by David and Tim Bayly on December 4, 2004 - 2:03pm
Although it's about two weeks after the holiday, I've been thinking about thanksgiving and gratitude. Some years back, someone pointed out to me something I'd not previously noticed--that being ungrateful is a sin, and a rather serious one. It stands in a prominent place in Romans 1:
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. (Romans 1:18-21)
Note the reasons for God's wrath. He is angry because men suppress their knowledge of His eternal power and divine nature. But beyond that, because men don't "give thanks." Doesn't that seem strange? As a rule, we don't demand gratitude from people, nor from our children. Yet ingratitude angers God...
by David and Tim Bayly on August 22, 2005 - 12:28pm
Speaking of the Christian vs. secular college debate, a valid alternative to choosing a Christian college is choosing a secular school based on the churches/campus ministries resident on or around that secular campus. For instance, my denomination, the Presbyterian Church in America, has a campus ministry called Reformed University Ministries. RUM's work is called Reformed University Fellowship on each campus. Of course, this work is better on some campuses than others. It's excellent at Vanderbilt.
This was a prominent factor in our encouraging our second child, Joseph, to consider Vanderbilt.
RUF is self-consciously church-based and biblical exposition forms the centerpiece of their on-campus weekly meetings. Much different than every other evangelical parachurch campus ministry (trust me), RUF doesn't just pay lip-service to the local church but it pushes its students to be committed to a church--and not as secondary priority after their involvement in the RUF campus ministry, but as foundational to Christian discipleship.
On to a story. Joseph narrowed his choice down to Covenant College or Vanderbilt. He and I visited both of them and Joseph still couldn't choose. When we visited Vanderbilt, Marvin and Susan Olasky's son (Joseph, I think) hosted Joseph overnight and gave high marks to his experience there. Eventually, Joseph chose Vanderbilt.
So with some fear (but always faith), in the Fall of 2000 our family piled in the car and took Joseph to Nashville. We stayed at our son-in-law and daughter, Doug and Heather's, on Friday night and Saturday morning got in the minivan to move Joseph into his dorm room about half an hour away.
The building had only singles and was a pit. It's never easy to let a child go so I was feeling some gloom as we finished carrying boxes and clothes up to the room. The time came to leave and, after praying and giving him a kiss and a hug, we walked out of the room and headed to the staircase. Turning left out of his room and starting down the hall (with tears in my eyes, I admit), I was startled to look in the next door and see, exactly at the same place in the bookshelf over the desk, the same two-volume set we had just placed in the same position in Joseph's room: the Banner of Truth two-volume set of the Works of Jonathan Edwards.
I did a doubletake and looked again, thinking I'd likely been doing the moonwalk and not actually moving down the hall at all as I walked. I must still be looking through Joseph's doorway. So I looked more closely and saw through the door a stranger and his mother. I walked straight into the room and asked the young man, "What in the WORLD are you doing with a two-volume set of Jonathan Edwards on our bookshelf!? Come here, I've got to show you something."
We walked out the door and, turning right, I had him look in Joseph's room and see what he had on his shelf. Then it was time for our new-found friend to do a doubletake. Joseph's next door neighbor then told me how he had an older brother who had gone off to college--a non-Christian school by the way--and been led to faith in Jesus, there. His brother came home and told him about Jesus, at which point he too placed his faith in Jesus Christ.
His brother also turned him on to John Piper, so this younger brother began reading Piper. And he noticed in the footnotes that Piper drank waters from Edwards' well, so he went out and bought this set of Edwards and brought it to school so he could read it. Cinching the matter, he told me his name was Joseph--my son's name, also.
Praise God for His loving provision for His children, even down to determining among thousands of students that two students matriculating at Vandy who love Him would have adjoining rooms and doctrine.
Both Josephs attended RUF which was absolutely critical in their spiritual lives while at Vandy; both grew stronger in their friendship and faith while at Vandy; and our family's faith was strengthened as we saw how much God protects those who belong to Him, including their children.
Incidentally, it turned out that their dorm was sort of a self-selective group of sold-out Christians because all the men living there had asked not to be placed in a co-ed dorm.
by David and Tim Bayly on January 28, 2006 - 5:27pm
Anticipating, tomorrow, another in a long line of peaceable congregational meetings, I stop this night to give thanks to God for the unity of the brothers and sisters of Church of the Good Shepherd. We are close to our tenth anniversary and my heart is filled with gratitude to God and the souls of Church of the Good Shepherd for the love that has, from the beginning, characterized this fellowship. By God's grace, may our peace and unity continue for many years to come.
A Song of Ascents, of David: Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious oil upon the head, coming down upon the beard, even Aaron's beard, coming down upon the edge of his robes. It is like the dew of Hermon coming down upon the mountains of Zion; for there the LORD commanded the blessing--life forever. (Psalm 133)
by David and Tim Bayly on February 4, 2006 - 5:58am
"What is faith?" I wondered as I walked back to my car after having my teeth cleaned down in Bedford. Dr. Howell's dental hygienist, Dee, had probed me on our church plans. Her son is a pastor and his church had just completed a new church building so Dee wanted to know what was happening with our building.
"We broke ground a few weeks ago," I said, "and we're expecting to begin building in a couple months, when it gets warm. We have a man in our church who builds refrigerated warehouses around the country and he's leading our building program."
"Where did he come from?" Dee asked.
"Who, the builder? He comes from forty-five minutes away each Sunday," I said.
Dee seemed not to have heard me. She pounced on me, "God sent him to you, didn't He!"
