Saturday, July 30, 2022

 


Deny Yourself and Attend Your Prayer Meeting


Prayer meetings often require a measure of self-denial.  Attending prayer meetings is not particularly difficult in most cases.  Yet prayer meetings are the worst attended meeting in most local churches.  However, they are by no means an optional ministry of the church.  Through her prayer meetings, the Church procures the blessings of God’s Spirit on the preaching of the Word as she does in no other setting (John 14.12-14; Acts 4:23-31).  In prayer meetings, believers actively pursue the glory of Christ and fervently plead with the Father to bring people from the nations into His family. Many people do not attend prayer meetings even though they are willing to come to hear teaching. 

However, in the Bible prayer almost always precedes the blessings of God upon the church (e.g. Acts 4).  Are you willing to take the trouble to attend the prayer meeting?  Are you willing to forego other conveniences or to make an extra trip to church in order to do so?  Are you willing to allow your children to go to bed later one night per week so that you can approach the throne of grace with the congregation and with Christ in her midst?  The most common reason for neglecting the prayer meeting is that it is “inconvenient.”  But inconvenience is an opportunity for a Christian!  It provides an opportunity to honor the Lord when it is inconvenient.  Another told me that prayer meetings are boring.  Yet what is boring about meeting with the triune God and His church?  Should we not find fullness of joy in His presence?    We can do this only by faith in Christ and hope that the Spirit will enflame our hearts with zeal for the Father’s glory.  

Treat the prayer meeting as an opportunity to deny yourself, to take up your cross, and to follow Christ. 


— From Ryan McGraw, Why Should You Deny Yourself?  p.23-24

Monday, July 18, 2022

 Training your children in the home to sit still in the pew
Geoffrey R. Kirkland
Christ Fellowship Bible Church

There are many churches that encourage families to worship together on Sundays in corporate worship. There are those with the perspective that it behooves children to learn to sit still, sit quietly, hear the preaching, and observe God’s people worshiping the Living Savior. For those who go to church with children (even small children!) with the hope and desire of seeing them sit still in the pew, the question might be asked: how do I do this? What’s the magic trick? Honestly, there’s not one. But there are some practical tips that I can offer that may help those who choose to bring their small children into corporate worship so that they can train their children in the home to sit still in the pew.

In this essay, I’ll provide some practical tips and helps for parents in this regard.

1. Treat family worship in the home as preparation for corporate worship with the church. — Make a regular practice of gathering the ‘little church’ together in the home each day for the worship of God and view that as a way of practicing for ‘corporate worship’ on Sundays. Begin in the home and train on the couch & trust that in due time the children will sit still and pay attention in the pew.

2. Don't allow in that worship time at home what you wouldn't allow in the pew. — If you don’t allow your children to kick and scream in church then don’t allow that in family worship either. Be intentional to allow in the brief time of family devotions what you would permit in church. Be careful to set the barometer high so that the children will learn well each day in the home so that when they sit in the pew it’ll be an overflow of what they’ve learned in the home.

3. Work on sitting still for small periods of time and gradually increase that time for the children to sit still. — Maybe, like all parents, you think: my kids have a hard time sitting still! Of course! So be diligent to train the children to sit still. It takes time and it takes patience and effort. Work on having the child, or children, sit still for a small period of time with a book on his lap and increase that time as days and weeks go by and you’ll be training your child to sit still.

4. Constantly explain the ultimate goal and purpose of this preparation: because God is worthy & Christ deserves our worship, reverence & honor. — The goal is not just getting kids to sit still. The goal is not even getting children to behave well at church. The goal is the heart: heart-transformation! So frequently speak of the goal of family worship, the reason for sitting still, and the goal of private, family, and corporate worship: our God deserves our praise!

5. Remain faithful and consistent in your training and in your discipline when the children disobey you. — When a child sins, he must be disciplined. When you are teaching and training, the hard but necessary element for parents is consistency. Parents must remain faithful in the training and discipline when the kids disobey -- especially in the home.

6. Speak much of the beauty of Christ, His atoning blood, and His sweet satisfactions for He alone is preeminently supreme. — Parents have the inestimable privilege of showing the children a big God. That is, parents must paint before the children a most beautiful Christ, a supreme Delight, and a Friend of Sinners. This constant message will convey to the children that the parents absolutely adore their God and earnestly want the kids to know and worship Him also!

7. Enjoy the journey and remember the blessed privilege that God has given you to teach those little (and growing) eternal souls about the Word of God, the ways of God, and the gospel of Christ.  — It’s easy to bend a little branch but when a tree has been planted and growing for years it’s nearly impossible to bend the massive tree, so let parents remember to mold and shape the hearts of the children while they are young. As a small acorn grows over time into a large tree, so the children that we have grow little by little over the course of time. God has given a marvelous privilege and duty to all parents to teach the souls of the children and bring them up in the gospel of God’s grace.

8. Patiently endure even the hard and discouraging moments as you remember that growth happens slowly, steadily, and progressively (not instantaneously or overnight). — Remember the big picture. Even when family worship is a disaster (and there will be those nights, plenty of them) and even when you don’t get much of the sermon in corporate worship, don’t lose heart or grow discouraged. Pray. Regain your composure and reaffirm your trust in God’s promises. Be patient and remember that your labor for Christ’s glory and for the kids’ souls is never in vain.

9. Focus (and refocus) your heart constantly on the big picture: you love your Christ and then show your children your glorious Christ and beseech them to be reconciled to this merciful, saving, and sufficient Friend of sinners. — Behavioral change is good and desired. But remember to focus on the heart. Realign your own mind and refocus your perspective on a most worthy Savior who deserves worship and a gracious God who saves sinners! If you are captured by your God, you speak with love, with affection, with power, and with passion, and your children will see the genuineness of your ministry. Labor on and labor hard to know and love your Christ and then pass that on to them! You can’t give what you don’t have yourself. So work to remember Christ as your Savior and Lord and then out of joyful delight and out of privileged duty, pass on the gospel truth to your children.

