Parents & Kids of Faith

  • Friday, April 29, 2011

    Question: What is in the tenth commandment?
    Answer: The tenth commandment is “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife or his male servant or his female servant or his ox or his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”
    Scripture: Exodus 20:17

    (Maybe this really happened)

    I was playing the Tooth Fairy when my grandson, Isaac, was spending the night with us and his tooth fell out. As I was approaching his bed, he suddenly woke up. Seeing the money in my hand, he cried out, "I caught you!"

    I froze and tried to think of an explanation for why I was putting the money under his pillow instead of the Tooth Fairy. But his next words let me off the hook. "You put that money back Grandpa!" he said indignantly. "The Tooth Fairy left that for ME!"

    For the next few weeks I will address the subject of modesty. It is in Parents and Kids of Faith because the principle of modesty needs to be taught to our children and practiced by parents, especially as we are moving to the time of year when it seems to emerge. The trends in fashion are not making this any easier for parents. Though most of the issues fall to the side of the women, dads and young men need to pay attention. Dads need to be faithful fathers to their daughters and protectors of their wife and young men need to learn how to think biblically when they find their gaze moving their heart to lustful thoughts.


  • For the past month or so I have had a flurry of people asking a similar question, “Have you read Heaven is for Real yet?” After receiving a short briefing, describing what the book was about, I was immediately suspicious of it and that was only heightened by reviews that I read. Well, I finally read the book and I admit reading it with a bias. My response after finishing the book was grief and discouragement over the enthusiasm for it.

    I am not going to break down the book in terms of what I see are the problems with it as you can check the links below for reviews. I do, however, want to write a brief response about spiritual discernment and the reading of books like this and embracing what is written.

    Tim Challies in his book, The Discipline of Spiritual Discernment, defines discernment as “the skill of understanding and applying God’s Word with the purpose of separating truth from error, right from wrong.” When we are practicing discernment, we are applying the truth of the Bible to our lives and our experiences. It is trusting in God’s Word to give us the clarity to see things as God sees them and so to see things as they really are. In the case of reading a book that makes a claim of truth and reality, we are to interpret what is said through the grid of God’s Word as 1 Thessalonians 5:21 calls for, “Test everything, hold fast to that which is good.”

    The sufficiency of Scripture is a belief that God has sufficiently revealed to us in His Word what we need to know for all matters of faith. Adding to the Scriptures through an experience can only be measured and tested by what is revealed by God. Any addition is suspect and any contradiction to the Word calls for full rejection.

    The tool of discernment that we have to measure any personal experience or the experience of another is God’s Word. A secular mindset is that we interpret the Word by our experiences. This leads to events having no significant meaning other than the experience itself. A biblical worldview calls for us to rest first on the reality of God’s Word as the measure of truth and then interpret my experiences from it. If I think I had an out-of-body experience that takes me to what I think is the middle of the ocean and I describe it as being fresh water, that would invalidate my experience. If I said I went to heaven and there were inconsistencies with the Word of God about heaven, that should invalidate the reality of that experience.

    The affirmation of our faith is through the Word of Christ, not anyone else (Romans 10:16-17). Even Peter wrote that the words of the prophets are not to be the matter of one’s own interpretation but that of the Holy Spirit and we have the means to know that these words are sure by the revelation of the Bible (2 Peter 1:19-21). God has revealed to us what we need to know about heaven and hell. The Holy Spirit is God’s instrument to bring illumination to our hearts and harmony between the experiences of life and their meaning.

    Please do not use a book like “Heaven is for Real” as a tool to teach your children. There are much better books that teach about it from the Word and the heaven of the Bible is far more spectacular, beautiful, glorious, than the heaven of this book.

    Links to reviews of "Heaven is for Real" that I recommend:
    The Gospel Coalition
    Tim Challies
    Moms in Need of Mercy

    P.S. 5/9:  Randy Alcorn, author of the excellent book titled simply Heaven wrote an excellent review and also calls for careful discernment.  Randy Alcorn


  • Saturday, April 23, 2011
  • Check out at the end of the post a few videos that proclaim the message of resurrection Sunday. A thanks to Justin Taylor who put together most of the material used by me this week to give the chronological events of Holy Week.
    Holy Week: What Happened on Sunday?

    Some women arrive at Jesus’ tomb near dawn, probably with Mary Magdalene arriving first.

    Matthew 28:1

    Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb.

    Mark 16:1-3

    When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. And they were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?”

    Luke 24:1

    But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared.

    John 20:1

    Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb.



    The silence

    Matthew 27: 62-67
    The next day, that is, after the day of Preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate and said, “Sir, we remember how that impostor said, while he was still alive, ‘After three days I will rise.’  Therefore order the tomb to be made secure until the third day, lest his disciples go and steal him away and tell the people, ‘He has risen from the dead,’ and the last fraud will be worse than the first.”

     Pilate said to them, “You have a guard of soldiers. Go, make it as secure as you can.”

     So they went and made the tomb secure by sealing the stone and setting a guard.

    Luke 23:56b
     On the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment.

    Parents & Kids of Faith

  • Friday, April 22, 2011

    Question: What is required in the ninth commandment?
    Answer: The ninth commandment requires that we maintain and promote truth between persons and that we preserve the good name of our neighbors and ourselves.”
    Scripture: Zech 8:16; Acts 25:10; Eccl 7:1; 3 John 12; Prov 14: 5, 25

    (Maybe this really happened)

    Last Sunday, Isaac, our six-year-old grandson, was not feeling well and had to stay home from church with his mom. When Bill and the other 5 boys returned home, they were all carrying palm branches. Isaac asked them what the palm branches were for.

    Eli, our 8-year-old grandson, said, "People held them over Jesus' head as He walked by."

    "Wouldn't you know it!" Isaac fumed. "The one Sunday I did not go to church, Jesus shows up!"

    From Gospel-Centered Parenting by Rick Thomas, Counseling Solutions

    It's never too late for your children regardless of their age
    If your goal for your children was for all of them to be saved at a young age, then you may be disappointed and could become quite discouraged. Every child does not become a Christian and every adult does not stay unregenerate. From a human perspective there was little hope for us before any one of us were saved. But my condition, situations, contexts, and lack of Bible knowledge did not hinder God from doing what He wanted to do in our life. Death is the only experience that makes it too late for the unsaved to be saved.


  • Thursday, April 21, 2011
  • Do not miss the classic message by Dr. S.M. Lockridge at the end of this post, "It's Friday, But Sunday's Coming"


    Jesus is betrayed by Judas and arrested by the authorities (perhaps after midnight, early Friday morning)

    Matthew 26:47-56

    While he was still speaking, Judas came, one of the twelve, and with him a great crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and the elders of the people. Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “The one I will kiss is the man; seize him.”

    And he came up to Jesus at once and said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” And he kissed him.

    Jesus said to him, “Friend, do what you came to do.”

    Then they came up and laid hands on Jesus and seized him. And behold, one of those who were with Jesus stretched out his hand and drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his ear. Then Jesus said to him,

    “Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then should the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so?”

    At that hour Jesus said to the crowds, “Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs to capture me? Day after day I sat in the temple teaching, and you did not seize me. But all this has taken place that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled.”

    Then all the disciples left him and fled.

    Mark 14:43-52

    And immediately, while he was still speaking, Judas came, one of the twelve, and with him a crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders. Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “The one I will kiss is the man. Seize him and lead him away under guard.”

    And when he came, he went up to him at once and said, “Rabbi!” And he kissed him. And they laid hands on him and seized him. But one of those who stood by drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his ear.

    And Jesus said to them, “Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs to capture me? Day after day I was with you in the temple teaching, and you did not seize me. But let the Scriptures be fulfilled.”

    And they all left him and fled.

    And a young man followed him, with nothing but a linen cloth about his body. And they seized him, but he left the linen cloth and ran away naked.


  • Wednesday, April 20, 2011
  • Holy Week: What Happened on Thursday?

    Jesus instructs Peter and John to secure a large upper room in a house in Jerusalem and to prepare for the Passover meal

    Matthew 26:17-19

    Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Where will you have us prepare for you to eat the Passover?”

    He said, “Go into the city to a certain man and say to him, ‘The Teacher says, My time is at hand. I will keep the Passover at your house with my disciples.’”

    And the disciples did as Jesus had directed them, and they prepared the Passover.

    Mark 14:12-16

    And on the first day of Unleavened Bread, when they sacrificed the Passover lamb, his disciples said to him, “Where will you have us go and prepare for you to eat the Passover?”

    And he sent two of his disciples and said to them, “Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him, and wherever he enters, say to the master of the house, ‘The Teacher says,
    Where is my guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ And he will show you a large upper room furnished and ready; there prepare for us.”

    And the disciples set out and went to the city and found it just as he had told them, and they prepared the Passover.


  • Or as Pastor Tom calls it, “being Jesus in your square mile”, which would be more applicable in my situation since I live in the country and the neighbors are that far away.

    In the hope that many of you would consider doing a Backyard Bible Club this summer to reach your neighborhood, here is a great suggestion in setting it up for invitations and being missional on a continual basis.

    The following is from Steve McCoy, a pastor in Woodstock, Illinois which is a suburb of Chicago.
    Turn your garage into your "front porch."

    Drive down your suburban street sometime and notice how the garages are the most prominent feature on the homes. It's right out front. It's an ugly design. And when lumped in together with missing or minuscule front porches makes our homes seem missionally helpless. We can redeem that by hacking the garage to make it a place of neighborhood friendliness, fun and conversation.

    Three easy steps.

    1. Clean It Out. Toss stuff in the trash. You don't need some of that stuff. Give stuff away. Find another place for it. Tidy up whatever you need to leave in there. Make as much space as possible. If you think you can't, you're wrong.

    2. Fill It Up. If you don't have one in there already, put in a fridge (even if only a college-sized one). Put yummy stuff in that fridge. Drinks, snacks, more drinks. Can't afford that, at least put cold stuff in a cooler. Then get a dart board, a bags set, iPod speakers/radio, chairs, basketball hoop, frisbee, or whatever you and others find fun. Keep the door wide open. Let the sound & fun bleed out into the neighborhood. Take the grill from the back porch and put it in the driveway.

    3. Invite & Be Inviting. Start right after work. Wave at folks in as they drive home from work. Ask them over. Wave them over. Yell as they get out of their car, "Come on over!" Give them an special invite, if that's helpful. Offer them something to drink and ask about their day. Play a game. Stuff will happen naturally as neighbors feel welcome and stop by regularly.

    Hard to get rained out (it's covered). You can do this regularly in most seasons as it's inside-ish (get a heater, fan, etc to stretch that time out).

    Don't just do this every so often. Make it a rhythm of family & neighborhood life. I think it will make for a nice front porch for your home, and a great way to share life with your neighbors.


  • Holy Week: What Happened on Wednesday?

    Jesus continues his daily teaching in the Temple

    Luke 21:37-38

    And every day he was teaching in the temple, but at night he went out and lodged on the mount called Olivet.

    And early in the morning all the people came to him in the temple to hear him.


    With Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread approaching, the chief priests, elders, and scribes plot to kill Jesus

    Matthew 26:3-5

    Then the chief priests and the elders of the people gathered in the palace of the high priest, whose name was Caiaphas, and plotted together in order to arrest Jesus by stealth and kill him. But they said,

    “Not during the feast, lest there be an uproar among the people.”

    Mark 14:1-2

    It was now two days before the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

    And the chief priests and the scribes were seeking how to arrest him by stealth and kill him, for they said, "Not during the feast, lest there be an uproar from the people.”

    Luke 22:1-2

    Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread drew near, which is called the Passover.

    And the chief priests and the scribes were seeking how to put him to death, for they feared the people.


    Satan enters Judas, who seeks out the Jewish authorities in order to betray Jesus for a price

    Matthew 26:14-16

    Then one of the twelve, whose name was Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, “What will you give me if I deliver him over to you?”

    And they paid him thirty pieces of silver.

    And from that moment he sought an opportunity to betray him.

    Mark 14:10-11

    Then Judas Iscariot, who was one of the twelve, went to the chief priests in order to betray him to them.
    And when they heard it, they were glad and promised to give him money.

    And he sought an opportunity to betray him.

    Luke 22:3-6

    Then Satan entered into Judas called Iscariot, who was of the number of the twelve. He went away and conferred with the chief priests and officers how he might betray him to them.

    And they were glad, and agreed to give him money.

    So he consented and sought an opportunity to betray him to them in the absence of a crowd.


  • Tuesday, April 19, 2011
  • Holy Week: What Happened on Tuesday?

    Jesus’ disciples see the withered fig tree on their return to Jerusalem from Bethany

    Matthew 21:20-22

    When the disciples saw it, they marveled, saying, “How did the fig tree wither at once?”

    And Jesus answered them, “Truly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ it will happen. And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.”

    Mark 11:20-21

    As they passed by in the morning, they saw the fig tree withered away to its roots. And Peter remembered and said to him,
    “Rabbi, look! The fig tree that you cursed has withered.”


    Jesus engages in conflict with the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem


  • Sunday, April 17, 2011
  • We left off last night that after entering Jerusalem and the big celebration, Jesus leaves for the evening to go to Bethany. Here are the events for Monday:

    What Happened on Monday?

    On Monday morning Jesus and the Twelve leave Bethany to return to Jerusalem, and along the way Jesus curses the fig tree

    Matthew 21:18-19

    In the morning, as he was returning to the city, he became hungry. And seeing a fig tree by the wayside, he went to it and found nothing on it but only leaves. And he said to it,

    “May no fruit ever come from you again!”

    And the fig tree withered at once.

    Mark 11:12-14

    On the following day, when they came from Bethany, he was hungry. And seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to see if he could find anything on it. When he came to it, he found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. And he said to it,

    “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.”

    And his disciples heard it.



  • Justin Taylor has put together a very useful and enlightening tool of taking us daily this week through the steps of Jesus using the Scripture. I will post this each day for your personal reading and encourage parents to consider this a family reading this week. I will have each day posted by early morning of the day.

    What Happened on Sunday?

    Jesus, at the Mount of Olives, sends two disciples to secure a donkey and a colt; makes his “triumphal entry” into Jerusalem; weeps over Jerusalem

    Matthew 21:1-11

    Now when they drew near to Jerusalem and came to Bethphage, to the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them,

    “Go into the village in front of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, you shall say,

    ‘The Lord needs them,’

    and he will send them at once.”

    This took place to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet, saying,

    “Say to the daughter of Zion,

    ‘Behold, your king is coming to you,

    humble, and mounted on a donkey,

    and on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.’”

    The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them. They brought the donkey and the colt and put on them their cloaks, and he sat on them. Most of the crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. And the crowds that went before him and that followed him were shouting,

    “Hosanna to the Son of David!

    Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!

    Hosanna in the highest!”

    And when he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred up, saying,

    “Who is this?”

    And the crowds said,

    “This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth of Galilee.”

    Parents & Kids of Faith

  • Friday, April 15, 2011

    Question: What is the ninth commandment?
    Answer: The ninth commandment is, “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.”
    Scripture: Exodus 20:16

    (Maybe this really happened)

    Here is another reason that our daughter and son-in-law make us nervous about their parenting of our grandsons. I figured that by age six it was inevitable for my grandsons to begin having doubts about the Easter Bunny. Sure enough, one day this last week, Isaac, the 6-year-old said, “Grandpa, I know something about Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy."

    Taking a deep breath, I asked him, "What is that?"

    He replied, "They're all nocturnal."

    Deb and I are convinced our grandsons are being raised by wolves.

    From Gospel-Centered Parenting by Rick Thomas, Counseling Solutions

    We do not want to primarily teach our children rules; we want to teach them the Gospel. The Gospel is what the Father used to change us, not rules. Therefore, as parents, we want to think through how the Gospel has affected us and then prayerfully model and teach our children accordingly. Last week we read several characteristics that are soundly rooted in the Gospel. These are some of the Gospel-centered characteristics that make up our vision and values for our children. Last week we covered humility, gratitude, and kindness. This week:

    Parents & Kids of Faith

  • Friday, April 8, 2011

    Question: What is required in the eighth commandment?
    Answer: The eighth commandment requires that we pursue lawful and useful work to provide for our needs and for those unable to provide for themselves.
    Scripture: Eph 4:28; Prov 27:23; Lev 25:35; Deut 15:10, 22:1-4.

    (Maybe this really happened)

    Deb and I had a few of the boys over to our house last week and decided with Easter coming soon, we would start a discussion about Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday. I thought a good way to get the discussion started was to ask the question, “What is Easter?” Here were the replies:

    First Asa, the 4-year-old said, “That’s easy Grandpa, it’s a holiday when we all get together to eat turkey and be thankful.”

    Then Isaac, our 6-year-old grandson answered, “It is when we put up a nice tree, give presents and celebrate Jesus’ birthday.”

    Then Eli, the 8-year-old jumped in and said, “They are all wrong Grandpa. Easter is close to the time of the Jewish Passover. Jesus and His disciples were eating the Passover meal and then He was later turned over to the Jewish and Roman leaders by one of His disciples. The Romans then took Him to be crucified; after giving Him a crown of thorns, He died on a cross. He later was taken down and buried in a nearby cave that was sealed with a large boulder.”

    “Wow!” I cried. “That is very good. Now let’s finish the story. What happened next?”

    Matt Chandler on Prayer

  • Tuesday, April 5, 2011
  • This four minute video will lift your spirit and give you pause to consider the importance of prayer and a biblical exposition of the topic. Enjoy the blessing:

    Parents & Kids of Faith

  • Friday, April 1, 2011

    Question: What is the eighth commandment?
    Answer: The eighth commandment is “You shall not steal.”
    Scripture: Exodus 20:15

    (Maybe this really happened)

    One evening I volunteered to babysit all 6 of Bill and Brita’s boys so they could have an evening out. They had friends over to the house earlier in the evening and we had a good time playing ball and chasing each other around their acreage. At bedtime, I sent all the boys upstairs to bed to settle down and I turned on the TV to watch a basketball game. One of the boys kept creeping down the stairs but I would quickly exhort him to get back up the stairs and get to bed.

    About 9:00 P.M., the doorbell rang and it was Bill and Brit’s neighbor, asking whether her son was still there. I answered, “No” but then a little head appeared over the banister and a voice shouted, “I’m here Mom. This man will not let me go home!”

    From Gospel-Centered Parenting by Rick Thomas, Counseling Solutions

    As our children become older we hope they will be governed less by our rules and more by the freedom they understand, experience, and enjoy in Christ. Gospel-centered, Gospel-motivated parenting slowly and incrementally releases our kids from our rules, our expectations, and our authority, while placing them under the greatest and most powerful governing dynamic known to man.