• Wednesday, December 30, 2009

  • Couples Retreat At Maranatha Bible Camp 2010

    (I said this part)
    We live in a day where the meaning of marriage has been put up for grabs. However there are reasons for marriage that are beyond cultural or per­sonal and they are far more important. The weekend will be an explora­tion of the meaning of marriage as given by God. The objective will be to make sure that what God has declared as important, glorious, and eternal is the center of our marriage and guides us with clarity every single day.
    The camp wrote this line .. :)
    You won’t want to miss this, fun, informative, joyous weekend!

    George and Deb Lockyer

    Feb 26 - 28, 2010

    $240, Dorm Style housing
    $300, Hotel Style housing

    5:00 - 6:15 PM Friday

    After Sunday lunch

    For more information and registration:


  • Tuesday, December 29, 2009

  • A Study for Married or Engaged Couples

    Deb and I will be leading a study on Monday nights (6:45-8:30) starting January 18 and lasting 11 weeks titled, “Change and Your Relationships, A Mess Worth Making.”

    This is an interactive study designed to help couples learn to:
    1. Value their relationships
    2. Understand why relationships are difficult
    3. Rejoice in God’s grace that can bring healthy, godly relationships

    There are often deep issues that keep relationships less than God designed them to be. This study will give practical direction on conflict resolution, how to have difficult conversations, grant forgiveness, overlook weaknesses, and celebrate strengths by knowing and applying the gospel of grace.

    You must sign-up for the course by Monday, January 11 and the cost for the materials is $13.00 per person or $26.00 per couple.


  • Monday, December 28, 2009

  • I find resolutions a review of my personal failings. As we approach January 1, I am rehearsing the familiar tune of getting in better shape, making better use of my time, getting certain projects done, more prayer, more time with family, better steward, clean up certain character flaws, and on and on..

    The problem with these resolutions are they are things that I feel like I have to do rather than things I get to do. Some of them I did not have a problem with years ago because I saw them as I get to do things. Take for example getting in better physical shape. I never did anything that cost money such as health clubs. I simply took the time to run, do some resistance exercises (sit-ups, push-ups) and kept somewhat of a healthy diet. But somewhere along the line, these activities turned difficult when I saw them as I should be doing this rather than I want to do this.

    There are activities that I consider “I get to” that were once “I ought to” such as daily Bible reading and quiet time. Getting up in the morning is not that hard for me for my quiet time is something I look forward to. This motivates me to even get up very early when I have morning appointments or to not move my alarm when I get to bed late.

    My resolution this year is to move some of the things that I should do to the more positive side that I get to. This motivates me to do these activities because I choose to do them and not because I should do them.

    What is on your list that you see as “I have to do this” and how can you change it to “I want to do this?”


  • Monday, December 21, 2009
  • My Christmas greetings to you as expressed by my favorite artist, Andrew Peterson:


  • Wednesday, December 16, 2009
  • Have you ever wondered about some of the words we sing in some Christmas hymns? Tim Hawkins has ....


  • Monday, December 14, 2009
  • This past year several outstanding books were written about marriage and parenting that were Christ centered in their approach and focused on the power of the gospel to transform families to God's design. Here are some of the top ones that I read and commend to you:


    "Relationships: A Mess Worth Making" by Tim Land and Paul Tripp. This book addresses many of the issues that seem to mess up our relationships with one another. No relationship ever delivers what we dreamt it could and our fantasies collide with reality. So what do you do about it? This book gives gospel-centered answers. Just last month a workbook that includes the elements of this book was published titled "Change and Your Relationships: A Mess Worth Making" which I will probably present as a tool for marriages in our church.

    "This Momentary Marriage" by John Piper. Pastor John has a very high and Bible saturated view of marriage. As he always writes and preaches it is full of passion and pulls no punches. No matter how good of a marriage and family you have, this will challenge you to go higher. Parenting, singleness and his view on divorce is also presented and challenging.


    "Everyday Talk" by John Younts. Deuteronomy 6 commands us as parents to talk to our children everyday and everywhere about God and His ways. This is a very practical and challenging book to show how ordinary conversations can turn to gospel-centered themes.

    "Get Outta My Face!" by Rick Horne. If you have a teen or younger child who seems to have a quick trigger to anger or unmotivated, this is an outstanding resource. Rick Horne does an excellent job to help us understand the heart and what is often behind these issues. He then offers very practical ways to reach the believing and unbelieving teen. He comes from a well-experienced background of working as a guidance counselor for over 30 years in Christian schools.

    "What He Must Be If He Wants to Marry My Daughter" by Voddie Baucham. This book is a must read for those of you who have children in junior high or high school. Voddie pushes a very strict courtship model but even if you do not agree with that model, you will benefit greatly by the book. The principles will save some of the greatest heartarches in your life and the life of your children. The book works both ways ... what a young man must be and what a young women must be. If you have a teen in a relationship, challenge them to read it and if it is a "serious" one, challenge their "other" to read it as well. Maybe then they will break up!

    Why Require Unregenerate Children to Act Like They’re Good?

  • Friday, December 11, 2009
  • by John Piper

    If mere external conformity to God’s commands (like don’t lie, don’t steal, don’t kill) is hypocritical and spiritually defective, then why should parents require obedience from their unregenerate children?

    Won’t this simply confirm them in unspiritual religious conformity, hypocritical patterns of life, and legalistic moralism?

    Here are at least three reasons why Christian parents should require their small children (regenerate or unregenerate) to behave in ways that conform externally to God’s revealed will.

    I say “small children” because as a child gets older, there are certain external conformities to God’s revealed will that should be required and others that should not. It seems to me, for example, while parents should require drug-free, respectful decency from a 15-year-old, it would do little good to require an unbelieving and indifferent 15-year-old to read his Bible every day. But it would be wise to require that of a 6-year-old, while doing all we can to help him enjoy it and see the benefit in it.

    So the following points are reasons why we should require smaller children to behave in ways that conform at least externally to God’s word.

    1) For children, external, unspiritual conformity to God’s commanded patterns of behavior is better than external, unspiritual non-conformity to those patterns of behavior.

    A respectful and mannerly 5-year-old unbeliever is better for the world than a more authentic defiant, disrespectful, ill-mannered, unbelieving bully. The family, the friendships, the church, and the world in general will be thankful for parents that restrain the egocentric impulses of their children and confirm in them every impulse toward courtesy and kindness and respect.

    2) Requiring obedience from children in conformity with God’s will confronts them with the meaning of sin in relation to God, the nature of their own depravity, and their need for inner transformation by the power of grace through the gospel of Christ.

    There comes a point where the “law” dawns on the child. That is, he realizes that God (not just his parents) requires a certain way of life from him and that he does not like some of it, and that he cannot do all of it.

    At this crisis moment, the good news of Christ’s dying for our sins becomes all important. Will the child settle into a moralistic effort the rest of his life, trying to win the acceptance and love of God? Or will he hear and believe that God’s acceptance and forgiveness and love are free gifts—and receive this God in Christ as the supreme treasure of his life?

    The child will have a hard time grasping the meaning of the cross if parents have not required of him behaviors, some of which he dislikes, and none of which he can do perfectly.

    Christ lived and died to provide for us the righteousness we need (but cannot perform) and to endure for us the punishment we deserve (but cannot endure). If parents do not require external righteousness and apply measures of punishment, the categories of the cross will be difficult for a child to grasp.

    3) The marks of devotion, civility, and manners (“please,” “thank you,” and good eye contact) are habits that, God willing, are filled later with grace and become more helpful ways of blessing others and expressing a humble heart.

