Thursday, January 19, 2017

A Change of Pace

I'll be trying out a new approach that will focus more on our Facebook page than the blog itself. So if you haven't yet, let me invite you to like & follow the page at this address:

Thanks and God bless!

Sunday, January 8, 2017

The Best of the Briefing, Vol. 5

The purpose of the Best of the Briefing series is to help you stay updated on important realities confronting modern Christians -- LGBT rights, Christianity & politics, secular materialism, abortion, Roman Catholicism, and the like. The articles included in these volumes say particularly important things in particularly helpful ways (in my opinion, at least). I hope that you find them useful.

Click here to download Volume 5 of The Best of the Briefing.

If you prefer the audio podcast to the transcripted articles, you can find them arranged by date on Mohler's website.

If you're a Logos user, you'll be glad to know that the documents are in .docx format, which you can use to create a personal book in your Logos library.

In the closing month of 2016, developments in the West shed light on two cultural forces that are very significant in the Philippines. first was secular humanism and the developed countries that have fully embraced it (or should we say, have become enslaved by it!). Articles number 6, 2, and 3 are all from a single episode of The Briefing. Read together, they show secular humanism has produced a society that is completely confused in terms of morality – a society that marginalizes people with Down Syndrome in favor of parents who have murdered their unborn babies with Down Syndrome; a society that is revolted at the idea of treating the mangled remains of aborted fetuses as human remains. second cultural force brought to our attention was the Roman Catholic Church. The reign of Pope Francis, which began in March 2013, has led to growing dissension within the RCC. Recently, it has become clear that this dissension has reached to the very highest levels of the church's hierarchy. Understanding such issues will help us to bring the errors of the RCC to the attention of our Catholic friends, in the hope of opening their minds to the biblical gospel.

These two concerns are, in my opinion, the most important ones covered in this volume of The Best of the Briefing, though also worth noting are attempts in Canada to redefine the meaning of family (article no. 1), and a recent discussion about 'fake news' and bias in the mainstream media.
Below is the list of articles included in this volume.

Marriage & Family

1. Redefining parenthood, redefining civilization: Ontario's radical new "All Families Are Equal Act" (December 1, 2016)

2. By our outrage we reveal ourselves: France bans commercial showing happy children with Down syndrome (December 5, 2016)

3. You'll know them by their outrage: Fury over Texas requiring fetal remains be treated as human remains (December 5, 2016)

Media & Entertainment

4. The real problem of fake news: Why does the Left give late night television a pass? (December 7, 2016)

5. Shrugging at the truth: How postmodernism paved the way for fake news (December 9, 2016)

Politics & Society

6. Moral outrage over currency? Bank of England apologizes for including animal product in new £5 note (December 5, 2016)


7. "Winks and nods" from Pope Francis sow confusion in the Roman Catholic church on divorce (December 15, 2016)

8. "Legalized medical assistance in dying": Catholic bishops in Canada capitulate to the culture of death (December 15, 2016)

Science & Medicine

9. Who is the relevant authority on science? How evangelicals are baffling research scientists (December 1, 2016)

 10. The folly of Scientism: Washington Post opposes Scott Pruitt for "rejecting settled science" (December 13, 2016)

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Ways Men Lead That Encourage Women, Part 3

“In what ways do men show leadership that encourages you as women?” That was my question to some sisters I interviewed a number of weeks ago. This post picks up where the second one left off, enumerating and reflecting on their responses.


1. Initiating Substantial Discussions

2. Making Firm Decisions

3. Owning Up to the Consequences of Our Decisions

4. Correcting When Needed

5. Encouraging Lady-like Behavior

6. Being Consistent

7. Taking Leadership Roles in Ministry

Our sisters would love to see us take leadership roles in ministry. In fact, some would say it's discouraging if only women are working. They feel there’s something missing. That should be both encouraging and challenging for us men. It reminds us that, under God’s wise plan for manhood and womanhood, we really do have something unique to contribute as men.

At the same time, men who own up to their God-assigned roles in the church also protect sisters from two temptations: being prideful about their greater devotion to the ministry, and looking down on men (which will subtly but effectively lead them to despise God’s plan for manhood and womanhood).

8. Being Patient & Concerned

What about when a sister is behaving poorly (for whatever reason), what can guys do that’s helpful. Each of the women I asked gave different answers. Guys, we’re on our own here. Just kidding. The general idea was that they appreciate it when we are patient and show genuine concern for them. Try to find out what’s really bugging them, if you can.

And here’s a special tip from the ladies: start with a kind gesture like food or coffee. Even candy would be better than nothing! (A sister tried this on me once by buying me ice cream before confronting me about something. I appreciated the gesture, but it had less effect on me as it seems to have on them!) But in the absence of any and all comfort items, said one sister, just create an encouraging environment. Ask, listen, and try to remember what they say.

9. Discipling Others

Lastly, it encourages our sisters to see guys leading younger guys in discipleship. It’s great to be consistent in leadership. But it’s even better to develop leadership in others.


Let me end this series with something from Albert Mohler’s book, Conviction to Lead:
The Believers are driven by deep and passionate beliefs. They are heavily invested in knowledge, and they are passionate about truth. They devote themselves to learning truth, teaching truth, and defending truth. They define themselves in terms of what they believe, and they are ready to give their lives for these beliefs.
The problem is, many of them are not ready to lead. They have never thought much about leadership and are afraid that thinking too much about it will turn them into mere pragmatists, which they know they shouldn’t be. They know a great deal and believe a great deal, but they lack the basic equipment for leadership. As one proverbial deacon said of his pastor, “Oh, he knows a lot, but he can’t lead a decent two-car funeral procession.”
Brothers, may this encourage us to grow in our leadership. Not only would it please God, but it would make our sisters in Christ very happy!

Monday, December 26, 2016

Ways Men Lead That Encourage Women, Part 2

In what ways do men show leadership that encourages you as women?” That was my question to a group of sisters I interviewed a number of weeks ago. This post picks up where the first one left off, enumerating and reflecting upon their responses. 3. Owning Up to the Consequences of Our Decisions

As important as it is for men to be decisive, it won’t mean a thing it we don’t own up to the consequences of our decisions. Even the best of us make mistakes, and when we do, our sisters will gladly stand behind us as long as they know we won’t run away or blame someone else. They’ll joyfully support a leader—as flawed as he may be—who’s willing to bear the cost of leadership.

4. Correcting When Needed

Another uncomfortable side to leadership that we need to take on (and that women appreciate us taking on) is the responsibility to correct, them when needed. Of course, this presupposes that we ourselves welcome correction.

One of the ladies I interviewed recounted a good example of this. A man in a group she was part of corrected one of the women. He was very firm yet gentle. He didn’t shoot accusations at her, but began by asking her questions. “I felt her defensiveness,” recalled the sister, “but he pointed her to God's Word.” The man’s demeanor and words also showed that he was motivated, not by pride, but by genuine concern for the woman.

5. Encouraging Lady-like Behavior

The sisters I interviewed also appreciate it when brothers encourage them to act like ladies. On one hand, that includes reminding them to be composed when they’re being noisy and unruly. On the other hand, it also involves showing our care for them by helping even with even menial tasks.

So men, help them with their bags. Open doors for them. Be concerned for their safety. If that sounds like servanthood, that’s because it is. None of that is beneath a true servant-leader (Php. 2:5-11).

6. Being Consistent

Biblical leadership doesn’t come naturally. Most men don’t even want to lead. When they do, it’s often short-lived.

But the sisters have words of reassurance for those of us who really are trying to grow into our God-given roles as men: the effort is appreciated. Even the small things we do are important to them. They’re not looking for perfection. What they are looking for is a pattern. The key is consistency. And the proof of consistency is when we keep leading even when leadership is least gratifying.
Men, let’s be reminded that without consistency, they have no reason to trust us (1 Tim. 3:6, 10; cf. 1 Ki. 20:11).

More in the third and final post in this mini-series...