Fridays for Family – Parenting with Self-Trust vs. God's Grace

From Elyse Fitzpatrick’s “Dazzling Your Kids with the Love of Jesus,” chapter 3. How can we tell whether our efforts at parenting are motivated by reliance on God’s grace or on self-trust?  How can we know whether we’re trying to obligate God or to serve him in gratitude?  One way to judge is to consider your reaction when your children fail.  If you are angry, frustrated, or despairing because you work so hard and they aren’t responding, then you’re working (at least in part) for the wrong reasons.  Conversely, if you’re proud when your children obey and you get those […]

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Cluttered Kitchens, Taxing the Rich, Deceitful Hearts, and How we Lie to Ourselves

It’s stunning how blind we often are to our own inconsistencies, but how great we are at pointing out everyone else’s. For example, I came home from a 90-minute “date night” with our 3 year-old foster daughter yesterday, and walked into a cluttered kitchen that I quickly remedied by simply putting things where they belong.  Laughingly, I thought to myself, “It’s so funny how my wife can’t seem to find where these things go.” Two hours later, sitting in the living room, I noticed seven personal items (shoes, books, etc.) in random places throughout the room, and none of them […]

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Weekends for Kids: I Can do it, Mom. Let me show you how.

A missing set screw in the door knob to the girls’s bedroom now means that if the door becomes shut, it’s a bit of a pain to open.  You have to grab it just right, and turn it just right, and even then there are no guarantees. It happened this morning, and my wife could not get it open to wake the girls up. She was flummoxed. Jono, my 5-year old, to the rescue. “I know how to do it, Mom.  Watch.  You KNOCK.” Knock Knock. (Girls open door) Jono: “See, Mommy?  You just knock and the girls open it.” […]

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Fridays for Family – Family Worship Expectations and Reality

We are, occasionally, attempting family devotions and worship moments in our home. Sometimes it goes well, other times it’s a debacle.  There’s a certain amount of frustration that comes with it not going well that is different than when other things don’t go well.  I tend to heighten my expectations … looking for an amazing spiritual epiphany in the kids … when the reality is something much less (constant interruptions, disinterest, someone passing gas, etc.). Wednesday night was no exception.  I thought I had a great “hook,” but it fell apart quickly. Fortunately, my preschool expert wife salvaged the experience. […]

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Where Does our Salvation and its Certainty Lie? Our Feeble Grasp within His Mighty Grasp

This is an excerpt from Thomas Torrance’s essay, “Preaching Jesus Christ,” found in the book, “A Passion for Christ: the Vision that Ignites Ministry.” When preaching about faith in Christ and his vicarious humanity, I sometimes use and develop and illustration taken from John Welsh, the son-in-law of John Knox, who used to point out that our grasping of Christ by faith is itself enclosed within the mighty grasp of Christ, and it is in Christ’s grasp of us rather than in our grasp of him that our salvation and certainty lie.  In this connection, I sometimes recall what happened […]

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Are we Out of our Minds?

Until this week, I had not heard of Sir Ken Robinson, nor do I know anything about him beyond what this animation to a lecture he gave represents.  What I appreciate about this video is that it is a representation of the lecture’s content.  That, in and of itself, is pretty cool. But the lecture raises some interesting questions. Why is ADHD predominantly an east coast phenomenon? If the current model for public (and most private) education is based on the industrial revolution, what would a model based on the Information Age look like? Is a liberal arts education more […]

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Fasting from Talking (AKA, How to Decimate a Pastor's Pride in a Few Short Days)

As the school year ended in May 2011, I knew I needed to rest my voice.  For that reason, I looked ahead with joy at a few planned Sundays off from preaching, as well as not teaching my Wednesday evening pastor’s class.  Three weeks into that respite, and my voice was more hoarse than ever.  I was scoped through the nose (fascinating feeling) by an ENT who discovered no nodules or polyps on my vocal cords, forwarded me to a specialist in Charleston, and prescribed strict voice rest.  “No problem,” I thought. HUGE PROBLEM. In the few short days that […]

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