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A Father’s Day Encouragement

This is NOT a dad-bashing Father’s Day post! There are times for correction & admonition when men aren’t doing their jobs, but not right now. There are a lot of dads out there that take their God-ordained roles and responsibilities seriously and strive hard to be good stewards of our families. It’s good to be reminded of the weight and importance of our role, but we also need to be encouraged in it! It is a long, tough, challenging responsibility to be a dad, but the benefits are more than worth it to remain faithful. So, dads, keep praying, keep seeking God, keep loving and leading your family well, and keep “fighting the good fight of the faith!” (1 Tim 6:12-16). The original post below was posted last Father’s Day 2010.

What a great day to remember and honor our dads. My crew does such a great job every year of letting me know how much they love me, but then again, they do that all year around anyway. I wanted to offer a word of encouragement to all dads today. You are important! Your role is huge! Never underestimate that, or you may wind up spiraling down into depression wondering if all your work and effort really make a difference. It does. More than we know.

Think about it… God allows you the honor of sharing one of His special names–Father. This means that you will impact the way your kids see God as their heavenly Father. That is a big deal! What a great role! What a great title, position, and privilege… Dad–Family Shepherd!

Your relationship with God matters more than you think it does because your life impacts more than just you. The best thing you could do for yourself and your family is seek God and worship Him without rivals. When you fail, repent, remember, and rely on the grace of God given to us in the work of His Son. Then you will be able to teach your children about the beauty of Christ; with your words and your life.

I really can’t get enough of this video!

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Dad The Theologian

Dads, you are the family theologian. It doesn’t matter if you wanted that role or not; it’s yours. It’s mine. We are constantly teaching our children; they are always learning from us. Parents play a huge role in shaping a child’s view of God. As the leaders of our homes it is our job to make sure we are informing and training them as accurately as possible.

Are we seeking to know God more deeply? Are we seeking to live a holy life? Are we seeking to understand Him and His creation, His grace, His gospel better? Fellow dads, are you learning so that you can better equip your children? Are you praying for them, that God would capture their hearts and set them on fire with a passion for Him and His Truth?

Do you have regular times during the week where you sit and formally teach your children about the God we serve and love? If not, for their sake and yours, I plead with you to start. It doesn’t have to be every night, but start teaching them, and by God’s grace be consistent.

One of the many things this will do is get your children in the habit of coming to you with spiritual or biblical questions, which is way better than having them run to their friends with life’s most important questions. Don’t be afraid of the questions. And don’t be afraid to say “I don’t know.” If they have a question you can’t answer, call your pastor and set up a meeting with him. Then, take the your little inquisitor with you to the meeting as the pastor answers your question. This will also help them get in the habit of going to other godly spiritual authorities for answers and advice.

If you are having times of teaching and family worship I want to encourage you to stay at it. Wow, do I know it’s difficult at times–a lot of the time. Our young people today, who claim to be Christians, have such a thin, shaky foundation that any wind of false doctrine or cultural attack causes their faith to crumble. We can help our children by laying for them a good, thick, solid foundation of God’s Word, doctrine, prayer, and fellowship with the family of God.

Most importantly, as you work hard at teaching, training, and leading your family…rest in the gospel of Christ! It is easy to get overwhelmed, disappointed in yourself, and depressed because you see what a huge task this is, the weight of its importance, and your failure to do enough (or what you think is enough). As you do what God, in His Word, has commanded you to do, rest in His grace toward you in Jesus; rest in His sovereignty over your children (and all things); rest in His provision of power for you in the Holy Spirit!

A Few Helpful Resources

White Horse Inn podcast “Youth Ministry in Crisis”

“Family Driven Faith” – Voddie Baucham

“Big Truths for Young Hearts – Teaching & Learning the Greatness of God” – Bruce Ware – Doctrine for kids.