10. Remember to bath all these endeavors in much prayer, persistent prayer, and confident prayers that God will bless your labors to teach and train your children. — You cannot save your children. Only God can save. Since you cannot save them, pray them into heaven. Bathe them in prayer. Pray with them and for them. Pray incessantly and persistently for their souls. Ask! Seek! Knock! Believe that God will answer your prayers and save your children through your earnest prayers and gospel-pleadings!

11. Seek out another person in the church to sit with you and help you in corporate worship if a need arises to hold a baby or calm down an energetic child. — The body of Christ is a family. After all, families are made up of the older and more mature as well as the new-borns and infants. When young parents have nursing babies or young children, it may be the case that you can request the help of another person in the church to help you, lend you a hand, hold a baby, or assist you in any way. Don’t be afraid to ask and don’t be too prideful to request the help of others. Many are more than eager to serve in this way!


Tuesday, June 7, 2022

 


How to practically cultivate humility

Geoffrey R. Kirkland
Christ Fellowship Bible Church

How do you put on humility? What steps can you practically take to walk in humility each day? In this brief write-up, I’ll provide 3 helps to “cultivate humility.”

1. Contemplate Christ’s humility.
The first practical help to cultivate humility begins with looking to Christ. No one but Jesus ever held such a high and holy office in heaven and then condescended to earth to be born in a world that He created! Ponder how He said to those who followed Him that He is gentle and lowly of heart. He was despised, rejected, not esteemed and rejected by men. Indeed, Christ in His divine glory received such scoffing by men whom He made. And He remained humble, fully submissive to God’s plan and design for Him. He always did what was pleasing in God’s sight. Let the humility of Christ capture your heart and seize your affections so that you would emulate Him carefully.

2. Contemplate God’s majesty.
The majesty of God is higher than men can fathom and it is lower than the ocean floor. The glory of God consists of His dazzling splendor of all the fullness of His character and attributes. The majesty of God speaks of His kingship and power and unparalleled glory. Indeed, God is clothed with splendor and majesty. To lift your eyes on high to see the high and lofty One seated on heaven’s throne ruling and governing and accomplishing all things for the outworking of His sovereign decrees should instill humility and lowliness in our hearts. Think of the many stars that God made and knows by name and then consider His creating all things in six 24-hour days. Then consider how puny and weak and forgetful you are! Stand and marvel at this God. Be humble and tremble for His awesome and unshakeable majesty.

3. Contemplate Your depravity.
O the hellish nature of man! What a worm sin has made us. Men’s iniquity in his nature and in his behavior has made him worse than a monster because all men willfully rebel against God who is all good and all wise and all perfect. When Adam sinned in the garden, all humankind plunged into sin in him. All men rightly deserve hell. Anything else ever, at any time, is sheer and undeserved grace to those who deserve the exact opposite. When you contemplate your sinfulness in heart, in motive, in words, and in lifestyle, be humble before the Holy God who sees everything. Nothing is hidden from him. Bless the Lord that He had mercy on your soul. In response, walk in true humility.


This is a brief writeup providing a brief meditation on communion. In considering this blessed feast, I'll put the thoughts together in 3 points:

  1. Reflect!  God calls His people to carefully consider and remember Him in this Feast of communion with our risen Lord. The Lord’s Supper is an earthly encounter with the heavenly Lord. We do well to thoughtfully engage in God’s Truth and eagerly fellowship with our Savior and with our fellow believers in this meal with our Savior.
    1. reflect in preparation - During the week leading up to communion Sunday, prepare your heart in some of the following ways. Confess your sin and come clean before the Lord. Adore the power and greatness and love of your great King. Recognize and bathe in the sufficient work of Jesus Christ on the cross as He took your place by expiating your sin and propitiating God’s wrath! 
    2. reflect in elements — Eating bread and drinking the cup are tangible elements to remind us of the importance of imbibing Christ and taking all of Him. We must feast upon Him and find nourishment for our souls from these elements and what they represent.
    3. reflect in soul-examination — Examine your heart and ensure you are God’s child. Reflect deeply to see if there are any patterns of sin in your life. Consider where you need to be humbled, how you can serve, where you can grow in your love for Christ and for others. And seek to come to the Supper with a clean heart, with clean hands, with a humbled spirit, and with faith in the compassionate mercies of Jesus Christ.
  2. Receive!  God wants you to receive the feast He prepares for you. The Savior is the host who causes the cup to overflow bountifully. He provided bread for those on the mountain for the multitudes. He wants you to take and eat and drink! This is not an offer or a request or a mere invitation. It is a command from the host Himself. Christ wants you to take and feast and find sustenance in Him!
    1. receive the bread with happy delight. — Remember the sufficient body of this Lamb. Consider His spotlessness, purity, righteousness, and perfection which is wholly reckoned to you by faith in Him.
    2. receive the cup with happy delight. — Ponder the glory of the Master’s blood which He poured out lavishly to wash away all of your foul sins. All of your offenses and iniquities have been blotted out, thrown away, and drowned in the bottomless depths of the sea. Delight in the blood of Christ which justifies, washes, cleanses, and propitiates the Father’s wrath.
    3. Receive with Faith // with humility // with thoughtfulness // with obedience // with seriousness. This feast with the heavenly Savior must be received with great sobriety and serious-mindedness. Seek to put away all distractions and wandering thoughts. Try to engage fully with Christ. Seek to meditate on a verse and let your mind and thoughts soak in the beauties of His work for you!
  3. Rejoice! This feast should spark flames of ardent joy for your Lord. Rejoice in Him. Shout for joy in Him. When you take the feast, it is as if Jesus Himself, the Creator of the heavens and the earth, serves you with His own loving hands and He calls you to derive strength and benefit and mercy from Him! 
    1. In the marriage! — The feast with Christ calls you to remember your loving Bridegroom who promises to return to receive you and take you to be with Himself forevermore! Oh for that day!
    2. in the strength! — Rejoice in the strength that the Savior supplies. This communion feast should be a priority in the Christian’s life for as often as we eat and drink this supper we are coming needy and humble to the Savior affirming our trust in Him and asking for strength to live for Him.
    3. in the security! — This feast promises security because the Savior says in the elements: I have done this for you. Never cease to lose your wonder at the words: “given for you!.” 
    4. in the anticipation! — We eat and drink of this feast in anticipation of the coming Marriage with the Lamb! Oh to be with our Bridegroom and to be in sinless perfection, in ceaseless delights, in undistracted harmony, and in the happy company of all the redeemed to gaze on our Bridegroom forever.  Rejoice in the sure and unwavering certainty of the Savior’s return! 
More resources at Pastor Geoff's site for podcasts.


Tuesday, April 19, 2022

 How to encourage your elders.

Geoffrey R. Kirkland

Christ Fellowship Bible Church

 

I serve alongside some great men. God has graciously put me in a church body with godly people who love Christ and a solid leadership team firmly committed to His Word.

In some recent reflections in my own mornings of Bible reading, I have tried to think of some practical ways that Christians can encourage all of their shepherd-elders. With some intentionality, creativity and proactiveness, you can bless those men that God has put over you to care for your souls.  Here are just a few ideas to help get you started.

OBEY them — Perhaps the clearest and most heartfelt way you can serve your shepherds is to simply obey them. By submitting yourself willingly and cheerfully under their authority, you honor the Lord who sovereignly put them over you to have charge over you in the Lord and to give account for your soul one day in glory. Submit to them. Obey them. Honor them. Make their leadership duties a joy and not a burden.

THANK them  — Another way you can practically thank each of your shepherd elders is to carefully and thoughtfully thank them. By this, I do not speak of flattery. Nor do I refer to some generic post on social media. The heart of your shepherds will overflow with joy when you thank them and explain to them how God is using them to help you learn more about God and His Word. It’s not puffing up the man. It is exalting God and giving glory to God for His mercy in using your elder, a human instrument at that, to establish and grow you in the faith. Be thoughtful, specific and fairly consistent in sharing these good reports with your elders. You’ll be encouraged. And they will be immensely blessed!

SERVE them — Prayerfully think of ways you can serve him and his family. Perhaps he and his wife could use a date night out and so you offer to watch the children. Maybe you can help shovel their driveway in the winter or help weed the garden. Or, you may choose to drop off some groceries or a home-cooked meal (or dessert) to your elders. Perhaps you take out one of two of his children to encourage them in the faith and express your gratitude for the whole family and how God is using them in your life. With some prayer and some thoughtfulness, you can find many ways to serve your elders in ways that will richly encourage them, humble them, and minister to their souls.

TELL them — Of course, you can verbally encourage your elders by simply telling them how thankful you are. It doesn’t have to be big or flashy. Nor does it have to be formal and public. But a simple word of encouragement with decisions they’ve made, the example they set by their lifestyle, the way he cares for you and the flock, or the way he serves can encourage his heart more than you know. Elders often hear the stories of negativity and things that people may not appreciate, but how encouraging it is when men of God hear specific words of encouragement.

PRAY for them — Never let prayer be underestimated. A simple text or note of encouragement saying that you are praying for your elders will add fuel to the fire of their love for and diligence in interceding for the flock. Every faithful shepherd prays for the flock of God. But in knowing that you are praying for him will enrich his prayer time, fill him with awe in God and humble his soul before the God of grace. Let him know what you’re praying for. Pray for his preparation to teach the Word. Pray for his wife and children. Pray for his home life. Pray for his humility and love for Christ to increase. Pray for God to bring opportunities to speak of Christ with the lost. Pray for visible fruit to encourage his heart and God-graced trials to keep him humble and dependent on divine grace. Let him know you’re praying for him. This will bless him more than you could imagine.

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

 


Marital Sex 
This blog seeks to provide helpful counsel to believers regarding the joy of sexual intimacy in a marriage between one man and one woman. May the practical helps be profitable as you seek to honor the Lord and grow in your selfless service to your spouse -- all for God's great glory.
 
Sex must be:
  1. Covenantal  (only after a man/woman are married) — Before sin ever entered the world, God beautifully designed the covenant of marriage as an exclusive union only between one man and one woman. And in that covenantal union of marriage, God blesses and gives the happy union of sexual intimacy. In His gracious and good and wise design, God gives sexual pleasure and all sexual activity to be enjoyed, frequented, and overwhelmingly pleasurable only within the context of a marriage between a man and a woman. 
  2. Selfless   (not self-absorbed/ self-pleasure) — The wonderful act of sexual intercourse and all sexual acts should only take place in marriage in a selfless, humble, others-oriented way for the pleasure of one’s spouse. God’s design includes the principle that it is ‘better to give than to receive.’  God calls His people to consider others as more important than yourselves and not look out for your own interests but also for the interests of others. Sexual intimacy is not to be about self and self-pleasure in any form. God’s plan is for you to meet your spouse’s sexual desires and for your spouse to meet your sexual desires. It is a mutual, selfless and beautiful picture of self-sacrificing love that emulates Christ’s selfless sacrifice for His people.
  3. Frequent   (regular) — Sexual activity must be frequent in the marriage relationship. The Bible commands that sex be regular and enjoyable. And the Bible assumes that it will be frequent and exhilarating. The book of Song of Solomon models the joys of regular, frequent, enjoyable sex. Withholding sex or choosing to not have sex with your spouse is sinful (except for a very brief time by mutual agreement for the purpose of fervent prayer, cf. 1 Corinthians 7). Sexual intimacy and sexual pleasure should be enjoyed regularly. Perhaps a good word of advice might be to seek to be intimate 3-4 times per week. Perhaps it may be more frequent if your spouse so desires.
  4. Worshipful  (an act of worship to God — he is watching & there) — Sex within marriage can be and ought to be a worshipful activity to the living God! How appropriate for a godly couple to pray together before intimacy and to give thanks for the joys of pleasure after intimacy. The intoxicating delights of sexual pleasure is meant to lead us to a greater union that is sure to come. That is, our beloved Bridegroom will bring His Bride to glory to receive worship forever by those whom He has redeemed. Your intimacy is never to be the ultimate, it is a means to the ultimate, namely, the worship of Jesus Christ! So enjoy your spouse. Do all that you do in manner of worship and thanks to God for the gift of intimacy and pleasure with your spouse.
  5. Exhilarating   (intoxicating joy and pleasure) — Reading the book of Song of Solomon will quickly reveal how exhilarating lovemaking was between Solomon and the Shulammite. He loved his wife and she loved him and they feasted in lovemaking and enjoyed one another tenderly, honestly, exclusively, communicatively and frequently. They spoke openly to one another and they spoke passionately to one another. They were overwhelmed by the delights and pleasures of one another! Godly men are called to be exhilarated always with their wives! It is God’s design and blessing. Be ravished and overwhelmed in lovemaking with your spouse.
  6. Communicative  (communicate, speak honestly to each other) — Just like anything in the Christian life, we must communicate well and honestly. This also includes the realm of sex and intimacy. You need to speak with your spouse. Find out what your spouse likes and doesn’t like. Find out what your spouse loves and really enjoys. Speak to each other. Hide nothing from each other. Remember: the Adam and Eve were both naked and were not ashamed (Gen 2.25). So you, in the same way, should be unashamed in your communication, in your honesty, in your tenderness, in how you speak to your spouse, and how you treat each other in the time leading up to intimacy, in the foreplay, in intercourse, and afterwards. Communicate like Solomon and his wife modeled in the Song of Solomon.
  7. Patient  (eradicate all hollywood lies/images/scenes; be patient with each other; have fun; enjoy; there is “no standard to meet”) — Clear out all the garbage that Hollywood and social media has put into your mind. Never assume there is an expectation or a standard that you need to meet in sexual intimacy. The only standard you must meet is the God-honoring, self-sacrificing pleasure of delighting your spouse sexually. Forget all the movies and images and things that you may have seen. Never compare yourself, your intimacy, or your spouse with the godless immorality publicly paraded. Be patient as you seek to learn your spouse and please your spouse. You must communicate honestly and openly about what you like don’t like and expectations with your spouse. And do so in a timely, humble, gracious, and prayerful way. Strive to be patient with each other (as God is patient toward you!).
  8. Exclusive — only a man and a woman (none else) — Of course, remember that Christ only has one Bride and He is ever and always faithful to her. Your marriage in all of its spheres is to reflect the gospel and be a portrait of the beauty of Christ’s love for His Church. So remain exclusive with one another. Enjoy each other. Ravish each other. Delight each other. Be frequent in lovemaking with each other. But ensure that your sexual intimacy is exclusive to your marriage alone. Allow no pornography, no outside intruders, no watchers and no other lovers to ever come near the beauty of the marriage bed. Keep the marriage bed undefiled and holy. 

Song of Solomon 4.16 - may my Beloved Come into his Garden and eat its choicest fruits.
Song of Solomon 7.12 - “I am my beloveds and his desire is for me …  Let us rise early and go to the vineyards; ... There I will give you my love…  (v.10-12)

 The Sunday Gathering 



What sweet kindness we enjoy when we gather with the saints on Sunday. God’s people assembled together is a meeting unlike anything else in this world. The unity, the likemindedness, the focus on Christ, the heartfelt singing, and the study of the Word of God lifts the believer’s heart, informs the Christian’s mind, and increases the saint’s love for God. How unique and blessed are these assemblies! Specifically, the Sunday gathering is a time of:

  1. Refreshment  (unlike the world) — The Sunday gatherings are refreshing times because no other worldly gathering of people can compare with the corporate pursuit of Christ that Christians enjoy. We have meetings during the week. Work demands call for our attention. Lots of gatherings exist for sports, entertainment, arts, music, or academics. But none can compare with the glory and delightfulness and refreshment of God’s people meeting in the House of God. When we gather on Sundays, it is so unlike the world that it is refreshingly sweet, like drinking satisfying water on a hot day. We need these times of refreshment for our souls.
  2. Edification  (speaking words to edify) — The Sunday gatherings are edifying times because we have God-given opportunities to speak words of encouragement to other saints. When you gather for worship, before the service begins and after the service concludes, lots of opportunities arise to approach a believer and speak of Christ and His gospel. For instance, after the worship service finishes, consider how many ways you can ask a fellow believer about the sermon, reflect on it together, point out a verse that challenged you, or speak of a truth that you must hold on to this week for strength. We gather to edify and build up one another.
  3. Intentional, others-oriented Service — The Sunday gatherings provide opportunities for intentional, others-oriented service. Think of how you can intentionally and proactively reach out to another person to serve them. Maybe it’s helping a family with one of their small children. Maybe it’s holding a baby so a young mom can have a conversation. Maybe it’s helping a senior saint carry his Bible and a bag from the car to the pew. Maybe it’s offering help in setting up chairs, getting the sanctuary prepared, handing out bulletins, greeting folks at the door with a smile, and offering to serve in other creative ways. But the point being made here demands intentionality and a proactive zeal to earnestly care for one another in tangible expressions of love. Through love, serve one another!
  4. Instruction  (from Scripture) — The Sunday gatherings feed the people of God with the instruction from the Word. This is our weekly feeding time. This is when we gather together, as the Church, with the Church to sit under the authoritative Truth preached from Holy Scripture. We gather to hear and heed the Word. We gather to listen to the Word preached and then obey what the Word demands. We may be reminded of theological truths. We may receive exhortation to take action in a specific area of our lives. We may be challenged to think differently about a matter. We may need to change our behavior because the Spirit graciously exposes sin in our lives. We feast on Truth. We gaze upon Christ. We glory in grace. We delight in the gospel. We gather because we need to regularly, weekly, deliberately and happily fix our eyes upon Christ our righteousness, our spotless Lamb, our Life!
  5. Preparation  (for heaven) — The Sunday gatherings uniquely and wondrously prepare us for a greater assembly that surely will come. One day we will stand in heaven worshiping Christ with numberless multitudes standing before the Throne celebrating the Lamb, worshiping the Lord, communing with the Triune God. Nothing in all of the world so prepares us for heaven than a theologically robust, seriously glad, fervently Christ-enthralled, biblically saturated, corporately assembled meeting of the saints. O for that day when all those for whom Christ purchased will stand together, beholding the Lamb, in utter perfection, happily at rest, ever living as conquerers forevermore, and serving God with tireless zeal for eternities without end. May your upcoming Sunday gathering be a sweet foretaste of coming glory.  Christian, appreciate, prioritize and anticipate the Sunday gathering with your Church.

The words of JOHN NEWTON express these thoughts poetically:

How welcome to the saints, when pressed
With six days’ noise, and care, and toil,
Is the returning day of rest,
Which hides them from the world awhile!

Now, from the throng withdrawn away,
They seem to breathe a different air;
Composed and softened by the day,
All things another aspect wear.

How happy if their lot is cast
Where statedly the gospel sounds!
The word is honey to their taste,
Renews their strength and heals their wounds.

With joy they hasten to the place
Where they their Saviour oft have met;
And while they feast upon his grace,
Their burdens and their griefs forget.

This favoured lot, my friends, is ours;
May we the privilege highly prize,
And find these consecrated hours
Sweet earnests of immortal joys.

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Today’s evangelism outing was thrilling from beginning to end. It was a last minute outing because the day we usually go out later in the week is forecasted to snow and sleet. So we decided to go out today. And praise God we did. It was beautiful, warm, and lots of people swarmed the streets. 

We had two men alternating the preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ in the open air. Another CFBC member was on the sidewalk handing out tracts. 

Over the course of the time on the streets, a man approached me and began yelling in my face (all the while claiming to be a Christian) because we were too loud and passionate and urgent in our message.  

I met a woman who wanted nothing to do with me at first and then she said she doesn’t appreciate being told she’s a sinner. She said that you don’t make people feel good about themselves.  I began to speak patiently to her. I thanked her for her comments and her opinions. And I proceeded to speak of Jesus Christ, the only way of salvation, and the depravity in our hearts. Our conversation began very tense but it ended with a handshake. I told her that I cared for her and her soul and I genuinely wanted her to know Christ.  I trust I will see her again as she worked close by. 

There were other employees of the city that usually do not take tracts. But for some reason today, they did. We see many familiar faces from week to week as that has been our regular, weekly fishing hole for years.

A Chipotle worker was outside smoking a cigarette on his break and was glued to the preaching of the Word. He listened for the entire break and then waved at me as I preached the Word and then went back to his job.

Also, two police officers approached us and said that it was too loud and they asked if we would turn the amplifier down. I shook their hand, thanked them for what they do, and I cheerfully said: Of course! We will be happy to obey your request. They immediately walked away pleased. 

The Word of God went forth with great power and with great clarity today. It was loudly preached in the open air. We had lots of gospel conversations. Lots of tracts went out. 

It was a great day.  Do I know how many people God will save?  No, I don’t. But I do know that many, many folks heard the gospel of Jesus Christ and were summoned to turn from their sins while they have time and flee to Jesus Christ by faith alone for eternal life. Judgment day is coming. Their sin will be punished. We pleaded with them to come to Christ, God’s only provision, right now! 

It was a successful day on the streets. His soldiers were faithful. May God be glorified!

Tuesday, November 16, 2021


Reflections on a busy day at the murder mill 

As I do every Tuesday for my lunch hour, I went to a local abortion clinic in Granite City, IL (Hope Clinic for Women). I’ve been going there for nearly 8 years preaching the Word of God, pleading with women to not murder their babies, offering to adopt their babies and walk with them every step of the way, and offering free ultrasounds (through a pregnancy center close by and a mobile medical unit right on site). 

Today was similar to other Tuesdays in that many women flooded in. In fact, I think there were at least 25 women that I saw go into Hope Clinic for Women. It is one of the largest hubs of murder mills in the central midwest area. Tuesday often brings women who are late term who have come for the kill. It’s terrifying and evil. It’s saddening and maddening all at the same time. 

It was busy. Very busy. I drove up and arrived about 5 minutes before they usually start their “business”. When I walked up to the front of the parking lot, the women flooded out of the cars and lined the sidewalk ready and eager to pay their money, all while putting on their mask, so as to pay their money first, and then enter the murderous building. 

License plates struck me today — as they have been more and more in recent days. Cars today came from Missouri and Illinois (mostly). But there were cars from Minnesota, Arizona, Oklahoma and two from Florida. They drove here, to Hope Clinic, for the purpose of murdering their baby. 

About ten minutes after I arrived, a young lady finally got out of her car, which was the closest parking spot to where I was standing. When she got out, she was about 5 feet from me. I told her that we cared for her, wanted to help her and give her other options, and that babies are murdered here. I was holding a sign that read: “BABIES ARE MURDERED HERE”. And on the back, a sign which read: “IF YOU WERE TO DIE TODAY, WHERE WOULD YOU GO?  REPENT AND BELIEVE THE GOSPEL.”  

The many women that walked in gave different responses.  Some laughed and mocked.  Some yelled in anger. Some were cursing and commanding that we stop talking to them. Many others just ignored. One lady stopped, turned around, read the signs, and saw the mobile medical unit — but still decided to ignore the offer for a free ultrasound and go into the murder mill to kill her own baby. 

