Killer Q & A

20170609_200356

Hey TD!

Those who went to the Ligonier conference last week were treated to a wonderfully rich time of teaching, theology, and a deeper knowledge of the God of the Bible.  This was the Upward Prong of our 3-pronged approach to the Christian life.

One particular treat were the Q & A sessions – one with Dr. RC Sproul and one with the rest of the speakers.  There is always lots of candor and humor that accompany the insight and truth shared.

Below is a Q & A session from LIgonier’s National Conference a couple of months ago with Dr. RC Sproul, Dr. John MacArthur, Dr. Albert Mohler, and Dr. Steven Lawson. Below is the list of questions discussed:

Questions:

1. Dr. MacArthur, can you tell us about the Shepherds Conference? (1:09)
2. How do you explain the term “Reformed” to a someone unfamiliar to Reformed teaching? (2:34)
3. Is our still heart deceitfully wicked after we are born again? (4:47)
4. How should I share the gospel when it could cost me my job? (7:08)
5. Is it biblical to say God “loves you” to believers and nonbelievers alike? (9:32)
6. What does it mean when we confess that Jesus has a reasonable soul? (13:05)
7. Dr. MacArthur, you spoke at 2016 Shepherds Conference about clergy malpractice. What did you mean by that? (17:08)
8. How can I best prepare students to live their faith out in public schools? (19:17)
9. How do I counsel a Reformed mother who is married to a Roman Catholic? (22:25)
10. With the rise of seeker-sensitive churches, how do we understand biblically ‘seeking’ God? (25:02)
11. How do you define a false teacher? How much error is needed before they are considered false? (32:23)
12. How is the current cultural climate forcing the “mushy middle” out of the church? (35:55)
13. Giving the failure of ecumenical movements, how do you promote unity in doctrine? (37:59)

Note: Answers given during Panel Discussions reflect the views of the individual speakers and do not necessarily reflect the views of Dr. R.C. Sproul and Ligonier Ministries.

Enjoy!

TD at Ligonier Conference Friday

Why We Can’t Choose God

Does God Hate the Sin But Love the Sinner?

Hey TD!

We just got back from having dinner with our good friends at Ligonier Ministries, the Teaching Fellowship of RC Sproul, and I’m really excited for our outing on Friday and Saturday!

So, just a reminder that TD will NOT be at church on Friday.  Instead, we will be “Discovering the God of the Bible” with Ligonier Ministries.   If you want to join us, either on Friday or Saturday, let your small group leader know asap.

Otherwise, we’ll see you next Friday for our final TD meeting of the year!

In the meanwhile, enjoy RC’s teaching above on “Why We Can’t Choose God” and “Does God Hate the Sin and Love the Sinner?”  They are short, but very poignant, and more importantly … true. – Arthur

Pics/video – Offerings 6 – “Father to the Fatherless”

Hey TD!

We had a terrific time kicking off our Voiceless for the Voiceless campaign with Offerings 6’s “Father to the Fatherless.” The theme came through so vividly and clearly in the wide variety of offerings offered.  Enjoy the pictures shot by Peter (and a few cell phone shots as well), as well as Judy’s and Harmony’s reminder that we have a Good, Good Father!

“Father to the Fatherless” – Offerings 6 pics

Prep for TD Fri. – “Rehabituating Our Time With God” (small groups)

crazy-hair-pic

Sandra will do anything to help young people grow closer to God!  You gotta love her 🙂

Hey TD!

As you can see, we’re serious about rebuilding your lives in Christ!  Last week, we focused on Upward engagement with God, working on our personal time with Him.  This is crucial and foundational to rebuilding a solid, worshipful, fruitful Christian life.

Join us this Friday as we spend time in small groups (preceded by large group), working on improving our personal time with God.

Please review last week’s sharing to help ingrain the proper mindset and heart:

“Rehabituating Our Time With God” Pt. 1 (Arthur)

“Rehabituating Our Time With God” Pt. 2 (Sandra’s QT with God)

Offerings 6: “Father to the Fatherless”is Coming – 2/17/17!

Daniel sings his original song, Souls and Faces, at Offerings 5 (lyrics below)
Hey TD!
V4V is well underway, and the theme ringing in my mind has been a quote from David Platt: “We care for orphans not because we are rescuers, but because we are the rescued.” Our souls were orphaned – helpless, malnourished, infected, abused, and without family. We were unable to offer anything to God but our burdens. But, God sacrificed His own Son to declare us as valuable and loved, and Himself as our Heavenly Father! This is why our lives hold value, and why these orphans with disabilities are valuable beyond measure: because God’s love for them is beyond measure. And we show this with the same love that our own adoptive Father showed us: sacrificial love to those who can offer nothing.
In this spirit, let’s come with hearts that offer nothing but love and gratitude, as we prepare and gather as a family to honor our Heavenly Father at our sixth Offerings Night: Father to the Fatherless, on February 17th.
Whether through music, literature, dance, or art; math, science, current events or history – come and simply share something that has struck you in a new, meaningful way about what it means to be adopted by God… and perhaps, how your own adoption has transformed you in the process.  – Rebecca
Souls and Faces by Daniel Hsieh
The ocean sings some honest songs at night. I cry with it about the fright of loneliness, ‘cause all around, throughout the day, we’re all hiding in our faces; but your pretty eyes – they give it all away.

The masks that we construct are so amusing. It’s like we all believe the guy who says this world’s a stage. But, I know we don’t want “amused” written on our graves. There’s a soul somewhere inside your painted cage. Come out of there. Give your soul some air and sky. I see an image of our Maker in your eyes. Don’t shy away; don’t take the anesthetic. Together we can long and cry for the Sun to rise.

Don’t hide behind the masks of a religion. Don’t hide behind the names that are just printed on our clothes. No image in some pixel-screen can ever do you justice. You’re not just physical; you’re an everlasting soul. Come out of there. Give your soul some air and sky. I see an image of our Maker in your eyes. Don’t shy away; don’t take the anesthetic. Together we can long and cry for the Sun to rise.

I know it’s hard to be away from Home. But – look at us – at least we’re not alone. Our deaths are catching up to us each day. So there’s no time for pretense or the games we play. Come out of there. Give your soul some air and sky. I see an image of our Maker in your eyes. Don’t shy away; don’t take the anesthetic. Together we can long and cry for the Sun to rise

A Story I Won’t Stop Sharing

Hey TD!

Well, V4V is underway and it’s been a huge blessing for many of us already!  The energy is live! In that spirit, I wanted to share with you this riveting essay (and video), written by an adoptee from Holt International (the agency that we are working with to adopt our two girls). Once orphaned, her adoption changed her life … but she still was curious about her birth mother …   – Arthur

A Story I Won’t Stop Sharing

For most of her life, Holt adoptee Molly Martin viewed her adoption as something that just “happened.”  But after traveling to Thailand to meet her birth mom, she developed a completely different outlook — and a deeper understanding of how loved she truly is. Molly’s story was a finalist in Holt’s 2016 adoptee essay contest. 

img_4007

For someone who was adopted at a young age, being adopted seems, for lack of a better word, normal. For as long as I can remember, except for a few blurry memories, being adopted is all that I have known. I don’t really remember what it was like not to be adopted, so being adopted has always seemed somewhat natural and definitely not really anything worth talking about. However, at the same time, being adopted isn’t normal. While I can’t speak for all kids that have been adopted, I think a lot of us, at some point or another, have entertained the thought that our situations aren’t normal. Surely, not looking like my family wasn’t normal and the thought that my biological family did not want me was always in the back of my mind. But those aren’t exactly things that most kids want to talk about.

Because of the seeming normality of my adoption, it was never something that I felt compelled to talk about or share with others. It didn’t feel important or like it was a part of who I am. People would often ask me where I am from and I would instinctively respond, “Raleigh, NC” when the real answer they were looking for was “Bangkok, Thailand.” Telling people “Yeah, my parents are white” in response to questioning looks they gave me after meeting my parents became the norm and I would typically zone out when people found out I was adopted and gave me the, “Wow, that is so amazing!” spiel. Because honestly, to me, being adopted wasn’t amazing. It wasn’t great. It was just something that happened that I had no control over (don’t get me wrong, I am SO thankful to have been adopted by my amazing family!). It was just a part of my past that I did not care to talk about.

img_2312

However, recently, that has all changed. Over Christmas of 2014, my adoptive family and I traveled back to my homeland to meet my birth mother for the very first time. A few years prior, I told my parents that I wanted to meet my birth mother if at all possible. I’m not exactly sure what prompted me to make such a request; I think I was just curious to know more about my heritage and my background. My adoptive parents very graciously took my request in stride and contacted Holt to see if it were possible. After years of planning and being in touch with the social workers in Thailand, they had contacted my birth mother and set up a date for me to meet her. And before I knew it, I was boarding a flight to Bangkok, Thailand for what was going to be a life-changing experience.

Going into the meeting, I had absolutely no idea what to expect. Meeting the woman who gave birth to you for the first time at 19 years old isn’t exactly a common experience. I couldn’t exactly go up to my friends and ask them, “So, what was it like meeting your birth mom?” And secretly, I thought my birth mother was selfish. I knew from my records that my birth mother had given me up for adoption because she was too poor to properly care for me. To me, that just meant that she was too selfish to work harder or to get a better paying job. While that sounds extremely harsh, I just couldn’t understand her reasoning for putting me up for adoption, and I definitely didn’t want to accept it.

 

img_2327

 

I don’t think anything could have properly prepared me for that experience. As I stood in a private room with my adoptive family, waiting for the Holt social workers to bring my birth mother into the room, I thought my heart was going to explode out of my chest. When they finally brought her in, I was shocked. The woman standing in front of me was the spitting image of me, only aged by a couple years, and crying. And she cried for what seemed like forever. It was extremely awkward, as I didn’t know whether to hug her or just stand there. One of the social workers prompted me to give her a hug and when I did, she clung onto me, with tears still streaming down her face.

Eventually, my birth mother was able to stop crying long enough to talk to me (through a translator). She told me that for the past 19 years she had carried with her so much guilt, hurt and sadness for putting me up for adoption. When I was born, she knew that she was too poor to give me a good life. She gave me up hoping that I would get adopted by a family that could give me the life that she would never be able to give me. It wasn’t a lack of love that made her put me up for adoption, but it was her abundance of love.

Meeting my birth mother completely changed my outlook on my adoption. Rather than being something that just ‘happened,’ it is something that has shaped every facet of my life and my identity. Instead of growing up without a father, I have an incredibly strong and loving father. Instead of growing up without an education, I am excited to say that I will be graduating in 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in social work. And instead of believing that I am unloved, I know that I am incredibly loved — by a birth mother who gave up being able to see me grow up and have me call her ‘mom,’ by my adoptive family that has loved me even when I’ve had nothing to offer them, and by an amazing adoption agency that worked so hard to give me a forever family. Adoption will forever be a part of who I am and a story that I won’t stop sharing.

Molly Martin | North Carolina

After meeting her birth mom, Molly created a video about the experience, which she gave us permission to share:

To learn about birth search assistance and other post-adoption services available to adoptees, visit Holt’s Post Adoption Services website!

All I Want For Christmas …

Show Hope

Hey TD,

If I had to choose a “verse of the year” for me, it’s a no-brainer.  Hands down it’s James 1:27:

“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”

This Christmas season has been a daily deluge of that for me and my family as we work through the extremely extensive adoption process.  Being buried in paperwork can sometimes obscure the vision of what it is we’re trying to do.

Perhaps that’s why I found myself tearing up in my car when I listened to “All I Want For Christmas” by 5-time Grammy Award winner, Steven Curtis Chapman, a couple of weeks ago.  It was a great reminder of why God gave His church the James 1:27 command and who it is we are to be helping in His Name.

I hope you’ll listen to the lyrics and begin praying for the orphaned children with special needs in China that we’ll be seeking to help during the upcoming Voiceless for the Voiceless (V4V) campaign that TD will be engaging in, in the near future.  Enjoy! – Arthur