Sign up to be notified of new blog post.

If you are not getting notifications of the blog posts by e-mail and would like to, click here. Make sure that you give us at least your first name.


I promise we will never give or sell your info to others.


You might also want to visit Entrusting Truth to find out more about what we do. My book and workbook Your Walk, their walk are available there as well as at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Translate

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Shortcuts...

...there are none. This Christian life thing is not an event. There is no magic pill or conference or book or new technique that will make it all work. It is a long hard slog, a marathon. That is true about all aspects of this thing. Including leading your kids and wife.

Hebrews 12:1 - 2 reinforces this. We are in an endurance race. Paul also uses the race analogy in 1 Corinthians 9:24 - 27, he says that he has to work hard at it, buffet his body, in order to make sure that he competes well in this Christian life - that was Paul! He wrote much of the New Testament.

Like any athletic contest there will be ebbs and flows in our, and there is in my, involvement in the game. Momentum shifts. We just have to persevere. Not all that we do will be effective with our kids. Not every Bible study we do will give us deeper insight. Regardless we have to press on like Paul says in Philippians 3:12 - 14.

It is not the next notebook, or seminar, or book, it is not even this next year, it is the next step. Take it, and then the one after...

Friday, December 30, 2011

Slow Down


Don’t know about you, but often I feel the “need” for speed.  Problem is that “need” seems to crop up when I sit down to spend time with the Lord in either a devotional time or Bible study.  As soon as I open my journal (devotional) or word processor (Bible study), my thoughts are flooded with things that have to be done, and I mean right now!  Important things!  Did I forget to roll the garden hose after I watered the lawn?  Will there be enough picante sauce to watch the bowl game tomorrow night?  Should I go to Sam’s and get some guacamole and blueberries?  Did I forget to pay a bill?  Or did I call the pastor back from that church I have been talking to about a “Fathers to Sons Workshop?”  What men should I schedule to meet with this week?  What am I going to write about in the blog?

The flood oftentimes shuts me down.  Pushes me away from the time with the Lord or at least distracts me to the point that the depth and quality of the time is diminished.  That can happen when I sit down to talk with Jenny, or one of the kids, or one of the men who I meet with.

Psalm 46:10 tells us to be still.  Our schedules are full.  We are inundated with data.  I get over 300 emails a day, around 150 tweets, hundreds of updates on facebook, multiple requests on LinkedIN, all that goes to my iPhone, iPad, and computer.  I am guilty of producing some of that for other’s consumption.  When I start to pray, there is a strong pull to go and do something productive, like watch “Lost” on Netflix.

Philippians 4:6 – 7, tells me I am to be anxious for nothing; 1 Peter 5:7, tells me to cast all my anxiety on Christ.  I have to continually remind myself that there is nothing more important than my time with the Lord.  I have to consciously slow down, take a deep breath, force myself to be still, cast all of the “important” stuff on the Lord and trust Him to remind me of what needs to be done or remembered.

It is a daily struggle.  But I find that if I do not pay attention to that foundation, the really crucial stuff, like having something to share with my family or the men with whom I meet, does not go well.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

More Answered Prayer


This is tough for me.  I am not the prayer warrior in this house.  That would be my wife.  Regardless, it is my responsibility to persevere in my prayer struggles, perhaps we can learn together…  We looked at the notion of answered prayer yesterday and focused on the truth that “no” is an answer.

1 John 5:14 – 15 tell us that if we ask anything according to God’s will that we will have those requests.  In John 15:7 we read that if we abide in Christ and his Words abide in us what we ask will be done.  John seems to be consistent here.  It seems like our alignment with Christ and the will of our Father determines the answer to our prayer.  So the answers to our prayers give us data.  If we are getting a lot of no’s or waits it could mean that we need to look at whether we are abiding in Him or whether we are asking in accordance with His will.  That is one of the reasons a prayer journal is so important.  It is a way to track what we are asking and how He has answered.

This Christian thing is a relationship, a two way street.  He is interested in conversation not monologue.  If we discern patterns of no’s or waits, perhaps we should be asking Him if we are missing something or if He just wants us to persist.  Then we have to persist in listening for the answer.

In leading our families in prayer, it is important that we help them understand this.  How have you done that?

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Answered Prayer


Garth Brooks made famous a song written by Pat Alger, “Unanswered Prayers.”  The refrain of the song you may remember is:
Sometimes I thank God, for unanswered prayers
Remember when you’re talkin’ to the man upstairs
That just because he doesn’t answer doesn’t mean he don’t care
Some of God’s greatest gifts, are unanswered prayers.
I like the song.  I like the way Garth interprets it.  However, there is a dangerous underlying message embedded in the lyrics.  It is a self centeredness that views God as one who is supposed to grant us all that for which we ask and that if He does not, that is not an answer to prayer.  Last time I checked, “no” is an answer, so is “wait.”  Demanding or expecting that God give us all that we ask for, or viewing “no” as not answering our prayer places our wisdom above God’s and badly misunderstands our relationship with Him.  It is a short step from there to believing that He does not care, or that He does not have our best in heart.

Paul experienced and documented God’s “no” answer.  In Acts 16:6 – 7, and 2 Corinthians 12:7 – 9 are two places where Paul was given a “no” answer.  In the 2 Corinthians passage, the reason was that God’s grace might be perfected in Paul.  “No” is an answer, it is as much a manifestation of the Love of God as a “yes.”

What are some ways we can teach our kids this important truth?  What have you done?  More on this tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Prayer


In Luke 11:1 – 4, the disciples come to Christ and ask Him to teach them to pray.  Note that they had caught Him in the act several times.  They knew that is was important to Him and as His followers they wanted His input on what they should do about this.

What do your kids catch you doing?  What is it that they are coming to you and asking for input?  Like the disciples observed Christ’s behavior, you can count on the fact that your kids are observing yours and mimicking.  Not all of my behavior should be emulated, especially the way I drive and react to other drivers – but that is off topic.

Not only that you pray but what your kids hear you pray about is important.  In Christian circles when it comes time for prayer requests, in most cases they are organ recitals; Aunt Lucy’s liver, Cousin Sam’s heart, Ethel’s rheumatism.  Those are all important, and we should be praying for those things, but seldom does one hear about a personal struggle with one’s walk with God, a desire to be more effective in sharing one’s faith with a neighbor, the salvation of a neighbor or co-worker.

