• Wednesday, June 25, 2008

  • When I was a college athlete, our trainer had a famous line that he often used when we were injured. We would say to him, "Jack, when I do this, it hurts!" He would reply, "Well son, don't be an idiot. Just don't do that!"

    Sin hurts and I am an idiot often or as the Bible calls it - a fool. Grabbed this short article from Desiring God this morning and it inflicted pain as I thought of my own foolishness in blaming others for my sin. I also thought of how often I allow others, either in my family or in the church who are "unloading" on me do the same. Let's follow my old trainer's practical advice and stop it or better yet, obey God's command and deal properly with it.

    The following is a guest post by Ben Reaoch, pastor of Three Rivers Grace Church in downtown Pittsburgh, PA.
    * * *
    It started in the Garden. Adam said to God, The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate. (Genesis 3:12)

    The first man, caught in the first sin, turns to blame his wife. And he extends the blame to God as well! He implies that he would have remained innocent if God hadn’t put Eve in the garden with him.

    The blame-shifting in the Garden continues today. Our proud hearts send us desperately looking for someone else to point to every time we’re confronted with our own sin. There must be someone else—our spouse, sibling, parent, boss, co-worker, pastor, friend, or God, himself.

    We are so desperate to justify ourselves that we become irrational. Here are 12 examples.

    1) Anger
    I wouldn’t lose my temper if my co-workers were easier to get along with, or if my kids behaved better, or if my spouse were more considerate.

    2) Impatience
    I would be a very patient person if it weren’t for traffic jams and long lines in the grocery store. If I didn’t have so many things to do, and if the people around me weren’t so slow, I would never become impatient!

    3) Lust
    I would have a pure mind if there weren’t so many sensual images in our culture.

    4) Anxiety
    I wouldn’t worry about the future if my life were just a little more secure—if I had more money, and no health problems.

    5) Spiritual Apathy
    My spiritual life would be so much more vibrant and I would struggle with sin less if my small group were more encouraging, or if Sunday school were more engaging, or if the music in the worship service were more lively, or if the sermons were better.

    6) Insubordination
    If my parents/bosses/elders were godly leaders, then I would joyfully follow them.

    7) A Critical Spirit
    It’s not my fault that the people around me are ignorant and inexperienced.

    8) Bitterness
    If you knew what that person did to me, you would understand my bitterness. How could I forgive something like that?

    9) Gluttony
    My wife/husband/roommate/friend is a wonderful cook! The things they make are impossible to resist.

    10) Gossip
    It’s the people around me who start the conversations. There’s no way to avoid hearing what others happen to say. And when others ask me questions, I can’t avoid sharing what I know.

    11) Self-Pity
    I’ll never be happy, because my marriage/family/job/ministry is so difficult.

    12) Selfishness
    I would be more generous if we had more money.

    Making excuses like this is arrogant and foolish. It’s a proud way of trying to justify our actions and pacify our guilty consciences. And it keeps us from humbling ourselves before God to repent of our sins and seek his forgiveness.

    Consider James 1:13-15, which leaves us with no way of escaping our own sin and guilt. We cannot blame God, for he “cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one.”
    Instead, we have to accept the humbling truth that “each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.” This will end the blame game, and it will send us pleading for Christ’s mercy and grace.


  • Sunday, June 22, 2008

  • Formative instruction is defined as that teaching that "forms" our children.

    It enables them to root life in God's revelation in the Bible.

    It helps them to understand the dignity of mankind as God's image bearers.

    It provides a way of interpreting life through the redemptive story of God, who reconciles people to Himself.

    Formative instruction is not the same as correction. It is part of the foundation of parenting by instructing and training where correction is to use tools to reinstruct and retrain.

    The goal is that we and our children and our grandchildren fear the Lord, walk in His ways and enjoy long life - Deuteronomy 6:1-9.

    Questions and Application:

    1. Consider the ages of your children. Think then about some of the assumptions you make about what and how they understand their world.

    2. When do you do most of your instruction to your children? Is is when they have done something wrong? What is the problem when we mix formative instruction with correction?

    3. Read Deuteronomy 6:1-9 carefully:

    a. Who are the commands directed to?

    b. What does it mean to "impress?"

    c. When and where do you impress these things on your children?

    4. Go through the truth to impress on your children from page 41. How are you doing in these areas? What can you do better?

    5. What is the ultimate hope in our instruction to our children?


  • Tuesday, June 17, 2008
  • England's longest marriage: Frank and Anita Milford celebrate 80 years together
    By Richard Smith

    Frank and Anita Milford celebrate their 80th wedding anniversary today, and equal the record for England's longest marriage.

    Devoted Frank, 100, and Anita, 99, who married on May 26, 1928, have reached their oak wedding anniversary and match Percy and Florence Arrowsmith who reached the milestone in 2006.

    Sadly, Percy from Hereford died a fortnight after his 80th anniversary.

    Frank and Anita celebrated the event with family and friends at a party held at their care home in Plymouth, Devon. They have two children, 78-year-old Marie and Frank, 73, plus five grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren, The couple list the secret of their happy marriage as "a little kiss before bed, trips to bingo and good plain English food".

    Anita said: "Couples these days don't last long because they don't take enough time for each other. There just isn't enough respect.

    "Our advice to young couples would be to make time for a little romance every day."

