Thursday, November 15, 2007

Should we delay adulthood?

Admittedly, I'm a new parent. My daughter will be 5 months old in 2 days. I pray for her often; I think my prayer life has been infused since her birth. I pray...
- That God will awaken her heart & mind to repentance of sin and faith in Jesus Christ.
- That she will grow to be a woman of character (truth), making wise choices.
- That she will find friends that will strengthen her committments to walk in Truth.
- That she will date/marry a godly man (dating, yikes!)

I pray things like this. I've noticed that my prayers more often than not relate to her growing up and things in the future. At this point, as her father, I am not scared of her growing up, maturing and becoming an adult. I think this is a good thing. Some of my observations in parenting is that parents attempt to hold on to children's childhood for as long as they can. This lingers into a child's teen and twenty' years, delaying adulthood and thus creating what one has "adultolescents". I encourage you to read this article and background material on this topic. It's interesting when we consider some of these questions:
- Why are teens graduating from their faith when they graduate high school?
- Why are the twenty somethings missing from churches?
- Why are churches predominantly greying, plateauing and declining?
- What can student pastors do to slow, pray cease, such facts?

What thoughts do you have? What would you add to Piper's list?

Families Matter

Families matter. They matter to society, they matter to individuals (just ask the young boys or girls I speak with who are missing a dad or mom), and they matter to God. God created the family. in fact, God lives in family community within his Trinitarian nature (Father - Son - Spirit). Unfortunately, our current culture is redefining and diminishing how family was originally designed to be. This calls for the Church to take a stand in coming alongside families to show they matter and they are at the center of God's work within the world.

This is why I am beginning Family Matters events at our church. The Church has often focused on developing programs, ministries, staff, events to make itself look good. My desire with this kickoff event, and ultimately a ministry vision, is to make families look good. Mark Holmen, in his book Building Faith At Home says, "As the family goes, so goes the church." In other words, if the church desires to be effective and join God at work it must seek to partner with families (of all colors, shapes & sizes, especially in 21st C. culture) in equipping and encouraging them to be who God created them to be.

Some Scriptures that have influenced and impacted me with this vision are
Deuteronomy 6:4-9 God's call to families to nurture faith at home
1 Samuel 2-3 Eli's wicked sons, a profound warning to fathers in ministry
Psalm 78:1-11 God's call for each generation to pass on the faith to the next
Psalm 145:4
Ephesians 5:21-33 God's call to family roles with its overall purpose in glorifying Jesus and what he has done for the Church, his bride

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Family Matters

This Saturday will be our church's first "Family Matters" event. These events will encourage and equip families to nurture faith in the home. I'll share more about these events and the motivation behind them in the next couple days. For now, check out our cool logo.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Purity Ball

Tonight I had the special privilege of speaking at our local Care Net Pregancy Center "Purity Ball". This was an event designed for fathers & daughters committing to honor God through a sexually pure lifestyle. As you know, this issue is on the forefront of teen minds and the Church cannot remain silent to this generation. Below was my message to these fathers and young ladies:

As I consider the future years I want my daughter to be prepared for what is to come. I would like to share with you three truths I desire my daughter to know and apply to her life. I pray you will carefully consider the gravity of each truth.

God created you.
Every person is created by with an inherent worth and value because each person is created in the image of God. In fact, God knew you while he formed you in your mother’s womb (Ps 139). In other words, your life is neither an accident nor a mistake. God did not say “oops” on the day you were born. There is a clear and unique purpose for every human being; which, is to know God and serve others. Jesus affirmed this saying the two greatest commands were to love God and love others.
Fathers, your role with your daughter is to help her discover and live out these two great commands. The simplest way I am learning to do that with my daughter is by spending time with her. I believe she will understand God’s love and her purpose to love others by my loving and spending time with her. Daughters spell love T-I-M-E.
A recent example for me is when I went to summer camp as my daughter was less than two months old. The catch was, before I left for camp she had never given me a poopy diaper. Yet, when I came back from camp I got two in one evening. Now, you may say that’s just a simple fact of having an infant. But I know she was telling me, “Dad, here is what you get for not spending time with me!” The real fact of the matter is, the language of love for daughters is by the time you spend with them.

God created sex.
Almost 30 years ago, President Jimmy Carter signed into act The Susan B. Anthony Dollar Act, which made provisions for the United States government to mint dollar coins. The first ones were minted in 1979. It depicts Anthony to honor her and women’s suffrage, for which she stood. Circulation of the coin continued the following two years but because of its similar size and color it was found to be easily mistaken for a lesser value coin, the quarter.
I have been involved in youth ministry for about nine years. Unfortunately, I have seen young ladies trade their God-given value for something of lesser worth – temporary pleasure in giving away their sexual purity.
Just as God created you with a certain purpose he also created sex with a specific intention. God is the author of sex, it was his original idea, not Hollywood or the rest of culture. Therefore, God has the authority to place boundaries around sex for your benefit and protection.
I know, when you hear the words “boundary” and “sex” in the same sentence you begin to cringe. I often did the same as a teenager. The reason was because I did not truly understand the truth that God created sex. Sex does not have to be viewed as an intimidating, dangerous, threatening, dirty experience. It is something God wants you to enjoy – when you are biblically ready through marriage. One prominent theologian reminds us of this profound truth saying:
Christians have no right to be embarrassed when it comes to talking about sex and sexuality. An unhealthy reticence or embarrassment in dealing with these issues is a form of disrespect to God’s creation. Whatever God made is good, and every good thing God made has an intended purpose that ultimately reveals His own glory. When conservative Christians respond to sex with ambivalence or embarrassment, we slander the goodness of God and hide God’s glory which is intended to be revealed in the right use of creation’s gifts.
Fathers can show God created sex by reminding their daughters sex is important. Some of the simple ways you can do this is in the way you treat your wife and in the way you allow your daughter to treat herself (dress, internet, boy selection). All in all, this is a call to elevate our view of sex in a world that continually diminishes its real purpose.

God created forgiveness.
Reality tells us that our daughters (and our sons) are having sex outside of marriage. Nearly 30% of teens are sexually active and the statistics rise the older teens get.
[2] Reality also tells us there are fathers who have failed in the purity arena as well as having shortcomings in leading their families the way they should. The point of this is not to condemn those who have fallen but to remind those that God’s grace extends to every individual who has sinned. There is not a sin or sinner who is beyond the reach of God’s love and forgiveness.
The way God provides forgiveness is through the death of his Son, Jesus Christ. For those who confess their sin, turn away from it and receive Jesus’ payment for sin into their life will be free from punishment and eternal condemnation of sin. It sounds simple and to some degree it is. Yet, one should never forget the tremendous price Jesus paid on the cross.
So, for the young girl who has compromised her purity; or perhaps even had an abortion; or for the father who may be addicted to pornography or committed adultery or even simply is failing to lead and love his family as Christ – there is hope! God will grant you forgiveness through repentance and give you strength to make wiser decisions.

In closing, I want you to know that fathers cannot be the fathers they dream of becoming, or their daughter’s dream of them being, by themselves. Likewise, daughters cannot keep their purity without the help of others. I give you two challenges:
1) Look to Jesus. Only God can give you true and lasting strength and wisdom to become who he created you to be. Pursue him with all your heart
2) Look to Others. God created you to live in community with others. Gain wisdom from those older and wiser than you. Lean on those who have traveled the path ahead.

God bless.

[1] R. Albert Mohler, Jr., “The Seduction of Pornography and the Integrity of Christian Marriage,” available online at
[2] Many stats from article dating January 31, 2005,

Monday, November 5, 2007

The "Be With" Factor

As I study my Savior's life I learn so much and become more captivated by who He is. Jesus was, and is such a fascinating Person. I see that he loved people, I mean truly loved them. Many times we say we "love" each other yet our words and actions do not support so. He loved people by being with people... laughing with, eating with (one of my favorites), talking with, working with, serving with; everything He did, He did with people - even when He was alone He was with the Father. In fact, the Bible says the reason He chose disciples was to be with them: Mark 3:14 says, "He appointed twelve-designating them apostles-that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach." (Also see Acts 4:13)

Tonight was the second of what I hope to be many opportunities to be with a few high school guys with this intention - to grow together in the image and purpose God originally designed us. Our goal is to follow Jesus' model of discipleship, what can be called "The Be With Factor".

The be with factor is an intentional approach to mentoring the next generation. It is not intended to be yet another church program but simply about doing life together. I'm looking forward to our journey.