Early pray for those things with your kids.  You might start a family prayer journal with them keeping track of what you have prayed for and how God has answered.  This was not my strength.  It was my wife’s.  It is one of several things I would have liked to have done better as a father.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas Hangover


A friend of mind posted on his facebook page this morning that he was feeling a headache, fatigue, body aches, and nausea – in reality a hangover from Christmas.  That is not the kind of hangover we want but we all should have a hangover from Christmas.  Regardless of the glitz and the commercialism, in most cases the season brings out the best in people.  Folks tend to extend grace and expressions of love more freely this time of year.  The reason is an emulation of God’s gift of His Son to us, John 3:16, John 16:13, 1 John 4:9..

Our hangover from Christmas should be that we exhibit that love toward each other 24/7/365.  That is the reasonable response to His Gift.  We can only do that because He first loved us.  Spend some time reflecting on this with your kids.  Ask them what is different about people during this time of year and why they thing that is.  Then read through the above verses as well as 1 John 4:7 – 21.  It is a great time to emphasize that for them and for us.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas


Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.  The world has changed.  The equation has altered permanently.  No longer does man have to work to please God.  One just has to accept the Gift.  Redemption, planned before the foundation of the earth, was initiated at the birth of an infant in a filthy manger in Bethlehem.

As you read through Luke 2:1 – 20 with your family today, rejoice together over this indescribable Gift.

Merry Christmas, Joy to you and your family.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve


What was the world like 2000 years ago?  What was different the day before Christ was born?  What difference did His birth make?  Those might be some questions to think through with your kids today.

Romans 5:6 – 10 outlines our condition before Christ.  We had no way to be reconciled to God.  There was no bridge, no way back.  We were lost without a compass or map.  The newborn cry of a baby in a manger in Bethlehem would radically change all of that.  Now, instead of groping around for a way to reach God; God had invaded, He had taken on flesh and come for us.  He initiated a personal relationship.  He changed the entire dynamic rendering religion useless; replacing rote with relationship.

Praise Him for this invasion with your tribe today.  Merry Christmas from our home to your’s.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Travel


A lot of you will be traveling today or will have loved ones traveling to you.  It is a busy stressful time.  If you are having people come to visit you are in the last throes of preparation for their arrival.  We are cleaning the house, baking pies, cornbread for dressing, cookies, other holiday fare.  If you are in the car you are watching traffic and if traveling with kids working to keep them entertained and/or maintain sanity.  We used to measure the distance of trips by the number of videos it took.

This traveling thing has deep roots does it not?  The first Christmas was preceded by travel.  Joseph and Mary were going home to Bethlehem for a census. Luke 2:1 – 5.  Essentially, that is what we are doing.  We are either traveling to a family gathering or are preparing for those to come to us.

As you travel or prepare to receive travelers this weekend, take some time to reflect and share with your kids on how even this part of this celebration echoes what Joseph and Mary experienced that first Christmas.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Bible First 2


Continued from Bible First.  …books about the Bible are damaging if they are our primary input.  Why?  2 Peter 1:20 – 21 tells us that the Holy Spirit authored the Bible through the agency of men.  When we come to the Scripture we are interacting with what the Spirit has authored through these men.  That is not the case when we are reading what another man has written about the Bible.  What we are reading there is the result of their interaction with the Text.  In a sense it is the milk, predigested and processed protein, which the writer of Hebrews talks about in Hebrews 5:11 – 14.

Books about the Bible, commentaries, topical studies, have value, immense value, when used correctly.  Correctly means we have studied the passage or topic ourselves first and then we see what others have said.  When we follow that order, we are coming to the commentaries or books about the Bible not as to a lecture to be fed the truth, but as entering a conversation, on a more equal footing with the writer.  The benefit then is that you are processing what the writer is saying through the lens of your study.  You are equipped to question what they are saying.  You receive the benefits of their gifting as you interact with their study from the foundation of yours.  Reading others first, cannot help but color our understanding of the text.  Further, it lessens our struggle with the Text.  That struggle is crucial.  It is in the wrestling with the truth of the Word of God that the ultimate author, the Holy Spirit, engages in leading us into all truth.

This is not easy.  However, any effort expended in this way pays more dividends in our life than can be measured.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Start Learning

Bible First

I like – no make that love – books.  Bit of an understatement.  I took a personality/strengths assessment a while back and my top two strengths came back literary and music.  If you were to walk into my office right now you would see about 1000+ books and four different instruments.  I am an aggressively interactive reader.  I am constantly looking for snippets or illustrations I can use in these books and journals.  I read a lot; typically with a pen, pencil, or highlighter in hand and my journal nearby.  I read four periodicals regularly, two theological journals, and two business journals.


We live in a time when published information, like this blog, books, white papers, monographs, etc. abound.  We have access to two thousand years of commentaries on the Bible.  This year alone will probably see in excess of 320,000 new books published, a great many of those on Bible related topics.  Additionally we have access to study Bibles and Bible study programs with vast resources.  My laptop has over 800 books in my Bible program.  We could literally spend all of our lives reading about the Bible and not make a dent in the published literature.

Therein lays a challenge.

Reading about the Bible, what other men think the Bible says, is not the same as reading the Bible.  Obvious?  Probably.  But we – I – need to be reminded of that daily.  It is the Bible that is living and active and shaper than any two edged sword (Hebrews 4:12).  It is the Bible that is inspired by God and profitable for instruction, reproof, correction, and training in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:15 – 16).  Books about the Bible can be helpful but to the extent that they become our primary input, they are damaging.

There is much more to say here…  But this is getting long, so we will finish this tomorrow…

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Perseverance


Perseverance Precedes Excellence

This picture is hanging close to where we eat our meals each day.  It has been thus for the past 20+ years.  It was a motivational poster that was hung in the break room where I worked part time during seminary.  I asked for the poster and my wife had it framed and we hung it where we ate as a family.  There it remains.

Romans 5:3 – 5 tells us that perseverance is a result of tribulation and produces proven character.  This is a consistent theme in the New Testament.  The word translated “perseverance” is hupomone which appears 33 times in the New Testament.  A couple of notable passages are James 1:2 – 4 and 2 Peter 1:3 – 10 (full list of occurrences of hupomone).

Not everything you do as you talk daily with your kids about the Word of God is going to seem effective.  Sometimes it will seem downright ineffective.  At the end of the Fathers to Sons Workshops, my sons are interviewed by the men in attendance.  Each time they have told them that there were things we did as a family in the Word that they considered sub-lame; stuff that they resisted and resented.  My wife and I changed tactics continually, we persisted.  That is our assignment as parents.  We are to persist.  It produces proven character, not only in our lives but in the lives of our kids.

