Articles Worth Pondering – Seven Principles for Angry Parents Disciplining Angry Children

Articles Worth PI hate to admit that the title of this blog post too often describes my household. I never (or at least it seems that way to me) lose my temper with my wife, my staff, or my congregation. But sadly, I too often feel (and act?) like that little Anger guy from Inside Out when it comes to my kids. Too many frustrated sighs and raised voices and sharp tones (and that’s just from the parents!).

In Ephesians 6:4, God tells fathers—though I think it’s okay for moms to listen in—to raise children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. He also warns against provoking our children to anger. So how do we do one without the other? How do we discipline exasperating kids without in turn exasperating them unnecessarily?

To read the rest of this article by Kevin DeYoung click HERE

Pondering The Voice and Our Gospel Mandate

voiceSo last night my friend Katie Basden ended her run on The Voice. It was an amazing journey that began last summer. I was with her in Poland on a mission trip when she found out that she was being invited to Hollywood and it has been great fun to watch everything happen. She will tell you herself that it has been a crazy wonderful ride and that she is very grateful for the opportunities she has had and WILL have as a result of The Voice.

I had never watched The Voice before this year. I’ve always been an American Idol fan. But this year I was invested. And it got me thinking…

Whoever came up with the concept for how The Voice works is a genius. They are brilliant! Absolutely brilliant. Think about it…

They gather exceptional talent from all over the country and put them on a TV show together. Then they tell them that we are going to give you a platform to showcase your talent – all we ask is that you get the word out to as many people as possible to watch the show so that they can see you perform and vote for you.

So the contestants are invested from the very beginning as a grassroots army to make The Voice successful. Brilliant! So they begin a campaign to get people to watch who will get people to watch who will get people to watch on their behalf. The contestants themselves provide a very personal reason for literally hundreds and hundreds of thousands of people to turn on the TV and tune in to NBC from 8-10 PM sometimes up to three times per week. Genius! They organize watch parties. They set up web sites and facebook pages. They get you to follow on Instagram, and Snapchat, and Twitter. They send out emails. They appear on local TV and radio shows – with the intent of getting people to watch and vote.

And then when the live shows start The Voice has figured out a way to sell merchandise by the boat load. They have tied the number of votes that a contestant gets in part to the number of song downloads from iTunes that the contestant has. These are smart people! I can only imagine that advertisers are waiting in line to promote their wares on The Voice. And I can only imagine just how many advertising dollars the show takes in. Somebody should have thought about this kind of campaign before.

Oh wait, they did.

Of course it was in an age when all this technology did not exist but the concept was the same. Jesus gathered around Him 12 guys and he spent 3 years coaching them. He gave them a platform, as the disciples of a famous Rabbi (aka the Son of God), and told them to get the word out to as many people as possible – and tell those people to spread the word. Jesus developed a grassroots movement that very quickly spread across the world because people were personally invested in the gospel. Their lives had been transformed and they knew the power of the gospel to literally change the world by changing the hearts and minds of people. It was a brilliant strategy.

It is still a brilliant strategy. And the only way that the strategy breaks down is if we the people who have been changed by the power of the gospel fail to spread the word. The gospel mandate that we have been given will only goes as far as we take it. So let’s learn a lesson from The Voice and spread the word and get people on board with a mission that will not only change their lives but change the world – one person at a time… as they listen to the only Voice that really matters.

Quotes Worth Pondering – A.W. Tozer

QuotesWorthPonderingIt is not a cheerful thought that millions of us who live in a land of Bibles, who belong to churches and labor to promote the Christian religion, may yet pass our whole life on this earth without once having thought or tried to think seriously about the being of God. Few of us have let our hearts gaze in wonder at the I AM, the self-existent Self back of which no creature can think. Such thoughts are too painful for us. We prefer to think where it will do more good – about how to build a better mousetrap, for instance, or how to make two blades of grass grow where one grew before. And for this we are now paying a too heavy price in the secularlzation of our religion and the decay of our inner lives.

Pondering Paul’s Epistles (Galatians 2/3)

EpistlesHere are a few of my ponderings from Galatians 2… specifically Galatians 2:20:

“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”

When you read this verse in the context of chapter 2 you really get the sense that Paul is absolutely dumbfounded. For the life of him he can’t figure out why his Galatian friends have reverted back to trying to find favor with God by following a bunch of rules. He is flabbergasted how quickly they have forgotten that it was faith in the crucified/resurrected Christ that brought about reconciliation between the God who saves and the man who sins. And yet…

And yet, don’t we do the same. We walk through this life as believers with a “got to” attitude rather than a “get to” attitude. And as a result, instead of experiencing the liberating joy of the gospel we feel bound up by the incarcerating rules of legalism.

