Most Men are Cowards

June 6, 2008

Now that I have your attention, feel free to get punched in the mouth by this “encouraging” message from Mark Driscoll. Press the play button.

Feels good doesn’t it?

Classical Education

May 21, 2008

My friend Tim Brookins has an insightful post about the rewards of classical education.

Playdates…

May 16, 2008

One of the good things about being employed on a pastoral staff at a church is that you typically do not have to be in the office on Fridays. Because on Sundays you spend about zero quality time with your family, Fridays are a time to make up for that. Our preschool ministry has several “playdates” throughout the summer at various locations. Today, the playdate (Have I already written that word twice?) was at the riverwalk area near the Broad River. Since my wife is 10 weeks pregnant and gets really tired really easy, I came along with her and my son.

Four mothers, eight kids, one dad. It wasn’t exactly what all dads would like to spend their days’ off doing. I’d much rather be playing bad golf somewhere. However, what an excellent time to spend with my family, church member families, and experience a day in the life of mothers. Let me just say that while us men are off at work slaving hard, our wives are taking strollers out of the car, buckling kids up, watching them run around and eat each others food, take each others passies (I have no idea how to spell that word) and do typical preschooler stuff.

Mothers everywhere, God bless you.

I was listening to a John Piper sermon this morning on my drive into church. He was preaching a message titled, “Let No One Despise You for Your Youth” from the Scripture passage of 1 Timothy 4:11-16. I thought this would be a good sermon to listen to since I am both young and despised (only joking…I think?)

But, as is the case with Piper sometimes, what I expected to hear from this sermon was not what I ended up hearing. 1 Timothy 4:11 says, “Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.”

Piper’s main audience in this message seemed to be children and youth/college age students…not 29 year old married fathers like me. From this verse, Piper notes several things:

1. Young people (children and youth especially) will be despised. Why? Arrogance, self-absorption, perpetually fun-loving, idealism, etc. But Piper challenges his audience of young people to not let their elders despise them…as if they could do something about it. We all know that adults are to set the example for young people. But, in this passage, young people are called to set the example for adults.

“Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example…”

2. Young people can set the example for their elders

Paul charges young people to set an example for their elders. Do we encourage our children and young people to do this? Not usually. Why? Because our society has low expectations for our youth. When you set the bar low your young people will jump low. If you set the bar high and charge them to set an example for not only their peers but for their elders, perhaps they will jump high and not be despised for being children or “just teenagers” anymore. We don’t start acting like Christians at age 24, or 30, or 35, or 50. When we’re 7 years old we should act like 7 year old Christians. When we are 14 years old we should act like 14 year old Christians. When we are 20 years old we should act like 20 year old Christians. Do our young people have this as an expectation?

Paul calls them (and us) to set an example in five ways:

“an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.”

a. Set an example in speech

Young people can be an example to their elders in their speech. One of the largest gripes I hear from parents of teenagers is that they complain a lot. Challenge your teenager not to. Challenge him or her to set the example for the entire church and community at how a Christian is to speak.

b. Set an example in conduct

Paul also calls young people to set an example in conduct. Most of the time we hear people complain about young people as they say, “that’s just their age” when they do sinful things. It’s not their age. They are sinners who are going to sin – especially if we expect them to. Challenge them to be upright in conduct.

c. Set an example in love

Paul calls young people to love others. That means that they are to deny the self-gratifying nature of themselves as well as that of the culture and put others by letting the Spirit empower them.

d. Set an example in faith

Paul also calls young people to set an example in their faith. Whenever I see a high school or a college student who displays great faith, it is always a refreshing reminder and motivator to me. Challenge them to display their faith.

e. Set an example in purity

Finally, Scripture calls young people to set an example in their purity. Purity is probably problem numero uno in most youth and college ministries. Challenge them that the road to purity does not start in their 20’s or 30’s (in fact, it may get worse then) – the road to purity is now.

The next time a young person you know makes you want to despise them. Challenge them to heed’s Scripture charge to set an example, not only to their peers, but to you as well.

myoungfrontkick.jpgThe following list comes from Stever Farrar’s book, King Me, which if you haven’t read, I would highly recommend for fathers of boys. Fathers, think about these as you shepherd your sons.

1. A self-disciplined son learns to control his emotions and drives. In other words, he can put a cap on his anger and exercise control in his sex life.

2. A self-disciplined son respects authority, even when he doesn’t agree with it.

3. A self-disciplined son grasps the value of future reward over immediate gratification

4. A self-disciplined son has learned to see outside his own little world of his own needs. In fact, he sees it as his honor and duty to sacrifice to meet the needs of those he loves.

5. A self-disciplined son is a self-starter. He doesn’t need his mom to get him up every morning so that he won’t be late for his senior English class.

“Now these are goals, they don’t happen overnight. But when a dad faithfully, consistently works with his son – ‘trains him,’ as the Bible calls it – over the years of his son’s development into manhood, he will begin to see the fruit. (Farrar, 98)

All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards, it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness. (Hebrews 12:11)

There is no greater joy than to see the fruit of discipline in your son’s life. There’s not greater happiness than when your son becomes his own disciplinarian.

And that’s when your son will take off like a self-propelling rocket.” (Farrar, 98)

*Disclaimer* – Being a Karate star does not necessarily mean you are self-disciplined. Also, being self-disciplined does not automatically make you a Karate star…

Never underestimate the value of reading the Bible, or Bible stories, with your children. Dr. Al Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY, presents 10 suggestions for maximizing the reading experience for school-age children.

Click here to read his suggestions.

Here are a few of his suggestions that I really took to heart:

4. Place the story in its context within God’s plan and within the Bible. Help children to understand how every word of the Bible is fulfilled in Christ and finds its meaning within God’s plan to redeem His people from sin.

5. Recognize that many of the stories of the Bible teach a clear moral lesson — a lesson that children clearly need to learn and take to heart. At the same time, recognize that these accounts are never merely morality tales. Point your child to the big picture.

6. Never read down to your children, treating them as dull. Instead, give them a substantial story, lay out the narrative, and then trust that they will want to learn and to push themselves toward understanding. Then, be the human agent of that understanding by explaining the story with patience, creativity, and insight based in the fact that you know both the story and the child or children hearing it.

9. Ask older children to help with the reading and to grow accustomed both to reading for themselves and to reading aloud. There is much too little reading of the Bible aloud to the congregation in many churches. Let the recovery of reading aloud the Word of God begin in your home.

Why don’t you start a new family tradition tonight of reading the Scriptures to your children?

Legacy

September 26, 2007

j0402587.jpg“Then he called for Solomon his son and charged him to build a house for the LORD, the God of Israel. David said to Solomon, ‘My son, I had it in my heart to build a house to the name of the LORD my God.” 1 Chron. 22:6-7

King David set his heart on building a temple for God. However, because David had shed so much blood while preserving the peace of the nation of Israel, God would not allow David’s bloody hands to build His temple. Instead, God demanded that the temple must be built by David’s son, Solomon. David knew this and did what was necessary to pave the way for Solomon. How horrible it would have been for the nation of Israel if Solomon had not been adequately prepared.

Solomon was the beneficiary of David’s hard work. 1 Chronicles 22 and 23 describes how David assembled all of the necessary materials that his son would need to build the temple. David even went as far to put the right people into the right positions so that when Solomon took over everything that He needed would be ready for him to use and people would be ready to be used for the glory of God.

David, even the great King that he was, knew that Solomon would have a brighter future. Therefore, David did all he could to prepare the way for Solomon to take the throne.

As fathers, one of our biggest obligations is to prepare the way for our sons and daughters. Those with sons are obligated to make straight the crooked paths for them and model biblical manhood in every aspect for them. Those with daughters are also obligated to help them grow up to be beautiful God-fearing women who will marry God-fearing men.

We may not be leaving our children kingdoms but we will be leaving them the necessary tools to build a successful family and a successful relationship with their Lord. We should do all we can to leave them with the proper tools and people so that they will be prepared for the pitfalls of life.

What are you doing today to prepare your children for their calling in life?