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Money - Teaching Kids

Read a great article on teaching your kids about money. In it the authors list ten things to do...

1. Just say no!
2. Teach them to procrastinate on purchases.
3. Create jobs for your children at an early age.
4. Create a budget.
5. Make them question their spending.
6. Help them to pay themselves first.
7. Teach them to understand the power of compound interest.
8. Explain how compound interest can work AGAINST them.
9. Have them read about the rules of money.
10. Give back. (TITHE!!)

Dave Ramsey is another great resource for financial advice based on Christian principles.

Psalm 24:1 "The earth is the LORD's, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it"

Entertainment & Morality - Christian Freedom

We had a great talk Sunday with students and adults at church answering the question, "Do the video games I play matter?" We deepened that question by being specific as to where, what, and how often we played them.

The interesting aspect of this question is that it causes us to dig deep into all aspects of entertainment...TV, movies, the Internet, music, etc. This is a HUGE question b/c of the practical implications on our everyday life (since we live in the middle of a culture of entertainment) and our Christian witness.

We brought up their use in church especially, discussing the positive and negative aspects of their use and how we go about maintaining a balance between extremes (no limits, whatever works = "pragmatism" VS. legalism, regulative principle ("only what the Bible specifically prescribes")).

Here are some great passages we referenced:
1 Corinthians 8 - Christian Freedom - v.9 "Be careful, however, that the exercise of your freedom does not become a stumbling block to the weak."

We also spoke of how in 1 Corinthians 9, especially verse 22 "To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some." not referring to the emergent church philosophy of "look more like the world" but rather being willing to sacrifice my own freedoms in order to reach others for Christ.

Continuing down the 1 Corinthians road...1 Corinthians 10 verses 23-24"Everything is permissible"—but not everything is beneficial. "Everything is permissible"—but not everything is constructive. 24Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others"

Romans 12:1-2 is also helpful in this sort of discussion..."1Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. 2Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. "

Romans 14 is also a great reference showing how the diversity within the church should not lead to disunity. verse 5 "Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind."

John 17:14-19, 2 Corinthians 1:12, John 15:18-19, 1 Corinthians 6:12, 1 Corinthians 2:10-14

A further evidence of the relevance of this question was apparent on my ride home today when I heard a discussion about the release of "Grand Theft Auto 4"...sure to be one of the most popular video games ever. Does popular = OK? For the world...yes. For the Christian??? Here is a good review of Grand Theft Auto 4.

Ultimately there is a test of Christian conscience through the work of the Holy order to ensure that we do not harden ourselves to sin (or compartmentalize certain sins) we must:

  • Stay in the Word of that we are moved and convicted (by the Holy Spirit) to holy and obedient living that is pleasing in the sight of God
  • Allow other men and women of God to hold us accountable and confront us on sin in our lives
  • Be willing to sacrifice anything that may have the grasp of an idol and/or be a stumbling block to others...without becoming so legalistic/Pharisaical (like the Pharisees...) that we begin to worship our own "goodness" or practice a "salvation by works"...

Marriage & Parenting - & is a website I especially recommend for married couples and parents. They are especially well known for their marriage conferences ('Weekend to Remember' - Brittney and I have gone and love it!) and articles on topics such as: healthy marriages, troubled marriages, romance & sex, better parenting, single life, and spiritual growth. also has some helpful magazine publications. Brittney and I especially enjoy Marriage Partnership, but they also have other magazines for teens, men, and women.

Online Resource -

If you haven't discovered, it is worth checking out. Although I don't 100% agree with everything on there, there is LOTS of helpful and Bible-based stuff.
Here are some cool aspects of it: Devotional Newsletters by Email, Movie and Music Ratings, Financial , Parenting, and Marriage Articles, Podcasts and Video Teachings to name a few.
One example of helpful we are finishing our True Love Waits study this week for our church's youth, this is a great article for both parents and students.

Catholicism Questions

Lots of people have mentioned to me questions about what Catholics actually believe and how those beliefs are similar and different with protestant evangelical and baptist beliefs. Here are some good resources to answer a few of those questions...

Book Recommendations

I received 17 highly recommended books at the Together for the Gospel Conference. Here are some of the ones I am most excited about:

If You Could Ask God One Question...

One of the most interesting books I received at Together for the Gospel is:
"If You Could Ask God One Question" by Paul Williams and Barry Cooper

Check out some of the questions they answer...
“If You’re Really There, God, Why On Earth Don’t You Prove It?”
“Isn’t The Bible Just A Bunch Of Made-Up Stories?”
"All Good People Go To Heaven, Right?”
“If You’re A God Of Love, Why Send Anyone To Hell?”
“If Jesus Really Was Your Son, How Come He Got Killed?”
“If I Can Be Forgiven Everything, Doesn’t That Mean I Can Do Whatever I Like?”
“How Can Anyone Be Sure There's Life After Death?”
“What About People Of Other Religions Then?”
“Isn’t Faith Just A Psychological Crutch?”
“Why Do You Allow Suffering?”
“Why Do You Hate Sex?”
“Why Don’t You Just Do A Miracle?”
"So, God, If You Could Ask Me One Question, What Would It Be?”

Together For the Gospel - Part 3

I was abundantly blessed these past few days to hear the wonderful messages listed below at the Together For the Gospel Conference. I will add applicable links and resources on the right side of the screen. Last year's and this year's messages are available for free (audio) here.
  • Sound Doctrine: Essential to Faithful Pastoral Ministry(Ligon Duncan)
  • Bearing the Image: Identity, the Work of Christ, and the Church(Thabiti Anyabwile)
  • The Sinner Neither Able nor Willing: The Doctrine of Absolute Inability(John MacArthur)
  • Improving the Gospel: Exercises in Unbiblical Theology(Mark Dever)
  • The Curse Motif of the Atonement(R.C. Sproul)
  • Why Do They Hate It So? The Doctrine of Substitution(Albert Mohler)
  • How the Supremacy of Christ Creates Radical Christian Sacrifice(John Piper)
  • Sustaining a Pastor’s Soul(C.J. Mahaney)
Praise God for men such as these who can and do so wonderfully and articulately defend and proclaim the richness of the Gospel message.

Together for the Gospel - Part 2

I am extremely excited about the conference I am going to this week. I have been anticipating this for two years (since the last one) and have been registered for over 6 months. Please pray for me as I attend this from Tuesday through Thursday! Check out the line up!

Together for the Gospel - Part 1

In 2006 I went to a conference in Louisville called Together for the Gospel. It was an awesome collection of men speaking to church leaders with a unity of focus across denominational lines. As I prepare to go to the 2008 conference this week, I am reminded of the power and depth of teaching that occured. You can download the messages for free at the below links...

The Pastor’s Understanding of His Own Role (Mark Dever)
Preaching from the Old Testament (Ligon Duncan)
Preaching with the Culture in View (Albert Mohler)
The Center of Christian Preaching: Justification by Faith (R.C. Sproul)
Why Expositional Preaching Is Particularly Glorifying to God (John Piper)
Watch Your Life (C.J. Mahaney)
Forty Years of Gospel Ministry (John MacArthur)

Looking Down from the Mount of Olives

This video was shot from the top of the Mount of Olives overlooking Jerusalem from the East looking Westward. You can see the route Jesus and His disciples would have walked into the Kidron Valley as they approached Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives. Although most of the current walls are much newer than Jesus' day, the very large ones are from the period of Herod's construction. You can see the temple mount clearly underneath the two mosques.

The double grey domes in the far distance is the Church of the Holy Sepulchre where many believe Jesus to have been crucified and resurrected. The alternate site is to the North of the city and is often referred to as the Garden Tomb.

To the South you can see the ruins of the Southern Steps, where Jesus and His disciples would have likely taught some as they prepared to enter the temple. On a small outcropping to the South of those steps you can see the City of David and the ruins of a retention wall. In the distance behind that you can see Mount Zion and the Hinnom Valley (Gehenna).

Amazing that in one small scan of the horizon you can take in so many historical and biblical locations...

Discipline for godliness

1 Timothy 4:7 "But have nothing to do with worldly fables fit only for old women. On the other hand, discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness."

Discipline is part of our lives whether we want to admit it or not. Anything we have done in life that has been important or long-lasting has some aspect of discipline involved; in practice, preparing, or doing. Sports, hobbies, academics, relationships, etc. all take some aspect of discipline.

Lack of discipline in certain areas often leads to failure or inadequate results.

What about our Christian lives? Do we apply discipline to our spiritual walk? Do we daily seek Him out in prayer and Scripture? Do we allow the Holy Spirit to sanctify us and make us godlier through His Word?

Here is a great book that points out the Scriptural foundations for having a disciplined walk with Christ.

Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life by Donald S. Whitney

Scripture Reading & Study, Prayer, Worship, Scripture Meditation, Evangelism, Serving, Stewardship of Time and Money, Scripture Application, Fasting, Silence & Solitude, Journaling, Learning

1 Timothy 4:16 "Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you."

Reproductive Technology

Interesting articles on the moral aspects and biblical foundations in considering reproductive technology and practices..important discussions as these technologies and practice increase in frequency and breadth of "options."


In Vitro Fertilization Technology

Psalm 139:13 "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. "

Test the Teacher - Part 2

Do we test what we hear within our church? Every sermon? Lesson?

What about the teachings we see on TV? In popular books? On Blogs? The Internet? School?

It has amazed me how many people I encounter who will defend the teachings of popular figures whose teaching is either directly opposed to the Bible, biblically unbalanced, or biblically weak.

Two teachers who I am consistently impressed with their accuracy and balance in handling the Word of God and applying it to social and cultural issues are Dr. Al Mohler (Author, Blogger, Radio Host, and President of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary)and Hank Hanegraaff ("Bible Answer Man" and President of the Christian Research Institute). I think they would be the first ones to admit their own fallenness and imperfection, but day in and day out you will be hard pressed to find an argument or defense they give that is not firmly rooted and balanced in Scripture.

Here are some "teachers" that I feel that many are all too quick to listen to without testing them and their teachings against what Scripture teaches....there are many more out there; these are just two quick examples.

Oprah Winfrey
YouTube Video
Dr.Mohler's Articles
"Oprah and Her Self-Help Saviors - Making the New Age Normal"
New Age Movement Overview - A Biblical Perspective and Answers

Joel Osteen
Dr.Mohler's Articles
Book Review of Your Best Life Now
Trancript from Interview with Larry King on CNN (many excerpts of this interview and others on YouTube as well)

Helpful Biblical Passages...
The Book of Jude

2 Timothy 4:3-4 "3For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths."

Matthew 7:15 " 15"Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves."

Also I highly recommend the below book on this topic!

Test the Teacher - Part 1

James 3:1-2 " 1Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. 2We all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check."

I am amazed at men and women of God who have taught the Word of God consistently and accurately for years. Even the greatest of preachers and teachers are prone to mistakes though, and need others around them to be accountable to the content of their messages. The foundation of all Christian teachings must be the Bible...not personal experience, opinion, or philosophy.

The examples of the Bereans should always be on our mind when we open ourselves up to teaching and instruction.

Acts 17:11 "11Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true."

We must examine the Scriptures EVERY DAY and measure any teacher and their teachings by God's Word to make sure they are true.

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