Here are the questions that this verse provokes me to keep asking and why this verse is so ponderable:

  • Has my old sinful nature indeed been put to death (crucified)?
  • Is it evident that Christ is alive in me?
  • In what ways does my life (and my lifestyle) demonstrate that I am living by faith?
  • Do I daily treasure the fact that Christ loved me so much that He gave Himself for me?
  • How do I display my gratitude to Him for rescuing me?

Not I but Christ! May those words spur me onward each day to live a crucified life, a faith-filled life, and a life that reflects my gratitude to the One “who loved me and gave himself for me.”

Here are a few questions to help get you thinking as you ponder Galatians 3 this week:

v 1-4: How do you react to criticism rebuke? How do you think the Galatians responded when they first read this?

v 8: How did Paul define the gospel in this verse? How does this differ from the way that we typically think of it. What can we learn from this?

v 9: Why was Abraham considered such a great “man of faith”?

v 11: What is this verse so significant in church history?

v 15-18: Who came first Abraham or Moses? Why is this significant to Paul’s argument regarding grace and law?

v 21-22: What are some of the promises of God that we need to regularly be reminded of?

v 23-24: How does the law enslave us? Why is “justification by faith” so liberating?

v 26-29: Why is what Paul is saying here such a radical concept to the early church?

What To Expect in 2015

PREVIEW LOGOHere is a preview of what you can expect from me in 2015

1. For those of you who enjoy pondering along with me – I will be pondering through Paul’s epistles from Galatians – Philemon. We will take 1 chapter each week. On Monday or Tuesday I will post some questions that you might want to ponder during the week as you think on the chapter. Then the following Monday or Tuesday I will post some of my comments on a few of the questions and then give the questions for the next chapter. Our Connect Group at church will also be pondering each chapter together so if you are not involved in a small group we would love to have you join us on Sunday mornings at 9:30 AM.

2. I will continue to post a “Quotes Worth Pondering” each Wednesday. This year the quotes will come from books that I am being nourished by. Since I am a slow reader you may get several weeks in a row from the same author.

3. I also hope to have some random posts about stuff that is happening in the news. I want to become a better student of our culture and this will be one way that will make me think critically about current events.

4. And lastly, you will continue to see some posts that detail things going on with my family. This blog has become a good way for me to chronicle our journey through this life that we are blessed to live.

I have no idea what the Lord has in store for me in 2015 but my prayer is that I will joyfully rest in His sovereignty, grow in His boundless grace, and display His infinite glory through these writings and in my life and ministry.


Pondering John 17:1-1-26


You can click HERE to read the passage.

This entire chapter is a prayer that Jesus prays. Rather than commenting on this prayer I would instead like to offer up a prayer for my church (or any church). Perhaps it is a prayer that many of us can begin intentionally praying for our local body of Christ…

Baruch atah Adonai*. Blessed are You, O Lord our God, who alone is worthy of praise. Your name is exalted above the heavens. You are Jehovah Jireh – God our provider. You are Jehovah Tsudkeinu – God our righteousness. You are Jehovah Shalom, God our peace. You are Jehovah Nissi – God our Banner. You are El Shaddai – the Almighty, All- Sufficient One. Salvation and glory and power belong to You. You reign in majesty. Great and marvelous are Your deeds. You alone are the hope of this world. Blessed are You, O Lord our God, who has given Your life for Your bride, the church. You are rescuer and redeemer. You are our joy.

Baruch atah Adonai. Blessed are You, O Lord our God, who has removed our sins as far as the east is from the west. You have provided a covering for our sin through the blood of Your son and have graciously forgiven our depraved hearts. We confess that we have grievously sinned and turned our backs to You. We confess that everyday we forsake You and dig our own cisterns that cannot hold water. IWe confess that we seek pleasure in the things of this world. We thank You for the promise of Your Word, that “If we confess our sins You are faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

We ask that You would do more than we can even ask or imagine. You are a great God and we would dare to ask You to do great things. Would You raise up sanctified men and women to boldly lead our church with integrity and passion. Would You raise up a generation of students that hunger for truth and seek the satisfaction that only You can give. Would You fuel Your people with a longing to know You and Your incomparable Word. Would Your Spirit move in our body and create small group communities that understand what it means to “go and make disciples.” Would you teach us through the preaching and the teaching of Your Word how to love you with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength.We long to be a place where people can find hope and a place where people can call home. Would You transform us more and more into a worshipping community that seeks to glorify You by leading others to follow Jesus, both here  and then to the ends of the earth.

