Monday, June 26, 2006

EDUCATING CHILDREN - Whose Responsibility Is It? - Part 1

Educating children in modern day America, whose responsibility is it? Is it the government, the community, the church, the parent, the child? Does educating children really take a village, or just a family? Who is really responsible and why?

Well, for the Christian, the answer is really quite simple. According to scripture, the parents or the guardians of the children being educated are duty bound to God to carry out this task. It is a command that is repeated over and over in scripture, and it should not be ignored.

But the problem is, at least for the vast majority of Christian parents living in modern America, this biblical command is being ignored. Most Christian parents have given up their God given responsibility for a more passive approach to education; an approach that has been evolving for many years, so long in fact that most Christians never even give it a second thought. They never even realized that the educational process in this country was once completely different than it is today. But the sad truth is, sending a child away to a secular institution for their “education” has just become the normal thing to do.

For the majority of Christian parents, they believe that if they have their children in church once or twice a week, for an hour or two, and if they pray at meal times, and are generally good people, then they have fulfilled God’s plan for Christian education. But nothing could be further from the truth. While the time spent in church is no doubt helpful for many, it only begins to scratch the surface of what God expects from parents in the realm of education. If the truth were known, many of the modern day evangelistic methods that focus on children and teens likely do more to lead them away from the truth of the gospel rather than closer to it. But that is a topic for another discussion. For the most part, the education that the children receive while they are in church is not the primary problem; the real problem usually comes during the rest of the week. Because many parents have turned over this part of their child’s education to a mostly godless, government controlled system; a secular system known by many as “public education.”

So what is wrong with public education? A big problem with public education is that it is a system that has departed from its traditional role of teaching the fundamentals of reading, writing, and arithmetic; to one that teaches political correctness, tolerance, and universal citizenship. This is a system that, in many areas of our country, has become a tool for Satan and has led to the rise of situational ethics, and a decline in the mental, physical, and spiritual condition of many of America’s children. This system is also a major stumbling block that is preventing many of those inside it from becoming the responsible citizens and faithful Christians that God would prefer them to be.

Our nation’s first president, George Washington, in his farewell address on September 19, 1796 stated that:

Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that National morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.

That is exactly what many are doing today. Christian parents are educating their children apart from the founding religious principle and they are expecting National morality to prevail, and it is not working, not even a little bit. The result has been, generation after generation of children who know little about God, and know even less about what He desires for their lives, and it is all because Christian parents have abdicated their educational responsibilities. They have chosen man’s model of education over God’s model, a model where man and his ideas have preeminence over those of Christ, a model where man decides truth apart from, and contrary to, that which has been revealed to us in God’s Word.

More Later...

Monday, June 19, 2006

Family Worship

Family Worship, what in the world is that? I would say that it is something that has been almost totally forgotten in the typical Christian home of modern America. However, the good news is, that can change! If you are a parent, and would like to learn more, there are many good books available on this subject, but let me recommend a new one by Dr. Don Whitney, associate professor of Biblical Spirituality at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. It is entitled "Family Worship, In the Bible, in History, & in Your Home". According to Albert Mohler, "This book belongs in every Christian home and in the hands of every Christian parent."

Order your copy here:

Grace & Peace!
Dave Scarbrough

Saturday, June 10, 2006

My progress as a Pilgrim.

This is my spiritual autobiography that was required as part of my application to Southern Seminary…

It all began for me, as it does for everyone else, as a child in my mother’s womb. This was the beginning, at least as I knew it, of my physical pilgrimage. It was dark there, and warm, and comfortable, all my needs were being met. But little did I realize, at that time, as a sinful little creature, that the parents, whom I was a product of, were given the responsibility by the God of the Universe to train me in the nurture and admonition of Himself. Not because I was to some day draw attention to myself, or that I would one day be credited with great achievements, but solely because He desired a godly seed; to bring honor and glory to Him. So with that, on September, 27, 1966, I, David Glenn Scarbrough entered the world and began my pilgrimage.

I was practically raised in a Southern Baptist church. From what I can remember, we were there every Sunday, every Wednesday, and every other time the doors were opened. I barely remember the first church I attended. We were only there for three or four years before we moved to a new town and new church. This new church I attended till I was old enough to leave home. During the time I was there I had many wonderful teachers, older ladies and older gentlemen, which, through their best efforts, would help to shape and to mold me into a proper young man. By the time I was nine years old, I had sat under some of the finest instruction that the First Baptist Church of Woodland Mills could provide. And then suddenly, through no effort of my own, I had come to understand my need for a savior. I had become aware of my own depravity; although at that time, I had no idea it was called that. So one fine night, in March of 1975, during our spring revival, I walked down the aisle and made a public profession of my faith in Christ. I had trusted Him as my Savior! And so began the second phase of my life, my spiritual pilgrimage.

