaching, I mentioned that we had Bibles to give away. Shortly after, a man who overheard me, named Chris, approached asking for a Bible. I shut down the microphone for a few minutes and listened to him tell me about his life, and I was able to share the gospel with him.

Dear Christian, will you please pray for Chris? He’s engaged and has 2 daughters. His appearance was humble, but only God sees the heart.

On a side note, for those of you who don’t think open air preaching “works,” I’ll answer a fool according to his folly and point out that a man heard the gospel one on one and received a copy of God’s Word because he heard a preacher with a microphone mention that he could receive a free Bible.

There was one other instance to note: A drunk man was seemingly mesmerized by the preaching, (once in a while you catch someone who is CLEARLY listening and engrossed in the preaching). His friend kept trying to get him to move on, but he remained focused on me. I asked him, “Do you want forgiveness?” And he nodded in the affirmative. His friend urged him on, but he heard the message. Maybe God will use it to convert him!

May you bless God for his graciousness to me. Five men showed up to minster the gospel with me and without any conflict deferred to me as the leader and authority in the group. It is a responsibility I accept as one which was foreordained by God. I only hope that I will humbly serve, even those who submit to me, as my Lord Jesus did. May God be glorified because He is worthy and His Word was exalted and the name of Jesus was magnified.

Special thanks to Sports Fan Outreach International who encourages us, inspires us and prays for us as we labor to the crowds in Ohio.

P.S. Midway through my preaching, a couple of young ladies stood about 20 feet in front of me and held up a camera phone. I assumed they were recording me (for what purpose, I have no idea). Am I vain that I sucked in my stomach? Maybe that’s a sign I need to be more disciplined! :)