Monday, June 18, 2012

Thoughts on Father's Day

Today is Father's Day, 2012 and I realize it's been almost two years since I last posted on my blog. Time does have a way of passing more and more quickly as one ages.

Last night I did not sleep well. I tossed and turned with all sorts of different worries, many of which others would probably classify as "Not a Big Deal!" But to me, they were enough to keep me awake for many hours. As a result I really didn't feel like going to church, especially since I have no family in town right now to go with me. So I stayed home, read my Bible and related Matthew Henry Commentary, contemplated the new "Fighter Verse" for the week, and then watched last week's sermon online.

So, you ask...that is what you think qualifies as inspiration to write a blog post?

Actually, yes. The Lord kindly orchestrated all of these things around one central theme today: God's loving sovereignty as related to my worries and anxiety!

So let's start with the Bible passage. It was First Corinthians 1:17-31.

Paul is dealing with a problem of division among the Corinthian believers, however what struck me in the passage was the "actor" who is mentioned over, and over, and over: God. This is especially prevalent beginning in verse 20. God made the wisdom of the world to be foolish. In other words, God designed how salvation would be accomplished and it won't be found by following the wisdom of the world offers. In fact, God's design of the death of His Son on the Cross is considered as absolutely foolish by the world! Verse 25 puts it in strong language: "For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men." Both verse 27 and 28 begin with "God chose." In verse 30 are the words, "God made." Salvation is of God; salvation is a sovereign work of God! God actively works in the world to accomplish His will.

So as I meditated on the passage and read the Matthew Henry Commentary, sovereignty just kept jumping off the page.

Then comes the Fighter Verse of the week, 1Peter 5:6-8. It begins with a command: Humble yourselves. Where? Under the mighty hand of God (there's sovereignty again). Why? So that at the proper time He may exalt you. You don't exalt yourself; God will determine when, where, and how much exaltation (there's sovereignty again). What is mentioned in the verse regarding how to humble yourself? Cast all your anxieties on Him. Why? Because He cares for you!

So casting your anxieties on Him is related to humbling yourself. That leads me to believe that not casting your anxieties on Him, but rather holding them in your mind and worrying about them, is the opposite of humbleness: pride. That makes sense because to hold them and worry about them says I don't trust the Father to do right by me and not trusting the Father is sin. Am I His child? Will not He as a perfect Father do what is best for me, even though it may not seem so at the time? Doesn't worrying about circumstances make me the central actor as if I could do something about them? If God is truly sovereign and if I am his child, He cares for me, He loves me, He wants what He knows is best for me, and I am absolutely foolish to hold my anxiety and worries in my heart. To cast them on Him is to submit to Him in meekness, trusting that my Father knows better than I.

Then comes Pastor John Piper's sermon from June 9th. His text is John 14:25-31. Jesus is within hours of arrest and the horrors of crucifixion, yet He is encouraging His disciples in three areas: Peace, Joy, and Faith/Trust. I'll leave the reader to listen/watch/read the sermon for the details, but the bottom line is the peace, joy, and faith that Jesus wants us to have is not something manufactured within us, but rather His peace, His joy, and His faith. He invites us to partake. So imagine...if I am partaking in Jesus' peace, how can I be anxious? If am partaking in Jesus' joy, how can I be overwhelmed with worry? If I am partaking in Jesus' faith, how can I doubt?

So in the quiet of the morning, God spoke to my heart through what should have been three very different ways, yet sovereignly contained one single message for me: Quit being prideful and holding on to your worries; cast them on Me and trust Me and I will give you My peace, My joy, and My faith!

As all father's know, children and family will eventually give you plenty about which you can stress and worry over. To do so is contrary to God's revealed will and is detrimental to your life. As a child of the Father, trust Him with the details and instead of worrying, in His faith, rest in His peace and His joy.

Happy Father's Day!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

America's Ruling Class...

I came across a fabulous article (HT Vox Popoli) that does a brilliant job of analyzing what is going on in our country with regard to how we are governed in this day and age. It is quite long and covers many, many different aspects of our culture, but regardless of length, it is worthy of your time. Print it out and take it with you so you can read when you have a moment. 

Here is a small snippet from the section on families (Bold emphasis mine):

"While our ruling class teaches that relationships among men, women, and children are contingent, it also insists that the relationship between each of them and the state is fundamental. That is why such as Hillary Clinton have written law review articles and books advocating a direct relationship between the government and children, effectively abolishing the presumption of parental authority. Hence whereas within living memory school nurses could not administer an aspirin to a child without the parents' consent, the people who run America's schools nowadays administer pregnancy tests and ship girls off to abortion clinics without the parents' knowledge. Parents are not allowed to object to what their children are taught. But the government may and often does object to how parents raise children. The ruling class's assumption is that what it mandates for children is correct ipso facto, while what parents do is potentially abusive. It only takes an anonymous accusation of abuse for parents to be taken away in handcuffs until they prove their innocence. Only sheer political weight (and in California, just barely) has preserved parents' right to homeschool their children against the ruling class's desire to accomplish what Woodrow Wilson so yearned: "to make young gentlemen as unlike their fathers as possible."

At stake are the most important questions: What is the right way for human beings to live? By what standard is anything true or good? Who gets to decide what? Implicit in Wilson's words and explicit in our ruling class's actions is the dismissal, as the ways of outdated "fathers," of the answers that most Americans would give to these questions. This dismissal of the American people's intellectual, spiritual, and moral substance is the very heart of what our ruling class is about. Its principal article of faith, its claim to the right to decide for others, is precisely that it knows things and operates by standards beyond others' comprehension."

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Well-Married: Something to Consider

Among the many radio programs I podcast is Dr. Albert Mohler's daily show. For those who don't know, Dr. Mohler is president of Southern Seminary and was one of the courageous Christians who stepped into the gap for the Southern Baptists to halt their lurching slide into liberalism and return them to solid foundations. His program is usually a thoughtful commentary on the many social issues of the day.

On February 8, 2010, Dr. Mohler aired a program entitled, "College Campuses: Where Have All the Men Gone?" During that program, he states, "One of the main responsibilities of the people of God, that is, the local church, a local congregation, is to get its members well-married. And most churches don't even think about that.

Whoa! Now that's not something that is often heard!

When was the last time you heard a sermon exhorting the young men of your church to forego the trivialities of youth and prepare themselves spiritually, emotionally, and financially to take a wife and have a family? When was the last time you heard a sermon exhorting the young women of the church to prepare to be a wife and helpmeet to a husband and a mother to children rather than to prepare for a career? 

When was the last time the leadership of the college group expressed the expectation that the young men were to drop out of the culture of perpetual adolesence, grow in maturity, and take one of the young ladies as a wife? 

Our churches are woefully inadequate when it comes to the responsibility "to get its members well-married." The expectation isn't there. The theology isn't there. The teaching isn't there. The support isn't there. My own church is considered a beacon within the nation, an example to be emulated. And yet, even our nationally-known pastor emphasizes the fabulous things our young people should do with their singleness rather than emphasizing the normalcy of most to prepare for and to pursue marriage at a reasonably young age. This is most certainly NOT what Dr. Mohler is talking about.

If you are an elder in your church or a person of influence, consider what you can do to encourage your church to take on this responsibility.

But Dr. Mohler doesn't stop with the churches. He also states, "One of the main responsibilities of parents, even more urgently, is to get their children well-married." When was the last time you as a parent considered what you are doing as you raise your child? Is your goal a good education? A degree from a good college? Or is it something far more important, a "main responsibility"? Dr. Mohler goes on to say, " we think about how getting them raised and launching them in life is not only about education, it's also about getting them well-prepared for life, well-prepared for holiness and faithfulness, and well-prepared for marriage."

Look at what you are actually doing as a parent. Is your focus good grades, or if you homeschool, ensuring all the curriculum is completed so you can match up with your government school counterparts? Is your focus to get your child into every activity in which he shows an interest such that you are running yourself into the ground getting him to each and every one? Is your goal to get them into a good college? In other you look like every other parent on your block? Do your priorities look like those of every other parent on the block? 

Arguably, the last three things Dr. Mohler mentions in his quote rank as far more important than education. 

Most of what passes for "education" in these days in no way prepares a young person for life because it has no relation to the real world. It is jumbled facts and figures to be memorized for a test. So step one is to ensure the "education" your child is getting is one that will prepare him for life (and typically, that isn't going to happen in a group school, but that's another post and another argument).

While the right education is important, it's not nearly as important as holiness and faithfulness, both of which are indicative of true, saving faith. Both holiness and faithfulness are also critical to withstanding the temptations of popular culture and to witnessing the true power of saving faith to those with whom our children come into contact. "Education" doesn't even stand in the shadow of the importance of the sure salvation of our children's souls!!! 

Nor is it as important as preparing our children for marriage. Do we want them to be part of the divorce culture that is so rampant, even within the Christian community? Of course not. Then the assumption for all who are not gifted with celibacy (which is most) is that, properly prepared, they will spend most of their years married to a single spouse. It is critical that they be prepared to be the godly husband or godly wife that spouse needs in order to show the glory of God as witnessed in marriage. It is critical they are prepared for their Biblical role and that they know the theology of marriage so they form a family that is a safe repose from the world and a model of Christ's love to their neighborhood. This is the sort of family that avoids the snare of divorce, all the while spreading the Gospel. It's not something that just "happens," but rather is something for which there must be preparation. That preparation comes in the form of mentorship and training from parents; it isn't something that comes through osmosis!

So, Dad (and Mom)... how are you doing? Have these thoughts crossed your mind? If you have given them thought and acted upon your conclusions, bravo! If not, then take the time to consider them and strategize about them. Do what you need to do, radical though it may be, to start right now in guiding your children to become the young adults who 1) know, love, and obey Jesus Christ as their Savior, 2) are ready for life (the responsibilities of adulthood) at a young age, and 3) are ready to assume the responsibilities of marriage early in life.

Not only will your children rise up and call you blessed (moms) and sing your praises in the gates (dads), but you will be instrumental in putting one more family into the ranks of the Kingdom of God as we stand against the death-spiral of our culture.

May the Lord bless you in your efforts!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Glorious Preaching!

In January of each year, our pastor takes two weeks and preaches on Racial Harmony and on the ProLife issue. After more than a decade at our church, I confess I was less than excited about attending during those two weeks. After all, what more could possibly be said that hasn't already been said? I've heard this message dozens of times...I got it! Right?

Well, repentance is in order. 

Pastor Piper "hit the ball out of the park" in both sermons, delivering the message in a fresh, powerful way. And I am very happy I didn't go with my "feelings" and skip out. 

For your edification and God's glory, here are the links to both sermons. They take you to a page where you can read the transcript, or listen, or watch, or download. While it's your choice, I'd go with watching or listening or downloading over reading...something about the way Piper preaches puts more power into the words.

Racial Harmony Sunday

ProLife Sunday

Monday, October 12, 2009

A Saint Goes Home

Tracy Klicka details the last hours of Chris' life on this earth with a moving testimony on CaringBridge. Chris was one of the heroes of the homeschooling movement, working tirelessly to gain and keep this freedom for us.

Please pray for the Klicka family as they both grieve and rejoice for their husband and father.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Childlike Joy...

As I was out walking our puppy and enjoying the beautiful end-of-summer weather, I noticed how he took note of everything from the stray leaf to the (to my eyes) unseen insect. There was an excitement and a joy to all he saw. He would pounce on a leaf and then chase it if he missed. It caused me to ruminate upon a time when our children were very small, especially our first-borne.

I recall sitting with her out in the back yard of our home and noting how much joy she found in the smallest of things, from a dandelion flower to a leaf to a bug. It struck me at the time how, in her eyes, it was all new and exciting, whereas to me as an adult it had become routine and mundane. That thought was renewed as I watched our puppy play.

It made me also think of how Jesus asks us to come to him "as little children." Often we interpret that to mean "childlike faith" or "faith that doesn't think too much!" Instead, maybe we should think about the joy that a new Christian (babe in Christ) has as he sees for the first time the beauty of his Savior, as he reads the marvelous words of Scripture with new eyes, as he rejoices in the smallest moves of his God. Do we as "mature" Christians still do that? Or has it become routine and mundane? Has our worship become fitful and routine? Has our Scripture reading become blase? Have we lost the wonder that the Creator of the universe condescended to become a helpless baby in a manger? Has the thought of God Himself dying a torturous death on a Roman cross become just another "given"?

Sadly, I know from experience that the answer to those questions is at some point in a believer's life, "yes."

Do you remember the wonder and joy you had as a new believer? Do you desire to regain that?

Jesus desires that for you. Remember His admonishment of the church in Ephesus, that they had abandoned their first love. He wants your a first love! So give it to Him.

Read His Word with anticipation of the Holy Spirit illuminating it in your heart. Pray (and listen) with the knowledge that the Father hears you. Watch for the little things each day that point to a God Who cares for the smallest details of your life, even when it doesn't look like things are going the way you would have planned. He numbers the hairs on your head! Consider where you came from and that you have a Savior who made it possible for you who were an enemy of God to become an adopted child of the King! Take time for Him in meditation on His Word and in prayer, not as an evangelical "quiet time" duty, but rather as an intentional desire to draw closer to Him in all aspects of your life. When the King commands something for you, His adopted child, in the Scripture...then DO it! Do it both because He is King and because He is your loving Father, Who wants the best for you. And in doing His commands not out of a desire to gain favor, but out of a desire to please your Father, you show you LOVE Him.

And that childlike joy and excitement will once again be yours.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Come to Christ!

In all we do as humans, as husbands, as fathers...nothing is as important as knowing Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. This wonderful short video put together by the folks at featuring a portion of a sermon by Paul Washer does a powerful job of making the call to "Come to Christ!"

Friday, May 01, 2009

I Killed My Dog...

A bit over a week ago, our precious companion of over a decade died, leaving behind a family with hearts broken from the excruciating pain of loss. (I posted a tribute to him HERE.)

It's one thing to talk of death and dying, and quite another thing to see it up close, to see breath and life (even life that is in the midst of uncontrollable seizures) one moment and then to see stillness and death the next. Death is ugly. Death is hideous. Death is sinister. There are no redeeming qualities in death. Yet, death is a fact of life, the ultimate end of all living things.

Why? Why did my furry friend have to die? He never commited a single sin; there was nothing in him that warranted the sentence of death. At least with humans, we know they themselves sinned, and thus brought upon themselves the penalty of death. Not so with animals!

The answer is both simple and frightening: He died because I sin.

It is my sin, and the sin of all humans that causes the entire world to be under the curse of death, groaning for the day of redemption (Romans 8). In effect, I killed that beautiful creature because I sin. He didn't deserve death, yet death sought him out because of me.

What does that mean? It means I must quit shrugging off my sin as something minor. It's not minor. Every sinful action, inaction, or thought is an affront to a holy God and results in death. Sin is NOT minor; it is like death: ugly, hideous, and sinister. My outlook to my sin needs to change such that I see it for the horridly awful thing it is. Some of the saints of the past (Owen, I think) referred to the need to "mortify" your sin. In other words, as Christians, we are to see the sin for the ugly thing it is and kill it!

How does one do that? First and foremost is to be in the Word, for without that, you don't even know what your sin is! The Word will slice and dice your heart to the point of showing every little speck of ugliness. Take each speck and kill it with prayer, repentance, and the help of the Holy Spirit. In repentance, don't walk, but run, to the foot of the Cross where you can find forgiveness. With that forgiveness comes new life as we become more and more like Jesus, our Savior, Redeemer, and Friend. With that new life comes the hope of heaven where we know the ugliness of sin and death is defeated and banished for all of eternity. No more will we hurt from the pain of loss. No more will we fall into sin and ugliness. No more will we fail our Father. No more will any of our beloved die. And no more will we be separated from the glory and joy that is our God in Jesus Christ!

Maranatha! Come soon, Lord!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

A Tribute to My Faithful, Furry Friend

Nikolai 7/13/89-4/24/09

Those who have never experienced the devoted love of a wonderful dog have missed out on one of God's greatest gifts. We speak so often of unconditional love, but God has given us a real-life example of it in the love a dog has for his "pack."

Nikolai was such an example. For ten and a half years, he has been by our family's side, through ups and downs, through moves, through daily life. He never once complained if we forgot about him, yet he always rejoiced when we included him. Walks were something to be celebrated, even when they might have been a bit long in warm weather for a heavily-coated dog. Rides in the car were always anticipated...even when they ended up at the vet! It really didn't matter, as long as he was with one of us.

He loved homeschooling! Why? Because it means we are home! He spent many a happy hour curled up on the coach with mom and daughter as they worked through assignments.

He was a "rock star!" Wherever we went, Nikolai was the center of attention with people of all ages stopping to admire and pet him. He gave love to all he encountered in life.

When he was younger, he loved playing "soccer" with a basketball. When there was just a bit of snow on the ground, he would chase the red dot from a laser pointer around the entire yard. He was fabulously beautiful to watch when he ran...long, loping strides with that beautiful tail unfurled behind him.

And that smile. He smiled a lot, even when he hurt from his infirmities, because he was happy to be at home with us.

Then he got sick, and we got to give some of that love back by nursing him back from near death to a healthy weight. And throughout it all, he never quit smiling. His gentle nature allowed him to put up with innumerable shots, needle-pricks by inexperienced, but loving hands, and pill after pill after pill.

And then, without warning, it all ended.

If the depth of the pain and the number of tears shed are any indication of the love we had for him, then he was the most loved puppy in the world.

Yet in the midst of this deep, deep grief, we praise God for the gift he gave us in Nikolai. The joy we have received from him over the years more than makes up for the seemingly insurmountable pain we are experiencing right now. God is near the brokenhearted (Psalm 34:18), and that is our family.

Please Lord, draw near....

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Piper on Suffering

John Piper frequently describes life in these United States as a "Disneyland." Think about it for a minute. Do you raise your children with eternal perspectives in mind? Do you raise them to know the lordship of Jesus Christ? Do you raise them to allow their lives to be shaped by the Scripture and not by the world?

Or do you raise them with all the "opportunities" this world provides...opportunities that will entertain and distract from what is truly important?

This video is an excerpt from a sermon delivered to a stadium full of college-aged students, enjoining them to suffer for the sake of the Gospel. If one stands against the tide of this world, one will suffer in some way, shape, or form. It may just be ridicule... or as the world darkens, it may be martyrdom. Are you ready?

John Piper - You Must Suffer from I'll Be Honest

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

No, Lord!

This week I was listening to Kevin Swanson's radio broadcast, "Generations," when I heard a two-day presentation of a sermon by Dr. R.C. Sproul, Jr as delivered to Swanson's church's family camp a few years ago. It is fabulous! (Part one can be heard HERE, and part two HERE. To download, go HERE and look at broadcast dates December 1 and 2, 2008.)

I'd like to reflect on just one small part of the sermon.

R.C. spoke of the "R.C. Sproul, Jr. Principle of Hermeneutics" ...namely, when you see someone in the Bible doing something really stupid, don't ask how they could be so stupid. Rather, ask, "How am I that stupid?!"

So here's one. Right after Peter confesses Jesus as the Christ and is commended by Christ, Jesus tells His disciples he must go, suffer, and die. Peter responds, "No, Lord!" Consider that statement for a minute. How many times have you passed right by it? "No, Lord!" is the ultimate in oxymorons! You don't say, "No," to your "Lord!" If Jesus is your Lord, you cannot say "No!"

In applying the R.C. Sproul, Jr Principle of Hermeneutics, I need to ask myself how I have done that. The answer is frightening.

How often do I do something I know wouldn't be pleasing to my Lord? How often do I not do something I know would be pleasing to Him? How often do I neglect Him and His Word? How often do I read something in His Word and then refuse to believe it or refuse to believe it applies to me? How often do I not change the way I live when I see a principle in my Lord's Word that would require me to do so? How often....

Sobering, isn't it?

Drives you to your knees, doesn't it? (And if it doesn't...consider going to I John and checking out the tests for the authenticity of your salvation!)

It is something that is worthy of much time in prayer and repentance. And then read your Bible! When you see your Lord commanding you to do something, to not do something, to think a certain way, to act a certain way...write it down in a notebook. Pray for the strength to do it...and then do it! A little bit every day will bring you more and more into conformity with Scripture and thus into Christ-likeness.

Oh... and listen to the sermon! This was just a small jewel from the diamond mine that Sproul brings forth!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Is He Everything?

Here's a video compilation from I'll Be Honest of a sermon by Paul Washer entitled, Jesus Christ is Everything. As usual, Washer's straight-forward, in-your-face preaching strikes right to the core of his hearers. As you watch this, let the Spirit work in your heart.

Is Jesus everything to you? Really? Does your life reflect your answer?

How about your children? Do their lives reflect Christ as everything? If not, are they saved? And are you discipling them?'s YOUR job! Please don't neglect it. Please don't let past performance or sin stop you from stepping up and starting afresh. It's too important! The souls of your children are at stake!

Jesus Christ is Everything - Paul Washer from I'll Be Honest on Vimeo.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Call to Dunkirk...For Our Children

While this may be "preaching to the choir" for many who read this blog, it is still a call which can provide encouragement during those times when you are ready to throw in the towel, send the little ones off to school, and have a life like your neighbors.

Please fight through those temptations...the battle is fierce, and your children are worth every sacrifice.

(HT: Kelly at Generation Cedar)

R.C. Sproul, Jr on Worldliness

For some time now, there has been a constant thread of thought that runs throughout much of what I write. It involves how our modern "witnessing" techniques typically don't produce fruit, and how a better, more Biblical witness to the world is a life that doesn't run with the world, but rather, stands apart from the world as a lamp on a hill.

Dr. R.C. Sproul, Jr. is about to publish a new book entitled, "Believing God." This book contains ninety five theses designed to spark thought-provoking conversation within churches around the country. He has samples from the book posted at his website HERE. In particular, thesis number seven eloquently discusses the life that witnesses the reality of Christ... and does so in a far better way than I ever have. Below is an excerpt from that thesis with the bold as my emphasis:

"First century Rome was a sports crazed culture. Sundry stadia still dot their ancient cities all across their empire. As Christianity spread as well, but before Christians would be dragged to these sites to become sport themselves, the Christians did not attend the Roman games. No, they did not organize a boycott in order to protest the skimpy clothing of the combatants. Nor did they carry signs outside the gatherings prophetically denouncing the violence of the games. Their reason for not attending was far more spiritual--they just didn't care. Their lives were focused on better things. This doesn't mean, of course, that the first century Christians were too austere to go to the games. The point isn't that godliness is next to crankiness. Instead their joys were too grand to be compared to having your favorite athlete win the laurel.

Christ has given us life, and life abundant. And we fill our lives with petty trifles. We think we're doing it for the lost, but are instead showing how lost we are. What the lost need from us is not that we would live lives like theirs, not that we would be consumed with the petty and insignificant. They do not need one more conversation around the water cooler about last night's episode. What they need is to see lives lived for something more important than 'Must See TV.' We do not need to learn the jargon of this subculture or that. Instead we need to live lives that speak plainly, and we need to speak plainly about our life in Christ. Better still, when we are speaking our language, at least we will hear it. If the lost are not found through our faithful lives, we are still blessed with faithful lives. 'Repent and believe the good news' is understandable in any language. Worldliness is no virtue, no matter what end we say it serves."

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Ten Indictments

I posted this on my RiseUpAndGetSerious blog, but it is so important I want to post it here as well.

This is a sermon from the Revival Conference 2008 in Atlanta. Pastor Paul Washer brings Ten Indictments of the American church and "nails them to the door," so to speak. It isn't your usual 30- to 40-minute "feel good" sermon. It takes time to listen.

Please do me a favor. Listen with a humble, contrite spirit. And as you listen, will you please quietly open your heart and instead of critiquing the sermon, ask God to show you where these indictments might be applicable to your life. Then in humble repentance, ask God to forgive you in the name of Jesus.

This is a sermon God could use to change the church...and I pray it would be so.

May you be blessed by the proclamation of the Word!

(If the embedded video doesn't work, click HERE to access it directly on YouTube.)

Obeying the Government

In light of the recent elections, it is good to hear solid Biblical counsel on our relationship to the government.

If the embedded video does not work, click HERE to access the video directly.

Persecution or Great Awakening?

This is a video clip from the Revival Conference 2008. It appears there was a panel Q&A discussion. This particular clip is Pastor Paul Washer dealing with the question of persecution.

Are you ready? Are your children ready?

This is serious, sobering stuff. We Christians in America have to quit playing games!

If the embedded video doesn't work, you can access it directly HERE. Please take the 4 minutes it takes to watch it....

Post-Election Trauma--And What to Do About It!

You might be a political junkie. You might be a hard-working dad who doesn’t have time to pay much attention. You might be a stay-at-home mom, diligently raising the next generation, barely having time to catch up with the news.

And you might be a dedicated Christian who understands the liberty upon which this nation was founded, and last week’s election results have you fearing the worst for our future and for the future of your children. It is a justifiable fear, based in facts. You are frightened. You are angry. You are bitter. You are lashing out. You read much, yet it doesn’t help but to add to the fear.

I know. I am that person.

Of all that I’ve read, though, there are three articles that stand out to me.

The first is by Dan Phillips of "Biblical Christianity" blog. Dan reflects on the wholly proper Biblical example of mourning for our country in light of what has happened. Our response shouldn’t be fear, anger, or bitterness, as much as mourning and crying to the Father for mercy.

The second is a link I found on Dan’s post to Betsy Markman’s blog, “Just Another Clay Pot.” She carries the idea of mourning and grief farther, and brings out the very important point that America is not in mortal danger because of who we have elected to office, but rather, America elected these people to office because we are in mortal danger! We are no longer a nation under God.

The third is a sermon by John MacArthur that was originally preached at one of the National Day of Prayer gatherings in the spring of 2008. (The transcript and the audio are available HERE.) In this sermon, MacArthur discusses the devolution of society when God removes His hand as illustrated in Romans 1 and shows how American culture has moved significantly down that road. He Scripturally backs up the contention found in Markman’s blog that we are no longer a nation under God.

If you read these resources, you will find they are not pleasant thoughts, for they illustrate a culture that is hurtling headlong into the abyss and anyone with a Biblically informed worldview living in this culture will see the future with trepidation. How could anyone not be concerned, especially parents who see a bleak future for their children? I know the arguments about Christians having their hope in heaven, and as a believer, my ultimate hope truly is in Jesus Christ… but I still live in this world and envision how it will be turned upside down in very short order. I am still mourning as Jeremiah did.

So what to do? What would a person who trusts his life to God in Jesus Christ actually do in this case?

Maybe we ought to get more involved in politics, fighting to take back the Republican Party from the moderates! Let’s flex our political muscles as a group!

While that’s quite appealing to me in the flesh, I know it’s not going to work, for it is like a million people attempting to bail out the ocean with teaspoons. No matter how hard they bail, the water is being replenished faster. If MacArthur is correct, God has removed His hand of protection from our country and it is only a matter of time before we lose all this country once was because our culture has already changed. Nothing we do politically will work. More confirmation of that thought comes from an eye-opening book I am reading entitled, "Idols for Destruction: The Conflict of Christian Faith and American Culture" by Herbert Schlossberg. The author does a fabulous job of showing how far our culture has drifted from the authentic Christian faith. Humanism is the rule of the day, even in most of our churches, influencing and affecting most everything we do, whether we realize it or not. Many Christians aren’t even aware how much we really don’t follow a Biblical worldview, even when we say we do! The results of this election are wholly in accordance with the humanistic cultural viewpoints Schlossberg brings out in his discussion. As our culture drifts farther and farther from the remnants of our Christian heritage, we will move closer and closer to socialism, decay, and loss of freedom. While battling in the political arena may postpone the inevitable, it will not stop it from coming, for our culture has changed to the point of demanding this change occur.

Is there any good news? In a word…Yes!

This is a wake-up call to the church, not to more and greater political involvement, but to more and greater reliance upon God and His claim on our lives. We are about to have our reliance upon the material world shattered. It will be painful, but if we will turn to God now, confess our sins, conform our lives to Scriptural principles, we can minimize that pain.

Even more importantly, though, is the church that is actually being the church expands God’s Kingdom by witnessing loudly to a culture lost in darkness. This is a church where Christians aren’t just cultural, but are Biblically informed, doctrinally sound, living lives directed by God’s laws and commandments. Puritan Samuel Bolton in his book, The True Bounds of Christian Freedom,” wrote the following: “The Law sends us to the Gospel for our justification; the Gospel sends us to the Law to frame our way of life.”

You don’t have to look very closely to see that virtually all of us “frame our way of life” according to the culture instead of according to the Law of God.

This has to change! As people who know the Lord of all, we need to frame our lives around the Word instead of around the culture. This isn’t in order to be saved, but as a result of our salvation. We need to live in Christian community, involved with each others’ lives in love. John makes it clear in his Gospel that it is by our love for each other that people will know we are Christians. Dr. R.C. Sproul, Jr. at the Highlands Study Center says it best in their mission statement: “Simple, Separate, and Deliberate.” The Christians in their churches strive for lives that are simple. That way they have time for each other, both within the individual families and between families. They are separate in that they separate from the culture, not in a monastic fashion, but in the fashion that a life lived by Biblical principles will necessarily not follow the trends, but live in a manner that seeks the approval of the Father. This necessitates a Christian culture that is distinctly separate from the pagan culture of America. And of course, to do both of these, they must be deliberate in taking all things captive to the Word of God. This makes them a light on the hill that shines forth brightly in their little corner of the world. Imagine that being recreated all across this land! Imagine how the Kingdom would be expanded through true witness and conversions! Imagine how the culture would be impacted!

How about us? We go to our Bible Studies. We talk about being salt and light, but honestly…how’s that working for ya? Have you had many converts? Has your culture changed at all? Have you personally grown in holiness and sanctification? Salt is different than the surrounding food; light is different than darkness. If we continue to look like the culture, not only will we have no hope in changing that culture, but we will go down with them as God brings His judgment.

Let’s use these perilous times to call us back to the lives our Father would have us live: lives that are humble, repentant, growing in holiness and dependence upon our God, lives that every day reflect a new aspect of obedience to the commandments of our Lord, lives that live in Christian community and express Christian love for each other. In doing so, our Lord in heaven will be pleased, and maybe, just maybe…He will show mercy to our land.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Children of the State

World Magazine has a fabulous article by Joel Belz describing why we are now at the juncture in our history where we are moving toward a socialist state at a rapid pace. It has to do with having had our children indoctrinated by that very state for the past 100 years.

Some quotes from his article:

"The bells of freedom on every front traditionally ring more clearly where a biblical value system has been inculcated. No one should expect anything resembling such a result from secularist state-sponsored schools, which will naturally glorify the state. No one should be surprised when that's what happens."


"That's why, if I were ever forced to become a one-issue person on the political front, my single issue would be freedom of choice in education. With a nine-to-one edge in value-shaping influence, why shouldn't the government be producing products who think government-sponsored-everything is best?"

The article may be found HERE.

It appears World has changed the way it does its online access. For $5 you can get access online and get two issues. Quite honestly...if you get any other news magazine, cancel it and get World! It beats the rest hands down. The beginnings of Belz's article are HERE, along with the ability to subscribe online for the $5.

I found the original link to World so you can read the whole article without subscribing. It's now on both of the links above.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Fear... and an Answer

I don't have a post with thoughts of my own today. Rather, I am going to point you to two links that have massive implications to your role as a dad, particularly as a "discipling dad."

The first is a 16-page "fictional" letter produced by Focus on the Family describing the potential damage to our country by coordinated, unrestrained, liberal Executive and Legislative (and subsequent Judicial) branches of our federal government. It is written from the point of view of a Christian in 2012 looking back at the damage and how it occurred. Obviously it is speculative, but it is based upon previous attempts by leftists to overturn critical parts of our constitutional liberties in favor of their "progressive" ideology. These are the sorts of things that would be conclusive evidence that God has removed His hand of protection from our nation and handed us over to judgment. This letter may be found HERE.

The second is a more profound post, written by Scott Head at his blog, "For the Generations of..." It deals with the rebuilding of society by families who turn to the authority and sufficiency of Scripture for life. Dad by dad, marriage by marriage, family by family, church by church, community by community...holy living with the whole of Scripture as a guide, the termite-infested scrap of our culture is replaced by the sweet scent of God as borne out in the lives of His godly people. This post is the answer to the fear that will undoubtedly be generated by the first link. It can be found HERE.

Christos Kurios!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Demographic Winter, Part II

(Disclaimer: "The single most powerful force affecting the fate and future of society" isn't truly Demographic Winter, but is the sovereign will of the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, maker of heaven and earth!!)

Well... the video arrived in the mail today and I watched it immediately. It was by far one of the most sobering things I've ever seen. Our world has walked away from God's mandate to be fruitful and multiply, and the consequences will be staggering. Here in the United States, we can expect our GNP to begin declining within the next couple of years as the large hump of baby boomers move past their highest spending years. That will impact the stock market and the tax base. While it's virtually impossible to foresee a balanced budget now, in the very near future, it will not even be a possibility.

The video is made by secular folks, and yet they come to the conclusion that an intact family of a man and a woman and lots of kids is the only solution...and even then, it is very likely too little, too late to save society. They pointed out that the liberal ideas birthed in the 70s (feminism, homosexual marriage, cohabitation, etc) have their root in the idea that there are too many people on the planet. Those ideas are quickly discredited in the face of this impending catastrophe.

The one bright spot was when addressing the subject of whether humans are on their way to extinction. The social scientist said there were distinct groups still having large families and they would survive: Orthodox Jews, Fundamentalist Christians, and Muslims. The secular society has signed its own death warrant by rejecting the fruit of the womb for a mess of pottage. Of course, we who have (or would like to have) large families will still suffer the consequences of societal and economic breakdown of our culture.

It's quickly becoming time to "fish or cut bait" in terms of making our Christian communities real and practical.....

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Demographic Winter

HERE is a link to the website promoting a well-researched documentary on population decline and its consequences. This is truly frightening because it's not something that can be fixed easily or in a short amount of time. Dr. Albert Mohler, among others, has lamented on his radio show about how Europe will be Muslim within a generation or two. It's a foregone conclusion because the birthrates in all European countries have been below replacement rate for so long. They've been importing people from muslim countries to do their work...and these families have large numbers of children. Now, it's just a matter of time.

What's even more amazing is this is a secular film using secular data from secular scientists. Their conclusion? The family as defined as one man and one woman for life having lots of children is a requirement for a stable, growing, prosperous society.

Hmmmm....sort of sounds like God's idea! Marriage as defined as one man and one woman for life, being fruitful and multiplying, understanding that children are a blessing and praying for a quiver-full!!!!

Don't you love it when God is shown to have been right all along?

And don't you hate it when we as a society will suffer for having ignored Him and His laws....

Shall we do our part to receive as many of God's blessings as He deems fit to give us???

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Salvation, Grace and Law

Our evangelical culture has gone incredibly overboard in its emphasis on grace. This is especially evident in how many people have "prayed the prayer," call themselves "Christian," and yet show no evidence of fruit in their lives. John MacArthur recently had a four-day series on his Grace to You radio program that addressed this issue. The programs, based on the last portions of the Sermon on the Mount, can be found HERE, dated 9/2/2008-9/5/2008, entitled "Empty Words" and "Empty Hearts." I purchased his 20th anniversary edition of "The Gospel According to Jesus" and find it to be fantastic...and a very sharp critique of our "Christian" culture. (You can find a link to that book on the left.)

Another resource that I suspect will be interesting is a book by Puritan Samuel Bolton entitled, "The True Bounds of Christian Freedom." (HT: Tony at For His Glory). I intend to read this book soon! A quote that Tony point out encapsulates it well: "The Law sends us to the Gospel for justification; the Gospel sends us to the Law to frame our way of life." Wow!!!

As dads (and moms) who desire our children to walk in the way of our Lord, understanding true salvation and conversion is critical (MacArthur), and understanding the role of the Law in shaping our sanctification is crucial as well (Bolton).

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Voting Vexation

I just came across one of the most balanced articles on how we as Christians should be dealing with the debate on voting for or against a ticket with Sarah Palin as VP. It is found HERE and I highly commend it to you.

Friday, September 05, 2008


Everyone who hangs around the evangelical world long enough knows youth hang out in youth groups and those very youth groups send them out in groups to do "missions" in the summer. Some of them are supposedly "life-changing"...but most are simply excuses to hang out in some exotic places. (There are some exceptions... our church has made it clear that the youth who participate in missions are to be called and are to be prepared to serve and work hard!)

We did something different.

Instead of sending the children off with a leader and a bunch of other children, we took them with us to visit friends who are Africa! We lived in their home and experienced their life. We were extremely blessed by them, and were hopefully blessings and encouragements to them. They allowed us to see the culture of West African city life through their eyes and to experience it first-hand. Below are some musings about our experience:

1) While the country is officially about 95% Islamic, most seem to practice it the way most Americans practice Christianity: culturally.

2) The people take time for relationship and for community! This was probably the most encouraging thing in my mind and illustrated just what we've lost here in the States. "To Do" lists come in a distant second to spending time with people. One illustration was when Mustafa, the rent collector, came to the house. In the US, he'd probably stay outside, or maybe step just inside the door. We'd give him the check, say something about the weather, and he'd be on his way. In Africa, Mustafa came in the house and sat at the dining room table. While he was served a cold drink, he and my hosts spoke of each other's families and of the daily rolling electrical blackouts. It was a good twenty minutes before they got around to the rent check!

3) Partially because of number 2 above, things move s-l-o-w-l-y. Nothing happens at a fast pace, to include construction! It takes forever to build anything! The roads in the middle-class neighborhood were pot-holed dirt! If you have to drive somewhere, you'd best not be in a hurry. In fact, the patience of Job would be an asset!!! Another friend who had visited Africa related that a local said the following to him: "In America, you have watches and no time; in Africa we have no watches, and lots of time!" How very true.

4) We take so much for granted. The lights come on every time we throw the switch. The house is cool in the summer and warm in the winter. There is water every time you open the spigot. The mosquitoes, while the size of small birds in my part of the US, don't carry malaria. One doesn't fear the doctor here. You know when the garbage collector is going to come...and he actually picks it up himself from your particular driveway! There isn't any sewage in the streets. We don't have to filter our water before we drink it. We don't bleach our fruits and vegetables before using them. We don't have to wash feces off our eggs before bringing them home. People obey the traffic rules.

5) Our conveniences separate us from our neighbors. Air conditioned cars result in rolled up windows. Garages (especially those with electric openers) keep us from going outside. Air conditioned houses keep the windows and doors shut.

6) When you must spend time at home preparing food for the family without the benefit of modern conveniences, by necessity your family pitches in, resulting in increased closeness as well as learned responsibility.

7) When there aren't a thousand and one activities for the kids, they spend time at home with each other and with their parents. Games are played, relationships are deepened, and love is grown.

8) Being a typical monolingual American, I was frustrated at not being able to communicate with the locals...all of whom were incredibly friendly and kind.

9) A person in that country who holds hands with another of the same gender is communicating: You are my friend and I respect you! There is nothing that is sexual about it at all!!!

10) The elderly are respected and honored. We witnessed an elderly man trying unsuccessfully to cross a busy street. A strapping young man happened along and noted his situation. Without hesitation he spoke with the gentleman, let him take his arm, and led him across the street. With a word and a wave, he was on his way.

11) Ropes courses through baobab trees are a blast!!!!!!

12) Near-equator sun is extremely strong when at the beach...even on tanned, sunscreened skin!

We all got to experience the culture first-hand, with its wonders and its trials. With our hosts interpreting for us, we interacted with the locals. All in all, we had a marvelous time and bring back a very different perspective on our own culture, both its positives and the things we would like to see changed.

Now the trick is to see how we can integrate those changes into our personal lives....

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Palin: Promise or Problem?

It doesn't take the most astute observer of national politics to know that the nomination of Sarah Palin for the office of Vice President has Republicans and conservatives boiling over with excitement. And yet, while on one hand I'm excited as well, the other side of me questions the wisdom of electing a woman to this office. I don't have a concrete answer here, but I am going to do my best to flush out some thoughts on each side.

On the positive side:

1) Palin is probably comes the closest to a true conservative that a major party has put forward since Reagan.

2) Palin backs up her rhetoric with her life, with the most blatant being her prolife and her Second Amendment positions.

3) Palin strikes me as a politician the founders expected: a regular citizen who gets involved, and when done will return to being a regular citizen.

4) Palin is not afraid of her femininity. She actually wears skirts and doesn't screech when she speaks.

5) She has a large family and shows love and respect toward her husband!

6) Palin seems normal!

This blog is dedicated to helping advance the Biblial family as best as I can understand it. That includes the proper ordering of relationships and structure. This is where the negatives come in.

1) Scripture is crystal clear about what God desires in terms of the ordering of the family. The man is to be the covenant head with the wife being the vice-regent and helpmeet. Within the church, men are to lead as well. What is not blatant is how this should play out in the civil realm; we have to apply principles instead. There are good people who come down on both sides of this argument.

Dr. Albert Mohler, President of Southern Seminary, writes, "Do I believe that a woman can serve well in the office of Vice President of the United States? Yes. As a matter of fact, I believe that a woman could serve well as President -- and one day will. Portraits of significant men of history hang on the walls of my library --but so do portraits of Queen Elizabeth I of England and former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

The New Testament clearly speaks to the complementary roles of men and women in the home and in the church, but not in roles of public responsibility. I believe that women as CEOs in the business world and as officials in government are no affront to Scripture. Then again, that presupposes that women -- and men -- have first fulfilled their responsibilities within the little commonwealth of the family.

Doug Phillips, Esq. of Vision Forum Ministries writes, "I am confident that Mrs. Palin is a delightful, sincere, thoughtful, and capable woman with many commendable virtues. But in fairness, there is nothing 'traditional' about mothers of young children becoming career moms, chief magistrates, and leading nations of three hundred million, nor is this pattern the biblical ideal to which young women should aspire. At a time when motherhood and marriage is so under attack, the message Republicans are sending is this: Winning politial elections is more important than the following proposition given by the Lord: 'That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, [to be] discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed' (Titus 2:4-5.)"

In his post, he points to an article by William Einwechter that argues in detail against women holding positions within the civil magistrate.

Dr. Voddie Baucham is one of the most eloquent when it comes to asking and answering the question about whether Palin's nomination is truly pro-family or not. He writes, "While I agree that from a political standpoint Mr. McCain made a brilliant political move, I am not so sure his pick can be portrayed as “pro-family.” It is true that Mrs. Palin is ardently pro-life –a distinction bolstered by the fact that she has five children, and chose not to abort a Down Syndrome baby—and she is also a fiscal conservative, a Washington outsider, and she hunts wolves from helicopters! What more could the Neocons ask for?

Unfortunately, Christians appear to be headed toward a hairpin turn at breakneck speed without the slightest clue as to the danger ahead. I don’t see this as a pro-family pick at all! Moreover, I believe the conservative fervor over this pick shows how politicized Christians have become at the expense of maintaining a prophetic voice. I believe that Mr. McCain has proven with his VP pick that he is pro-victory, not pro-family. In fact, I believe this was the anti-family pick."

Dr. Baucham's two posts can be found HERE and HERE (the first article really hit a note with my wife).

Lastly, Kevin Swanson, the head of the Christian Home Educators of Colorado and host of "Generations" radio show, speaks of how one of the ways God judges a nation is through raising up women in leadership positions. He points out that one of the reasons this happens is because men have failed to rise to the occasion and it is natural that women will not let things fall apart if they can help it. That is happening today in America. Women vastly outnumber men in college and in law school.

2) Palin IS a mother of five children and like it or not, there IS a difference between men and women. These children need a mother who will be at home to nurture them. Without casting stones, one must wonder if she would be on the road to being a grandmother right now if she had been at home instead of in the governor's office. This argument has been used hypocritically by the liberals, but is a legitimate question when asked by pro-family people.

3) Her description of herself as "used to be a hockey mom" indicates that motherhood is the low rung on the totem pole and that while motherhood is great, girls and young women should aspire to "more."

4) Her example will lead many young women to aspire to life outside of the home, leaving more and more children to day-care and government education.

So what to do?

It was very easy to vote against a woman when that woman is Hillary in her pant-suit, screeching socialist platitudes. But now we are presented with a woman with bona fide conservative credentials who could most likely lead this country well.

I respect Albert Mohler in many ways, but I'm not sure he is right in this case. Proverbs 31 illustrates a woman who enables her husband to sit in the gates (the government) and praise her there. While she certainly is involved in a lot of things outside the home, her focus is the home and she doesn't sit in the gates!

Voddie Baucham's articles really hit home with me, but I think Kevin Swanson's conclusions most illustrate reality.

God IS judging this country in many ways. In this issue specifically, look at the rise of women in political power. Number three in the line of succession for the presidency is a woman, and if McCain wins, number two will be as well. It's entirely possible there will be two women running for president in 2012 (Hillary and Palin). There are more and more women in elected office. This is not going to stop until Christian men stand up and start leading their households and start leading their churches. In the mean time, we have what we have. Could we do worse than having someone like Sarah Palin in office? Absolutely!

Terry at Ornaments of Grace writes HERE and HERE about recognizing that although the best way for a family to be structured is for the wife/mom to be oriented toward home, for the Palin family, they have made their choice and "that train has already left the station".

I wish I had a solid conclusion.

I can't change how the Palins are doing things in their family. I can be pleased that if we have to have a woman at the highest levels of government, that she is someone with the conservative credentials of Sarah Palin.

And yet, as a dad of daughters, I resent the unspoken message that being a keeper at home is mundane and not something to which they should aspire. I resent the unspoken message that being a helpmeet to a husband and a rock on which he leans is only an option for a woman (and not the best one at that).

And of course, as much as I despise being put in a position of voting against someone, Barak Obama is about the most evil (yes, I use that term intentionally and not rhetorically) candidate put forward in my memory. His positions on abortion are horrifying and his stated policies are Marxist to the core.

Is a vote for McCain (and thus Palin) in order to attempt to thwart the evil that is Obama just being pragmatic? Maybe... but I do know that having someone with her conservative principles makes McCain much more palatable than he would have been otherwise.....

Sorry if you were looking for a definitive answer from this post, but I hope that it and the links herein help in your own thoughts as you grapple with this decision.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Single-Issue Voting

It's obviously that time of year again! The national elections are just around the corner.

Many people who call themselves "Pro-life" are often subjected to the accusation of being "single-issue voters"... as if that was a bad thing. If you are truly making a decision to vote FOR a candidate based on a single issue along, it certainly IS a bad thing. But if you are disqualifying a candidate because of a single issue that is important to you, then it is a GOOD thing.

In 1995, John Piper published a wonderful article discussing this very issue. It is as valid today as it was then and I would commend it to you HERE.

Friday, May 23, 2008

She Met Her Prince

One has no idea how long God has deemed their life on this earth to last. For some, it will be 80 years or more; for others, a mere five. That was the case for little Maria Chapman, the youngest adopted daughter of Steven Curtis Chapman. 

Ted Slater at BoundlessLine said it better than I can:

"Oh I will dance with Cinderella
I don't wanna miss even one song,
Cuz all too soon the clock will strike midnight
And she'll be gone

And sometimes, for reasons beyond our understanding, she's gone before the clock strikes midnight.

Last night, as many of you already know, CCM artist Steven Curtis Chapman's youngest daughter, Maria Sue, left us. Unexpectedly, the Prince tapped her papa on the shoulder and gently whispered, "May I have this dance?"

I can imagine the joy in Maria's eyes when she at last met her new Partner, when Jesus took her in His arms and spun her around the Ballroom, and as He shows her around the Castle, her new home.

May Maria's new dancing partner, the Prince of Peace, bring peace to the broken hearts of those who miss dear little Maria. And may we cherish our dances with the ones we love, while they're still with us."

The song lyrics at the beginning of Ted's post are from a song Chapman wrote for his two youngest daughters. The video is below. When you are finished viewing it, please take whatever time it takes to have your family pray for the Chapmans, and then to have a dance with each of your "Cinderellas." Hold them tight, and dance as if it were the last dance on this earth.... They deserve it, Dads!!!

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

100% Profanity Free!

I guess I'm happy the results of this widget returned as they did!!!

The Blog-O-Cuss Meter - Do you cuss a lot in your blog or website?
Created by OnePlusYou

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Peer-Dependent or God-Dependent?

The premise of much of what I write is that responsible, Christian parents are mandated by God to disciple their children so they grow to be godly adults and do the same for their children. This concept is referred to in other places as a vision for multigenerational faithfulness...the looking beyond just one generation to what your influence as a parent can be several generations hence.

With that in mind, I just have a few observations about today's youth culture...which in turn, begs the question of why we would send our children to that culture if we are looking out not only for their future, but for the future of many generations.

Probably the biggest issue at hand is that of peer-dependency. Peer-dependency is the overwhelming need for peers and for acceptance by those peers. This means a child will do and accept whatever is necessary in order to gain approval by the group of peers. It takes very little time to realize that children from as young as nine or ten years old are being overcome by peer-dependency.

Peer-dependency is fostered by the evolutionary concept that children should be separated by age in a group school. (People who wonder about "socialization" of children who are educated at home never stop to consider whether their own children being "socialized" by same-aged peers is really normal or best.) I have had experience with a couple of young people intentionally taken from the group school in order to try to arrest the bad influence in their lives.

One of these young people was a twelve-year-old girl. She was devastated, not because she was missing her family, but because she couldn't stand to be away from her peers. She wailed in a fit of despondency, "I have to have my friends; I can't live without my friends!" She was so dependent upon her "friends" she could not even conceive of a life where she could be discipled and grow into a mature young adult. Her only concept was of the here and now...which meant being a mall-rat with her "friends."

Another of these young people was a sixteen-year-old boy. He, too, couldn't imagine life outside of the teen culture. He considered himself and his fellow teens to be the fount of all wisdom, while adults didn't have a clue as to real life, a life that mostly revolved around text-messaging, Facebook, and vile rap music. Again, the concept of looking forward and desiring to grow into an adult was completely missing. The only vision was an angry one of the here and now...and with what was deemed "cool" by his "friends."

Peer-dependency drags these children down by convincing them the only thing that matters is acceptance by peers. In order to be accepted by peers, you have to be identical to the peers, in dress, in speech, in music, in knowledge of pop culture, etc. You have no identity of your own, and the identity you create is that of the lowest common denominator. "Cool" is defining. Today is all that matters. The thought of this period of life being a training ground for adulthood is despised.

The funny thing is that adult culture seems to think this is normal and something to be expected, when the reality is it is something we have created by the methodology we use in raising the children. We place them in age-segregated institutions early in life where they find acceptance only in how much they are like their peers. We communicate how we expect rebellion in the teen years. We let others, to include television and music, become the primary influences in their lives. And then we hope they will grow out of it and become successful some day. Instead we find they never grow up.

So what does one do? Ideally you develop a long-term picture for how to raise your children while they are still young and you have many years with which to work. It is certainly more difficult to change things once they are in the clutches of their peers, but it can be done.

First and foremost is a vision. You must have a vision for their lives and you must communicate it to them so they internalize it. If they have a vision and goal for what kind of person they want to be and for what kind of life they want to live, they will reject the narcissistic, futureless lifestyle of the typical young person.

Secondly, you must not place them in a situation where the peers drag them down...which means you must educate them at home. If you place them in an age-segregated group classroom, it is only a matter of time before the pressure to conform grasps them in its clutches.

Thirdly, you as the parent need to help them grow in godliness by modeling it yourself, and by teaching them to walk according to the ways laid down by God in His Word.

Fourthly, you as the parent need to watch them carefully in order to discern the "bent" God has given them and then help them grow in that "bent" as best as possible. Avoid the temptation to define them according to how the culture defines "successful." Instead, define them according to God's Word and according to their particular, God-given strengths.

Teen culture and pop culture in today's America is a vile thing, desiring to tear down everything you hold dear. As parents who desire the best for our children and who desire generations of God-fearing progeny, we must do our level best to protect our children from that culture and to instill in them a massive vision for a glorious, joy-filled future as servants of the Living Savior, Christ Jesus. Only then will they be able to stand up to the lion crouching at the door desiring to devour them....

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Ominous Trends....

Al Mohler summarizes some frightening developments and attitudes that are coming out regarding the right of parents to determine their own children's education. Note in particular the quote from the NEA at the end of the article: that we should leave the shaping of children's minds, careers, and futures to trained professionals! My goodness! What ever did society do before there were trained professionals around to raise the children or to tell parents how to raise their children?!! And note carefully they didn't say anything about actual's the minds and futures and careers of the children they desire to influence.

The article can be found HERE.

Friday, March 07, 2008

What is Education's Purpose?

"'A primary purpose of the educational system is to train school children in good citizenship, patriotism and loyalty to the state and the nation as a means of protecting the public welfare,' the judge wrote, quoting from a 1961 case on a similar issue."(Emphasis added and quoted from the San Francisco Chronicle)

I guess the purpose of education in America is finally out in the open. How many parents in this nation who regularly put little Johnny and little Jenny on the yellow school bus in the morning realize the primary function of the school they are sending their precious little ones to is to train them in "good citizenship, partriotism and loyalty to the state and the nation?" And all along we thought it was to teach them readin', writin', and 'rithmatic! If this is truly the aim of our education system, then it makes sense that our children are falling farther and farther behind in actual academic subjects!

This quote is from an article in the San Francisco Chronicle regarding the recent court case that has effectively outlawed homeschooling in the state of California by requiring anyone (including parents) who teach parents to be "certified." Certified to do what? To teach the child to read? To teach him to write? To teach him arithmetic? Obviously not. Certification means the teacher's primary function is to indoctrinate their little minds with whatever attitudes and ideas the state deems proper and appropriate.

This ought to frighten all parents, not just those who choose to educate their children at home
for it is an in-your-face admission that the state believes it knows better than you on how to best raise your child. As a former military officer, I have no problem with patriotism and loyalty to one's nation. I raise my children to be patriotic and to love their nation (especially with regard to its founding ideals), but also to have a very healthy skepticism regarding government and its ever-increasing lust for power.

My children also know what statism is...and the indoctrination of children by the state under the guise of "good citizenship" and "loyalty to the state and the nation" is just that. Why, when I hear phrases like that used, especially in regard to our children, do the hauntings of Nazi Germany rise up in my mind?????

Liberty is rapidly being snatched away from us, right from underneath our very eyes.

So let's look at the situation in California in particular, for it is where this is playing out most dramatically.

Recently the legislature passed and Governor Arnold signed into law a bill that requires that homosexuality be treated as normal, acceptable, and on par with heterosexuality in all schools. There can be no bias against it and therefore, even phrases like "mom and dad" could be removed from school textbooks. Kindergartners would be hit with homosexual indoctrination through the use of homosexual-friendly stories and programs. Combine this with another California court's decision that parental rights end at the school bus door and it's a nightmare scenario for any parent who still believes in moral decency, but even more so for the Bible-believing Christian who desires to raise his children in the fear and admonition of the Lord. This bill alone has got to have thousands of public school families thinking hard about removing their children from the public school classrooms in order to disciple them at home.

Now comes this edict from our black-robed masters that prevents parents from removing their children. It can't be any clearer! The state wants our children and they want to control exactly what goes into their minds and thus what directs their thoughts. One of the foundations of liberty is the ability of parents to raise their children as they see fit, and that would include all aspects of education. This edict says otherwise and it is nothing short of totalitarianism coming to our republic.

Please... do not ignore this because you don't happen to live in California. If it happens there, it is only a matter of time before it spreads. Educate yourself on the situation and its implications. I have provided three links (two audio and one written) that will spell it out for you. After you have educated yourself, then take action. The simplest is to click on the last link below and sign the Home School Legal Defense Association's petition to the California Supreme Court. You don't have to be an HSLDA member to sign the petition. There needs to be an overwhelming tidal wave of anger that rises against this in order for the judges on that court to feel the pressure necessary to stop it. Please don't think that your voice isn't necessary.

Focus on the Family Broadcast

CrossTalk America (Broadcast dated March 7, 2008)

Dr. R. Albert Mohler, President of Southern Seminary

HSLDA Petition to the California Supreme Court (Please click over and sign it!!!)

Saturday, March 01, 2008

A Vision for Home Discipling

You don't have to read very far in this blog to see that I am an advocate of discipling your children at home and believe it is God's call on the Christian to do so. Whenever I run across people considering bringing their children home (or never sending them out in the first place), they always have similar questions, usually having to do with which curriculum they should use. This is because, although they know there is something wrong with sending their children away, they are coming from a paradigm in which they had been "educated" in an age-segregated, scope-and-sequence-driven classroom and thus think the curriculum is the most important component of what they are considering doing. 

My advice to them is they absolutely MUST get the big picture before starting, for if they simply try to reproduce "school at home," they will burn out. They MUST determine what the goal is at the end of their endeavors and work backwards to determine what they should be doing now. This goal should be saturated in Bible, and they should carefully examine their own attitudes and ideas for cultural assumptions that aren't in line with Biblical principles. That's the hard part because of the paradigm blinders each of us has.

Here are my recommendations for three books to help you do that. In my humble opinion, these should be required reading for all parents looking to disciple/educate their children at home, for they help tremendously with developing an unshakable conviction for why you are doing what you do and what you are aiming for at the end. One warning though... I heard Dr. Voddie Baucham interviewed on Family Life Today with Dennis Rainey, and he was repeatedly referred to as someone who will "rock your boat." Anyone who's been in a rocking boat knows it sometimes makes you a bit ill. These books WILL cause you to examine your closely held beliefs and paradigms and will thus "rock your boat." Sometimes that is exciting; sometimes it's uncomfortable. But either way, your children will be the ultimate beneficiaries.


The first, and in my opinion, the most important, is When You Rise Up by Dr. R.C. Sproul, Jr. While it is available through Amazon (use the book list on the left), it is also available through his ministry website HERE.

Unfortunately the third book isn't available at Amazon. It is Upgrade by Kevin Swanson, a second-generation homeschooler who is the head of Christian Home Educators of Colorado (CHEC). Swanson's book can be purchased directly through CHEC at the link HERE.