One of the things we emphasize at Providence is the role of the man in the family. We believe that Scripture teaches that God designed the man to be the leader of the home; the foundation upon which a good family is built.
That is why our goal is to have "every man leading and being led." You can see that this is a two fold strategy for building godly homes.
It begins with each of our men daily leading his family in devotions. We recognize that an hour or two at church each week, no matter how important it is, is not going to do much to strengthen the home. A strong family can only be built by men who nurture piety in the home.
Thus, we want our men to gather their wife and kids and spend a little time in God's Word together. We want them reading the Scriptures, discussing it, praying together and/or lifting their voices in songs of praise.
We also want to see our men being led. That is to say, we want our men to be involved in some sort of intentional discipleship so that they may constantly be equipped for their task as leaders. We believe that the key to strong homes is strong men. Therefore we want them involved in some sort of mentorship with other men, a church Bible study, or pastoral staff.
In sum, our philosophy is rather simple: Build the men and let them build their families. No elaborate programs or expensive gimmicks, just good old fashioned discipleship.
"And what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses
entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also."
2 Timothy 2:2
Worship is the bowing our hearts in response to God and is the central activity of the corporate church. John 4 speaks of worshipping God in truth, but how is that done?
We believe that worshipping God in truth means to worship according to the directives of Scripture. The Normative Principle says that what is acceptable to God is what is not prohibited in Scripture. We prefer to abide by the Regulative Principle which came out of the Reformation and teaches that the only acceptable ways of worshipping God are by what has been set forth in Scripture.
We must worship the way the Bible directs us “for God is not a God of confusion but of peace.” Our praising and honoring God “should be done decently and in order” (1 Cor. 14:40).
So what are the elements of orderly worship that the Bible commands? The following is a list of worship elements from both the Old and New Testaments with their various Scriptural references:
As the Thanksgiving season is upon us, it is good to take a few minutes and reflect upon the supreme benevolence of God. That's why this issue of the Providence newsletter is dedicated to the doctrine of God's Providence! It is entitled, "Not a Chance in the World!"
When it comes to this doctrine theologins usually speak of God's preservation, concurrence, and government. Each of these are dealt with in this issue in such a way as to lead you to the great comfort that this great doctrine affords to the believer.
After church this past Lord's Day the Providence kiddos packed boxes for the Operation Christmas Child program. These boxes were chock full of toys and other fun things and will be shipped around the world. Upon arrival they will be instruments for telling the good news of Christ.
We want to give a special thanks to our Mansfield Bible friends and all the parents who helped!
Some of the Providence gang enjoyed a particularly fun afternoon of fellowship this past Lord's Day: We went out to shoot some guns! Our dear brother Anthony put together the event to teach us about gun safety and give us some extra time to enjoy each other's company.
As you can see, the Lord blessed us with a beautiful fall day. Not only did this allow us to unload a good amount of ammo, it gave us a great chance to further develop our gospel ties.
If you hang around Providence long enough you are bound to hear the word "covenant." We are rather fond of the term because we believe it is central to understanding the Bible.
A covenant is a way of establishing a relationship. In a covenant you make promises to one another and pledge to live a certain way.
For instance, when a couple loves each other they will enter into the covenant of marriage. They promise to love one another (and only them!) all the rest of their lives.
The Bible teaches us that God relates to man by means of covenants. In the very beginning of history God covenanted with Adam. Essentially God said, "Adam, I promise to let you live as long as you obey me." We call this the "covenant of works" because the life Adam had was based on his obedience.
Unfortunately, Adam didn't uphold his end of the covenant. As a result, he deserved to die. But in Genesis 3 we see that God doesn't exact that punishment right then and there. Instead of killing Adam on the spot God mercifully instituted a new covenant. This is what we call the covenant of grace. Now Adam could live and expect salvation, not based on what he would do, but on the basis of the works of Jesus Christ.
The same holds true for all men today. All men are liable to death because they are covenant breakers and are unable to live up to the requirements God lays out in his law. Yet, in the covenant of grace the Lord freely offers unto sinners life and salvation by Jesus Christ. All he requires is that we have faith in Christ and believe that he will indeed fulfill his promise.
We are starting to introduce some links in our blog roll and we wanted to take a second to point out a couple particular links. They are Vision Forum, Training Leaders for Christ, and Ashland / Richland Homeschool Network. All of them are resources for those who are interested in family integration and/or home education.
One of our key distinctive marks as a church is our emphasis on the role of the family. We believe that God has created the family to be the foundational block of all of society, be it a church or culture. It is also our conviction that the Lord ordained that parents (particularly fathers) train up their children in the way they should go.
To be sure, Providence does not styles itself as a "homeschool only" church. However, many of our families do choose home education as their means of discipleship. For this reason we want to make sure that our church friends and family members have access to quality materials for this endeavor.
Many of our families have profited from the materials offered by Vision Forum. VF provides a thoroughly Christian curriculum and, like Providence, has a vision for growing strong families for future generations.
The other two links are for the local homeschool support groups in our area. The Ashland/Richland Homeschool Network is a loosely affiliated bunch. They are mainly connected by an email list where news and events are circulated.
Training Leaders for Christ is stationed in Mansfield and has monthly meetings & events. This group, which is run by some of our members, has much to offer by way of assistance and does require you to become a member.
Our practice of worship has a purposeful four part order. It is a design that has obvious form, yet there is freedom within the structure.
Entering God’s Presence
Formal worship begins with a call to worship followed by a song or hymn. We then remember who we are by corporately confessing our sins. This is followed by a confession of our faith before God in word or in song.
Listening to God Speak
The second part of worship is when we hear from God through the reading, preaching or teaching of God's Word.
Responding to God’s Grace
This involves a time of singing and a time of open worship. Congregants are invited to participate by choosing or starting songs, reading aloud a Scripture (particularly a passage of praise or exhortation), or offering a prayer of thanksgiving or praise.
Worship of God leads to a sharing of the Lord's Table (communion). We invite all those who confess Jesus Christ as Lord and are baptized to participate in this holy meal.
Preparing to Serve the Lord
The final part if worship prepares God's people to return to the world. This is through a time of testimony of thanksgiving and intercession.
Worship formally concludes with the Benediction.
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