Grounded in the Gospel – J. I. Packer

“Old Story New: Ten Minute Devotions to Draw Your Family to God” (New Testament) – Marty Machowski

“The Jesus Storybook Bible” – Sally Lloyd-Jones

GospelCenteredAdventGuide

Gospel Centered Advent Guide & Website

I love the holiday season! Every year I look forward to spending time with family and friends, and eating lots of delicious food that normally only shows up once a year. This is also a season in which our culture will try to lure our attention to focus only on material things and whatever the “Christmas spirit” is. My wife and I have thought about, prayed about, and wrestled through (for years), how to keep our and our children’s focus on Christ through this season. Celebrating Advent has been one very helpful way for us to do that.

We did it the traditional way for a few years, but it always felt a little weird to me that the guides we used would spend an entire month focusing only on Christ’s birth, never really delving into the reasons for His birth, nor the implications of His work. So, every year, I would search and research different Advent guides trying to find the one that best fit our family’s beliefs and needs.

A couple of years ago I found a guide that focused on the entire gospel story, which is exactly what I wanted. Since then I have modified it and added to it each year to fit my family’s needs and help our children understand that all of life is about Jesus-all of His life and work, not just His birth. What I ended up with is our Gospel Centered Advent Guide that my family uses every year. From year to year we may do some different activities, but our devotional format remains the same.

I wanted to find a helpful, creative way to share this resource with other people who are looking for a gospel centered approach to leading their family through the holiday season. Since building websites is a hobby of mine, I thought building a website/mobile app would be a fun way to share it. You can use the website from your home computer, laptop, tablet, or smart phone. I also have a link on the website for a PDF download if you want. As I say in the guide, it is only a guide (collection of suggestions). Please feel free to use it, change it, download it, or share it however you feel best fits your family. I enjoyed creating it, I pray you enjoy using it and that it is beneficial to your family’s spiritual growth as you focus on the Lord Jesus Christ, His birth, and works for us this season. God bless!

Gospel Centered Advent Website & Mobile App

TrainingThemWell

Training Them Well

As a parent of three younger children, I’m always wrestling with issues of how to instruct them in the faith, love them well, lead them faithfully by example, and so on. More than I want them to behave, do well in school, get a good job, live wisely, find a good spouse, or be a productive citizen (as important as these all are), I want them to know and love the God of the universe who loves them and gave Himself up for them. I know I cannot make them love Jesus or force them believe truth. My job is to faithfully teach them the truth of God’s Word, tell them of the beauty of His gospel, instruct them in holy living, etc., all the while praying that God, in His mercy, would do in their hearts what He alone can do.

I am always looking for resources and wise counsel to help me in this endeavor. One of the podcasts I listen to frequently has recently started a series on parenting, students, student ministry philosophy, kids in our culture, and more. It has been a very interesting series so far. I have benefitted from the broadcasts and the resources they provide along with the broadcasts on their website.

The weekly podcast is called the White Horse Inn and I have provided links to the episodes in this latest series below (listed oldest to most recent). For each episode you will find the 30 – 40 minute broadcast audio, articles from the host and guests, as well as additional links and resources. I hope you find it as helpful to your Christian parenting as I have.

Youth Ministry In Crisis

The State of Youth Ministry

Keeping Our Kids – Pt. 1

Keeping Our Kids – Pt.2

Sustainable Discipleship

Giving Up Gimmicks

Taking Every Thought Captive

new_resources

New Marriage & Parenting Resources Added

I really enjoy reading/listening to good advice that inspires and encourages me in my walk with Christ and as a husband and dad. Tim Challies is someone I read from time to time because I know I can trust his advice to be Bible centered and gospel focused. He is a pastor, blogger, author who has a firm grasp on God’s Word and good insight into our Western culture. Recently I found a few of his older articles that really convicted/encouraged me as a husband & father. I have added them to the “Articles & Links” section of the site and wanted to make you all aware of their addition. I believe you would benefit from browsing his website as well!

6 Deadly Enemies of Marriage – Tim Challies (Article)

6 Deadly Sex & the Mystery of Marriage – Tim Challies (Article)

The Picture Perfect Marriage – Tim Challies (Article Series)

18 Things I Will Not Regret Doing With My Kids – Tim Challies (Article)

The Porn Free Family – Tim Challies (Article)

Tim Challies | Blog | RSS | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

tactics

Tactics: A Game Plan for Discussing Your Christian Convictions

Update 5/7/14: Last week we started the series and really got a lot to think about. I hope you all are studying and doing the review and homework that is in the study guide. In listening to Greg’s radio show podcast (Stand To Reason) the other day I heard him spend a long time answering a question from a listener who was asking about how and when to use the Tactics approach in every day life. I thought it would be a good segment for everyone to hear, especially as it pertains to the first two Columbo questions–the first of which we learned last week. So here is the audio from his radio show a few weeks ago. I pulled this segment (about 22 minutes) out of the three hour show. I only clipped out the callers before and after this one, as well as the commercial break in the middle of the call. I didn’t edit out any part of the call itself. I hope it’s helpful!

 

“Tired of finding yourself flat-footed and intimidated in conversations? Want to increase your confidence and skill in discussions with family, friends, and coworkers? In a world increasingly indifferent to Christian truth, followers of Christ need to be equipped to communicate with those who do not speak their language or accept their source of authority. Gregory Koukl demonstrates how to get in the driver’s seat, keeping any conversation moving with thoughtful, artful diplomacy. You’ll learn how to maneuver comfortably and graciously through the minefields, stop challengers in their tracks, turn the tables and—most importantly—get people thinking about Jesus. Soon, your conversations will look more like diplomacy than D-Day. Drawing on extensive experience defending Christianity in the public square, Koukl shows you how to: – Initiate conversations effortlessly – Present the truth clearly, cleverly, and persuasively – Graciously and effectively expose faulty thinking – Skillfully manage the details of dialogue – Maintain an engaging, disarming style even under attack Tactics provides the game plan for communicating the compelling truth about Christianity with confidence and grace.”

Greg’s book, Tactics:A Game Plan for Discussing Your Christian Convictions, is what we will be going through in the next season of our Men’s Group meetings (which are open to the community) when we finish Romans in a few weeks. He has a 6 session DVD curriculum that will serve as the teaching/review portion of our meeting. You don’t have to buy the book to go through this with us, but I believe it will be beneficial for you to do so.

I have read or listened to the book 2 or 3 times in the past year and it has helped me in my conversations with people both inside and outside the Church. My wife has only listened to the first few chapters with me and she said just that little bit of exposure to this material has helped her tremendously (she’s even used some of the tactics on me in our discussions)!

I think this is an extremely helpful topic for us to look at and grow in our understanding and abilities in the area of apologetics and persuasive conversation. While most apologetics books I’ve read deal mostly with facts and evidence in proving Christianity (which are indispensable), this book deals with how to actually use that information in conversations that, lets be honest, tend to make us a little uncomfortable sometimes. Greg will guide us in what he calls the “Ambassador Model” of communicating the Gospel or any other biblical truth. He will show us how to use questions to steer the conversation while the other person does most of the work (talking, arguing for their point, or backtracking) in the conversation. He also helps us spot flaws in the other person’s thinking and how to point those out by simply asking questions.

I have listed a few relevant resource links below that would be worth a look. I’m looking forward to covering this with you guys! If you can’t make it to our Men’s Group meeting, let me commend this resource to you for study and personal growth in effective, gracious Gospel communication, as we remain in, but not of this culture.

Book: Tactics: A Game Plan for Discussing Your Christian Convictions

Website: STR.org Greg Koukl founded Stand To Reason about 20 years ago. From that ministry has come his weekly radio show, speaking ministry, and website that is packed full of biblical, cultural apologetics resources!

Greg’s Blog at STR

Greg’s bio

Podcast:  Website | iTunes  He does a weekly radio show that lasts 3 hours. He takes calls from all over the world with questions about the Bible, Christianity, religion, ethics, morality, etc. and answers them on the fly. This has been one of my favorite weekly podcasts!

Stand To Reason Apps:  iOS | Android

Glorious_Continuous_Salvation

Glorious, Continuous Salvation!

[8] But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); [9] because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. [10] For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. [11] For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.”

What a wonderful promise! Not only for those trusting in Christ for the first time, but also for those of us who call on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ daily! God’s salvation is for those who continuously recognize their need for His grace and submit to His Lordship. True, justification–our legal standing before God as forgiven and righteous because of Christ’s work on our behalf–is instant and unchanging. But, praise God that His saving of us is perpetual! It is happening all the time.

Christians, don’t be discouraged and defeated because we ALWAYS need His grace, mercy, forgiveness, and love. No, be overjoyed that He has promised them to us, always, without measure. Allow His kindness to lead us to repent of our sin and run,as His beloved children, into our Father’s open arms of acceptance!

Goals

New Year's Resolu… Goals

I never have been much on New Year’s Resolutions. Not that I think they are wicked, evil, or legalistic (though they could be), but mainly because I stink at keeping them. Then I feel all guilty and stuff. Okay, so maybe I do see them as legalistic… for me anyway. So, at the risk of sounding like I’m jumping on the blogosphere resolution bandwagon, I offer this post for your consideration.

God is outside of time. He is not limited to or bound by days, weeks, years, etc. We are! And though I believe life is marked more by stages or seasons than years, the start of a new year does offer a natural break for us. It offers us a chance to reflect and think deeply about our life, goals, accomplishments, and failures in our walk with Christ, family life, vocation, church, and more.

I would urge you in the next few weeks to begin to think about the past year or season of life, see where God’s Word, His Spirit, and good old common sense would have you make some changes for His glory. Then, make some Spirit-empowered goals, not hard-core resolutions (i.e. “By God’s grace I will try to ____” versus “I resolve to always _____ and never _____ again.”). Try to go beyond, but not neglect, the surface level issues. Dig down deep, asking God how you can, in His strength, fight the hidden issues of the heart as you also wage war on the surface/practical issues.

Since I usually struggle a lot in the areas of busyness and technology, I have read several books on those topics. Below is a list of books that would be beneficial to you if you happen to struggle in these areas. There are probably others that are very helpful, these are just the ones I have read and would recommend–in order.

Crazy Busy: A (Mercifully) Short Book about a (Really) Big Problem by Kevin DeYoung (very short, lightly theological, more practical application)

The Next Story: Life and Faith after the Digital Explosion by Tim Challies (longer, more theological, practical application)

The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains by Nick Carr (historical, scientific, philosophical, some application)

Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business by Neil Postman (historical, philosophical)

And if you are looking to read a few more books as well as be a better book reader, I highly recommend Lit!: A Christian Guide to Reading Books by Tony Reinke!

ChristmasBeyondTheFluff

Christmas Beyond The Fluff

When we think about the Christmas story, our minds are filled with images we’ve seen or ideas we were taught growing up. Some of it right. Some of it, well, less than accurate. It can be difficult for us, in our 21st century Western culture, to see both the people and events of that first Christmas the way they actually were. It’s not that these things are necessarily bad or sinful, they just can cloud our understanding and ability to think deeply about the beauty of what truly took place.

Having a deeper understanding of what really happened will give us better grasp of the Bible, the God of the Bible, and ourselves. It will also allow us to pass on to our children the reality, seriousness, and historicity of a story that often gets commercialized, distorted, watered down, and fairytale-ized today.

This is not just a story for kids that we read once a year so they can dress up in shower curtains, bath robes, and Burger King crowns, or so we can have a good back story for our cute little Miss Martha’s Originals nativity set. I’m not slamming on nativity sets or Christmas plays. My wife, kids, and I have been in tons of them and will be in more, I’m sure. And I stare at our cute little Miss Martha’s nativity set as I write.

The point is that I fear we can easily forget the significance of it all (I’ve been guilty of it). This is the story of God, Creator God, Omnipotent God coming to earth as a man (a baby) in human flesh. God the Son, second Person of the Trinity, set aside His divine rights, subjecting Himself to the laws that govern a world that HE MADE! No amount of set directors, camera angles, or star studded casts can capture the significance of this story. But, if we slow down and actually think about it for a while, we might just be led to the same conclusion the wise men came to – worship the Lord!

I love reading the Jesus Storybook Bible stories to my kids, and then also being able to communicate to them what was happening in the context of that culture. It helps them connect with the humanity of the people in the story. They know that the story is real, but now they can grow in their appreciation of it, and truly understand what they are celebrating and why we celebrate the birth of a little Jewish baby in the first place.

DecisionMaking

Umm… Go That Way: Practical Advice On Decision Making

What should I do? What job should I take? Where should I serve? What is God’s will? How do I know for sure? Questions we have probably all asked ourselves or others. So, what’s the answer? How do we know/find God’s will?

Like so many other Christians, I desperately want my life and the decisions I make to please God. I want to serve Him in every area of my life, advancing His Kingdom. I want His will in my life. Couple this with a bit of sinful perfectionism, add a dash of the fear of man and you have the perfect storm of depression and anxiety… Or at least I do.

For years I have wrestled with decisions of direction and purpose. “What’s my calling?” I was burdened down with “trying to find God’s will for my life,” and being “led by the Spirit,” or “letting peace be my guide.” Don’t misunderstand me, the Holy Spirit does lead and direct us, I just think I was looking for some hyper-spiritual “confirmation” or goosebumps. The Spirit seems to use more natural means of guidance and direction more times than not (revealing Himself in His Word, providing wise counsel, situations changing, etc.).

Throughout my walk with Christ I have been helped in this area by a number of people, pastors, and authors. I want to share some advice that has helped me make decisions, having peace, not anxiety. This is still easier said than done for me, but I’m growing.

The three points below are ones that I heard just recently, but I think are very helpful in deciding what to do with your life. The statements are from a radio show called “Stand To Reason.” Its host, Greg Koukl, is a wise, godly defender of the Christian Faith and God’s Word. The broadcast episode aired on Nov. 26th, 2013. He is dealing mainly with ministry here, but the advice is good for lots of decisions we have to make. Here is a summary of some advice he was giving to a college graduate looking for direction.

Get Rid of the Hyper-Spiritual Static

  • Get rid of the conflicting thoughts, ideas, or “hints” for what God wants us to do. There are no clues. No hints. You take responsibility for deciding wisely.
  • He has left decision making up to us and provided us with the faculties, abilities, and tools we need to do it (Bible, prayer, counsel, experience, etc.).
  • We are not trying to find God’s will. We are trying to make a sound, biblical decision. We decide.
  • He’s not going to make our decision for us. The Bible doesn’t teach this, nor did the disciples practice it.

Be a Steward of Your Gift

  • Use what you have. Play your part well.
  • There are many different gifts (body parts), one Body!
  • Do what you can. Start there by making yourself available. Other Christians will give you feedback on what you are doing well.
  • Be a student of your craft! Grow in your gifts. Don’t remain stagnant in your natural abilities. How can you write, speak, teach, serve, witness, whatever, more effectively for the glory of God?
  • Get feedback. Get training. Read books. Learn.

Bloom Where You’re Planted

  • You can’t always make things happen.
  • Take advantage of every opportunity you have to serve where you currently are-whatever and wherever that may be.
  • “Those who are faithful over small things will be given much.”

Always remember: the gifts, talents, abilities, areas to serve, capacity to serve, etc. are all up to Him! We are to be faithful.

More Helpful Resources

Just Do Something: A Liberating Approach to Finding God’s Will” by Kevin Deyoung (book)

Every Good Endeavor: Connecting Your Work to God’s Work” by Tim Keller (book)

The Call: Finding and Fulfilling the Central Purpose of Your Life” by Os Guinness (book)

Spirituality On Your Mind” by Voddie Baucham (audio)

TheGospelAtWork.com (website)

The Center for Faith and Work (website)

BiblicalManhoodWebsiteUpdates

Website Updates

One of the benefits of being laid up on the couch for two weeks recovering from knee surgery is a lot of free time to do some of the things that I haven’t had time for lately. One of those things being lots of updates to my website. I enjoy building and maintaing websites as a hobby (and God has opened doors for employment in that area as well). And providing and passing along resources that have been beneficial in my spiritual life is a passion of mine. So, I spend a lot of time on this site writing, adding content, updating links, etc.

That being said, I’m always looking for ways that it can improve. I’m open to suggestions that anyone thinks will help this site better serve men (and women) for the glory of Christ. If you have any suggestions on content, layout, or anything else, please contact me and let me know. Also, I try to keep the site updated as much as possible, but with the internet in constant flux, that’s nearly impossible. So, if you run into any broken or dead links, please let me know so I can fix them as soon as possible for the following visitors. Thanks for dropping by. I enjoy doing the website. I pray you and others enjoy and benefit from using it!

Recent Updates

Have fun!

 

MaximizingYourCommute

Maximize Your Commute Home

I recently read a short article about creating “buffers” in our day in order to help maximize our effectiveness. It was helpful. Nothing deep or new to me, but the last one really grabbed my attention because it is something that I started doing a while back that really helped me lead my family better. The “buffer” was to use the time during your commute home from work to be silent, think, and unwind a bit in order to effectively engage your family when you arrive home. This is a great habit to get in to, especially if your job tends to be high stress.

I’m usually a bit more proactive than this, but the concept is the same. I use this time to try to calm my nerves from the work day and pray that God would prepare me to love and lead my family well when I get home. Most times I give my wife a call when I leave the office to see if there are any major issues I need to know about or that I need to deal with when I arrive. This gives me time to think and pray specifically about those issues and try to decide how best to deal with them in light of the Gospel.

As men, God has called us to love and lead our families in ways that go far beyond mere financial provision. Our day is not over when we leave the office, store, factory, ect. We don’t have the luxury of bringing home so much work or work related stress that we neglect our wives and children.

So men, let me encourage you to create this “buffer” in your life. Turn off the radio. Put down the cell phone. Switch off the task-related, problem-solving, vocational part of your mind. Pray that God would grant you the grace you need to love, lead, and enjoy your family. Use this time to think about how you can best accomplish your most important roles. The roles for which you are irreplaceable-husband and dad.

What other tips do you have for the rest of us that have helped you grow as a husband and father? Leave a comment and let us know.

Romans5Prayer

Praying Through Romans 5

Any time I get a chance to teach the Word of God to the people of God, I am extremely thankful and humbled. A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to speak to my faith family at The Gathering on a Wednesday night–our prayer service. The normal format is our pastor will walk us through a chapter or section of a book (currently Acts). He teaches us what it means, tells us how it applies to us today, and guides us in prayer based on that section of Scripture. It has really been a great format for involving the entire church body in biblical prayer together.

The message below is my teaching and prayer through Romans chapter 5. If you can ignore the Southern accent, I pray that God would use it in your life to help you understand Him, His Gospel, and the effects of the Gospel in your life more deeply for His glory and your good.

Romans Chapter 5 Teaching & Prayer

 

Play in new window | Right click to download

Romans 5 Outline & Prayer Guide PDF

ChurchSign

Church Sign Confusion

Okay, so I’ve wrestled with this post for years–literally. I would write a few sentences, save, rewrite, save, delete, and so on. I would get it like I thought I wanted it, pray about posting it, and decide I probably shouldn’t because it may paint me as a church hater or it might not be as helpful as I want it to be. Anyway, it’s about church signs. Those annoying signs that are supposed to be witty or funny that actually make Christians look like idiots or bigots. Not all church signs fit this description, but this post isn’t about those.

My wife and I usually just make fun of them to ourselves and don’t make a big deal of them to anyone else, even our kids. And living in the South, we have no shortage of church sign fodder. But, every now and then there comes a sign that crosses a theological line that I just can’t take. They’re not cheesy, corny, dumb, or fortune-cookie-esk. They trample the grace found only in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They cheapen the sacrifice of our Lord just to produce some little play on words or cliche. Enter, the sign I saw today.

I will start off by giving the people of this local church the benefit of the doubt. I do love my brothers and sisters in Christ. That’s why I want to point out the error I see in thinking without slandering their character. I would like to think that they really love Jesus. I would like to think they understand the Gospel and don’t mean to twist it. I would like to think that they don’t really believe what the sign says. I would like to think that they, well, they  just didn’t think this one all the way through before they put it up. But you see, that’s part of the problem. The sign portrays, in more ways than one, that a lot of Christians don’t think deeply. We don’t think deeply about what we believe, what we read, what we say, etc. We just live on a steady diet of cliches and Bible verses snatched out of context.

“Christianity is not a religion, it’s a lifestyle,” read the sign as I strained my neck looking back at it to make sure I saw what I thought I saw from my ’94 Accord. What?! No matter how you interpret their use of the word religion here, it teaches the exact opposite of what the entire New Testament teaches about justification.

Let’s say that religion here means religious works–trying to get to heaven by adhering to religious or traditional practices. I would agree with that being wrong. But now the sign reads “Christianity is not about religious works, it’s about living the Christian life.” So it’s not about works, but it is? Huh? Where is grace, mercy, forgiveness? Where is the Gospel? I mean, if this is what “Christianity is,” don’t you think we should get this right?

Let’s say that by religion they mean a set of beliefs (per the dictionary). So now the sign would read “Christianity is not a set of beliefs, it’s a lifestyle.” So, it’s not about faith, it’s about works. Hmm. I think my Bible teaches it a bit differently than that. We have become so afraid of the word religion that we have forgotten that a religion is a set of beliefs–doctrines. We are saved by God’s unmerited grace–get this–through faith (what we believe) says Ephesians 2:8-9, Romans 1:16, Romans 3:24, and 3:28!

It is what we believe that changes how we live, not the other way around. So, Christianity is not about a lifestyle. Christianity is about faith in the Son of God who loved us and gave Himself up for us (Ephesians 5:2). The “lifestyle” is a byproduct of God graciously saving and justifying wicked sinners, making us His children, placing His Holy Spirit within us, and conforming us to the image of Christ from the inside out.

“Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, [2] and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. [3] For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, [4] that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,” (1 Corinthians 15:1-4, ESV) (emphasis mine).

Brothers and Sisters, let’s think deeply about this undeserved grace that we have been given–there is so much to be explored. Let’s seek to represent our faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ accurately and well, with love for the lost in our culture. Let us think before we spout off one of our cliches that may not be biblical. Let us be Berean-like (Acts 17:10-12) as we consider how we and others are using the Bible. Finally, let us “contend for the Faith that was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3)

family_rocket

Family Project Rocket

Granted, this post has nothing to do with doctrine or theology. But, it does have something to do with dads building fun things around the house with their crews… that explode! Dads should teach their children about God and His creation… AND have fun with them.

The kids and I finished building our first family rocket today. We all had lots of fun and it was actually pretty simple. Now that I know it works I’m going to let the kids paint and decorate their own rockets.

It shouldn’t cost all that much if you have a few of the materials laying around the house. I followed the instructions from a youtube video I found the other day. If you are looking for a way to spend some time with your kidos and be able to teach them a little science in the process, this is a great idea.

I believe I only changed one element from the guy’s video that I thought would make an improvement. Other than that, I did everything just as he did. I did have a few misfires and I haven’t quite gotten the height he seems to be getting yet. I think it’s all a matter of figuring out how much hair spray to put into the launcher. You need to have the right fuel to air ratio to get an ignition. Once you get that ratio figured out, you’ll be good to go.

UPDATE: After some trial and error, I found a few ways to have less misfires. First, drill a small hole (the size of the screws or smaller) in the bottom of the launcher tube on the opposite side of the screws. This will allow a little air to mix with the fuel. Also before your first launch, find a way to heat the inside of the launcher tube. Spray some hair spray in the tube and use a long lighter at the top of the tube to cause a small explosion. The heated tube allows the hair spray to vaporize more easily.

You may be able to find some of this stuff, or at least good substitutes, laying around the house.

  • Thin foam camping pad
  • 2′ piece of 3″ PVC
  • 3″ PVC cap
  • Electric grill ignition (They had the manual one he uses in the video, but I got the electric one for the quick repeated firing.)
  • Self tapping screws
  • PVC cement and primer
  • A 2 liter soda bottle
  • Duct tape
  • Can of aerosol hair spray

My Rocket Launch Video

[vimeo 74785317 w=340 h=600]Family Project Rocket from Chad Gray on Vimeo.

Instructional Youtube Video

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UslstxqrBlI?rel=0]