• 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.