It is just five weeks until the upcoming National Center of Family-Integrated Churches “Highway of Holiness” conference, October 29-31 at Ridgecrest in Asheville, NC, and I am already looking forward to it.
If you haven’t decided to go yet, please consider these invitations:
At this conference I have the privilege of profiling J.C. Ryle’s classic work, “Holiness,” and the preparation for that is pure joy. Here is a description:
J.C. Ryle’s Classic, “Holiness”
In a day where sanctification is the subject of considerable controversy in the church, J.C. Ryle’s classic, “Holiness,” is an enormously helpful treasure. Ryle carefully considers and then refutes the two great errors regarding the doctrine of sanctification: blurring the lines between justification and sanctification, and isolating them from one another. Blurring the lines welcomes legalism and erodes justification by grace alone through faith alone. Isolating one from the other invites false assurance and an environment of compromise. By keeping justification and sanctification rigidly distinct yet unbreakably connected, Ryle gives us the biblical doctrine of holiness, without which no one will see the Lord. Friends, don’t come for a book report. While the book will be profiled and summarized, Ryle puts forth a robust doctrine of holiness, ill suited for a lecture but perfectly suited for earnest preaching.
One of the outstanding messages from the NCFIC “Worship of God” conference included some observations by Joel Beeke about Puritan preaching. I found two to be especially inspiring and helpful:
1. They detested “exposing their learning.”
Most of the Puritan preachers were very learned men. Reading them and gaining a sense of what they themselves had read is very humbling. It isn’t a stretch to say that modern preachers pale by comparison as a whole. But well-studied as they were, and hard as they worked in preparation for preaching, Puritan preachers labored to speak plainly and directly. They worked to pierce the heart, as well as to enlighten the mind. They wanted power in their preaching, not polish or flourish. They wanted to be faithful to the text and to be thoroughly understood, not to be thought smart. Every preacher should aspire to this.
2. They preached that the natural man was sinning with every tick of theclock.
Puritan preachers pressed on their hearers that every person was created by God for His glory, and so every second living for self and unreconciled with God was an utterly sinful second. This allowed them to lift up the remedy – our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ – in a beautiful and unparalleled way. It helped them to batter down the walls of self-satisfaction erected by those outside of Christ who needed to be convinced of their desperate need to fly to the cross for mercy.
Preachers of the gospel, join with me in aspiring to follow our Puritan forefathers by preaching to the heart as well as the mind, and by pressing the sinfulness of the unrepentant state on our hearers. These hearers will be better served as we do.
It is hard to find a Scripture text that is the equal of Psalm 128 in terms of describing a happy home and what it takes to have one. It was an honor to have drawn the assignment to speak on this topic during a recent NCFIC “Master’s Plan for Fatherhood” conference in New York City.
My favorite line: “The secret is there is no secret. There is only God. God is the key.”
Of the talks that I was asked to give at a recent NCFIC conference in New York City, “The Power of a Gospel-Centered Marriage” was my favorite, but just by a nose (“The Secret of Happiness in the Home” was right on its heels).
My favorite line: “If you chase happiness in your marriage, you’ll end up miserable. But if you pursue God, you’ll end up happy. Happiness is a fruit.”