I recently saw a video on Facebook that interviewed three generations and asked them a simple question: What was (is) your favorite thing to do growing up? Grandparents and parents recounted stories of building forts, playing outside, fishing, and making a sled from an old sign. Then they asked the question to a group of kids ranging from about 7-10 years old. Their answers were quite different: video games, texting, spending time on the tablet and watching TV. I see this all the time in my generation of parents. If you kid is crying, hand them a phone and put something on. If you're having a conversation and they are there, parents place an electronic device in front of the kid and I watch in horror as a glazed trance overcomes the kids and they zone out. This is routine... not an abnormality, and I see it regularly with children as young as 4. Since this is my blog, I get to say what I think and you can choose to read or not read, but in my opinion, this is nothing but lazy derelict babysitting... not parenting. This is what one would expect from a 14 year old babysitter watching your kids while you are on a date with your spouse, not what one should expect from a parent who is forming a child and shaping them in a way that will impact them for the rest of their lives.
I recently just finished my first book in the New Studies In Biblical Theology series and posted a picture of the finished book on social media. Within minutes, I had a couple of people asking me about my approach or regimen to reading. The book in the picture looked little like what it did when I started. The spine is bent, the pages have tabs sticking out all over it, the pages are full of highlights, notes in the margins and stick it notes. Rather than trying to answer this question on a social media thread, I figured I would write a post on it for all the fellow book nerds out there and explain my approach to reading through answering some common questions I get.
I am not a normal dad. Normal dads don't read Jonathan Edwards to their children the day they are born as they sit with them in the hospital. I guess that is one of the down sides of having a pastor as your dad, but from the time our children were born, I have read to them. And not just children's books, I have read adult books to them. I have read through most of the Chronicles of Narnia (among other things) with our oldest and the reason for this is simple. Studies have shown that reading to our children from a young age helps their development. They speak better and understand better through exposure to language. They begin to appreciate reading from a young age which, if it sticks and reading is a joy, results in a love of reading and exponentially increases their ability to learn and understand the world around them throughout their lives.
This last week, we were on vacation in Missouri and I had the joy of being able to preach at the church that ordained me to ministry. This church was incredibly influential in my life and spiritual growth and there was something pretty special about being able to go back and preach the word and in a small way, bless this church that has blessed my family so much. They have been preaching through the gospel of John and so I was assigned the next text in the series. This text is particularly important for Christians today because it is easy to focus on the wrong things in Christianity. We can easily read our Bibles to know ABOUT God and totally miss KNOWING God. Jesus said that the scriptures tell about him and are the Father's witness to the truth of Christ's claims. In an age when there are pastors advocating that the Old Testament isn't relevant to Christians today, this text shows that all of Scripture is meant to point us to know and love Christ. I hope this blesses you.
In modern evangelical Christian culture, there can be those who rise so high in popularity that they are beyond criticism. There are those who have make such a significant contribution in the past to the cause of Christ that they they can appear to be untouchable when in the wrong. Such is the case with Paige Patterson. The once stalwart architect of the conservative resurgence of the Southern Baptist Convention and president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, has in recent years acted in such a way that he is not longer fit to lead and should, for the good of the convention, the reputation of Christ, and the advancement of the gospel, step down from public ministry and leadership of an institution charged with forming the theology and character of the next generation of pastors. For those unfamiliar with the situation, you can read an article by Ed Stetzer which chronicles the disqualification of Patterson. In addition, a young man who is a seminary student at SWBTS has been fired from his position there after tweeting Stetzer's article.
I am currently reading a book called Gospel Fluency (available here) and so far it is an excellent book. The author argues early in the book that we are all unbelievers. By that, he means that we all have areas in our lives where we fail to believe God. That is a simple, yet profound observation, and ultimately true. Though we may be trusting in Christ, we can say along with the man with the epileptic son, "I believe, help my unbelief" (Mark 9:24). We all need help in our unbelief.
In Sunday School at Arbor Drive, we are covering some core convictions we have as a church. One of them is a conviction that believers should be disciples and should be discipling others. Due to some good discussion, we did not get to the final section of the lesson which addressed barriers to discipleship, so I am writing this to help address that issue. If we are honest, we all have barriers to discipleship. Overcoming those barriers ultimately flows from two things, namely, a conviction that Christ commanded us to disciple others, and a love for/desire to obey Christ. That said, I believe there are some practical things that we can think through in overcoming barriers to discipleship.
In our last episode of The Pastor Discussions Podcast, we mentioned a resource that might be helpful in revitalizing your prayer life called Praying the Bible by Don Whitney. I took Dr. Whitney's Spiritual Disciplines class in Seminary before this book was published and it walks through everything we covered in class. This is an excellent and easy read that I highly recommend for you. You will seriously never pray the same again. I've also added some other resources we mentioned in the show that might help with your prayer life. Click on the links below to buy them on Amazon and we will receive a little kick back to help with show costs for every purchase.
Praying the Bible by Don Whitney: http://amzn.to/2nF0vlQ
Praying with Paul by D.A. Carson: http://amzn.to/2nFtJB9
Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy With God by Timothy Keller: http://amzn.to/2nCApQr
Enjoying Your Prayer Life by Michael Reeves: http://amzn.to/2BbeyHf
The Psalms (ESV): http://amzn.to/2E3cxQi
The Psalms (ESV – Ladies might like this one): http://amzn.to/2nMLUUr
The Valley of Vision: http://amzn.to/2E61u4P
Gadsby’s Hymns (Cheaper soft cover version): http://amzn.to/2E4vdiD
Gadsby’s Hymns (Hardcover – the one we both have): http://amzn.to/2BYBmH4
Field Notes Memo Book: http://amzn.to/2BGwISb
Moleskine Cahier Journal: http://amzn.to/2Bd6Xbr
Moleskine Soft Cover: http://amzn.to/2Bc76f0
Leuchtturm 1917 softcover (Love this one): http://amzn.to/2BXliW5
Day One Journal App: http://dayoneapp.com/
Husband to Carlee, Papa to Fin and Ainsley, Pastor for Preaching and Vision at Arbor Drive Community Church in York, Ne., and co-host of The Pastor Discussions Podcast.
This last week I posted on the Arbor Drive Facebook page that there was some exciting news coming down the pipeline. Well, here it is. Starting in January, we will be launching a weekly podcast called Pastor Discussions. Hooray!
I came home yesterday after a long day and walked in the house to see my two year old daughter run out of the bedroom, but this time she looked different. He shirt was bulging out from her belly to her chest with the outline of a stuffed bear. I asked her "what is in your shirt"? She replied "bear"! "Why is bear in your shirt" I asked. She responded simply... "He's eating". To fully comprehend this story, you need to know that "bear" is her baby. She plays with him and kisses him and carries him around. About 15 minutes later, bear's head was poking out of the neck of her shirt. "I'm wearing bear" she said.