10 Ideas and 10 Tips for Family Devotions in 2017

With a new year dawning, many Christian families will resolve to approach family devotions with greater faithfulness in the year ahead, or perhaps even to begin family devotions for the first time. These are great resolutions! Here are 10 ideas and 10 tips that may help. Ten Ideas for Family Devotions Read the Narratives. Read through the big picture of the Bible by focusing on the narrative (story) parts. In the Old Testament, read Genesis, parts of Exodus (you might …

Sweet Promises of Blessing, Terrible Threats of Judgment

Last week I told you why I believe the fifth commandment—honor your father and mother—is The Commandment We Forgot. The response was overwhelming and proves to me what I suspected—many people have serious questions and concerns about this commandment. We are comfortable with its implications for children, but perplexed when it comes to the implications for adults. How do we, as adults, show honor to our parents? What are our continuing obligations? What about parents who are difficult, absent, abusive, …

Become a Patron

Children and Sleepovers: What Parents Need to Know

My family doesn’t do sleepovers. Before our children were even old enough to ask, Aileen and I talked it through and determined that we would not allow them. We would simply take sleepovers off the table altogether. A couple of years ago I wrote about this in an article titled Why My Family Doesn’t Do Sleepovers and something crazy happened. To date, nearly 8,000,000 people have read it. Every few months something happens within Facebook and it goes viral all …

10 Reasons I’m Thankful To Be a Dad

It does me good to consider what I am thankful for, especially since today is Thanksgiving up here in Canada. There are so many things for which I owe gratitude to God, but near the top of the list, and on my mind today, is my children. I’m thankful to be a dad for these reasons and many more: Cuddles I am thankful to be a dad for the cuddles. My sixteen-year-old son doesn’t cuddle me anymore, but my girls …

Daddy, How Do I Look?

Daddy, how do I look?” Eyes sparkling. Cheeks glowing. Is that a touch of makeup, a little something to accentuate the green of her eyes? Since when has she been wearing makeup? She twirls daintily on silver shoes, hair streaming, dress floating. “Daddy, how do I look?” She looks thirteen or twenty-three. She’s so big and so tiny, so old and so young, so wise and so innocent. When did she grow up? Wasn’t it just yesterday that she was …

Is It Okay Deliberately Not To Have Children?

Here’s a question I’ve heard a number of times in a number of different contexts: Is it okay deliberately not to have children? Is it okay for a married couple to deliberately determine that they will not at least attempt to have biological children? My immediate response has always been no, it is not okay. But I have never put a lot of thought into why or whether this response is correct. Thankfully, I got an assist from Christopher Ash …

When Jesus Brings a Sword

The Prince of Peace once told his disciples “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.” Many antagonists have interpreted this to mean that Jesus incites his followers to acts of violence—if not physical violence, at least relational. In their view Christians are cruel, Christians are mean, Christians are eager to separate themselves from anyone who disagrees with them. But any fair reading of the …

Our Caveat Emptor Vacation

Every couple of summers my whole family vacations together. When I say “my whole family,” I mean my parents, their 5 children, their 4 children-in-law, and a small hoard of grandchildren. That’s a crowd of 26 people all told. Needless to say, we have to search far and wide to find accommodations for that many people—accommodations that offer the right balance of luxury versus economy, community versus privacy, and so on. Typically our search leads us to an American state …

Big Beliefs!

As a family we are committed to reading the Bible together. For years we have made it a near-daily habit to spend at least a few minutes together in family devotions. Our normal pattern is simple as simple can be: First thing in the morning we read a passage, we talk about it briefly, and we pray. It is a sweet time together and one I’m convinced is of outsized importance to our spiritual and relational health. Sometimes, though, we …

3 Priorities for Christian Parents

What’s a parent to do? We know that God tells us to raise our children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord—we get that. But what does that actually look like? How can we flesh out that simple framework? I was recently reading through 1 Thessalonians and once again came to one of my favorite passages. In this letter Paul is addressing specific concerns raised by the congregation in Thessalonica. It seems that one of the matters they wanted …