Jul 01

Distinguishing Between Safe and Killer Mushrooms at Home

mushroom 2 by kaeskaI don’t like mushrooms, while my wife loves mushrooms.  To me all mushrooms are bad and avoid my mouth.  But did you know that many mushrooms are poisonous?  A couple of types can even cause certain death.  The death sounded awful and excruciating too!  So not all mushrooms are the same.  If you were to pick your own mushrooms you would have to be careful in distinguishing between the safe and killer ones.  They can look similar, but have subtle differences.

Safe and killer mushrooms remind me of our homes.  We have many parts of our families that are necessary and good when kept in balance.  These “mushrooms” of our home must be constantly discerned in order to be safe, or they will kill our homes!  God says the “mature” have their “powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil” (Heb. 5:14).  Here are six areas in our home we must work to keep in balance.

Mushroom #1 – Ambition (Suitable vs. Selfish)  – Americans are known for their drive and ambition.  We want to be successful and achieve our goals.  Suitable ambition is certainly necessary and applauded by God.  We need to see the value in hard work, family financial support, and appropriate drive.  Yet, selfish ambition has killed many families.  Selfish ambition is about attaining more and more.  It is when ambition stoops to levels of corruption and dishonesty.  It is when a father or mother puts their own career success above what is best for the family.

Mushroom # 2 – Pride (Decent vs. Deadly)  – Pride is the root cause of all sins.  Pride can kill a home because it pits family members in competition against one another.  Pride leads to dissension and divorce.  It separates parents from kids and causes years of discord.  But we need a decent amount of pride.  Pride in a decent and godly manner is good.  We should take pride in our work, ourselves, and our family.  Pride must be balanced!

Mushroom # 3 – Money (Using vs. Loving) – There is a modern epidemic of affluence!  Affluence causes parents to focus on their image rather than their character.  Affluence is about the accumulation of stuff.  Money is a difficult mushroom to detect; whether we are using it safely or is it killing us!  We are to use money and be good stewards of money (Mat.  6:24; 25:14-30), but we must not love money.  The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil (1 Tim. 6:8-10).

Mushroom # 4 – Recreation (Appropriate vs. Radical) – Maybe the greatest challenge families face today is balancing recreation demands of our culture.  Recreation time is important for families to develop and strengthen relationships. But families that are radical in their recreational pursuits filling up their schedules with sporting, leisure, and extra-curriculor activities suffer.  When families are rarely home, dinner tables sit empty, and parents are split carrying kids different ways, the family suffers.  Surprisingly enough recreation, something that is so good for families, can kill the family.

Mushroom # 5 – Entertainment (Edifying vs. Cesspool) – We must always consider what we put into our hearts and minds (Col. 3:1-5).  The battlefield in our homes is the mind.  We must remember that garbage in equals garbage out.  Families must control their entertainment choices or it will destroy their family.  (Consider your mind-food diet.)

Mushroom # 6 – Kids (Prioritized vs. Spoiled) – The attitude of parents towards children has changed dramatically in the last 100 years.  In the past kids were loved, but not adored.  They were seen by parents as necessities for providing labor and came with expectations for their education and labor.  Today, most have kids, not out of necessity, but out of a desire for a relationship with them.  Kids should be prioritized.  Quality time must be spent with them and their training should be intentional.  But they should not be spoiled.  The family should not run upside down!  Kids are not the head of the home.  Not every decision should be made based upon what is best for the kids.

Which mushroom do you think is most difficult to navigate today?

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I must give credit for much of these ideas and thoughts to Steve Farrar and his book Family Survival.

You can listen to a sermon on this same subject in the Audio Resources.

Some additional verses corresponding to the # of the mushroom.

1 – 1 Tim. 5:8, 1 Thess. 4:11, Luke 12:15

2 – Col. 3:23-24; 1 John 2:16; Prov. 13:10; 16:18

3 – Mat. 6:24; Mat. 25; 1 Tim. 6:8-10; Mat. 19:21-22

4 – Deut. 6:7-9; 24:5

5 – Col. 3:1-5; Rom. 12:9; 2 Cor. 10:5; Ps. 101:3

6 – Eph. 6:4; Prov. 13:24; 22:15

 

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Jun 30

Evangelism: What is at Stake?

Baptism by TheUsher at www.freeimages.com

Baptism by TheUsher at www.freeimages.com

Evangelism is not optional!  We as Christians focus on the reasons people are not responding.  We defeat ourselves before Satan even has to by our negative self-talk.  We come up with the reasons why we cannot evangelize.  But we must realize what is at stake with our choice to evangelize!

1. The Blood of Christ!  Jesus shed his blood for us.  The 4th of July is coming and we focus on how our soldiers have sacrificed their lives for our freedoms.  We must not let their sacrifice be in vain.  As Christians we must not let the sacrifice of Jesus be in vain for our friends and neighbors.  The blood of Christ was shed for them.  They must know of this gift.

2.  The Love of God – Paul says the love of Christ constrains him because he died for him.  God’s love calls us to be His ambassadors pleading on his behalf (2 Cor. 5:11-21).  People are desperately seeking and needing love.  It is up to Christians to let people know their heavenly Father loves them.

3.  A Faith-Filled Life – The life of a Christian is the best life possible.  Jesus came to provide us with a new and abundant life (2 Cor. 5:17, John 10:10).  The gospel of Christ offers us peace, hope. guidance, and love.  In a world that is growing increasingly dark, as we just saw last week with our nation legalizing same-sex marriage, the way to change hearts and lives is through the gospel.  Social and political reform will fall short.   We are called to share the gospel.  The power is in the gospel (Rom. 1:16).  God’s people need to regain this focus for the hope and souls of our nation

4.  The Church’s Future – The church is God’s body on earth.  We are saved to save others!  The church is dependent upon evangelism.  Evangelism should be the life-blood of the church.  The way to perpetuate the church and maintain its existence is evangelism.  Without evangelism the church will die!   We should be concerned about the future of the church!

5.  Eternity!  Most importantly, the eternal destination of the souls of men and women are at stake.  Heaven is a prepared place waiting the righteous who have obeyed Jesus.  Hell is a terrible place of punishment where those who do not know God are cast away from his presence for all eternity.  The Rich man begged Abraham to send someone to his brothers because he didn’t want them to come to the place of torment.  We are the ones that in essence the dead are begging!  Eternity hangs in the balance when it comes to our evangelism.

Evangelism is not optional!  It is our most important work!  Let’s remember our job!

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This post came from a sermon I preached which is available in the Audio Resources.

Scripture References:

1.  Ezekiel 33:1-9; Mat. 27:24-26; Heb. 10:26-31

2.  2 Cor. 5:13-6:2; Phil. 2:9-11

3.  2 Cor. 5:17; John 10:10; 1 Thess. 1:8-10

4.  2 tim. 2:2; 2 Cor. 11:1-4; 28

5.  Mat. 13:24-30; ch. 25; John 14:1-4; 2 Thess. 1:7-10; Luke 16:27-31

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Jun 26

Handling Our Historic Failures: Should We Remove History?

Jefferson Davis Bust - Wikimedia commons Photo

Jefferson Davis Bust – Wikimedia commons Photo

Since the terrible tragedy in Charleston, South Carolina where a murderous hate crime was committed against a historically African-American church killing 9 worshippers the Confederate flag has come under attack.  There has been a desire to take it down from the state grounds where it flies over a Confederate memorial in Charleston.

This subject is controversial and has spurred much discussion this week.  In many ways it is sad that our rhetoric and the news programs have focused so much on the young man who committed the murders and now on the Confederate Flag, while not focusing enough on the victims and their tremendous example of love, grace, and forgiveness (see Michael Whitworth’s excellent post on this topic.)

Being that I am a history major and lover of history, I have a few thoughts I wanted to share on this topic.

The Confederate Flag

I stayed in a room in college that had Confederate Flags hanging, though it was not used by us in any kind of a racist way, I am sure looking back it was offensive.  I regret any offense we might have caused. I have never  been a lover of the Rebel flag.  I have always been somewhat uncomfortable with it, and have been opposed to its use for many years.  I do not, nor would I wear or fly the Confederate Flag.  Personally, I feel that most of the racist symbolism tied to the flag has come in the last 80 years or so more than in the Civil War time period.  It was a national flag during the Civil War.  It has become a racist symbol. I strongly oppose all racism on the basis that it is sinful in the eyes of Christ.  Yet, the Confederate Flag still should have a place in historical museums and in Civil War memorials.  It is a key symbol of American history.

Historical Memorials, Busts, and Names

This national discussion has also prompted voices to call for historical busts to be removed from State Capitals.  The Tennessee governor has called for the removal of Nathan Bedford Forrest’s bust.  Political leaders in Kentucky are discussing the bust of Jefferson Davis which currently is in the Capital rotunda with his Civil War rival Abraham Lincoln.  They were both from Kentucky and had ties to the state.  Some have suggested that we should change or remove military bases or forts that are named after Confederate leaders.  Maybe we should changes schools that are named in honor of leaders too?  How far does this go?

My Two Cents!

We need to know and respect our history.  We cannot clean up and santize our historical characters, picking and choosing which ones to honor and remember!  We are a nation filled with a despicable history in many ways!  Yet, we are also a nation filled with a glorious history.  We are a nation with human ancesters who did a lot right and a lot wrong.  But we need to remember the wrong, just like we remember the right!  If a historical symbol becomes current and wrong in meaning, like the Confederate flag, then it should not be used currently.  But it is still a historical symbol that has a place in our history.  

Personally, I don’t think we should remove busts or names of historical leaders of the past.  How far do we go?  Washington was a great man, but had his problems.  Washington and Jefferson both owned slaves.  Alexander Hamilton fought in a duel.  Even Lincoln, one of my favorite historical characters, is not above reproach.

We even face this in the church.  It is sad how many of our forefathers a few generations back at our Christian schools or in our local congregations acted unbecoming of the gospel in racist ways.  I love to visit Old Chapel Hall on Freed-Haldeman’s campus and look around on the walls at all the old photos of great preachers and school administrators.  Some of those men taught and acted in ways that were sinful in my understanding of the gospel.  They promoted segregation and did not treat African American students the same as white students.  Should we remove their photos if we find fault with them?  I certainly think not, we recognize the good they did and learn from their wrongs.    

Consider how God still honored many of his “historical” characters in Scripture though they had checkered past in the genealogy of Jesus and the Hall of Fame of faith in Hebrews 11.  In fact, imagine how many Bible characters would have to be cut out if we only could study the good and not remember the man or woman who had some bad.  David was a great man, but he certainly had lots of faults.  On and on the list could go.  I think we would be left with only Jesus!

We have to realize the place of history in our culture.  It is to help us remember; both the good and the bad.  

By the way, have you ever thought about what folks might be saying about our own leaders and current symbols in 100 years.  We certainly are far from perfect.  Maybe they will try to learn from our mistakes and see some of the good in us.   

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Jun 18

Don’t Look Like a Goat if You are a Sheep

photo 2We have Barbados Blackbelly Sheep on the farm.  They are a breed of hair sheep.  They do not have wool like traditional sheep.  They do look very much like goats.  In fact, most everyone thinks they are goats.  Even a vet kept calling them goats.

We just had a new lamb this week.  We named her Beta.  Isn’t she a cutie?

photo 1

It doesn’t bother me that people call my sheep goats.  In fact, I seldom will correct them, if it is just a quick conversation.  But it often does remind me of what Jesus said about sheep and goats.

““When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”  (Matthew 25:31–34)

The lesson I think about is that I don’t want to be mistaken by Jesus as being a goat!  I want to act, look, and be a sheep.  The Lord knows his sheep (John 10).  Sadly, many Christians look more like goats than sheep!  They reflect the world more than Christ.  

My sheep are a reminder, don’t look like a goat, because people will think you are one!  

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Jun 17

What I Wish Everyone Knew About Satan

everyone Knew about Satan.001We have an adversary, an enemy in Satan.  Paul describes Satan as the “god of this world” while Jesus described his character as being a “murder from the beginning” and “the father of lies”¹  Satan is not deity!  He is not equal with God.  Satan is a created being who prideful rebelled against God.²  Even though Satan is such a powerful force he is largely forgotten by our world.  Here are 3 things I wish everyone knew about Satan.

1.  Satan is real.  A 2009 Barna group survey revealed, “Four out of ten Christians (40%) strongly agreed that Satan ‘is not a living being but is a symbol of evil.’ An additional two out of ten Christians (19%) said they “agree somewhat” with that perspective.”³  Most people do not believe Satan is even real.  This is one of his supreme deceptions, in that he has convinced humanity that he doesn’t even exist.  Jesus saw his purpose and work as coming to “destroy the works of the devil”4.  Satan is real.  The Apostle Peter said he went about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour5.  In the book of Job, Satan is described as going into the very throne room of God.  He has a conversation with God and reeks havoc on the life of Job.  Job likely didn’t know or understand the existence of Satan, but he certainly was affected by him.  So our world today, largely ignores the existence of Satan, but it is certainly greatly affected by him as the suffering and sin of our age attest.

2.  Satan wants to hurt God by hurting them.  Satan is enraged because he has been defeated at the cross and resurrection of Jesus.  Thus, he is enraged and knows he has a limited time to take as many of God’s children with him to hell as possible6.  We all understand that a good father loves his children more than his own life.  So our heavenly Father has such great love for humanity.  Satan can’t defeat God, but he can attack the ones He holds most dear.  Thus, Satan wants your soul in hell!  He dupes us with lies such as this world being about happiness, prosperity, and pleasure.  Satan seeks to ruin our relationships.  He rejoices at divorce and gains pleasure from discord!  Satan wants to divide congregations, and chiefly, desires to keep people separated from the saving gospel of Jesus Christ and the truth of His word.  For each person he keeps in his fold, he is able to hurt the heart of God!

3.  Satan is defeated.  The world views Satan and his scheme as normal, fun, and the best type of life.  People foolishly see hell as Satan’s playground and scoff at the idea floating around all day on clouds.  They had much rather be with Satan where the party never dies.  What a misconception of hell!  Hell is not Satan’s eternal party, but his eternal punishment!  Satan is defeated and will be punished for all eternity in hell7.  Satan has no more power over humanity because of the cross of Christ.  He can no longer accuse us of sin, when we are forgiven in Christ8. His greatest threat of death, holds us no longer in slavery because of the resurrection of Christ9.  We are freed from his deceptions through he truth of God’s word10.  Satan is defeated through Jesus!

Let’s expose the truth about Satan!  We have an enemy.  He is real.  He wants to harm our lives, our families, and the precious church of Christ.  But his ruin and defeat is certain.  Let us never choose to be on his side!

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1 – 2 Cor. 4:4; John 8:44

2 – Satan is not deity, so he is a created being (angel) – Col. 2:16 – for more information see this article:  http://www.apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=11&article=135

3 – https://www.barna.org/barna-update/faith-spirituality/260-most-american-christians-do-not-believe-that-satan-or-the-holy-spirit-exis#.VYGA_GCElTY

4. – 1 John 3:8; Also Acts 10:38; Mark 3:22-27; John 12:31-32

5 – 1 Peter 5:8

6 – Revelation 12

7 – Revelation 20:9-10; Mat. 25:41

8 – Rev. 12:10; Acts 26:18; Rom. 8:1

9 – Heb. 2:14-16; John 11

10 – 2 Peter 1:3; Rev. 12:13-17; 2 Thess. 2:9-10; John 8:31-32; Heb. 4:12

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Jun 15

Living with No Regrets

http://www.themonitor.com/sports/perry-joins-woods-as-three-time-winners-of-memorial/image_d32640f1-2667-54f5-85ca-ac0438054412.html

Kenny Perry and Jack Nicklaus http://www.themonitor.com/sports/perry-joins-woods-as-three-time-winners-of-memorial/image_d32640f1-2667-54f5-85ca-ac0438054412.html

 

I follow professional golf pretty closely.  During Jack Nicklaus’ Memorial tournament some interesting comments were made that have me to thinking.

Jack Nicklaus considered the greatest golfer of all-time because of his 18 career Major wins, said, “”I think I underachieved all my life.” Nicklaus said Wednesday at the Memorial. ”I think that’s why I got better.”  He went on to say, ”I still don’t think I achieved what I could have achieved in my career.”  He did finish a record 19 times in 2nd place in the four big events.  Nicklaus went on to add that he is most proud of his family with 5 children and 22 grandchildren.  He added that he doesn’t believe his family would be what they enjoy today, had he spent more time and effort on golf.

While Nicklaus was making these comments during the week.  Kenny Perry was playing his last PGA tour event.  Kenny is a member of the Church of Christ and has had a great career.  He has been one of my favorite players over the years and always so down-to-earth and kind.  Kenny lives in Franklin, KY.  He is 54 and ended his career by playing the Memorial tournament one last time, the place where he won his first tour event in 1991.  Kenny missed the half-way cut with a bogey on the last hole.  In an interview Kenny recollected his thoughts on the special day and how grateful he was for all the blessings and memories he had on tour and at the Memorial tournament.  Kenny made the statement, “i have no regrets.”

I found Kenny’s statement to be fascinating.  You see Kenny missed out on two major championship wins.  In 1996, he took a one shot lead into the final hole of Valhalla golf club in the PGA championship in his home state.  A par five that he bogeyed and then lost on the same hole in the playoff.  In 2009, in an even more crushing defeat Kenny lost the Masters in a playoff after leading by two with two holes to play.  He bogeyed 17 and 18.  He almost won the playoff but came up just short.  Kenny relied deeply on his faith and was an example of perspective and dignity in this tough loss.

Now compare Jack and Kenny’s statements.  Who should have more to regret?  Who would feel like they underachieved?  While Jack was speaking about his motivation and what caused him to work hard, I think it still speaks to him having nagging regret.  I admire Kenny’s humble and grateful attitude.  I admire his sincere statement, “I have no regrets.”  He had moved on from these failures.  Kenny has gone on to win three Senior major championships.

Today is my birthday.  I am turning 39.  I can’t play a 9 hole round of golf without having regrets, so I don’t fully know how Kenny does it with golf, but I hope to have this same attitude in my life.  In someways I can feel like Nicklaus in that 39 years have passed and maybe I haven’t achieved or done all I had hoped I would do.  But I want to push forward into the future and the opportunities that God has for me.  I want to live with no regrets and move forward to the upward call of God in Christ Jesus (Phil. 3:14).  Will you join me and Kenny with the same attitude?

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Jun 11

The Shocking Site of Our Phones on the Table

my phoneI got a date last night with my bride of 15 years before I spoke at a church in Paducah, Kentucky.  The kids wanted to attend 7 Oaks so Amanda and I went over early and ate out together.  We were enjoying our salad when our young waitress made this comment:

“I really appreciate you leaving your phones on the table together.  Do you do it on purpose so you will talk?  I go out on dates with guys and they are on their phone while we are waiting for our food.  I am like “Hello” you asked me out on a date, at least talk to me.  I am always amazed working here how people come in to eat and stay on their phones separately through the whole meal.”

We didn’t do it out of any specific plan last night, but try regularly to limit our time on our phones, especially when we are own a date.  This girls comments reinforced my own thoughts that being on your phone while in the presence of another conveys some level of disrespect, even amongst young people.  It is rude and disrespectful for young men to take this girl out and be on their phone throughout the meal.  They hardly even know one another; they should be talking and engaging one another.  

Let this girl’s words be a reminder to us all to be careful how much we are on our phones.  Especially when we are in special situations, like dates or meals, put the phones on the table, look into each other eyes and talk.  

Amanda tells herself she needs a “smaller world” and to get off of the “larger world” when she finds herself on Facebook too much.  What a good thought for us all, when we put the phone down, we discover afresh this smaller world and the true relationships that matter.  

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Jun 07

What I Wish Everybody Knew about God

what i wish everyone knew God.001The Lord lives!” declares David.¹  I believe and know that He does.  If I could share a message with everyone about Him, I would want them to know these three things about God.

1.  God is the Creator and Sustainer of life!  “Scientists themselves who calculate the odds of the universe coming into existence by accident suggest such boggling figures as one in 1060. . . Stephen Hawking admits that if the rate of expansion one second after the big bang had varied by even one parti a hundred thousand million million, the universe would have recollapsed. . . . Confronted with the staggering odds against random existence Richard Dawkins simply shrugs and says, “Well, we’re here, aren’t we?” ²  We are here and our very existence and the majesty and beauty of this created world leaves man without excuse.³  It takes more faith to believe in evolution than God!

When we understand that God is the Creator of all things it gives purpose, meaning, and value to life itself.  It explains the great question of origin, and bestows upon man honor and accountability.  God didn’t just start it all and then step back, but He is the sustainer of life.  We have our very existence to this moment in Him.  Paul says it is in Him we live, move, and have our very being.4  

2.  God is God, and they are not!  The book of Job tells the story of a righteous patriarch who suffered greatly.  He suffered at the hand of Satan, but was presented to Satan by God.  God ultimately receives the blame for what Job suffered.5  Job takes his complaints to God and accuses God of mismanaging the Universe; ruling it improperly.  God comes and answers Job with a series of questions which he cannot answer about the created world.  The point is God is in charge of the Universe and man has no true platform to accuse God of mismanaging it.  God is God and our role is trust and submit to God.

The New Age movement focuses on the god within.  Pseudo Christian teachers preach a God of health and prosperity.  Both are way off!  If I could share some knowledge about God with everyone it would be that we all need to realize God is sovereign and all-powerful.  He is a God of justice, holiness, and wrath.  He is a jealous God who demands our loyalty, love, and obedience.  He doesn’t owe us explanations or answers, but He is worthy of our trust and devotion.  He is God and we are not, there is something reassuring about that, because we are certainly broken.

3.  God loves them.  Finally, I wish everyone knew that God loved them.  Deep within the heart of every person is the desire to be loved.  There is also a hunger for eternity; for something more than this physical world.  There is a knowledge of right and wrong.  Thus, within all of us is a feeling of guilt and failure.  Put succinctly, there is a desire to be loved.  “God is love,” declares the Apostle John.  Jesus in the golden text of Scripture says, “God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son. . . .”  God loves everyone.  God knows every sin that happens in this world, yet he allows this world to continue.  He puts up with the child being abused, the drunken husband, the blasphemous atheist all because of His long-suffering patience.  He desires that all come to repentance6.  He loves us!

I truly believe if everyone knew these three things it would radically change our world.  Knowing God changes who we are.  It affects how we view ourselves and how we act.  I hope you come to know the true and living God.  Your depth of understanding of Him should always be deepening and your love for Him should always be widening. 

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1  Psalm 18:46

2  Vanishing Grace by Philip Yancey – p. 179

3  Romans 1:19-21

4 – Acts 17:28

5 – Job 42:11

6 – 1 John 4:8; John 3:16; 2 Peter 3:9

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Jun 03

Raising Boys into Men

Caleb on his tractor.I give a lot of thought to how to raise my boys.  I am blessed with three sons; currently aged 10,5, and 2.  I am also the tender father to an 8 year old little girl who the boys argue is treated differently than them by dad!  I say she deserves it, because she is much sweeter!  While I know I play an important part in raising Brooke, I do feel more of a weight in regard to my example as a man to the boys.  I know in many ways they will become like me and are looking to me to see what they should be.

In thinking about raising boys into men, my thoughts revolve around several areas.  (Writing this post is a way for me to clarify my own thoughts and be more intentional about these issues I feel strongly about.)

This is my current philosophy on raising boys to men and what I am trying to do with my boys:

  1. I don’t want them to be sissies.  That may sound blunt or even offensive in our culture.  But I want my boys to know they are men.  Boys have an adventuresome spirit.  They have a lot of energy.  They like to wrestle, compete, and challenge themselves.  In a world that is putting down men and tries to make boys and girls be alike, I want to raise my boys knowing God gave them a unique role as a man and they need to fill that role.  I believe this quality is where a dad plays an important part.  You need to be willing to allow some risk and take them with you when you are doing activities.  To put it short, they need to be taught how to be men.
  2. I want them to know how to treat women.  The culture sends boys a lot of wrong messages about women.  I want my boys to value and respect women.  This begins by properly respecting their mother.  I am always conscience of how they are watching me in my treatment of Amanda.  I hope they will understand girls are different and should be treated differently.  Landon brought mom a bucket full of flower weeds yesterday and I thought it was great.  They need to understand that their wife will need to be cherished and nourished.  She needs to be treated kindly and loved.  It is good to open doors for women, give your chair up for women, and carry things for women.  Chivalry and romance should not be lost!
  3. I want them to be hard working.  This one is a big one for me.  It is one of the reasons we bought a farm.  I grew up working, and we want our kids to learn the value of money and of work.  So when I am working, typically my kids are working with me.  It may take longer, but it teaches more lessons.  Now that they are getting older, they contribute much to the project.  They learn the feeling of accomplishment and get confidence from being able to tackle a challenge.  They learn perseverance by having to do something they don’t enjoy.Me with my four kids.
  4. I want them to genuinely love and serve God.  I want my boys to be active in leading and serving in the church.  I don’t want them to be at activities because I am the preacher, but because we are a Christian family.  I want them to develop their own faith and realize they have talents to offer the Lord for which they are responsible.  I pray they will always have a servants heart and never shy away from leading others through service.
  5. I want them to have ambition and courage.  I want my boys to be willing to try new things and have ambition and courage.  They have a great example in their mother who will jump in and try new things even when she has no idea.  The other day our dog needed sheering and she determined to do it herself.  She didn’t want to do it, but she didn’t want to pay to have it done so she sheered a really hairy golden retriever.  I hope my boys have such a spirit of ambition and courage.
  6. I want them to be humble and hungry to learn.  I see too many men who are posers.  They present a facade to the world of someone they are, but really it is all a mirage.  But they aren’t humble enough to try to get help, open up to those closest to them, or quit being stubborn.  So many man live a stubborn, prideful life not letting others into their heart and never reaching their full potential.  I want my boys to be humble.  I want them to be teachable and eager to learn more as adult men.  This is a real challenge, because it means I have to be humble and teachable.

This is a pretty daunting list.  Really they are our shared parenting goals, and I must say I am grateful my boys have a wonderful mother who teaches many of these lessons each day.

 What is your philosophy in raising your boys?

Permanent link to this article: http://www.joshketchum.com/raising-boys-into-men/

May 31

How Close are You to Falling Away?

Caution Tripping Hazard by  Ayla87 at freeimages.com

Caution Tripping Hazard by
Ayla87 at freeimages.com

Most all of us have been to high points overlooking a deep canyon, valley, or waterfall.  Most of these are now located in some type of park and our government has erected barriers or guards to keep people from getting too close to the edge.  They often will have warning signs, telling sightseers to be careful about slipping, going beyond the barrier, or letting kids run loose.  The view is spectacular at such sights, but the danger is real.  The temptation is there to get as close as possible, yet certain death awaits the one of falls over the side.

This scenario illustrates our spiritual lives.  We can fall from the grace we have been given in Christ.  Paul tells false teachers in the Galatian churches that they “have fallen from grace” (Gal. 5:4).  The book of Hebrews is written to encourage the Jewish Christians to not fall from grace.  The preacher says, “we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul.” (Heb. 10:39).  So all of us as Christians must consider how close are we walking to this soul-losing fall?

God created spiritual barriers to help guard our souls from falling away.   How many do you need to remove before you will be at the edge?

  • Regular Bible study, as in personal reading and in attending Bible school, is certainly a barrier (Rom. 10:17, 2 Tim.2:15).
  • Regular worship attendance is certainly a barrier meant to encourage us (Heb. 10:25-26).
  • Daily and habitual prayer time where we communicate with God is a strong barrier (1 Thes. 5:17).  Daniel kept this barrier up as a strong guard in his life (Daniel 6:10).
  • Christian fellowship is another barrier that God requires of us knowing that we need the mutual encouragement (Phil. 2:1-2).
  • The guidance and watchfulness of elders and fellow Christians who care for your soul (Heb. 13:17).
  • One barrier is a tender, Biblically educated conscience that is sensitive to sin in your life.  This conscience convicts and leads you to repentance when in sin (2 Cor. 7:8-11).

Now how many barriers do you have up in your life?  How close are you from falling away and loosing your soul?  People don’t usually commit spiritual suicide by just running off the cliff, they slowly let barriers come down until they fall to Satan’s temptation and leave the Lord.  Will you determine to put up more barriers in your life? 

Permanent link to this article: http://www.joshketchum.com/how-close-are-you-to-falling-away/

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