What We Really Ought to Be Afraid Of

We fear many things. Unfortunately, we often fear the wrong things. We fear losing a loved one, not being able to pay the bills, losing our jobs, losing possessions, getting a disease. But the greatest threat in our lives is a threat to our spiritual well-being. The greatest threat is sin.

In Genesis 6:1-7, we discover how wicked the world was before God destroyed it with the flood. As we observe this wickedness, we are able to learn about the nature of human sinfulness. Here are the main ideas:

  1. This sinfulness of man comes from choosing fleshly desires over spiritual priorities.
  2. The sinfulness of man is infectious.
  3. The sinfulness of man is a condition of the human heart.

Seven Surefire Ways to Find Yourself in Sin, Part 2

No one ever intends to be stuck in fear, depression, or addiction. No one ever intends to be trapped by sin. It happens over time, through a series of choices that we make. There is a path to sin and there is a way to avoid it. We can clearly see the path to sin as we observe the first human sin in Genesis 3.

Below you can stream or download the audio recording of Part 2 of my teaching on Genesis 3:1-7, given at Highland Christian Fellowship on April 26, 2015.

1. Be unaware of Satan's tactics (v. 1).
2. Ignore lines of authority God has  
    established (vv. 2, 6).
3. Become unclear about what God's
    Word says (vv. 2-3).
4. Doubt God's Word (vv. 1, 4).
5. Question God's goodness (v. 5).
6. Do not wait on God to satisfy your
    desires (v. 6).
7. Try to fit in and please people (v. 6).

Two Empowering Truths for a New School Year

We are gearing up to start the Fall school semester at our house. These preparations are often accompanied by a mixture of excitement and fear. It is exciting to look at the new books, the clean sheets of paper waiting to become masterpieces, the beautiful charts and schedules that hold promises of peace and order. Then we remember that it rarely turns out that way! That's when the fear (and maybe some discouragement) comes in.

I want to share two empowering truths to cling to as you prepare for a new school year:

1. "There is time to do anything and everything that God wants us to do." Elizabeth Elliot

One of the reasons we become overwhelmed, or do not complete all that we set out to do, is because we put too much on our plates. We have limited resources and abilities and, therefore, we simply cannot do it all! So, how do we decide what to do and what not to do? We ask an important question: What does God want me to do? What does God want our family to do? Pray about this and expect God to give you clarity and wisdom about the choices you make. We may not have time to do everything we want to do, or everything we think we should do, or everything everybody else wants us to do. But we do have time to do everything God wants us to do. He knows what we can do, and more importantly, he knows what he can do through us. This leads us to the next empowering truth to consider:

2 ."God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work." 2 Cor 9:8

Although we have human limitations, God is able to give us everything we need to do the good things he wants us to do. When we endeavor to train and disciple our children, we are taking up a good work. We have the promise of God for everything we need to carry it out. When we face the old, familiar thought,  "I can't do it!" Don't try to argue, just admit it. "Yes, I can't do it. . . . Not on my own. But 'I can do all things through him who strengthens me.' (Phil 4:13)."

You Should Write in Your Book!

I love writing in the books I am reading! I always have a pencil in hand when I read non-fiction. Recently, I read a book that has transformed my reading. It is How to Read a Book: The Classic Guide to Intelligent Reading by Mortimer J Adler and Charles Van Doren. This is a must read! Happily, they have confirmed my habit of writing in the books I read.

I would like to pass on these reading tips by Adler and Van Doren:

Here are three reasons to write in your book while you read:

  1. "It keeps you awake."
  2. "Reading, if it is active, is thinking, and thinking tends to express itself in words, spoken or written. The person who says he knows what he thinks but cannot express it usually does not know what he thinks."
  3. "Writing your reactions down helps you to remember the thoughts of the author."

Here is how to do it:

Marking a book is literally an expression of your differences or your agreements with the author.
— Mortimer J Adler and Charles Van Doren
  1. Underline major points and statements.
  2. Vertical lines at the margins too long to be underlined.
  3. Star, asterisk, or other doodad at the margin to mark important statements and passages (not too many). You could fold the corners of these pages for quick location.
  4. Numbers in the margins of sequences and lists.
  5. Numbers of other pages or sources that relate.
  6. Circling of key words and phrases.
  7. Writing in the margin and in the blank pages at front and back.

A Lost Concept: Respect and Honor to Authority

I am rereading the book Discipline: The Glad Surrender by Elizabeth Elliot. This book contains powerful, timeless biblical principles. She discusses the discipline of body, mind, place, time, possessions, work, and feelings.

When Elliot talks about discipline of place, she is talking about giving others the honor and respect that is due them based on their position in our lives. Our culture teaches us that we don't have to submit to anyone and no one is in charge of us. This line of thinking also appears in the church. Submission to others and to those in authority is a wonderful and powerful truth! Let us not rob our children of this provision and protection from God. Here are some excerpts from Elliot's chapter on The Discipline of Place:

A second reason for confusion in the matter of respect, in addition to that over the definition, is the current notion that everyone deserves tit-for-tat equality. This is one of the excesses of democracy, which ought not to be confused with Christianity. The truth is that not everybody has a right to everything. A child has the right to be taken care of. An adult has not. An adult has the right to vote, get married, be taxed. A child has not. . . . Different kinds of honor and respect are suitable to different people. . . .

Christianity teaches righteousness, not rights. It emphasizes honor, not equality. A Christian’s concern is what is owed to the other, no what is owed to himself. . . .

A sense of place is important for a Christian. We cannot give honor duly—where it is due—without a sense of place. Who is this person, who am I in relation to him? We are people under authority at all times, owing honor and respect to a king or a president, to parents, to master, teacher, husband or boss, to ministers and elders and bishops, and of course always and most important, to Christ.”
— Elizabeth Elliot, Discipline: The Glad Surrender

Who's Your Master? (If you think it's you, think again)

Last Sunday, July 19, 2015, I taught on Genesis 4:1-8, the story of Cain and Abel. I was amazed at the powerful truths contained in this brief story. We are presented with a beautiful picture of the gospel, of human freedom to choose salvation, and the power given to us to overcome sin! We can choose to submit to the rule of God in our lives, or the rule of evil. Satan has deceived us to believe that we can rule ourselves. Here are the basic ideas:

1. When we submit to God's rule, we come to him with humility, accepting his terms for forgiveness.

2. When we submit to God's rule, we choose to obey him by faith.

3. When we do not submit to God's rule, we will be ruled by evil.

10 Ways to Teach Your Children to Know God's Will for Their Lives

Here is the outline for my second session at the Thrive! NCHE Conference. You can  view the prezi I used in the presentation. 

Ten Ways to Teach Your Children to Know God’s Will for Their Lives

  1. Surrender your life to God (Rom 12:1-2; John 7:16; Luke 9:23-25).
  2. Study Scripture (1 Thess 4:1-6; 2 Tim 3:16-17).
  3. Pray (Phil 4:6-7; Jer 29:11-13; James 4:2b).
  4. Listen to God’s Spirit (Acts 5:32; 20:23; Rom 8:16; John 15:26; 16:7-15).
  5. Wait (Ps 25:4-5).
  6. Observe your personal desires and abilities (1 Cor 7:8-9, 36-38; 12:4-7, 11).
  7. Observe God’s work in your circumstances (James 4:13-17; 1 Cor 16:8-9).
  8. Listen to the counsel and those in authority (Matt 15:15-17; Heb 13:17; Eph 6:1-2; 1 Cor 12:14-21; Prov 15:22).
  9. Reason and test ideas and opportunities (Prov 14:15; Rom 12:2; 1 Cor 10:15; 1:20-21; 2:4; Prov 3:5-7; 1 John 4:1-6).
  10. Evaluate impressions and signs (Acts 8:26; 22:17-18; 2 Cor 11:13-15; Gal 1:8).

How to Stop the Fighting in Your Home


Here is the outline for my first workshop at the Thrive! NCHE Conference. You can download it and you can view the prezi I used for the presentation. If you would like the article that unpacks biblical conflict resolution, sign up for post updates in the right sidebar and get How to Stop a Fight Before It Starts for free.


How to Stop the Fighting in Your Home
Session 11 Saturday 1:50-2:50 p.m

Why do we want to stop the fighting in our home?

  • Because it is pleasant to have a peaceful home (Prov 17:1).
  • Because we want to love and obey God (Eph 4:1-4).
  • Because we want to prepare our children for a life of maturity (Eph 6:4).

Three ways to stop the fighting in your home:

1.        Set a peaceful example.

  • Stop fighting your spouse (Prov 26:21; Prov 21:19).
  • Stop fighting your children (Eph 6:4; Prov 15:1).
  • If you are fighting, then you are choosing to be selfish and prideful (James 4:1-2; 1 Cor 13:4-7).
  • Let the Spirit of Christ live in you! (Gal 2:20; 5:22-23).

2.        Set basic rules of engagement.

  • No yelling
  • No violence.
  • No manipulation

3.        Teach your children to speak truth to one another (Eph 4:15; Matt 18:15-17).

Teach them the Matt 18 process:

  • Speak to the other person privately.
  • Ask another person to help verify problem (I don’t require this step).
  • Go to those in authority to handle the situation.

4.        Teach your children biblical conflict resolution. 

  • Give space (James 1:19).
  • Check yourself  (Matt 7:3-5).
  • Let go of anger (Eph 4:26-27; Matt 18:21-35).
  • Love (Mark 12:30; Gal 5:14).
  • Pray (Matt 5:44; James 1:5-8).
  • Talk about it (Prov 18:13;15:1).
  • Discern the issue (Rom 14:1-12).
  • Speak the truth (Matt 18:15; Eph 4:15; Gal 6:1).
  • Give space