"Well, of course God sent Mike Boles to us," I thought. "God does everything."
by David and Tim Bayly on February 25, 2006 - 4:46pm
Early during my time at seminary, I saw an ad on the seminary bulletin board placed by a local family looking for someone to work about twenty hours a week gardening, cleaning, driving, and other odd jobs. I went for the interview and was hired.
My first day on the job, I met Enoch. Eighty-three at the time, Enoch had been widowed many years earlier and he lived alone. Until recently, he'd been the organist for his small Baptist church but he'd been forced to quit because his hands had become gnarled by arthritis and could no longer spread across the keys.
Enoch's entire life consisted of being at the beck and call of the family we worked for. The difference between Enoch and the other two people they employed was that we were paid an hourly wage and had daytime hours. Enoch, though, was given a car with all the car's expenses covered, and also a small gift each Christmas. For that he spent sixteen hours a day, weekdays, weekends, and holidays "holding down the fort" as he'd put it.
He did some work in the garden--the formal rose and dahlia garden was his turf. But usually, he'd sit in the breakfast room reading the Bible. He had a system I've taken up in part. Each time he finished a chapter, he'd mark it with a check mark. And something I haven't copied: he'd use a different colored magic marker each year. Almost every chapter in his Bible had at least five check marks at its head.
I'd open the sliding glass doors and walk into the breakfast room and Enoch would greet me with a cheerful, "Well, how are you?" We'd catch up on news. It was always sweet to talk to Enoch but as time went on I noticed there was never, ever any family news. Church news, yes--but no family news. Finally, one day I put the question to him directly: "Enoch, do you have any children?"
by David and Tim Bayly on September 22, 2006 - 9:16am
It's been my privilege to pray through my church family by name this week. I'm not finished yet, but I hope to make it through the church this afternoon.
Tim and I deeply love the people of our churches. We regard it as among the chief demonstrations of God's love to us that we have been granted the privilege of serving as their shepherds and praise Him for His glorious grace revealed to us through CTW and CGS.
Daily I praise God for the church Mary Lee and I are privileged, with our children, to have for our spiritual home. Last weekend, we had a men's retreat and our youngest, Taylor, came along. There he is, sitting with Alex Bristol, David Canfield, Lawrence Howell, and Steve Traeger's shoulder. Later in the day, we played basketball, and ultimate frisbee. Click through to the next page and you'll see they're both serious business to us.
Sunday afternoons following
Home Fellowship Groups, forty of us or so gather at Olcott Park and play soccer until it's too dark to see. It's wonderful--boys and girls, old and young, all having fun together. And finally, a picture of our Easter Sunrise service in our new church building. (Thanks, Colin Hobbs, for serving as our church photographer. Excellent job!)
If you don't have a church home, come and join us. You'd move for a job. Why not for a church? We're always making a place for new members of the family, young and old, single and married, patriarchal and egalitarian, Reformed and Arminian, credo and paedo, highbrow and lowbrow--all are welcome, as long as you recognize that your officers will be boringly biblical on all doctrinal matters, having subscribed to the Westminster Standards.
Of course, David might argue you should move to Toledo, instead. Keep in mind, though, that they're just starting their capital campaign, whereas ours is finis.
These three men of Church of the Good Shepherd have been pouring their lives into our new church building. Many others have helped, but day in and day out, these three are on the site doing the work. On the left is Mike Boles (who was pleased that his back was to the camera). Mike led the committee that chose the property and arranged the financing. Now he's serving full time as our general contractor. In the center is Dave Abu-Sara, Mike's hardworking right hand man. The proud father of a two week old son named Joseph, Dave will be starting at the Reformed Evangelical Pastors College this fall. Then, on the right is Pastor Dave Curell who has served next to Mike Boles from the beginning. At times, it seems like Mike and Dave talk to each other more than they talk to their wives.
God has given us many, many faithful servants who have helped build this new church building, both with money and talents. But if you go over to the site, these are the men who will be there to greet you. Thank you, Mike, Dave, and Dave.
Two days ago, our dear brother, Bob Sands, and his crew painted the exterior of the building. Today, Taylor Concrete poured the floor for the office and classroom wing. By Friday, the gym/sanctuary floor should be finished, also.
The Baylys finally broke down and got a dog. Or maybe I should say
our youngest son, Taylor, got a dog. At this point, though, it's only an
While Ben and Michal were in Africa last year, they left their
one-year-old Black Lab, Congo, with us and we all fell in love with
him. You may remember some pictures and exclamations over Congo on this
blog a while back? Anyhow, Taylor had assured me Ben and Michal
wouldn't want Congo back when they returned because they were likely
going to move into an apartment that didn't allow pets. Wrong.
When they came home, they very much wanted Congo back and I was
bitter. I threatened to get another male Black Lab and name him Congo,
too, so when they were here for supper and went home, they'd never know
for sure whose dog they were taking home.
I relented and the eight week puppy we now have is a female and we
didn't name her Congo. Taylor thought about Mozambique or Central
African Republic, but settled on Kenya. (At the top are Congo and Kenya, playing together.)
So now, we're immersed in dog training for the first time in our
lives. We want Kenya to be just like Congo, but it's hard work. When
Congo lived here, we could be anywhere in the house or yard and tell
him, "Congo, go to purgatory," and he'd hightail it to his cage, go in
and wait for us to shut and latch the door. Everyone remarked on what a
magnificent job Ben (mostly) and Michal had done training him.
(by Tim) In connection with the hymn, Like a River Glorious, a man I respect surprised me recently when he commented concerning the line, "Every joy or trial, falleth from above; traced upon our dial by the Son of love," that some would question the biblical support for this statement.
Listening to him, I thought how fearful and dreary it must be to go through life as a believer in Jesus Christ who denies that our Heavenly Father is in control of sickness, temptation, and death. But more than the dreariness of it, what can these people be thinking when they read such texts as this from the Luke 4 account of Jesus' wilderness temptations...
by David and Tim Bayly on October 16, 2007 - 9:29am
Prior to attending the pastors conference starting tomorrow at Christ
Church, Moscow, David and I have taken two days of study, writing, and
hiking up at Glacier National Park. Yesterday, on the park's east side
in the Many Glacier region, we hiked a little beyond the falls on the
way to Lake Ptarmigan. Here are a couple pics.
At dusk, we arrived at Two Dog Flats and saw fifty to seventy-five elk grazing on the northern slopes. There were a couple bulls, one with at least seven points. And oh how they bugled! No uncertain sound for them; they were intent on their work.
As we drove out of the park, we saw two moose drinking at the river...
by David and Tim Bayly on November 22, 2007 - 7:27am
(Tim) Oh give thanks to the LORD, for He is good, For His lovingkindness is everlasting. Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, Whom He has redeemed from the hand of the adversary And gathered from the lands, From the east and from the west, From the north and from the south. They wandered in the wilderness in a desert region; They did not find a way to an inhabited city. They were hungry and thirsty; Their soul fainted within them. Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble; He delivered them out of their distresses. He led them also by a straight way, To go to an inhabited city. Let them give thanks to the LORD for His lovingkindness, And for His wonders to the sons of men! For He has satisfied the thirsty soul, And the hungry soul He has filled with what is good.
There were those who dwelt in darkness and in the shadow of death, Prisoners in misery and chains, Because they had rebelled against the words of God And spurned the counsel of the Most High. Therefore He humbled their heart with labor; They stumbled and there was none to help. Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble; He saved them out of their distresses. He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death And broke their bands apart. Let them give thanks to the LORD for His lovingkindness, And for His wonders to the sons of men! For He has shattered gates of bronze And cut bars of iron asunder.
Fools, because of their rebellious way, And because of their iniquities, were afflicted. Their soul abhorred all kinds of food, And they drew near to the gates of death. Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble; He saved them out of their distresses. He sent His word and healed them, And delivered them from their destructions. Let them give thanks to the LORD for His lovingkindness, And for His wonders to the sons of men! Let them also offer sacrifices of thanksgiving, And tell of His works with joyful singing.
Those who go down to the sea in ships, Who do business on great waters; They have seen the works of the LORD, And His wonders in the deep. For He spoke and raised up a stormy wind, Which lifted up the waves of the sea. They rose up to the heavens, they went down to the depths; Their soul melted away in their misery. They reeled and staggered like a drunken man, And were at their wits’ end. Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, And He brought them out of their distresses. He caused the storm to be still, So that the waves of the sea were hushed. Then they were glad because they were quiet, So He guided them to their desired haven. Let them give thanks to the LORD for His lovingkindness, And for His wonders to the sons of men! Let them extol Him also in the congregation of the people, And praise Him at the seat of the elders.
He changes rivers into a wilderness And springs of water into a thirsty ground; A fruitful land into a salt waste, Because of the wickedness of those who dwell in it. He changes a wilderness into a pool of water And a dry land into springs of water; And there He makes the hungry to dwell, So that they may establish an inhabited city, And sow fields and plant vineyards, And gather a fruitful harvest. Also He blesses them and they multiply greatly, And He does not let their cattle decrease. When they are diminished and bowed down Through oppression, misery and sorrow, He pours contempt upon princes And makes them wander in a pathless waste. But He sets the needy securely on high away from affliction, And makes his families like a flock. The upright see it and are glad; But all unrighteousness shuts its mouth.
Who is wise? Let him give heed to these things, And consider the lovingkindnesses of the LORD.
by David and Tim Bayly on February 12, 2008 - 9:59am
Here at Church of the Good Shepherd, we have what I call our "finishing school for young men." A deacon of our church, Bob Kaplowitz, is severely afflicted with cerebral palsy and needs to have help with the basics including feeding and clothing himself. So as long as he's lived in Bloomington, he's had a stream of men living with him who, in exchange for room and board, share caring for him. What a gift this is to our church and what husbands these men make for godly women!
Imagine marrying a man who spent the period of your engagement feeding, clothing, bathing, and translating for a Christian brother. What kind of character would this build in your future husband? What kind of father would he make?
This month, a local magazine (H&L) did a piece on Bob's House, Bobbites, and the remodeling one of our elders, Tim Wegener, did for Bob. It's an excellent article...
Thus says the LORD, ‘I will return to Zion and will dwell in the
midst of Jerusalem. Then Jerusalem will be called the City of Truth,
and the mountain of the LORD of hosts will be called the Holy
Mountain.’ Thus says the LORD of hosts, ‘Old men and old women will
again sit in the streets of Jerusalem, each man with his staff in his
hand because of age.
And the streets of the city will be filled with boys and girls playing in its streets.’ (Zechariah 8:3-5)
(Tim) When David and I speak privately, it's a rare conversation we don't speak of our gratitude to the Lord for the wonderful churches He has blessed us with. And this isn't the one-upmanship of two brothers who are both pastors. Trust us, we know about that. Rather, it's the true joy of men for whom the lines have fallen in pleasant places recognizing it's all of God.
My Scripture reading today reminds me of one of our principal joys--our congregations' great fruitfulness physically and spiritually. Physically?
Well, between Christ the Word in Toledo and Church of the Good Shephed here in Bloomington, Indiana, I'd estimate between thirty and forty children will be born or adopted by a Covenant family this year. And this happens year after year--fruit, fruit, and more fruit! Our aisles and nurseries and gym and hallways and cars and homes and fellowship halls are filled with boys and girls playing together...
(Tim) Tomorrow is Mother's Day, so here are pictures of David's and my mother, Mary Louise Bayly, and my father and mother-in-law, Ken and Margaret Taylor (Dad Taylor is deceased).
And honoring God Who gave us motherhood, here's a sermon on a wonderful Mother's Day text--Isaiah 60:10-14. This was the funeral sermon given several years ago on the occasion of the death of Bloomington's mother-in-Israel, Rita Cuffey...
As I was in the prime of my days, When the friendship of God was over my tent; When the Almighty was yet with me, And my children were around me; When my steps were bathed in butter, And the rock poured out for me streams of oil! (Job 29:4-6)
(Tim) Lord willing, in a few hours our third daughter, Hannah Marie, will be married to Lucas Dee Weeks, son of Ron and Doris Weeks. This will leave Mary Lee and me with one child still living at home--Taylor, our fifteen year old son.
As I sit here writing the wedding sermon, it occurs to me that the joyful sadness Mary Lee and I feel as our Hannah departs is a graceful sadness...
(Tim) Thank God for those of you who have given your years and health, as well as others who have suffered the loss of loved ones who gave their lives in the protection of our nation. We are deeply grateful to each of you.
by David and Tim Bayly on August 20, 2008 - 2:18pm
(Tim) I received a poem by e-mail this past week and asked its author if she would allow me to post it. Here we have a short summary, wonderfully conceived, of the two paths women choose today, one which ends in death and the other in life.
The last few days, our home has been graced by my mother-in-law, Margaret West Taylor, who's visiting for the week. As I think about her sacrificial life, I also look around at other women of my own family and church and I praise God for their godliness! It's hard to conceive of the full spectrum of leadership these women exert among the sons, brothers, pastors, elders, deacons, and husbands, let alone children and other women, as we watch them lose their lives.
Here, then, is the text I received:
* * *
I Think You Want a Wife Written by, to, and for a woman who thinks far too much of herself to surrender her life for her husband; but ultimately, to God.
I think you want a wife, not a husband. Someone to join with you, to make you into your true self, to follow you wherever your heart leads.
A man to validate your feelings, make you sure of who you are.
by David and Tim Bayly on August 29, 2008 - 10:11am
(Tim) My daughter-in-law, Heidi Bayly's poem, "I Think You Want a Wife," drew some of the most vitriolic responses this blog has ever received. Most of the ruckus happened in places none of our readers would have any reason to know about or read--a news site run by and for sodomites where special attention is given to the biblical doctrine taught in reformed churches (how's that for exotic, huh?); and several other blogs where women talk to each other about how much they hate God's order of creation.
Contrary to what some think, David and I are not impervious to slander and hatred. It bothers us when people misrepresent our doctrinal commitments, attribute to us statements we've never made and convictions we've never held, claim that we delete comments disagreeing with us, and so on. Having learned long ago that some fools shouldn't be dignified with an answer, we dont' respond, generally speaking. We're fond of the old barnyardism, "Don't wrestle with a pig in mud because a pig likes mud."
But when it's one of my daughters under attack and the attacks demonstrate such complete ignorance of anything having to do with Heidi or her husband, Joseph, it's much worse.
So readers may understand my delight when I read this kindness from Gwen. To have the integrity to actually call Heidi and find out who she is and what she thinks, and then to be so gracious as to say she's changed her mind about the poem? Well, really: I'm moved and very grateful. Thank you, Gwen.
by David and Tim Bayly on September 25, 2008 - 9:48am
(Tim) At 4:15 this morning, the God of the universe blessed Ben and Michal Crum (our son-in-law and his bride) with the safe birth of a son, Zion Bjorn Crum. Zion joins his older brother, Daniel Peregrine, and he and his mother are doing quite well. Praise God with us for this sixth grandchild.
Also, please join us in praising God for the graduation of our first class completing the three-year curriculum at ClearNote Pastors College. We have two graduates--Joseph Bayly and Steve Moxey. The worship service of thanksgiving and commencement will be held this Sunday afternoon, beginning at 5:15, with dinner and fellowship following. If any of you are close enough to join us, please do. My brother, David, will be here with us and we'd love to have you here, too.
And, as always, if you're considering pastoral ministry and your church would recommend you for preparation for that calling, check out the pastors colleges at David's church, Christ the Word, in Toledo; and our Church of the Good Shepherd here in Bloomington, Indiana. (Here's the web site of ClearNote's campus ministry at Indiana University.) For more information on Reformed Evangelical Pastors College in Toledo, please call Pastor Andrew Dionne at (419) 297-4453. For information on ClearNote Pastors College in Bloomington, please call Pastor Stephen Baker at (812) 360-7457. Fifteen students have enrolled thus far and we'd be happy to put you in touch with some of them if you have questions you'd like to ask students.
by David and Tim Bayly on November 8, 2008 - 9:48am
(Tim) Believe it or not, neither David nor I would rate the blog very high in our "Why I love the ministry" column. It's work we believe necessary, and it does have its rewards, but they're not usually of the warm fuzzy sort.
This weekend, though, the Bloomington side of the blog is getting a payoff that is, in fact, warm and fuzzy. For the first time, we're meeting our dear sister in the faith, Kamilla Ludwig, who's come for a visit. Last night she arrived in the middle of...
by David and Tim Bayly on November 13, 2008 - 6:03am
(Tim) Since the election, I've boycotted the news, and my family will be skipping January's investiture or ordination or coronation or divination--whatever it's called. But what to think and feel? Balking at the idolatry is not faith and prayer.
Then, this morning, I read Kyriosity, the blog of our esteemed sister Valerie, and here's what she had to say...
by David and Tim Bayly on December 8, 2008 - 11:13am
(Tim) Last night, the Bayly, Crum, Ummel, and Weeks housholds were joined by Seth Boles, Annie Hogue (and wee ones), Lizzie Wegener, and Dani Williams for our annual Christmas season progressive dinner here. We picked this tradition up from the Taylor clan (which now numbers about one hundred direct descendants of Dad and Mom Taylor).
We started with horse dovers at Joseph and Heidi's, then soup at Ben and Michal's, main course at Doug and Heather's (bread and drinks provided by Heather, with Mary Lee providing the filling stuff), followed by dessert at Lucas and Hannah's.
by David and Tim Bayly on December 31, 2008 - 2:40pm
(Tim) Recently, a new professor at a Christian college asked for recommendations concerning magazines or journals he'd find helpful in his work. I suggested he subscribe to First Things and Touchstone, but also that he go to the library and skim each issue of The Chronicle of Higher Education. A charter subscriber to First Things, I consider it indispensable to my work. So just now I was saddened to receive this e-mail forwarded by a dear friend... It's written by First Thing's managing editor, Joe Bottum, reporting on the grave condition of First Thing's founding editor, Richard John Neuhaus. Let's pray for him.
by David and Tim Bayly on January 21, 2009 - 5:04pm
(Tim; pic by Perry Reichanadter/Genesis Photos) The music critic of World magazine, Arsenio Orteza, just wrote a fine short profile of Dr. David Canfield, one of the elders here at Church of the Good Shepherd. Arsenio originally intended his piece to focus on David's life as a composer of classical music, but David endearingly hijacked the interview to talk about the real love of his life: ClearNote Pastors College where he serves as one of the instructors.
ClearNote Pastors College (CNPC) is a ministry of Church of the Good Shepherd under our umbrella organization, ClearNote Fellowship. In addition to CNPC, ClearNote Fellowship oversees our support of foreign mission work, the composition and recording of music by Good Shepherd Band, the curriculum, pamplets, and books we're hoping to produce; and the planting of churches by CNPC graduates.
Christ the Word in Toledo, Ohio--the congregation served by my brother, David--has a similar ministry called Reformed Evangelical Pastors College. As sister churches, we do the largest part of the administration and instruction at both colleges together. We have had great success using a Polycom videoconferencing system for virtual classroom instruction and our principals, Andrew Dionne at REPC and Stephen Baker here at CNPC, work closely together on curriculum and schedules.
by David and Tim Bayly on February 5, 2009 - 6:12am
I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. (John 10:11)
(Tim) One of the men just interviewed and accepted into ClearNote Pastors College for matriculation this coming September is a middle-aged recently-retired law enforcement officer whose gift is keeping the peace. He's trained men for SWAT team duties and has a deep understanding of the weaknesses and strengths of warriors. What will he add to CNPC's curriculum?
This morning, this brother sent me the poem below which has been widely circulated within the law enforcement community in recent years. As I read, I found myself thinking what an excellent commentary it is on Jesus' teaching in John 10 on hirelings, wolves, the flock, and the Good Shepherd.
Fellow pastors and elders: We're all happy to live in a nation that's never suffered any serious invasion by hostile forces, but we are silent when our President is attacked precisely for his vigilance in our behalf. We're all pleased as punch to live in the suburbs where we never hear the crackle of gunfire as we watch our male soaps of urban warfare, but we look askance at discussions of weapons, wondering what kind of monsters have a zeal for this or that brand of hand gun? We worship in Protestant churches holding to Protestant doctrine faithful to Scripture, but our skin crawls when our pastor warns us against heresy. Any heresy. Any heresy at all--but particularly Roman Catholicism.
In other words, we live in peace given to us by the Man of Blood; we live in the midst of a civil security given us by men of blood who laid down their lives for the sheep; but then we pull back in horror when one of them barks, kills a wolf, or comes to church with blood on his hands. "He's so dirty! He should be Baptist or Pentecostal."
by David and Tim Bayly on February 6, 2009 - 12:58pm
(Tim, w/thanks to Taylor) Pastors and elders, take a lesson from Peyton Manning. Sit down at your desk and write a thank you letter to your most helpful elder. To your pastor. To the wisest "older woman" or the most weary single mother in your flock.
by David and Tim Bayly on February 11, 2009 - 6:56am
(Tim, w/thanks to Jake) For a number of years, Yale's been hard at it putting the works of Jonathan Edwards online, freely available for hoi polloi who can no longer afford the critical edition now running around $110 per volume
. It's an ill wind that blows nobody some good, though, and I suspect the high price of the hard copies is part of the reason all of us are now able to search the volumes online. So I'm happy.
Don't allow anyone else to give your Edwards to you. When I was at seminary in New England, I took a course in Edwards' works under Richard Lovelace. One night (it was a small evening seminar), I well remember coming to the session with great anticipation, having read a good portion of Edward's harder truths that week. But then, Dr. Lovelace started the class with a statement to the effect that "Here, Edwards goes a little bit off the deep edge, engaging in his well-known penchant for negativity."
Yes, yes; that's the problem with Edwards. He's so negative you get an ulcer reading him. What we need today is something positive that people can relate to; something that will give people hope and not lead them into despair.
Well, if you've read Edwards, you know that there are few men in the history of the Church who are more...
(Tim) Back around 1985, Dad and Mud came up for the weekend to the small town in rural Wisconsin where Mary Lee and I were serving a yoked parish of two churches affiliated with the mainline PC(USA). Some years later, we voted to transfer into the PCA and changed our name to Grace Presbyterian Church.
As it happened, that Lord's Day was Palm Sunday and I was preaching on Jesus' Triumphal Entry. During the school year, the drill was Rosedale Presbyterian Church out in the countryside first, greeting the brothers and sisters of that godly congregation prior to worship. Then, worship over and the benediction given, I'd hop in the car and get to town just in time to give the call to worship in the town church.
...but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth. (Acts 1:8)
(Tim) Here in Bloomington, there were two sweet endings to a wonderful week among the People of God celebrating Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter. Let me share them with you for the building up of your faith.
First, following the service, yesterday, a young man came up to me with a smile on his face. Accompanied by a friend, he said he had a sin to confess and told me of his quite-serious dishonesty in certain academic work. Today he will tell the authorities about his sin--confess it to them--and it could well mean the end of his plans for the future. He was ashamed, but joyful. Christ died for that sin and he is forgiven. Christ rose from the grave and because He lives, we also shall live.
What a precious gift this confession of sin is. Everywhere it goes, it lays waste the pride of man and glorifies Jesus Christ. We are less and He is more. It was the perfect end to Holy Week!
But wait, there's more...
Later on in the afternoon, as the sanctuary was being cleaned up after having been packed for several hours with people feasting on ham, potatoes, and green beans, four young men who attend our public high schools asked for advice concerning how they should respond to the Day of Silence that will be taking over their schools' classrooms this coming Friday.
But first, a word of explanation.
The Day of Silence held April 19th each year is a day of student advocacy of sodomy and other sexual perversions. But of course, those who love sexual perversion never admit they love sexual perversion, nor do they demand that others love it. That would be gauche...
(Tim) This past Lord's Day, I was strengthened to sit under the preaching of God's Word done by Lucas Weeks, one of the middler year men in our ClearNote Pastors College. Lucas' sermon was titled, "We Are a Fragrance to Christ," with the text 2Corinthians 2:12-17. Download the sermon here from the iTunes store (of course, there's no cost). Then listen to it the next time you take a walk.
(Tim, w/thanks to several) Lots of readers have sent links to pieces commenting on President Barack Obama's invitation to give the Commencement Address at Notre Dame University this spring despite Notre Dame's purported affiliation with the Roman Catholic Church and President Obama's consistent ghoulish advocacy of baby-slaughter.
Honestly, I've not had the heart to say anything about it. Not out of respect for Notre Dame or the lowest-common denominator Roman Catholicism she's represented for decades, now. To me, Notre Dame is football, a good home for the world's top sorta-reformed, kinda-Protestant, sorta-evangelical scholars like Marsden, Hatch, and Plantinga; but mostly the school that resides in the same town a few hours north that's called home by E. Michael Jones.
Then, today, several of you sent me the letter just released by Mary Ann Glendon announcing her change of mind concerning being present at Notre Dame's Commencement to accept Notre Dame’s Laetare Medal. God bless Mary Ann Glendon!
(Tim) Conrad Mbewe serves as the pastor of Kabwata Baptist Church in Lusaka, Zambia--one of the more vital reformed witnesses the Lord has raised up in our time. The congregation is known for reaching into the dregs of society in a non-patronizing way, doing frontline evangelism, training pastors at a pastors college they sponsor, planting churches around the country, etc. As I said, the Lord's presence and blessing are obvious to those familiar with the congregation. This is a reformed congregation with a large heart, no censorious spirit, expansive in its witness and hopes, and living in the fear of God.
Maybe that's the thing that most strikes me about Pastor Mbewe and his people: they have not used reformed doctrine as a pathway to cheap grace that silences the fear of God. Everything is not "grace, grace, grace" to them. Their harp of ten thousand strings does not harp on that one string so long.
This is a test. Read through Kabwata's prayer letter noting the parts we must admit would never be written; or, if written, never quite make it past the editor's keyboard of our own churches' newsletters. To help with the task, I've put several in bold italics.
If the letter piques your interest, here's Pastor Mbewe's blog where you'll find a truly Biblical apostolic African voice.
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KABWATA BAPTIST CHURCH PRAYER LETTER
“Pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17)
Dear brothers and sisters,
We open this prayer letter with the words of Scripture, “Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy! He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him” (Psalm 126:5-6). That is our testimony as a church as we review the last few months of the year 2008, including the first few months of this year.
MEMBERSHIP The year 2008 was full of tears, as we lost precious church members who graduated from the church militant to the church triumphant. We also wept much over the excommunications that were necessary in order to avert the judgment of God upon the church...
(Tim) God is so kind to us! Shortly after Noon, today, with her husband by her side, Mrs. Chris (Michelle) Holmes gave birth to twin daughters, Anne-Claire Evangeline Holmes at 12:52 PM weighing 3 lbs. 11 oz., and Elise Lydia Michelle Holmes at 12:54 PM weighing 2 lbs. 10 oz. Join us in giving thanks for the Lord's mercy to the least of these.
The first pic is of Anne-Claire, the second of Elise. Both babies are fine. Right now, Chris is up in the neonatal unit seeing his daughters, and Michelle is praising God with Barbara (who attended the birth with Chris) and Mary Lee (who arrived soon after). Praise God with us for saving both girls' lives, and protecting their mother!
