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Advice to Guys Who Want to Date My Daughters

(From a Man Who Has Been There)

 

This article originally appeared here in 2014. It is even more true today.

This is an open letter to young men out there. All types of young men: my twenty-one-year-old son, young men in my church, and more particularly—young men who would like to date my daughters.

With one daughter having graduated from college and another in college, I have observed your dateless world. With a cultural war on manhood, you have lost markers that give you confidence. Allow a former young man to give you some guidance.

You are growing up in a less formal world. But you are not the better for it. And you take this informality into your relationship with the opposite sex. You “hang out” together.

Indeed, informality can be a benefit to seeing each other as friends. But in a world of “friends” there is not a distance that can foster a romantic relationship. Relationships are blurry. We “like” things on Facebook and “friend” people we met just once.

All of this vague social contact can lead to too much information. It can also lead to confusing and blurry relationships.

So here is my unsolicited advice to single young men from a former young man.

Manful Motivation

Let’s start with your heart motivation. Since I am assuming that you are a follower of Jesus Christ, then like all things, you are to do this to bring glory of God. And to do that you should start with the right motivation. Specifically, you should: “Treat younger women as sisters with absolute purity.” (1Timothy 5:2).

First, treat my daughter as you would treat your sister—with absolute purity. David Powlison observes: “All women except one—your wife—are in the category of mother, grandmother, sister, daughter. Your girlfriend or fiancee is a ‘sister’ first of all and should be treated as such.”

Until you are married, she is my daughter and your sister. I have promised the Lord to present her pure to a young man on her wedding day (2 Corinthians 11:2). That might be you. Who knows?

Second, treat my daughter as you would treat your sister—with selfless love. You can walk into this dating labyrinth with a serving heart or a self-seeking heart. Are you coming to serve or be served? You know which comes from Christ.

But how does this play out in specific actions?

Manful Actions

1. Spend some time in groups with guys and girls. Deliberately seek to socialize together or (radical thought!) serve together in groups. Your generation has nailed the socialize part. Maybe you could work on the serve part?

2. Have some modesty toward her. Keep your mouth shut. If you have feelings of affection or attraction, don’t reveal them. Have some self-control and modesty. Do not tell her you “like” her and put the ball in her court. See #3 to #5. Take some responsibility.

2a. Have some boundaries toward her. Do not text her like you text her buddies. Keep a little distance. Let the relationship grow in person.

3. Date with Jesus, not Cupid in mind. Ask a young lady out for coffee to get to know her, but also do this with other young ladies. And do this with some that seem less attractive to you. (Update – I have received some pushback that this makes you seem like you are playing the field. If so, then don’t do it.) Do this to serve them, not to lead them on. Do this with another guy friend to take the pressure off.

Your reputation will soar when word gets out that you and your friend care to treat younger women as sisters, made in the image of God, and valuable to Him. You are going out to serve, not to hunt.

4. Make a formal, in-person invitation. Since this is a “date,” ask the girl to go out with you. Call her if you have to, but take the highest form of communication. Don’t be a coward and text it. Don’t post it on Facebook. Ask cheerfully. Ask privately. Ask clearly.

And by the way, don’t just ask her to “hang out.” What’s that?

5. Be ready for rejection. You are a man. Grow up. It’s OK if you get, “No, thanks. I have to wash my hair that night.” You won’t die. It will put hair on your chest. Since you are doing this as a ministry and not because you have the two of you married in your mind, you can handle rejection. Believe me, it won’t be the first time you are rejected in your life.

6. Go somewhere. Do something. Just the two or the four of you. Take the initiative. Don’t ask, “What do you want to do?” Even if she doesn’t love what you decide to do, she will love the fact that you showed manful initiative and planning.

And you should pay. Even if she has more money. Even if she insists. It doesn’t have to be expensive. Part of your calling as a man is to provide. Provide what you have, not what you don’t have.

7. Minister to her by asking her questions about herself. Don’t talk about yourself. Go out with a prepared list of questions. Make her feel special by getting to know her. What made her the person she is now? Where does she hope to be in a few years?

How many times have my daughters come home and related that their date talked about himself the whole night?