    No parents have the luxury of teaching their child nothing while they wait for his regeneration. If we are not requiring obedience, we are confirming defiance. If we are not inculcating manners, we are training in boorishness. If we are not developing the disciplines of prayer and Bible-listening, we are solidifying the sense that prayerlessness and Biblelessness are normal.

    Inculcated good habits may later become formalistic legalism. Inculcated insolence, rudeness, and irreligion will likely become worldly decadence. But by God’s grace, and saturated with prayer, good habits may be filled with the life of the Spirit by faith. But the patterns of insolence and rudeness and irreligion will be hard to undo.

    Caution. Here we are only answering one question: Why should parents require submissive behaviors of children when they may be unregenerate rebels at heart? Of course that is not all Christian parents should do.

    Let there be much spontaneous celebration verbally of every hopeful sign of life and goodness in
    our children.
    Let us forgive them often and be longsuffering.
    Let us serve them and not use them.
    Let us lavish them with joyful participation in their interests.
    Let us model for them the joy of knowing and submitting to the Lord Jesus.
    Let us apologize often when we fall short of our own Father’s requirements.
    Let us pray for them without ceasing.
    Let us saturate them with the word of God from the moment they are in the womb (the uterus is not sound proof).
    Let us involve them in happy ministry experiences and show them it is more blessed to give than to receive.
    Let them see us sing to the King.
    Let us teach them relentlessly the meaning of the gospel in the hope that God will open their eyes and make them alive. It happens through the gospel (1 Peter 1:22-25


  • Wednesday, December 9, 2009
  • Andrew Peterson is my favorite Christian artist and he has a great Christmas album titled "Behold the Lamb of God." He performed it last week at the Berean Church. Here is a song he does that my grandboys love titled "Matthew's Begats" ... enjoy it as well

    16 DADDY CHRISTMAS TIPS by Mark Driscoll

  • ’Tis the season for Dad to drop the holiday ball, stress out as the money is being spent for presents, and miss yet another providential opportunity to lovingly lead his family. So, this blog is intended to help dads not fall into the same old rut of holiday humdrum, sitting on the couch watching football and eating carbs, but rather intentionally plan out the upcoming holiday season. Our children grow quickly and if we miss the sacred moments God opens up for us to connect with and bless our families, everyone suffers and we set in motion generations of missed opportunity.

    Dad needs...
    1. a plan for the holidays to ensure his family is loved and memories are made. Dad, what’s your plan?
    2. to check the local guides for what’s going on to make fun holiday plans for the family. In Seattle it’s here.
    3. to carve out time for sacred events and experiences to build family traditions that are fun and point to Jesus. Dad, is your calendar ready for December?
    4. to not let the stress of the holidays, including money, cause him to be grumpy with Mom or the kids. Dad, how’s your joy?
    5. to give experiences and not just gifts. Dad, what special memories can you make this holiday season?
    6. to manage the extended family and friends during the holidays. Dad, who or what do you need to say “no” to?
    7. to ensure his family is giving generously during the holidays. Dad, who in need is your family going to adopt and bless?
    8. to schedule a big Christmas daddy date with his daughter. Dad, what’s your big plan for the fancy daddy date?
    9. to schedule guy time with his son. Dad, what are you and your son going to do that is active, outdoors, and fun?
    10. to help Mom get the house decorated. Dad, are you really a big help to Mom with getting things ready?
    11. to ensure some holiday smells and sounds. Dad, is Christmas music on the iPod, is the tree up, and can you smell cookies and cider in your house?
    12. to snuggle up and watch some fun shows with the kids, especially the little ones. Dad, is the DVR set?
    13. to take the family on a drive to see Christmas lights while listening to music and sipping cider. Dad, is it mapped out?
    14. to help Mom get the kids’ rooms decorated. Dad, do the little kids get lights or a small tree in their room?
    15. to read about Jesus and pray over his kids. Dad, how’s your pastoral work going with each of your kids?
    16. to repent of being lazy, selfish, grumpy, or just dumping the holidays on Mom. Dad, are you a servant like Jesus to your family?


  • Monday, November 30, 2009
  • In October 2008, Mars Hill Church hosted a Biblical Parenting Conference with Dr. Tedd Tripp, who presented biblical teaching on topics from formative instruction to corrective discipline. You can't beat this ... watch video by clicking on the links below.






  • Monday, November 16, 2009
  • A book I recently read that is outstanding and highly commended to you is “Counsel from the Cross” by Elyse Fitzpatrick and Dennis Johnson. In their chapter “The Gospel and Our Relationships,” they write:

    Over the past thirty years or so, the church has produced much material on proper relationships in the family. Hundreds of books on family life have been written, and proper roles for husband, wife, parents, and children have been defined. Because God has established the family and told us how to love each other, many of these books are useful. We do need to know what God’s perspectives and desires on our relationships are, and we should seek to embrace them.

    The problem with a large majority of these books, however, is that they have pointed out the obligations of the gospel without first rehearsing the declarations of the gospel. Like most of us, these authors have made the mistake of assuming that we have heard enough about the gospel so that we don’t need it any longer. Focusing on the obligations of Scripture without mentioning the declarations of the gospel has resulted in a works-oriented perspective in family relationships and idolatry of the family, and in despairing or self-righteous husbands and wives and children who wonder why it’s so hard to obey. When we forget that Jesus is our Savior, seeing him merely as our example, the motivation to love as he does eludes us.

    So even though the relationships we have within our families and at our schools and workplaces are paramount in importance, most of us haven’t been taught to think very deeply about how the primary relationship in our lives – that with God through Jesus Christ – impacts and influences us.



  • Thursday, October 29, 2009

  • As Faith Bible Church launches a new website, if you are visiting this site for the first time, welcome. Over the past I have to my surprise posted over 120 articles. You probably now are wondering what I do? I invite you to scroll through the site and you will find articles shared, books reviewed, some personal items that I shamelessly share about my family, and just stuff to make us laugh. I hope you will make a regular visit and please use the comment section for comments or email me with suggestions for articles.

    Pastor George


  • For the past several years I have been talking to parents about "gospel-centered" parenting and moral-centered parenting. I was a moral-centered parent and taught it for many years. I have since repented and if I were to start a family again, our home would be radically different.

    As I continue to talk about gospel-centered parenting, I usually get a nod of agreement but followed by the deer in the headlight look when what it looks like is mentioned. I hope in a series of articles to follow to clarify this for your profit.

    To begin with, it would be of great benefit to review an answer to the question: What is the gospel? To answer it I will turn to Jeff Purswell of Sovereign Grace Ministries who recently posted this excellent article "What Precisely is the Gospel."

    I was having a wide-ranging conversation with a friend the other day when we wandered onto the topic of the gospel. I casually observed how frequently the word gospel was freighted with elements that belong more precisely to the realm of discipleship or ethics—e.g., what we do in response to the gospel, or how we live in light of the gospel.

    My friend responded with puzzlement: “Aren’t those things part of the gospel? Didn’t Jesus say in the Great Commission, ‘teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you’?”

    A lively and edifying conversation ensued in which we found ourselves largely in agreement, but also in which a crucial issue surfaced: what precisely is the gospel?

    Perhaps it’s foolish to tackle such a question in a medium that militates against nuance and formulaic clarity. No doubt my comments will be parsed and found wanting by many who discern neglect of this or that biblical theme or emphasis—ah, well, such are the joys of blogging. It is, however, a question that lies at the very heart of our faith, and therefore at the heart of pastoral ministry.

    So what does the New Testament present as the gospel?

    A good place to begin is Mark’s gospel. At the outset of the book, the author immediately alerts us to the significance of what will follow: “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God” (Mark 1:1). Syntactically, this heading flows directly into the remainder of the prologue (Isaiah’s prophecy, John the Baptist, and Jesus’s baptism/temptations)—indicating that these introductory events are the “beginning of the gospel,” while the balance of Mark’s narrative presents the rest of the gospel.

