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 …

The Transgender Conversation You Need to Have With Your Family

A friend of mine told me about her recent experience in an airport security line. She was dutifully passing through the metal detector when she heard a beep and was told she would need the pat-down procedure. It is the right of the traveler to have that procedure performed by someone of the same gender and so, as per protocol, the call went out for a female officer to assist. But as the pat-down began, my friend realized that the …

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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 …

7 Ways Parents Unfairly Provoke Their Children

Parents, do not provoke your children to anger lest they become discouraged, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” This single sentence combines the New Testament’s two most prominent passages on parenting and, as I said yesterday (see Fathers (and Mothers), Do Not Provoke Your Children!), offers a significant warning to parents: We can parent our children in such a way that we provoke them to anger and discouragement. There are times when we so …

Fathers (and Mothers), Do Not Provoke Your Children!

It’s a word, it’s an idea, that I have wanted to explore for some time. Within the New Testament there are two clear instructions to parents and this word features prominently in both of them. It is the word provoke. Ephesians 6:4 says, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” while Colossians 3:21 echoes “Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.” Risking the wrath …

The Two Kinds of Conversation You Need To Have With Your Children

Over the course of my years of parenting, I have picked up advice from a hundred different sources. Like most parents I have read a few books on parenting, some of them general works and some of them targeted at specific joys or challenges. I have read a lot of blog posts and other articles addressing one angle or the other. Of course I’ve been challenged by the Bible through personal study and sermons. And then there are those personal …

The Birds, The Bees, The Awe, The Wonder

Every parent has the responsibility of eventually having “the talk” with their children. You know the talk I mean—the one that finally tells the children where babies come from. I don’t think there are too many parents who look forward to the conversation or too many that are confident with their handling of it. But somehow we blunder through and both we and our children survive. I spent much of this week preparing a couple of conference messages about God’s …

10 Lessons on Parenting Little Ones

My youngest child is about to turn 10 years old and will soon be joining her two siblings in the double digits. This means that Aileen and I have graduated—we have graduated from parenting little ones to parenting big ones. Lots of parenting remains, of course, but the little years are now in the past. These little years have been the best and the worst years, the easiest and the hardest. They have been full of both joys and tremendous …

Letters to the Editor #13 (Parenting, Bad Preaching, Evening Services)

With another Sunday, we have another batch of letters to the editor. These letters focus in on just a few of the articles I have posted over the past 2 weeks. Comments on An Unexpected Blessing of Parenting After reading the post, I get it that the picture is probably supposed to show a father and son as friends. But, in looking at the FB post of my friend, what I saw was a “couple” made of up two men. …

An Unexpected Blessing of Parenting

There is a lot about parenting I expected. I had been tipped off to many of the joys and many of the sorrows. I knew it would require long days and late nights; I knew it would draw out both strengths and weaknesses in my character; I knew it would expose a part of my heart that would love with a unique tenacity and fierceness; I knew it would help me better understand why God relates to us as Father; …