8. Thank her for her time. Since your goal for the date was to serve, at the end thank her for spending time with you. Even if you do not choose to see her again, you have ministered to her. You want her to feel like she matters to Christ. You are expressing grace to her.

(And ladies, you need to control your emotions. Guys are often afraid of leading you on. You can and should guard your heart. One date does not a husband make!)

9. Keep your mouth shut around others. Don’t go back and give the play-by-play to your friends. Have some self-control. This isn’t junior high school, is it? Have some modesty.

10. If you want to pursue things further, then repeat 3-9 in person. Do it to express Christian love. Ask. Be ready for rejection. Do something. Thank her for the evening. Keep your mouth shut. Have self-control with your texting.

11. Move it along appropriately – neither too slowly nor too quickly. This is a dance. But don’t believe the popular media lie that it so difficult. If you are caring for her as a sister, you are on the right track.

12. Repeat 3-9, until she tells you to call her father. Or if she doesn’t, then take the initiative to call me anyway. That would be me. This is a good sign. That means this is getting serious. I want to talk to you. I was a young man once. I am looking forward to talking with you.

Men, you can do this! You can show manful care. Bring glory to Christ by being countercultural in your dateless, sex-saturated generation where men have the backbone of a jellyfish.

Young People|

How Did Jesus View Scripture?


How did Jesus view his Scriptures?
I have been thinking about this question recently.

In this age of the Internet when I am distracted more than ever (after all you are reading this on the Internet), how did Jesus view the Scriptures? Having a high of Scriptures might help me make them a priority. If I want to have the mind of Christ, then it will be helpful to know how he thought about his Scriptures – our OT.

Below you will find Scriptures that I found useful. His high view challenges my own heart. What would you add?

1. He was taught it.
Luke 2:46-47, “After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers.”

He took the initiative to sit under the teachers, listening, asking good question. He was teachable.

2. He believed it was necessary for life.
Matthew 4:4 “Man does not live by bread alone but on every word of God.”

This echoes the teaching of Deuteronomy 32:45-47 where Moses says these word are not trivial but your life. He said to them, “Take to heart all the words by which I am warning you today, that you may command them to your children, that they may be careful to do all the words of this law. For it is no empty word for you, but your very life, and by this word you shall live long in the land that you are going over the Jordan to possess.”

3. He did not come to abolish it but fulfill it.
Matt 5:17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.”

4. He said every stroke was established by God and eternal.
Matt 5:18 “For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.”

5. He said those who practice it and teach it correctly are great.
Matt 5:19 “Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”

This verse implies that we need teachers. There are true teachers and false teacher. It also shows that the lives of the teachers matter.

6. He taught the Scriptures are written by God and man.
Mark 7:9-12. And he said to them, “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition! For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’ But you say, ‘If a man tells his father or his mother, “Whatever you would have gained from me is Corban”’ (that is, given to God)—then you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or mother, thus making void the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And many such things you do.”

In this amazing passage, Jesus goes back and forth between God and Moses as the author. All the commands are commands of God. And Moses is the author of one of the Ten Commandments! In other words, they are interchangeable.

7. He believed the Scriptures are historically accurate.
Jesus referred to Adam and Eve, Noah, Abel, Zechariah, Lot’s wife, Sodom and Gomorrah, Jonah, David, Solomon, the Queen of Sheba. He taught as if they were real individuals and the stories were real. He told us that Moses wrote the Pentatuch (Matt 19:7).

8. He taught that there are teachers who don’t know the Scriptures and therefore are in error.
Matthew 22:29 But Jesus answered them, “You are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God.”

9. He taught that false teachers were going to come after him.
Matthew 5:15-20 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.”

His followers should be aware and look for them.

10. He taught that the Scriptures were about him.
Luke 24:27,44 27“And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.” 44 “Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.”

11. He taught the Scriptures can be mishandled by neglecting the weightier matters and majoring on minutia. Matthew 23:23-24 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel!”

12. He taught the Scriptures were truth and they were to make us holy.
John 17:17 “Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.”

13. He taught the Word is like seed that is spread. It will lead to different reactions.
Matt 13:3-9 “A sower went out to sow. 4 And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, but when the sun rose they were scorched. And since they had no root, they withered away. Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. He who has ears, let him hear.”

