Sunday Supper October 25, 2015

 In a feature reminiscent of my childhood in which Sunday supper consisted of a smorgasbord of leftovers and a random assortment of other foods, I bring you an assortment of random items of interest from the past week.

 

R.C. Sproul offers a brief but helpful answer to the question: Can the Devil Read My Mind?

 

Social Media and the Fruit of the Spirit – “One of the most unfortunate but telling aspects of social media is the way many Christians use it with little concern for how it reflects on them or their Savior.”

 

5 Surprising Characteristics of Churches That Are Actually Reaching the Next Generation – “Everyone talks about reaching the next generation of young adults. But what really makes a church effective in reaching the next generation?”

 

Here’s an interesting and radical idea for a change in how churches reach young people. Have Churches Been Doing Youth Ministry Forever?

 

5 Thoughts on Why Lighting Will Be the Next Worship War – “Some church leaders and members prefer well-lit worship services, while others prefer a more subdued and darkened facility … Many churches are having internal disagreements over lighting. In some churches it has become contentious.”

 

There’s More to Calvinism than the Five Points of Calvinism” – “The five points of Calvinism did not originate with John Calvin, they were not the sum total of his teaching – there’s much more to Calvinism than the “Five Points of Calvinism” – and TULIP is a relatively recent flower.”

 

Building Church Community the Right Way – An excerpt from The Compelling Community contrasts a natural and a supernatural way to create community in the church.

 

Here are 5 Strategies for Daily Bible Reading.

 

Preaching the Tone of the Text – “Every text has a truth. And every text has a tone. To faithfully preach the truth of the text, you must strategically preach the tone of the text.”

 

“I want to be the best mother I can be, but perhaps the most efficient way to go about this is to remove my child from the center of my universe. Perhaps then I will allow myself to be a holistic human being; and perhaps then I can grant my son that same freedom.” Parenting Persons, Not Projects contains wonderful thoughts for all parents from a mom’s perspective.

 

Bad News, Indeed provides Albert Mohler’s thoughts on why Playboy‘s decision to cease printing nude magazine photos actually signals a negative cultural change rather than a positive one.

 

Enjoy this random collection of stuff and be sure to let me know what you’ve been reading or watching that is interesting, enjoyable or helpful.

Advertisements

Protecting Our Children

Danger

I recently wrote about the dangers of a casual attitude toward sin. In that post, I also spoke of the need for parents to guard their children from sin instead of placing them in harm’s way. As I thought more about this important topic, I felt it might be helpful to delve into it a little more by describing some of the ways we might be putting our kids in a position to sin.

I don’t mean to imply that we are trying to tempt them nor am I saying they are relieved of responsibility. I simply believe that sin is a powerful and appealing force on a child and as parents we can create an environment that makes it either easier or more difficult to fall prey to that force. Though I think it is usually unintentional, we often place our children in harm’s way. In no particular order, here are some area in which parents are failing to create the safest possible spiritual environment for their kids.

  • Entertainment – A great deal of the entertainment we expose our children to promotes values that are contrary to God’s Word. We expose them to bad language, sensual behavior, materialism, rotten attitudes, disrespect and selfishness (to name a few) all in the name of entertainment. And that’s just the material targeted to children. They also see and hear so much more of our grown up content than we realize. Just to be clear – I’m speaking of entertainment that would generally be considered safe for kids. Don’t let down your guard just because a show, song or website is marketed to kids. Pray for wisdom and practice discernment.
  • Conversation – With children of all ages, we must be careful of how we speak in front of them. There is the danger of talking about issues or topics that are just above their level of maturity or providing information they shouldn’t have. With careless conversation, we can provide unnecessary exposure to a wide array of temptations like gossip, anger, bitterness, covetousness, etc. When we speak within ear-shot of our children we had better consider what thoughts our words might place in their minds.
  • Busyness – Without thinking about the consequences and for often the best of reasons, we overcrowd our children’s lives to the point that they simply are not capable of responding in a proper manner. We demand good grades, good behavior and good attitudes all the while filling their lives with practices, rehearsals and extra-curricular activities. In addition to placing them in circumstances in which it is difficult for them to act righteously, we are also modeling a value system in which God takes a back seat.
  • Priorities – Though most Christian parents tell their kids that God comes first, we actually model worldly priorities. Though there are many ways in which we do this, I’m especially concerned about the current trend of prioritizing just about everything above church. I question the wisdom of a parent that keeps their child home from church for homework or lets them skip church to play a sport. Even consistently skipping church for work sends the message that work trumps God. We must prioritize God’s kingdom above everything – including entertainment, work, social activities and even education.
  • Confession – actually, the lack thereof. We create a whole host of temptations for our children when we sin and do not admit it. Being a godly, Christian parent is not about always getting it right. It’s about pursuing Christ in every area-including parenting. When you fail, don’t rationalize it or make excuses or stubbornly deny it. Instead, confess to your child that you, too, are a sinner who needs God’s grace and mercy. Confessing, asking forgiveness and planning how you will behave differently in the future creates a spiritually wholesome and safe environment. When we don’t, we set our children up for failure in dealing with their own sin as well as create an environment where resentment and anger easily grow.
  • Unrealistic expectations – In Colossians 3:21, Paul instructed parents not to provoke or exasperate their children. One of the most common ways of doing this is to pile impossible expectations on them. I’m not talking about expecting them not to sin. I’m talking about placing behavioral demands on them that are merely based in our own preference. Demanding certain grades regardless of circumstances, expecting young children to be quiet or still for long periods of time or requiring adult-like emotional responses out of children. Especially with young children, we can create unrealistic expectations by putting them in difficult situations and expecting them to not be affected. Pain, sadness, exhaustion, grief, confusion and many other external conditions can all affect behavior. We must realize this and be prepared to teach them how to cope.

Almost every parent claims to love their child and would probably face harm themselves in order to physically protect their child, yet many Christian parents consistently place their children in spiritually dangerous situations. Too often we create circumstances in which it is almost impossible for them to do anything other than sin. While we cannot excuse nor prevent sinful behavior, we do have an obligation to place our children in an environment that will nurture their spirituality, growth and holiness.

Please understand that I am not promoting legalism nor am I trying to judge anyone’s parenting practices. I merely hope to challenge Christian parents to evaluate their own actions in regard to how they may be negatively affecting their children. Let’s seek God’s wisdom as we undertake the huge responsibility of raising the children He has gifted us with.

Sunday Supper October 11, 2015

 In a feature reminiscent of my childhood in which Sunday supper consisted of a smorgasbord of leftovers and a random assortment of other foods, I bring you an assortment of random items of interest from the past week.

Though, in my opinion, saying churches are living in the 1980’s is probably generous, this is a great article by Thom Rainer – Eight Reasons Many Churches Are Living in the 1980’s

When Can A Child Respond to the Gospel? “While the Bible does not provide a fully-developed treatment of child-development, a careful study of the Old Testament (OT) reveals several presuppositions about the nature of children which can be applied to questions regarding their readiness for the Gospel.”

Four Gospels? – Great explanation of the importance for all four of the Gospel accounts.

Never Humble Enough – “Humility does not come naturally to me. It does not come naturally to any of us. But I have gone looking for it. I have gone looking for it in God’s Word and I have gone looking for it in God’s people. I am convinced it can be learned, and that’s because humility is not a feeling or an attitude—it’s action. You learn humility by seeing humility and then doing humility.”

Great defense of the reliability of the Gospels – How Do You Know Jesus Really Rose from the Dead?

Captive and the Christian Film Industry – a somewhat critical perspective on all the Christian movies coming out.

Here is a thoughtful consideration of technology and the church presented through a list of 5 Warning Signs for the Church in a Facebook Culture .

Enjoy this random collection of stuff and be sure to let me know what you’ve been reading or watching that is interesting, enjoyable or helpful.

Sunday Supper October 4, 2015

In a feature reminiscent of my childhood in which Sunday supper consisted of a smorgasbord of leftovers and a random assortment of other foods, I bring you an assortment of random items of interest from the past week.

 

Why We Need the New Battle for the Bible offers some great thoughts on the authority of the Bible.

 

“It’s been said that the Bible is like a body of water in which a child may wade and an elephant may swim. The youngest Christian can read the Bible with profit, for the Bible’s basic message is simple. But we can never exhaust its depth.” – How to Read the Bible and Do Theology Well

 

Some really great thoughts on How An Affair Really Begins.

 

Don’t Leave Jesus Behind argues for seeing Jesus in all of Scripture.

 

“Instead of a la carte Christianity driven by fickle tastes and “dream church” appetites, what if we learned to love churches even when (or perhaps because) they challenge us and stretch us out of our comfort zones? Instead of driving 20 miles away to attend a church that “fits my needs,” what if we committed to the nearest non-heretical, Bible-believing church where we could grow and serve—and where Jesus is the hero—however uncomfortable it may be?” – Chipotle Church and the Problem of Choice

 

2 Surefire Ways to Avoid Persecution – “We are to live among unbelieving people, but to live in a very different way. When we do this we are never far from some kind of persecution.”

 

Four Indicators You Have an Untrustworthy Team Member – “An untrustworthy team member can spoil and corrupt the collective character of a team. One team member can adversely impact the whole, can adversely impact the culture of the team you lead.”

 

Enjoy this random collection of stuff and be sure to let me know what you’ve been reading or watching that is interesting, enjoyable or helpful.