And as an explanation to those of you who have not followed this dangerous work Michelle has been doing, her twins were diagnosed eleven weeks ago today with Twin-toTwin Transfusion Syndrome, and for most of the weeks since then, mother Michelle has been in the hospital hooked up to fetal monitors asking the Lord to allow her daughters to survive until they were large enough to live outside the womb. So today, by God's grace, they were both born--tiny, but living and healthy, even. And yes, that is a syringe.
(Tim) First, if you haven't read the sermon David preached yesterday posted just below (A Sermon for the President--and for the People of God), I commend it to you. We need sermons like this to be preached across our country until those called by God as civil magistrates lead us to return to the fear of God and mercy to the poor, helpless, sojourners in our midst, and unborn. Note particularly David's comment about our self-made bonds.
Second, we're still getting the occasional Christmas/Easter letter and I thought we'd all benefit from this statement from my dear Roman Catholic friends from Denver, John and Molly Archibold:
We have been extraordinarily blessed through joys and sorrows. (Molly)
(Tim) When John invited Doug Wilson to speak at one of his big conferences, I sent him an e-mail commending him for his courage. Like those who paid dearly for inviting Dad to speak after he publicly rebuked Bill Gothard in the pages of Eternity, John will pay for escorting Doug into the Reformed big top.
But like Doug, John has some courage and those who specialize in anti-Wilson bile should take note that, among men who are reformed pastors of national reputation, John stands with Doug. Why?
John released this video explaining his invitation. Forget the first three minutes or so. Just listen to the last few seconds and you'll get the straight dope. (And by the way, I do wish men would release a transcript of such video talks so we weren't forced to spend the time watching video to get their message.)
(Tim) Two weeks ago, our high school men and women went over to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, to serve those trying to recover from the terrible flood the community suffered last year. Led by their youth workers, David Abu-Sara, Veronica Allen, Abram Hess, Emily Hess, and Ryan Schnitzer, they returned reporting that the governmental authorities were not particularly helpful to the residents, being better at red tape than getting things done.
The work done by the group was coordinated by church planters, Jeremy Knapp and Michael Langer, of One Ancient Hope (PCA). Our men and women were given a place to sleep in the basement of Hope Evangelical Church (PCA).
The Iowa Independent ran an article on the post-flood political problems and our group made the blurb under one of the pictures...
(Tim) Through the years of work in the pastorate, no one has fed and strengthened and rebuked and exhorted me more faithfully than John Calvin. I thank God for him on this his five hundredth birthday. If you read only one man, make it Geneva's leading pastor of the Reformation.
by David and Tim Bayly on August 5, 2009 - 10:35am
(Tim) This post is to recommend that you become a charter subscriber to a new journal from the Howard Center for Family, Religion, and Society titled, The Family in America.
Over twenty years ago, now, I subscribed to a small newsletter called Religion and Society Report edited by the late Richard John Neuhaus. It was helpful to me as a young pastor, thinking through how to lead and teach my flocks to honor God in our evil day. At the time the publication was humble and helpful.
Not too long after subscribing, there was notice of a breach between the editor and publisher, along with embarrassing notes of this and that person being thrown out of the publication’s offices in New York City. Who knows what happened. Happily, though, it was an ill wind that did blow somebody some good.
Neuhaus announced he was starting a journal and offered subscriptions. I subscribed and still do (having great hope for the future under Joseph Bottum's editorship, by the way, now that Mr. Neuhaus has died). Regularly, I tell men and women seeking the terminal (not malignant, mind you) degree that they must subscribe toFirst Things if they hope to be something beyond harmless as a dove or culpably naïve in the Academy.
My pride is less that I was there at the beginning than that I financially supported a truly worthy enterprise for many years. Here we had a magazine that actually deserved support (unlike Christianity Today which has been dying the slow death of morbid obesity for decades, now).
Like the rest of us, through the years Neuhaus made his mistakes...
by David and Tim Bayly on August 5, 2009 - 12:49pm
(Tim) Dear friends of ours, Al and Amy Parker, run a business called Canoe Creations that takes families, school groups, youth groups, and others into the wilds for a trip down creeks, streams, or rivers. You can go to them or they can travel to you and use a stream or river in your area. If you've never paddled a river with the Parkers, you haven't lived.
For many years, Al worked for Indiana's Department of Natural Resources reestablishing raptors in a number of areas--most particularly Bald Eagles in the Wabash River Valley. (He also put peregrine falcons i the tops of Chicago skyscrapers in an effort to control the pigeons.) Due partly to Al's efforts, Bald Eagles have made a comeback in this area and are now predators once again, as God made them to be. You know, "nature red in tooth and claw" and all that.
A couple months ago, Lawrence Howell and I were talking on his back deck when we saw a Bald Eagle land in one of the trees by his small pond he stocks with catfish. A week or two later, the catfish were gone, thank you very much. But back to Al and his river trips...
(Tim) During four years in the late nineties and early two-thousands while pastoring Church of the Good Shepherd, I also led the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood as its Executive Director. My brother, David, joined me in that work and was a great help, designing our first web site and providing invaluable counsel while also serving in the pastorate.
Part of my work was editing CBMW's journal. Periodically, we ran interviews--one being with my hero, Elisabeth Elliot. Naturally, I did the interview myself.
Growing up, the Bayly family had a long personal association with the Howards of Philadelphia--particularly Dave Howard and his sister, Elisabeth Elliot. A couple months ago, Elisabeth's husband, Lars, wrote me telling of a recent trip he and Elisabeth had taken to visit family down in South America. For those of you who know and love them, Lars and Elisabeth are doing well.
So then, here's the interview from CBMW's Journal, Volume 5, No. 1.
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PLAIN AND SIMPLE: AN INTERVIEW WITH ELISABETH ELLIOT
JBMW: We are delighted to be able to speak with you. Why do you think you've been a lightning rod in the evangelical world on this particular issue?
EE: I didn't know I was! I have just proceeded the way I've tried all my life to proceed-by studying what the Bible says and living by it. If I'm asked to talk about it, of course I have a responsibility to talk about it. It is from this that I have learned that I'm not wanted in many circles...
by David and Tim Bayly on August 27, 2009 - 5:08am
The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many
witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach
others also. (2 Timothy 2:2)
(Tim) I've never written anything about readership, but Sunday we hit a milestone I'd like to note: Baylyblog has passed one million visits (2.5 million page views) and our average visitor spends 4 minutes, 45 seconds with us. RSS feeds stand around 250.
Yesterday, commenting on the mile marker this blog reached in readership, I neglected to say something very important--to pay a large debt David and I owe.
Here on this blog, David and I frequently have expressed our appreciation for those of you who make this blog the repository of your Godly wisdom. Your comments are the reason for the length of time people spend here and the two and a half page views per visit. If I were to start naming names, there would be no end to it, but I can't fail to thank three whose labors are simply outstanding and give us great joy.
by David and Tim Bayly on August 28, 2009 - 10:05am
(Tim) Since we're talking about this blog...
Back when I entered the ministry, during the last week of December three months after I arrived, I was heartsick to see the church receiving envelopes from people I'd never heard of containing checks with the notation "Membership Dues."
Of course, they were checks for a niggling amount, but that didn't bother me. Rather, what got me was that they were allowed to be members if they gave ten or twenty-five dollars a year, but never worshiped or served the Lord God Almighty. You can guess changing this became my first commitment, and that's when all the glorious trouble and blessings began...
People who come here, and learn, give us the gift we want most: students of the Word who actually show up when we guard the good deposit, who hunger after the pure milk of the Scriptures. Admittedly, that's not how many think of it, I'm sure. As one of our regular readers commented, yesterday:
The main reason I read this blog ...is to try to understand the rationale for views that seem so very alien to me.
"Very alien," indeed. Where have all the flowers gone, long time a'passing...
by David and Tim Bayly on August 29, 2009 - 12:49pm
To the woman He said, “I will greatly multiply Your pain in childbirth, In pain you will bring forth children (Genesis 3:16a)
(Tim) One mother who recently gave birth to her first child wrote this meditation on the pain of childbirth, woman's curse from our Heavenly Father. Thank God for this mother and every other woman who is not ashamed of her sex, but gives herself to it as an act of faith and courage. How I love and praise God for these women that surround us as we do the work of husbandry in the home, church, and public square! "The woman is the glory of man."
* * *
Thank you ______ for this testimony of motherhood... I had similar thoughts of the "pain in childbirth" part of the curse until this past year.
Even after I realized that the whole pregnancy was included in "childbirth," I think I still thought that once I got through labor and delivery, I would be done with the pain of childbearing. Almost every day, I realize how wrong that is, but I started to learn that lesson in my first days after delivery...
by David and Tim Bayly on August 31, 2009 - 7:12am
(Tim) We've been in our new church-house for over a year, now, and I'm grateful to the Lord for several things about our move to this new location and this home He has provided our congregation.
First, I'm grateful He kept us from building on the site where we'd planned and broken ground for a costly architectural beauty. It was to be situated on Bloomington's southeast side where we'd purchased one of the most scenic pieces of real estate within city limits. We'd received the city's approval and seen tossed out of court a lawsuit brought by the wealthy neighbors whose homes were perched on two ridges adjoining our thirty acres of woods, a creek, and a beautiful meadow. Every obstacle seemed to have been cleared.
The work of the engineering and architectural firms was largely complete and we'd held our groundbreaking ceremony. Then, the Lord intervened, and within a short time we'd sold the property and purchased new acreage out on the city's west side. Why?
by David and Tim Bayly on October 19, 2009 - 11:37am
(Tim) Stephen and Sebra Baker and Mary Lee and I had an excellent time at the Christ Church Ministerial Conference last Thursday and Friday. The conference's subject was "Sexual Orthodoxy" and the MP3s should soon be available from Canon Press.
Make sure you listen to Doug on "The Politics of Fruitfulness" and his son-in-law, Ben Merkle, on "Sentimentalism and the Feminine Ethos." Doug does a good survey of the growing, worldwide birth dearth, following up with the Scriptural doctrine that children are a blessing from the Lord. This cultural critique is needed across the Reformed church, today, where money and degrees are chosen over children. Ben's talk is a helpful reminder of the necessity of letting boys be boys so they may grow up to be leaders (with a particular emphasis on the church). I found all the talks helpful, but thought these two were standouts.
Everything in Moscow isn't the life of the mind, though, and our meals with Doug and Nancy, their children and grandchildren, were a great joy as we see God providing for the leadership of the Church through coming generations. Like the rest of Doug and Nancy's progeny, keep your eyes on Ben. He's a young man married to a strong and prudent wife, Bekah; their children are well-disciplined and happy; and it's obvious God has given him great wisdom. At this point, Ben's plans are to serve in the Academy (meaning New St. Andrews). Spending time with Ben and Bekah, though, I found myself jealous for their gifts to be used in the pastorate.
Then again, what do I know, anyhow?
Summing up, every time we have an opportunity to spend time in Moscow, with Doug and Nancy, their children and grandchildren, and the other members of the CREC/Christ Church/Canon Press/New St. Andrews team, we're reminded our Savior's rule is "by their fruit ye shall know them." Godly homes and families? Living faith? Biblical discernment? Humility? The complete absence of materialism or chest-thumping?