Saturday, January 29, 2005

Dr. Dobson and Spongebob

You've probably heard the media hoopla about Dr. James Dobson's comments indicting Spongebob as homosexual. Check out Dobson's newsletter giving his perspective on the events.

It's imperative that we help our wives and children develop discernment about news reporting, and to think critically about issues. Satan is not happy with critical thinkers who discern events from a biblical worldview. Here's the tough part -- you can't lead your wife and children to someone you aren't already. So exercise a bit and sharpen your mind for Christ.

Praying for Iraq

Men, let's commit to pray for Iraq as they go to the polls. Most Americans (at least since 1960) have never known anything except an easy time at the voting booth. You walk in, you make your selections, and you go about your business. No shootings, bombings, beheadings.

Can you picture peaceful power transitions in every province in Iraq? Can you imagine wise decisions being made by those elected? Can you see stability and peace, children smiling, respect for authority, civic pride?

Now ask the Lord -- who has promised to do more than we can ask or imagine -- to make it so, for His glory and purposes.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Husbands, love your wives

Men, we need to be students of our wives if we're going to fulfill Ephesians 5:21-33. Therefore I recommend you read this excellent article "The Real Life of an At-Home Mother."

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Defeating Overwhelm

I'm susceptible to being overwhelmed with too many things going on, and then I don't get much of anything accomplished. Therefore I was immediately hooked by the title of Stever Robbins HBS article "Defeating Overwhelm."

If you only have a horizontal, humanistic viewpoint, it's a great article. I agree that the Getting Things Done methodology is very powerful, and I recommend it others. I completely agree with the author on a few other observations, including:
  • quality multitasking is a myth -- most worthwhile things require more than a few moments of sustained attention
  • technological advances and better organization methods result in temporary savings followed by increased expectations
  • it's helpful to decide how much is "enough" and be selective in our information input
But as a Christian, working to be transformed in the attitude of my mind (Eph 4:23), understanding that the redemptive power of Christ transforms all my work and my relationships, how should I respond to "overwhelm" ? I cannot follow Robbins advice to stop caring, or to "take control of your own life."

Here are some reminders that may help us:

We are not our own, but were bought at a price. We are under authority of the Commander-in-Chief of the universe.
We have been called to minister in the great Name of Jesus , so why should we deal with lesser things?
We must let God define lesser things. Serving others, laying down your life for others, being a giver rather than a taker -- let us be imitators of God in these matters.
Our Lord establishes rhythms of work and rest that are good for us.
We are commanded to walk with Christ, not crawl or run. Walking allows breath for ongoing conversation with Him.

Your thoughts welcomed.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Connecting Abortion to Sexism and Racism

In this anniversary time for Roe v. Wade, John Piper's Jan 23 sermon is worth printing off and reading twice. He exegetes Exodus 1:1-22 and compares today's situation with abortion. He carefully demonstrates how many abortions are the outworking of sexist and racist views that are incompatible with the Christ-transformed heart.

Thank you God for giving us smart, scripture-saturated saints like Pastor Piper. Raise up more!
"You have no idea how good God is"

Eric Evers has an excellent short commentary on the goodness of God. An excerpt:

"How good do you think Jesus is? How beautiful, how generous, how forgiving, how gracious, how welcoming, how transforming? How deep do you think his love is? Your picture is just a drop in the ocean. Your wildest dreams can't grasp the tiniest particle of Jesus' goodness. Your bravest and most outlandish hopes can't do the slightest bit of justice to his mercy and grace. That's how amazing God is in all his grace and glory."

Monday, January 24, 2005

Subscribe by Email

Several people have asked if I can email them whenever there is a new post. I just loaded Bloglet to make this easy -- sign up in the form box in the right column. Enjoy!
We Don't Have to Come Back

Our pastor referenced the famous Nantucket "Humane Society" group that rescued sailors offshore. Their motto was "We have to go out, but we don't have to come back." Great way to think about our call as Christians, because we're in the rescue business.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Death adjectives

I've noticed several adjectives used with the word death in health-oriented newsletters, newspaper articles, and advertisements:

untimely death
premature death
unnecessary death

Untimely, premature, unncessary -- all these demonstrate humanistic thinking, a human perspective, a worldview remote from understanding soaked in the sovereignty of God.

"And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment" (Heb 9:27) A friend reminds me "You and I have appointments, just don't know when exactly." But He will keep it.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Repenting from Anxiety

A dear friend told me he recently had spent time repenting from anxiety that was filling his heart over some issues.

This thought hit me like a 2x4 to the forehead. I'm not sure I realized I should repent from anxiety; my usual strategy is just work harder to stop being anxious and trust God more. "I mean, really, we should save repentence for more serious stuff, right?"

Repentence is the way, not the sometimes when it's obvious I have no other options way.

Friday, January 21, 2005

Valentine's Day is coming!

It's not long till Valentine's Day, men. Make plans now to show your ladies -- wives and daughters -- how special they are. They need our affirmation, our affection, our time. (Barb Rosberg points out that women spell love "T-I-M-E.")

Get Good Songs in Your Head

Music is powerful, so let's get good songs in our heads. They'll help sustain us. Here are the lyrics to a great Chris Rice hymn.
Come to Jesus

Weak and wounded sinner
Lost and left to die
O, raise your head, for love is passing by
Come to Jesus
Come to Jesus
Come to Jesus and live!

Now your burden's lifted
And carried far away
And precious blood has washed away the stain,
soSing to Jesus
Sing to Jesus
Sing to Jesus and live!

And like a newborn baby
Don't be afraid to crawl
And remember when you walk
Sometimes we fall...
soFall on Jesus
Fall on Jesus
Fall on Jesus and live!

Sometimes the way is lonely
And steep and filled with pain
So if your sky is dark and pours the rain, then
Cry to Jesus
Cry to Jesus
Cry to Jesus and live!

O, and when the love spills over
And music fills the night
And when you can't contain your joy inside, then
Dance for Jesus
Dance for Jesus
Dance for Jesus and live!

And with your final heartbeat
Kiss the world goodbye
Then go in peace, and laugh on Glory's side, and
Fly to Jesus
Fly to Jesus
Fly to Jesus and live!

For our boys

Ken Canfield writes a nice newsletter for dads. (Subscribe here) He shares a good insight about working with our boys in the most recent column:

"Dads, we all need to be aware of our sons’ behavior and then be willing to hold them accountable. One key area in which many boys struggle is a tendency toward reckless aggressiveness. Sometimes it’s physical; sometimes it’s verbal; sometimes it shows up in disrespect toward women, or in pushing people around to get what they want; sometimes it’s expressed through a determined or stubborn will.
Boys need a dad to reel them in. We must teach our sons at an early age that we’re not going to allow certain kinds of behavior. They need to know that we’re going to confront them about their actions, with negative consequences attached (though we should never insult or belittle them in the process). We fathers can’t just let our sons go off on their own. We have to shoulder the responsibility of raising responsible, respectful young men."

Let's teach our boys about being bold, and being gentle. It's the Jesus way.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Inagural reminder

President Bush will be inagurated today. It's worth reminding your children that we live in an amazing country, where power changes hands peacefully. This is not typical in the history of the world.
M'Cheyne's Systematic Bible Reading Plan

I posted information about Robert Murray M'Cheyne's Bible reading plan on the Teach to Change Lives blog -- check it out.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Slamming Martin Luther King Jr.

It's become fashionable now to point out Martin Luther King Jr.'s many faults. There's reasonable evidence for adultery, some evidence for inappropriate work in his dissertation, and certainly his followers did not stay true to his highest ideals (most notably, Jesse Jackson).