Why do I go to such an abominably wicked and divinely abhorred place?  For a number of reasons. 

  1. I go to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ.  — Yes, I preach.  I plead. I cry out. I entreat. I summon. I beg mothers, fathers, grandparents, abortion clinic workers, the security guard, the abortionists themselves and even passers-by to turn to Jesus Christ in full surrender and in faith to be saved.  There is no other faithful and full gospel proclamation there.  I go to preach the gospel loudly, faithfully, biblically, persistently, and passionately. 
  2. I go to honor and glorify God.  — I believe that God is glorified when His Word goes forth. God has given me His Word, I’ve eaten and tasted the Truth in the Word and thus I am sent to “go” and I preach His Word so that God may be glorified in how He chooses to use His Word.  I am undoubtedly an aroma of death to death to many — but I pray that God will be glorified in saving some by snatching them out of the fire. 
  3. I go to see babies saved.  — I love children. And I want children to be spared from the murders of abortion. There is no easy and kind way to say it. Abortion consists of the violent, gruesome and blasphemous ripping of children limb from limb in a mother’s womb. It’s vile and evil. And I love children, who are made in God’s image and fearfully and wonderfully made, and so I go to see the weak and the defenseless saved. 
  4. I go to evangelize any and all who will hear. —  Each week I go, I get to plead lovingly and urgently with the security guard. I tell her that I care for her and pray for her often. I give gospel tracts to people who are walking by on the sidewalks.  Often I get to stop cars after they drop a lady off and she goes into the murder mill and the driver will stop, roll down the window, and take a tract from me with some information about a pregnancy resources center in the immediate area. 
  5. I go because hell exists and murderers go there.  —  Evangelism is and must be urgent. Souls are of infinite worth and hell is drawing near. So many people walk into the building whose god is their ‘belly’ and they live for the flesh, they do not glorify Christ, they hate me and the gospel I preach, and they know what abortion is and they cheer the fact that they are murdering their babies. Oh the fires of hell await them, unless God mercifully and effectually intervenes. And how will God do this? Through the preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  These people will not come to my church, so I must go out to them and plead with them to come in so that the Father’s house may be full! 
  6. I go because I want to set an example for my church in pursuing the lost in fervent evangelism. — The Word calls me to 'do the work of an evangelist.' I love to go out to the lost and hand out tracts, open air preach, approach students on a college campus and have conversations, go door to door, do chalk evangelism on a busy sidewalk, and more. But I love taking men and women from the church with me to the streets so that we can labor together, in fellowship and with joy, for the sake of the souls of men and women. It is the duty of churches to pursue the lost with the aim to win souls to Jesus Christ. May the Lord magnify His name and spread His gospel through us -- all for His glory.

Today a young man walked with his 3 or 4-year old daughter together with a young mother. She clearly was hobbling along — probably had an abortion yesterday or in previous days but perhaps may have had an infection, and she was very vocal about me shutting up. She yelled and told me to stop talking to her and to leave her alone.  I offered tracts and gospel literature to the man and he kindly took it.  Then, after she went in, he turned back around to head to the car and I was able to give the full gospel with him and plead with him to turn to Christ and find salvation in Jesus Christ alone. 

A tragic day. Death happened inside that building where I was. But I triumph in Jesus Christ who alone reigns sovereignly and supremely over life and over death. 

Continue to pray for those who go to abortion clinics and preach the gospel.  Perhaps you can and should make it a priority in your schedule to go to your local abortion clinic to call out, to cry out for life, to glorify the God of life, and beg dads and moms to not murder their babies.  May God have mercy on our nation!

Wednesday, November 3, 2021


Here is a note of encouragement to our church family that I emailed out earlier this morning.

As I was meditating and praying through 2 Corinthians this morning, I wanted to pass along some thoughts that gripped me.  Here is my heart — and the shepherds’ hearts — as we seek to care for you and labor among you, with you, and for you — and ultimately, for the praise of our God.

2 Corinthians 1:24 — “Not that we lord it over your faith, but we are workers with you for your joy; for in your faith you are standing firm.

In thinking about and applying this verse to our ministry context, I want to give you 4 brief motivations that we have as your elders.  By God’s Grace, we as shepherd elders seek to: 

1)  SERVE YOU.
Paul said that he is NOT lording it over the faith of the Corinthians.  As he teaches and preaches and labors for them and among them, He reminds them that GOD is the one who establishes the believers in Christ. And God has sealed His people and given them the Spirit of God as a pledge.  Paul said that he came to Corinth again to serve them, not to lord his apostolic authority over them. He did not come to roll his authoritarian credentials over them but he came to serve them, to help them, to minister to them, and to aid them in their growth.  Paul had his leadership position and his apostolic authority from God — not self determined by his own whims. Similarly, it is our desire to serve you, not to lord any sort of authority over you.  As your shepherds, we must lead and we must oversee and God has appointed us to make decisions to protect the flock, to uphold biblical truth, and to maintain purity in the Church. But our desire is to serve you, never to lord authority over God’s saints. 

2)  WORK HARD.
Paul told the saints that he is a worker with them for their joy.  Paul expresses his heartfelt desire to be a diligent and driven worker in gospel advancement for their good.  That is the heart of a shepherd.  Our hearts are to work hard together with you for your good and for your welfare. First Timothy 3.1 says that if any man aspires to the office of overseer, it is a fine work that he desires to do! Yes, it is work. It is hard. But nothing brings more joy and more thrill and more excitement than to serve the Lord and serve His people by working hard for God’s glory and for the good and well-being of the saints. And that well-being is for the people of God to grow in Christlikeness so as to walk in holiness, bask in the fear of God, and live with peace and joy on this pilgrimage toward our heavenly home. 

