Saturday, September 29, 2007


So let's say you have taken the responsibility to disciple your children to heart. Let's say you are home-educating them.

And let's say you are burning out or have already burned are ready to throw in the towel.

Why? How could that be? Aren't you doing what you are called by God to do?

(Note: The principle I'm about to discuss applies to all types of burnout, not just that of home-educating moms and dads.)

I had the privilege of attending the Desiring God National Conference entitled, "Stand" last night. The first speaker was John MacArthur (Sermon summary and link to listen HERE). One of his points on being a person who perseveres involved burnout. He noted that burnout is not the result of hard work. A ditch digger does extremely hard labor, yet he doesn't "burnout." Rather, burnout is the result of discouragement...and discouragement is the result of unmet expectations. That alone is profound, but even more so was his conclusion that man as a sinner is not owed a single thing. Each and every thing we have, from the next beat of our heart to our home to our children to our job...all of it is the result of the mercy of God.

Before you read on, go back and read that last part again. Consider it. Dwell upon it.

Burnout is the result of discouragement.
Discouragement is the result of unmet expectations.
All we have is the result of the mercy of God.

How does this fit you in your life right now?

(The rest is my musings on his point)

When we finally bring into focus that everything in our world is a merciful gift from God rather than something owed to us, we finally get our expectations correct. In other words, we no longer expect anything, but rather focus on the thankfulness for the mercies God has extended in our lives to this point. As a result, we cannot have unmet expectations. If we don't have unmet expectations, we don't have discouragement. And if we don't have discouragement, we don't have burnout.

How does this apply to the home-educating parent (usually moms)? Do I really mean you are to have no expectations of your children when you home-educate? No. What I mean is to realize your children are merciful gifts from God, your ability to be home with them is a merciful gift from God, your desire to raise them in the fear and admonition of the Lord is a merciful gift from God, your child's individual personality, talents, and abilities are merciful gifts from God. Note how you cannot help but bring an overarching theme of thanksgiving to God when reading and considering a list like this. When your focus shifts from curriculum accomplishment to mercies and thanksgiving, then you are free to work with your children as individual gifts from God, knowing that He is ultimately going to direct their paths as you shepherd them. You are free from the tyranny of the curriculum and the scope and sequence. You are free from unrealistic expectations based upon someone else's description of what your homeschool should look like. You are free then of discouragement, and thus free from burnout.

It ultimately is a focus issue and an understanding of God's truth in our lives. Keep your focus and you will God's glory!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Arrested Development

Anyone who takes a very close look at today's younger culture discovers very quickly that it is populated by people (males, especially) who refuse to grow up and take on the responsibilities and maturity of adulthood. This is a tragedy in individual lives and in individual families, but when it become endemic to a culture, it is a HUGE factor in the collapse of that culture. A culture cannot long survive without young adults doing the things adults are supposed to do...things that build, sustain, and stabilize a culture. Obviously this isn't every single young adult...but there are so many to whom this does apply that, when applied alongside so many other cultural pathologies, well...dare I say that our future as the beacon of freedom and liberty looks quite dim.

Dr. Albert Mohler, president of Southern Seminary, writes in his blog a review of "The Death of the Grown-Up: How America's Arrested Development is Bringing Down Western Civilization." The review is quite good, and I suspect the book is as well. Please take a moment to click over and read what Dr. Mohler has to say...and then do whatever it takes within your own family to keep your children from being part of the problem. Quite literally...our future as a country depends upon just that.

HERE'S the article.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Things I Learned from Voddie, Part I

Within the first few minutes of Voddie Baucham's first video, he lists five rules for Biblical interpretation. These are rules with which each and every Christian should be equipped, for without them, you will find yourself either erroneously interpreting Biblical text or accepting, out of ignorance, someone else's erroneous interpretations.

Rule 1: Context

Rule 2: Context

Rule 3: Context

Rule 4: Text can't mean what it never meant.
(The author had a plain meaning for his text, and you don't have permission to change it! You have to work to discover the author's meaning, and then live with it, whether you like his conclusion or not.)

Rule 5: Narrative is not normative. (Biblical stories are most certainly true, but that doesn't mean they are normatively true as a rule for every Christian. The story of Jonah is true, but we don't expect that Christians will normally get swallowed by large fish as part of a judgment of God.)

Voddie applies these rules to obliterate the common incorrect interpretation and usage of Jeremiah 29:11 ("For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.") This promise wasn't made to you! But is does apply to you. To find out how...listen to the sermon HERE.

The Multigenerational Legacy

I couldn't even wait to put this one up on the blog. I have NO DOUBT that the 50 minutes you will spend watching and listening to each of the last two messages by Dr. Voddie Baucham will be worth every second. His is a God-centered, God-honoring message to families. We so desperately need to hear the message of looking beyond our own generation or two; we desperately need the message of "legacy," something about which no one seems to consider any longer.