One of my sons was in a college Bible study.  They were talking about struggling through tough times.  He told them that “Perseverance Precedes Excellence,” they thought that was profound.  He had seen that every meal for 20+ years.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Good Times, Hard Times


Christmas is great.  Christmas is hard.  There are a great number of people who struggle during this time of year.  It is especially hard for those who have recently lost loved ones, but as you can read in this article, that is not the only reason.  One that caught my attention was the need to produce.  Inability to give the presents one wants to can produce feelings of failure and cause one to spin into despair; a feeling that there is no way out.

This morning I hit a series of passages that both challenged and reminded me of one of the core elements of faith.  Isaiah 33:13 is a really succinct summary of the Gospel.  It covers all people.  For those of us who are near we are commanded to acknowledge His might.  What does that look like?  In Romans 4:21 we read that the fact that Abraham acknowledged God’s might was why he was credited with righteousness.  In Luke 1:15 – 25 the situation with Zacharias closely parallels Abraham’s.  Both had wives past the age of child bearing.  Both were promised children.  Abraham believed.  Zacharias questioned and was struck dumb until he acknowledged God’s might.  In both cases the ability of God to do the impossible was announced in Abraham’s case by the Lord, Genesis 18:14, and in Zacharias case to Mary by Gabriel, Luke 1:37.

Do you ever feel like that you have dug a hole so deep that you cannot get out?  Or that you have messed up so bad that God cannot fix it?  Remember the announcement to Abraham and Zacharias; nothing is too difficult for God.  Then follow the advice of Peter and cast all of your cares on Him, 1 Peter 5:6 – 7.  Be alert this season for those around you who may be struggling, in the spirit of Isaiah 33:13, help them hear what God has done.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Carols


Old Christmas Carols are some of the things that help us to keep Christ in the center of this season.  We tend to start playing them in our home shortly after July.  I really like Christmas music.  Sometime during the season we will gather around a piano and sing as well.

Pay attention to the lyrics.  Often these songs are so familiar that the message is lost.  It helps to read them as poetry.  The themes of the carols are deep.  For example “In the Bleak Midwinter,” deals with the reality that Christ was fully God and fully man worthy of the worship of Angels.  It then uses that foundation to simply share the Gospel, our proper response to the wonder of God’s gift.  (Hymn lyrics from HymnSite.com)

In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,
earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;
snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,
in the bleak midwinter, long ago.

Our God, heaven cannot hold him, nor earth sustain;
heaven and earth shall flee away when he comes to reign.
In the bleak midwinter a stable place sufficed
the Lord God Almighty, Jesus Christ.

Angels and archangels may have gathered there,
cherubim and seraphim thronged the air;
but his mother only, in her maiden bliss,
worshiped the beloved with a kiss.

What can I give him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
if I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;
yet what I can I give him:  give my heart.

Christina G. Rossetti, 1830-1894

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Time


You already know this.  You know this not only from your childhood but probably intuitively.  The greatest gift you can give your kids this Christmas and in fact at any time is extended time with them.  They want to be around you.  They need to be around you.  As we have seen in Deuteronomy 6:6 – 7, 20, they are supposed to learn the scriptures during that time with you.  But that is not all that they learn.  They learn how to live.  They learn how to talk.  They learn how to deal with difficult people.  They learn how you handle all of the situations you deal with on a daily basis.  They learn that only if they are with you.  If not they will learn that from others who do not have your last name or values.

Our kids are our disciples, our most important disciples.  In Mark 3:12 – 13, we read that Christ appointed the 12 first to be with Him, then to be sent out.  That is the same pattern we experience in our families.  Problem is, as you know, we have an enemy that does everything that he can to destroy that pattern.  He suggests through every means available that providing for our families is much more important than actually being with them.  That quality time in nano doses is as good as time just being there.  Or that presents are a substitute for presence.

If that did not work for the Lord it probably will not work for us.

One quick caveat, do not think that because I wrote this that I have got all of this figured out or do not struggle with these issues myself.  I am on this journey with you fighting the same battles.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Playing with Jesus


Kids learn by playing.  When you add story to play you multiply the effectiveness.  Each Christmas we have had multiple nativity scenes in our home.  From ornaments on the tree to the latest addition the Willow Tree Nativity.  There are a lot of things that we put out at Christmas that are fragile (the leg lamp leaps to mind – must be Italian! – ok sorry for the “A Christmas Story” reference.)  So there were a lot of thing that we either put out of reach or else were “no” when the kids were little.

My aunt and uncle gave us a wooden nativity puzzle that was made by one of their neighbors.  That puzzle has been the center of the kids Christmas play for many years.  


They could dump it, write on it (note the “man” drawn on the shepherd or wise man, and the crayon marks on the camel), break it (the cow has lost its head, we tried therapy to no avail), and act out the Christmas story.  That allowed them to process the story at their level.  It was also a fine motor exercise to put it back together.

There was another nativity scene that was my wife’s since childhood.  The kids played with that one as well.  The figures are much the worse for wear now and that set has been retired.  Christmas is a special time.  Involve the kids in learning about the birth of Christ with hands on play is an important way for them to begin to understand the sacrifice Christ made for them.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Chrismon


For about the last 20 years each Christmas we put a Christmon tree up on the wall in our house (no it is not misspelled).  The tree consists of 25, including the tree, representations of Christ’s birth and what that means to us.  My wife made the tree and the ornaments while we were in seminary.

Each December 1st the tree goes up on the wall.  At supper we read the scripture associated with that day’s ornament and either talk about it or engage in the activity recommended.  The reaction of the kids varied from year to year, from excitement to boredom to resignation to some level of appreciation.  We experienced eye rolls and not again statements in the teen years.  But it became part of Christmas for our family.

Last Christmas my wife made four sets for each of our children.  Whether they use them or not, that gift will serve as a reminder to them of what we did to emphasize the importance of the real meaning of Christmas each year in our home.

What do you do to focus on Christ with your family during Christmas?

(Note the Chrismon Tree daily directions are provided I have not found the patterns for the ornaments, still looking and will post when and if found.  You may be able to make them, if you wish from the picture.)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Start Small, Go Deep, Think Big

Chuck Singletary is a man I have known for nearly 40 years. He was one of the first leaders I met with the Navigators when I was in the Air Force in Alabama. He later helped found and develop Church Resource Ministries. We have interacted on several occasions over the years. He had an approach to development of a ministry that will serve you well as you engage in leading your family in the Word, “Start Small, Go Deep, Think Big.”

The Bible is both a simple and complex book. You can invest a few minutes or a number of years in a passage and find help and yet not exhaust the value available. It is full of simple stories that have life changing impact. It has language a child understands that at the same time baffles PhDs. It has books of one chapter and books of 150 chapters. It is a library of 66 books written by about 40 authors over a period of about 1500 years. Approaching it can be daunting. Using Chuck’s approach, start small. Start with a story. One of my friends does what we did with our kids. He starts with Read Aloud Bible Stories (there is a second, third, and fourth volume). He reads the story out of the book and then reads the passage in the Bible with his kids. Small, simple. Prepare by reading it and thinking through how it applies to you and your family and what fits the age of your kids (go deep). Set a goal to do this on a regular basis (think big). My friend reports that his kids are now viewing this time as more important than playing in the park with him. They are still young. In later posts we will look at how that works differently with older kids.

 So get started. If you need more ideas, or have some that have worked for you, ask or share.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Trust God

One of the things that we have to teach our kids is to trust God. To do that we have to trust God. That is a whole lot easier to write and say than it is to do. A friend of mine and I were talking about that this morning. We looked together at Hebrews 11:6. It seems to me that the tough part of that verse is after the “and.” It is kind of the counterpoint to Romans 8:28 and Hebrews 12:10 is it not?

Trusting God is not only believing that He is in control and can help us through each challenge in our life, but that He has a good heart and demonstrates that continually toward us. It means that we accept the circumstances in which we find ourselves as from a loving and caring God who is committed to His agenda of making us like His Son and fruitful members of His kingdom. It does not mean that all things are going to work out in the manner we desire. Trust means we accept God’s plan, even when it hurts, and does not seem to fit what we think should be happening.

What we tell our kids about trust will be drowned out by how we respond in trust to our Lord during difficult, trying times. What is your message to them? What are some of the things that hinder your trust?

Monday, December 12, 2011

Charlie Brown by Rote

My time in the Word took me to Isaiah 29:13 this morning. You will remember that both Matthew 15:7 – 8 and Mark 7:6 – 7 record Christ quoting this passage when confronted by the Pharisees about hand washing. The portion of this passage that brings me up short is “…their reverence for Me consists of tradition learned by rote…” The Oxford English Dictionary’s second definition of rote is in part, “…in a mechanical manner, by routine, especially by the mere exercise of memory without proper understanding of, or reflection upon, the matter in question; also, with precision, by heart.” There is much in the Christian life that we do by rote. Go to church, pray at meals, celebrate Christmas; we even memorize scripture.

As we enter into this Christmas season, it is important that our kids know what is going on. What is really happening here? What can we do to exercise proper understanding, and reflection so that they do not fall into the holiday spirit of the world?

Charles Shultz got it. In his classic A Charlie Brown Christmas, Linus not only has the Luke 2 passage by rote, but demonstrates understanding and reflection. Watch this with your kids and talk about what is important about Christmas.

   

We have a Hallmark ornament of this scene on our tree. 


It is one of the ways that we reflect on the season.  During the next few days I will share some of the other things we do.

What does your family do to remove the Christmas season from rote?

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Forgetting


Judges 2:7, 10 – 11 reflects well the richness of the Bible.  It does not sugar coat the realities of humanity yet hints at a path through our fog.  This is a people who saw astounding things.  12 plagues rained upon Egypt, Red Sea parted, God on the Mountain, pillars of cloud and fire leading the nation, Jericho, the conquest of Canaan – astonishing, incredible stuff that many today will not believe actually happened it is so fantastic.  They lived it.  They forgot it.  Quickly.  We do it too.  John Eldredge says he wakes up each morning as a practical agnostic, having forgotten what Christ has done for him and needing to have his relationship with the Savior renewed.  I echo John’s experience.  If I do not choose to engage in that renewal, if I do not choose to remember, I find that I am not in for a very good day.

In the past seven years I have found that keeping a journal has really helped that process.  Yeah, I know.  I have had more men than I can count tell me that they are not the journaling kind.  Neither was I.  I went through about 7 – 10 failed attempts at keeping one.  But the facts are we chafe at anything that is new that takes time and effort.  Think about anything that you have done that is worthwhile, it has taken effort and you were bad at it before you were good at it.  Same thing here.  Like Nike says, “Just Do It!”  I still have the failed attempts, even those have proved helpful as I have re-read what I wrote in them.  Do make it complicated, just write down what is going on in your life and how you are processing it with the Lord.  Record your conversations with Him.  How you think he is leading you.  Later when you go back over them you will learn much about how your relationship with the Lord is and has progressed.

Those of you who are engaged in this discipline, please add your thoughts to encourage the brethren here…

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Check it Out

Paul’s second missionary journey was hard (Acts 16:1 – 18:22).  He was, to say the least, not received well in all of the places he traveled.  There are a number of important things that can be learned from this journey.  Look at Acts 17:1 – 15.  There is a contrast here between those in Thessalonica and those in Berea in their response to the truth.  The Thessalonians stirred up trouble with essentially a riot so that Paul and his companions were sent away for their own safety.  The Berean’s responded quite differently, Acts 17:11 outlines their response:
  • Received the Word with great eagerness
  • Examined the Scriptures daily, to see if Paul was right.
This response is called “noble minded.”  That is a great model for us to follow.

Focus on the second point for a second.  Even though the Bereans eagerly received what Paul said to them, they did not accept what he said uncritically.  That is they went to the source, the Scripture, and validated that what he said was true.  They took personal responsibility to make sure that what they heard squared with what God had revealed in His Word.

We are flooded today through the internet, mp3, TV, radio, books, magazines, and church with “Christian” content.  Is what is being presented “so?”  Any presenter worth listening to will encourage you to validate what they are saying and not to accept what they present without daily searching the Scriptures to see if what they said is so.  We are responsible for what we believe.  We are responsible to check out what we are told.  It is a “noble minded” pursuit.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Answering Tough Questions

In a couple of recent posts I wrote about questions our kids ask and using questions to teach our kids.  Do your kids ever ask questions to which you do not have good answers?  Or questions that stretch the limits of your knowledge?  We looked at the issue of security about a week ago; I have had many men over the years tell me that they did not want to get involved in teaching because they did not want to get asked questions for which they did not have answer.  As men we do not like to look weak, uninformed, incompetent; as we looked at in Genesis 1:28, we were created for the assignment to rule over the world, the curse in Genesis 3:17 – 19 makes that a real chore.  As a result rather than risking exposing our inadequacy, we tend to protect ourselves by avoiding situations that threaten that exposure.  That is especially true when it comes to our family.  We do not want to be seen by our children as inadequate.

The reality is that no matter how much you know, how much you have prepared, how many books or blogs you read on leading your children, at some point you are going to be asked a question or confronted with a situation for which you are not prepared.  We get rattled when that happens for at least a couple of reasons.  First, as outlined above we are trying to avoid people finding out we are inadequate.  That is a symptom of measuring our worth by what we know or do, not by our standing in Christ.  Second, and this is probably related to the first, we think that a teacher has to have all of the answers.  That is just wrong.  Not just wrong, impossible.

All of us are on a journey.  That journey is one of continual learning of the riches we have been given in Christ.  We learn by getting to know Him better.  We learn by sharing that experience in community with our families and our friends.  Questions, for which we have no good answers, are gifts, invitations to admit we need our Lord and others on this journey.  The answer to those questions always begins with something like, “You know what, I do not know, let’s look at the Bible together and see if we can figure it out.”

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Tim Tebow

I started on another topic but ran across a couple of things on the web that we probably should discuss with our kids.  At one level I am hesitant to use young, outwardly Christian public figures as examples, because they are already on a pedestal and have not been tested over the long haul.  1 Timothy 3:6 and 5:22 cautions us against this, thus my hesitancy.

I have not been a great fan of Tim Tebow.  Partially because of what I said above and probably because he was beating teams to which I had closer ties.  Since he took over the starting quarterback duties for the Broncos about six weeks ago, winning and bringing them into contention for a division title incidentally, I have been floored by the criticism of him not only for his faith, but for how bad a football player he is – really?  Admittedly, I have not followed this as closely as some of you have, I do not follow pro sports, hardly at all; my interest has rapidly waned since Tom Landry was fired – but that is off topic.

Tim Tebow has been criticized and mocked for his displays of faith by the media, fans, and other players relentlessly.  He has been filleted as an unfit football player; he has apparently handled the critique well.  It has brought a lot of attention to his faith and the way he integrates it into his life.  For me that is the value for our kids.  Jen Engle asked a question in her article on November 3rd "What if Tim Tebow was a Muslim?” she was also interviewed about Tebow’s faith on Fox and Friends.  Read the article and watch the interview.  Share them with your kids and focus on the way Tebow brings Christ into his work, and the way he handles what people say about him.  I pray he persists in his faith; regardless, his example now is worth talking about with your kids.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Questions - Asked

One of the things I learned from our time at Western Kentucky University was from a jock.  He was a football player whose dad was an evangelist.  Actually I learned it third hand from the Nav Rep who preceded me there.  It is one of those pithy down to earth maxims that does not leave you, “What you are not in on you are down on.”  This morning at a men’s study this came up as we were talking about an interactive way to share the gospel with people from Romans 6.

The application for us as dads is similar to what we discussed this morning.  People typically do not like to be lectured.  They would much rather be in a discussion.  That is especially true with our kids as they grow older.  If we want to draw them into a closer relationship with Christ we have to use questions to do so.  Rather than telling them what to believe, ask questions to lead them to engage them to think and process the information you are wishing to communicate.  One key is to make sure that he questions are open.  That is they cannot be answered with a single word or there are multiple possible answers.  Typically, these are going to be observation questions.

For example if you are looking at John 15:5 together, you may want to explore Christ’s statement that He is the vine.  Rather than asking, “What did Christ mean that He was the vine?” which calls for a definitive one answer, ask something like, “Christ said that He was the vine, what are some characteristics of a vine?”  That question asks for more answers than one, and may invite more dialog than the first.
 
Asking questions requires more of you than lecture.  It requires you to know the material and what you want to communicate at a deep level.  It requires you to listen closely to the responses of those with whom you are in conversation and to craft follow on questions that move the conversation toward the goals you have set.  But it solves the problem of those with whom you are interacting not being “in on” so they are not “down on.”

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Questions - Answered?


Do your kids ask questions?  Duh.  How do you respond to them?  Do you feel compelled to answer?  In some cases that is the appropriate response.  Thinking through the notion of talking from Deuteronomy 6:6 – 7, as we have for the past couple of days, really throughout this whole exercise, questions are really important to the task that we have been given by the Lord.  How we respond to questions asked by our kids or others with whom we have been engaged by the Lord is determinative in not only their but our development in intimacy with the Lord.

You have heard and have probably quoted the old adage, “give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, teach him to fish and you have fed him for a lifetime.”  Read fish as “answer” and “how to find and answer” respectively and you get the sense of where this is going.  When you kids are younger or if you are engaged with a new believer, when you are asked a question, you need to give an answer.  Your answer needs to be anchored in the Bible, that is, it should be easy for the person that is receiving the answer to connect what you are saying to the Scripture.

As your kids grow older and as those whom you are helping grow in their relationship with the Lord you need to wean them off of coming to you for answers.  You transition from answers to using the questions as an opportunity to show them how to get the answers for themselves.  If you have my book, “Your Walk, their walk,” there is an example of this on page 131 – 135.  If you have not got the book, you can read this excerpt on answering your kid’s questions.

As with all of the other elements of this assignment we have been given by our Lord, there is a base assumption that we know the answers through personal interaction with the Bible.  It is admittedly a hard assignment, but it is greatly worth the effort.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Talk 2


Yesterday, in looking back at Deuteronomy 6:7 we kicked around what drives our talk and what our kids learn from what we talk about.  Looking at that word, “talk,” a little closer may give us some direction.  It is an interesting exercise to look up the definitions for word you already know.  For “talk” the first definition I found was, to communicate or exchange ideas, information, etc., by speaking: to talk about poetry.”

The synonym, communicate, here and the notion of exchange of ideas was interesting.  It seems to indicate a dialog rather than a monolog.  That is we engage in a conversation rather than a lecture.  It seems like rather than talking to, or talking down to, we are talking with our children, at their level of understanding.  The challenge for anyone is that knows something well, is to talk at the appropriate level to the one to whom they are conversing.  That requires two things, a great grasp of the subject, and a great love for the individual with whom one is talking.

The love for the individual drives one to listen carefully in order to appropriately share what one knows in a way that draws them closer to the Lord.  It is a tough assignment.  It is one we as dads have been given not by the Christian community but by the Lord.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Talk


What does one talk about?  Matthew 12:34 gives us a clue, what comes out is what fills the heart.  We talk about that which we are excited or passionate.  I live in Oklahoma.  I will be really surprised if there is not conversation this morning at the church I attend about last night’s football game and its implications on the national championship.  Nothing wrong with that, it is exciting for folks (rather ‘pokes) here.

Deuteronomy 6:7 tells us that our conversation, what we talk about, should be saturated with the Word of God.  We watch football games with passion, intensity, great desire hoping our teams will prevail, analyzing and criticizing each element of the game.  That passion spills over into our conversations for the next several days, and in some cases weeks and months.

When is the last time someone came up to you and excitedly shared what they had found in the Word of God?  Does not happen much.  We do not generally come to the Word with the same intensity we invest in football games.  What we find there does not drive our conversation most of the time.  Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 9:25 that the games are for perishable wreaths – quick who won the national championship in 2006?  What we are doing in and with the Word persists in eternity.

Our kids listen to our talk.  They pick up from us what is important.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Diligently

Let’s go back to Deuteronomy 6:6 – 7 for a moment and look at our assignment again.  We have already noted that as dads we are commanded to teach the Word to our children.  Note though the adverb that modifies teach – “diligently.”  The Hebrew word here is shanan (pronounced shaw – nan) the word appears about 10 times in the OT, primarily in the Psalms.  It means, sharp, to whet a knife, to sharpen, and in one form to pierce.  The form of the word here in is to sharpen or teach.

In English the word diligently is defined as constant in effort to accomplish something; attentive and persistent in doing anything: a diligent student.  Or done or pursued with persevering attention; painstaking: a diligent search of the files.

In neither the Hebrew nor English utilized to translate, is there a notion of this being a casual engagement.  For instance think about sharpening a knife.  I remember watching my dad sharpen knives as a young child.  He had an old whetstone with two sides, one was coarser than the other.  He would oil the course side of the stone and whet the knife to get the rougher edges smooth, then he would turn the stone over and use the oiled smooth side to put a fine edge on the blade.  It took time.  He had to concentrate.  He had to hold the knife at a consistent angle.  It was not a casual undertaking.  Once I remember he got distracted and sliced his thumb open while he was working on the smooth side.  That underscored to me that one had to pay attention to the deed.

You do not sharpen a knife once and be done with it.  If you are going to have good edges it requires continual trips back to the whetstone.

That is the picture we are painted here.  We are to approach teaching our kids this way.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Doing the Right Things for the Wrong Reasons


Motivation is a strange thing, nearly impossible to manage least of all control.  I do not know about you but from time to time I find myself questioning my motivation even to the point that I have not done some good things because I was not sure that my motivation was correct.  I think that I am discovering that approach is not profitable.

Philippians 3 is at one level a spiritual autobiography or resume for Paul.  He talks about his qualifications as a Jew prior to his conversion and the way his motivation changed after he met Christ on that road to Damascus.  You know the passage in verse 8 he counts all things he has done before, at it is euphemistically translated, “rubbish” in most of our translations.  The Greek is a lot more colorful, it is a more profane term for excrement.  10 – 13 outlines his new motivation, succinctly put to press on through any and all barriers to lay hold of Jesus Christ completely and totally.

Paul was a Pharisee; as such he had the first five books of the Bible memorized.  He studied the scripture, he applied it to his life, he shared his faith at sometimes rather forcefully, he was involved in meeting with other Jews to discuss and apply the scripture, he prayed regularly.  All that he counted as “rubbish.”  What did he do after his conversion, when his motivation changed?  I would submit that, based on what he told others to do, he was still doing the same things, but with the motivation of pursuing hard after Christ.  The disciplines in which Paul engaged and counsels us through his epistles to engage in are what they are.  They are the means of pursuing Christ.  Problem is that we can do these things for other reasons than grabbing hold of Christ.  Reasons like trying to gain His favor learn more than others in our group, become an expert on the scripture, you may be able to articulate a better list.

There is the rub.  When we question our motives we may be inclined to stop doing the right things because we are doing them for the wrong reasons.  Paul speaks to this directly in 15 – 16.  He tells us to keep on doing it even if we are doing it for the wrong reason.  Why?  Because in the midst of engagement with the Word of God, God will break through, reveal, and adjust our attitudes.  If we quit, we cut ourselves off from the cure.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Now or Forever?

Last Sunday I mentioned the friend who had the heart attack, turns out it was a cardiac event. Not sure how that is better but it is less severe. Anyway, that sparked some thinking about what is really important in light of the time we have here which God characterizes as a vapor. This morning I was in Psalm 10 and Psalm 16 and the words of the Psalmists pushed me a bit farther on how to evaluate what is really important.

In 10:3 – 5 we see that the wicked are characterized as boasting of their heart’s desire, spurning the Lord, and his ways prospering. It is a picture of one who is fiscally successful, if you will, one who is worshiping, successfully, at the altar of commerce. But it could be any other altar, any desire, sex, status, possessions, anything for which one is willing to give their life. You know of people like this, they live lives that overtly deny any god but themselves, craving attention and immediate gratification of their every desire.

Then fast forward to Psalm 16, specifically the first part of verse 4, “…the sorrows of those who have bartered for another god will be multiplied.” Whoa, on the surface that does not seem to square with what we see, until we put it in context of God’s time.

In relation to eternity, all of recorded history is not even a blip. Our lives are a vapor in the midst of that blip. If the Bible is true, we will live the rest of eternity based on the choices we make during that vapor. So the question becomes are we going to work at maximizing our pleasure during the vapor or invest in preparation for the long haul, eternity. What makes it hard is that we can see now. The challenges and the pleasures are in our face daily. It is hard to conceptualize the forever that follows. Plus, we have an enemy that has already had sentence passed and is looking to gather as much company for his eternal misery as he can (1 Peter 5:8).

It boils down to are we willing to bet on the Bible being wrong and pursue desire as described in Psalm 10 now, or go for broke in following hard after God forever?

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Seeing God

There have been several conversations in the past couple of days in which the topic of how do we as men get to know God better has come up.  That is important for us because as we have seen in Deuteronomy 6:5 - 6, we are supposed to talk about what we know with our children, essentially, continually.  In a couple of the conversations the role the Bible plays in getting to know Him was debated.

One of my favorite passages (my kids do not react to that phrase any more - they kind of roll their eyes and say something like, "Dad, you say that about every passage.") is 2 Peter 1:1 - 11.  In verses 3 - 4, we read that through the promises of God, read Word of God here, we become partakers of the divine nature.  How does that work?  Well note the beginning of verse 4 is "For by these..."  By what?  It is stated in verse 3, divine power, glory, and excellence.  The promises of God reveal the nature of God.  How?  When someone tells you they are going to do something for you, how do you react?  If you know them, you know how reliable they are because they have either been faithful to do what they said they would or not.  My dad always told me growing up that a man was only as good as his word.  That is essentially what Peter is telling us here.  We test God by embracing His promises in faith.  When we see Him faithful to those promises, we have learned, or become partakers of that part of His nature.

So essentially when we open the Word, we are coming into the presence of God, because He has chosen to reveal Himself, his nature and character through His Word, His promises.  That amps up the way I interact with the Word.

What do you think about this?  If you are enjoying these please pass them on, and please click the +1 below.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Security?


I have a question.  Been thinking about why men are not moving from milk to meat, and I wonder if, at some level, it has to do with security?

Here is the thinking behind the question.  In Genesis 1:28 we are told that it was man’s job to subdue and rule over the earth.  In Genesis 3:17 – 19, the curse God imposed on man as a result of man’s rebellion against God, we read that the earth essentially will continually fight man in his appointed job.  By the way it is an interesting study to look at the assignments Adam and Eve were given by God and compare and contrast those assignments with the curses that resulted from their disobedience.

It seems that man is now in a situation that he is supposed to be leading, exercising dominion over, but that is continually at odds with and resisting him.  Nothing is working out as it was supposed to.  One result of that, it seems to me, is that men are leading in ways that are broken, and are gaining their significance from the exercise of that broken leadership, rather than from their relationship with God.  Our worth was designed to be measured by our intimate relationship with the creator but has been replaced by the flawed exercise of our leadership over our domain.

As flawed as it may be, we control what we do, at least it seems that way.  But when we are asked to reconnect with the creator we lose that control.  We know how to measure “success” in the domains in which we operate daily.  Asked to enter into a new and unfamiliar domain, such as independently meeting with God through His Word, there is fear of failure, not being in control.  We do not want to expose ourselves to a further failure so we allow others to do the work and tell us what to think or believe.  It is much easier and “safer” than venturing into that territory ourselves.

What do you think?  Am I off base here?

Monday, November 28, 2011

Unknown

Continuing pursuing an answer to the question, “What keeps us from moving from milk to meat?” Maybe the answer is as simple as we do not know how. In Ephesians 4:11 – 13 we are told that the purpose of the gifts given to the Church is the equipping of the saints. In an earlier post we looked at how most of our diet is comprised of predigested Bible, or milk. Rarely do pastors and teachers invest the time to explain to those in their care how they can get into the meat of the Word.

Do not get me wrong, it is not totally their fault. By expectation, tradition, training, and job description, most pastors and teachers are unable to fulfill what is commanded in Ephesians 4. They are expected to visit the sick, not equip others to do so. They are expected to study the scripture and tell us what they found, not equip us to do so. They are expected share profound truths from the pulpit, not equip us to dig them out of the Word ourselves.

One result of this is that most of us involved in the community are consumers of the work that others have done in the Word, milk. We do not know how to do it ourselves because, in reality, no one has showed us how or, in some cases, suggested that we should. Or, if they have told us we should, we have been left to our own devices to figure out how. There are exceptions.

One of the purposes of this blog is to raise both awareness of this and provide some simple direction so that as men we can become meat eaters in the Word of God, and thus become more effective in leading our families. It is really not all that hard. We just need to know how to start. If you are interested in one simple tool that will help you start that process…

WARNING: THERE IS ANOTHER REASON THAT WE STICK WITH MILK. THE ENEMY DOES NOT LIKE IT WHEN WE BEGIN TO EAT MEAT. SO HE WORKS AT STOPPING US. JUST WANT YOU TO KNOW THAT BEFORE YOU…

…click here.


Sunday, November 27, 2011

Vapor in Pursuit of Nothing

Last night I got an email from a friend telling me that my friend and pastor had experienced a heart attack. He recently had and is still in the process of recovering from surgery for prostrate cancer. Last Monday, during lunch, he shared some of his struggles in recovery as we talked about what was going on in each of our lives.

This morning I was in Psalm 39. In verses 4-6 we read,
"Lord, make me to know my end and what is the extent of my days; let me know how transient I am. Behold, You have made my days as handbreadths, and my lifetime as nothing in Your sight; surely every man at his best is a mere breath. Surely every man walks about as a phantom; surely they make an uproar for nothing; he amasses riches and does not know who will gather them."
Reality is that much of what we deem important is not. When one with whom we are close faces something like what my friend has faced in these past months, it should prompt us to take stock of how we are investing our lives. Are we chasing "nothing" with the "vapor" of our lives or are we investing in eternity? The Bible tells us that there are only two things that will endure in eternity, the Word of God and the souls of men. My friend has given his life to these.

It is an example well worth following.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Reaching Forward, Reaching Back


Yesterday, we extended the question what is keeping men from moving from milk to meat.  I wonder if the answer can be found in the passage we started with, Deuteronomy 6:6 – 7?  There we read that we were supposed to talk about the Word of God, well, just about all of the time.  Perhaps we need to be able to process life with one who is walking ahead of us in this journey.

Mark 3:14, tells us that Christ appointed 12 first to be with him.  In 2 Timothy 2:2, Paul exhorts Timothy, who he recruited to be with him during Paul’s second missionary journey, to recruit other men who would be able to teach others.  Prior to that Barnabus took Paul under his wing.

If you look you will find the same pattern in the Old Testament.  It permeates the Bible.  The pattern seems to be that truth is transmitted through relationship with, using a current term, a mentor.  It is the old master and apprentice model.

We were clicking through channels last evening and ran across the end of “The Phantom Menace.”  You may remember the dialog between Yoda (just about, no, my favorite character in the series) and Mace Windu.
Yoda: Always two there are, no more, no less. A master and an apprentice.
Mace Windu: But which was destroyed, the master or the apprentice?
The point here is that each of us, no matter where we are in the journey, needs someone who can draw us along.  One whom we respect who can push us further than we would go on our own.  Further, the expectation is that we will in turn be that man for another.  That applies not only to our children but other men in our sphere of influence.

Who is helping you?  Who are you helping?

Friday, November 25, 2011

Unfunded Mandate

A couple of days ago I asked the question what is keeping us from moving from milk to meat (Hebrews 5:13 – 14).  Maybe it is because we have not been told how?  Think about raising children, they do not move from milk to solid food without their parents helping them.  You know the progression, milk, to pureed vegetables, to table food.  The parents are guiding and choosing the food for the child.  That does not seem to happen much in the Church.  The messages may get deeper, they may have new programs, but actually helping believers to move from being fed to feeding themselves does not seem to happen very much.

So when we are exhorted to grow in our intimacy with Christ, and we are not shown how to do that, we are not guided through the process, at some level our desires are increased with no known way to fulfill them.  Instead the counsel seems to be essentially a time tested list of Christian clich├ęs.
“Die to yourself.”
“Give it over to God.”
“Spend time with God.”
I don’t know about you but I am not sure, on the face of it, what all that means.  I do know that Jesus rebuked those who had the first five books of the Old Testament memorized, so knowing the Bible backwards and forwards does not seem to be the answer (John 5:39 – 44).

So what is the answer?

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving


Sometime today between the turkey, the turkey induced naps, playing football in the yard with the kids, and watching the games, stop to reflect on why we are really doing this.  There are the historical reasons as outlined by Rush, and there are reasons for the believer.  It is good to stop and be thankful for what the Lord has done for us.  Psalm 107 might be a good place for that.

For those who understand BTHOTU!

Happy Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Travel for Thanksgiving

Like you, perhaps, I am on the road today traveling to Texas to my dad's. My son and his family is already there. My brother will join us either later today or early tomorrow. This holiday, even more so than Christmas, at least in my experience, centers around family.

It is an interesting mix of firsts and lasts. We just checked in with my dad to give him an update on or progress. He told us that our granddaughter had just seen her first deer in his front yard. Thanksgiving was the last time I saw my mom.

Throughout the Scripture we are exhorted to remember, in fact the Bible is, among other things, a journal of how God has revealed Himself to us. Pay attention this Thanksgiving. Look for the firsts and the lasts. Notice and record how our Lord is revealing Himself to you and your family.

And for those of you who are, like me, on the road, safe travels.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thanksgiving


Turkey, football, and family about sums up what this holiday has become for most of us.  It is a great opportunity to work through thankfulness and what that means for your family.  In 1 Thessalonians 5:16–18 we read,
“Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”  
But like the nation of Israel we not only forget what God has done for us, but in a lot of cases we seem to take it for granted.  In Psalm 106:12–15 (great psalm I will let you read it for the context) we read,
“Then they believed His words; They sang His praise.  They quickly forgot His works; they did not wait for His counsel, but craved intensely in the wilderness, and tempted God in the desert.  So He gave them their request, But sent a leanness into their soul.”  (the italics is the literal reading of the Hebrew)  
Notice how quickly Israel forgot.

May I suggest a quick exercise for this Thanksgiving?  Pass out a half sheet of paper to everyone around the table at or just before dessert.  Ask them to take a few minutes and write down all for which they are thankful.  You may need to help younger children make their lists.  Take as little or as long as you like, I would probably err on the side of shorter.  Then have everyone share their lists.  Remind all that it takes some effort to be thankful, it takes remembering what has been done.  You may want share how quickly Israel forgot what God had done and the result of that.  Then spend some time in prayer thanking God for what he has done for you as a family.

This may be a list that you can use and build on as a family to help in your times of prayer together to assist you in thankfulness.

Hey, if you do it, come back here and let us know how it worked out for you.

Monday, November 21, 2011

So what is milk?


Saturday we left with the question why do we stick with milk rather than moving to meat?  Maybe we ought to define milk.

According to Wikipedia milk is the primary source of nutrition for young mammals before they are able to digest other types of food.  That fits with use of the word here in Hebrews.  Basically the mother predigests food and her body transforms it into a form the child can handle.  How does that metaphor play out in relation to the Bible?  Would that not be any time we are being fed or led through the Word without our doing the work ourselves?

There are many things that are called Bible study.  Lectures from a podium (sage on a stage), lectures in a small group (sage in a chair), Fill in the blank Bible studies or books written by Christian authors (sage on a page), Video presentations (sage on a disk), and finally taking the Bible and a blank sheet of paper and digging in oneself.

Might I suggest that all but the last are at some level milk?  Do not get me wrong, milk is essential.  But as Hebrews tells us, we have to move past it to become teachers for our kids.  We have to feed them from our diet of meat.

What stops us?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Sunday


We will come back to Deuteronomy tomorrow - It is Sunday.  Most of those who would read this are going to church today.  If you have kids, you are going to take them with you.  Frankly, kids are why a lot of people go to church and pick which church they attend.

Why?

What is the reason you are going to church?  What are you telling your children the reason is?  Do those reasons align with why the Bible says we should go to church?  If they do not you may be setting yourself and your children up to slip subtly into attempting to gain favor with Christ by attending, which is a form of legalism.  Or you may be telling them that that is where you go to learn about Jesus.  While that may happen, it may serve to blur the fact that we are to be teaching them about Jesus, and we are to be engaged with learning about Jesus daily, wherever we are.  I guess we did not leave Deuteronomy after all.

The Christian life is counter to the world.  We are going to be doing things and teaching our kids to do things that do not align with what they see in their friend's lives or in the media.  They have to know, at a base level, why.  More importantly, that why has to be Biblical.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Breakdown 2

Tyde’s comment yesterday was right on point.  We do seem to delegate spirituality to the pros.  Howard Hendricks used to liken church to a football game.  You have 80,000 people in the stands in desperate need of exercise, watching 22 men on the field in desperate need of rest.

We cannot get fit by watching someone else workout.  We cannot get financially solvent by watching someone else work, or complaining that they are.  We have to engage in the activity ourselves and at increasingly more intensity.  Continual improvement.

Hebrews 5:13-14 tells us “For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant.  But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.”  We are not supposed to stay with milk, what is stopping us?

Friday, November 18, 2011

Breakdown

Looking at the challenge in Deuteronomy 6 from yesterday more closely, note the first part of the command, “these words…shall be on your heart.”  “On your heart.”  What comes to mind when you think about that?  Really, what comes to mind during our day?  What is on our hearts?  How to pay the bills?  How to get the next deal?  Will the team win this weekend?  Will my wife respond to me the way I want her to?

One friend put it this way, “Where does your mind go when you put it in neutral and floor it?”  That is what is on our heart.  That is what we are going to share.

What is the foundation of the challenge then?  It is that each of us as fathers are not just familiar with the Bible, the Word of God, but that it is something that is continually on our minds.  Continually, thinking about how it impacts our day, the next conversation, the project in which we are engaged, it permeates our thinking and informs all that we do.  High standard.  How do we get there?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Challenge

Here is the deal.  In Deuteronomy 6:6-7 we men are told, no commanded,
"These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart.  You shall teach them diligently to your sons 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 up."
The expectation is that we are going to be talking about the Word of God with our sons (and daughters) continually.  As men we are pretty good at talking about football, baseball, soccer, but the Bible - not so much.  We will teach our sons to fish, throw a ball, rappel, camp, hunt...  Who is going to teach them the Bible?  Says here we are supposed to, what stops us?

Starting Up

For the past four years Entrusting Truth has been focused on equipping dads to lead their families in the Word. In order to move that mission forward more effectively we are in the process of launching a new set of tools.

This is the first.  On this blog we will look at ways that we, as dads, can more effectively engage with our wives and children in applying the Word of God to both our lives and helping them apply it to theirs.

I encourage you to join into the discussion, the journey, and the battle that is raging over the family.

Come back often, there will be an increasing number of tools available for you here - soon a website dedicated to Dads teaching the Bible.  Look forward to your comments.