    What’s the point? For Mark, the gospel is the story about Jesus—the good news of all that Jesus did in his life and ministry and death and resurrection.

    We see a similar idea in the early preaching of the church. When Peter is summoned to Cornelius’s home and discovers that God is behind this miraculous chain of events, his presentation of the gospel (“proclaiming the good news of peace”—Acts 10:36b) is an outline of Jesus’s ministry, beginning with John the Baptist on through to his resurrection and commissioning of the apostles to proclaim forgiveness through his name (Acts 10:36-41; cf. 2:22-24; 3:13-15). As far back as C.H. Dodd, commentators have viewed this as a summary of apostolic preaching and noted its basic agreement with the structure of Mark’s gospel. Once again, the gospel is the news of what God was doing through Jesus in his life, death, and resurrection.

    Paul uses the term gospel more than any other NT writer. Of course, one of the most familiar renditions of “gospel” in the NT is Paul’s summary statement in 1 Corinthians 15:1ff: “Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you...For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures…” Again, the gospel consists of what Jesus did to save us. Paul’s presentation is more narrow, focusing on the pinnacle of Christ’s work—his substitutionary death and resurrection—but that focus is also embedded into the very structures of the canonical gospels themselves, which reserve far more space for, and place the greatest emphasis on, the death and resurrection of Jesus.

    So what is the gospel?

    Although this brief survey is far from complete, it consistently reveals that the gospel is good news concerning Jesus and what he did to accomplish salvation for sinners.

    In other words, the gospel is objective. It tells us what God has done to save his people. It consists of concrete, historical events, rooted in Old Testament promises, types, and institutions that were fulfilled in Jesus. It promises that all who trust in Christ and his work will receive forgiveness and life. Of course, this isn’t merely a catalogue of events of only historical interest; all of this has massive implications for our lives. But we must not confuse the gospel message itself with the outworking of those implications.

    So, for example, although the gospel calls me to respond to what Jesus has done, strictly speaking it doesn’t include my response—repentance is not the gospel. Although the gospel introduces me to a life lived in glad obedience to God, strictly speaking it doesn’t include that life of obedience. Our existence as Christians involves unspeakable privileges, significant responsibilities, and untold promise. But those things themselves are not the gospel.

    Why is all this important? It’s important because the very nature of the gospel is at stake—and there is no higher priority for the pastor than to guard the gospel from neglect, distortion, or redefinition (1 Timothy 6:20; 2 Timothy 1:14).

    If the gospel message expands to include “discipleship in the kingdom,” then the objective nature of Christ’s work is minimized. When the gospel is redefined as a call to a social or political movement, Christ’s work is replaced with ours. When the gospel includes my response, then the ground of my assurance lies in me rather than in Christ. Indeed, anytime we shift the definition of the gospel from God’s objective accomplishment to our subjective appropriation, the rock-solid foundation of our faith is misplaced—and the glory of God in the gospel is obscured.

    Of course, we can be clear on the gospel message and make other mistakes. We can neglect the entailments of the gospel (a life of self-denial and obedience to Christ). We can focus only on spiritual salvation to the exclusion of any concern for the material or physical well-being of others. We can so focus on a heavenly home that we neglect our responsibilities of loving others in a fallen world, and that our ultimate future lies in a “new heavens and new earth” that have been fully renewed by God’s power.

    None of these mistakes, however, minimizes the importance of holding fast to the gospel of our salvation. For it is through the power of the gospel that we are transformed to live new lives by the power of the Spirit. It is through the gospel that we are freed from selfishness to give our lives in service of others. Sure, the scope of Christ’s redemption is the whole cosmos (Colossians 1:20), but at the center of his redemptive concern are rebellious image-bearers whom he is ransoming to be his children. But all of these entailments, implications, and promises are founded upon the rock-solid, unchanging accomplishment of God through the gospel of his Son. It is this message that is God’s power to save sinners, to comfort the grieving, to motivate the listless, to encourage the downhearted, to assure the guilt-stricken.

    This message never changes; this message is always true; and so our hope is always secure.

    And it precisely when those erstwhile rebels grasp God’s accomplishment in the gospel—the greatest display of “the breadth and length and height and depth of Christ’s love”—that they will be “filled with all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:17-19) and marvel with wonder at the gospel’s display of God’s glorious grace.


    Jeff Purswell serves as the Dean of the Sovereign Grace Pastors College and a pastor at Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg, MD.


  • Saturday, October 24, 2009
  • Make sure that you are not swallowing something while hearing this 911 call or you will likely spit it out of your mouth from laughing. I picked this up at the girltalk website which for you women ought to be a regular read.


  • Monday, October 19, 2009
  • When I decided to take 3 weeks off in a row, one of the reasons was so I could break away for a period of time and live outside the box of my normal day to day activities. To do so, I made a commitment to myself with the help of my ministry assistant Natalie, to avoid the computer and the cell-phone. Natalie skimmed the email and was given instructions that if anything that is time critical came up, how to contact me. I did not miss technology. Don't get me wrong .. I personally have benefitted a great deal by the internet and all the bells and whistles on our cell phones have been a blessing, but they can be quite a distraction as well.

    Take a listen to Josh Harris speak about the subject and see if you stand guilty ...


  • Thursday, October 15, 2009
  • Wow -- I see it has been about 6 weeks since I have posted anything. For the two of you who read this I apologize but for 3 of the weeks Deb and I took time off from ministry and just hid away. By the generosity of some people from the church, we did spend 5 days in Colorado and Wyoming and got our mountain fix. We hiked on some awesome trails up in the mountains and I almost had a road collision at the Wyoming-Colorado border with a huge bull moose.

    I am back on station and will get back to posting some things that I trust will encourage and challenge you. At least I will share those things that are challenging me.


    Here is proof of our trip ... Looks like a Coors commercial!


  • Thursday, September 3, 2009

  • (This is from Dr. Albert Mohler's blog. Dr. Mohler is the preseident of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and one of the smartest people on the planet earth. You can read this essay and other works by Dr. Mohler at )

    One of the most amazing statements by the Apostle Paul is his indictment of the Galatian Christians for abandoning the Gospel. "I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel," Paul declared. As he stated so emphatically, the Galatians had failed in the crucial test of discerning the authentic Gospel from its counterfeits.

    His words could not be more clear: "But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you have received, he is to be accursed!" [Gal. 1:6-7]

    This warning from the Apostle Paul, expressed in the language of the Apostle's shock and grief, is addressed not only to the church in Galatia, but to every congregation in every age. In our own day -- and in our own churches -- we desperately need to hear and to heed this warning. In our own time, we face false gospels no less subversive and seductive than those encountered and embraced by the Galatians.

    In our own context, one of the most seductive false gospels is moralism. This false gospel can take many forms and can emerge from any number of political and cultural impulses. Nevertheless, the basic structure of moralism comes down to this -- the belief that the Gospel can be reduced to improvements in behavior.

    Sadly, this false gospel is particularly attractive to those who believe themselves to be evangelicals motivated by a biblical impulse. Far too many believers and their churches succumb to the logic of moralism and reduce the Gospel to a message of moral improvement. In other words, we communicate to lost persons the message that what God desires for them and demands of them is to get their lives straight.

    In one sense, we are born to be moralists. Created in God's image, we have been given the moral capacity of conscience. From our earliest days our conscience cries out to us the knowledge of our guilt, shortcomings, and misbehaviors. In other words, our conscience communicates our sinfulness.