A passage comes to mind as I consider this state of events: "Who are you to judge someone else's servant? To his own master he stands or falls." (
Why Reason Alone is an Unreliable Guide

Dennis Prager outlines four problems with the concept that Reason alone can lead a person or a people into moral greatness:

Reason is itself amoral, and only a tool for decision-making
Humans are incapable of acting consistently on Reason alone
You must believe that people are basically good (an irrational idea in itself)
Reason does not compel specific action

This will be a nice article to use with your family over dinner!

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Love the Lord your God will all your Mind

Doug Giles has some piercing comments about evangelicals being soft on doctrine in his column appropriately titled "Oaks of Righteousness or Evangelical Tumbleweeds?"
To say that doctrine doesn’t matter is to say that God, who is the author of
doctrine, doesn’t matter. Doctrine is not boring or irrelevant. You
might be — but doctrine sure as heck isn’t.
Sound biblical doctrine matters
greatly. Doctrine defines …
· the principal purpose of man,
· the role and rule of the scripture, · the character and nature of
God, · the purpose of creation, · the fall of man, · Christ and
the covenant of grace, · the application of redemption and· God’s view
of death and the last day.

I like the quote from Os Guiness about Christians in America: "The true story of the evangelical mind in retreat is the story of the surrender, not the stealing of America." (source: Fit Bodies, Fat Minds)

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Why blog?

I get asked three questions about my blog:

Why do you do this?
How do you do this?
How do you find time to do this?

This blog is a vehicle to encourage husbands and fathers. I've got a heart passion to build up men because they're key to the Kingdom of God, and to Western civilization. Writing this is one way I can help men. makes blogging very, very easy.

Making time is harder, but that's a personal discipline issue, men. Right? Right.

I think blogging (or something like it) is going to become very routine for the majority of the population so long as digital progress continues. I encourage you to get into it as an extension of your ministry to others. I have an opportunity to build up not only my regular readership, but those who wander across these pages because of a Google search, blogroll list, or "next blog" link. God be praised!

Here are two links from a pastor talking about why he blogs. I think he's right on.
Understanding our Times

Long, but worthwhile: The War Against World War IV, by Norman Podhertz. Reading this will help you be more like the men of Issachar.

Thermostat, not Thermometer

My last post talked about religious freedom. Citizens should savor religious freedom for it's positive impact on the culture, even if they do not believe in God themselves. If you had a super magnet that would sweep over the US and pick up everything established and supported by Christians throughout it's history, what was left would be unrecognizable. Not even the most ardent atheist and progressives (I hate it that they have corrupted the beautiful word 'liberal') would want to live here.

Here's my recommendation to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day: reread his stirring letter to the clergy written from a Birmingham jail in 1963. Note this challenge to the church, every bit as meaningful today:

There was a time when the church was very powerful. It was during that
period when the early Christians rejoiced when they were deemed worthy to suffer
for what they believed. In those days the church was not merely a thermometer
that recorded the ideas and principles of popular opinion; it was a thermostat
that transformed the mores of society. Whenever the early Christians entered a
town the power structure got disturbed and immediately sought to convict them
for being "disturbers of the peace" and "outside agitators." But they went on
with the conviction that they were "a colony of heaven," and had to obey God
rather than man. They were small in number but big in commitment. They were too
God-intoxicated to be "astronomically intimidated." They brought an end to such
ancient evils as infanticide and gladiatorial contest.
Things are different now. The contemporary church is often a weak, ineffectual voice with an
uncertain sound. It is so often the arch supporter of the status quo. Far from
being disturbed by the presence of the church, the power structure of the
average community is consoled by the church's silent and often vocal sanction of
things as they are.
But the judgement of God is upon the church as never before. If the church of today does not recapture the sacrificial spirit of the
early church, it will lose its authentic ring, forfeit the loyalty of millions,
and be dismissed as an irrelevant social club with no meaning for the twentieth
century. I am meeting young people every day whose disappointment with the
church has risen to outright disgust.

Religious Freedom Day

This Sunday is Religious Freedom Day, by order of the President.

Consider that freedom of religion is mentioned before freedom of speech in the 1st Amendment:

Amendment I
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

I believe we need to work for religious freedom through our means as citizens of this country. Prison Fellowship recommends we work to re-establish religious freedom in our prisons. It's encouraging to see that Mr. Nedow's effort to block prayer at the President's inaguration failed. Looking abroad we should also be encouraged by the news from the Sudan.

Let us pray for God's kingdom, built upon Christ Jesus, to advance irrespective of civic freedom of religion. "Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom." (2 Cor 3:17)
Fabrications, not Forgeries

Much has been said about the CBS News investigation of "Rathergate," the biased 60 minutes report about a faked letter blasting the President's National Guard Service. Charles Krauthammer has a good column on this today. I just wish they would use words properly.

This letter is a fabrication, not a forgery. Forgery means making a copy of something genuine in order to deceive (see definition here). There is no genuine letter here, only a made-up creation designed to make people believe something existed.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Who are the Real Spiritual Leaders?

The real spiritual leaders in any family, church, or community are the ones working hardest to hear God's voice and obey it. They teach others, in word and in example, to do the same.

It is likely that as you read those two sentences a wave of self-rating and comparison and rationalization rose up in your mind. Don't compare yourself to others. You can't stand at the foot of the cross and look up into the face of Christ hanging there, sacrificed for you, and say, "But I'm better than that guy." Jesus Christ is the standard of comparison.
Remembering Sgt. Rafael Peralta

Men, tell your families about this brave Marine, and read John 15:13 and 1 John 3:16. Let be thankful for men like Sgt. Rafael Peralta.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

More Evangelical Blogs Than You Knew!

Joe Carter, who runs the marvelous Evangelical Outpost blog, is compiling a list of evangelical blogs. Great stuff for those who want to surf. I'm sure the list will continue growing.

If you're interested in starting your own blog, be sure to check out Joe's great series on how to do it well.
Tsunami Theology

Lots of newspaper, radio, and blog postings on God's role in the Tsunami. Did He cause it? Was He just "allow" it as a natural disaster? Could He not prevent it? Most Christians seem to go to Romans 8:28 and say that "God will make good to come from it."

Eric Evers has some useful thoughts:
"Trying to ask the "why" question is, simply, dangerous. It is to attempt
to peer into the hidden purposes of God. We lack the capacity to peel back
the surface of the world and discern God's intentions.We can, however, discern
God's revealed purposes. "What was God up to in the tsunami?" The
same thing God is always up to. The prologue to John's Gospel (John
1:1-18) was the assigned lectionary text for the second Sunday after Christmas
(Jan 2). In this beautiful poetry, we are told what God is up to.
God has given his word to us; indeed, he has given his Word to us. His
Word, his Son, is his pledge to save this fallen world. He "makes God
known" (literally, "exegetes" God)."

Polls are being taken. (Why are we surprised about that!) The most popular view seems to be that God didn't actually cause the Tsunami. See Jeff Jacoby's column about this.

Satan gets a lot of mileage persuading people with two lies: (1) God is only a God of Mercy, and not Justice. (2) The default state of mankind is that we go to heaven.

I'm grateful that people are wrestling with the question. May God work out better understanding of His sovereignty through this. May God's people be bold and believe what the Bible says, even when it is not popular theology. Stand firm, men.

Monday, January 10, 2005

Can your family be destroyed?

Socrates said "Know Yourself." Military leaders throughout history have advised "Know Your Enemy."

Satan would be delighted to destroy your marriage and your family. Delighted.

Here's the truth: Apart from the grace of God, the work of Christ, and the indwelling connection to the Lord that the Holy Spirit makes powerful, any family can be destroyed. Some can be destroyed much more easily than others.

So here is a good exercise: how would you ruin your marriage and family? What are the weak points? What attacks, if successful, would wound deeply, perhaps mortally? What trials are you prepared for? What siege duration could you endure?
Now, what provisions need to be made?

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Longer hugs

Here's a challenge for you men today: hug your wife and kids a few extra times, and hug longer. Say a quick prayer of blessing for them while you hug.

I can't cite any scientific studies that says this will improve their test scores, increase their self-esteem 22%, or boost their immune system so they're 43% less likely to get the flu. But do it anyway. This is spiritual leadership in the home.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Recommended Book: Heaven

Randy Alcorn has done a tremendous service to us all by writing Heaven. He's constructed a wonderful picture of the thrilling, fabulous place where we want to be. I appreciate his biblical scholarship. Alcorn first builds the case for an intermediate heaven that exists now, and a final eternal heaven that is centered on the New Earth. A lot of things "clicked" into place for me as I read this book. Alcorn also has many chapters addressing common questions about heaven (e.g., will I know people, will my pet be there, will we worship all the time, what will our bodies be like).

I've encountered a number of teenagers and adults who think heaven is going to be a perpetual church service like the ones that "bore them to death" here. Absolutely not! We're not going to be disembodied spirits floating around on clouds strumming harps forever. Satan has gotten enormous mileage out of these lies.

Get it, read it, share the ideas. Heaven, by Randy Alcorn.
Uhm, let's rethink this whole "Gay Marriage" thing

Thomas Sowell is simply smart. And he writes well to boot. Check out his column on gay marriage. Key paragraph: "Of all the phony arguments for gay marriage, the phoniest is the argument that it is a matter of equal rights. Marriage is not a right extended to individuals by the government. It is a restriction on the rights they already have." Read the whole column.
Love, not Power

Chuck Colson reminds us that love is our best aim in his column on resolutions for 2005:

"Evangelicals have come back into the limelight. Talking heads are commenting on the increasing power of “values voters” and conservative Christians. And to listen to some Christians, one gets the idea that this is the time for our political payback.
So the question is this: Can we handle success and increased influence with grace and prudence?
The sad fact is that all Christians are susceptible to worldly wiles. In fact, sad to say, the Church has managed to shoot itself in the foot almost every time it has achieved power in society.
So what we need most right now is a bracing dose of humility. We’re not a labor union, lining up for our share of the spoils after the election. We are the Church. Our job is to bring biblical truth to bear in society; to win people to Christ; and to promote righteousness and justice. We serve the King of kings, no mere temporal king.
The Apostle Peter tells us always to be prepared to give a reason for the hope that is within us, but with gentleness and reverence. And we are to keep a clear conscience so that when people slander us, they may become “ashamed of their slander.” Though we are commanded to engage in the political process, we are to do so lovingly, as citizens concerned for the common good."

Colson's comment about the church shooting itself in the foot reminds me of someone who said, "The problem is not that we shot ourselves in the foot. The problem is how fast we reloaded and fired again!"

Monday, January 03, 2005


Concentration is a key element to effective Bible study, which is a requirement for growth. Without concentration, your effort is dissipated. Concentration literally means "to stay within the circle."

Push yourself to concentrate. Get rid of all the other distractions. Focus.

Concentration is a capacity we need to help our kids develop, men.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Where Do You Stand?

Marvin Olasky quotes Walker Percy to challenge us in his column, "Christian Hypocrisy, Atheist Insanity":

" What's more striking is how the desperate search for horizontal love, person-to-person, is not matched by what should be an even more desperate search for vertical love, person-and-God. Here's Walker Percy again: "I am surrounded by two classes of maniacs. The first are the believers, who think they know the reason why we find ourselves in this ludicrous predicament yet act for all the world as if they don't. The second are the unbelievers, who don't know the reason and don't care if they don't." "
Remembering Reggie White

A good man leaves a good legacy. Talk about Reggie White with your family.
Time for Resolutions

New Year's is the traditional time for resolutions. Get some inspiration from Jonathan Edwards 70 Resolutions.