    Retired dock worker Frank added: "We're very proud of what we have achieved.

    "When we started we had low wages and worked very hard.

    "The war years were tough - a bomb even dropped on our house.

    "But we have come through it. Young people today want it all too fast."

    The couple met at a YMCA dance in 1926 and married two years later at Torpoint register office in Cornwall. It was the same year the first £1 note came into circulation and Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin.

    Their son Frank said: "Being married for 80 years is a wonderful achievement.

    "It is fantastic for them. They are doing very well but enjoy the quiet life nowadays."

    According to the Guinness Book of Records the longest marriage in Britain was between Thomas and Elizabeth Morgan who lived in Caerleon, Wales.

    They wed on May 4, 1809, and remained married for 81 years 260 days until Elizabeth's death on January 19, 1891.

    The Guinness Book of Records lists the world's longest-recorded marriage as a couple who were together for 86 years.

    Cousins Sir Temulji Bhicaji Narima and Lady Narima, who lived in India, were married from 1853 to 1940.


    Amelia Earhart became the first woman to fly an aircraft across the Atlantic on June 18.

    Scientist Alexander Fleming announced his discovery of penicillin on September 3.

    First Coca-Cola was drunk in Britain, after being brought over to Europe during the Amsterdam Olympics that year.

    Women over 21 got the right to vote thanks to Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin passing the Equal Franchise Act.


    1st Paper

    5th Wood

    10th Tin

    15th Crystal

    20th China

    25th Silver

    30th Pearl

    35th Coral

    40th Ruby

    45th Sapphire

    50th Gold

    55th Emerald

    60th Diamond

    65th Star Sapphire

    70th Platinum

    75th Diamond

    80th Oak


  • Sunday, June 15, 2008


    Getting the big picture is imperative. Those who have been in any of the Parenting by Faith classes know that we emphasize that we do not place our belief in what our children do today but believe what can happen to our children if we are faithful and obedient to the promises and commands of God.

    The Tripps give us in this chapter 5 perspectives or goals to focus on that shapes formative instruction.

    1. To remember that Scripture is our personal history. The storyline of Scripture is Creation, Fall, and Redemption and it is in this context that we understand life.

    2. We are to teach our children to develop habits of life that reflect truth. Having a clear, consistent presentation of biblical reality reveals their sinful nature and helps them read and interpret this reality.

    3. We are to instruct our children to apply Scripture to issues of authority, obedience, conflict resolution and God-given roles in relationships. It is how we respond to these areas and the crisis of life that makes our theology real.

    4. We are to model spiritual vitality for our children. The home is the laboratory of life.

    5. We are to strive to grow into a mutual relationship of living and working together for Christ’s kingdom.

    1. Have you given serious consideration to goals for your children? What do you want them to look like in the next 5, 10, 15 years?

    2. Do you understand the Scriptures from a full storyline perspective or do you see it as just a bunch of stories? If not, will you commit yourself to understanding the whole story? See Pastor George for resources.

    3. How are your habits to apply the Scriptures to all situations of life? Check the box on page 27 for an example of teaching the habit to your children.

    4. Assess the spiritual vitality of your home. Are the storms of life seen as opportunities to grow? Are the children seeing how to rejoice? Persevere? Trust and obey?

    5. Are you setting up a future vision in accordance with Psalm 78 – where one day your children will arise and teach the next generation?


  • Sunday, June 8, 2008

  • For the next 15 weeks we will look at how we can change or develop the worldview of our children. How our children think is directly related to the issues of their heart and through the instruction of Tedd and Margy Tripp, we will see how we can "instruct their hearts."

    Chapter 1 - The Call To Formative Instruction

    We are in a battle for the minds and hearts of our children with the secular culture. It's voice is compelling and loud. With slickness and skill, the message to our children (and to us) is that life is all about me. The things we deserve, want, what it takes to be happy, and what we can't live without. It has produced young people who are characterized by depression, restlessness, who are critical, argumentative, unmotivated, and unimpressed with the previous generations.

    Throughout this study, we will look at formative instruction - that which "forms" or "shapes" our children from the Scriptures. It is actively teaching our children to live the reality that God defines life. He has spoken and calls for parents to commend His words to the next generation.

    Formative instruction and corrective discipline are not the same thing. Formative instruction is happening all the time where discipline occurs when behavior needs to be corrected.

    Those who have the book, read chapter one and those who do not, get your copy right away and join the reading and discussion. Here are some questions to consider after reading the chapter:

    1. The authors state we are in a war with the culture. What and where in your home is the enemy asserting power and influence? (Romans 12:2)

    2. Take a look at some of the values that your family are living out - dress, actions, thing that you do? All of these have been shaped by someone or something. Who are you and your children imitating?

    3. Assess the attitudes in your home. Do you or your children tend to be critical? Restless? Cynical? Argumentative? Unmotivated? --Why?

    4. What are the sources of instruction to your children? What are they watching, listening to, reading and who is influenicng them? How many hours each day and week are they being influenced by whom Psalm 1 calls "the counsel of the wicked", "the way of sinners", and "the seat of mockers."

    5. How are you presenting the Scriptures to your children? Are they tools to beat up on your children's behavior? Are they words of mercy and grace that reveal the incarnational love of Christ, redemption, and hope of the gospel of Jesus Christ?

    6. Are you loving God's Word so your children will?