    Add to this the fact that the process of parenting and child rearing tends to inculcate moralism from our earliest years. Very quickly we learn that our parents are concerned with our behavior. Well behaved children are rewarded with parental approval, while misbehavior brings parental sanction. This message is reinforced by other authorities in young lives and pervades the culture at large.

    Writing about his own childhood in rural Georgia, the novelist Ferrol Sams described the deeply-ingrained tradition of being "raised right." As he explained, the child who is "raised right" pleases his parents and other adults by adhering to moral conventions and social etiquette. A young person who is "raised right" emerges as an adult who obeys the laws, respects his neighbors, gives at least lip service to religious expectations, and stays away from scandal. The point is clear -- this is what parents expect, the culture affirms, and many churches celebrate. But our communities are filled with people who have been "raised right" but are headed for hell.

    The seduction of moralism is the essence of its power. We are so easily seduced into believing that we actually can gain all the approval we need by our behavior. Of course, in order to participate in this seduction, we must negotiate a moral code that defines acceptable behavior with innumerable loopholes. Most moralists would not claim to be without sin, but merely beyond scandal. That is considered sufficient.

    Moralists can be categorized as both liberal and conservative. In each case, a specific set of moral concerns frames the moral expectation. As a generalization, it is often true that liberals focus on a set of moral expectations related to social ethics while conservatives tend to focus on personal ethics. The essence of moralism is apparent in both -- the belief that we can achieve righteousness by means of proper behavior.

    The theological temptation of moralism is one many Christians and churches find it difficult to resist. The danger is that the church will communicate by both direct and indirect means that what God expects of fallen humanity is moral improvement. In so doing, the church subverts the Gospel and communicates a false gospel to a fallen world.

    Christ's Church has no option but to teach the Word of God, and the Bible faithfully reveals the law of God and a comprehensive moral code. Christians understand that God has revealed Himself throughout creation in such a way that He has gifted all humanity with the restraining power of the law. Furthermore, He has spoken to us in His word with the gift of specific commands and comprehensive moral instruction. The faithful Church of the Lord Jesus Christ must contend for the righteousness of these commands and the grace given to us in the knowledge of what is good and what is evil. We also have a responsibility to bear witness of this knowledge of good and evil to our neighbors. The restraining power of the law is essential to human community and to civilization.

    Just as parents rightly teach their children to obey moral instruction, the church also bears responsibility to teach its own the moral commands of God and to bear witness to the larger society of what God has declared to be right and good for His human creatures.

    But these impulses, right and necessary as they are, are not the Gospel. Indeed, one of the most insidious false gospels is a moralism that promises the favor of God and the satisfaction of God's righteousness to sinners if they will only behave and commit themselves to moral improvement.

    The moralist impulse in the church reduces the Bible to a codebook for human behavior and substitutes moral instruction for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Far too many evangelical pulpits are given over to moralistic messages rather than the preaching of the Gospel.

    The corrective to moralism comes directly from the Apostle Paul when he insists that "a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus." Salvation comes to those who are "justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified." [Gal. 2:16]

    We sin against Christ and we misrepresent the Gospel when we suggest to sinners that what God demands of them is moral improvement in accordance with the Law. Moralism makes sense to sinners, for it is but an expansion of what we have been taught from our earliest days. But moralism is not the Gospel, and it will not save. The only gospel that saves is the Gospel of Christ. As Paul reminded the Galatians, "But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons." [Gal. 4:4-5]

    We are justified by faith alone, saved by grace alone, and redeemed from our sin by Christ alone. Moralism produces sinners who are (potentially) better behaved. The Gospel of Christ transforms sinners into the adopted sons and daughters of God.

    The Church must never evade, accommodate, revise, or hide the law of God. Indeed, it is the Law that shows us our sin and makes clear our inadequacy and our total lack of righteousness. The Law cannot impart life but, as Paul insists, it "has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith." [Gal. 3:24]

    The deadly danger of moralism has been a constant temptation to the church and an ever-convenient substitute for the Gospel. Clearly, millions of our neighbors believe that moralism is our message. Nothing less than the boldest preaching of the Gospel will suffice to correct this impression and to lead sinners to salvation in Christ.

    Hell will be highly populated with those who were "raised right." The citizens of heaven will be those who, by the sheer grace and mercy of God, are there solely because of the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ.

    Moralism is not the gospel.

    (For help in learning how to be more effective with the true gospel in your parenting, see the label through this blog on Shepherding Your Child's Heart.)


  • Monday, August 31, 2009
  • This is one of the reasons why outdoor weddings scare me as a pastor


  • Monday, August 17, 2009

    “In all or nurturing as parents, the gospel must be central. It is the only hope of forgiveness. It is the only hope for deep internal change. It is the only hope for power to live. The grace of the gospel is the center of everything for Christian parents.”

    The home that needs to worry about hypocrisy is the one where the focus is probably on the behavior and not the heart. This makes the child think that their problem is what they are doing rather than what they are.

    Some of the needs that our child may have that are addressed by the gospel:
    1. Cleansing – their thoughts, motives and actions can be renewed.
    2. Forgiveness – based upon the payment by Jesus Christ. He loved us so much that He gave His life as a ransom, paid the penalty for ours sins and so forgiveness is on the basis of these payments.
    3. Empowerment – we need empowerment by the Holy Spirit to accomplish internal change, find joy in God and live in a self-sacrificing and gracious way of life.

    How can the gospel be displayed in correction?
    By nurturing and discipling your child. It is an opportunity to speak of discipleship, ministry, and grace.

    1. Do you know the gospel well enough that you can express it in everyday events?
    2. In your form of discipline and correction, have you been able to change your child’s behavior by reaching the heart? How?
    3. How can the gospel be applied in a correction situation?
    4. Compare Ezekiel 36: 25-27 with John 3: 1-21.
    How is the cleansing of sin portrayed?
    How is forgiveness expressed?
    How are internal changes seen?
    How is empowerment accomplished?
    5. Why is it so important to emphasize grace? How is it seen?


  • Tuesday, August 11, 2009
    I don't recommend you teach your child to do this but you have to admire the effort for help!



  • Wednesday, August 5, 2009

  • Chapter 14 – COMMUNICATION

    Have you ever considered a communication strategy to your parenting? Your design for parenting directs what strategy you will use. When you are using a strategy of behavior modification, we usually fall into a “tell it like it is” form of communication. Those who let their children learn by discovery often use a “let it all hang out” strategy.

    In approaching our children with a gospel-centered approach, the Tripps offer that we first speak with restraint, employing pleasant words and delighting to understand them. This approach reflects the wisdom of God’s Word:

    Proverbs 17:27 - Whoever restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding.

    Prov 15: 28 - The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer, but the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things.

    Prov 29:20 - Do you see a man who is hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him.

    Prov 16:21 - The wise of heart is called discerning, and sweetness of speech increases persuasiveness.

    Eccl 6:11 - The more words, the more vanity, and what is the advantage to man?

    Eccl 9:17 - The words of the wise heard in quiet are better than the shouting of a ruler among fools.

    The goal of communication is to understand each other. To do so to your child is to only encourage them to communicate more to you because you are showing you are really interested in what they are thinking. Proverbs 20:5 says, “The purpose in a man's heart is like deep water, but a man of understanding will draw it out.”


    1. What is your style of communication to your children? Do you “tell it like it is?” “Let it all hang out?” Speak with restraint, honesty, frankness and candor?

    2. Have you ever wearied your children with your words? What often happens when your conversation carries on too long with them?

    3. Have you ever said something you regret with your children? How can you prevent this from happening?

    4. What hurdles do you put before your children when your words are harsh, loud, demanding, or demeaning?

    5. How can you help your child know they are loved unconditionally and accepted so they feel safe sharing their deep and confusing thoughts?

    6. How can you help your child when they answer you with “I don’t know?”

    A recommended resource to you is “Everyday Talk, Talking Freely and Naturally About God with your Children,” by John Younts.

    Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys

  • Friday, July 31, 2009
  • Some of you spend your summer going from baseball or basketball game to another game. For us, we are looking for "mutton bustin" competitions for our grandsons. Here is Thadd locked good and tight and focused on riding this sheep to the end of the line.

    This past week, Nathaniel rode in the Sidney Iowa Rodeo and took first place. In the excitement of his ride, no one took pictures of the ride or even Nathaniel kissing the rodeo queen on the cheek (tradition). But here is the cowboy with his prize.

    So some of you dream of your children playing in the NBA, major league baseball, or the NFL. We figure we might see some of our grandsons doing this someday...


  • Tuesday, July 28, 2009

    Galatians 6: 7, 8 states “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.”

    Formative instruction, which is part of the heart of this book, is to abound with the good purposes God had for us before the Fall and His marvelous provision for us after the Fall through the person and work of Jesus Christ. The reality of judgment, wrath, and God’s intolerance with sin should drive us to the foot of the cross to be mindful of God’s grace.

    Corrective discipline is an appeal to formative instruction to help our children understand how sin affects all of life. It is a rescue mission designed to redirect a straying or unbelieving child back inside the circle of blessing of honoring and obeying their parents and other authority.

    The reaping process in discipline is to be biblical and not behavioral. That means it must address the issues of the heart. Here are a few steps explained in the chapter:
    -Always dialogue with your child – never monologue. Ask what they were thinking and feeling that prompted the behavior.
    -Use formative instruction to describe their sin, its deception and God’s promises to overcome it.
    -Identify with your child the struggle to resist sowing in the flesh
    -Identify for them what it means to sow to the Spirit
    -Give them an ample opportunity to respond and continue the dialogue

    The Tripps offer these words of final encouragement in this chapter:
    “We don’t shepherd our children to assure that our children will ‘turn out right.’ We shepherd our children to be faithful to the work God has given us. Consequences do not serve as power plays to prove our role or power or strength or to put kids in their place for our convenience. They are designed by God to display the reality of God’s ultimate rule in the affairs of men and to extend mercy while there is time to repent and trust in God.”

    “Discipline is not an opportunity for us to show our children who is boss or to hand our punishments that will change their behavior. Even when our consequences are appropriate to underscore God’s truth and our standards, discipline is primarily an opportunity to remind our children of their need to repent and believe in Christ, and the forgiveness and provision available from God through Christ. We are really declaring God’s sovereignty and involvement with all he has created, offering relationship with God through Christ. Show them the beauty and goodness of confession to God and others, and warn them of the coming judgment for unbelief.”

    Questions to Consider:

    1. Consider the last episode of corrective discipline you had with your teen:
    A. How well did you warn against “sowing to the sinful nature?” (Probably you did fairly well here)
    B. How well did you encourage them as to “sowing to the Spirit?” (Probably not as well)
    C. How much dialogue did you have? Did you seek to discover if their actions were motivated by any fears, desires, hopes, and/or lusts of the heart?

    2. What do you do when you know your child is guilty but does not admit it? What do you do if you are not sure?

    3. How well do you “hunker down in the trenches” with your child's struggle with sin and help them understand that you have similar struggles?

    4. What is the danger if you get too sentimental in your love for your child and start lowering the standards? How does this impact the gospel?

    5. What is your ultimate motivation in shepherding your child? Is it that they should turn out right or is it something else?


  • Thursday, July 23, 2009
  • Matt Chandler, pastor of The Village Church in Highland Village, Texas ofers this great story of the meaning of the gospel. The point of the gospel is that it is for broken sinners....


  • Monday, July 20, 2009

  • Chapter 12- Getting from Behavior to the Heart

    Whoops - for those who were following the book, once again I let this slide. It has been a month since I addressed chapter 11. This chapter has a bunch of "ouches" for this parent and grandfather. I was a master at behavior modification and by the grace of God, somehow my kids' hearts turned out okay but sure not because I was aiming there! Their mom was much better than I was.

    To work on our children's hearts is to aim at the source of their bad behavior rather than the behavior itself. We used to have brief periods of "Camp Lockyer" where if their were patterns of behavior that needed to be changed, it was going to happen in the next 3 days! Through a series of rewards and punishments, the behavior was redirected and manipulated until Dad was satisfied. Trouble was that since the source of the behavior was not dealt with, it would show itself either again later or in a new form.

    The Tripps point our that:

    Behaviorism does not address the real need of our children

    Behaviorism provides our children with a false basis for ethics

    Behaviorism trains the heart in wrong paths

    Behaviorism obscures the message of the gospel

    Behaviorism shows the parent's idols

    To get to the heart of behavior requires formative instruction that helps your child see the connection between their behavior and their heart attitude that led to the behavior. To do so a parent needs to learn to ask good questions that reveal the child's heart. Questions that are open-ended and where the child can reveal what they were thinking and the motivation behind their behavior.

    Once the motivation is revealed, you as a parent will find a point of personal connection with the child for whether it is pride, selfishness, fear or other sources of motivation, you know what that sin is like. Identify with your child's struggle with the sin and provide the answer - the gospel!

    Hebrews 4: 14-16 tells us that Jesus identifies with our struggles and temptations and as our High Priest, we can draw near to Him with confidence and receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Your child needs you and especially the mercy and grace of Christ.

    How many times today have you barked out imperatives to your children that demanded a change of behavior without addressing the heart?

    Where are you using tools of manipulation in your discipline such as reward and punishment systems? Are they really producing long-term changes?

    Why do you really want your kids to behave? Is it to make your life easier? Is it so you look good to others? Is is so you know you are in control?

    How are you keeping the gospel central in your discipline?

    Note: The Tripps make it clear that it is not wrong to correct behavior and it is necessary in many situations. Part of this heart direction is to understand that in situations where the correction of behavior is necessary, your job is not done. Help them understand how they strayed from God's ways. Also look for typical responses by your child so you can address themes such as selfishness and then speak in depth to the attitude of the heart.

    Working Towards a Praying Life

  • Monday, July 13, 2009
  • I just finished about a 6 week journey through the book A Praying Life by Paul E. Miller. I struggle with my prayer life and have read several books on prayer to try and improve this area. Many of the books just frustrate me more than when I started. I may get a jolt for awhile and soon I am falling back into the old habits. I keep lists, have done journals, topic of the day, Scripture praying and many other things. I do pray and often but it seems like I am using God as a dispenser of my wants and desires rather than seeing prayer as a means to connect with God in the midst of the happenings of the day.

    Paul Miller’s book has been a big help. It has helped me understand fuller the meaning of prayer and how to pray as a regular part of my day to day moments. The book is rich with examples from the Scriptures along with life examples from the author. A look into his family will hit home for many who read this book.

    I am currently applying his tool of prayer cards rather than prayer lists. It has proved useful already. I believe in prayer as what has been quoted as the slender nerve that moves the powerful muscle of God. I commend this book to you as it is in 32 short chapters that can be read in 10-15 minutes each providing clear examples by the author as to application. The 4-6 weeks of a chapter nearly every day will be worth it.

    I do not know how long it will be on sale, but right now the book is available from Monergism Books at 40% off. Just use the coupon code “prayinglife” to get the discount.

    Many Hands Make What?

  • Friday, July 3, 2009

  • Yesterday we did what will probably be about one half of our hay harvest. It was quite a scene. Deb and I along with Bill and Brit and their 6 boys and Chad and Megan Bredthauer and two of their girls picking up bales, stacking them on a trailer, and then loading them into the barn.

    I am a "let's get 'er done" kind of worker so having 8 kids around when there is serious work to do can be difficult on my attitude. was great! What should have taken 2 hours ended up 4 and there were no serious injuries. We all sweated, walked the fields, and the kids had a blast. It doesn't get any better for a grandfather and grandmother than that!
    Hope you are making memories this summer with your kids. No better way than getting dirty together.

    Death is not Dying: The Story Continues

  • On May 14 I posted the testimony of Rachel Barkley, a 37 year old mom who was battling terminal cancer. Her video testimony is gripping and well worth an hour of your time. You can scroll back to that date or link on to it here

    Rachel's story continues as she went home to heaven yesterday, July 2. You can pray for her family as she leaves her husband and two children. She also leaves the impact of someone who has placed their confidence in the gospel of Christ and learned what it is to live by that truth. As the old great hymn declares for the believer in Christ's finished work on the cross, "It is not death to die."


  • Saturday, June 27, 2009

  • My earlier post on social networking brewed a few comments to me from some who read it. I still recieve from time to time the question, "Have you seen what so-and-so posted on their facebook?" The answer remains, "no, and I probably will not look." I also continue to hear from spouses who have concerns about the "friends" that are being contacted and reconnected that probably should remain as memories.

    Steve Altrogge, a pastor-intern and songwriter at Sovereign Grace Church of Indiana, PA posted this article about facebook that is good instruction for you personally and as a parent.

    You Are What You Tweet

    The things I can do on and Facebook and Twitter are incredible.

    I can let you know exactly what I’m doing at 2:01 P.M. on Tuesday afternoon (drinking my third cup of coffee). I can post that goofy picture of me and my buddy sporting our sweetest 80’s clothes. I can take a quiz that helps me identify which ‘The Princess Bride’ character I’m most like. I can catch up with my high school friends.

    Yet in the midst of all this, something strange can begin to take place. I can feel as though the things I say and post on Facebook and Twitter don’t really matter. As if, somehow, the things I say and do online are separate from the real me. Come on, it’s just Facebook, right?
    Wrong. In Matthew 15:19 Jesus said: For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander.

    So what does this mean? It means that our status updates, photo uploads, wall posts, and online chats are a visible display of what is taking place in our hearts.

    Posting flirtatious comments on someone’s picture isn’t “just what happens on Facebook”. Uploading an inappropriate photo isn’t just for fun. Relentlessly mocking someone isn’t what happens online. It’s the overflow of the heart. And it’s sin. What we do online is the real us. It doesn’t matter that we’re safely behind a computer screen.

    And the sobering thing is, every action that takes place online has effects that last into eternity. Jesus said: I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak… (Matt. 12:36)

    Let’s put that verse into online terms. On the day of judgment people will give an account for every careless Tweet they post. Every inappropriate status update. Every sinful picture. Wall post. Chat.

    On the final day, I don’t want to regret the things I said in cyber space. So for now, I need to watch what I Tweet, upload, and wall post. Because I am what I Tweet.

    Here are some questions to get us thinking. Parents, Facebook and Twitter provide excellent conversation topics. Use these questions as starting points.
    Do I ever say anything on Facebook or Twitter that is impure or unedifying? (Ephesians 4:29)
    Am I communicating with anyone online that I wouldn’t want my spouse/parents/friends to know about? (1 John 1:6-7)
    What do my pictures, wall posts, status updates, and “friends” show about my heart?

    Here’s the bad news: we’ve all sinned in this area. The good news is that Jesus Christ died for Facebook sinners like me. In light of this good news, let’s use Facebook and Twitter for the glory of God.

    THE GOSPEL-CENTERED HOME: Teens; Who Are These Guys Part 3

  • Tuesday, June 23, 2009
  • Trying to figure out a teenager is not really as hard as it seems. As previously posted, they are just like you the parent. Their lack of experience and many times focused teaching makes them susceptible to making foolish decisions. The last 2 items of who are these teens are perhaps the ones that bring the largest amount of fear and frustration to their parents.

    8. Teens are susceptible to sexual temptation. Here the strength of youth, changes in life, the freedoms they experience and the lack of an accurate view outside the home and church all contribute to the potential problem. As a teenager physically awakens, fantasy and lust are common private sins and to help a teen, they must be open for discussion. Are you comfortable with this topic with your teen? Do they really have a biblical view of sex? Do you know where they struggle in this area? Can they critique the world's view? Do they have a heart for sexual purity? Are they modest?

    9. The final point to discuss is that teens tend to be focused on the present. What is not in their scope of view is to delay anything, especially gratification. Right now is the most important moment of life. Galatians 6:7, "God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows." is not so much in the scope of their day to day thinking. The physical moment tends to be what matters and temporal happiness is the priority. Some of this comes from the saturation of entertainment in our lives where the meaning of things is found in how good it makes me feel. As a result, things like church are boring regardless of how nourishing it is for them.

    All of these things that describe a teen does not mean every teenager nor every item. They only are representative of the culture today. For us as parents and workers of teens, it gives us a place to understand and enter their world so we can help shape it to God-centered meaning. More to come....


  • Saturday, June 20, 2009
  • With 7 grandsons and no granddaughters, this past week my daughter-in-law Megan gave birth to our 8th grandchild......another boy! Xavier Christian Lockyer. The cousins were delighted that there is another boy and we are putting away anything pink and I am reinforcing all our structures on the farm. I thought it would be fun to have at least one granddaughter until I saw this video of an infant girl.....Now I am totally excited about 8 boys.


  • Tuesday, June 16, 2009


    What is your view of the church as a family? One of the metaphors of the church in the Scriptures is the family. All the qualities of a healthy family are the same qualities of a healthy church. Living in community is part of God's design and the two primary communities are the family and the church.

    The church is where the support structure for a biblical worldview to the home is found. Worship, prayer, God's Word, authority, accountability, submission, roles, and caring relationships are developed. The church is where we can learn how to deal with trials which is essential teaching for a child's development spiritually.

    All said, the church needs to be a priority to your family. As parents, you will shape your child's attitude about the church. If you love the church, they will likely love the church as well.

    (If you are part of Faith Bible Church, make sure you have a copy of our booklet on children in worship titled, "Worshiping with the Greatest in the Kingdom.")


    1. If someone would ask your child what mom and dad think and say about your church, what would they say?

    2. How are your children a picture of the children of God?

    3. How well does you home emulate these qualities which are part of the community of the church: consideration, forgiveness, acceptance, encouragement, communion, companionship, self-sacrificing, love, admonition, rebuke, restoration, repentance, reconciliation, fellowship, nurture, loyalty, refuge, healing, and accountability?

    THE GOSPEL-CENTERED HOME: Teens; Who Are These Guys Part 2

  • Monday, June 15, 2009
  • 5. Teens typically think they are wiser than they really are or in other words, they have a very distorted view of themselves. But, of course, so do I most of the time of myself. Oh, the deceptiveness of sin! (Hebrews 3:13) However with many teens, they tend to lack a real hunger for wisdom and look at what we older adults have as very little practical insight to give to them. I can’t count the number of times in working with teens I was told I just don’t understand. What we as parents and youth workers must do is make wisdom much more appealing to our teens. By using demanding words and tone of voice, confrontations and verbal struggles we easily shift the problems we want to address to ourselves. The teen tends to become defensive and not interested in listening.

    6. Believe it or not, teens tend to be more legalistic than their parents. Pushing the limits on rules, they want to know and will test just how far they can go. They become quite the literalists. Ever hear, “I did exactly what you told me to do” to your frustration that they knew what you were intending in a situation? This is a heart issue that needs to be addressed in both their hearts and ours. Legalism as a parent is a form of self-righteousness that denies the saving grace of God and the need that our teens need to be regenerated by the Holy Spirit and their actions need to flow from their being born again.

    7. Our teens tend to choose some of their friends without using wisdom. It is impossible to not be influenced by friends. We need to help guide teens in how to choose relationships and how we can step outside the emotional pulls to honest and biblical criteria.

    Two more items to come …

    THE GOSPEL-CENTERED HOME: Back to the Teens; Who are These Guys?

  • Monday, June 8, 2009

  • The term teenager has not been around long in our language. You do not find it in the Bible nor in most literature until the middle of the 20th century. One of the reasons is that in most cultures, including the western culture, a young teenager was considered a young adult. Using the term teenager or adolescent becomes almost an excuse for not acting like a young adult. So who are these beings in many of our homes?

    1. They are sinners like you. Romans 3:9-23 gives a description of the teen and their parents. As a parent, you need to see your teen accurately so that you are not surprised by them. They will do some things that will affirm these verses. As sinners, it means there is hope for them as Christ came to save sinners.

    2. They are a young adult. The Bible does not recognize teenagers but calls those who are traditionally at puberty up to 30 a young adult. Jewish tradition puts it at 13 years old with the Bar (Bas for women) Mitzvah. Your teen needs to be treated as such and leave many of the childish things behind. The biggest challenge of being an adult is making decisions. They have the capability to begin making important choices and living with the consequences of them. Using good wisdom as a parent for sometimes to let them fail is the best thing for them.

    3. Your teen is self-centered and that will get in the way of accomplishing #2 above. Oh yeah, so are we self-centered and how often that gets in the way of our parenting! For both the teen and the parent, godly virtue is appreciated but our biggest problem in practicing it will be ourselves.

    4. Your teen is a "meaning-maker." Paul Tripp in his books on parenting speaks of how we are all interpreters, thinkers, organizers and responders to life and it is not so much based upon the facts of what we see and hear, but moreso on how we interpret the facts. Read back through Genesis 2:16-17 and 3:1-6 and see how the facts were received and interpreted. You will see your teen (and yourself) in the narrative.

    I have several more that I will post in the next day or two, but what does this mean? To better understand your teen is to see how you can better help and reach them. I hopefully am beginning to show you that your teen is not that much different than you. The biggest difference is the wisdom of experience. More to come.....

    INSTRUCTING A CHILD'S HEART - Chapter 10: Complete In Christ

  • Saturday, June 6, 2009

  • I had forgot about going through the book "Instructing a Child's Heart" and no one said anything about it until last week. I received a comment/email that someone asked why I had stopped at chapter 9? Rather than give a reason, here is chapter 10 and I will continue the series.

    This is an incredibly important chapter of instruction for you as a parent. It starts out with this statement, "When our children are confronted with temptation to sin, difficult circumstances, or the sting of the sin of others, we want to show them the beauty of resting in Christ - being complete in Him."

    We often try to give our children tools to deal with these issues that are far inadequate for what they need and all they need is Christ. The Tripps provide a step by step means to show how we can be complete in Christ. They use a series of diagrams that provide an overview of the storyline of Scripture - creation, fall, redemption and the implications of them. This is a chapter where the gospel is clearly presented and how it is connected to the narrative of Scripture.


    1. Read this chapter several times

    2. If your child is young, master the material in order to bring to your child the information at a level they will understand. Charles Spurgeon said that if a child is young enough to understand sin, they are young enough to understand the gospel.

    3. As you have brought counsel to your child for the situations they have faced, how have you brought the provision from God in Christ? How can you grow in this area as a parent?


  • Monday, June 1, 2009

  • My fifth oldest grandson, Isaac, turned 5 today. We celebrated his birthday over the weekend with a water party at Grandpa's house (water slide, slip and slide, pool, water balloons and water guns) along with his favorite meal of popcorn, cheese, crackers, peanut-butter, and apples. His brothers gave him a gift by their own money of a knight's outfit as in this picture of Isaac. I love it!

    This reminds me of what Douglas Wilson wrote in his book, FUTURE MEN. He states, "Men are created to exercise dominion over the earth; they are fitted to be husbandmen, tilling the earth; they are equipped to be saviors, delivering from evil; they are expected to grow up into wisdom, becoming sages; and they are designed to reflect the image and glory of God"

    I love Isaac with a sword because his grandfather and grandmother pray that he will be adventurous and aggressive. That he will be patient and hardworking. That he will hate evil and be willing to fight for what is good with a weapon in his hands be it first God's Word. We pray he will be eager to learn from wise men and most of all that he will stand before God in worship with his head uncovered displaying the image and glory of God.

    May all my grandsons and your boys be "Future Men." Our world desperately needs them!


  • Thursday, May 21, 2009

  • As a young boy, Memorial Day was a huge holiday. Being born a few years after World War II and during the Korean War, every family in our neighborhood had been impacted by the two wars. Most of my friends who had stepfathers or moms who were single were not because of divorce but because their moms were widows. The highlight of Memorial Day were huge parades where I often marched as a cub or boy scout along with every other organization who had a uniform or a marching band. It was a grand occasion that meant something dear.

    We have lost much of the meaning of Memorial Day in our culture today but it still offers an opportunity to teach our children. Remembering the ultimate sacrifice for others comes in several ways:

    1. The sacrifice that men and women of our country have made to defend our liberty as a nation and freedoms under our constitutional form of government. As a veteran this means something special to me and I will not let my grandchildren forget those who fought and died not just for our country, but did so for other countries against tyranny.

    2. Remembering those who gave their lives for the faith. We often think of martyrs as something from the past, but give thought to the following statistics and how martyrdom is very much of our modern world even today; (The term martyr here applies to a range of faith, not just orthodox Christian)
    Since AD 33, about the time of the birth of the New Testament church, 69,420,000 have been martyred for their faith.
    24,020,00 of them were between the years 33-1900.
    45,400,000 of them were between 1900-2000
    13,300,000 of them were between 1950-2000

    Currently there are about 50 countries in the world that still are persecuting Christians for their faith where they are dying for the cause of the gospel.

    Don’t forget them this Memorial Day.

    3. The greatest sacrifice and the one that truly was sacrifice was of course, Jesus Christ. Mark 10:45 states, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” Jesus came for one reason and that was to be a sacrifice for rebels like you and me and to satisfy the divine wrath of God and secure us by redeeming us with His blood.

    This Memorial weekend, give thanks for the men and women who gave their lives for liberty in our country, for the ones who loved Christ to the point of their own death, and most of all for Jesus Christ, who purchased us to everlasting life through His sacrifice.

    CLAYTON'S STORY: Listen with your Teen

  • Wednesday, May 20, 2009
  • I am not trying to look for these stories but here is another testimony that is powerful by a teenage boy who is faced something very similiar to Rachel's story below. Another great opportunity to sit down with your teenager and take the 6 plus minutes to listen to Clayton's story and then have a talk .... after you recover.

    DEATH IS NOT DYING: A Theology of Suffering

  • Thursday, May 14, 2009

  • One of the most important doctrines that I have had to come to grips with as a believer is the doctrine of suffering. I want to be comfortable and I have been angry when things did not go my way. I have called God unfair and questioned why things are happening to me. It is a terrible place to be and I have had to learn to repent or as Job replied to God, “Behold, I am of small account; what shall I answer you? I lay my hand on my mouth.” Also Job said, “I know that You can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.” (Job 40:4; 42:2)

    I continue to be a learner and will be till the end and I am humbled by those who are experiencing suffering and do so with a Christ-exulting perspective. I consider this a priority of teaching for parents for themselves and to teach our children.

    Several people who I read on the internet have made reference to the testimony of Rachel Barkey. I started to listen to this and was moved to share this with you.

    After four and a half years of vigilantly fighting breast cancer, Rachel Barkey, a 37-year-old wife and mother of two was diagnosed with terminal cancer.

    Rachel's story is not unlike what thousands of women around the world have experienced. A diagnosis that changes a woman's life and inevitably takes from her what we consider to be most precious.

    But for Rachel the essence of life is found in her relationship with God through Jesus. And that's why Rachel is convinced that death is not dying.

    Rachel shares her story of trusting God in the face of death. "Cancer does not define me," she says. "Neither does being a wife or a mother. All these things are part of who I am but they do not define me. What defines me is my relationship with Jesus."

    Take 55 minutes to listen and if you have teens in the house, grab them by the ear and sit them down for a lesson in practical theology.


  • Wednesday, May 13, 2009

  • Amazon books lists 110,134 books on parenting. The information available is overwhelming, paralyzing and leads many Christian parents to not believe that the Scriptures are sufficient to guide in raising children. When we do use the Scriptures, the problem is that we seek the Word of God primarily how to guide our child’s behavior. In doing so, many of the books such as Proverbs become primarily a moral instructional guide or the life of Jesus is seen as a moral example of how to live. Though these are certainly true, they are not the purpose of the Scriptures.

    Rather than focus primarily on how we are to live, the Scriptures first are to expose our depravity as both children and parents and our desperate need for a Savior who suffered on a cross and saves us from the wrath of God.

    Obedience and ethics certainly are important and addressed in the Scriptures, but they must be taught from the point of view that they are related to and proceed from the cross and the redemptive work of Christ. So, as you discipline your children (we will eventually get to this), it becomes a means to declare the gospel.

    What’s so freeing about this? It simplifies your parenting to gospel-centered purposes. You see that you stand as a parent on behalf of God to your child and the goal of parenting is to pursue the glory of God in your child’s life.

    How to start? Think and speak to your child on who they are in Christ or who they can be in Christ. Then focus on what they can do because of Christ rather than the things it seems they can’t do. Set them free through the forgiveness and redemption we have in Christ and allow their actions to flow from that rather than law.


  • Friday, May 8, 2009
  • Tomorrow (Saturday May 9) is the Walk for Life in support of the Lincoln Crisis Pregnancy Center. Take a few minutes to view the video below and pray for the ministry of the LCPC and for the message of life and the gospel upon the women (and the men) who are considering abortion.


  • Monday, May 4, 2009
  • This is what you have to deal with when you have 7 grandsons! It is probably safer than shaking hands.


  • BIG TRUTHS FOR YOUNG HEARTS, Teaching and Learning the Greatness of God, by Bruce A. Ware, Crossway Books.

    I love connecting the dots in Scripture and so I love the study of systematic theology, biblical theology, and doctrine. I love these because they organize God’s Word into topics and themes that show how to connect Genesis to Revelation. This has been especially helpful to me in understanding the application of God’s Word in the day to day events of life.

    Out of my love for this, for about the last 2 years I have shared this passion with a small group of brothers and sisters from the church studying a course called Evangelical Systematic Theology taught by Dr. Bruce Ware of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. We have listened to about 60 lectures from his class at the seminary and then had discussions together on the material. We all have been richly blessed and nourished by his outstanding teaching as he guided us through God’s Word.

    I am especially delighted and commend to you an outline of his course of systematic theology that he has put into short devotionals. These are designed to help you speak to your children about the great doctrines of the faith and it will help you as well in understanding them. Designed especially for speaking to elementary age children and up (teens will be served by using it as a personal devotional), this is an incredible resource to put under your Bible. It will bring out the riches of God’s Word in new and marvelous ways to your entire family.

    Father’s Day is approaching and it would be a great gift to a father who wants his family to understand the supreme treasure of God in Himself, in Christ, in the Holy Spirit, in His Word, and in the gospel.


  • Tuesday, April 28, 2009

  • The gospel-centered home starts with a model – you! 2 Timothy 3: 14 – 15 states, “You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them; and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” 2 Timothy 1:5 tells us that Timothy leaned it from his grandmother Lois and his mother, Eunice.

    You as a parent have an undeniable influence and effect upon your children by the example you set. In the teaching of children, they always learn far more by starting with a visual example before you begin instructing. You should be explaining things to your children after they have observed the example.

    John Piper wrote, “It is impossible not to teach children about God, because not to teach them is to teach them plenty. It teaches them that Jesus does not matter much, that mom and dad don’t consider him nearly as important or exciting as new furniture, or weekends at the lake, or dad’s job or all the other things that fill their conversation. Silence about Christ is dogma. Not to teach the infinite value of Christ is to teach that He is negligible.” (Will the Next Generation Know by John Piper, July 25, 1982,

    How do you begin to model the gospel? It starts with recognizing what the power of God can do in the life of a family. It can transform the family. Romans 8 teaches us that society, creation and we will be transformed one day. Everything will. Does your family life show that this is a reality? Do you show a love for Christ? Does the Word of God matter in your home? Are you as a parent growing in character? Do you demonstrate to your children a conviction over your own sin? Do you confess your sin publically so your children know? Are you cultivating godliness in your character? Are the evidences of the fruit of the Spirit in your life shown with consistency?

    Can you say to your teen that you want them to continue in the things they are learning and becoming convinced of in the home? If not, begin now and make sure they will soon.


  • Wednesday, April 22, 2009

  • On the way to an early morning appointment at the breaking of daylight, I noticed that Spring has brought a sudden and stunning change to the landscape. Flowering trees illuminate, flowers are breaking open, and the brown ground is turning bright green. You cannot escape it.

    What almost spoiled it for me was when I turned on the radio about five minutes from my destination, I heard it was Earth Day and the commentator spoke in terms of how the earth needed to be worshiped (he did not use that term but certainly described the elements of worship).

    How can we teach gospel-centered truth about the creation to our children and preach it to ourselves?

    First of all, the creation is not an end in itself. It is only a signpost that points to something far greater, far more beautiful, far, far, more joyful. The beauty of creation is to what it points to – the Creator.

    When we stop and call the creation the extent of our pleasure, we risk moving to worshiping the creation. C.S. Lewis wrote in his book, “Surprised by Joy,” about finding great pleasure in a rose – the variegated color, scent, and overall beauty. But the rose says, “It is not I. I am only a reminder. Look! Look! What do I remind you of?’ Augustine wrote this about creation, “We are not thy god, seek above us…He made us.”

    Scripture warns us that those who exchange the glory of the incorruptible God for an image that is formed in nature are fools. (Romans 1: 21-23)

    Secondly, as beautiful as creation is, Romans 8: 18-22 reminds us that the creation is groaning and suffering until it is released. Sin and the curse persist in our lives and like creation, we wait for the time when “there shall no longer be any death, there shall no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain.” (Revelation 21:4) The resurrection of Jesus Christ is God’s signpost to the believer that a day is coming for creation and for us to be redeemed from the curse of sin and death.

    Lastly, the creation expresses the joy and goodness of God that we have now because of the gospel – that Jesus Christ has paid the penalty for our sin, had satisfied the wrath of God, and has conquered sin and death to point creation and ourselves to a future resurrection for all who believe (a new heaven and new earth for creation and a new resurrected body for us). We have joy in and through Jesus Christ and the creation has a joy also as a signpost for to point us to God…”Let the heavens be glad and let the earth rejoice; let the sea roar and all it contains. Let the field exult and that that is in it. Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy before the Lord, for His coming. For He is coming to judge the earth.” (Psalm 96: 11-13)

    I stand with those who want to protect and steward the creation for its beauty, but I know what the beauty stands for. Teach it to your children and preach it to yourself.