Christmas Hiatus

by Stephen Rodgers

The staff of the Beacon ministry would like to wish you and your family a joyous Christmas. We hope you have a restful and happy time reflecting on the fact that our savior both came into this world, and will return again one day.

We’ll be taking a break for a few weeks to reorganize and make plans for next year, but we’ll be back in 2018. Until then, enjoy the break (and the archives if you just can’t bear to be separated from us for that long).

Weekly Links (12/22/2017)

“Learn much of the Lord Jesus. For every look at yourself, take ten looks at Christ. He is altogether lovely. Such infinite majesty, and yet such meekness and grace, and all for sinners, even the chief. Live much in the smiles of God. Bask in His beams. Feel His all-seeing eye settled on you in love, and repose in His almighty arms. . . . Let your soul be filled with a heart-ravishing sense of the sweetness and excellency of Christ and all that is in Him.” (Andrew Bonar, Memoir and Remains of the Rev. Robert Murray M’Cheyne)

by Cesar Vigil-Ruiz

Feliz Friday! We’ve now come to the end of the week, as well as the school year, and so the Christmas holiday is upon us to be mindful of the love and humility displayed by Christ in His Incarnation. With that said, here are this week’s links!

That’s all for this week! See you Sunday on Christmas Eve!

Soli Deo Gloria

God’s Wisdom for Parenting (Part 5)

by Pastor Patrick Cho

One of the places in Scripture to find a wealth of helpful principles for parenting is the Proverbs. Almost every book on parenting will reference these Scriptures repeatedly because of the wisdom they contain. Besides the plethora of verses that apply to parenting indirectly, several passages address parenting specifically.

A wise son accepts his father’s discipline, But a scoffer does not listen to rebuke. (Proverbs 13:1)

I am sure many people can relate to the experience I had growing up under my father’s discipline. I had a hard time listening to my dad’s instruction. I would sometimes even roll my eyes and sigh, blatantly non-verbally communicating my disinterest. Looking back I see that oftentimes when a friend or another adult mentor would give me the same advice as my dad, I would listen to it and even immediately start applying the counsel to my life. It is no wonder the Bible says so much about listening to your parents. According to Deuteronomy 21:18ff, an obstinate rebellious child was to be put to death for his sin! Proverbs 23:22 states, “Listen to your father who begot you, and do not despise your mother when she is old.”

Now that I am a parent myself, I have come to understand and appreciate how helpful my parents’ counsel was. It is eerie how I sometimes sound so much like my father. Sometimes I catch myself teaching my children the same maxims and lessons using the same words even with my dad’s broken English! There is invaluable wisdom that comes with age, and it is impossible for young children to naturally have the perspective of their parents. According to Proverbs 13:1, part of what it means to have godly wisdom is to listen to your father’s discipline.

No son likes this. No one likes being corrected. No one enjoys being told they are wrong. But the scoffer is the one who rolls his eyes, sighs, and shakes his head at his father’s words. The scoffer refuses to listen to correction, which eventually leads to his ruin. The scoffer, in his pride, assumes that he knows better than his father. There is definitely this tendency in young people to dismiss their parents’ instruction because they feel like their parents are out of touch with the world around them. It is difficult for young people to understand that “there is nothing new under the sun” (Ecc. 1:9). The issues the world faces may be packaged differently from generation to generation, but at the heart our parents dealt with the same struggles, temptations, and evils that we face today.

My father was not perfect by any means, but I look back and see how I would have been spared significant pain and not made some of the greatest mistakes in my life if I had listened better to my father’s discipline. While I cannot change the past, I can strive to lead my children and develop the kind of relationship with them that they value their parents’ instruction and seek after their counsel. But it will be essential to remember that my children will have the same sinful tendencies the Bible warns against that I had.

Be It Known Unto Thee, O King, That We Will Not Serve Thy Gods

by Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Daniel 3:16, 18

The narrative of the manly courage and marvellous deliverance of the three holy children, or rather champions, is well calculated to excite in the minds of believers firmness and steadfastness in upholding the truth in the teeth of tyranny and in the very jaws of death. Let young Christians especially learn from their example, both in matters of faith in religion, and matters of uprightness in business, never to sacrifice their consciences. Lose all rather than lose your integrity, and when all else is gone, still hold fast a clear conscience as the rarest jewel which can adorn the bosom of a mortal. Be not guided by the will-o’-the-wisp of policy, but by the pole-star of divine authority. Follow the right at all hazards. When you see no present advantage, walk by faith and not by sight. Do God the honour to trust Him when it comes to matters of loss for the sake of principle. See whether He will be your debtor! See if He doth not even in this life prove His word that ‘Godliness, with contentment, is great gain,’ and that they who ‘seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, shall have all these things added unto them.’ Should it happen that, in the providence of God, you are a loser by conscience, you shall find that if the Lord pays you not back in the silver of earthly prosperity, He will discharge His promise in the gold of spiritual joy. Remember that a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of that which he possesseth. To wear a guileless spirit, to have a heart void of offence, to have the favour and smile of God, is greater riches than the mines of Ophir could yield, or the traffic of Tyre could win. ‘Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a stalled ox and inward contention therewith.’ An ounce of heart’s-ease is worth a ton of gold.