3)  GIVE YOU JOY.
Paul said that he is a worker for their joy. In an amazing clarification, Paul affirms that he is not in leadership for power, or for honors, or for recognition. Rather, he does what he does for the enhancement and increase of their joy in the Lord. As the believers suffer, God called Paul to help them in their perseverance through difficulties for their joy.  As God brought blessings and favorable circumstances into their lives, Paul endeavored to help them process and think through such occasions in a way that would glorify God and maintain a God-Centered joyfulness.  So also with us as your shepherds, we are committed to working hard, together with you, for your joy in the Lord.  As Paul said to the Philippians: “Rejoice in the LORD.” Don’t rejoice in the things that you can tangibly see here and in the passing pleasures of this realm. But we resolve to honor God and aid you in rejoicing in the unshakeable truth and rock-solid beauty of God’s character, Christ’s salvation, and the Spirit’s power. 

4)  EQUIP YOU TO STAND FIRM.
Paul poured out his heart by telling the believers that he found great joy and comfort in knowing that they are standing firm in their faith.  In the body of Truth, in systematic theology, that he had taught them, they are now standing firm and resting upon it.  This brings great joy to a shepherd to know that saints are standing upon, grounded in, and unmoved in their confidence in “the faith”.  Our commitment, as shepherds of CFBC, is to teach the “full counsel of God” so that you will grow deeper in precise systematic theology, so that your worship of the Triune God will be transcendent, captivating, and biblical. And we want you to stand firm on the Lord and on the Truth (=“the Faith”) in the ever-so-changing days in which we live. We want you to stand strong, to stand firm, to stand courageous, to stand boldly, to stand vocally, and to stand worshipfully on the Lord.  The LORD is my rock and my salvation, of whom shall I be afraid?  Stand firm knowing that it is on Christ the solid Rock that you stand. All other ground is sinking sand!

Tuesday, August 17, 2021


Here is a game plan for holiness from the psalmist's example (from Psalm 119).

 

1. RUN AWAY FROM SIN!  (Psalm 119:37).  Fighting sin demands a holy resolve to flee and forsake its temptations. The psalmist begs with God to pass his eyes over, to turn his eyes away from sin. The heart of the psalmist reveals a desire to follow God and this shows itself in a fear of indulging sin.  Every child of God must strive to emulate the psalmist’s example. We must seek the Lord and His power to turn away from sin. And therein rests the hope.  You can’t do this on your own. You cannot fight sin nor turn away from sin in your own human strength. See how the psalmist pleads with God to literally ‘cause his eyes to turn away/pass by’ sin. He recognizes that sin is ‘vanity.’  The Hebrew word is emptiness, vanity, worthlessness.  How amazing that a child of God understands that sin promises a lot but delivers nothing. Sin promises pleasure but provides pain. Let our hearts burn with a prayerful determination to run away from sin and its temptations even from the very first instance. 

 

2) RUN HARD TO SCRIPTURE! (Psalm 119:38).  How important for every believer to run hard to God and to His Truth. Amazingly, sheer willpower to flee sin is a noble desire but it’s still insufficient to produce real, lasting change. One must replace that temptation to sin with a greater pursuit of godliness. And here, the psalmist recognizes that he must be established, yes he must stand firm, in the Word of God.  How about you?  When you are tempted (with your eyes, your mouth, your lips, your heart, your mind, your body), do you actively seek Christ’s Truth as your great shield, protection and joy?  If you are to follow and glorify God in a life-pursuit of holy living, yes you must run from sin but you must run to Truth. And bless God, He has provided all that is needed in His promises, in His Word, in His Scriptures. The particular word that the psalmist uses here refers to the ‘utterances from the mouth of God.’  What a great concept. Run away from sin and hard hard to the sweet utterances of Almighty God as revealed in His Word.

 

3)  RUN DEEP IN CHRIST!  (Psalm 119:39-40).   The psalmist prays that he longs for God’s precepts and he recognizes the need for God to revive him in the Word.  He needs revival. He needs God to come, to invade, to revive, to quicken, to satisfy him again — in the perfect righteousness of God.  Oh Christian, can you relate?  Do you need heart-reviving?  Do you need God to revive you and give you fresh life?  Do you need fresh reminders of Christ’s righteousness to sweep over your soul again so that you remember your position, rest in His grace, and rejoice in His security?  Run deep in Christ’s righteousness.  Run deep in prayer seeking true revival.  May the Lord help us with this game-plan for holiness.  We must RUN AWAY from sin.  And with that we must HARD HARD to Scripture.  And that must propel us to RUN DEEP in Christ and in His heart-reviving work! 

Thursday, April 15, 2021


 Below is a 5-part podcast series on Family Worship

Part 1:  The purpose/reasons for family worship  |  LISTEN

Part 2: Singing hymns  |  LISTEN

Part 3: Reading Scripture  |  LISTEN

Part 4: Praying together  |  LISTEN

Part 5: Keeping the long-term perspective in mind  |  LISTEN

More resources can be found here on family worship. Here's a brief video that may be helpful also.

Wednesday, February 24, 2021


Why I Do Abortion Mill Evangelism

Geoffrey R. Kirkland

I subtitle this article: “Urgent Gospel Preaching & Warnings To Those Going to Murder Their Children.” Why do I engage in this kind of urgent evangelism at the very doorstep of Satan’s foothold? Because souls are on the brink of eternity. Babies are about to be ripped apart. And murders are committing abominable and unjust atrocities inside the doors. At least, near me, few others stand and speak the biblical gospel at these Satanic places, so I go. And I go and preach. And I pray. And I weep. And I plead. Why?  For at least 6 reasons.

1. Because God utterly abhors this and I hate what God hates.   (ABOMINATION) — The Bible reveals that He hates the killing of innocent and defenseless children to pagan gods (Lev 20; Jer 7; Prov 24 & 30). God even says that such atrocities “never even entered His mind.” When God declares that he utterly abhors the killing of children, this affects me as a man saved by God. This affects me because I am called to love what He loves and to hate what He hates. As I grow in Christlikeness and as my mind is renewed by the Word of God into conformity to Christ, I increasingly hate what God hates — and this includes abortion. So I go because abortion is abominable.

2. Because souls must be reconciled to God & murderers, fornicators and liars don’t go to heaven.   (HELL) — I also go to the murder mill because I firmly believe that there is one way souls can escape eternal hell and that is by the gospel of Jesus Christ alone. All must be reconciled to God by faith alone in Christ or they will perish under God’s eternal and infinite wrath. Scripture unambiguously affirms that murderers, fornicators and liars do not go to heaven, but their part will be in the Lake of Fire. So I go urgently because sinners are approaching eternity and walking the tightrope over the flames of hell underneath them. And they must come to Christ or they’ll perish.

3. Because it is the gospel of Jesus Christ ALONE that saves dead souls.    (RECONCILIATION)  — Firmly do I believe that there is one remedy for desperately wicked sinners like me and you. And that is the gospel of Jesus Christ alone. Nothing else can save a guilty soul. Nothing else can pardon a ruined rebel. Jesus Christ who lived a righteous life, died a substitutionary death, appeased God’s furious and just wrath, and rose from the dead victoriously is the only way to salvation. No other way to go to heaven exists. No merit, no work, no deed, no self-confidence in human achievements can ever bring a man to God. Thus, it is the preaching of the gospel that sinners at the abortion mill need. They need Christ. They need the summons to repent and turn away from their sins and murderous desires and to trust, submit, surrender, and follow Christ alone — right now! So I go because I believe confidently and supremely in this gospel.

4. Because very few others are there.    (NEED) —  I praise God for faithful evangelists who frequent murder mills and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ.  And I am thankful for many others who do stand on sidewalks. But at the abortion clinics in the general vicinity near where I live, there are very few men who are boldly standing and proclaiming the gospel. So there’s a need. Souls need to hear of Christ and they need to be warned of their sin, and they need to be summoned to a gracious Savior.

5. Because I love children.   (CHILDREN)  — I have children. I get the heart of a Father that tenderly is full of affection for my own kids. Jesus welcomed all the little children to come to Him. He said that the kingdom of God belongs to such as them! The heart of Christ loving and yearning for children is also a heart that I can relate to because I have children that God has graciously given me. So I go because I don’t want innocent babies murdered in the wombs of their mothers. I don't want skulls crushed or body parts ripped limb from limb. I want the womb of a mother to be the safest place for a baby. So, still yet another reason, I go and preach because I love children.  

6. Because time is short, eternity is long and Jesus said: “GO”.  (OBEDIENCE)
— Each week I make it a priority in my pastoral work week duties to preach the gospel at a murder mill because time is short. Eternity is coming. And Jesus commanded all of His followers to go (not sit) and make disciples. That includes evangelism and proclamation. Young mothers walking into those places don’t realize how short their lives are and how long eternity is. They don’t know that God’s sword of raging anger is about to fall upon them. So I go to urgently warn and lovingly summon them to the Savior. Jesus said “GO” so I go. He said: “Compel them to come in” so I go obediently to my Savior and proclaim the gospel for His glory and for the good of souls.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021


What To Repent Of.

Geoffrey R. Kirkland


This brief article seeks to help in knowing what to repent of.  On a recent prayer walk as I was pouring out my heart to God for more holiness and for our church congregation, I was praying through these four points. May they be a blessing to you as well.

1. I repent of the littleness of my love
May our hearts burn with greater love for Jesus Christ.  Think of how the Bridegroom loves the Shulammite in the Song. And think of how great Christ’s great love is for His Bride, the Church. Let it be your prayer that you confess the littleness of your love for Christ and plead for greater affections and more zealous desires for Him.  Those who love Him abide in Him and keep His commandments. Let this prayer be true of you and may you grow in your passion in loving Him who is altogether lovely and full of beams of excellencies. 

2. I repent of the coldness of my heart
Think of the many times that you have been cold in your heart toward Scripture, toward God, toward Truth, toward perishing sinners, and toward godly living.  Confess your sins to the Lord. Ask for His mercy that He would re-kindle the flame of love that your heart would be warmed by His love and that you would love Him as He ought to be loved, that you would study Scripture as your chiefest joy, that you would pray for and evangelize sinners with God-magnifying confidence, and that you would walk in holiness so as to be pleasing to Him in all things. Confess your sin and seek to walk in truth and pray for Him to meet with you as you commune with Him.

3. I repent of the pridefulness of my heart
We all have the roots of pride still residing in our hearts. Our many sins that we commit come from the same root of self-magnifying, God-debasing pride. O let us repent and confess this sin. Let us come to God in earnest prayer and in desperate prayer clinging to His grace and His power to enable us to walk in humility just like Jesus Christ did. Implore God to remove jealousy, covetousness, lust, grumbling and complaining, and arguing with others. These sins arise out of the pridefulness in our own hearts.  Seek to walk in humility as you go to Calvary and remember what Christ did for you — for your sins — and seek to have the mindset of Jesus Christ as your own each day, by God’s grace.

4. I repent of the self-confidence in my ministry
God has allotted a particular charge and calling to every single Christian. Every child of God has a mission that He has given to us. We are to fulfill that and live obediently to God. One sin that we all have is to dwell in self-confidence and to rely on self. This manifests itself practically in prayerlessness and thanklessness.  If we pray little, then we are depending much on self.  If we are thankless, then we are in that moment not recognizing all that we are and have comes from God but rather we think that we are entitled to blessings in life. Come again to the Lord humbly and ask for His forgiveness. Receive His powerful and sufficient grace. Seek to be confident in God and seek to slay all confidence in self. Let us be desperate for Him and lean on His power.  
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