At 12 years old I would want to start leaving your son with questions to consider rather than pronouncements. But from 12 years old on up, it is far more complicated than when they are younger. For a toddler, discipline is pretty simple. You are not having to work through heart issues. It is a blatantly ethical world, at that age, nothing but right/wrong, yes/no. But as they get older you want to draw your child in and give him an opportunity to think about his own heart, think about it in relation to material, think about it in relation to Scripture, think about it with time for the Spirit to possibly convict. You are not bringing every conversation to a conclusion that he must agree with.
With your restrictions, you want to explain why you are doing what you are doing. Restrictions are important. We are fully for restrictions as long as the purpose is explained—so your child doesn’t think this is just punitive action we are taking in your life without explanation, without a why, without a purpose. We want to create an alternative. We want to anticipate this temptation, anticipate this restriction and [ask] what alternative can we present to wean our child from that particular form of idolatry.
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
C. J. Mahaney has wise counsel about Video Games, Idols, and Your Child’s Heart. The post is less about video games and more about idols, for as Mahaney points out, "Your son may grow out of his love for video games, but he will not grow out of the idol factory in his heart."
Saturday, July 24, 2010
Frank Turk's guest post at Challies.com challenges the popular North American view of the "successful church":
And I think we have to ask: is that exactly what we’re supposed to be doing? Should we be trying to be as big as possible so we can turn out people in droves to missions and church planting?
Now: here’s the wrong answer. The wrong answer is, “house church is NT church, and everything bigger than a couple dozen is a bloated American drive-thru theology that is both unbiblical and unsavory.” That’s just simply wrong. The first church in the NT had 3000 members after the first day. The churches Paul planted usually met with trouble because they were large enough in ancient Mediterranean cities to cause economic and social changes by changing the way they lived. Big is clearly not bad, or unbiblical.
But in the context of North America, we have a problem the ancient church did not: we are experts at business process, and we are lean thinkers from the top down. We believe that mass production is a brilliant organizational and systematic approach, and we think that we should be able to do more with less - so for example, we think that one guy should be able to run an organization which takes in $5 million a year with relative ease, he should be highly compensated, and he should have an executive staff who runs things for him so he can be the vision guy. We can even cite the book of Acts where the Apostles say they refuse to wait tables for the sake of being the messengers of God’s word — to sanctify our own belief that some kind of executive pyramid is best for the church, and we can achieve more with less, and we can move from good to great....
Sunday, July 18, 2010
Jon Bloom's article, Give Without Pay, is a call for ministers of the gospel to present the gospel free of charge.
The gospel that Jesus’ disciples were to proclaim was the offer of the forgiveness of sins, reconciliation with God, and eternal life, all through faith in Jesus Christ apart from works of the law or any other kind of payment to God (Rom. 3:28). It was all designed to magnify the glory of God’s free grace. Therefore, payment of any kind to hear the gospel or receive kingdom benefits would completely distort the gospel. It would shortly turn the church into a den of thieves. It was crucial that the medium also be the message.
This is precisely why Paul worked so hard to make the presentation of the gospel free to his hearers. He had to fight the gospel distorters, the “peddlers of God’s word” (2 Cor. 2:17) who had figured out how to make godliness a means of great gain (1 Tim. 6:5). He even decided to forgo legitimate ways of making a living from the gospel (1 Cor. 9:14) in order to prevent any misconstruing of his motives. He resolved to “endure anything rather than put an obstacle in the way of the gospel of Christ” (1 Cor. 9:12).
If peddling God’s gospel was a problem in Paul’s day, it is an epidemic in ours, especially in the affluent church of the West. We are a multi-billion dollar market. There is serious money to be made. And that is dangerous to the gospel.
Thursday, July 15, 2010
Shawn Young's reminder that You Don't Have to Sell Jesus:
Is it my job to “sell” Jesus? Is an evangelist basically a used-car salesman for the Lord?
Jesus made it clear that people can’t come to him unless the Father draws them to him (John 6:44, 65). He said that his job was to speak the words of life (John 6:63), keep all those whom the Father had given him (John 6:39), and give them eternal life. Did Jesus use language and images that were pertinent, meaningful and relevant? Absolutely. But he wasn’t trying to conjure up a spiritual interest that wasn’t already there. He spoke about the living bread from heaven because he wanted to bring forth those whom God had given him, those with a genuine hunger for life in union with God. He was looking for vital signs—for a spiritual pulse. In the process of keeping those people God had given him, Jesus also caused those who had no spiritual hunger to move on. That’s what the Father sent him to do.
I find this news liberating. Jesus wasn’t a slick salesman—he wasn’t selling himself, or the kingdom, or God. He was locating those who already belonged to him. He was giving substance to the indescribable hunger that true seekers have. He was putting words to their deep thirst. He was explaining why they felt strangely drawn to him. As an evangelist, I do not have the responsibility to create a hunger for eternal life. That’s not my job. I am only sent to point people to Jesus, let them hear his words of life, see him as he is, and check for signs of spiritual life.
Sunday, July 11, 2010
Sunday, July 04, 2010
A book that is on my "to get" list is James Davison Hunter's book To Change the World. Greg Gilbert provides a few excerpts from it in a post on Thinking Humbly About Changing the World. One of the paragraphs he quotes addresses our attitude towards work, education, artistry, etc:
Even if our tasks in this world do not have "ultimate significance," that does not mean that the tasks we perform have no spiritual significance. . . . Indeed, when our various tasks are done in ways that acknowledge God, God is present and he is glorified. Such tasks may not be redeeming, but they can provide a foretaste of the coming kingdom. . . . To manage a business in a way that grows out of a biblical view of relationships, community, and human dignity before God has divine significance, irrespective of what else might be done from this platform. Policy pursued and law practiced in light of the justice of God is a witness to the right ordering of human affairs. Inquiry, scholarship, and learning with an awareness of the goodness of God's created order is a discovery of what is truly higher in higher education. And, not least, reflecting the beauty of God's creation in art or music is nothing less than an act of worship.