My Recommendations: Book of the Week, May 22

What do Charles Spurgeon, George Müller, and Hudson Taylor have in common? Let’s count the ways: (1) All were fervent evangelical Christians? (2) All served Christ with all that they had. (3) All left behind a tremendous legacy of faithfulness and godliness. (4) All were based in England. (5) All were contemporaries. (6) All knew each other and encouraged one another and gained energy for ministry from one another. (7) All are the subjects of John Piper’s seventh book in his series entitled The Swans Are Not Silent. A Camaraderie of Confidence (Crossway, 2016) should be high on your reading list for 2017. Our team of local church elders is reading through this book and discussing it as part of our elders’ meetings. The volume would make a tremendous gift to your pastor or to one or more of your elders. Or, you could do what I did with the first book in this series (Legacy of Sovereign Joy)–I gave it to our two sons and to our two sons-in-law, because of the impact it had on my own ministry. This series of Christian biographies comprises one of John Piper’s greatest gifts to all of us.

Click on picture for link.

What will happen on September 23, 2017?

Dawn breaks on Saturday, September 23, 2017 . . . then what? Some people will spend the entire day looking upward, awaiting the return of Jesus Christ. Why? Because someone has convinced them that they know something Jesus Himself did not know:

Matthew 24:36 “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.  37 For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah.  38 For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark,  39 and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away; so will the coming of the Son of Man be.” (NASU)

In a blog (“What Will Happen on September 23, 2017?”) posted on the Answers in Genesis web site, Dr. Danny Faulkner replies to this new date-setting trend by just simply examining its claims—the so-called evidences. This new set of date setters doctor their YouTube videos, ignore Scripture, and fail to properly prepare themselves (see 2 Peter 3:11–18). They are not blameless—they proclaim false evidences and deceive others.

What will happen? The sun will rise at 7:39 AM and set at 7:43 PM. As for myself, I will continue to look forward to the September 30 SEMBEQ Seminar on the Subject of Origins in Montreal (if the Lord wills, James 4:15). I will still be praying, “Come quickly, Lord Jesus.” He may come before September 23 or after September 23. No one can plan on a specific date any more than they can know when a thief will break into their house or their car to steal their possessions.

Deuteronomy 18:21 “You may say in your heart, ‘How will we know the word which the LORD has not spoken?’  22 When a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the thing does not come about or come true, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.”

Oh, yes—something else we can say with absolute certainty: When the sun rises on September 24, we all will know who have been “presumptuous” and who are false prophets. They join the ranks of over 200 date setters—like Michael Drosnin (The Bible Code, 2012), Harold Camping (May 21, 2011), Ronald Weinland (April 17, 2008), Dan Millar (September 21, 2000), Lester Sumerall (2000), Edgar Whisenant (September 13, 1988), etc.—ad nauseam.

Memories of Mom

Three years ago today, my mother left Colorado for the last time–all the way to heaven itself. At the age of 90 she still looked as she does in this wonderful picture of her that I took just about nine months earlier. That smile and the twinkle in her eyes stay with me even today. Mothers are one of God’s greatest gifts, even with any faults they might have (my mother’s were very few). Sons, on the other hand, are much farther from being perfect and she loved to remind me that some of her gray hair came because of me. Then she’d chuckle and say, “And, looking at your gray wreath around your bald head, God paid you back with children of your own.” Don’t misunderstand–she didn’t look at children as a curse, but as a tremendous blessing. And how she loved her grandchildren and great-grandchildren! They all brought huge smiles to her face and a dancing light in her eyes. She remembered when those phones were a household item–she worked as a telephone operator when people owned such phones.

This photo was taken in 1943 (maybe 1944) when Mom was working as a telephone operator in Craig, CO. Her “career” at the telephone office came to a close the day after she got engaged to my father–he had returned home for a leave in 1945 after service in North Africa and Europe in WW2. They married and had a brief honeymoon in Denver before his leave was up. As their firstborn, I entered this world as one of the earliest of the “Baby Boomers.” Then came my sister Martha, our brother Jim, and lastly our sister Susan. When people talk about acronyms for MOTHER, I always begin with My and Our, because that relationship is so very, very precious. And, with Mom, the T was for Tease–how she loved to tease! Just ask my brother-in-law, Warren, who also loves to tease. She was #1 practical joker in our family–in other words, she was fun. That leads to H for Happy, because that is how she was and what she made all of us. E was for Excellence–she demanded it and expected it, and we grew to seek it as a pattern in our lives. Lastly, R for Redeemed. Yes, when she came to the Lord in faith in 1962 Mom became an even better and happier Mom. Her faith became the candle burning brightly in our home. She stayed active in the church until the week before she left earth to enter heaven.

Mom graduated from Moffat County High School, Craig, CO in 1942. Her graduation picture is the way I think I might be seeing her in heaven–restored to the bloom of youth as she worships her Savior in His presence throughout the infinite future. Her appearance changed with the years, but I remember her ever youthful heart and attitude. In her late 80’s I took her fishing–and she loved it–even though we caught nothing that day. She loved drives in the Colorado countryside through cedar breaks, canyons, over hills, mesas, and into the mountains and forests–even the sagebrush flats and arroyos. Soon after her salvation she chose Galatians 2:20 as her life verse (in the KVJ, of course):

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”

Precious, precious memories. Thanks, Mom. See you in heaven.

Mary Jean (Holt) Barrick

July 5, 1923 – March 17, 2014

Northwest Colorado

Note: My mother-in-law, Lucille Dow, also worked at a telephone switchboard in Alamosa, CO at about the same time. Barb and I have wondered if our mothers ever spoke to one another from their respective switchboards. We both also had great-grandparents who lived in Cripple Creek, CO in the last of the 19th century who might have met each other. I feel a Twilight Zone episode coming on.

Telephone Switchboard ca. 1943

A Dispensational Discourse: Interview

Coming March 11. Over the past year I have written a number of blog posts for Dispensational Publishing House. Recently, Paul Scharf interviewed me by phone for this biographical post. In this post I speak of my dispensational viewpoint and how I came to it and how I view the current landscape regarding dispensationalism. I hope you find it of interest and helpful. Below I have posted links to the top ten books I recommend on the topic of dispensationalism. They are listed in order of preference.

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True Spirituality, Dealing with Addiction, and Self-Help Manuals

Counseling individuals with various types of addictions presents an ongoing challenge. How can you best help them to help themselves? How can you encourage them? What resources do you recommend? How do you help them better understand their addiction and its consequences (both short-term and long-term)? Frequently we depend too much on self-help manuals. There are many good books available. Warning: the thumb nail does not represent one that I would recommend–it is just a good visual for the blog post.

My blog today on ParkingSpace23 addresses this issue–at least in part. Addictions and recovery from addictions are sometimes complex matters. However, we really need to begin back at ground zero with the most basic of basics. Only then can we be certain we are following the path of God’s wisdom, which is greater than ours.

Hi-def Leadership in a Hi-def World

The attributes of godly leaders occupies a good deal of Scripture. Sometimes we find it necessary to synthesize the biblical teachings on leadership in order to sharpen our understanding of its seriousness and its challenges. In my recent ParkingSpace23 blog (February 2, 2017) I address this topic by means of using “Hi-def” as an acronym to structure a high-definition approach to the concepts of leadership.

God produces godly Christian leaders–they do not produce themselves. Spiritual formation of Christian leaders comes about as the result of men immersing themselves in the Word of God and of the people of God bathing them in prayer. I hope my brief and imperfect blog will help all of us think more carefully about church leadership.