14. He taught that some parts of were fulfilled.
Mark 7:18-19 “Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile him,19 since it enters not his heart but his stomach, and is expelled?” (Thus he declared all foods clean.)”

There is progress in revelation. Now that he had come, there were parts of the OT law that were no longer in effect.

15. He taught that more Scripture was to come.
John 16:12-13 “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.”

Jesus’ view of his own words.
How did Jesus view his own words?

1. His words would not ever pass away. They would last forever.
Matthew 24:35 “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.”

This is an amazing claim. His words are further revelation that will be joined with the OT.

2. His words were spirit and life.
John 6:63 “The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.”

3. His words prove who is a disciple.
John 8:31 “So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples.”

4. His words give freedom.
John 8:32 “So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

5. His words enable answered prayer.
John 15:7 “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.”

6. His words are how we remain in his love.
John 15:10 “If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.”

Jesus had a high view of Scripture. Do we?

Apologetics|

Help! I Caught My Son Looking at Porn!

Like the mother above, we may be horrified by what we find on our computer. I received this email recently. What would you say?

My husband and I planted a church in [ ] several years ago. I’ve been leading a Mom’s Bible study using your book The Disciple Making Parent.

Two days ago I caught our almost 15 year old son looking at inappropriate pictures on the Internet. We are purchasing software for our devices, etc. but I was wondering if you have any resources that you would recommend for the discipleship process that we now need to embark on to help my son work through and hopefully overcome this temptation. I appreciate any help/resources you could suggest.

Thank you. Emily

My Response
Thank you for reaching out to me. I wish I could be onsite and help out. The best I can do is ask some questions and make some generalizations based on my interacting with other families.

Questions about the nature of your family – how strong is your marriage, how involved is your husband, what number is your son, how stressful has the church plant been, what is the state of your son’s heart (repentant, hard), does he claim to be a Christian, do you think he really is a Christian, etc. Answers to all those would affect how I approach this situations. I will give you my answer making some assumptions.

With teens and with all children, I recommend a strategy that involves two parts: heart and behavior (words and actions). And in this case your husband should take the lead. Moms tend to be horrified by the thought that their child would even consider porn. Men, who know what goes on in our hearts, understand that this is a constant temptation. If I was pastoring today I would expect that over 50%? 80%? 95%  of my guys would be struggling with this. I think it is important that you see this as a gospel moment that God in his grace had allowed your son to get caught and help. Dont see this as, “How in the world could my son do this. We have raised him right.”

Behavior – yes in this day and age we need blocking software. Do other electronics need to be taken away? Even as you do that, dont think that this will solve the heart problem. It just helps the impulsive sin temptation.

Heart – I would expect that your husband would take the lead. This should serve as a wake up call for him. In addition, it is a training moment to understand what guys who come into his church are fighting. I would encourage him to take your son out for breakfast and start many conversations that include:

Speaking to the Heart
1. “I love you, God loves you, It is his grace that caused you to get caught.”
2. “God’s view of sexuality is good. So powerful it is surrounded by covenant. Distorted in every age.” (Have you talked with him about the mechanics of sexuality? If not, I think this is a shortcoming that you can apologize for.)
3. “Men especially are tempted to pervert this gift. But Jesus tells us to get rid of anything that prompts temptation” (Matt 5:29-30).
4. “We are going to fight this battle together. This is every man’s battle. I am going to ask you accountability questions. This will draw us together.” (Make sure you have an atmosphere where it is safe to confess sin. Is your home one where members of the home regularly confess sin to each other?)
5. “Tell me about this temptation. How long?”
6. “This is a chance to get serious with God and not coast as a Christian. This is a chance to ask if you have a new heart.”
7. One idea depends on your judgment of the situation. Either have him confess it to another man/elder in the church and ask for prayer. Or tell him that if this happens again, you will have him do that.
8. Never forget about the flesh.  That is what the chapter on the Flesh and the Spirit is about in The Disciple-Making Parent. I would assume that he will be tempted the rest of his life. This would be an area for you and your husband to pray about and for him to keep an ongoing conversation about.
9. Tell him that you two will be praying about this because you are on his side. And you will be praying that any future sin comes out – not to catch him but to help him fight this temptation.

Some Resources
Waging War on Lust – I have written a Bible study that he and your son could do together.  This links to the kindle version. Paperback is available from my website here.
Finally Free – I read and went through this with a young man in his twenties. A longer book.
The Porn Problem This is the next entry in The Talking Points book. It is short and readable. While it may not be a book the two of them will do together, it will give your husband some “talking points.”
The Purity Principle – Another short book to read through together. I love Randy Alcorn and his ministry!
Every Young Man’s Battle – I have not read this but it has been a bestseller. Although written by a psychologist it might be helpful for equipping your son. I have since pulled my mention of this resource after reading this review. Moral of the story: Dont mention a book you haven’t read. 🙂
Passport to Purity – The classic weekend getaway for a parent and child.

Emily’s followup back to me:
Thank you for all the resources. The Bible study you wrote looks like something we will definitely use. As soon as I caught him I bought the passport to purity weekend kit. It had been something we had been considering but were trying to figure out when to use it because it’s a fine line between protecting and prematurely introducing ideas that may be detrimental if it’s not a struggle yet. Obviously we erred on the wrong-side of that one.

And just as an encouragement for you, I had done Chapter 20 in the Disciple Making Parent book with some other mom’s a few weeks before Christmas and I felt like the Lord was leading me to fast and pray for this son specifically for his lack of self-control in his life as a whole. I had been doing it once a week for over a month when this came out and I do think that it is all linked so thank you for your book.

Parenting|

Not the Critic That Counts – Teddy Roosevelt on Courage


It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcomings, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory or defeat.

Theodore Roosevelt Citizenship in a Republic (Speech at the Sorbonne, Paris, April 23, 1910)

Power of Purpose|

The Donut Date Journal 2: Family History Edition

 

I had just released The Disciple-Making Parent’s Donut Date Journal and it was doing quite well. I was excited about happy parents who were loving this time with their children. Then within one day of each other, I had similar requests. Two different young people each asked their parents:

‘Where is my journal to ask you questions?”

These parents contacted me and essentially said the same thing, “We love The Donut Date Journal. But could you please make one for children to ask questions of their parents?”

“Of course!” I thought to myself. “Why didn’t I think of that before? What a great way for children to show honor to their parents—by learning their parents’ stories!”

As I reflected more, I realized how valuable something like this would be for me. I have heard stories from my parents. But those stories had come in bits and pieces throughout the years. Over time the details have begun to fade. In addition, because I heard the stories piecemeal, I don’t remember the chronology or specific years.

But I do want to remember. This is my heritage. These are people I love!

After some work, I am about to release The Donut Date Journal 2. In this companion journal you will find 70 questions for children to ask their parents.

I think young children will enjoy asking these questions. At this age, they are eager to hear their parents’ stories and will find them interesting.

Even more, teens and adult children will enjoy asking their parents these questions. Although it has Donut Date in the title, this journal could make for stimulating conversation around the holiday table or on a long car trip. And for teens, this resource can help them connect with their parents and grandparents.

God commands his people to show honor to their parents and the aged. Unfortunately we live in a time when families are often child-centered. This resource can help bind families together and honor the different generations.

I offer it to you in the hope that it deepens the love and respect in your family!

Uncategorized|

Wayne Grudem Critiques Theistic Evolution

I recently had the chance to hear Wayne Grudem present at the Evangelical Theological Society. His presentation focused on how Theistic Evolution directly attacks the inerrancy of Scripture. It is the outline of his contribution to the book Theistic Evolution: A Scientific, Philosophical, and Theological Critique.

Your children will face teaching about evolution. He does his usual methodical and persuasive job. I think this is going to become the goto resource for smart Christians.

The following is from his handout:

What this book is not about?
1. Age of the earth. We take no position.
2. Whether supporters of theistic evolution are genuine Christians.
3. The book is about whether Genesis 1-3 should be understood as a historical narrative in the sense of reporting events the author wants readers to believe actually happened and not as figurative or allegorical literature.

What is theistic evolution?
Definition used in our book from multiple TE sources
God created matter and after that did not guide or intervene or act directly to cause any empirically detectable change in the natural behavior of matter until all living things had evolved by purely natural processes.

Implications: We have descended from earlier ape-like creatures by virtue of random mutation and natural selection. All living things have also come about not through direct creation by special activity of God but by random mutation from previous, simpler life forms.

Additional Implications: Modern genetics claims there was no original couple from whom all human beings decended, rather 1000s of different apelike creatures in different parts of the world gradually developed different kinds of human characteristics. The human race today descended from 10,000 early human beings. If there is a literal Adam and Eve just two individuals God picked out of 10,000 humans on earth.

Then what happens to Genesis 1-3?
1. Adam and Eve were not the first human beings (and perhaps Adam and Eve never existed).
2. Adam and Eve were not created without parents but were born from human parents.
3. God did not act directly or specially to create Adam out of dust from the ground.
4. God did not directly create Eve from a rib taken from Adam’s side.
5. Adam and Eve were never sinless human beings.
6. Adam and Eve did not commit the first human sins, for human beings were doing morally evil things long before Adam and Eve.
7. Human death did not begin as the result of Adam’s sin, for human beings existed long before Adam and Eve and they were always subject to death.
8. Not all human beings have descended from Adam and Eve, for there were thousands of other human beings on earth at the time that God chose two of them as Adam and Eve.
9. God did not directly act in the natural world to create different “kinds” of fish, birds, and land animals.
10. God did not “rest” from his work of creation or stop any special creative activity after plants, animals, and human beings appeared on the earth.
11. God never created an originally “very good” natural world in the sense of a world that was a safe environment, free of thorns and thistles and similar harmful things.
12. After Adam and Eve sinned, God did not place any curse on the world that changed the workings of the natural world and made it more hostile to mankind.

Result: Not Just Reinterpreting 1 or 2 Words/Verses.
1. Theistic evolution claims that Genesis 1-3 is not a historical narrative that reports events that actually happened. It sees Genesis 1-3 as figurative or allegorical literature, not factual history.

Biologos website (the primary online location for thoughtful theistic evolution materials:

Denis Lamoureux: “Adam never existed,” and “Holy Scripture makes statements about how God created living organisms that in fact never happened.”
Peter Enns: “Maybe Israel’s history happened first, and the Adam story was written to reflect that history. In other words, the Adam story is really an Israel story placed in primeval time.”
Francis Collins: “Gen 1-3 is “poetry and allegory. “
Denis Alexander: “figurative and theological” literature.
John Walkton: stories about “archtypes”
Walton: Bible makes “no claims” regarding “biological human origins,” for Genesis 2 “talks about the nature of all people, not the unique material origins of Adam and Eve.” In fact, he says that “the Bible does not really offer any information about material human origins.”

Result: Genesis 1-3 should not be understood as claiming to be a report of actual historical events.
However: This nonhistorical reading of Genesis 1-3 does not arise from factors in the text itself. It is only adopted because of a prior commitment to the supposed fact of evolution.

Reasons why Genesis 1-3 must be understood as reliable historical narrative.
1. Evidence within Genesis 1-3.
2. Intertextual ties to later historical OT that affirm historicity of Genesis 1-3.
a. Genealogies: Genesis 5:1-5 Gordon Wehnam: If the later figures in the genealogies are real people – and they certainly behave in a very human fashiion – then the earlier characters, the ancestors of Abraham, must also be viewed as real persons.
1 Chron 1:1, 27
b. Details about intentional creation of specific animals. Affirmation that God intentionally and with specific wisdom created individual animals.
Psalm 8:4-9, Psalm 104:24-25.

Ten NT books reaffirm historicity of specific details in Genesis 1-3

1. Matthew. He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to this wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” (Matthew 19:4-5).
2. Luke: the son of Enos, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God. (Luke 3:38).
3. Acts: The God who made the world and everything in it. Acts 17:24
And he made from one man every nations of mankind to live on all the face of the earth. Acts 17:26.
4. Romans: Therfore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin…For if many died through one man’s trespass, For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous. Romasn 5:12-19.
5. 1 Corinthians: For man was not made from woman, but woman from man. 1 Cor 11:8.
For as by a man came death, by a man has come the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ, all shall be made alive. 1 Cor 15:21-22.
6. 2 Corinthians But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led a stray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. 2 Cor 11:3
7. Colossians: For by him all thins were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible. Col 1:16.
8. 1 Timothy: For Adam was formed first, then Eve. 1 Tim 2:13.
And Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. 1 Tim 2:14.
9. Hebrews: For he has somewhere spoken of the seventh day in this way, And God rested on the seventh day from all his works. … for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his. Heb 4:4,10.
10. Revelation: “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to received glory and honor and power, for you created all things and by your will they existed and were created. Rev 4:11
…him who lives forever and ever, who created heaven and what is in it, the earth and what is int it, and the sea and what is in it. Rev 10:6

Consider equipping your son or daughter with this valuable resource.

Apologetics|

Prophesies Prove Jesus is the Messiah

A natural question for every child growing up in a Christian home (and even adult unbelievers) is,

  • “How do I know that the Bible is the Word of God?”
  • “How do I know that Jesus is the real ‘religion’?”
  • Often time there is nagging doubt that, “If I would just take time to read the holy books of the other religions I would find them to be similar to the Bible.”
  • “If I really want to be open-minded about this I should read about the other religions.”

But the answer to that is quite simple. “Save yourself a lot of time. Look at the only holy book that has had predictive prophesy come true and look at the only religion that has had its founder rise from the dead.”

This article looks at the prophesies that Jesus fulfilled by his birth. Sometimes it is thought that Jesus deliberately fulfilled prophesies. Indeed, there are some he deliberately fulfilled, such as riding on a donkey into Jerusalem.

But the ancient Scriptures are filled with predictions of the lineage of the Messiah. No one can control their ancestors or their place of birth. These OT Scriptures taught the people that the Messiah would be:

A son of Abraham.

Around 1500 years BC. the ancient Scriptures predicted “I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you. Gen 12:2-3

I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, 18 and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.” Gen 22:16-18

But Abraham fathered two sons, Ishmael and Isaac. From which line would the Messiah come? Around 1500 years BC, the ancient Scriptures predicted: But God said to him, “Do not be so distressed about the boy and your maidservant. Listen to whatever Sarah tells you, because it is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned. Gen 21:12

But Isaac fathered two sons, Esau and Jacob. From which line would the Messiah come? Around 1500 years BC, the ancient Scriptures predicted: “I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near. A star will come out of Jacob; a scepter will rise out of Israel. Numbers 24:17(Also Gen 35:10-12)

But Jacob fathered twelve sons. From which line would the Messiah come? Around 1500 years BC, the ancient Scriptures predicted: The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until he comes to whom it belongs and the obedience of the nations is his.  Genesis 49:10

But Judah had many descendants. From which descendent would the Messiah come? Around 800 years BC, the ancient Scriptures predicted:  A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. 2 The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him– Isaiah 11:1

But Jesse had eight sons. From which descendent would the Messiah come?

  • 800 years BC, the ancient Scriptures predicted: He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it  with justice and righteousness  from that time on and forever Isa 9:6
    • Around 550 BC Jeremiah says   “‘The days are coming,’ declares the LORD, ‘when I will fulfill the gracious promise I made to the house of Israel and to the house of Judah.15 “‘In those days and at that time I will make a righteous Branch sprout from David’s line; he will do what is just and right in the land. 16 In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety. This is the name by which it will be called: The LORD Our Righteousness.’ 17 For this is what the LORD says: ‘David will never fail to have a man to sit on the throne of the house of Israel, Jeremiah 33:14-17
  • Around 550 BC, after David had died, Ezekiel says,My servant David will be king over them, and they will all have one shepherd.”37:24ff

And what would be the place of his birth? “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.” Micah 5:2

And what would be the manner of his birth? Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.Isa 7:14-15

And what of this modern idea that Jesus is both God and man?

Around 800 years BC, the ancient Scriptures predicted: For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called   Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness  from that time on and forever Isa 9:6

So we can see that God predicts the coming Messiah, giving both his lineage and his place of birth. This helps establish the uniqueness of the Bible (where are the prophesies in the other holy books) and the uniqueness of Jesus (what prophesies did the other religious leaders fulfill?).

Josh McDowell references a helpful illustration:

In his book, Science Speaks, Peter Stoner applies the modern science of probability to just eight prophecies regarding Christ. He says, ”The chance that any man might have … fulfilled all eight prophecies is one in 10 to the 17th. That would be 1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000 (one hundred quadrillion).”

Stoner suggests that “we take 10 to the 17th silver dollars and lay them on the face of Texas. They will cover all the state 2 feet deep. Now mark one of these silver dollars and stir the whole mass thoroughly… Blindfold a man and tell him he can travel as far as he wishes, but he must pick up [that one marked silver dollar.] What chance would he have of getting the right one?”

Stoner concludes, “Just the same chance that the prophets would have had of writing those eight prophecies and having them all come true in any one man,…providing they wrote them in their own wisdom.”

So let us encourage our faith, our children, and unbelievers with the uniqueness of the Bible and the uniqueness of the birth of Jesus. No other holy book has predictive prophesy that points to the Messiah. God gives clues to those who are seekers after him, those who really want to know.

A Biblical Prayer – Greater Love and Greater Discernment

And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God. Phil 1:9

How shall we pray for our children and ourselves?

Paul tells the Philippian church that he is praying for them that their love will increase. Sin is naturally selfish, focusing our attention on self and making us the center of our universe. The exact opposite of that is love for God and love for our neighbor (Matthew 22:37-39). That amount of love is not static, it can grow and abound.

But many things are wrongly called love, and so Paul prays that this love will grow in knowledge and discernment so that they can approve (or discern) what is excellent (or best).

Paul’s prayer for his children and our prayer for children is that they will grow in knowledge and discernment about what is the best choice. The very nature of children is that they do not have knowledge and discernment of the world. As toddlers they cannot discern between a hot stove and a cold stove. Maturity for a child is growing in knowledge and discernment so that they do not run into the road or put dirt in their mouth. Similarly, spiritual maturity is also growing in knowledge and discernment about how God sees the world: Where is there spiritual safety and spiritual danger?

The reason Paul prays for that discernment is so that they will choose what is excellent or best. All of us chose what we think is best at that moment. The mouse thinks the cheese is excellent until the bar falls; the fish thinks the worm is best until the hook grabs him. Paul is praying that they will choose what is really best, God’s best in the many choices we have before us each day.

The pursuit of excellence does not turn on transparent distinctions between right and wrong. It turns, rather, on delicate choices that reflect one’s entire value system, one’s entire set of priorities, one’s heart and mind. D. A. Carson, A Call to Spiritual Reformation, p. 128

This is what we want for our children: a heart that loves God and others, filled with knowledge and discernment, so that they are making God-glorifying, good choices. Paul wants and we want their lives full of the fruits of righteousness.

Bottom line – As parents, we can often focus on behavior. Paul focuses on abounding love for God and man, knowledgeable and discerning love that makes good choices. Why? So that they can live a happy life? No, so that they can be pure and blameless for the day of Christ.

Power of Prayer|

A Keynote Speech: The Disciple-Making Parent

I have the privilege of presenting the material of The Disciple-Making Parent in all sorts of settings. I have a five hour weekend workshop I can do. I present a practical how to workshop.

But I also present the material in a keynote style.

You can listen to that talk below.

Overview
Introduction and the Framework  – 1:22
God Intends The Great Commission to be the North Star – 10:30
You are God’s Most Effective Shepherd – 15:42
A Common Myth We Believe – 21:00
How to Disciple: Five Things to Focus On  – 25:10

Parenting|

Book Review: Reformation ABCs

In The Disciple-Making Parent, I have argued that one of the reasons parents are to lead the way in teaching their children is that we learn in the process. When something has to be explained to a child, the teacher must simplify it!

The Reformation ABCs book will help you both understand prominent figures in the Reformation and teach it to your young children. As we celebrate the 500th year of the Reformation in 2017, it is especially appropriate.

The book is both simple enough to read to a 4 or 5 year old but also will keep an 8 or 9 year old engaged. Of course, it includes the well known reformers such as Luther, Zwingli, and Calvin. But it also include less well known individuals such as Durer, Queen Marguarite, and Queen Elizabeth I. And Y stand for you. “You are the next Reformer.”

I could see this being used for family reading or even a short stint as family devotions. If you don’t know church history, it will serve as an appetizer to start the juices flowing.

It would make a fun birthday or Christmas gift to the family. Give it to the dad who is afraid of family devotions. Fun and simple.

Purchase it here.

Book Reviews|