Weekly Links (12/15/2017)

“You can grieve for me the week before I die, if I’m scared and hurting, but when I gasp that last fleeting breath and my immortal soul flees to heaven, I’m going to be jumping over fire hydrants down the golden streets, and my biggest concern, if I have any, will be my wife back here grieving.

When I die, I will be identified with Christ’s exaltation. But right now, I’m identified with His affliction.” (R.C. Sproul, A Taste of Heaven)

by Cesar Vigil-Ruiz

Feliz Friday! As Christmas comes upon us, I pray we continue to give thanks to God for the love and care He gives us, and the grace He offers through the fellowship of His saints. With that, I pray these links will serve you in your growth in Christ.

  • It is with great sadness to hear of Dr. R.C. Sproul’s passing yesterday, after being in the hospital his last 12 days due to respiratory difficulties worsened by the flu and complicated by chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Founder and former chairman of Ligonier Ministries, former pastor of Saint Andrew’s Chapel in Sanford, FL, former chancellor of Reformation Bible College, he leaves behind his wife of 57 years, Vesta, two children, 11 grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren. He was 78 years old. Chris Larson of Ligonier Ministries gives the initial news on Ligonier’s site, while Ligonier Chairman Robert Godfrey and teaching fellow Stephen Nichols gives a tribute to this great man of God. Al Mohler writes of Sproul’s influence on his own life, as does John Piper. Justin Taylor gives a detailed obituary of his life here on earth. He will be deeply missed by many who knew him, and many more who didn’t. “But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope.” (1 Thessalonians 4:13)
  • Denny Burk comments on Pope Francis’ desire to change the phrase “lead us not into temptation” to “do not let us fall into temptation.” We would do well to point Roman Catholics to the true and only infallible authority given to the church, the Word of God.
  • Jason Engwer at Triablogue gives yet another reason why Christmas apologetics merits discussion: the decrease of Americans’ belief in a Christian view of Christmas. May God grant us opportunities to share Christ’s birth with those who don’t yet know Him.
  • Pastor Chris Brauns began a series of messages at his church titled, “Leading Our Emotions Through the Holidays” this month. You can read a summary of his first message, “Leading Our Emotions I – Depression,” which includes a link to the audio.

That’s all for this week! Please be in prayer for our SDSU collegians, as they go through finals through next week, and for our Christmas concert tomorrow! We look forward to continue celebrating the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. See you on Sunday!

Soli Deo Gloria

Yea Rather, Blessed Are They That Hear The Word Of God, And Keep It

by Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Luke 11:27-28

It is fondly imagined by some that it must have involved very special privileges to have been the mother of our Lord, because they supposed that she had the benefit of looking into His very heart in a way in which we cannot hope to do. There may be an appearance of plausibility in the supposition, but not much. We do not know that Mary knew more than others; what she did know she did well to lay up in her heart; but she does not appear from anything we read in the Evangelists to have been a better-instructed believer than any other of Christ’s disciples. All that she knew we also may discover. Do you wonder that we should say so? Here is a text to prove it: ‘The secret of the Lord is with them that fear Him, and He will show them His covenant.’

Remember the Master’s words-‘Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his Lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.’ So blessedly does this Divine Revealer of secrets tell us His heart, that He keepeth back nothing which is profitable to us; His own assurance is, ‘If it were not so, I would have told you.’ Doth He not this day manifest Himself unto us as He doth not unto the world? It is even so; and therefore we will not ignorantly cry out, ‘Blessed is the womb that bare thee,’ but we will intelligently bless God that, having heard the Word and kept it, we have first of all as true a communion with the Saviour as the Virgin had, and in the second place as true an acquaintance with the secrets of His heart as she can be supposed to have obtained. Happy soul to be thus privileged!


Weekly Links (12/8/2017)

“The best thing you can do for your marriage is to grow closer to Jesus. The more you understand and appreciate God’s love for you in Christ, the better your marriage will be as you reflect that love to your spouse. A strong marriage in which both partners are showing Christlike love to each other will help both of them to better appreciate God’s gracious love. One reason that a Christian would never want to marry an unbeliever is that a non-Christian does not know the love of Christ and, as a result, is incapable of expressing Christlike love.” (Jim Newheiser, Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage: Critical Questions and Answers)

by Cesar Vigil-Ruiz

Feliz Friday! Well, another week has passed during this Advent season, so we hope your anticipation of celebrating Christ’s birth has been a great blessing to all of you. With the recent fires, there is much to pray for with respect to our prayers. Let’s continue to ask God to be gracious to those who are affected, and also to use those fighting the fires and end the destruction taking place near our homes. Even during this time, may these links be of help to you and draw you closer to Christ.

  • Tim Challies gives three productivity tips that can be of help for you in the new year. You don’t even have to wait until January 1st to get started! Start being productive, to God’s glory, today!
  • Since Christmas is coming, and many are thinking of gifts to buy for their loved ones, some may love a good book that helps them grow in Christ. You may not know where to start, but I found a couple lists that may be a timely blessing: Fred Zaspel’s and Tony Reinke’s booklists. Reinke’s includes the occasional charismatic writer (Jack Deere and Sam Storms), so be discerning in what you find.
  • There has been a lot of anticipation regarding Jack Phillips’ ‘refusal to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding’ case being taken to the Supreme Court by many Christians, so here’s a great recap from Denny Burk. Al Mohler chimes in as well on his podcast The Briefing.
  • The Acts 29 Network has faced a lot of storms in its nearly 20-year existence. Sarah Eekhoff Zylstra writes of the long history, survival, and future of this group of church-planting churches. You will be surprised at some of the problems, and how God has worked in the hearts of many leaders to refocus its heart on planting churches to honor and serve our Lord, Jesus Christ.
  • Does calling Jesus Lord have any inherent implications? Pastor Jesse Johnson and New Testament scholar Murray Harris emphatically say, yes! Harris lists out eight. Do you agree with Scripture’s perspective on the matter?
  • Crossway has started an eight-day reading challenge this week through the Gospel of Luke and Acts to re-familiarize ourselves to the celebration of Christ’s birth. In case you want to read a devotional for the same reason, you can look no further than John Piper. Here is today’s devotional, with links to the previous entries at the bottom.
  • What is the goal of every friendship/relationship? How you answer that question will color the regular interactions you have with those whom you would call, ‘friend.’ Michael Kelley lays out five implications for those kinds of relationship that are defined by the gospel. With this in mind, do you have any gospel-influenced friendships?
  • Many children will be receiving gifts this Christmas, but what is one gift everyone would agree kids need? A safe bet would be patience. How can parents cultivate that into their kids? Pastor Scott James gives some solid wisdom, especially in light of the Advent season.
  • Andrew Walker gives some practical outworkings of talking to someone who identifies as transgender. There is a lot of food for thought here, but hopefully a lot to pray for, as well.

That’s all for this week! Please be in prayer for our youth, who will be having their Christmas party tonight, and the collegians, who will be having Bible study. See you all on Sunday!

Soli Deo Gloria

Good Grace to a Bad Sinner

by Roger Alcaraz

I’ve only been a pastor a few years, but one of the highlights of it is that I get to be at the membership interviews and hear people’s testimonies of how they are saved. And even in just a few years, I’ve heard a wide variety of them, ranging from 30 seconds long to two hours long, from people who were born into a Christian home to people who never even heard of Jesus until later in life, from people who lived an outwardly moral life to people who lived in open rebellion. But even with all of the details that make each testimony unique, all of them, if genuine, center around one theme and one person–the grace found in Jesus Christ. Our testimonies are amazing and I hope it’s not just something you reserve for interviews, but that you can’t help but to recount it every time the gospel message is thought of.

The apostle Paul was a man who deeply saw how the gospel changed his own life. In 1 Timothy 1:11 Paul speaks of “the gospel of the glory of the blessed God” and even just the mere mention of the gospel is enough to take over his thoughts, and he can’t shake how it affects him. This is supposed to be a letter to help Timothy know how to conduct himself in the household of God, and yet the gospel is so personal to Paul that he can’t even say the word without going into his own testimony.

And throughout the next six verses, Paul recounts his former life and how God extended great mercy to him. But in the middle of it all, he says something worth taking a closer look at. He says: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” If I had only a few words to share the core gospel message, it might say exactly this. Yet for Paul, it was more than a message to spread to others; it was a message for himself.

We always ask in our membership interviews, “What is the gospel?” Maybe that’s even a question you’ve been asked by friends. And we can easily just state the facts, but for Paul, the gospel was personal. That’s why Paul goes on to say, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.

He preaches the gospel message to himself because he can’t escape the idea that the gospel is, first and foremost, for him. And what this shows is that in the midst of Paul going to the ends of the earth with the gospel and sharing it with thousands of people, he’s thinking, “This gospel that I’m preaching–nobody needs it more than I do.”

I don’t think Paul was giving an objective statement that he was, indeed, the worse sinner ever, but that from his perspective, nobody needed grace more than himself. Some think that Paul is referring to his past life of sin and persecution, but that’s not the case. He doesn’t say, “of whom I was the foremost.” He says, “whom I am the foremost.” I am the foremost of sinners and I am still undeserving of salvation.

And he can have that perspective, even as an apostle writing the Word of God, because he knows the depths of his own sin and the heights of Christ’s holiness. Paul understood that Jesus had absolutely no obligation to do anything good for him. Thus, Paul could see salvation as magnificent grace, and in response his life then became all about the gospel.

There’s a good lesson for us to apply here. Paul was entrusted with the gospel message, just as we are, but as we seek to proclaim the gospel to others, the question we need to ask is, “Do we view ourselves the way Paul viewed himself?” Is the gospel more than how Christ saved sinners but how he even saved you? And do you let that impact your own life before taking it to others? I think if we’re going to make a greater impact for God’s kingdom while honoring him each step of the way, it begins with how personal we view God’s grace and how overwhelmed we are to be recipients of it. Let us learn from Paul’s example and marvel at the grace in our own lives before we seek it in others. And even as we share the gospel with others, may the world see just how astounded we are that God would save sinners like you and me.

Weekly Links (12/5/2017)

by Stephen Rodgers

I know what you’re thinking: a Weekly Links articles but it’s not a Friday? This place has totally lost the plot since Richard moved to Orange County!

Well, in this case, even Richard couldn’t have prevented the awkward timing of December’s first Friday being so close to the beginning of the month that resources weren’t even out yet. But they’re out now, so buckle up and hang on…

  • Why the Reformation Still Matters (free audiobook) – This month’s free offerring from is actually pretty great. Reeves and Chester do a fantastic job of tracing the applications of church history down through the centuries to our current day. This is definitely recommended.
  • Psalms, Vol. 1: Psalms 1–41 (free Logos resource) – Boice is a great commentator, and the Psalms aren’t too shabby either. If you’re a Logos user, grab it. Don’t even think twice.
  • The Temple (free Tabletalk magazine) – I always recommend Tabletalk, and this month is no exception.
  • Themelios 42.3 (free journal) – You may want to peruse the TOC and the list of book reviews for articles that interest you, but this journal is still my go-to resource for DA Carson editorials. Don’t miss one of those.
  • Crucial Questions (28 free ebooks) – While we wouldn’t agree with RC Sproul about every particular of theology, these 28 free books are an amazing resource for just about anyone. And they’re free in every conceivable format (EPUB, Kindle, iBooks, etc.) Some are also available in Spanish!

Well there you go. That’s a pretty great haul in time for Christmas, so enjoy!

Pro Rege

Waiting For The Adoption

by Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Romans 8:23

Even in this world saints are God’s children, but men cannot discover them to be so, except by certain moral characteristics. The adoption is not manifested, the children are not yet openly declared. Among the Romans a man might adopt a child, and keep it private for a long time: but there was a second adoption in public; when the child was brought before the constituted authorities its former garments were taken off, and the father who took it to be his child gave it raiment suitable to its new condition of life. ‘Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be.’ We are not yet arrayed in the apparel which befits the royal family of heaven; we are wearing in this flesh and blood just what we wore as the sons of Adam; but we know that ‘when He shall appear’ who is the ‘first-born among many brethren,’ we shall be like Him, we shall see Him as He is.

Cannot you imagine that a child taken from the lowest ranks of society, and adopted by a Roman senator, would say to himself, ‘I long for the day when I shall be publicly adopted. Then I shall leave off these plebeian garments, and be robed as becomes my senatorial rank’? Happy in what he has received, for that very reason he groans to get the fulness of what is promised him. So it is with us today. We are waiting till we shall put on our proper garments, and shall be manifested as the children of God. We are young nobles, and have not yet worn our coronets. We are young brides, and the marriage day is not yet come, and by the love our Spouse bears us, we are led to long and sigh for the bridal morning. Our very happiness makes us groan after more; our joy, like a swollen spring, longs to well up like an Iceland geyser, leaping to the skies, and it heaves and groans within our spirit for want of space and room by which to manifest itself to men.