Passing the Faith

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The Great Commission Starts at Home

Jesus gave his disciples the Great Commission. “Go and make disciples, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Spirit, teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you,” (Matthew 28:19-20). This command is so crucial that it is repeated in various forms in the other gospels and at the beginning of the book of Acts.  The Great Commission is not just for the “spiritual” people but is to infiltrate the priorities of all Christians.

As my expression of fulfilling the Great Commission, I felt called to leave the area I had grown up (Alabama) and stay in New England to help plant a church to reach this area with the gospel. With only 1-3% of the population in […]

Helping our Children Handle Suffering

Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:10

As a parent, I want the best for my child. But in wanting that best, I can become confused, using only human wisdom. I hate to see my child suffer in any way. And yet, following Jesus involves suffering. So, if I am going to call my children to follow Christ, then I am going to call them to suffer.

Perhaps the corrective on suffering needs to start in my own mind. Francis Schaeffer argued over 30 years ago that the majority of adult Christians are worshipping the idols of personal peace and affluence. We, the parents, want a Christianity that brings us a sense of tranquility and […]

Thom Rainer: Five Things Pastors Should Say to their Kids

As a pastor, pastor’s kids have a special place in my heart. They sometimes see the more sordid side of church life. So I am especially concerned that they walk with the Lord as adults.

The Gospel Coalition has published two articles I wrote on this subject:
How Churches Can Care for Their Pastors’ Kids and How Pastors Can Care for Their Children

Now Thom Rainer has published an article entitled Five Things Pastors Need to Say to Their Children.

His five include:
1. You have the freedom to be a normal kid.
2. I’ve got your back.
3. I want to spend more time with you than church members.
4. I love your mom.
5. There is a lot of good in this church.

I think I would have also included some apologetics training in that […]

An Exemplary Father

Ortland honors his father and describes his example here.

Here is what I see:
1. He genuinely loved his son and was interested in what he was into.
2. He was not overbearing. He set his son free to pursue God’s calling on his life.
3. He loved the gospel and the Bible. He really prayed.
4. He believed great things for his son.
5. He loved his family even after hard days. He came home to serve not to be served.

Read the whole thing.

Worshiping The Perfect Family: For Women by a Woman

Kristin Kluck reminds women about the tendency to take a good thing – family – and make it an ultimate thing – an idol.

That is the spirit of the age we live in. But Jesus demands that he come before family (Matt 10:34ff, 12:46ff, 19:29ff, Luke 11:27-28, Luke 14:26ff.)

Kristin writes:
Isn’t family still a gift, not a god? Isn’t it still something that can be elevated into first place, which should be reserved for God alone? I think we see the problem in our reactions to the hardships of family life—fractured relationships with parents, wayward or difficult children, marriages that are anything less than Christian-movie quality. We take it personally. We feel somehow personally affronted or shafted by God, as though the Perfect Family were our birthright […]

Timothy and the Power of Apologetics in Overcoming Doubt

I recently had the privilege of speaking at Crossway Church and spent some time talking about how parents can disciple their children in the faith. In this talk I answer:

1. What influences were there on Timothy’s life (and should there be in our children’s lives)?

2. What process did Timothy go through growing up as a believer (and our children will go through)?

3. Why is apologetics so important in overcoming doubt?

4. What is inoculation and why is it important?

I would be happy to give a similar talk for your group.

Enjoy.

Download here

How to Raise a Pharisee

Do you want to raise a Pharisee? I don’t. But just in case you do, here is a 12 step program on How to Raise a Pharisee. With tongue firmly in check, this presentation reminds us as parents of things NOT to do. I might have a quibble with one or two things but still lots of wisdom. To raise a Pharisee you should:

Major on external instead of internal issues
Take excessive control
Overreact to failure
Be unforgiving and impatient
Elevate preference over biblical principle
Have unnecessary separatism
Judge others…other families
Be “belligerent”—a fighter
Show favoritism
Have No humor
Build up their self-esteem
Show a lack of genuine spirituality

Read the whole thing.

Asking Life Questions

The purposes of a man’s heart are deep waters but a man of understanding draws him out. Proverbs 20:5.

One of the ways we can encourage our children to grow wise is to ask questions when they are in the presence of older and wiser people. Just a few questions can draw deep wisdom from a humble, self-effacing saint. Our American culture values the young and new, and disparages the old. The church is not immune to this blindspot.

But what questions to ask? I recently stumbled upon a pdf that has a number of good questions to ask. I highly recommend you take a look at this pdf. Pick out one or two questions and use it the next time you have someone into your house. […]

Heroes and Celebrities

Kevin DeYoung makes a great point at his blog about heroes vs celebrities. This needs to be clear in our mind as we disciple our children. Are the people they are following heroes or celebrities? Here is part of what he had to say:

“Christians need heroes. They can live without celebrities.

The two are not always easily distinguished. Some heroes become celebrities and some celebrities can be heroic. But in general, the two words mean different things and refer to two different kinds of people.

Heroes are admired for bravery, nobility, honor, and character. Celebrities are admired for beauty and talent.
Heroes grow through suffering and we respect them for it. Celebrities flounder in dysfunction and we are amused by it.
Heroes are followed; we want to learn from […]

Barna’s Six Reasons Kid’s Leave the Church

In a new article (to go along with a new book), George Barna states six reasons that young people leave the church. Whether these are real problems or just perceptions of problems, it is still helpful to hear what might be going on in the minds of young people. Knowing these allow parents to practice the principle of inoculation to bring the issue to the surface.

Here are Barna’s reasons:

Reason #1 – Churches seem overprotective. A few of the defining characteristics of today’s teens and young adults are their unprecedented access to ideas and worldviews as well as their prodigious consumption of popular culture.

Reason #2 – Teens’ and twentysomethings’ experience of Christianity is shallow. A second reason that young people depart church as young adults is that something […]