What Do You Tell Your Kids About ISIS?

Christian parents are called to help their children to think about, interact with, and evaluate current issues from a biblical perspective. Cultivating a Christian worldview is one of the main components of child training.

Over the last couple of years, as ISIS has been increasingly in the news, we have had a number discussions as a family about what has been happening. Our 6 children range from 4 to 20, so there needs to be thoughtful care given to the details of our discussion. However, it is quite near impossible to tame down the atrocities of ISIS to a general audience.

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Husbands: A Tip that Could Save Your Marriage

With a title like this there is little room for dilly-dallying along the way to the answer. So without much introduction, here is the tip that could save your marriage: Get a part-time job.

There. That’s it. Husbands, if you want to save or strengthen your marriage, get a part-time job.

I should say right off the bat that I am not talking about a literal job that will pull you away from the home for more hours. Instead I’m arguing for the husband to approach his time at home with his family with the same thoughtful intentionality and engagement that he would if he were to go to work.

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Parents: Should You Mandate Bible Reading for your Children?

This is probably one of the most common questions I hear from parents wanting to establish Christian disciplines in their kids.

Every Christian parent deals with this at some point. They struggle with what they should mandate vs just encourage their kids to do. And with this, how much? At what point will we defeat our purpose and discourage them?


This is what we do in our home. I am not saying it is for everyone, but we are supportive of it as a practice by conviction and experience. Our children range from 20 months to almost 16. There is quite a variety.

I’ll hit this from two angles, family and personal devotions.

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“Daddy, You Should Tell Her About Jesus”

We all know that kids, particularly little kids say surprising and funny things, but sometimes they are refreshingly precise. They can cut through the boundaries erected by the mature.

This was the case last night as I was putting my daughter (4) to bed. We were talking about how I was going to visit a family member. She asked me if this person loved Jesus. I told her that I do not think that she is a Christian. Then I invited her to pray with me for her salvation. She complied. Then she sat up, pushed her curly hair back and said, “You know what, you should also go and tell her about Jesus right away. Prayers are good but you need to tell her about Jesus Daddy.” I told her that she was exactly right and that I would.

Here we are reminded about the simplicity of a child and perhaps some of the things that Jesus would have been aiming at when he reminded us of being like a child. She doesn’t have all of the hangups that we often have about evangelism. She hasn’t been rejected, argued with, or belittled. She doesn’t entertain the quiet, embarrassing doubts about the sufficiency and power of the gospel. She just understands, in her young mind, the need for us as Christians to tell unbelievers about Jesus. And she is exactly right.

I share this story because it was so encouraging to me and I think it would be for you also. Further, …

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Can You Keep Your Kids from “Running Away” from God after Graduation?

“Make sure you shut the door!” This phrase is uttered a few dozen times a day in my home. With the warmer Spring weather we have children coming in and out of the house all the time. We also have a dog. She is an extremely curious, 1 year-old Boxer (fawn) named Bristol, who very much enjoys being outside. If the door is left open, or allowed to close slowly, Bristol will seize her opportunity to run out the door and then she’s off. She runs down the alley, through the neighborhood, off to experience the freedom of self-discovery. We have been told by neighbors that she sometimes just joins their family on their walk or goes into their yard to play. She seizes her opportunity.

However, there are times when she doesn’t run. Actually there is only one time. This is when someone with authority is standing in front of the door or close enough to catch her quickly. In this case she just sits there waiting for us to get distracted or leave our post. She is most certainly restrained by the law and not trained by grace.

As a Dad sometimes I feel like my wife and I are standing by the door. I look at my children (ranging from 2-18) and know what I think is best for them. We try to educate, be transparent, humble, gracious, consistent, and loving with them. We want to build a foundation of thinking and understanding of the world, train them in …

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Family Integrated, Rap, and The Gospel

How do you spice up a conference of family integrated churches? Ask a question about Reformed Rap. That’s exactly what happened at The Worship of God Conference from the NCFIC (National Center for Family Integrated Churches). This issue has been significantly batted around the blogosphere since the video posted below went viral over the Thanksgiving break.

As a pastor I now feel that I should address it. It has come to the threshold of our church family. As a church we are supportive of many of the priorities of the Family-Integrated Church movement (family shepherding, priority of the Word of God, priority of the local church, etc). At the same time many of our members (including pastors) regularly bob their heads to Reformed Rap.

So, what happened? It is like Uncle Integrated took a swipe at Cousin Hip-Hop over Thanksgiving Dinner. What do we do? Like any dysfunctional (sinful) family we have to take a step back and respond in love.

The strongest statement from the panel was made by Geoff Botkin who said that those who were driving Christian Rap were “disobedient cowards.” He later issued a statement that seemed to be intended as an apology. The overall tone of the panel was negative towards hip-hop and in some cases, like above, were vehemently opposed to it. Pass the sweet potatoes Uncle Geoff!

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“Bo Will Do It!”

I often find myself having my theological convictions reinforced and sharpened through parenting. Our youngest child is a hard-charging, intense, resolute little 2-year-old. His first (semi) sentence was literally, “Bo do it.” This is a phrase that he often repeats when people try to help him. “Let me pick you up.” “Bo do it. Bo will walk.” “Let me put your shoes on.” “Bo do it.” “I’ll buckle you in.” “Bo will do it.” He gets a bit excited and animated when attempting to do everything he desires to put his hand to.

This reminds me of the Covenant of Works. God gave the first man, Adam, a job to do (Gen. 1 & 2). He was promised blessing by means of obedience. Of course he failed to do what God required (Rom. 5:12-18) and we all to have done the same (Hos. 6:7; Rom. 3:23; Rom. 6:23).

All of humanity is wired for work. This work is characterized by working with our hands and minds (doing stuff) but is also more vividly seen through our overall relationship with God. We are bent on working to please God. As a response to this virtually every religion in the world pivots on what we do. Religion is based upon doing all we can to please God. We must undo the omelets that Adam (and us) scrambled up.

When I listen to little Bo exclaim, “Bo do it!” I know that this desire to do will mature. He will eventually grow into a young …

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The Benefit of a Large Family: “Pack-Life”

I’ve always enjoyed those scenes in the old Westerns when a guy walks into a saloon. You know what happens next; the music stops, conversations stop, and people turn their heads to look at the alien who just walked into the room. It’s great television. Sometimes I feel like we are living the domestic version of this scene. Our family is considered large by today’s standards. My wife and I have 6 children (ages 2-17). We tend to do things together and when we roll in with the kids the music stops, the heads turn and people’s eyebrows give each-other hi-fives.

We have embraced the freakishness of it. You kind of have to. In a society where families are radically changing, both in terms of size and substance, the freak factor will only increase. We get funny comments ranging from the sarcastic to the sympathetic. It is always entertaining. However, one question that we don’t regularly get is, “What is it like?” Questions usually pivot on the detriment (time and money) rather than the benefit (to us and society). In this post I want to highlight a few of the particular benefits to a large family. We call it the benefit of “pack-life.”

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You Can’t Pack Everything Into Your Sermon

Recently my family of 8 packed into our mini-van for an early Spring vacation. When I say “packed in” you may be thinking in terms of seats (i.e. a Honda Odessy only has 8 seats, therefore, we were packed in). This is not what I mean. We were packed in. The trunk was filled to the top, the floor had shoes, books, bags, and blankets. The front seat was full of distractions for the little kids as well as entertainment for adults and big kids. We were packed in. But then when we got closer to our destination (10 hours away from home), we went to Costco to buy food for the week. In this we were now officially fully packed in. Kids balanced cartons of eggs, coffee, vegetables, and milk while we finished our course.

The vacation ended and my normal duties resumed last week. I prepared a sermon and then delivered it on Sunday. After I was finished I was reflecting upon it and critiquing various elements of it and I was drawn back to our road-trip.

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Reflections from the Mid-Point of Life’s Marathon

This past year I ran my first marathon. As I ran I continued to chart my progress and endurance. Each mile marker rendered judgment against my goals. How am I doing? How will I finish?

The marathon is a fitting analogy for life. With the passing of each year there is a mile-marker of personal evaluation. There is an opportunity to take inventory, evaluate progress, and look ahead toward the finish.

To be honest, I have not done a lot of the latter. I have not looked ahead to the finish line and estimated my time. Like so many others, I like to live “mile-to-mile” making quick adjustments, taking advantage of quick bursts to make up for moments of laziness on the hills of life. While these inventories and adjustments are an integral part of doing what we set out to do they will not compel us in the same way as look at the end.

A look at the end of our life, the finish line, will bring a couple of things into focus:

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