Thursday, July 22, 2010

Gospel-centered Parenting

"Although there are many ways we can provoke our kids in discipling them, we learn from Paul's expositions of grace in these epistles that we provoke and discourage our children when we forget the gospel and demand, as a condition of our approval and affection, that they obey the law that 'neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear' (Acts 15:10). By itself, God's law, although it is 'holy and righteous and good' (Rom. 7:12), will serve only to aggravate or discourage them. The law will stir up within them the desire to sin because they are not able to obey it. It won't furnish them with the power or motivation to obey us or the Lord. The law has its uses with our children, but making them good isn't one of them. Only the gospel and God's grace can change hearts."

~ Quoted from Counsel from the Cross: Connecting Broken People to the Love of Christ, by Elyse M. Fitzpatrick and Dennis E. Johnson.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Are Christians Not Having Enough Children?

And is that sin? I receive mailings from an organization that is constantly fortifying a bulwark for the family against the pursuing horde. It's enough to make Don Quixote proud. The hubbub this month is all about babies. It seems that Christians just aren't having enough of them. This truly would be problematic if godliness came through reproduction, but that's not Christianity. In fact God gives some pretty glaring examples of god-fearing families gone wrong in the Old Testament, be they large or small.

Jesus didn't say, "Procreate and make disciples." He said, "Go." Not because we shouldn't be passing on the faith to our children but because it is not in our blood; it's in His.

"But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God." John 1:13

Sunday, July 11, 2010


**Disclaimer: There is nothing (I mean absolutely nothing) healthful about this recipe, in fact, there is probably nothing in it that even remotely qualifies as food, but if you like caramel corn, you have to try these tasty treats. Think of it as doing your part for the midwest corn-growers.

Now that that's out of the way, we were at a party this weekend and the hostess had a bowl of these innocent little darlin's on the table. "Try one," she said. Oh... my... goodness! One? I couldn't stop, they were so yummy! And I couldn't keep this to myself; I had to share.

Caramel Corn Puffs

1 to 1.5 bags of O-Ke-Doke Corn Puffs
1/2 cup light corn syrup (Gasp! I know!)
2 sticks butter
2 cups brown sugar

1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp baking soda

Cook corn syrup butter, and brown sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. After mixture reaches a boil, cook for 5 more minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and baking soda. Pour caramel over corn puffs and mix well. Spread caramel puffs on two aluminium-foil-lined cookie sheets. Bake at 250-degrees for 45-50 minutes. Let cool then break into pieces and store in an airtight container.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Ringo is right

Yesterday was Ringo Starr's birthday, and what he wants is peace and love.

(photo from The Official Ringo Starr Site)

"At noon, wherever you are, just go, 'peace and love, peace and love,' that's your birthday gift to me. How great is that?"

That would be great, Mr. Starr. We all desperately need peace and love, and while it is generated by none it is available to all. God, whose steadfast love never ceases, makes a way for us to have peace with Him and with one another. Peace and love can be yours.

"And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience--among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loves us, even when were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ--by grace you have been saved--and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus." (Ephesians 2:1-7)

Happy Birthday, Ringo Starr. May grace and peace be yours from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Losers wanted

It is the question asked incessantly by adults from the day a child picks up the fire truck and zooms it around the room until the day she graduates from college, "So what do you want to be when you grow up?" When I was little I wanted to be a real estate appraiser just like my daddy. Throughout high school and my first semester of college I wanted to be a nurse, until I figured out the outrageous amount of bodily fluids involved. And when I received my first salaried paycheck and printed business cards I gleefully accepted the title "Product Manager" for a Christian publishing company. In my life the answer to that question took some pretty violent turns but something that never made the list was "servant." Never once did I answer, "I want to be nothing so that others might benefit."

Recently we've been studying what it means to abide in Christ with our church fellowship. You know, "Apart from Me you can do NOTHING." This morning we looked at sacrifice. One part of the sermon that particularly hit me was out of Matthew 20. James and John had a momma who wanted them to succeed. She brought her sons before Jesus and requested that her sons get a place of honor in his kingdom. While this infuriated the other disciples, a sign that they didn't get it either, it didn't seem to bother the Lord that much. He admitted it was not his position to grant but told them, and us, who was going to be first in his kingdom: the servant. Jesus wanted them to succeed, too, just at something completely different.

It's easy to say, "Yah, yah, yah, I know, the servant," but if we really peel back the curtain on our motives we see that we spend a whole lot of our time trying to yank our lives away from Jesus lest we experience something uncomfortable. Sure, we give, but we don't live lives of radical sacrifice because we don't want to die. "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it," (Luke 9:23-24). Personally, I'm afraid to die, not physically (although that doesn't seem very pleasant, either) but lifestyle-ly. I want cushion and safety. I want respect and admiration. I want position not slavery.

The crazy thing about this upside down kingdom Jesus is running is that all of those things I desire--cushion, safety, respect, admiration, position--are available in Christ. Not only that, but they have nothing to do with my ability to perform. Take a look at Ephesians 1 for a list of what Christ provides for us. Throwing aside my crazy attempts at self-fulfillment and embracing Jesus enables me to live a wild life abandoned to the gospel. I am free to love as Christ loved because my stability is found in what He's already guaranteed. I can give away everything because He's secured my future. I truly have nothing to lose but that which doesn't count anyway. This kind of Christ-dependant living would change my neighborhood, my community, and my world.