Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Golf Digest got biblical masculinity right

As I was reading this month’s Golf Digest (September issue), I came across the article 10 Rules On Being An Athlete.  The author makes a comment about obesity that stood out:

            “Every week, I make a point of finding an overweight youngster in the gallery
            and taking his father asideI tell these fellows, privately and very politely, ‘My
            son is a diabetic, and my father was a diabetic.  When you get diabetes, you take
            insulin twice a day, and that doesn’t stop it from affecting your eyes, your liver,
            your limbs and everything else.  Please get your son on a good diet now.’”

Now it is not the concern for obesity that stood out to me as much as this author’s approach: the father has a God-given responsibility over his son that he needs to exercise.  In a time when fathers evade their responsibility and often children are raised without a masculine influence, this is a much needed challenge.  Our culture also promotes such an idea of femininity that men are often totally emasculated in their role as leader.   I’m not sure if the author is a Christian or has a biblical worldview behind his approach but it was quite refreshing to read.

I think of Paul’s exhortation to the Ephesians:  “And fathers, don’t stir up anger in your children, but bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord” (Eph 6:4).  If a man writing for Golf Digest has the courage to confront other men when they are slacking in fatherly responsibility, how much more should we men in the church do the same and take biblical masculinity seriously?  How much more should we take our privilege as a Christian father seriously?  If we neglect this, we are encouraging our son’s spiritual obesity.   

Thursday, August 25, 2011

A dad's prayer for his son's first day at school

This morning my oldest son Elijah begins a new chapter in life, which will consume much of his energy for the years to come: going to school.  I remember back to my days as a child and my mentality toward school.  I was not very fond of school and my main goal was to have each day end as quickly as possible.
As a parent now, and as one who has spent twenty-five years of my life in school, I approach this from a different perspective.  In addition to that, as a Christian, I believe that as image-bearers of God, education plays a vital role in the formation of my child.  So I am happy to send him off to his first day of school.  But I do so with a heavy heart knowing that starting school can also be a difficult transition, the cause of much anxiety and the temptation to follow evil instead of obey God.  With that I offer my prayer for him:

Lord, I thank you for giving me my son and the privilege I have of raising him.  As he embarks on this new task today, I pray that Your grace would be with him.  May his education always be used for Your glory and never as an end in itself.  Please keep my son from anxiety, keep him from fearing man; instead it is my prayer that he would always fear You and desire to obey You.  So please keep him from evil and temptation.  I pray that he would bow before Christ as Lord at an early age and be a light for the gospel in the public school system.  I entrust my son to you Father and pray that Your will be done in his life.
In Jesus Name, Amen.    

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Why I decided to start a blog...

For some time I have not been that fond of blogs, even some of the Christian ones written by solid guys.  The reason has been mainly because blogs can be both consuming and not edifying at times in my opinion.  They can consume precious amounts of time that could be spent with people (like my wife and children).  Or that time could have been spent cultivating communion with God in prayer and His Word, which I already struggle enough with trying to find sufficient time for.  I have also seen blogs, and especially comments on blogs that tend to utterly lack kindness (which is a fruit of the Spirit to cultivate) and cause more controversy than anything.  Controversy is understandable, provided that it is over a central doctrine of the faith that cannot be compromised.
So over the past several years, especially in my busy seminary days, I have avoided having a blog and read them only on occasion and a select few.  Now as a pastor I have decided to begin a blog for several reasons and with a distinct purpose.
1.    To keep the discipline of writing.  In my seminary and college days I was forced to write and I did write a ton.  Now, outside of sermon and Bible teaching prep, I write relatively little.  So this will help me keep the discipline of thinking and writing.  The blog for the most part will be devotional and made up of Scripture, Theology and Christian living thoughts. 
2.    To have a record of what is on my heart both for myself and also for my people.  Although I pastor a smaller congregation, I think it is helpful for the congregation to get a glimpse of what is going on in the pastor’s devotional life and what he is thinking about.  I doubt that vast numbers will read much of what I post, but at least people can access some of my thoughts on various issues. 
3.    For reviews.  I absolutely love reading and have ever since becoming a Christian.  As an early Christian in my teenage years, I had little guidance on what was good to read as a new believer.  My goal is to provide a brief book review and recommendation on all of the books I read.  Hopefully this will be helpful to others.  This also keeps me accountable to keep reading and growing as a Christian.
4.    With all that said, I make a commitment to myself not to allow blogging (both writing and reading other blogs) to consume me.  If it does then I will no longer post.  I also commit as David prayed “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer” (Ps 19:14).  May everything I post be well thought of and acceptable in the sight of my Lord.