August 2007

Anna Grace Eshelman and Owen Justice Eshelman welcome their new brother into the world:
Watson Truth Eshelman was born August 31, 2007 at 9:13 AM. He was 10 pounds, 4 ounces and 22 inches long. May God bless this little guy as he joins the family!


Today I started my last year of seminary training before I “get into the trenches”, as a friend from college said. It was a good day of beginnings. There are a number of fresh faces who are new to the whole experience.

Today I was reflecting on my first semester and how terrified I was. I thought that the men who were almost finished knew SO MUCH more than me. Now I see, being on this side, that there is so much more to learn than I ever imagined. Seminary should not make any man proud of his accomplishments- it should humble him, knowing that, at best, he stands on the shoulders of giants.

We began the day with a luncheon of faculty and students. We also had a great time of giving our testimonies. We were to say who we are, where we ‘have been’, and where we are going. It was a refreshing time of seeing the work of the Lord in the lives of fellow men who love Christ, have a high view of His Word, and a love for ‘the fathers’ of the faith.

Dr. Bilkes gave a great devotion to begin the year that was especially applied to ministry students. It was taken from Mark 7, with special emphasis on verse 34:

And they bring unto him one that was deaf, and had an impediment in his speech; and they beseech him to put his hand upon him. And he took him aside from the multitude, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spit, and touched his tongue; And looking up to heaven, he sighed, and saith unto him, Ephphatha, that is, Be opened. And straightway his ears were opened, and the string of his tongue was loosed, and he spake plain. v.32-35

“Your ears and your tongue are things that the Lord is claiming for sacred ministry”
1. Know your need for ephphatha grace.
2. Pray daily and seek greatly for ephphatha grace.
3. Use ephphatha grace for the Glory of the Son of God.

Brothers and sisters, dear readers, I stand humbled to have the privledge of studying at Puritan. Pray for me as I begin my last year of seminary. May the Lord raise up many men who will be faithful to the Word of God, have a great love for the Son, and a burden for the Bride.

There are no promises for the unconverted in the Bible. They deceive themselves, regardless of what promises they may appropriate to themselves. These will not be fulfilled, for they are “without Christ, being…strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope” (Eph. 2:12). Only believers are the “heirs of promise” (Heb. 6:17). All the benefits of the covenant of grace are for them and will most certainly be given them (II: 632-633).

Baptism is a great doctrine and an even greater blessing to those to whom it is administered. As we anticipate the arrival of our third child we think of all that baptism means and represents to us and to our children. The Lord Jesus Christ has a claim on our children, which means that they are:

1. In covenant with Him.
2. Have a responsibility to believe the Gospel.

We have great responsibility as parents to reflect what it means to be members of the covenant community. It also means that all who have made a profession to believe the Gospel have a duty to live lives that adorn the Gospel. When a child is baptized in the church there is a series of questions that are posed to the parents and to the covenant community. The ARP Book of Worship states to the congregation, “in the name of the whole Church of Christ, do you undertake responsibility for the growth of this child in Christian nurture?” What a great responsibility we all have as the Church of Christ grows through the birth of another covenant child. We remember the words of the Apostle Peter, “the promise if for you and your children!

We should all improve on our baptism as we anticipate seeing this sacrament administered in the name of the Triune God.

Larger Catechism Question 167: How is our Baptism to be improved by us? A167: The needful but much neglected duty of improving our Baptism, is to be performed by us all our life long, especially in the time of temptation, and when we are present at the administration of it to others; by serious and thankful consideration of the nature of it, and of the ends for which Christ instituted it, the privileges and benefits conferred and sealed thereby, and our solemn vow made therein; by being humbled for our sinful defilement, our falling short of, and walking contrary to, the grace of baptism, and our engagements; by growing up to assurance of pardon of sin, and of all other blessings sealed to us in that sacrament; by drawing strength from the death and resurrection of Christ, into whom we are baptized, for the mortifying of sin, and quickening of grace; and by endeavoring to live by faith, to have our conversation in holiness and righteousness, as those that have therein given up their names to Christ; and to walk in brotherly love, as being baptized by the same Spirit into one body.

There are some really tacky ways to do evangelism. The Jack Chick Track is one of the tackiest. I must confess that I have used these, and maybe will use them again in the future… like for tips at Russ’ Family Restaurant.

The one that you see to your left was one that I gave to my wife before she was a Christian. Wow! Fun stuff. Read some of these things at the link. They have the whole tract online.

This one is one of my favorites… I can totally relate to the pain of being lied to about these things!

Communion [of the saints] is exercised by being good examples to each other, and by following each other’s example in doing good. Exemplary behavior is marvelously effective in attracting others. Christ is the perfect example, “leaving us an example, that ye should follow His steps” (1 Pet. 2:21). Believers, however, in whom Christ has been formed, must manifest the image of Christ, also with the objective to be a good example to others. “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Mat. 5:16); “In honour preferring one another” (Rom. 12:10); “Shew me thy faith without thy works” (James 2:18); “So that ye were ensamples to all that believe” (1 Th. 1:7); “In all things showing thyself a pattern of good works” (Titus 2:7) [II: 103).

I have a Christian education meeting tomorrow for my congregation. I am the chairperson of the committee. We have been asked to provide a mission statement for Christian education in the Sabbath School program. I will post mine tomorrow in the comments section if it approved. I am wondering if you all would give your ideas for what makes for good Christian education in the church of Jesus Christ?

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