• Thursday, January 27, 2011
  • D.A. Carson can. Erik Raymond, Pastor at Emmaus Bible Church in Bellevue posted this great short piece of D.A. Carson explaining the central message of the Bible. As Erik says, "it helps boneheads like me be more clear."

    Abortion: The Battle Goes On

  • Friday, January 21, 2011
  • (Most of what follows comes from an article by Kevin DeYoung, a pastor and author from East Lansing, Michigan)

    Saturday, January 22 is the 38th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court ruling that made up out of judicial thin air a constitutional right to abortion on demand. The national abortion rate is over twenty percent. Just last week it was reported that the abortion rate in New York City is over forty percent, and among African-Americans in that city, nearly sixty percent. In other words, an abortion industrial complex now claims over a million unborn lives each year. The carnage just continues.

    Some view the ruling as a giant step forward, but it was really a quantum leap back–back about two millennia. The ancient world was incredibly open to the killing of children. For starters, they had almost none of the sentimentality we have towards kids in 21st century America. There was no Disney, not Toys R Us, no Chuck E. Cheese (can I get an Amen?). Family life–even if there was such a thing–certainly did not revolve around the children. Children, if I may generalize, were useful at best, burdens at worst, and rarely coddled.


  • Wednesday, January 19, 2011
  • “Parents, if you love your children, do all that lies within your power to train them to have a habit of prayer. Show them how to begin. Tell them what to say. Encourage them to persevere. Remind them if they become careless and slack about it. Let it not be your fault, if they never call on the name of the Lord.

    “Remember, that this is the first step in religion which a child is able to take. Long before he can read, you can teach him to kneel by his mother’s side, and repeat the simple words of prayer and praise which she puts in his mouth. And as the first steps in any undertaking are always the most important, so is the manner in which your children’s prayers are prayed, a point which deserves your closest attention. Few seem to know how much depends on this. You must be careful that they don’t say their prayers in a hasty, careless, and irreverent manner.

    “Oh, dear friend, if you love your children, I charge you, do not let the early impression of a habit of prayer slip by. If you train your children to do anything, train them, at least, to have a habit of prayer.”

    ~ J.C. Ryle: The Duties of Parents


  • Thursday, January 13, 2011
  • Here is another article by Paul Tripp on parenting which will hopefully help you give up about $20.00 ($14.99 for the DVD and booklet, along with shipping).

    Parenting: It’s Never an Interruption

    Parenting is all about living by the principle of prepared spontaneity. You don’t really know what’s going to happen next. You don’t really know when you’ll have to enforce a command, intervene in an argument, confront a wrong, hold out for a better way, remind someone of a truth, call for forgiveness, lead someone to confession, point to Jesus, restore peace, hold someone accountable, explain a wisdom principle, give a hug of love, laugh in the face of adversity, help someone complete a task, mediate an argument, stop with someone and pray, assist someone to see his heart, or talk once again about what it means to live together in a community of love.

    What you do know is that Scripture gives you the wisdom that you need, and your always-present Messiah gives you the grace that you need to be ready to respond to the moments of opportunity he will give you. Along with this, you and I must remember that our Lord loves our children more than we ever could, and his commitment to their growth and change is more faithful and persevering than ours could ever be. Because of this, in his grace and love, he will manufacture moments that expose the needy hearts of our children to us. He will faithfully employ the little moments of everyday life to expose to us and our children their need of rescuing and forgiving grace. And he will not do this only at the moments that you feel are appropriate and when you feel most prepared.


  • Wednesday, January 12, 2011
  • In a post yesterday, I encouraged you to buy Paul Tripp's DVD on his parenting conference- especially since it is being sold for 75% off. Here is an article by him that will convince you even more why you need help as a parent and give you a taste of where he will go in the DVD. I sure wish I had these resources 20 years ago, but at least I can commend them to you.

    It was eleven o’clock on a Sunday night, and I was pulling out of the grocery store parking lot exhausted and overwhelmed. After we had put our four children to bed, later than we had planned, Luella discovered that we had nothing in the house to pack for lunches the next day. With an attitude that couldn’t be described as joy, I got in the car and did the late-night food run. As I waited for the light to change so I could leave the parking lot and drive home, it all hit me. It seemed like I had been given an impossible job to do; I had been chosen to be the dad of four children.

    It is humbling and a bit embarrassing to admit, but I sat in my car and dreamed of what it would be like to be single. No, I didn’t want to actually leave Luella and my children, but parenting seemed overwhelming at that point. I felt like I had nothing left to face the next day of a thousand sibling battles, a thousand authority encounters, a thousand reminders, a thousand warnings, a thousand corrections, a thousand discipline moments, a thousand explanations, a thousand times of talking about the presence and grace of Jesus, a thousand times of helping the children to look in the mirror of God’s Word and see themselves with accuracy, a thousands “please forgive me’s,” and a thousand “I love you’s.” It seemed impossible to be faithful to the task and have the time and energy to anything else.

    Now, I’m about to write something here that may seem counter-intuitive and quasi-irrational, but here it is: That moment in the car was not dark and horrible. No, it was a precious moment of faithful grace. Rather than my burden growing heavier that evening, my burden lifted. Do I mean that suddenly parenting got simpler and easier? By no means! But something fundamental changed that evening for which I am eternally grateful.

    There are two things I learned that evening that changed the experience of parenting for me.


  • Tuesday, January 11, 2011
  • For one week (until Tuesday Jan 18), Westminster Books is offering 75% off (now only $14.99) the DVD and discussion guide of Paul Tripp's conference on "The Heart of Parenting."  Paul Tripp is an outstanding author and speaker and I very highly recommend this to you. My order is in. It will serve you personally and may be a tool to share with others.

    Check it out at The Heart of Parenting


  • This is an article by John Starke, editor for The Gospel Coalition.

    The family gathers around the table for dinner. There are five of us, two younger than four, so it takes a while to round everyone up. Last-minute side dishes and bread appear on the table as we finish telling a story and hush so we can pray together. We reach for each other’s hands, bow our heads, and pray.

    This should be a profound moment. But if you have a five-year-old, three-year-old, and one-year-old like we do, moments of prayer before eating a meal—really, any moments of prayer—can seem like the least profound moments of your day. There is laughing, fussing, crying, sneaking bites, or even sleeping during our prayers. And these aren’t ten-minutes discourse prayers, but often just a thirty-second obligator. Like anything that demands more than ten seconds of a three-year-old’s attention, praying together can be difficult.

    If these moments seem hopeless to you or fruitless, let me encourage you. From what we’ve seen early on in our five-year-old and from other faithful parents, prayers that may seem frivolous and obligatory are actually important teaching moments. With patience, thoughtfulness, and a view for the long haul, prayers before meals or bed are important seed-beds for our children’s spirituality. You may end a prayer and think, They didn’t hear a word I said. That may be true, but over three weeks, three months, or three years, they can slowly learn from their parents how to talk to God, how to be thankful, and how to apply gospel truths.


  • Friday, January 7, 2011
  • Probably like many of you, I spent some time reflecting at year's end and then planning for this new year. In fact, I am to report next week to the staff what my goals are for this year. My mind did take a bunny trail and I gave thought to longer range goals and about the future. Even further … what about forever? I found this list of things that last forever from David Murray and the good things are mine because of Christ and the bad things were mine. Makes me think that I would sure like to let some other people know what is ahead for them and what could be. How about you?

    Bad things that will last forever

    Everlasting Punishment (Matthew 25:46): Implies infinite crime

    Everlasting Destruction (2 Thess. 1:9): Destruction not of being but of well-being

    Everlasting Darkness (Jude 10) : A night with no moon, no stars, and no morning


  • Tuesday, January 4, 2011
  • A term that I know that I have used for the past couple of years is "gospel-centered." I have applied it to marriage, parenting, and life. It is not really a new term but I have picked it up from ministries and authors that I read. I have also found that in using the term, some people seem to be confused by it so here is a short article on the term and what it means by Tim Challies:


    The first thing we’ll need to do is define gospel. In our church we’ve got a handy little short-hand way of doing this, one that all the kids understand. I’m pretty sure you could go to just about any child in the church, ask “what is the gospel?” and hear this response: “Christ died for our sins and was raised.” When we talk about this during services, we accompany it with a little action. We begin with a closed fist held out in front of us and with each of the first five words we open one finger. “Christ…died…for…our…sins.” And then, with the open hand, we raise it up and say “and was raised.” And that’s the gospel. Of course the gospel can be as simple as those eight words or as complex as many volumes of theological text. But the essential gospel is right there—that Jesus Christ was put to death as an atoning sacrifice for our sins and was then raised back to life.


  • Saturday, January 1, 2011
  • John Piper, the Pastor for Preaching at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, has had a profound influence on me personally with his writings and also on our children’s ministry. The curriculum that we use for children’s Sunday school is written by children’s ministry leaders from Bethlehem Baptist.

    For the past 9 months, he has been on a leave of absence in order to put some things back in order in his life that he felt were needing correction. He ended this leave starting January 1 and reported to his congregation some insights. Since he made them public, I have pulled what he reported about his marriage and family to share and hopefully challenge and encourage you as I was.

    He reported: