Discerning Culture

/Discerning Culture

Bullying and the Gospel: What’s a Parent to Say and Do?

Bullying is a common childhood problem.

How would you help your child if this happened to him or her? Are Christians always to turn the other cheek? How does the gospel apply?

Listen in as I have conversation with Kevin McKay about the wise way he walked his son through this very problem.

Jesus Came to Testify to the Truth

Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place.”You are a king, then!” said Pilate. Jesus answered, “You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.” John 18:36-37

Why did Jesus come into this world?  One reason was to speak the truth.

We live in a world ignorant about God, ignorant about righteousness and sin, ignorant about successful living. Jesus came into this world to speak truth. His kingdom is established, not by arms, but by truth.

In our verse listed above, he speaks, seemingly in vain, to Pilate. Was it in vain?

Pilate’s reaction did not matter. Jesus was commended for making the good confession to Pilate. (1 Timothy 6:13). What mattered is that Jesus was a faithful witness. In fact, that is a name of Jesus – the faithful witness(Revelation 1:5 ). To be a faithful witness you just have to speak the truth. You don’t need to worry about the reaction.

Matthew Henry said, “He rules in the minds of men by the power of truth…The foundation and power, the spirit and genius, of Christ’s kingdom is truth, divine truth. …He conquers by the convincing evidence of truth; he rules by the commanding power of truth.”

But not only was Jesus born to testify to the truth, so were you. The nature of the kingdom of God is such that it conquers – not by guns – but by truth. Truth needs a voice; truth needs a tongue. God wants to use you to speak truth.

But how many times do I hold back because I don’t think it will make a difference. How many conversations have I not had, letters to the editor not written because I don’t think it will make a difference. Because I don’t think it will produce those results, I don’t speak. But there is power in the truth. And the nature of my calling is to be a faithful witness, to make the good confession no matter what the results. If we have spoken the truth we have been successful

God wants to use you to give voice to the truth. And the focus must be on faithfulness. As we faithfully give voice to the truth, like a sword coming out of our mouth (Revelation 1:6), truth conquerers. So let us know, be filled with, and speak the truth.


Want to know more answers so that you and your young person can testify to the truth? Check out 7 Questions Everyone Should Answer. These CDs will equip you to speak truth to those around you!

How We Handled Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy


We are past this stage in our parenting but I thought it might be interesting to post how we handled Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy.

This issue is not at the heart of the gospel (Romans 14:4, 17). I was brought up on Santa until age six. That Christmas Eve night we were driving home from my grandmother’s house. As I looked out at all the homes in my city, I just knew that there was no way Santa could visit every house in the world in one night. And I am following the Lord today.

However, anytime we talk to our children about someone who knows if we are sleeping or awake (omniscience) and who knows if we’ve been good or bad and expect us to be good, then we ought to think beyond the surface.

In addition, there is the subtle danger of learning about two invisible people – Jesus and Santa. When you find out later one is not real then……   As the caption on the poster reads, “Children one day you will learn everything about Santa Claus. On that day, remember everything that the adults have told you about Jesus.”





With that in mind, our hard and fast rule was we will never ever lie to our children (or anyone else). Never. When I tell them the truth about things they cannot see, I do not want them to have any doubts about the truthfulness of their Dad or Mom. I want them to have complete trust in our integrity.

So how did our family handle Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy?

1. We never took our children to talk with Santa (or the EB). No Christmas cards in his lap.

2. We never brought Santa up in conversation. If the children brought it up, then we would talk about it.

3. We used passive language. “Christmas is coming. There will be presents under the tree.” “Put your tooth under your pillow and there will be some money there the next morning.” There was something a little more fun with the passive voice. We didn’t say Santa will bring presents. We didn’t say we will bring presents. We said, “There will be some presents.” Mysterious. Teasing.

4. Because we used passive language, by the time they asked who these dressed up men were, they could also handle the trust of the truth. “Some children believe that Santa brings their presents. We don’t want to spoil Christmas for them. This is our secret.”

5. When asked by another adult or child what they hoped Santa would bring, we told them simply to reply with what they wanted for Christmas. They still had some times when they had the deer-in-the-headlights look. We just repeated the question, “Honey, tell Mrs. Smith what you want for Christmas.”

6. We resolved not to be Christmas haters. As a family we enjoyed The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, Elf, The Polar Express. We had great fun with the secular aspects of the holiday.

7. We wanted the focus to remain on Jesus, even as we added a little fun to life with presents or chocolate eggs.

These principles served our family well and we still had great fun.

In fact, on a couple of nights the “tooth fairy” slipped in his duties. The tooth was still under the pillow the next morning. So one of my daughters wrote a note to remind the “tooth fairy.” With a twinkle in her eye, she handed the note to me and said, “Dad, could you give this note to the tooth fairy? She forgot to come by last night.” And she quickly turned to walk away with a knowing smile.

Christmas time is here. Let’s honor the Savior in it.


Want your children to follow Christ as adults? tap_dmp_cover_final

Purchase The Disciple-Making Parent: A Comprehensive Guidebook for Raising Your Children to Love and Follow Love Jesus Christ to learn more about discipling your children.

Around the Web

Kids Opting Out of Social Media – I’m sure you know of this trend but it still interesting to see an article on it. Our children are narrowcasting not broadcasting. Make sure you are talking with them.

With Him – Jesus’ Discipleship Method.  This has huge implications for parents. Are you “with him?” Are you bringing your children “with you?”

Ask Questions Like Jesus – One author says that Jesus was asked 183 questions but asked 307. Questions are powerful teaching tools. This article looks at different types of questions and will help you in your communication.

10 Questions to Diagnose Your Smartphone Usage – I found these enlightening and helpful.

5 Ways Christianity is Increasingly Viewed as Extremist – I don’t take Barna too seriously. Nevertheless, he usually is on to something. This survey merely quantifies what those in the Northwest and Northeast already know. There are implications for how we disciple our children.

How TV Affects Our Family and World

Here is research proof  to what we already know.

As TV spreads, it changes culture. This article points out how the spread of TV  has reduced Brazil’s birthrate and influenced social mores in India gradually.

The article goes on to point out how TV has changed our culture’s acceptance of homosexuality.

Some applications as I see it.

1. We are imitators. We can’t help it. The question is what will we imitate. We will imitate those we admire. If I am saturating myself with TV characters then I will want to emulate them. If I put myself around those who are godly and admire them, I will want to emulate them.

2. Our children are imitators. They can’t help it. The question is who will they imitate? They will imitate those they admire. If they are saturating themselves with ungodly examples, they will emulate them. If they put themselves around those who are godly and admire them, they will want to emulate them.
a. In other words, turn off the TV!!
b. Constantly, praise godly Christians who they can see and touch.
c. Constantly point out godly “heroes” to emulate. (e.g. Tim Tebow types)

3. Since the world seeks to conform us to its image (Romans 12:2), let us train our children to stand against the world and its subtle influence. As the U.S. plunges into a new Dark Age, we can help our children stand as light.

4. Who will be a missionary to Hollywood or set up a competing storytelling recreation?

You have to read the whole article here.

Yolanda Weinberger: A Christian Woman Thinks about Race and Racism

I am honored to have an articulate and wise board of The Apollos Project.

In this interview, I talk with Yolanda Weinberger about her thoughts on race and racism.


00:01 – Meet Yolanda!
04:51 – A few stories of of racism
08:34 – How Yolanda thinks about racism
13:45 – Advice for “guilty feeling” whites
17:24 – Advice for Americans of African descent
22:38 – How Yolanda has tried to disciple her children thinking about race
25:17 – Thoughts on Ferguson and Baltimore
31:40 – Applying the gospel to this issue
34:09 – Ways to stay connected with Yolanda.

Download it here.
I think you will agree with me that the information here is solid gold.

You can follow Yolanda at her website www.yolandaweinberger.com


Deciphering The Worldview of a Movie

Art has a way of affecting our emotions.

If the story it tells is true, then that art is powerfully helpful. If that story is false, then it can deceive us. One helpful thing we can do is actually decipher the message of a movie. And all movies do have a message.

The following are some questions that have been in my notes. I am sure they are not original with me. Consider printing this list down and asking a few of these questions of the next movie you see.


  • What does this teach about God? How does that compare the Bible? Remember not saying anything about God is saying something.
  • What does this say about the nature of people? How does that compare the Bible?
  • What does this say about relationships? How does that compare the Bible?
  • What does this say about right and wrong? How does that compare the Bible?
  • What problem/conflict does the main character face? (Man against: himself, nature, another man, God)?
  • How does he/she solve it? What guidelines would God have given?
  • Through what character does the author, movie director give his “moral” or lifeview? When does it occur? What is it?

The next time you watch a movie ask one or more of these questions and think about the message you are being given.

Discerning Culture|

Dating Advice for Young Men

CBMW has my latest article up here.

I wrote it to encourage young men to take manful initiative and care in a dateless world.

Have Manful Motivation
1. Treat her as a sister with absolute purity.
2. Treat her as a sister with selfless love.

Take Manful Action
1. Spend some time in groups with guys and girls.
2. Have some modesty toward her.
3. Date with Jesus, not Cupid in mind.
4. Make a formal, in-person invitation.
5. Be ready for rejection. Y
6. Go somewhere.
7. Minister to her by asking her questions about herself.
8. Thank her for her time.
9. Keep your mouth shut around others.
10. If you want to pursue things further, then repeat 3-9.
11. Repeat 3-9, until she tells you to call her father.

My last line:
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.

Read the whole thing.

Adrian Peterson and The False Connection With Spanking

John Nolte pens an article I Once Asked My Parents for a Spanking

He rightly notes that liberals will try and falsely connect Adrian Peterson with spanking. He quite succinctly tears that connection apart.

This is not a defense of Adrian Peterson.

What I see the media and left once again doing, though, is dishonestly conflating Peterson’s whipping of his son to a run-of-the-mill spanking.

Leftists are desperate to use any opportunity to come between parent and child — to exert their grotesque influence into that relationship. Naturally, they are using the Peterson example to blur the line between spankings and abuse, in the hopes that any kind of physical punishment will give the government the right to raise America’s children, and by extension create creepy, borg-like, buttinsky know-it-all Statists like themselves.

Spanking a child is good thing. That’s a fact. Abuse is not. The difference between the two is vast.

Read the whole article here.


Level-Headed Posts on Gordon College and the New McCarthyism


After my screed last week, calmer and more knowledgeable voices have spoken to this issue. It is an issue that should concern every Christian. Our country was founded on separation of powers and religious liberty. Those two principles are under assault. My own state, Rhode Island, allowed many religions (Baptists, Jews, Quakers) to practice their religion freely in the early days of our country. That pluralism is under assault.

Here are a few of the calmer and scarier articles:

Learn the facts – Gordon College provides a facts page.

Mind the Gap  – I dont like the title but the articulate editor of the Gordon Student Newspaper writes a level-headed article in support of Gordon’s position.

Where we’ve come from – And where we are going. Overview of the move to affirm gay marriage and punish those who don’t agree from a law professor writing for Christianity Today. TGC provides a summary here. Thoughtful and concerning.

Religion in a heart shaped box – Another overview from the head of CBMW.

Denny Burke – helpfully summarizes the issues at the beginning of the controversy.

Denny Burke – this time highlighting a move that says government is OBLIGATED to disfavor Christians.

May these calmer voices call us to action and to prayer!

Discerning Culture|