I was a very typical boy growing up in the Seventies. I attended a typical rural, public, grade school. I also had the typical menagerie of friends; some Christian, some not, some good, some bad, but all, like me, were very typical. My parents were also very typical young adults carving out a life for themselves, in a typical rural North West Tennessee town. They had their typical two children, one boy, me, and one girl, my younger sister. My mom worked some while we were in school, but was always there while we were at home. My dad had a typical factory job at the Goodyear plant that was near our home. Yes, we were all very typical. But the pull of everyday life tugged at us from all sides, and as is the course of many, we allowed the more important things, like Christian discipleship, to slide into second place. This might not have been too bad, but again, as is the course of many, the things that were in second place moved to third, and some even to fourth and so on. But we were still very good Southern Baptists. We attended church every time the doors were open and I was still very secure in my salvation, though by this time I considered it less and less with each passing day.

As I grew older and moved into high school, I continued to move further and further away from the Lord who bought me. I ran with the wrong crowd, and on several occasions got into some things that I know I shouldn’t have. By this time in my life, Christian discipleship had slipped so far down on the priority list that I never really considered it. Although at this time, I still considered myself to be a good Southern Baptist, but I really didn’t know why.

After high school was over, my life began to change. I was quickly ushered into the stark reality of “real life.” I had the girlfriend of my dreams; Suzanne Caudle. She was actually my childhood sweetheart, a girl whom I had grown up with. She only lived a few houses down the street, and we even attended the same Southern Baptist church together. I was also making pretty good money, though all I did was blow it. I worked in a local auto body shop. This was something that I had been doing for several years. It was a family type trade, and I had easily picked it up. So while the work was physically difficult, the money was pretty good. But after a short while I began to consider college and the possibility of using my brain a little more and my back a little less, so I attempted a semester at the local community college. I soon discovered that I was wasting my time and my parent’s money because of a lack of focus. So I transitioned to a local factory job in hopes of more security. Once in this new job it wasn’t long before I realized that the small rural community that had provided for my family had very little to offer me. So out of desperation, I did what many young boys do (or use to do), I joined the military. This was another life changing experience. The Air Force is a great organization, and I credit it with helping me to get a little focus back into my life.

I was no longer in the small rural town where I was raised. I attended basic military training at Lackland Air Force base in San Antonio, Texas, and for the first time in my life I was actually alone. This wouldn’t last long though, because I had proposed to my childhood sweetheart before I left home. The wedding was tentatively scheduled for some time after my first assignment. During this brief time of solitude, I began to talk to the Lord again, something that I had not done in a very long time. I was also given a small New Testament which I began read, something else that I had not done in a very long time. I spent quite a bit of time considering where I came from and where I was going, and I did what I could to draw closer to the Lord. I prayed and I asked my family to do the same.

I finished basic training and moved to my first base in Biloxi Mississippi where I would go to technical school to become an air traffic controller. After settling in, I made my way back home to take possession of my bride to be. The flight home was very rocky. There were storms all around, and the airplane would go through times of sudden drops. It didn’t make for an enjoyable flight. Needless to say, I prayed even more. On our wedding day, the church was packed. We were one of the first couples who actually grew up in the church to be married there. There were friends and family from several states. It was a big ordeal. I still remember the feeling of awe, as I saw my bride for the first time walking through the door of the church. She was absolutely beautiful! In retrospect, I have much more appreciation for that picture, and the feelings that it produced than I did then. I can only imagine Christ as He will some day come to claim His bride. But anyway, second to my salvation experience, this was the most wonderful day of my life. I thank God that He allowed me to be joined to the most wonderful woman in the world.

After technical school was over, we relocated to Montgomery Alabama. This was really the beginning of our first home. We attended church sporadically, though my wife was more faithful than I was. We had a very good life, and as I look back, I can see the Lord’s hand directing us in it. I began college again, this time with a focus. I was after a degree in computer science. In the early Eighty’s this was a very popular career choice. Jobs were plentiful and I knew I could easily find computer work once I got out of the Air Force. And that is exactly what I did. Once I finished my degree, I transitioned to civilian life. My wife and I had been married for almost eight years by this time and so the talk began about having children. A little over a year later, our first child arrived; Kelsey Marie Scarbrough. I still remember the tears of joy as she, just as I had so many years before, entered into the world to begin her pilgrimage. It was at that point that I realized that I needed to make some serious lifestyle changes. Shortly after this realization, the Lord provided a way for us to relocate back to Tennessee. We were still about three and a half hours away from our families, but closer none the less.

