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9Marks Explained : A Letter From Mark Dever

Ryan Townsend

Blog posts by Ryan Townsend:

The Good Book Company offers 10% discount with T4G Coupon

In addition to the Mother's Day Bundle, here's another reason to visit The Good Book Company (http://www.thegoodbook.com/): currently, you can receive a 10% discount on your total purchase by using the promo code "T4G10" at checkout. 

This site has some excellent resources. Let me just highlight one book that will be a hugely practical resource for pastors and families: The Gospel-Centred Family: Becoming the Parents God Wants You To Be, by Tim Chester and Ed Moll. 

Select Principles on Biblical Manhood

Bruce Ware recently presented a compelling message to the men of Clifton Baptist Church on being a faithful husband and father. You can listen to the talk and view the handout (text pasted below) here.

The Trench Work of Pastoral Ministry - Practical Shepherding

Let me add a word of recommendation to Mike's post below introducing you to Brian Croft's new blog, Practical Shepherding
Last week, Brian Croft and his father, Dr. Bill Croft, greatly blessed the interns and some of the staff at Clifton Baptist Church when they came and talked to us about pastoral visitation. Brian's final words to our group are still ringing in my head. He rightly reminded us that God's word is central to the pastor's ministry, and preaching is very important. But the danger in many of our churches is the idolization of the preacher at the expense of the trench work of ministry. God’s word needs to be central, but the centrality of the word plays out not just in preaching, but in reading scripture to the sick person in the hospital (and their families!), visiting shut-ins and praying with them, etc. Brian rightly encouraged us to remember the trenches of ministry and preach God’s word here. And if we're doing the trench work faithfully, it will culminate in our teaching, preaching, application - in short, our whole ministry. Brian knew the vanity of my own heart, and the attraction to be sucked into the perceived areas of glamour. May God give us grace and humility to find joy here in the trenches. Read his books, his blog, and enjoy the trench work!

Meditating on the Promises of God (from Tom Schreiner's first sermon of his Romans series)

On Sunday, March 7, here at Clifton Baptist Church in Louisville, KY, Tom Schreiner began a new sermon series on the book of Romans. You can listen to the series online here. In the first sermon, Tom preached from Romans 1:1-7, and encouraged us to particularly meditate on, pray over, and rejoice in the promises of God, asking God to give us faith to believe and wrestling with God until we do. Here's a good resource to help you do that, by Ken Boa. It's simply a collection of selected promises of God in each book of the Bible. Read and find great encouragement in our kind, merciful God. Here it is as a Word doc: Download Promises of God in Bible

Encouraging Missionaries - Ten Tips for Short-Term Missions

Dr. Hayward Armstrong (Associate Professor of Christian Missions, SBTS) is a 30-year veteran in the missions field. Here are ten practical tips he gives for churches/Christians traveling on short-term missions trips. 

1. Ask the missionaries
to describe their ministry to you (it helps them to clarify their thinking and
renew their passion and it helps you to understand them and their work).

2. Ask them to name a
few specific things or people that you can pray with them about (while you are
there and after you come home).

3. Follow their
leadership (they probably know more about the project than you).

4. Follow their
leadership (they know the culture better than you).

5. Follow their
leadership (they know the people and their needs better than you).

6. Graciously allow them
to change your plans in midstream. 

7. Let them infect you
with a love for their adopted people.

8. Don't show disgust
for people, places, circumstances, food, etc. (be honest but don't dwell on the

9. Don't give them
advice about how to do their ministry (they know more about it than you do).

10. Tell them that while you
are there you will do anything they need to support them or their ministry (and
mean it).  

Cultivate Humility - Part 2

"God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble."James 4:6Here's more great stuff to read slowly and prayerfully from Stuart Scott's From Pride to Humility:

A list of 24 manifestations of what Christ exalting humility should
produce in your life.

1.     Recognizing and trusting God’s character
(Psalm 119:66)

2.     Seeing yourself as having no right to
question or judge an Almighty and Perfect God (Psalm 145:17; Romans 9:19-23)

3.     Focusing on Christ (Philippians 1:21;
Hebrews 12:1-2)

4.     Biblical praying and a great deal of it (1
Thessalonians 5:17; 1 Timothy 2:1-2)

5.     Being overwhelmed with God’s undeserved
grace and goodness (Psalm 116:12-19)

6.     Thankfulness and gratitude in general
towards others (1 Thess. 5:18)

7.     Being gentle and patient (Colossians

8.     Seeing yourself as no better than others
(Romans 12:16; Ephesians 3:8)

9.     Having an accurate view of your gifts and
abilities (Romans 12:3)

10. Being a good listener (James 1:19;
Philippians 2:3-4)

11. Talking about others only if it is good or
for their good (Proverbs 11:13)

12. Being gladly submissive and obedient to
those in authority (Rom. 12:1-2, 13:1-2)

13. Preferring others over yourself (Romans

14. Being thankful for criticism or reproof
(Proverbs 9:8, 27:5-6)

15. Having a teachable spirit (Proverbs 9:9)

16. Seeking always to build up
others (Ephesians 4:29)

17. Serving (Galatians 5:13)

18. A quickness in admitting
when you are wrong (Proverbs 29:23)

19. A quickness in granting and
asking for forgiveness (Colossians 3:12-14)

20. Repenting of sin as a way
of life (Colossians 3:1-14; 1 Timothy 4:7-9)

21. Minimizing others’ sins or
shortcomings in comparison to one’s own (Matthew 7:3-4)

22. Being genuinely glad for
others (Romans 12:15)

23. Being honest and open about
who you are and the areas in which you need growth (Philippians 3:12-14;
Galatians 6:2)

24. Possessing close
relationships (Acts 20:31-38)

Cultivate Humility - Part 1

"God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble."James 4:6In his booklet

From Pride to Humility, Stuart Scott has compiled an insightful list of 30
biblical indicators as to whether pride is resident in our hearts. Read these slowly and prayerfully.

1.     Complaining against or passing judgment on
God (Numbers 14:1-4, 9, 11; Romans 9:20)

2.     A lack of gratitude (2 Chronicles 32:25)

3.     Anger (Proverbs 28:25; Matthew 20:1-16)

4.     Seeing yourself as better than others (Luke

5.     Having an inflated view of your importance,
gifts and abilities (Acts 12:21-23)

6.     Being focused on the lack of your gifts and
abilities (1 Cor. 12:14-25)

7.     Perfectionism (Matthew 23:24-28)

8.     Talking too much (Proverbs 10:19)

9.     Talking too much about yourself (Proverbs
27:2; Galatians 6:3)

10. Seeking independence or control (1
Corinthians 1:10-13; Ephesians 5:21)

11. Being consumed with what others think
(Galatians 1:10)

12. Being devastated or angered by criticism
(Proverbs 13:1)

13. Being unteachable (Proverbs 19:20; John 9:13-34)

14. Being sarcastic, hurtful, degrading, talking
down to them(Proverbs 12:18, 24)

15. A lack of service (Galatians 5:13, Ephesians

16. A lack of compassion (Matthew 5:7, 18:23-35)

17. Being defensive or blame-shifting (Genesis
3:12-13; Proverbs 12:1)

18. A lack of admitting when you are wrong
(Proverbs 10:17)

19. A lack of asking forgiveness (Matthew

20. A lack of biblical prayer (Luke 18:10-14)

21. Resisting authority or being disrespectful
(1 Peter 2:13-17)

22. Voicing preferences or opinions when not
asked (Philippians 2:1-4)

23. Minimizing your own sin and shortcomings
(Matthew 7:3-5)

24. Maximizing others’ sin and shortcomings
(Matthew 7:3-5; Luke 18:9-14)

25. Being impatient or irritable with others
(Ephesians 4:31-32)

26. Being jealous or envious (1 Corinthians

27. Using others (Matthew 7:12; Philippians

28. Being deceitful by covering up sins, faults,
and mistakes (Proverbs 11:3; 28:13)

29. Using attention-getting tactics (1 Peter

30. Not having close relationships (Proverbs
18:1-2; Hebrews 10:24-25)

Haiti Relief - The Baptist Haiti Mission


Most of you have heard by now about the terrible earthquake in Haiti that has
devastated the country.  Some news agencies are estimating human loss at
500,000 souls.  Please be in prayer for the people, specifically the
believers, over these next few days.  Many folks are still stuck in
collapsed buildings and will begin dying without water or air.  And the
danger of looting and violence is very real.  May God use this to turn
many to himself.

Since we can't jump on planes and get down there to help out, the best thing
we can do right now is fund good ministries that are on the ground. With all
the confusion of who to support, I wanted to make you aware of a ministry, the Baptist Haiti Mission, that I'm
confident will use funding in a competent manner both to relieve physical
suffering and to give clear biblical witness to Jesus Christ. 

The Baptist Haiti Mission is right in the center of the chaos and is doing
amazing work. They could use our support. You can READ about them and DONATE 
on their website http://www.bhm.org.  You can see regular
updates about the disaster here.
Here's one sobering fact from their homepage this morning:

"The BHM hospital at our
headquarters in Fermathe is overflowing with earthquake victims. We are the
only hospital serving the surrounding rural mountain villages."

There are multiple buttons you can press to donate funds to them, if the Lord
is leading you to help relieve suffering in Haiti during this crisis.


Would the Apostles Endorse Multi-site Churches?

John Meade, a dear Brother from Clifton Baptist Church here in Louisville, KY, gives a thoughtful, biblical, succinct, and helpful answer here.Here's some of John's highlights and conclusion from the post:"My basic assumption going into this issue is simple: the view that
remains faithful to the clear Scriptural directives and can obey those
directives practically should be adopted.  Thus any view of the church
which would necessarily lead to the disobedience of clear Scriptural directives because of the church’s structure itself should be abandoned....What are these clearly revealed commands?

  1. Overseers, Shepherd the Flock of God (1 Peter
    5:1ff; Hebrews 13:17). 
  2. One another Commands.
  3. Church discipline/congregationalism (Matt.
    18:16ff; 1 Cor. 5:1ff).
  4. The Lord’s Supper, “when you come together…

I’m sure I have made caricatures of the multi-site position.  I
invite others to correct me where necessary and to dialogue with me and
show me how multi-site churches carry out these commands of the Lord. 
If multi-site churches are able to abide by these commands, then I
would be more in support of them.  But as it is now, I do not think the
multi-site church is in a position to obey these commands and thus one
should reject the model."

Connie Dever Talks to Women about being closely connected to their husbands for the glory of God

This Tuesday, September 8, 2009, we at Clifton Baptist Church (Louisville, KY) had the joy of hosting Connie Dever. Connie spoke to women about supporting their husbands in the ministry in a talk entitled, "Juxtaposition: Being Closely Connected for the Glory of God." While the talk was oriented to pastors' wives, the truths are applicable and edifying for all audiences.