Friday, November 30, 2007

Biblical Parenting 101: Esteem

These are my notes for my parenting class this coming Sunday at the Contact Church of Christ:

*In previous weeks, we have looked at the importance of having peaceful homes, spending time with our children, teaching biblical truth to our children, and being good examples to our children. In this lesson, we will discuss helping our children figure out who God made them to be. We will try to help our children find their sense of esteem or worth by loving them as God made them.

*For our children to develop into godly men and women, they need to keep a sense of passion and ambition about life. They need to retain the ability to appreciate and enjoy the life that God has given them.

*The Bible says, "Fathers, do not exasperate your children, so that they will not lose heart" (Colossians 3:21, NASB). We do not want to raise children who have lost heart. We want to enable them to live life with passion, love, and courage.

*In order to do that, we must avoid creating an environment in which our children feel like they can never live up to our expectations.

*Tommy Nelson wrote, "A child needs to know that he is loved and accepted for exactly who he is. This is how he gains a proper understanding of who God has made him to be" (The 12 Essentials of Godly Success, p.184).

*Our children are not likely to be just like us. We can't expect them to be our carbon copies. I was a compliant and shy child. My son is an assertive and self-confident child. I liked to draw pictures. He could wrestle all day long. Even when we do not fully understand them, we must appreciate them for who they are. In one episode of King of the Hill, Bobby Hill wanted to play soccer, while his father opposed the idea. An exasperated Bobby said to his father, "You hate everything you don't understand!" His father replied, "I don't hate you, Bobby." We must value our children's differences.

*Our children are not going to be like their own brothers and sisters. One child may prefer music. Another may love sports. Yet another may be drawn to academics. We must value each child's differences.

*Of course, this does not mean that we should value their sinful choices. Angry outbursts, disrespectful language, sexual immorality, drug and alcohol abuse, and other sins should be confronted. But we must continue to respect their value in God's eyes. We must remember that their sins cannot define them in our opinion, just as our sins do not define us. With love, let's help them overcome.

*The Bible says, "Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it" (Proverbs 22:6, NASB).

*Tommy Nelson says about that verse, "Help your children see themselves as God sees them by celebrating who they are...A major aspect of this verse is often misinterpreted. Some take it to mean that you need to teach your children the right thing, and when they grow older, they will do it. This verse means much more than that. We need to raise up a child in his particular bent, being sensitive to his particular uniqueness. The verse literally says, 'Raise up a child in his way'" (p.185).

*Let's celebrate the uniqueness of each of our children. Tell each child, "I love how God made you. I'm proud to be your parent. I thank God that he brought you into my life." God made them especially for us. Let's appreciate our gifts from heaven for who they are, and help them become everything they can be for God's glory.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Ugly and Attractive Christianity

On the way home from work earlier this week, I heard a portion of a radio program with Richard Land called For Faith and Family. Dr. Land was discussing major barriers that are in the way of people becoming Christians. He said that the behavior of many Christians is a major barrier, because so many are living in conflict with the teachings of Christ.

Dr. Land mentioned that several years ago, a group of missionaries was attempting to establish a church among a tribe in the Amazon. No church had ever existed in this tribe even though surrounding tribes had been receptive to churches for years. The missionaries discovered that a few years before their arrival, a man from the tribe had left. He returned to them with the announcement that he had become a Christian. Unfortunately, he was a terrible representative of Christianity. He was arrogant, unkind, and dishonest in his interactions with tribal members. So when the missionaries arrived with the good news of Christ, they found an extremely resistant group of people. It took three times longer than normal to establish a church among the people, and the church never really thrived among them. One man who claimed to follow Jesus hindered the acceptance of the gospel among an entire tribe.

Dr. Land made an interesting observation. He believed that the apostle Paul was such a successful evangelist because he went to people who had never heard of Christ or known a Christian. If those people had been exposed to some of the unethical, unloving, or arrogant members of the church in Corinth (for example), he would have had a much more difficult time spreading the message among them.

The apostle encouraged Christians to live honorably "so that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive" (Titus 2:10, NIV). It makes evangelism much easier when people see followers of Jesus Christ as people of justice, kindness, mercy, and humility.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Honoring Your Father and Your Mother

"Honor your father and your mother, as the LORD your God has commanded you, so that you may live long and that it may go well with you in the land the LORD your God is giving you" (Deuteronomy 5:16, NIV).

This morning I was teaching my class on biblical parenting at the Contact Church of Christ. I was emphasizing the need to be good examples for our children, when I introduced a topic that brought out some opposition from my class. I asked, "Do your children see you treat your parents with honor? How do you speak to and speak about your parents?"

The reaction was something like this:

"But my parents are irritating."
"You don't know my mother. She picks on everything I do. I have never been able to please her."
"I can't stand how they treat me."

I realized that I needed to work on this topic with my class. God wants us to honor our parents. We need to obey God and trust that our efforts will be blessed in some way.

Next week, in addition to my scheduled lesson, I plan to print and distribute the following articles to my class:

"How Can You Honor Parents When You Feel They Don't Deserve It?" (

"How to Write a Tribute to Your Parents" (

I understand that telling my class, "Just do it," will not work. They were not convinced that they needed to do it, and they did not know how to do it even if they wanted to do it. I'm hoping to be able to help them overcome this obstacle to living God-honoring lives in their families.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

International Adoption Workshop Announcement

If any Christian family reading this blog is interested in adopting a child from another country, Dillon International adoption agency will be conducting a workshop next Saturday, December 1, 2007. It will take place at the Church at BattleCreek in Broken Arrow from 9:30 am to 3:30 pm. The agency works in China, India, Vietnam, Korea, and Haiti. The cost is $100 per couple. I found this information at This could be a great opportunity for everyone involved.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Biblical Parenting 101: Example

These are my notes for the parenting class that I am teaching this Sunday morning at the Contact Church:

*Nothing can give greater comfort to a Christian parent than the assurance that his or her children are following Christ and are destined to enjoy the presence of God forever. Nothing can break a Christian parent's heart more thoroughly than knowing that his or her children have rejected Christ and are destined for hell.

*Our examples have a tremendous influence on the choices of our children.

*According to Dr. Ken Hemphill, 70 percent of people who grow up in Christian families will leave church after high school. He states that the major factor in them leaving the church is the example of their nominally Christian parents. Nominally Christian parents are not merely parents who attend church services on Christmas and Easter; they may even be involved in the church as teachers, elders, or deacons. The problem is that their Christianity is confined to the church building or church activities. They do not actually live their faith in everyday activities. As a result, he says, "the greatest at-risk teenager in America (is) not the teenager whose parents (are) atheist or agnostic, but the greatest at-risk teenager (is the one whose parents) were nominal Christian" (FamilyLife Today broadcast, October 18, 2007). In other words, nominal Christians (those who do not live out their faith and love) are more damaging to their children's faith than are atheists and agnostics.

*Here are a few questions to ask yourself in trying to determine if you are providing a positive example for your children:

1. Have you turned away from sin to follow Christ? Have you been baptized? (Acts 2:38)

2. Have your children ever caught you helping someone in need, reading the Bible, praying, or fasting when you thought they were not around? (Matthew 6:1-18)

3. If your children looked through your home, would they find pornographic magazines, videos, or DVDs? Would they find pornographic files or web sites that you have visited on your computer? (Matthew 5:27-30)

4. Do your children ever hear you giving thanks to God in song or prayer outside the church building? (Colossians 3:15-17)

5. Do your children see you treat your parents with honor? How do you speak to and speak about your parents? (Deuteronomy 5:16)

6. Do you treat your employer, employees, and customers with respect on the job? How do you talk about them at home? (Ephesians 6:5-9)

7. Do your children see you treating people with respect, regardless of their income, race, education, intelligence, looks, or other superficial factors? (James 2:1-13)

*If you find yourself failing to provide a good example for your children in any area of life, please do whatever is necessary to change. Our children are looking to us for direction. Let's give them good examples, and ask for forgiveness when we fail to live up to biblical ideals. Then, let's make things right.

*The positive influence of a parent or grandparent can be more powerful than we imagine. Listen to these words about the infamous murderer and cannibal Jeffrey Dahmer: "Later in life, after heavy drinking caused Dahmer's discharge from the military, he lived with his grandmother who was a lifetime member of the church (of Christ). Her faith intrigued him, but he failed to take that opportunity. Instead, he descended into the deepest kind of darkness...Following his arrest, Jeffrey's tortured mind turned again toward God...he acknowledged his sinfulness and his need for God's forgiveness" ("Can God Save This Serial Killer?", Mickie Kennedy, Action, November 2007, pp. 1-2). He was contacted and taught about Jesus Christ by members of the Church of Christ. Soon, he was baptized into Christ. Would he have become a Christian without his grandmother's faithful example? Maybe, but God used her positive example to save her grandson.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

A Scripture for Thanksgiving Day

"And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures; and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying, 'Amen, blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might, be to our God forever and ever. Amen" (Revelation 7:11-12, NASB).

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Athletes and Strip Clubs

"Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love" (1 Corinthians 16:13-14, NASB).

Last Tuesday, the cover story of the sports section in USA Today focused on professional athletes and strip clubs. Many pro athletes have ruined their lives at strip clubs in recent years. They have destroyed their marriages and their reputations. In a few cases, people have been injured seriously and killed in the violence. Amazingly, many athletes and sports media personalities defended the self-indulgent, irresponsible, and immature actions of their colleagues.

One paragraph in Michael McCarthy's article caught my attention. John Sally defended the athletes at strip clubs. Mr. McCarthy wrote, "Or, as John Sally, the former Detroit Pistons forward and now co-host of FSN's Best Damn Sports Show Period, puts it: 'Where do you take warriors? To church? No, you take them around a bunch of scantily dressed women who make them feel like stars" (C2, Tuesday, November 13, 2007, USA Today).

I have several thoughts about Mr. Sally's perspective.

First, I realize that some churches may not appeal to men, because they have emasculated Christianity. Men are not encouraged to be strong, to be heroic, to be brave, to be protectors and providers. However, Jesus Christ modeled those qualities as well as compassion and gentleness. He calls us to follow his lead. Churches need to encourage selfless risk-taking for the sake of others.

Second, athletes are not warriors. They play games for a living. They do not fight wars. Athletes who have grown up will be responsible men who love and respect their wives, take care of their children, and build honorable reputations. Athletes who remain in adolescence will be the childish men who frequent strip clubs in order to receive attention from loose women who want to stroke the egos of make-believe warriors.

Finally, John Sally co-hosts the Best Damn Sports Show Period. I remember a few years ago when, after Ohio State University won the national championship in football, the coach called the team "the best damn football team period." To paraphrase Jesus: If you are a part of the best damned anything, but lose your soul, what does it profit you? It is time for everyone to re-evaluate what is important in life.

Biblical Parenting 101: Truth

These are my notes for the class that I will be teaching tomorrow at the Contact Church of Christ.

*In our previous sessions, we looked at the importance of raising our children in peaceful homes and spending time with our children. Both of those concepts are crucial for developing godly children.

*Today, we will discuss the importance of personally teaching biblical truth to our children. The Bible stresses the importance of this in passages like Deuteronomy 6:4-9 and Ephesians 6:4. (Take time to read these verses.)

*When we make the effort to teach our children the truth of the Bible, our kids have the potential to grow up with a strong faith and commitment to serving the Lord. It happened with Timothy, one of the great leaders in the early church. He was taught the Bible from infancy (2 Timothy 3:15). Who was responsible for his knowledge of the Bible? His mother and grandmother (2 Timothy 1:5). Our little boys and girls could become great servants of God for decades with our help in teaching them the truth.

* While our Sunday school classes and youth ministry can help us in teaching our children, we must not rely upon them as the primary teachers of our children. We parents are responsible for our children.

*So what do we do? This is what Janet and I do:

At one meal a day, we take time after the meal to have a devotional. I will read a devotional article from Our Daily Bread. Then we will give Christopher a memory verse. He repeats it. We discuss what it means. When he is able to quote the memory verse on his own, he will get a new memory verse the next day. Depending on the difficulty of the verse and Christopher's enthusiasm, he will memorize it in a few days or a couple of weeks. Then we will pray.

*Tommy Nelson has good advise about praying with children. "Pray intelligently with your children at meals and at night time. Pray with them theologically---they won't even know they are getting good teaching. Don't just say, 'Thank You for the burrito. Amen.' You can do better" (The 12 Essentials of Godly Success, pp. 182-183).

*At our son's age, we can still rock him in a rocking chair before he goes to bed. At that time, we read a story from one of his Bible story books. He gets some exposure to Adam, Eve, Samuel, David, Esther, Mary, Joseph, Jesus, Paul, and other great men and women of the Bible. Then we sing a few hymns (like I Stand in Awe of You and How Great Thou Art) with lyrics about the greatness of God.

*When occasions arise, it is good to point out biblical principles in our routine lives. When you notice something positive in your child, you may say, "You were very kind to your sister" or "It took a lot of courage to stand alone like that."

*When you are watching television, listening to music, or working on homework together, you may be able to discuss a scene, lyrics, or a reading assignment from a biblical perspective.

*With our teaching, our children have a better opportunity to become who God wants them to be.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Have You Read the Obituaries Today?

I am not making this up. This is an actual sentence from one of today's obituaries in the Tulsa World:

"An enthusiastic, though independent, member of the Park Plaza Church of Christ, Elizabeth was a T-Totaler, most likely in response to her husband Frank, who was the opposite."

A Highly Recommended Radio Program About Orphan Care

"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world" (James 1:27, NIV).

Please listen to (or at least read the transcripts of) these broadcasts of FamilyLife Today. Rick Warren of Saddleback Community Church is the guest. He speaks about caring for orphans around the world. It is one of the best things I have ever heard on the radio.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Millennium

"Blessed and holy are those who have a part in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years" (Revelation 20:6, NIV).

The Christian Standard has published two articles which explain two of the most common views of the millennium held among members of the Churches of Christ and Christian Churches. "Why I Take a Premillennial View" ( explains the classic premillennial perspective (as opposed to the dispensational premillennial perspective with its secret rapture theory). "Why I Am an Amillennialist" ( explains the amillennial perspective. Both authors did a good job in making his respective case, but I will need to research this topic more before reaching any final conclusions about it.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

My Birthday

I have been waiting weeks to repeat the rant of Oklahoma State University football coach Mike Gundy: "I'm 40! I'm a man!" (There...that felt better.)

Monday, November 12, 2007

Boring Sins

"Besides, they get into the habit of being idle and going about from house to house. And not only do they become idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying things they ought not to" (1 Timothy 5:13, NIV).

How often do we get into sin and trouble because we are bored? How often does an idle conversation turn to speculation and then to slander? How often do we cause arguments because we are not being productive and feel like we need something to do? How often have we been misled into thinking that we are doing something productive for Christ when we are engaging in arguments over trivia instead of spreading the gospel or helping someone in need? How many false doctrines have arisen because someone was bored with teaching from the Bible? How many churches have stagnated because they have become bored with Bible teaching and worship and service? How many crimes have been committed by bored people? How many people get drunk or high because they are bored? Could boredom be the most overlooked cause for sin in the world? I do not know, but it must be a contender for the title.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

The Cry of the Orphan

"Learn to do right!
Seek justice,
encourage the oppressed.
Defend the cause of the fatherless,
plead the case of the widow" (Isaiah 1:17, NIV).

During the week of November 12-16, 2007, three popular radio ministries will be promoting adoption and orphan care ministry. FamilyLife Today, Focus on the Family, and Money Matters will devote their daily broadcasts to advocacy for orphans.

In the Tulsa area, FamilyLife Today may be heard at 9:00 am on 970 AM and 95.1 FM each weekday morning. It is my favorite program.

Focus on the Family may be heard at 5:00 am on 970 AM, 7:00 am on 95.1FM, 11:30 am on 970AM, and 12:00 noon on 95.1FM.

Money Matters may be heard at 2:30 pm on 95.1FM.

If you live outside of the Tulsa area, you may visit their web sites for times and stations in your area. You may also listen online.

FamilyLife Today
Focus on the Family
Money Matters

These should be excellent programs (especially on FamilyLife Today). Please check them out. They should be Christ-honoring and life-changing broadcasts. Hopefully, many children will be helped.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Biblical Parenting 101: Time

These are my notes for my class this Sunday at the Contact Church:

*On Thanksgiving Day 2005, Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy spent the day with family, fellow coaches, and friends from church. In his autobiography, he wrote, "During the (football) season, holidays are always bittersweet for me. I'm always happy to spend time with family and friends, but I'm also reminded of how much I'm not around" (Quiet Strength, p. 246). A little over a month later, his oldest son Jamie committed suicide.

*Although Tony Dungy is a good and decent man who loves his family and God, he lives with regrets about how much time he has missed with his children.

*In 2 Samuel 14, the Bible describes another good and decent man who loved his family and God. Even more than Tony Dungy, King David must have regretted how much time he had lost with his children.

*David had a number of children by a number of wives. Deuteronomy 17:17 forbids Israelite kings from taking numerous wives, but he failed to obey, and it caused problems for his family and his nation for generations.

*In 2 Samuel 13, David's son Absalom murdered another son named Amnon. Amnon had raped Absalom's full sister. After Amnon's murder, Absalom fled. David appeared to be detached.

*In 2 Samuel 14, David sent for Absalom to return to Jerusalem. However, "Absalom lived two years in Jerusalem without seeing the king's face" (14:28, NIV). In other words, David continued to play the role of a passive father too busy to spend time with his children. Perhaps he thought that it was appropriate punishment for Absalom. Or David may not have felt that he could handle seeing his son after what he had done to his brother. As a result, Absalom grew resentful and rebelled.

*Our children need time with us. If they do not receive it, they are much more likely to turn to alcohol, drugs, crime, and other rebellious behavior. They are more likely to suffer from anxiety, depression, and poor grades in school. Most importantly, they are more likely to reject our God.

*If children live with parents who spend time with them, they grow up knowing that they are valued. They will feel less inclination to rebel. They will enjoy better emotional health. They will find it easier to connect with our God.

*In future weeks, we will see how children need parents to teach them biblical truth, to be good examples, to show affection, and to discipline them. But before we can do any of that, we must be there for them. We must spend time with them.

*In The 12 Essentials of Godly Success, Tommy Nelson wrote, "(A child) needs a father and mother to look at him full in the face and listen to him. There are times when a child needs to be lectured, and there are times when a child needs simply to be listened to and loved and valued. Unfortunately, one of the most terrifying things for many children is to spend time with their fathers. Either their father ignores them and acts like they are not there, or their father takes them on a three-hour car ride, locks the doors, and preaches to them. Nothing could be worse for your relationship with your child. A child needs time where he or she is getting our full attention...Spend time with your children. Don't lecture your child unless there is the need. Love him and laugh at his jokes" (pp.180-181).

*We do not know how much time we will have with our children. So let's enjoy our time with them, and let them know by our presence in their lives that we value them.

*At his son's funeral, Tony Dungy said it well: "Parents, hug your kids---every chance you get. Tell them that you love them every chance you get. You don't know when it's going to be the last time" (Quiet Strength, p. 254).

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Biblical Parenting 101: Peace

These are my notes from the class that I started teaching at the Contact Church of Christ last Sunday morning:

*Every Christian parent wants to raise godly children. Of course, we want them to succeed in every area of life, but we are especially concerned about their spiritual development.

*I was asked to teach a class about biblical parenting for several reasons:
1. We all need help, and the Bible provides a great deal of wisdom in helping us to raise our children.
2. I have a little experience in raising our son.
3. I don't have so much experience that I have given up on raising children.

*I heard about a preacher who conducted seminars on parenting. At first, he had no children of his own. His seminars were called How to Raise Children. Then he and his wife had children. His seminars were called A Few Principles for Raising Children. By the time his children were teenagers, his seminars were called A Few Hopefully Helpful Hints for Raising Children by a Fellow Struggler. I am teaching this class fully aware that I have much to learn, and that we can help each other as we look to God's Word for guidance.

*The first principle for raising godly children that we will explore is peace. Proverbs 17:1 states the principle in these words: "Better a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting with strife" (NIV). In other words, peace in a family is far more important than wealth or poverty. It is better to live in a peaceful poor family than in a strifeful rich family.

*A child who lives in a violent or hostile home finds himself damaged. He or she is always walking on eggshells, afraid of setting off another explosion. The child becomes timid and easy to intimidate, or he becomes a violent bully. In either case, the child grows up damaged relationally, unable to relate to people in the healthiest way.

*Without a peaceful home, the child will likely leave at age 18 with minimal contact with his or her parents.

*A peaceful home is founded on a husband and wife who love and respect each other. It forms a sense of security in a child when he sees his mom and dad in such a relationship with each other.

*If you are divorced, treat your ex-spouse with consideration and respect. Try to reconcile and re-marry if possible. If not, at least speak about your ex-spouse with respect in front of your children.

*If you and the other parent are not married but are living together, either get married or move out. Your children need the stability of a married father and mother. If you don't love each other enough to get married, don't pretend to be married. Don't have a sexual relationship outside of marriage. It is inherently unstable.

*If you are married, don't get into heated arguments in front of your children. They don't have the emotional maturity to handle seeing parents yelling and insulting each other. Don't sulk. Do not hit or threaten to harm each other in any way. Don't make your children live in fear.

*Work through conflict in a calm manner. If your emotions are getting to you, take a time-out or go somewhere to discuss it privately.

*When you make a mistake or sin, apologize to your spouse and children. Ask for forgiveness and do everything possible to change for the better. Humility, confession, and repentance build peaceful homes.

*Our children are going to face hard times in their lives. It's inevitable. We all face hard times. But when they look back at their childhoods, we would like for them to remember growing up fondly. These should be the good old days for our children...the years of peace, security, and love that will help them and strengthen them for the future.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Mercy and Justice

"He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God" (Micah 6:8, NIV).

How can we be people of justice and people of mercy at the same time? John Piper shares some great insights in his sermon, "When Is It Right to Repay Evil with Pain?" It may be read or heard at It is worth reading and considering.

Saturday, November 03, 2007


"Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good.
His love endures forever" (Psalm 136:1, NIV).

Last month, Canada celebrated Thanksgiving. This month, the United States will celebrate Thanksgiving. As far as I know, no other country in the world has an annual day of thanksgiving.

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I am mentioning a few things for which I am thankful.

I am thankful for my job. When I graduated from college, I did not know what I wanted to do. I had a degree in education, but I knew that I did not want to teach. Then, God opened up a door of opportunity for me to work in the U.S. Postal Service. Now, I work with some great people and enjoy a decent salary with good benefits. God has given me the ability to provide for myself and my family. In addition, he has given me opportunities to help people on my job and to share some of my resources with others in need.

I am thankful for my wife. Janet has been a great blessing from the first time I talked with her. She is a very sensitive and caring woman. She is a great wife (and I'm sure Christopher would add "a great mother"). She loves me, and I love her. What could be better than that?

I am thankful for my son. Christopher enjoys life, and he wants to include me in all of it. "Dad, can we play now?" must be his most repeated sentence (even when we have just finished playing so that we could have dinner). He brings a great deal of laughter into our lives.

I am thankful for Jesus Christ. Because of him, I live with hope. I could not make it through life carrying the guilt of my sins and mistakes, and I certainly could not stand before God in that condition. I am thankful that he took my guilt and died for me. I am thankful for his resurrection and for his promised return. I am looking forward to the new heavens and new earth, a new creation without the plague of selfishness and pride, because of what he has done for me.

I am thankful for the Contact Church of Christ. They may not realize it, but I look at the members of the Contact Church as heroes. While others avoid problems, the ministers and members of the Contact Church run toward people in trouble. They are always helping people with drug and alcohol addictions, financial problems, homelessness, relationship issues, and other problems. They inspire me to take risks and to care more than I would otherwise. Through their examples, they have done much more to help me than I have done to help them.

I have so much to be thankful for that I could go on for days, but I should end it here for now. I need to get some sleep.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Thoughts About Being Offensive

"And the Lord's servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful" (2 Timothy 2:24, NIV).

After thinking about some of my posts on my blog over the last year, I realize that some people may have been offended or irritated by my thoughts. I have opposed abortion, pornography, divorce, homosexuality, the prosperity gospel, and many other sins. I have supported trans-racial adoption, reconciliation among the Christian Churches and Churches of Christ, and expanding evangelistic outreach to Hispanics. I have affirmed the existence of hell, the wrath of God, the existence of Satan, the creation account of Genesis, and the sinfulness of humanity. I have taken positions that put me at odds with the culture around me. I have taken positions that make fellow Christians uncomfortable (and I know this because I have been uncomfortable taking such positions at times).

However, I have tried to avoid being unnecessarily offensive, while being faithful to the will and intent of God as I understand it from reading and thinking about the biblical message. If I am offensive, I want it to be because I am following Jesus Christ, not because I am an arrogant jerk. I know that I will make enemies, but I want enemies to form as a bi-product of my faithfulness to Christ. I do not want to make unnecessary enemies.

"Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me" (Matthew 5:10-11, NIV).

Thursday, November 01, 2007

National Adoption Month 2007

"Rescue the perishing;
don't hesitate to step in and help.
If you say, 'Hey, that's none of my business,'
will that get you off the hook?
Someone is watching you closely, you know---
Someone not impressed with weak excuses" (Proverbs 24:11-12, The Message).

Since this is National Adoption Month in the USA, I hope to be able to link to several articles with adoption themes during November. I'm sure it is no secret that I love being an adoptive father, and that I would love for others to enjoy such a blessing, too.

In this week's edition of World Magazine, Clint Rainey has written an excellent article about several families in central Texas who have adopted orphans from around the world. His article is titled, "Twelve is not Enough." It may be read at

I was especially impressed with members of the Church of Christ in Hearne, Texas, who adopted several Ethiopian orphans when others turned away from helping those children in need. The members of that church have honored Christ in their faith, attitudes, and actions.