Once we were settled into our new community, Suzanne and I found a new church home. But this time was different; I had finally realized my role as spiritual leader of my household and wanted to be a good one. But I didn’t really know how. So I thought back to my own childhood, and remembered that my parents had always made church a priority. So with this as my only initial guideline, I committed myself again to being faithful to church. As we attended, the Lord even used my new computer skills to help me become more involved. I even began attending a Monday night men’s Bible study. At this point my spiritual growth really began to take off. I began to really study my Bible for the first time in my life, and the more we attended church, and the more I studied, the more I grew, and the more I began to realize what I had missed as a child. Discipleship! Yes, I knew the basics of Christianity, but that was all, and from that point on, I was determined to not let the same thing happen to my own family.

As I continued to grow in the Lord, I felt him calling me into the ministry. I knew I was sorely equipped to shepherd the flock of God, so sought out men who could help prepare me for this work. I found a serious shortage of willing and knowledgeable Christian men in the local church, so I attended seminary through a correspondence program through Andersonville Baptist Seminary. My initial schooling was great and I learned many things, but I know my education has only begun.

It has been almost 10 years since I felt that initial call of the Lord into the ministry, and I have been serving in whatever capacity He has allowed since then. I have been a teacher, deacon, youth pastor, education minister and associate pastor. A few years ago, we felt the Lord calling us back home to the community that, years before had nothing to offer. I only hope that by the grace of God, I now have something I can offer them. I am currently serving on staff at a “typical” Southern Baptist Church in North West Tennessee, though my primary church is still my own family. We start each day by reading and studying the Bible together as a family. But I also know that I am called to do much more than this. The Lord has given me the ability to stand and proclaim His Word without fear of men. So I continue to preach and teach whenever He allows. This is why I want to continue my education, that I may serve Him to the best of my ability, that I may finish the race and one day receive the prize for His glory!

But by the grace of God I am what I am: - 1st Corinthians 15:10.

Dave Scarbrough

Friday, June 02, 2006

Preacher, do you teach?

What is the pastor’s primary job? Is it keeping the peace? Is it visiting the sick? Is it ministering to the community? Is it making sure that all the paperwork has been filled out or that the building has been maintained? While these may be some things you do as a pastor, or maybe even be some things you think a pastor should do, I would suggest that the pastor’s primary responsibility is not any of these, but is Preaching AND Teaching God’s word! EVERYTHING ELSE should take a back seat. I know many churches have different variations of classes or teaching times. Some have Sunday school, some have discipleship training, some have Wednesday night Bible study or small groups, and some don’t even have any of these. So my question is, who should be the teacher in the church? Well, without a doubt, it should be one of the pastors or elders currently in your church. These are the only men that the scripture says should be “apt to teach!” This is not a cry against Sunday school teachers, how else would the young men in the church ever become teachers unless we give them opportunities to gain experience and to prove themselves. But what I am calling for is that pastors step up and do the primary things FIRST! I have heard so many pastors give the excuse, well I don’t have time to teach and also prepare my sermon for Sunday morning - sounds to me like he’s in the wrong business. If all we as pastors ever do is preach, which is really to cry out or proclaim the gospel, then we have failed in fulfilling the great commission. Preaching is only half of it. The other half is discipling! Teaching! And men if we do not give equal time to both then we have failed. Not only should our flock be receiving the proclamation of the gospel from our pulpits, they should also receive expositional teaching from all of God’s word! Consider the following scriptures:

Jeremiah 3:15 And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding.

Nehemiah 8:8 So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading.

Matthew 4:23 And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.

Matthew 9:35 And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.

Matthew 11:1 And it came to pass, when Jesus had made an end of commanding his twelve disciples, he departed thence to teach and to preach in their cities.

Ephesians 4:11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;

Acts 5:42 And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.

Acts 15:35 Paul also and Barnabas continued in Antioch, teaching and preaching the word of the Lord, with many others also.

Acts 28:31 Preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence, no man forbidding him.

Colossians 1:28 Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:

1st Timothy 2:7 Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not;) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity.

2nd Timothy 1:11 Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles.

Grace & Peace!
Dave Scarbrough