The first video is only 15 minutes and consists of Voddie and his wife, Bridget, talking about raising children and about having an intentional mindset of leaving a multigenerational legacy. It's inspiring. If you don't ever get to the last two...please take a quarter of an hour and listen to the first one. Your family will be better for it.

I'll comment more when I've been able to view this completely myself...but I couldn't wait to share it!

Thanks to Tony Kummer for putting the first sermon up on his blog...where I was able to find it and thus be led to the rest.

Enjoy and be blessed!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

The "Saved" Family

One of the driving forces behind my efforts on the blog is to encourage dads to shepherd their families in such a manner they grow in the knowledge of, love for, and obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ...and display that knowledge, love, and obedience in action as individuals and as a family. Obviously, I assume salvation has occurred in order for this to happen.

But, Dad... you know your family; I don't. Is there evidence of saving faith in your children, in your wife, in you? As part of your discipleship of your children, have you taught them how to examine themselves in light of First John? Do you know how to examine yourself? Have you ever even considered it...or are you relying upon the false American idea of basing the assurance of your salvation upon a "decision" made years previous?

This is critical.

Nothing else written here or anywhere else matters a whit if you, your wife, and your children do not have a saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

I wrote an article on my other blog and then followed it up with five links to remarkable sermons on the subject. May I plead with you, may I urge you to please read the article and listen to the sermons...and then apply what you learn to yourself, your wife, and your children? Eternity is at stake.

My article is accessed by clicking HERE.

The links to the sermons are accessed by clicking HERE.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Motivational Poster for the Emergent Church

Motivational poster for the Emergent Church and the post-modern mindset in general...goes along well with the concepts addressed in my previous post.

Thanks to the folks at Pyromaniacs for the creativity!

Saturday, September 08, 2007

I Don't Homeschool Because...

It doesn't take much to notice that any time anyone publishes an article in defense of a Biblical admonition to disciple/educate the children of Christians at home, responses come back with arguments for why a family has decided to send their children off to school...usually the government school. Most often these are simply justifications (I read somewhere on another blog a quote..."pitch a rock over a fence, and the dog that yells the loudest is the one hit!"); other times there is a broken heart going along with it because the family would rather not have sent their children away, but felt they had no other choice.

I will also grant that there have been children who have successfully navigated the difficult spiritual territory of the government schools and come out the other end as strong believers. I know some of those young people. I also know they had at least four very important things going for them: 1) They were individuals who were soundly saved. 2) They were not peer dependent, and tended to be natural leaders. 3) They had very strong home lives with parents who discipled them rather than just shuttled them to different activities. 4) They had a strong, God-centered, Bible-preaching church. And lastly...I'm afraid they are the exception, especially given the latest statistics showing well over three-quarters of young people abandon their "faith" shortly after leaving home for post-secondary education. Of course, this means there was no saving faith in the first place...which is all the more reason parents need the discipling time with their children that is otherwise lost to the government school.

What I hope to do with this article is address some of the more common arguments used by those who have sent their children out of the home.

"My children will be missionaries and lights to the school, a 'federally-funded mission field.'"

While I might be able to see a bit of this argument if you are talking about older teens who are exceedingly mature in their faith, this argument is specious when it comes to any other category of child. In the first place, they are in an authoritarian environment where they are to in submission to the teachers. Does anyone honestly believe a child (or even most teens) can handle himself against a prepared person in authority who challenges that child's faith? How exactly is this child supposed to be a missionary? Invite other children to church? He can do that in his own neighborhood! And that's not exactly being a "missionary."

The other more important issue is that the Biblical examples in the New Testament never involve evangelizing children apart from their parents. In fact, it is most often dad who is evangelized, converted...and then his whole household after him! So if you honestly want your child involved in witnessing to others, bring him along with you as you witness to and minister to the dads and moms in your own neighborhood and sphere of influence! Then he not only gets to participate, but he gets to learn how it's done from you. He has no one to teach him how to be a "missionary" at school....

"My children need friends."

If your child cannot live without his age-related peers, then he is peer-dependent. God says that foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child. If your child needs to be around his "friends" that much, you are not helping him to mature, but rather to support the foolishness that is already in his own heart. You are also teaching him to be unable to relate to other age groups, both younger and older. Ideally, you will have a family that is larger than the American norm, and your child will have a built-in set of "friends" of many ages!

"I don't have the education to teach my own child."

Studies published by the Homeschool Legal Defense Association have proven without a doubt that the educational success of homeschooled young people has absolutely no relationship to the education level of their parents! You are a mom or a dad who wants the absolute best for your child. That's the only qualification necessary!

"I want my child to be 'successful'."

What is the ultimate benefit if your child gains the whole world, but loses his soul? What does it mean to be "successful?" If it means a high standard of living in the Disneyworld that is America, it is a woefully inadequate definition. Biblically, "successful" is to know Jesus and to be like Him. Anything else pales in comparison. Exactly how is the officially atheist, multicultural, diversity-worshipping government school going to help your child know Jesus and become like Him? At best, you will be trying to make up time in the few minutes that are left over at the end of the day. A person questioned my use in a previous post of of a statistic, 20-30 minutes of time a day with your children. While it's a generic number, it's not all that far off the mark. The children get up horridly early in the morning to board the bus. When school is over, there is sports practice, time hanging with friends, and homework. You, mom and dad, get whatever is left are in fourth or fifth place in priority for time during the day. Just try countering hours upon hours of postmodern mindset in just a few minutes at the end of the day.... Just how will you prioritize discipling your child to know Jesus and to become like Him???

"But my schools aren't like that..."

Uh-huh.... Invariably people wishing to justify the placement of their children in the government school will say their schools are better than what is described elsewhere, that these schools have Christian influence and morals. Uh-huh.... While your particular school may have a few Christian teachers or administrators, you have no guarantee your child will have that particular teacher. Then add the legal gags that are placed upon these same teachers and administrators and you will not have them able to teach Christianity or the Christian worldview as ultimate truth. Then you have the problem of the books themselves. They are generally published nationally and include all the tripe about multiculturalism, tolerance, and diversity...not to mention the postmodern viewpoint of no absolute truth. Then add in the peer influences from children who don't respect your morals and subject any child trying to bring his parents' morals into the school to untold ridicule. Oh, and don't forget the over-the-top pushing of such great holidays as Halloween and Earth Day. Sorry...while your school may be better than some, it still suffers from the problems inherent to the government school system.

"Both parents need to work to make ends meet."

While I can sympathize with this argument, I am willing to suggest that in most cases "making ends meet" is required because of excessive lifestyle that isn't necessary to the raising of strong, Godly children. How big is the house? How many cars do you have? How many TVs? Cable? How many cell phones? Latest fashions? And on and on. If you buy into the "American Dream" of success, then you will happily go into massive debt to have "bigger and better" and keep up with the neighbors. I know large families who live simply, requiring far less money than many smaller families...and they are raising wonderfully mature, well-adjusted, happy children, all the while homeschooling each of them! Until you are down to not being able to put a roof over your head or food on the table, this argument doesn't hold water. Remember our "greatest generation" was raised during the Depression....

"I would like to homeschool my child, but can't because of ....."

I left the blank at the end of the sentence because the reason are myriad, from a child's handicap to a parent's chronic illness. These are the heartbreaking stories, for you can hear the pain in the parents' hearts, desiring to disciple and educate their children at home, but cannot do it alone. They need help.

And here's where my answer may surprise you. I agree with their decision.

Why...especially given what I've written previously and now?

I agree because they truly cannot raise their children at home...and the government is the only entity that has stepped up to help them. The church used to fulfill this function. They were the community that stepped in to help each other. But the church has abdicated many of its functions to the government, which has happily taken them on. Thus in cases where the church should have been available to help, they weren't...and so the family turns to the only place it can for help: the government.

I know of some churches that are different, that are trying to reclaim the jurisdiction that is rightly theirs. They value so highly the Biblical admonition to disciple children at home that they have made it a priority in their congregations. They are intentional about several things. First, they have no buildings and no paid staff. That means that every single penny of offering goes to ministry and missions. They have taught their congregation the meaning of Christian community and the priority other Christians should have in each other's lives. So, for instance, if there is a single mom in the congregation, they require her to attempt to go to her family for support and help. If the family won't help, then they ask her to voluntarily place herself under the leadership of one of the elders. If she will do that, the church will do everything necessary, from money to physical help in her home, to allow her to disciple and educate her children at home.

This is what should happen in the lives of people using this reason not to homeschool. But sadly, in America today, the church is all about a voluntary association of autonomous individuals looking for individual fulfillment. The Bride of Christ has given up her responsibilities to her members. And the government has overstepped its jurisdictional bounds and taken over.

So to those who are in this situation, I am truly sorry for you. I wish your church understood and was different. But it probably isn't, and so you are doing the best you can. Please don't feel chastised by those of us who passionately believe in discipling at home. Some of us, anyway, understand.

To everyone about meditating on Deuteronomy 6, Ephesians 6, Psalm 1, and the whole book of Proverbs to start? How about acting upon what you find there? Put the Word into action in your life...and disciple your children at home!

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Results of Scripture Memorization

To echo Tony at "The Kummeropolis"...why can't I do this? Take 11 minutes and receive the blessings of hearing Hebrews 9 and 10 recited in a manner as if it were being preached live by the original author. It's stunning. He's not using some weak translation, either; he's preaching the English Standard Version, yet it is immensely understandable.

And then consider how to discipline and teach yourself and your entire family how to memorize Scripture. A good method suggested by Ruth Beechick can be found HERE. (Note: She does recommend using the King James. I am not a KJV-only advocate, but would suggest that you use as literal a translation as possible. That would be NAS, ESV, KJV...and not NIV.) I suspect that memorizing this way could lead to being able to recite Scripture in a manner similar to this gentleman from Sovereign Grace Ministries: