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Christianity Family Life Fatherhood Godfidence

Act Like Men

“Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong.”
1 Corinthians 16:13

Act Like Men is a one-day conference in Columbus, Ohio that exists to rally and challenge men to live into Paul’s call for Gospel transformation in every aspect of their lives. This event features local and national speakers addressing what it means to Act Like Men. Key topics will include: personal responsibility and leadership in their homes, families, churches and culture; Godly use of time, finances and resources.

As any of my friends will tell you I have a certain passion for seeing males stop being boys and start acting like men.  I helped to start a site dedicated to looking at why men hate going to church and how we can more affectively minister to men in this way.

Act like Men will kick off tomorrow at 9.  I will be tweeting and doing some live blogging although I am a volunteer so I hope I can have the time to write as well.  If you are interested there is a live video stream being set up.  Just tune in early (9:00am EST) and you can hear 400 men worshiping the LORD in a serious way.

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Family Life Fatherhood

What a stange encounter

Heather and I had a very strange encounter last weekend.  We had decided to get my free birth day burger at a local restaurant and after asking to be moved away from the door and the negative wind chill we sat with the girls quietly waiting for our food to arrive.  It took a little longer than we though but nothing really unusual happened.

When suddenly the couple in the booth behind me got up and the gentleman turned to our table and said “I just want to commend you both on being such excellent parents.”

I was shocked, and humbled all at the same time.  I quickly thought through all that I had done with Alora since we sat down but couldn’t think of anything remarkable that would entice this man to walk up to two perfect strangers and remark on their child rearing.

We expressed our gratitude and talked about the couples three grand children before saying our good byes.  Heather and I stared at each other almost with tears in our eyes.  We try to be very deliberate in how we raise our children but never think we are doing well enough because we see all of our flaws.  But it is wonderful to hear from someone else that you are doing a good job.

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Christmas Family Life

Christmas stuff

I have written extensively on things about Christmas in the past, I have my issues with the holiday and I love it at the same time.

I have relaxed my view on Santa, I don’t tell my daughter about him because I have constantly told her that I don’t lie to her.  I don’t want her to be confused about what this Holiday is all about, it is about the Advent of Jesus.  Grandparents and friends may talk about Santa but she won’t here that out of my mouth.

The only thing I hold the line for is the idea that “If you aren’t good, you won’t get any presents.”

Christmas is about the single greatest undeserved gift in all of history, we give to one another not because we deserve it but to remind each other that “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son.”  And he did it despite the fact that we don’t deserve it, and can’t behave well enough (which is kind of the point of the gift to begin with.)

For Christmas we have begun several traditions, this year we are going through doing something special on each night of advent.  Our family worship time is pointing to the coming of Christ.  Each night our we read a story of our redemptive history and decorate an ornament for out advent tree.  And each night the girls get to open a door on their advent calendar.

I hope that in these little ways we can honor God with this season instead of creating little consumer monsters.

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Family Life Through The Bible

Honest About My Lack of Bible Reading

One of my goals in relaunching this blog is to be more honest.  Honestly I haven’t read the entire Bible since my oldest daughter, who turns 4 in January.  Prior to that I had read through the Bible several times over two years.

A few weeks ago I posed a question to people on twitter and facebook “Is it more important to be culturally relevant or Biblically faithful.”  Overwhelmingly the responses were that it is more important to be biblically faithful.  The natural question that follows is how much time to we spend on it.

I am unable to find any definitive research on the matter but I would wager a guess that 50-90% of “lay” people don’t open the Bible from Sunday to Sunday.

I am one of those people in most cases, if you eliminate the scriptures I read for our community group then I have normally been one of those people.

My wife and I confessed to each other on a recent road trip that neither of us have a love for the Word of God like we feel we should.  Part of it is familiarity, part is laziness, part is lack of discipline, and part sin and the sum is I don’t read the Bible.

It is my desire to change that this year, I am returning to a yearly reading of God’s word no matter what I need to sacrifice to do it.  How can I learn more about God without his authoritative self-revelation?

How can I make the time in a busy life to honor God with my time?  Any suggestions?

Categories
Fatherhood

Am I to much of a freak?

My wife grew up listening to a series of records staring Psalty the singing song book and because of her love for this series she has purchased them for my daughter and Alora loves them.  I however do not.  I dislike them, not in the same way I do all of the other kids shows but because this “Christian” character teaches bad doctrine.  One of the songs chorus goes “With Jesus I’ll do my best he’ll do the rest,” it is talking about things like climbing a mountain using Phil 4:13 as the refrain.

I want my daughters to realize that you can do nothing on your own.  Our total inability keeps us from pleasing God on our own.  It isn’t about some sort of moralism where we do our best and Jesus makes up the delta in our righteousness.  We are completely incapable of doing any thing in the way of righteous and it is only because of the imputed righteousness of Christ that we are acceptable in the eyes of God.  Much like our beloved vegetable shaped characters they only teach that you have to be good.  It is a moralism that will damn you to hell just as fast as any unrepentant sin.  As my friend Scott said “There is a non-smoking virgin section of hell” and without the Gospel far too many “Christians” are heading there.

Am I being too much of a freak?  Or should I be worried that I am setting a poor foundation that I will have to rebuild later?

Categories
Family Life Godfidence Politics Theology

Authority, Government and God

I have been invited to join a top secret group (oops) of men who will be meeting for several weeks while wrestling, and growing in our grip of theology.  We are working though several theological topics and the practical implications of them.

This isn’t a debate club; our hope is to grow closer to one another while growing closer to God’s word.  We are to study some of the topics ahead of time and work though them before we arrive at our undisclosed location so I thought I would work through them a little bit here.  So, I warn you this may be a little more like stream of consciousness writing than a well thought article, if you want one of those I suggest you try the discovery that change my life, and biblical church leadership.

This week we are talking about Government, Authority and God.  A topic I get particularly fired up about because my first exposure to it was a class in Bible College where we read “Spiritual Authority” by Watchman Nee, who all but said you must obey your authority even into sin because the sin would be your leaders and not yours.  The class was very extreme but I had never heard any thing on the topic before so I was interested, although being a fairly rebellious person by nature I was very turned off at the same time.

What does God say about authority explicitly?

1 Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, 4 for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. 6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. 7 Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.  — Rom 13

Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution,  whether it be to the emperor as supreme, 14 or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. 15 For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. 16  Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. 17  Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.- 1 Pet 2:13-17

Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, 2 to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people.– Titus  3:1-2

A verse many evangelical Christians would be well served to mediate on considering most thing our current President or any with a ‘D’ after his name are Satan’s right hand man.

Does that mean that God has appointed President Obama to be our President at this time?  Yes, but why?  The notes in my ESV bible express it very well:

It is true that those governing authorities that exist have been instituted by God, but sometimes God gives good authorities as a blessing, and sometimes he institutes evil rulers as a means of trial or judgment (2 Chron. 25:20; 32:24-25). On God’s rule over earthly authorities, see Ps. 75:7 and Dan. 2:21. These earthly “authorities” will ultimately be superseded by the rule of Christ (Dan. 2:44; Rev. 22:1-5).

I am not about to try to decide which our current President is, he is my president and I respect that office.  (In the interest of full disclosure; I am more Libertarian than Republican or Democrat so I think both of our major parties stink on ice and both running our country head long into a brick wall, although one may be doing it faster than the other I am not sure)

So what does the mean for a citizen of a country that is born of rebellion?  Were our Founding Fathers in sin for rebelling against the crown?  Can our president whom ever he is even be considered an authority when we are simply rebelling against the rule of Great Brittan?  Should we repent and be subjects of the crown?

At what point did the Constitution become a binding authority of God?  Was it after the 14th amendment was ratified officially recognizing “all other citizens as 3/5th of a person?  Was it while Slavery still existed in a non biblical form?

How are we to handle our disagreements with the government in a republic where the government is to be of the people, for the people and, by the people.  Paul was working in the context of a sovereigjn ruler not a republic, does that change things?

Was Martin Luther King in sin with his civil disobedience?  Was he rebelling against the God ordained authority? (I cringe to ever write that).

Should we use the government to regulate human morality?  Should we out law “Victimless” crimes because we see a biblical mandate to not do it personally?  Drinking isn’t a sin although the bible warns against drunkenness so do we make a crime to be drunk?  Not drink and drive just sitting home alone getting drunk, should that be a crime?

Should we try to change people though the law or through the Gospel or both?  Should we just legislate that everyone should be a Christian?

How does the affect the Gospel?  I know I fear making my political opinions more important than the Gospel.  I get very fired up about politcs but not as much about the gospel?  Have I made politics into an idol?

That is all I have time for and you probably haven’t read the whole things anyway.  If you did, tell me what you think but I would prefer not to simply have an opinion, but I would like to know what the Bible has to say on the matter and how we are to live that out.

Categories
Christianity Family Life Godfidence

Raising a Righteous Child 2.5

This post stems from the past few posts I have written about raising children and being a Godly father. My wife scared me on our way home from church when she pointed out how she sees the marriage covenant we share are being a type of the covenant Jesus has with his church. Now not only do I represent the Father by bearing that title to my children but also, albeit to a very small degree, represent Christ. No pressure though.

Deuteronomy 6 says a great deal to the Israelites about how they are to live their lives and train their children on a daily basis.

