26 September, 2009

Two Covenants, Two Mothers, Two Sons

Luke 1:39 In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a town in Judah, 40 and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. 41 And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth s was filled with the Holy Spirit, and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! 43 And why is this granted to me that the mother of w my Lord should come to me? 44 For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. 45 And x blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.”

A Broken Covenant in the Womb.

The New Covenant in the Womb.

Curse Broken.

World Restored.

Elizabeth Spirit Filled.

Mary Blessed Above Women.

For Joy John Leaped.

Jesus has come.

24 September, 2009

Thoughts on Prayer Meeting's Beginning

Last evening we hosted the first Northern Prayer Meeting (there is also a Southern Prayer Meeting which meets in Orange County) in our home. We have been waiting for this time to come for awhile; but through numerous providences we could only start now.

Our Practice

Our prayer meetings will meet every Wednesday at our house from 6:30PM until 8PM (Orange County meets on Thursdays at 7PM). We are focusing on a Bible study that I am calling "Jesus and the Church in the Psalter". We will walk through all of the 150 Psalms one-by-one and see Jesus. We will also sing through the Book of Psalms For Singing, and, of course, pray.

Last night we started with an introduction which included some of these Psalm principles that we take to the Book of Psalms:
  • 2 Timothy 3:16 Even though the Psalter has a number of human composers (at least 6), the true composer is the Spirit of God and he gives us the Psalms for our instruction, correction, reproof, and training in righteousness.
  • 2 Peter 1:20 The Psalter is not open to our private interpretation. We must look at the historical context as well as way that the New Testament interprets the Psalms.
  • Luke 24: 36-49 The Psalms are prophetic and speak of Jesus Christ.
  • Acts 1:20 The Psalms speak of the Church and contain prophecies concerning her as well.
  • Colossians 3:16 The Psalms are the words of Christ. They are to be used for mutual teaching and admonition.
  • James 5:13 We are to sing Psalms when we gather together in happiness.
The Psalms will be a central part of the NPM (Northern Prayer Meeting). We will meditate on them, sing them, and pray portions of them back to God. As Ambrose said, The Psalter deserves to be called the praise of God, the glory of men, the voice of the Church, and the most beneficial confession of faith!


I was encouraged by the outcome of our first prayer meeting. We are a small congregation that is scattered through-out the Southland and the OC; yet we remain faithful to God calling us together for worship and mutual encouragement. Last night we had 15 people here (including the children) which I thought was a good turn out for a first time.

We were able to spend a good amount of time in prayer for each other as well as learn some new psalm tunes. Lord willing, the group will grow, more from the congregation will come, and friends will be invited as well.


We have thought about the purpose of having a weekly prayer meeting quite a bit. We do not do these things because that is what the church does. We need to think through some of our purpose behind having prayer meetings. Here is our purpose:
  1. Prayer. We meet to bear one another's burdens and bring them before the throne of grace. This is always the main purpose of prayer meeting, but it never stands alone. Prayer is never separated from the Word. Hence the next purpose.
  2. Teaching. We want to know the Psalms better and the Lord who calls them his words.
  3. Fellowship. In a congregation that is scattered through-out such a large place as Los Angeles and SoCal, it is important to work on building a sense of community.
  4. Outreach. We want people to be able to invite friends and introduce them to our congregation in a way that is less threatening than formal worship. Having a weekly Bible Study/Psalm sing in our home also gives continuity in the church's backyard to reach out to those that God would want us to meet.

19 September, 2009

Keeping Children in the (Reformed) Church.. Well, At Least One Way

There are many reasons why children leave the Church of Christ when they are at an age to make decisions on their own. Of course, the main reason that children leave the Church is because they do not have converted hearts; but other reasons can drive children out of the Church.

At times children leave the denomination that their parents have chosen and go into other denominations. I have seen many children grow up to leave their Reformed churches and go into evangelical churches of some sort. This too is sad (although not as devistating as the first scenerio).

So what are some reasons that children will leave the Church? One of the main reasons, if not the main reason, is that they do not feel/think that they are a part of the church. They believe that the church is their parent's church, and not THEIR church. They never take ownership of the covenant of communicant membership, the relationships in the church, or the teaching from the pulpit.

One way that the Dutch branches of Reformed Churches have combated this in a small way is by providing children with Psalters that are small enough for their hands- their own personal Psalter. This may sound simplistic, but when a small child has their own Psalter they are more likely to participate in worship and more likely to grow to love the Psalms and the Reformed faith. With this in mind, I am pleased to announce that Crown and Covenant will be producing 4x6 inch Book of Psalms for Worship. I look forward to getting these for our children (and they look forward to having them!). They can be acquired here. If your congregation is using the Book of Psalms for Worship, I would recommend that these are purchased for the children (teens love them too) or parents be encouraged to purchase them.

Even though this is a small step, and essentially will not do anything without the Holy Spirit working in their lives, I would argue that doing 'small things' to make children feel at home in their congregations will prove to be beneficial in the end. We all must take ownership of our vows- and children must learn that at an early age... even if it includes a really great Psalter that is just their size!