Friday, September 5, 2008

No internet means no new posts....

My faithful readers (yes, all 5 of you)...

We probably won't have internet at our house for another week or so due to the high number of requests for internet with all the Aggies moving to town. Consequently, I probably won't have any new posts for another week or so.

Sorry. I feel your pain.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

On Eliminating the Foster Care System...

Filed under: "Because it needs to be said..."
The Resurgence Blog has a blog entitled, "Orphans vs. American Dream." In it, Anthony Bradley asks, "Why are there 115,000 orphans in a country that has over 224 million Christians...? Let's break this down further. The Washington Times reports that there are about 65 million evangelicals in America. So, again, why are there 115,000 orphans in America's foster care system?"

He lays down the challenge...
Some wonder how this is possible in a country with Christian families. Surely, there are 115,000 missional families in America, right? Missional families, for example, embrace the redemptive mission of God and practice "true religion" in their local communities (James 1:27). Missional Christians in America could eliminate the foster care system tomorrow if we would stop "shootin' up" with the American Dream (heroine) in order to get high on a lame life lived for the sake of comfort and ease.

"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," writes James (1:27). As a matter of fact, the Bible has over 40 verses mandating God's people to look after orphans and the fatherless for various reasons.

According to the American Religious Identity Survey, conducted by the City University of New York, there are over 224 million Christians in the United States. So, why are there 115,000 orphans in a country that has over 224 million Christians...?

...If your church is not cultivating an ethos that practices "true religion" it may not be missional at all. It may be dying or sinking into a consumeristic, entertainment quicksand where people come to have their "felt needs" stroked. Your pastor might wear "cool" clothes, have a "cool" blog, or be in the process of trying to make God and Jesus androgynous but God seems to care that his people are being led by capable men who lead the rest of God's people in bringing the Kingdom to their local neighborhood in all its forms.

While not all Christians are gifted or equipped for taking in orphans it's pretty convicting that 65 million American evangelicals can't rescue 115,000 kids from an unstable hell.
'Nuff said. Time to step up to the plate.


Adoption by the Adopted

Al Mohler has a new post out called, "The Culture of the Congregation: Celebrating Adoption."
In recent years, American Christians have seen a recovery of adoption as a living concept -- and as a focus of congregational celebration....Many evangelical congregations actively encourage families to adopt and offer support, education, and encouragement for international adoptions.
You should check it out.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Being Present in our Community's Third Places

Filed Under: Because it needs to be said....
Over at Dream Awakener, there has been a great series of posts on Christians and pubs and mission. It is built on the idea that pubs are 'third places,' that is, places other than home and work where people gather. And where people gather, there Christians should be. "Churches and communities of faith should encourage members to frequent local pubs/bars as a social context in which they can get to know and build strong relationships with people who are there." Now, this is sure to be controversial among some evangelicals, especially in the south. I once heard a campus minister say it was a sin for a Christian to even walk into a bar. Well, that is Pharisee-ism, not Christianity.

Anyways, check out these thoughtful series of posts:

Pints & Saints, Part 1: Introduction
A Place Where "Everybody Knows Your Name"

Pints & Saints, Part 2: What's on Tap?
Understanding the Scene

Pints & Saints, Part 3: Jesus & Alcohol
What did Jesus do when finding himself in situations where "ministry opportunity" and alcohol intersected?

Pints & Saints, Part 4: Drinking with Calvin & Luther
How did Calvin and Luther view wine, beer and alcohol?

Pints & Saints, Part 5: "Light Beer"--Option One: Subtle Mission Praxis
Connecting to the world as resident aliens

Pints & Saints, Part 6: Pubs as Third Places
Pubs and bars as missional outposts

Pints & Saints, Part 7: "Craft Beer: Formalized Mission Programs
Creative and organized ways to connect with people in pubs

Pints & Saints, Part 8: Conclusion
Trying new and risky ways to incarnating the gospel into the culture

Rev. Tod Bolsinger, one of the few remaining lights in the PCUSA, tells of a time when he was in a bar and had an opportunity to ask the Fight Club question, "So, how's that working out for you." Great story.

I was in a conversation with another minister who hits the bars every Thursday night with folks in his congregation to drink beer, socialize, build relationships, & share the Gospel. He was telling me about one bar that he goes to that is owned by a lesbian couple. They have begun calling him their Pub's Pastor.

We need more stories of redemption like these.

How does this strike you?

Monday, September 1, 2008

Discipling Children

Filed Under: Note to Self
Over at the Reformation 21 Blog, pastor Rick Phillips gives some great advice for "Discipling Christian Children". He sums it up as Read-Pray-Work-Play.
First, parents (especially fathers) must read God's Word to and with their children. Countless Christians raised in strong believing homes will remember the influence of their father's fervent and faithful ministry of reading.... And of course, our children need to see our own devotion to God's Word lived out in the home, experiencing first-hand from us the righteousness, peace, ajoy that comes from the gospel.

Second, parents must pray for and with their children. How it warms a child's heart to know that his or her parents are fervently praying on his behalf. Parents should have regular times of prayer with the children and should frequently pray individually with their children.

Third, parents should work with their children....Shared work builds relationships. Work in the kitchen, work in the yard, work painting walls or repairing furniture. Children love to work alongside their parents, and the process of growth and shared experience forges a strong bond.

Fourth, parents should play with their children. This involves our participation in their play and our invitation for them to join in our play.
Good article well worth reading.

Lord, have mercy.


Why Do Children Lie?

Filed Under: Note to Self; Searching for Wisdom
The Shepherd's Press Blog has a good post on "Why Children Lie."
So when you hear your children lie, remember that one of the elements behind the lie is fear—fear of being exposed for who they really are. The answer, of course, is Christ. Even in the midst of hearing their lies, you can have compassion for your children. Yes, they are sinful, unkind, and even cruel with their lies. But at the root is a heart in need of Christ. Without Christ, fear dominates. Fear can make one stupidly deny the truth, just as Sarah did.

When your children lie, or even when you think they may have lied, you always want to remind them that God knows their hearts and thoughts even better than they do themselves. You want to call them to repent and trust in Christ, for he alone can help them overcome the fear of self-exposure. Only the power of the Gospel can free them from the tyranny of lying. You can and should confidently tell them that God knows whether they have been truthful or not. Discipline for lying must come from compassion for a lost heart. Yes, your children have offended you with their lies, but more importantly, they have offended and mocked God. Help them to see this reality. It is sometimes difficult to realize that a child who is defiant and seemingly unfazed by lying may actually be dominated by fear. Yet this is often the case.
Read Part 1 here and Part 2 here.

God save me from moralistic parenting! I've got a long way to go.