4 “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

For now I will avoid the question of whether or not this text is prescriptive or descriptive, meaning is it a command to all Christians at all times or just to this particular group of people. I believe this passage to be applicable to all of us as how to train our children. If you are not aware V4 is known as the Shemah in Judaism and is a central passage to their faith.
What stands out to me immediately is that we are to talk about the statutes of God all the time. V 7 tells us to teach them at all times to our children. I have always felt awkward for my desire to talk about Godly things more often than those around me. But I was discipled in an environment where that is really all we talked about so it came naturally to me. It seems that it is difficult, even for me, to find our faith in Jesus as common ground. I am attending a church plant where everyone is new and it is easy to start a conversation because few people know one another but still we ask “What do you do?” and other small talk questions instead about asking more about how Jesus affected their lives, is that because we have been taught that those topics are taboo in polite society or simply because Jesus isn’t all that central even in the lives of us who call themselves believers? I am not sure.
But I do know that I don’t have to worry about taboo topics within my house. I have heard that faith is more caught than taught and I have seen examples in my years as a youth pastor where parents assumed I would take care of all that spiritual stuff so they didn’t have to. After all that is what they paid their tithes for right? I can teach my children all of the right words and songs but if I am not living out my faith daily in front of my children I think it may be useless.

Categories
Christianity Family Life Godfidence

Raising a Righteous Child II

Raising a righteous child II

I hope the conversation on this post doesn’t get shut down quite like the last one. I really am praying and struggling on how to handle these things. I didn’t grow up in a home centered on Christ and his work and therefore I don’t have a practical model of how such things are supposed to work. I was fortunate enough to have been discipled for an all too short period of time by a family who was very Christ centered, but I still feel inadequate when it comes to “bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” (Eph 6:4)

More and more I am beginning to understand that God has entrusted to me two little girls whom I am to train to understand the things of God. This is more and more pressure every time I think about it. While I understand that God is sovereign it doe not diminish my responsibility to follow through with what God has commanded me to do when it comes to raising my children.

I have been a youth pastor, I have been a Christian for twelve years, studied at Bible College and consumed more theology books than men outside of a seminary but I still don’t know the practical way to lead my household in a Godly way.

We have recently expanded our Bible study with our oldest to a family worship time with praises, reading of the Word and prayer. But I struggle to find any “children’s” songs that are doctrinally sound. Is that a big deal? I believe it is, these are formative years and songs have always been used to teach the Bible and the Doctrines of the faith to those that can’t read. I have just given in to not using “child friendly” songs. We sing Amazing Grace, Nothing but the Blood along with the B-I-B-L-E and Jesus Loves Me.

Heather and I are looking for a Catechism for our girls and for us because we were never taught core doctrine that way but I haven’t been able to find one that I think Alora can understand quite yet, maybe it doesn’t matter. Maybe I should begin by rote memorization and then allow those words and thoughts to blossom inside her spirit as God wills.

What do you think? I would really like to hear from everyone on this matter.

Categories
Christianity Church Family Life Godfidence

Meanwhile at the fortress of Solitude…

I honestly didn’t intend to drop this blog so completely but my new blog has taken up a lot more of my time than I intended.

But things have been moving along quite nicely, I had recently posted about being caught between two worlds and while I have reduced my extra biblical reading on theological matters in favor of research for www.improvethequality.com I have actually increased my biblical reading.  I am not following my weekly schedule but I have been reading throught I Cor which has been awesome.  Paul was writing to a church with no “church” background, they had a pagan religious background much like our current culture.
Since Heather and I have started attending a church “in the city for the city” I thought it would be good to read this particular book and God has really helped me to see some of my own religious tendencies.

Also since the last time I posted Time magazine has named the “New Calvinism” as one of the top ten ideas changing the world right now.  They do a decent job on the article but if you would like to read more info on one of the major players in the movement see Mark Driscoll’s comments here and here

Other than that I hope to be able to write something more thoughtful in the future. 🙂

Categories
Family Life

Raising a Righteous Child

I am becoming more and more convinced that raising a Godly child is more a result of what happens at home than the church programs you may have at your particular local church.  I know once it is said it is obvious but I have been living my life as if it was not true.

My oldest daughter has just turned three and I am learning what it means to live the gospel in my home but I also am learning that Socrates was right when he said wisdom comes from knowing that you know nothing.  I know how to explain the gospel in large theological terms but not necessarily how to teach it to a three year old.  Although I have done my best by explaining that Jesus took all her spanks from God.  I think it made sense to her.  When we do have to discipline her we talk about the heart issues from which her misbehavior stems.  We have told her consistently told her that only Jesus can make her heart a good heart, because it is a bad heart now.
I have even had to ask my daughter to pray for me and forgive me when I have sinned against her, treating my sin the same as I treat hers so she can see that we are all sinners in need of a savior.  I hope it is enough.

I don’t think I want my daughter to be in a children’s church past a certain point because I want her to be part of our family of faith and not off in a corner.  Here is what the Lord tells us in Deut 6:

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

Training our children is supposed to be a 24/7 affair and it isn’t meant to be relegated to those who run the children’s ministry at your local church.  It is the responsibility of parents.  I find it often easier to talk to my daughter about my day because she always asks me if there were any “monsters” in it but our conversation should be focused and centered on the things of God and all too often it isn’t.