Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Adopting Children with Disabilities

On the Hope for Orphans blog today (see my blog roll on the left side of my blog for a link), a story was posted concerning a little boy with a heart defect being adopted. It reminded me of the time that Janet and I tried to adopt a child with disabilities. Our story is found at this link...

A Disciple's Thoughts: Sage

Every child is special.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Kevin Durant Commits to Daily Bible Reading

Thunder's Kevin Durant commits to daily Bible reading | NewsOK.com

The Oklahoman carried a story today about Oklahoma City Thunder star basketball player Kevin Durant's commitment to read the Bible each day. (See the link above.) I have been very impressed with Kevin Durant. He and several of his teammates have been setting great examples for young people in our state.

"...his delight is in the law of the LORD,
and on his law he meditates day and night" (Psalm 1:2)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

How to Find a Good Church

Lately, people have been asking my advice on finding a good church. It certainly can be hard to determine which church one should attend.

Generally, churches look alike in their yellow pages ads, on their web sites, and in their mass mailings. Their radio and television commercials seem very similar. I might visit a church based on advertising alone. However, if a church did not live up to its projected image, I would not return.

Recently, I have been thinking about another method of finding a church. What if I started looking at the people around me to find the most Christ-like men and women? What if I decided to visit congregations that they attended? I have little doubt that I could find an excellent church using such a method.

I would look for men and women of kindness, the type of people who will reach out in compassion to others around them who are hurting or lonely. I would look for people of conviction, people who would stand for biblical standards and doctrines despite the unpopularity of their positions. I would look for men and women who would not only refuse to participate in office gossip, but who would not allow it to go unchallenged in their presence. I would look for people of wisdom, people who know how to live godly and attractive lives at the same time. I would look for men and women who enjoyed life and had grateful attitudes. I would search for people who spoke of faith in Christ and lived by faith in him. I would seek out men and women of humility, people with a sense of security without a sense of arrogance.

Such people reflect well on Christ, but they also reflect well on their local congregations. They are the best advertisements that a church could place in a community. Their lives would help me in determining which church to visit (and possibly join).

"...they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive in every way" (Titus 2:10, New Living Translation).

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Doing Good in Politics

I came across this excerpt while reading Wayne Grudem's Politics According to the Bible (page 48):

"Clearly, if we are here on earth to glorify God, we will glorify him (in part at least) by obeying the command, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself' (Matt. 22:39). But that means that I should seek the good of my neighbors in all parts of society. 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself' means that I should seek good laws that will protect preborn children. It means that I should seek good laws that protect marriages and families. It means I should seek good laws that protect children from the corrupting moral influences that want to use the classroom to teach that all kinds of sexual experimentation outside of marriage are just fine and that there is nothing wrong with pornography.

"One reason why Jesus left us here on earth is that we should glorify him by doing good to other people in all areas of life. 'So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith' (Gal. 6:10). Certainly that means that we should do good to others, as we have the opportunity, by being a good influence on laws and government and by having a good influence on the political process. Paul says this about Christians:

"'For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them' (Eph. 2:10).

"Jesus left us here on earth in part because he wants to allow our lives to give glory to him in the midst of a fallen and sinful world: 'Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven' (Matt. 5:16).

"So, should churches teach their people how to do 'good works' in hospitals and in schools, and in businesses and in neighborhoods, but not in government? Why should that area of life be excluded from the influence of the 'good works' of believers that will 'give glory to your Father who is in heaven'?

"I conclude that Jesus' command that 'you shall love your neighbor as yourself' means that I should seek the good of my neighbors in every aspect of society, including seeking to bring about good government and good laws."

I share Professor Grudem's perspective. Here is a link to a post that complements his views on this matter:

A Disciple's Thoughts: Political Decisions:

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Think About Such Things

This is a devotional piece that I wrote for the Christian Standard. It appeared in the July 21, 1996 edition.

Think About Such Things

What consumes your thoughts? Do you worry about deadlines? Are you anxious about finances? Does revenge find a home in your heart? Do immoral thoughts race through your mind? Such things shatter our peace and distance us from God.

Realizing the impact of our thoughts, the apostle Paul wrote, "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable---if anything is excellent or praiseworthy---think about such things" (Philippians 4:8, New International Version). Meditating upon those attributes draws us closer to God. Acquiring those ideals may transform our lives into the image of God's Son, since Jesus Christ personifies those attributes.

Christ is true, honest, genuine, and real. He is completely trustworthy. He perceives everything with keen accuracy, and He speaks with absolute integrity. If He says it, you can believe it.

The Lord is noble. His character commands respect. He has earned the loyalty of His people.

Christ is right in all ways. He lived under the law of Moses without committing one transgression. He kept the rules and fulfilled the law.

Jesus is pure. His heart has never been contaminated by evil. He has overcome every temptation.

The Lord is lovely. His self-sacrificing spirit turned an ugly crucifixion into a beautiful demonstration of God's love. As promised, all kinds of people have been drawn to Him since He was lifted up.

Christ is admirable. Even His critics and skeptics often admit an admiration for His teachings.

Jesus is excellent in His goodness. He is the genuine epitome of morality and virtue. His standards are unsurpassed.

Finally, Christ is praiseworthy or commendable. He rescues us from a destiny of Hell and prepares a home in Heaven for us. He deserves our praise!

Focusing our minds upon Jesus Christ and His attributes can settle troubled minds while bringing us into the presence of a gracious God. Let's think about such things.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Stepping Up: A Call to Courageous Manhood

In his latest book, Dennis Rainey writes, "I believe there's something in the chest of a man that responds in a unique way to stories of courage. There's a piece of every man's heart that longs to be courageous, to be bold and gutsy and etch a masculine mark of bravery on the human landscape. In our hearts, we know that a part of the core of true manhood is courage" (page 5).

Stepping Up: A Call to Courageous Manhood contains many stories of courage to inspire a man's heart. From reciting tales of physical courage to feats of moral courage, Dennis Rainey demonstrates what it means to be a man through five stages of a man's life. In this book, he acknowledges the identity crisis that many men in our culture face due to poor training from fathers who were either silent, or missing, or who provided inappropriate advice and examples to their sons as their boys were growing up. But he meets men where they are and gives them the guidance and encouragement they need in order to take the next steps toward fulfilling their duties as men in their families and communities. Rather than approaching the subject in a condemning manner, Mr. Rainey seeks to instill the courage men need to take responsibility and initiative.

He outlines five stages in a man's life:

1. Boyhood: a time of adventure and exploration in which a boy needs guidance from responsible fathers and other men in his life. He needs to learn to differentiate wisdom from foolishness and how to love others. He needs to understand his spiritual identity, his sexual identity, and his purpose in life. As the author explains, "One of my favorite passages about children in the Scriptures is found in Psalm 127: 'Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one's youth. How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them' (verses 4-5, NASB). This is powerful imagery. Think about what an arrow is created to do. Was it designed to stay in the quiver, comfortable and protected? No, it was made to be aimed and shot by a warrior at a target, to deliver a blow in battle. Can you see the connection? Boys need to understand that they are not here on earth just to achieve worldly success and comfort. They're here to strike a blow against evil, to make a mark on their world. Just like you. After all, dads are arrows too" (page 47).

2. Adolescence: a time of further training as a boy transitions into manhood. This is when a boy needs to start the process of thinking like a man. "They need help assassinating selfishness and pride...They need to learn and apply fundamental convictions and character qualities to real-life issues" (pages 78-79).

3. Manhood: a time in which a man takes the initiative and steps up to protect those in his care. Primarily, he protects his family, but he also takes responsibility to protect his community from evil. He does this physically, of course, by locking the doors of his home at night and holding his small child's hand while crossing the street. But that is rather easy. It gets more challenging when he seeks to protect his marriage by meeting the needs of his wife, when he seeks to instruct his children in the moral choices they face among their peers, when he stands up against unethical business practices on his job, or when he challenges his children's peers to treat each other with dignity. This is a time for courage to be displayed with wisdom.

4. Mentor: a time in which an experienced man teaches younger and less experienced men how to meet the challenges they face every day. He shares his successes and failures. He intentionally connects with younger men who want to approach life with more wisdom than they possess. He guides them in their quest to be the men God intended them to be. "A mentor purposefully builds life lessons into those he mentors," Dennis Rainey writes. "As you consider being a mentor, think through what makes life work for you--at work, at home, and in your relationship with Christ. What have you learned about the following?

*handling pressure and balancing the pace of life
*working with people
*building and keeping friendships with other men
*investing in your marriage
*resolving conflict
*facing unexpected crises or tragedy
*managing your finances
*developing a real relationship with God
*reading, understanding, and applying the Scriptures
*raising your children
*developing the type of character needed to succeed at work
*growing through failure" (page 147).

5. Patriarch: a time in which a man moves from the role of an authority figure to the role of a dignified older man who leads and impacts his world through the intentional good influence of his life. He keeps the extended family together. He connects with his adult children, their spouses, his grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. He refrains from exercising authority over the lives of his adult children--after all, they are leading their own families now--but he is always available to give wise counsel when asked. His priority is to have a positive influence on his extended family; and he spends much time in prayer for the future of his family. He works at leaving a good and godly legacy for his family and community.

Stepping Up: A Call to Courageous Manhood is an excellent book. I can highly recommend it for any man who wants some encouragement and guidance toward being a good man. I purchased the book from FamilyLife. It can be ordered at www.shopfamilylife.com/stepping-up.html or by calling 1-800-FLTODAY.

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

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Soul Surfer

Soul Surfer, a movie based on the true story of a young surfer who lost her arm in a shark attack, hits movie theaters on April 8. I have heard a couple of good interviews with people involved in the movie. The family's strong Christian faith and commitment to glorifying God sustained them during this difficult period of their lives. It appears that the movie will accurately reflect their faith in Jesus Christ.

As I have heard the family speak about the experience, I have been reminded of this passage from the Scriptures:

"Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock" (Matthew 7:24-25).

This movie has great potential. I'm looking forward to taking my family to see it.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Guest Post at the Family Fountain Blog: The Challenge of Infertility

When my wife Janet and I were engaged to be married, we would talk for hours about our hopes and dreams. We would discuss careers, home life, and children. We planned to raise a household of biological and adopted children.

"The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps" (Proverbs 16:9, ESV). Our lives did not work out in quite the way we had planned. A couple of years into our marriage, we realized that we needed help. We had no children. After visiting a few doctors, we accepted our diagnosis. We were an infertile couple...

The rest of the post may be read on Warren Baldwin's Family Fountain blog at http://warrenbaldwin.blogspot.com/2011/04/guest-post-terry-laudett-challenge-of.html. You may also check out his blog by clicking on his name on my blog roll at the right side of this post. Thank you to Warren Baldwin for the opportunity to write a guest post for your blog!

Friday, April 01, 2011

Today I'm Gonna Try To Change The World

This is a great song with a great message.

The Successful Dad

The Successful Dad
(Author Unknown)

I may never be as clever as my
neighbor down the street,
I may never be as wealthy as some
other men I meet.
I may never have the glory that some
other men have had,
But I've just got to be successful as
that little fellow's dad.

There are certain dreams I cherish,
that I'd like to see come true,
There are things I would like to do.
There are things I would like to
accomplish before my earthly life is through.
But the task I've set my heart on is
to guide a little lad,
To make myself successful as that
little fellow's dad.

Oh, I may never come to glory, I may
never gather gold,
And when my business life is over,
I may be considered a failure as told.
But the task I've set my heart on is
to guide a little lad,
To make myself successful as that
little fellow's dad.

It's the one job that I dream of,
The task I think of most,
For if I fail that little fellow,
I have nothing else to boast.
For the wealth and fame I'd gather,
all my fortune would be sad,
If I fail to be successful as that little
fellow's dad.