Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Family-Integrated Church Model May Be Misunderstood




We're pretty convinced the family-integrated church model is a more biblical model for "doing church", and the prevailing model, that of separating into age and special interest groups during the regular meeting of the church, isn't really scripturally supportable.  

We believe the Lord has been challenging many to reconsider the current model, and it's been encouraging to see what He's doing in the hearts and minds of individuals, pastors, and elders across the nations. 

We think the family-integrated model, however, may have been somewhat misunderstood.  Some assume churches which identify by that name are for families only, for those with a father, mother, and children in the home, that it is not a church for singles, widows and widowers, single parents raising children on their own, infertile couples, or couples whose families have grown.  Nothing could be further from the truth. 

By family-integrated, we mean the "family of God", not merely individual families of a specific make-up, integrated as they sing praises to our glorious God, as they hear the Word preached with wisdom and authority and are lovingly ministered to, as they themselves minister to others, regardless of age or marital status.  Perhaps a better phrase might be "age-integrated", encouraging all members of the Body to remain present during the meeting, from infants to the very elderly.  

Please read the following "Declaration on the Complementary Roles of Church and Family" here which more thoroughly covers what family-integrated means and doesn't mean. 


Friday, December 9, 2011

Raising Daughters to Raise the Next Generation




I came across this blogpost today and thought I'd share it to encourage moms to remember their high calling, to take joy in their God-given role, and to focus on the longterm goal, that of equipping our daughters (and sons) to raise the next generation.  

It's printed below, but you can find it here at Raising Homemakers. 

 

Raising Daughters That Will Raise the Next Generation


Today we have a guest post by Jenny Ervin of A Mother’s Heritage:

They rocked their babies gently with the blankets wrapped carefully around each one. When it was time to pray all three began their motherly sway as they tenderly bounced their little ones to sleep during family worship. Yes, there they stood. My three little girls pretending to do what they have seen many, many times. And my heart smiles inside.

There is nothing I would rather my daughters imitate than mothering. Caring tenderly for the life of another, being a nourisher and giver of ones self is a high calling. In a time when we have “take our daughters to work” day, and “career day” this is where I want their little feminine hearts to beat.
The world cries out daily in it’s loud voice to quench these longings towards the home. Home is deemed second place. And we pummel our little girls with questions of what they want to be when they grow up. When they answer with bright eyes and joyful lips “I want to be a Mommy!” the enemy voices seek to spring up and give us doubt. “Of course, you want to be a mommy… but what else?”

What else?

Isn’t that enough? Isn’t it enough to be raising the next generation? Isn’t it enough to have a small army under you that you are training for God? Isn’t it enough to be growing little minds, hearts and souls in the rich soil of the gospel…planting seeds of truth to bear fruit, with His blessing? Isn’t it enough to have a gospel nursery right there in your small suburban home, or in your tucked away country dwelling?

Yes, it is enough. God deems it so. He loves this high calling and so should we.

And so when other girls might be fixated on the next fad in clothing, and what career path they will be focusing on…I joy to see my little ladies rocking away with their dollies. I delight in seeing the practiced way they lovingly dress and care for their charges, pretending to bring them to “Grandma Jenny”. It is sweet to see them lifting their shirts to pretend to give nourishment to another, and kissing a sweet little head of their imaginary child. They are practicing…and it warms my heart. They are valuing one of the things that is precious to the Lord.

This also causes me to stop and think…what am I modeling for my girls? With my own 8 month old I am a daily an example to my other young ones. Do they see me sigh in frustration when the needs of my baby interrupt my previous plans. Do they hear me complain when I have been awakened many times in the night to feed my baby?

Or, am I exemplifying a spirit of joyful, sacrificial, radiant motherhood?

Do my children see me giving of myself cheerfully?

Do my children know that they delight me?

I pray that more and more these latter attitudes will pervade my home, and may the sweet aroma of the Titus 2 graces fill your dwellings as well.


Jenny is an ordinary mom with an extraordinary God. Following a beautiful courtship, she has been married to her best friend for over 16 years. Jenny homeschools her 7 children (ages 14-8mo). When she is not teaching, playing with her children, or changing diapers, she loves to sing, write, blog and clean…yes, clean. As a recovering OCD perfectionist and “neat freak” she still has unmatched socks, messy closets and is allergic to mornings. Jenny is also the author of the ebook Embracing the Mess. Come and be encouraged, blessed and challenged in your high calling as a wife and mother over at A Mother’s Heritage. You may also follow her on Facebook, or Twitter.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Should We Celebrate Christmas?



Throughout the years we've questioned whether or not we ought to celebrate Christmas, understanding and agreeing with many of the reasons some of our brethren have given for not doing so.  We've concluded, at least at this point in time, that we should continue to do so, in part because of what Stacy MacDonald recently shared on her blog post below.
 

I well remember how the Lord opened my eyes to the tremendous significance of the words of many powerful Christmas carols when He revealed Himself and called me to be His child some 30 years ago.  From then until now I've stood, yet stand, in awe at how His Name and His glory is projected through such beautiful and powerful Christmas carols as, "O Holy Night" and others.


More recently, while in China adopting one of our children during the month of December, I was incredibly moved as I stood in Tiananmen Square in Beijing, in a communist country which rejects Christ and to this day persecutes those who trust in Him, as many of these great carols boomed from their loudspeakers.  China has become very commercialized with Christmas becoming a pretty big deal there, not in acknowledgement of the birth of our Saviour, Jesus Christ, but as a "western" holiday which many Chinese now take part in.  Yet, in the midst of their secular holiday, the Name of Christ is being projected across their cities in the form of Christmas carols which speak to man's fallen state, his need of the Saviour, and of Christ's coming.  There's no doubt in my mind that God is using those lyrics to cause many to consider the meaning behind them, drawing men, women, and children to Himself through the powerful message being proclaimed.

We also agree with Stacy concerning the impact of Christmas upon secular culture, and rejoice in the fact that the coming of the Saviour of the world is being aired on almost every secular radio station in our land, as well as in almost every retail store, believing God will do as He pleases with it, drawing whom He will through the message of the birth of Christ.

Below is Stacy's blog post with a video clip of the men's acapella group, Straight No Chaser, singing Hark The Herald Angels Sing.







Gloria in excelsis Deo!


“And the nations shall know that I am the Lord,” says the Lord God, “when I am hallowed in you before their eyes.” (Ezekiel 36:23)


As children of God, our greatest goal should be that our Father’s name is hallowed in us before the eyes of the world. “Glorify God and enjoy Him forever!” One of the amazing things that happens when a country is “Christianized” is that its culture begins to reflect biblical principles, even among the heathen in their midst.


Many feminists complain about the “oppression” of women caused by biblical teaching; but, Christianity is indeed what freed us from oppression! Read The Real Women’s Liberation Movement. Christian culture demands that women and children be protected and treated with value and dignity.


Historically, when a heathen nation was overcome by the Gospel, distinct changes inevitably took place in the culture. For instance, the coming of Christ provided the world with a more complete and beautiful picture of marriage. “Marriage is honorableamong all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge.” (Hebrews 13:4)

“By rejecting polygamy, adultery, fornication, public nudity, and the artistic portrayal of sexual acts, either openly on stage or graphically portrayed on household items, the Christians instituted an entirely new sexual morality. As secular historian Edward Gibbon declared: ‘The dignity of marriage was restored by the Christians.’” Dr. Peter Hammond

As Christians, our presence should impact the culture around us. We mustn’t hide from the culture; we are to confront it—transform it by the power of Jesus in us. Living our lives to the glory of God burns a bright and conspicuous light in a dark and hollow world.

“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16)

Recently, I heard a beautiful version of Hark the Herald Angels Sing, sung by the secular group, “Straight No Chaser.” What struck me was the fact that a group of secular singers was doing a beautiful job of proclaiming the miracle of the incarnation of Christ!


Long lay the world in sin and error pining.
Till he appeared
And the soul felt its worth.


This group’s Christmas CDs, Holiday Cheers and Holiday Spirits, contain both secular and spiritual songs and have been wildly popular on the secular market. They have appeared on the Today show, ABC World News Tonight, and CNN Headline News, to name a few. Because of the influence of Christianity on society, those who don’t worship our God, are willing to enjoy, and even join us unaware, in proclaiming the story of the coming of our King. His story is being told. For this we should rejoice!


I realize there are many well-meaning Christians who are opposed to the celebration of Christ’s birth. I can appreciate many of their reasons and agree with some of them. The worldliness, the materialism, the “cheapening” of the original purpose for the celebration is enough to earn a hearty, “Bah Humbug” from any Christian.


There are Christians who believe that celebrating Christmas is a violation of the Regulative Principle of Worship. Some make the point that many of the Protestant Reformers rejected the idea of recognizing “special days” on the church calendar.


However, when we celebrate Christmas, we are not recognizing a special day on the calendar, as if it were holy or biblically set apart. We are simply setting aside an occasion of remembrance—a time when we recall the miracle of the incarnation and teach it to our children. The day itself is not special, but the day we’re remembering is glorious—the day when God became flesh and dwelt among us!


A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees!

Oh, hear the angel voices!

Oh night, divine!

Oh night when Christ was born.


Also, as a family, we use the advent candle during our family worship time. It is a great way to teach the children and pull them into the Scriptures. Though these are not commands of God, there are examples in Scripture where God told His people to use tangible means to teach future generations:

“That this may be a sign among you, that when your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, ‘What mean ye by these stones?’ Then ye shall answer them, ‘That the waters of Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD; when it passed over Jordan, the waters of Jordan were cut off: and these stones shall be for a memorial unto the children of Israel for ever.’” (Joshua 4:5-7)

From God, our heavenly father,
A blessed angel came.

And unto certain shepherds,
Brought tidings of the same.
How that in Bethlehem was born,
The son of God by name.
Oh, tidings of comfort and joy.
Remember Christ our savior was born on Christmas day.
To save us all from Satan’s power
when we were gone astray.

Oh, tidings of comfort and joy…


At what other time of year do even the lost proclaim aloud Christ’s purpose for coming? What a wonderful opportunity God has given us. While emotions are stirred, hearts are tender, and “family” once again becomes important to many, we are able to speak and sew into the lives of those who may normally be opposed to the Truths of Scripture.


[We] Didn’t know you’d come to save us Lord
To take our sins away
Our eyes were blind,
we could not see

We didn’t know who you were.


It’s amazing to hear these words sung by those whose eyes are still blinded. Pray with me today that God would open the eyes of those who sing this song in ignorance. Pray that he who memorizes the notes and practices the harmony to such carols this year would indeed come to know You as Lord and Savior!


Hark! the herald angels sing,“Glory to the new born King,peace on earth, and mercy mild,God and sinners reconciled!"




Saturday, October 15, 2011

Those Darling Little Vampires and Cute Little Devils

My friend, Bambi, over at


has just posted the following excellent word regarding Halloween.  With her permission, I'm sharing here.  Do take the time to read it and be challenged.  And when you get a moment, make yourself a cup of tea and head on over to Bambi's blog to be encouraged in the Lord.


Those Darling Little Vampires and Cute Little Devils



"What is that, Mommy?" a little girl asks with wide eyes.

"That's a ghost, dear."

"A ghost? What's a ghost?"

"A ghost is a dead person who hasn't gone to heaven or hell, but stays on earth to scare and play tricks on living people," the mom answers.

"Oh. What's that, Mommy?"

"That's a vampire, sweetie--a dead person who only comes out at night. He searches for people whose necks he can bite so he can drink their blood and continue existing."

The little one shudders, but can't help herself, so she continues: "And her, Mommy?"

"That's a witch, darling. Witches worship Satan and learn spells and curses to work Satan's wickedness," the mother explains.

"Well, why do all these homes have headstones and skeletons in their yard, Mom? Are there dead people in the yards?"

"No," the mother answers, "They are decorating festively for Halloween, dear."

"I see," the little girl responds, as she continues to take in the scenes surrounding her. Her eyes become surprised and mildly amused as she asks,"Well who is that little boy dressed as, Mom? He's so cute and funny with his red suit and pointed tail, carrying that silly pitchfork!"

"He's dressed as the enemy of your soul--the devil. He is a liar and a deceiver. Satan convinces people that his ways are fun and harmless so that he can bring their death and destruction. Satan wants to see you burn for an eternity in hell, honey. And he will do everything in his power to confuse you to believe that the Christian life is one of drudgery and that his life for you is all fun and pleasure."

Should Christians Celebrate Halloween?

The bloody masks litter the grocery store aisles, the sexy adult costumes make us redirect our children, and amid the seduction and allurement of the "holiday," moms attempt to grab that fuzzy puppy costume for the five-year-old. We tell ourselves Halloween is harmless--it's for the kids.

As chosen ones of the Author of Life, undeserving of his grace and mercy, how can we in good conscience celebrate with our children, a holiday centered on death and superstition? We are lovers of the Way, the Truth and the Life. He has granted us eternal life. We seek a crown of Life. He has given us life and that more abundantly. We are to walk in newness of life by God's grace, with our Savior, the Bread of Life.


Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." John 8:12

You may be interested in the following articles:
The origins of Halloween
 (Secular view with historical facts.)


Former Wiccan and Self-Proclaimed Witch Explain Why, As Christians, They No Longer Celebrate Halloween
 By a second generation of homeschooling Christians.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Exposing Major Blind Spots in Modern Evangelical Christianity






My friend, Diane, has just posted an excellent post on her blog entitled, "Exposing Major Blind Spots in Modern Evangelical Christianity", in response to an article by Reb Bradley which has been circulating lately .  I've copied and pasted it here and provided the link to her family's blog as well.  I do hope you'll take the time to read and consider.

http://englishreformation.blogspot.com/2011/09/exposing-major-blind-spots-in-modern.html


An article entitled “Exposing Major Blind Spots of Homeschoolers” by Reb Bradley has enjoyed wide circulation recently. I don’t know if it would be accurate to say the article has gone “viral,” but it has been forwarded to me numerous times by both personal friends and online group members. Mr. Bradley has received accolades for this article, but I must confess that I do not share in the general enthusiasm. Rather than address Mr. Bradley’s article directly, however, I offer my own list of blind spots common to modern Evangelical Christians.

Confusion about Pharisees and Legalism

When conversation in the Christian community turns to standards of conduct someone is sure to mention the Pharisees and legalism. The sin of the Pharisees, we are told, was a preoccupation with external expressions of holiness, and this is also the presumed besetting sin of parents who maintain dress and entertainment standards for their children. While it is true that Jesus’ harshest criticism was reserved for the Pharisees, were the Pharisees really overly concerned with external holiness, or was their sin something altogether different?

In Matthew 23:2-3, Jesus says, “The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat: all therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works; for they say, and do not.” To the extent that the Pharisees taught the Law of Moses to the people, Jesus said the people should obey the Pharisees. But the people were not to imitate the Pharisees’ practices because the Pharisees did not obey the Law themselves. Instead, they followed man-made commandments that allowed them to circumvent the Law (Mark 7:9-13). The sin of the Pharisees was hypocrisy – teaching the Law but not obeying it.

The Pharisees were also legalists. A legalist is someone who tries to gain salvation by his own righteousness or someone who adds his own works to the finished work of Christ. A legalist is not, however, someone who follows as a matter of obedience standards or rules of conduct based on the Bible.

There is a storm of antinomianism (“against the Law”) brewing in churches today. Misunderstanding Paul’s statement “ye also are become dead to the law” (Romans 7:4), many believe the Mosaic Law has no application to New Testament believers. We are under grace, they say, therefore, we do not have to follow any rules. But the Law is still God’s standard of holiness. Jesus fulfilled the Law, but He did not abrogate it. He said, “Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:19). Obedience to God’s Law is evidence of true discipleship. Jesus said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15).

Since dress is the standard that most often elicits cries of legalism, I want to look a little more closely at what the Bible says about modesty. After partaking of the forbidden fruit, Adam and Eve realized they were naked and sewed aprons for themselves (Genesis 3:7). The Hebrew word for apron (Strong’s H2290) means loin cloth. But Adam’s and Eve’s loin cloths were not acceptable to God. Firstly, their aprons represented man’s attempt to cover his own sin, and God demonstrated that sin could only be forgiven by the shedding of blood. But their aprons were also unacceptable because they did not completely cover their nakedness. Notice that God made coats of skins for Adam and Eve to wear (Genesis 3:21). The Hebrew word for coats (Strong’s H3801) means a long shirt-like garment. It is the same word that is used for Joseph’s coat of many colors. Later in Exodus 28:42, God instructs the priests to make breeches “to cover their nakedness” from their loins to their thighs. These breeches were to be worn in addition to the priests’ outer garments. So here we have two examples from the Bible in which exposed thighs are considered nakedness. This is not an exhaustive list of verses dealing with dress, but these passages do illustrate that 1 Timothy 2:9 is not the only passage in the Bible dealing with modesty. If God is concerned with clothing, should not parents also be concerned with their children’s appearances?

Confusion about Jesus’ Words

Jesus said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15), but there is confusion in the church today over Jesus’ words. Some people believe that the words Jesus uttered during His earthly ministry are the extent of His commandments or at least the most authoritative of His commandments. But Jesus’ commandments are not limited to the “red letter” statements in the Bible. Jesus is the living Word of God (John 1:1), but the Bible is the written Word of God. 2 Timothy 3:16 tells us that “all Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” Thus, the Pauline epistles are just as authoritative as the Sermon on the Mount.

Another misconception is that if Jesus didn’t mention a particular doctrine or sin during His earthly ministry, then that doctrine or sin must not be significant. Jesus didn’t mention homosexuality or pornography or abortion. Are those insignificant sins? If Jesus didn’t mention modesty, but Paul did, is modesty of lesser importance? Similarly, if Jesus spoke more often of Hell than He did of Heaven, is Heaven a second-rate destination? Once again, all Scripture is equally authoritative.

Confusion about Acceptance

Jesus ate with publicans and prostitutes. This fact is often used erroneously to teach that Jesus just accepted people as they were. So we should accept everyone, too. Zacchaeus was one of the publicans with whom Jesus dined, but before his encounter with Christ was over, Zacchaeus was a changed man. Jesus said, “This day is salvation come to this house” (Matthew 19:9). Far from accepting Zacchaeus in his sins, Jesus converted him. Mary Magdalene was possessed of seven devils until she met Christ (Mark 16:9). Saul was a persecutor until he met the Savior (Acts 9).

Jesus ate with publicans and prostitutes, but he didn’t indulge them in their sins. He transformed their lives. Neither should we then, indulge the lost in their sin by compromising our lives or our message to make them feel more “accepted.”

Confusion about Judging

Matthew 7:1, “Judge not, that ye be not judged,” is one of the most abused verses in Scripture. It is misused to assert that Christians should not judge one another by any standard under any circumstance. A closer look at this passage, however, reveals that hypocritical judgment is forbidden, but honest judgment is not. Verse seven says, “Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.” In other words, judge your own sin first so you will be qualified to judge your brother. When addressing sin in the church at Corinth, Paul writes, “For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath done this deed” (1 Corinthians 5:3). Paul then tells the church to deliver this wayward member to Satan. Later in the same epistle, Paul chastises the church for taking its disputes before pagan judges. “Know you not that we shall judge angels?” Paul writes, “how much more [shall we judge] things that pertain to this life?” Paul exhorts the Christians at Thessalonica to “withdraw” themselves “from every brother that walketh disorderly” (2 Thessalonians 3:6), a command that is repeated in 1 Timothy 6:5. In order to withdraw from disorderly brethren, the Christians must first judge those brethren to be disorderly. Many of the admonitions in the Bible require Christians to make judgments of others. Paul writes to the church at Colossae, “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.” Christians must judge the philosophies of others to see if they are following Christ or the world.

Confusion about Christian Liberty

“Christian liberty” is often used as a euphemism for antinomianism. Many mistakenly believe that Christian liberty frees them from any “rules.” However, true Christian liberty is not the freedom to do whatever we want. It is the freedom to live as we ought. Paul writes, “Ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness” (Romans 6:17-18). Paul continues, “Now being made free from sin and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness and the end everlasting life” (Romans 6:22). Christ “gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works” (Titus 2:14).

Confusion about the Heart

We hear a lot in Christian circles today about keeping our children’s hearts. The argument usually pits doctrine and standards against “keeping our children’s hearts.” Parents who focus “too much” on teaching doctrine or God’s Law risk losing their children’s hearts, thereby producing rebellion in those children. The oft-quoted verse supporting this position is Proverbs 23:26, “My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways.”

The Hebrew word for heart in Proverbs 23:26 (Strong’s H3820) means mind, knowledge, thinking, reflection, memory, inclination, resolution, determination of will. What Solomon is really saying is “my son, give me your mind,” or in modern words, “my son, pay attention to what I am teaching you.” This same Hebrew word is used throughout the Old Testament to mean “mind.” For example, Psalm 119:11 says, “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” Do we hide God’s word in a mysterious emotional spot called the “heart,” or do we memorize it and store it in our minds?

Proverbs 4:23 speaks of keeping the heart. It says, “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” How does one “keep” the heart. Psalm 119:9-11 and 15-16 read:
Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed thereto according to thy word. With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments. Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. . . I will meditate in thy precepts and have respect unto thy ways. I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word. 

The key to heart-keeping is found in meditating upon and obeying the commandments and precepts of God. Meditation and obedience are acts of the mind and will. Thus as parents, we do not “keep our children’s hearts” by appealing to some vague influence over their affections. We keep their hearts by putting into their minds the Law of God.

Confusion about Separation

God told Israel, “Sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye holy; for I am the Lord your God” (Leviticus 20:7). The words sanctify and holy both mean to be set apart, separated. Peter repeats this command in the New Testament, “Be ye holy; for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:16). Separation from the world is clearly a Biblical command. Paul writes, “Come out from among them, and be ye separate saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing” (2 Corinthians 6:17). James adds, “Know ye not that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God” (James 4:4).

There is a parenting philosophy going around – I call it the germ theory of parenting – that teaches parents to expose their children to small doses of the world now in order to prevent cases of full-blown worldliness when those children leave home. According to this theory, children who have been sheltered (or separated) from the world lack the herd immunity and will be unable to resist worldly temptations when they leave home. Spiritual resilience, according to this theory, is developed by repeated exposure to the contagion.

I’m not sure about the origin of the germ theory of parenting, but it certainly did not come from the Bible. Deuteronomy 6:7 instructs parents to teach God’s words diligently to their children. Proverbs teaches parents to train their children in God’s way (22:6) and to discipline them (29:15). Ephesians 6:4 says, “And ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath, but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” The Greek word for nurture (Strong’s G3809) encompasses the whole training and education of a child, which relates to the cultivation of the mind and morals. As we saw above, the heart, or mind, is cultivated by meditating upon and obeying God’s Word. “Blessed are the undefiled in the way who walk in the law of the Lord. Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart” (Psalm 119:1-2). At every turn, parents are instructed to teach God’s Word to their children.

Jesus’ example in the wilderness helps us to understand the role of God’s Word in resisting temptation. Jesus responded to each of Satan’s temptations with the Word of God. Ephesians 6:10-17 gives us further instruction on handling Satan’s temptations. We are told to take the breastplate of righteousness, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. But not once are we exhorted to take a little dose of the world as an antidote to temptation.

Confusion about Principles and Pragmatism 

Parents who diligently follow the Bible in training their children are sometimes accused of being formulaic or results-oriented. The irony is that parents who follow the Bible understand that outcomes are God’s responsibility. As parents, we are responsible to obey God’s commands concerning child-rearing, but God determines the results. The practical outworking of this truth is that parents who are following Biblical principles do not change programs if a child rebels. They do not suffer from angst that they “lost their child’s heart” because their doctrine was too narrow or their rules too strict. Knowing that they have obeyed God’s Law to the best of their abilities, these parents can rest in God’s sovereignty and faithfulness. “O Lord, thou art my God; I will exalt thee, I will praise thy name; for thou hast done wonderful things; thy counsels of old are faithfulness and truth” (Isaiah 25:1).

Conclusion

Unfortunately, much of what passes for teaching in modern evangelical Christian circles is an admixture of opinion, personal anecdotes, pop psychology and truth. Emphasis is placed on subjective emotions and experience rather than on the objective, propositional truth of God’s Word. Christians find themselves chasing after vague, undefined expressions like “heartfelt faith” and “contagious parenting” and “fruitful interaction” rather than obeying the commands of God. Let us instead go back to the old paths. Let us “hold fast the form of sound words” which are found in the Scriptures “in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 1:13).

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Jordan's Two Week Visit

Jordan arrived on September 1st and left today.  Unbeknownst to her, we four parents had planned a surprise, keeping it a secret from all the siblings except for Bethany.  Little did Jordan and the others know that Caleb and Bethany were flying back with her,  so Jordan's now home with her beloved family, and our two eldest are in South Carolina too.  They'll be returning Monday. 

They say a picture's worth a thousand words, so I suppose this next post will be the equivalent of one hundred and forty-eight thousand words!! Could be worse, dear readers, because we've greatly whittled down our collection!! 

 Unfortunately, no pics yet of Jordan's surprised reaction when we told her last night that she wouldn't be flying home alone.  They're on our camera which is in South Carolina.  Suffice to say, she was shocked!  Very pleasantly so!  As were her siblings when Caleb and Bethany rounded the corner in the airport where they were waiting for Jordan!  Way too much fun! 

Jordan's Arrival







Explaining some aspect of farming.



Family Devotions
(And no, Caleb isn't sleeping!)


Helping Caleb move hay.



Bethany teaching school in the truck while chaperoning.



Putting gogether chicken orders.



Bible study on ghe verandah, an almost nightly occurrence.



Distributing fliers for Caleb's wild game butcher business
at the local sportsman show.



His and hers matching guns.


Pretty In Pink


North & South


Helping milk ghe cows, which Jordan did most milkings.



The Spoon Game
Poor unsuspecting Andrew had a headache the next day.


A bit more silliness, trying to get the egg through the crack in the door.



Ta Da!


More bible study & discussion.


Hmmmm... perhaps getting tired of the unrelenting paparazzi!!


An after chores morning bouquet


Breakfast Table


Family devotions with a faithful chaperone, ha!


Caleb's 24th Birthday







Nice tie!
Good thing it was a gag! Had him worried!




Showing Jordan Caleb's childhood photos.



Back to the barn!
They spent a lot of time talking over the cow's backs!


Today's chaperone!
She took her job very seriously!


Chatting with the Hammonds.


Took this one for Kelsey knowing how much she LOVES bowling shoes!




Notice the scores.
Seems bowling wasn't first & foremost on Caleb & Jordan's minds!



Jordan's first Chinese food.
An expert with chopsticks already!



Jordan teaching Caleb to eat shrimp.
I don't care for seafood, so shrimp isn't something I cook.



He said it wasn't too bad, but wouldn't trade a nice steak for it!


Glow-In-The-Dark Mini Golf









Chaperoning is serious business!


Out and about.

















Visiting The Bonnechere Caves Near Eganville



Spelunking!








Mmmmmm....


 Or not!










A little cooler weather for evening bible study.
It really wasn't that cold, but Jordan is from South Carolina!


A new chaperone during barn chores!




In the midst of Jordan's visit, our youngest enjoyed her first official day of school!


Skating!
No trip to canada is complete without going skating!






BBQ!





The long walk with little chaperones.









Showing Jordan the combine.



Two lovely handmaidens of the Lord goin' a'cartin'.


Terrific meal and warm fellowship with friends.



Strolling the streets of Renfrew.



Bound and determined to turn Jordan into a hockey fan!



Hockey tickets to take Jordan's family and ours
 to a game when they next visit.


And not only turn her into a hocky fan, but an Ottawa Senators fan!
~ Go Sens Go!! ~


Standing Sheik to Sheik!


Beautiful Princess!


The lot of many a man, toting the good while she shops!




Fancy dining at Costco.