Baruch atah Adonai*

(Baruch atah Adona means “Blessed are You, O Lord our God” in Hebrew)

Next Week’s Passage: John 18:1-14



Pondering John 16:17-33


You can click HERE to read the passage.

What I love about this passage of Scripture is the conversation that the disciples have among themselves in verses 17-18. Jesus has been talking with them about some things that they are finding hard to understand. When they have some time to themselves they pick up the conversation and discuss his teaching – trying to get a handle on what He meant.

I love that Jesus’ words don’t go in one ear and out the other.

I love that they don’t just “skip over” this hard teaching of Jesus.

I love that they don’t disregard something He said that didn’t suit them.

I love that their conversations are centered around Jesus’ words and that they seem willing to grapple together.

These are all marks of a disciple. DIsciples don’t know everything there is to know about being a Christian. But they are people who listen intently to the Word of God. People who love the hard sayings of Jesus as much as the easy sayings of Jesus. People who obey – even when it doesn’t suit their fancy. People who love to talk about the Scriptures with other disciples more than they like to talk about the weather, and health, and sports, and politics.

“Father, would You thrill me daily with Your Word that I might have the same kind of passion for it that these early disciples has.”

Next Week: John 17:1-26 

Brick #48 – Psalm 27:4

Untitled designOne thing I ask from the Lord,
    this only do I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
    all the days of my life,
to gaze on the beauty of the Lord
    and to seek Him in his temple. (Psalm 27:4)

This verse always puts things in perspective for me. It shows me how far I am from God and reveals my sinfulness and selfishness. Why? Because I know that if I could ask for ONE THING, it would not be what David asks for.

I might ask for good health or protection for my kids or wisdom in decision making. I might ask for salvation for a friend or family member or God’s blessing on our church or peace in the midst of turmoil. I might ask for God’s power to fuel me or His presence to refresh me or His grace to overwhelm me. All of these are good things to ask for. But they are very different from what David asks for.

In point of fact, David does ask for some of the things that I might ask for – just read the rest of Psalm 27. Hear me (v.7). Be merciful to me (v.7). Don’t reject me (v.9).Teach me (v.11). Lead me (v.11). Protect me (v.12) But if he could only ask for one thing it would be to be with the Lord and to be able to gaze upon His beauty. Note what David says in v.8, “Your face, Lord, I will seek.” David is seeking God’s face first and foremost. I tend to seek His hand and what He can do for me.

This Psalm indicates David’s complete confidence in the Lord despite what might be going on around him. “The Lord is my light and my salvation – whom shall i fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life – of whom shall I be afraid”. (v.1) “I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” (v.13) His confidence flows out of his relationship with God and is a result of the time that he spends in the presence of God.

A lesson I need to learn. What about you?

Brick # 47 – Matthew 9:36-38

BbB“When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.””

Jesus has been traveling from town to town preaching and teaching and healing. As a result He had attracted quite a following. But  gathering a large crowd was not what mattered to Jesus. People mattered to Jesus. He was overcome with emotion as He looked over the crowd and recognized their plight.

Webster defines plight as “a difficult or precarious situation.” This is what the people were facing without even knowing it. This is what we are facing as well. This is what sheep face everyday and why Jesus chose this metaphor. Jesus recognized that…

Sheep (we) need protection – Not only do we find ourselves exposed to the dangers of this world which are bad enough, but we are also susceptible to the dangers of the supernatural world. Our enemy, the devil, is always on the prowl “looking for someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8). And it is a danger that we are almost completely unaware of. We need protection – whether we know it or not.

Sheep (we) need leadership – Sheep tend to wander without really paying attention to where they’re going – this is not unlike a large percentage of our population. Many people are just wandering through life without any clear direction or purpose. People crave strong leadership – and yet there is such a void of strong, godly leadership in our culture that people have fallen prey to charismatic leaders who are only looking after their own interests, not the interests of the people.

Sheep (we) need green pastures and quiet waters  – According to Psalm 23 this is what a good shepherd provides for his sheep. We need food that nourishes and water that refreshes. We need a diet that strengthens and satisfies our soul. We don’t need spiritual pablum.  We don’t need a diet that makes us feel good about ourselves we need a diet of Truth that causes us to exult in the greatness of God.

As Jesus perused the crowd and saw their great need He turned to His disciples and challenged them to pray for workers. But inherit in the challenge to pray was also a challenge to go and be one of those workers. Jesus was training His men for a mission. And that mission was incumbent upon recognizing how much people matter to God.

%d bloggers like this: