Category Archives: Family

The “Model” Family


They live in the house you wished you owned. They drive the cars that you think are the most stylish. They wear clothes that are hip and always in style. Their kids go to the best schools and (of course) are always at the top of the class. Everyone in town knows them and thinks they are just the perfect family.

…or the model family.

But they aren’t.

(At least, not necessarily.)

In my mind, the “model” family may or may not have a trendy lifestyle. They may or may not have a big income and newer possessions. They may or may not have overachieving kids.

So, if you don’t have to have those things to be a model family, what does it take?

Living out your faith.

That’s really it. Some of the best “model” families I know have nice houses, but there’s nothing all that “stand-out” about them. A lot of them drive cars that are older, and some barely have any money in savings.

But if you watch them, you’ll see Christ living through them.

Instead of trying to mold your life after who has the best “stuff,” look for the families that are using what they do have to the glory of God.

Their house may not be super fancy, but they have people over on a regular basis, so they can get to know them and develop deeper relationships with them.

Their cars may be older, but those cars can almost drive themselves to the church building, and are often seen in the parking lots of hospitals and nursing homes, and in the driveways of other people who are sick or just needing a pick me up.

They may not have a great income, but they never take God out of first place with what they do have.

Their kids may not always make straight “A’s,” but those kids are learning what it means to be faithful to God, simply by opening their eyes at home.

They may not have a great big TV set with channels too numerous to count, but they have learned to entertain themselves in lots of ways, including just spending time with the neighbors.

People need these kinds of models. Your children need these kinds of models.

Aren’t you glad that you don’t have to make a ton of money or have all the newest and nicest things to be the “model” family?

What is your family modeling?


Photo credit: Marco Lazzaroni on Creative Commons

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A Response to Emily Letts : Abortion Sermon Transcript

[NOTE: The following is the full manuscript of a sermon I preached at Lebanon Road yesterday. The sermon got several good and thoughtful comments, so I thought I’d share it on here.]

Recently, an online video went viral. That’s not anything unusual these days. It seems that, every couple of days, something makes the rounds online and gains a few hundred thousand views. But quite often, these “viral videos” are nothing more than silliness. Maybe it’s a child singing a song from Frozen, or a cat jumping up and down, or someone failing on a TV game show.

But none of those are what we are going to talk about this morning. The video I have in mind this morning was made by a woman named Emily Letts, who lives and works in the state of New Jersey. Her video, which has been viewed over 2.8million times in about 3 months, has a simple title: “Emily’s Abortion Video.”

You see, Emily Letts works for the Cherry Hill Women’s Center in New Jersey, having been employed there for more than a year. While this is called a women’s center, it is quite obvious from the video she released where this center makes quite a bit of its money.

In the weeks since releasing her video, Letts has received a great deal of attention in the media, both traditional media and the social media worlds. She has done a handful of interviews—mostly in print—and the comments on Vimeo, YouTube, Facebook, and elsewhere are nearly limitless. On the Vimco site alone there are over 200 comments, and I have seen the video passed around on Facebook a dozen times or more.

This morning’s sermon is going to be a bit different as far as format goes. Instead of walking through a text and having 3 or 4 points, I simply want to try to make a Biblical response to Ms. Letts and her video. I hope you will see that what she has to say can be addressed in a way that is rational and straightforward without being cruel.

One of the interviews Letts has recently given was published in the May 7 edition of Philadelphia Magazine. In that interview, she summarized what she was doing. Here are a few of her statements:

I feel super good about having an abortion. Women and men have been thirsting for something like this. You don’t have to feel guilty. … I could have taken the pill, but I wanted to do the one that women were most afraid of. I wanted to show it wasn’t scary — and that there is such a thing as a positive abortion story.

She would also state in the article that the procedure that she used only takes about 3-to-5 minutes, so there’s nothing to be afraid of.

In those quotations, I want you to key in on her words, “You don’t have to feel guilty.” It is interesting that Letts came back to that idea several times in her interview with Philadelphia Magazine. She claims that “our society breeds this guilt.” In nearly the same breath Letts said, “I am thankful that I can share my story and inspire other women to stop the guilt.”

However, in another interview, she may have said more than she wanted to about this subject. Letts had an interview published in the advice column of Cosmopolitan on May 5 of this year. In that interview, she said, “Even women who come to the clinic completely solid in their decision to have an abortion say they feel guilty for not feeling guilty. Even though they know 110 percent that this is the best decision for them, they pressure themselves to feel bad about it.”

I wonder why.

Letts has made a statement there that begins to open our eyes to what is going on, and it is here that I want us to begin to give an answer. We’ll look at some other things she said in just a few moments, but let’s look at this idea of guilt.

We live in a society that doesn’t think we should feel guilty about anything. Letts’s answer is that guilt is driven by society. In part, that’s true, because guilt is part of our conscience, and a conscience can be trained to where certain things that used to cause us to feel guilt no longer do, and certain things that didn’t used to make us feel guilty now do lead to a tinge of guilt.

But we must ask the question: where did that feeling—that conscience—come from? Even people with no belief in God whatsoever have a conscience and feel guilty about certain things. The question we need to ask is why? Where do those feelings come from?

There is no naturalistic way to explain the conscience. Nothing in the evolutionary idea can explain how feeling guilty “just happened” to be part of our experience. No rock ever thought, “You know what, I shouldn’t have fallen and hurt that dog. I sure feel bad about that.”

However, the Bible makes it clear that certain things have been put within us that we cannot explain without God. Solomon wrote, “[God] has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, He has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that He cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end” (Ecclesiastes 3:11). Did you notice it? God has set eternity in our hearts. God put something in us that thinks of things larger and grander than ourselves. That’s the essence of conscience. When I do something that hurts my thinking about eternity, it should tinge my conscience. It should make me feel guilty.

By the way, the argument that Letts makes about society being the only reason for guilt also falls on its face when we consider this. What “society” told Adam and Eve to hide in the Garden of Eden? Which hardcore preacher or narrow-minded Bible-thumper told them that what they had done was wrong and they should try to cover up their problem?

Something within the world’s first couple made them feel guilty, because God had set eternity in their hearts. They had hurt that part of their being, and guilt was real.

But we live in a society that says that guilt should be not just ignored, but overcome. It’s a disease, we are told. Our society believes that whatever you want to do to express yourself individually should make you feel great about yourself. Letts is expressing that in her own way, but do you not find it interesting that she just keeps on insisting that she doesn’t feel any guilt? I just wonder why she didn’t just say that once and drop it.

Could it be that she feels guilty for not feeling guilty?

Moving on in Letts’s interviews, she turns to the reason why she decided to go through with this abortion. If you have not seen any of this material, get ready to be shocked. She claims that she had this abortion because she loved the baby. You heard that right: she aborted the child out of love for the child.

In a comment posted at Cosmopolitan, she said that she did not want to give birth to the baby and then allow someone else to adopt the child because if she ever gives birth to a baby, “I would need to be the main source of love and support for the child throughout its life.”

Now, we would agree that it would be great for her to be that main source of the love and support she speaks of there. But in her mind, since she could not keep the child, her answer was to kill the baby.

Now, as one who has adopted a child, this fires me up. But I’m going to try to set those emotions aside for a few moments and show how comments like this one completely speak to the absence of the Gospel in our society.

The New Testament regularly uses the picture of adoption to describe how God brings us into His family.

Galatians 4:4-5: “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.”

Romans 8:14-15: “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’”

Those are two of a number of passages we could use. What’s the point? God uses the picture of adoption because He does not just cut off His people. He brings them back from the world and brings them to Himself into His family.

How does Emily’s video and her comments distort that? She did not care for this baby! Adoption wasn’t even on her radar, because she claims it would not be loving the child. God, on the other hand, uses the picture of adoption to demonstrate His love. What we see here is a total absence of the picture of Gospel redemption in our society.

In her interviews, Letts also makes one statement that should have the proabortion crowd on edge. She has, on more than one occasion, stated that what she aborted was “a baby” or “the baby.” Wait. I thought this was just a mass of tissue with no identity of its own. After all, we are not supposed to think of this “thing” in terms of being a baby until birth, or (some are now saying) even later.

However, Letts even states that she has a special relationship with the sonogram of the baby, going so far as to say that, if her house burned down, that sonogram would be the first thing she would grab. She says, “I have a special relationship with my ultrasound. People say it sounds weird, it’s my process. I realize it was potential life, and I love it in my own special way. I’m not glib and cavalier. I’m comfortable with my decisions.”

Why would she care what’s on a slick piece of computer paper if what was represented on that piece of paper wasn’t special? In saying that this was a “baby,” Letts actually helps make the Biblical point for us. She is exactly right. What she had aborted was not just a mass of tissue. It was a baby.

When we are told that John the Baptist leaped in his mother’s womb, the physician Luke recorded as “the baby leaped in her womb” (Luke 1:41). The word for “baby” is the Greek term brephos. Here, of course, it is used of John the Baptist while still in his mother, Elizabeth’s, body.

However, the same author—the physician Luke—used this word 3 other times in his account of the Gospel. Let me show you where they are.

  1. Luke 2:12: “And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby [brephos] wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.”
  2. Same chapter, Luke 2:16: “And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby [brephos] lying in a manger.”
  3. Luke 18:15: “Now they were brining even infants [brephos] to Him [that is, Jesus] that He might touch them.

In those three verses, the same word, brephos, is used twice of Jesus in the manger and once of infants being brought to Jesus to be blessed. Why would Luke use THAT word to describe John in the womb? Why would a doctor say such a thing? Because this was a baby.

The application of that is simple. When Jesus was born, Herod tried to eradicate all the baby boys, and we are outraged when we read that. Anyone would be outraged if one of our world leaders said that all the baby boys up to two years of age were to be slaughtered. But Luke says there is no difference in the baby in the womb and out of the womb, at least as far as personhood is concerned. And our society sits idly by and watches as baby after baby after baby is killed.

God hates “hands that shed innocent blood” (Proverbs 6:17) and calls it an “abomination.” Our society calls it a choice.

In other parts of her interviews, Emily Letts also tells us the root of where this comes from, and it here that I want to camp for a few moments.

In her video, Letts must—of course—admit that she is pregnant, but in her interviews, she states that the reason is just a bad set of choices. She works in a women’s health center, after all, and should have known better. But, and this will not surprise you, it’s not that she didn’t know this was possible because she was involved in sexual activity. It’s because she didn’t use birth control.

I have removed a couple of words from the following statement in her Cosmopolitan interview, out of respect for the pulpit, but listen to this paragraph:

I found out I was pregnant in November. I had been working at the clinic for about a year. It was my first pregnancy, and, full disclosure, I hadn’t been using any kind of birth control, which is crazy, I know. I’m a sex educator, and I love talking about birth control. Before this experience, hormonal birth control scared me because of complications I’d heard about from friends — gaining weight, depression, etc. So I tracked my … cycle, and I didn’t have any long-term partners. I thought I was OK. But, you know, things happen. I wound up pregnant.

Did you notice something there? Listen to this statement again: “I didn’t have any long-term partners.” What is she admitting to?

She is beginning to reveal more about herself and her morality than she may want. In her mind, the sexual relationship is to be explored, so long as it doesn’t burden you with long-term effects. Of course, in her mind, a baby is one of those long-term burdens that can come along.

Now, I don’t want to speak in a cruel manner in this sermon, but let me just say, that if you don’t realize pregnancy is a possible outcome from sexual relationships, you are not mature enough for sexual relationships.

But more than that, think of how far afield this worldview from Scripture. The sexual relationship was created by God and is something to be enjoyed. However, God has also stated that this enjoyment is reserved for those who are married. Not those preparing to get married. Not those who just want to have some fun. Not those who are trying to run from a bad marriage.

Listen to how clearly the Hebrews writer put this in just one verse. “Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed by undefiled, for God will judge the sexual immoral and adulterous” (Hebrews 13:4). In one verse, the writer makes it clear that the sexual union of a husband and wife is a wonderful gift to be enjoyed and there is nothing dirty or unseemly about it. But, in that same verse, he also makes it clear that any other–every other–sexual relationship will fall under God’s judgment.

Why? Because any other sexual relationship is not the intention of God and is not what is best.

Listen: Emily Letts would have never made this video because she would have never thought about getting an abortion because she would have never gotten pregnant if she and some guy hadn’t decided that sex outside of marriage is acceptable and okay. It really is that simple.

But her selfishness (and his, but we do not know who the guy is and she isn’t wanting to reveal that in any interviews) started not in the video or the decision, but when she decided that she could have as many partners as she wanted.

And it is that selfishness that is what is at the heart of the controversy over abortion. At the end of her video, Letts gives a short follow-up statement. Listen to her words:

It is about a month and a half after the procedure. I feel like I talk to women all the time and of course everyone feels bad about this; everyone’s going to feel guilty. It’s a given how people should feel about this, that what they’re doing is wrong. I don’t feel like a bad person. I don’t feel sad. I feel in awe of the fact that I can make a baby. I can make a life. I knew that what I was going to do was right, ’cause it was right for me and no one else. I just want to share my story.

“I can make a baby?” I think she needed a guy to help out with that, don’t you?

“I can make a life?” No, Emily, you can’t. God is the Author of life.

In the words of one social commentator, her words basically state, “Emily giveth and Emily taketh away” (Albert Mohler). And why? Because it is her morality. She is the center of her own universe, and this was right for her and (in her words) “no one else.”

May I ask three questions?

Emily Letts has stated that this was a baby and she made a life. Question #1: Shouldn’t then that baby—that life—get to have a say as to whether this was right?

Emily Letts made a video, and has done public interviews to tell her story. Question #2: Shouldn’t she at least acknowledge that some woman a few years ago also has a story, and that story was to let Emily live?

Emily stated, “I don’t feel like a bad person.” Question #3: Would she be willing to state that someone who flew airplanes into buildings and didn’t feel bad about it was simply telling their story?

Before I close, let me state clearly: abortion is not the unpardonable sin. If you have had an abortion procedure, God can and will forgive if you will repent of that, just like He will forgive any of us of any sin we have committed.

But part of the fabric of a society is how it treats those who have little or no voice of their own: The elderly, those with mental difficulties, infants, and (yes) the unborn. In this area, America is failing, and it is because of nothing more than selfishness and our absolute abandonment of God-centered morality.

So, Emily Letts, you got to tell your story to 2.8million people (and growing). I may never reach that many, but may I tell my story?

She’s now 8 years old, and I call her “Precious.” She is our treasure; our God-given treasure. A woman I have only laid eyes on a couple of times gave birth to her, and I firmly believe loves her to this day. That love was shown, though, in that she also knew she could not take care of a baby the way a baby needs.

So God, in His infinite providence, saw to it that this one only seen on a sonogram, be born in Kentucky, but that a young family from Alabama, devastated by the news that we would never have children, raise her up and love her. She became ours through the glorious process of adoption. She is loved. She is family. She is ours.

We see the sonogram, but we love the child. She not only is a life, she has life. Every day, our home is filled with more energy and love, because she is there. Yes, it’s frustrating at times to be a parent, but we didn’t want to have kids so that every moment would be smooth (Amen!). We wanted children because we wanted to glorify God, who adopted us into His great family.

So, when I hear you say, “I feel super great about having an abortion,” I remember those days with a crying wife. I remember looking to the heavens and asking God “why us?” And your words make me sick.

Emily, one day you may actually hold a baby. As a Bible believer, I pray that you find a great husband and that the two of you have a home as God designed it. But every day, you will know that another chair could have been filled. Another snotty nose could have been wiped, but also another hug could have been given.

Will you feel guilty then?

Tonight, I’ll hug my adopted treasure a little tighter, and I’ll say yet another in a countless string of prayers of thanksgiving for her. Emily, I pray that one day, you get to do the same, and I pray that this platform you’ve now built on something that makes me sick is used to help raise awareness that this was a mistake, and that you’ve found the love, grace, and forgiveness of God at the foot of the cross. Only then will you—or any of us—be able to see your baby in true life.



“Emily’s Abortion Video”

“Q&A: Actress Emily Letts on the Reaction to Her Abortion Video” [Philadelphia Magazine]

“Why I Filmed My Abortion” [Cosmopolitan]

“’I Feel Super Great About Having an Abortion’—The Culture of Death Goes Viral” []


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Hey Guys, Let’s Remember Modesty, Too

The weather is getting warmer, and it’s great to see green grass and pretty flowers. Our garden is starting to show signs of life, and the kids in the neighborhood are outside just about all the time.

As usual, though, as the weather warms up, more and more clothes come off. Immodesty is a problem, and you don’t have to head to the beach to figure that out. Just take a look around your neighborhood or visit a local park. The lack of modesty in clothing is everywhere.

guys modesty

But today, I want to do something that is rarely done. Too often, we make modesty a ladies-only issue. I have written on this site about modesty a couple of times in recent months (in fact, they are the two of the three most-viewed posts in the history of this site), and each time have focused on women and modesty. As I guy, it is a strong temptation, and I want to be honest and forthright about it.

But gentlemen, modesty is not a one-gender issue. It is not just something that women need to remember when they are buying and selecting clothing for their wardrobe.

Though women are less visually-oriented and stimulated, they still have that wiring. We, as their brothers in Christ, have a responsibility to help them maintain their purity, just as we ask they do for us. That includes our clothing choices, just as it does theirs.

With warmer weather, it is easy for guys to decide to go “shirts and skins” on the court, with their girlfriends watching from the sidelines. Or, as the temperature rises, we put on just a pair of skimpy shorts to mow the yard or take a job around the block, knowing that our neighbors can see us.

The lack of modesty can also be in ways that are more subtle. Maybe we buy a T-shirt that is just a size too small, to be sure that our chiseled chest or sculpted biceps show through, or we make sure to buy tight jeans to wear when we go out on the town.

May I ask: why are we doing that? Isn’t it the same lack of modesty for which we often rail against women? Isn’t it to show off the physical instead of letting our inner spirit of faith shine through?

Guys, if you are like me, you aren’t all that fit, and sometimes it is easier to excuse immodesty. We figure, “No girl would want to see anyway.” That is no excuse for immodesty. By taking off more and more clothing, we are raising the possibility that someone could stumble. Would we ever want that?

Is there anything wrong with being fit, or building up strong muscles? Of course not, so long as such is not the central focus of our lives. But do I then need to be sure that everyone sees that? No! I need to be sure that what I select to wear does not distract from people knowing that I am a follower of Jesus Christ.

And that’s not just for ladies.

QUESTION: Why is modesty for guys so rarely addressed? What are your thoughts on this issue? Share your thoughts in the comments!


Photo background credit: Sonia Belviso on Creative Commons

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Vacation Video 2014

Okay, so nothing is more boring to a lot of folks than someone else’s vacation pictures. But that’s not going to stop us from letting you see some shots from our recent trip to the Cincinnati area.



(Trouble viewing? Click here to watch on YouTube.)


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Our Review of the Creation Museum

Last week, our family enjoyed a wonderful few days in the Cincinnati, Ohio area on vacation (video coming tomorrow!). The main reason we chose this area for our vacation was to visit the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky. I had heard of this museum for some time, and we were thrilled to be able to go and enjoy the museum for two days.

syslfrog via Creative Commons

syslfrog via Creative Commons

After getting home, I thought it would be good to write a review on the site, since I’m sure many of you have never been to the Creation Museum. In a word, my review is “go.” If I had to add another word, it would be “soon.”

We enjoy going to museums and galleries, so this type of trip was nothing out of the ordinary for us. However, it was such a relief to not have to “explain away” things, as we so often have to do elsewhere. The only references to “millions of years” in the Creation Museum was where they showed that such is not the case, and that the Biblical record can be trusted. This museum is very much a faith-building experience in the reliability of the narrative of the Bible, especially the opening chapters of Genesis.


Operated by Answers in Genesis, the museum features several things. The major part of the tour walks visitors through “7 C’s of the Bible.” These 7 include Creation, Corruption, Catastrophe, and Christ. Each section of the walk is based in Scripture, and shows not only the “Bible story,” but science attached to each one. The displays are stunning, and you will find yourself looking at some of them for a long time, finding new details with every glance. This one major tour area of the museum took us more than two hours to complete.


Other parts of the museum are more “stand alone” than this area, but each one is worthy of your time. The botanical gardens are breathtaking, and the perfect place to reflect on God’s glory in creation. We saw wonderfully blooming flowers, a goose and gosling, and even a big ol’ frog, in addition to many other wonders in this beautiful place.


At the end of the gardens section, there is also a petting zoo, which is unlike any other I’ve ever been to. Where else can your kids have a chance to pet a zedonk (a zebra-donkey mix) or a walabee? While this part of the grounds is small, it is still very cool, and–coupled with the botanical gardens–a welcome break from being indoors at the museum.

Further, there are several independent displays in the museum that are not part of the main tour. There is a large insect display (Turner loved that), a dinosaur den, displays of minerals and stones, a bone and fossil display, a wall covered with dinosaur stamps from all over the world, and a section with a good number of old Bibles from printing presses. While each of these only takes a few minutes, they are a great part of the whole experience.

Finally, there are several shows and programs to enjoy. Some come included with the price of admission, while others cost extra. We enjoyed “Men in White.” This multimedia show displays how the Bible’s scientific information is under attack, but can be trusted. This show was included in our admission price. We also enjoyed “Critters of the Ice Age,” which was an hour-long seminar on some great creatures (including the Cave Bear, Giant Sloth, and Sabertooth Cat). This fun and informative program was only $3.50 per person, and each one of us also got to make a clay model of a sabertooth tiger’s head. Finally, we went to one show about comets in the planetarium. This wasn’t free (to say the least), but the kids loved it. There were two planetarium shows, but we decided to only watch one.

[For a full virtual tour, click here.]

Overall, the Creation Museum is a must-see. Here is a quick rundown of some things we loved about the museum.

We Loved…

First-Class All the Way. Quite often, things done by Christians are considered shoddily put together. That is not the case with the Creation Museum. The building, the displays, and the grounds are all very high-class. (Even the bathrooms are upscale and clean.) It is obvious that nothing has just been thrown together.

Bible Permeated. You may disagree with something here or there in the museum, but Scripture and a Biblical worldview saturates everything throughout the experience. How many times have you visited a planetarium where a Bible verse was part of the show?

Something for All Ages. Our kids are currently 8 and 7 years of age, respectively. They were a great age for their “first trip” to the museum, because they could get a lot from the visual displays. However, this museum is not just for young children. Tweens, teenagers, and all adults will find a lot of things to learn and enjoy throughout the experience.

Kids Get in Free in 2014. The Creation Museum is not free, but in 2014, every child (12 years of age and under) who comes with an adult gets in free. This is a huge money-saver!

Friendly and Helpful Staff. The staff members are not there to “preach,” but they are certainly friendly and helpful throughout. We found them to be great at helping us find things, and explaining other things to us throughout out time. (One even showed our kids how to pet a goat.)

Two-Day Tickets. I don’t know if it is this way all the time, but right now, general admission tickets are good for two days. This was a wonderful blessing. We spent about 4-5 hours each of the two days at the museum, instead of feeling like we had to stay from opening to closing to try to see everything. I really hope this is a full-time policy, or one they decide to keep, because it greatly helped us.

If you have never been to the Creation Museum, we highly recommend it. Visit the website and plan your visit. You’ll be glad you did!

QUESTION: Have you ever visited the Creation Museum? Share your experience in the comments!


Photo credit: syslfrog on Creative Commons

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A Tribute to Christian Mothers for Mother’s Day

I remember hearing “I’ll Fly Away” being hummed around the house.

I also remember getting the look for acting up during worship (you know the look I’m talking about).

I remember hugs when I didn’t deserve them…

…and swats on the behind when I did.

My three favorite Christian mothers
My three favorite Christian mothers (just missing Leah’s mom to complete the “faithful foursome”)

Somehow, I was blessed by the Lord to be born into a family with a mother who loved Him and wanted to show His love to us every day. By the grace of God, I have been blessed to marry a lady who does the same for our two children. I have a sister, mother-in-law, and sisters-in-law who are striving to raise children in God’s ways. To say I have been blessed by all their lives would be a grand understatement.

So, as we prepare for Mother’s Day, I’d like to share a tribute to all of the Christian mothers out there who are faithful to the Lord, and doing all you can to raise your children to love and serve Him.

Christian mothers are not a dime a dozen; instead, their worth if far above rubies (Proverbs 31:10).

They are not unconcerned with the events in the lives of their children; instead, they treasure them all in their heart (Luke 2:51).

Christian mothers do not keep their faith to themselves; instead, they work on having that faith dwell in their children as well (2 Timothy 1:5).

But the work of a Christian mother is often not appreciated. You don’t get to share news of a promotion on Facebook. You don’t earn a paycheck that increases with added responsibility. Even when you go on vacation, your work travels with you. Insurance isn’t provided (instead, it’s sometimes claimed!), and if you call in sick, you are pretty sure things have a good chance of falling apart.

But through it all, you shine the glory of God.

Even on your worst day, you do something to instill a Biblical principle in your children. When you are at the end of your rope, you still show the kids that praying over a sloppy pb&j is important. When your husband just isn’t “getting it” that you need a break, you don’t argue. Instead, you show respect for his work in front of the children, so they will grow in their respect for him, too.

While the rest of the world spends money on little clothes that may be in style and easy to find, you search high and low for a sweet dress, even though you’ll have to iron it constantly. Why? Because you want your girl to learn to bring her best before God. When other boys are playing soccer on Sunday evening, you’re tucking in a dress shirt for the 27th time today. You got his shirt on sale, but had to look at about 12 stores, because no one seems to buy “Sunday clothes” anymore. But you do. Now, you’re just trying to get your boy to sit still during a(nother) longer-than-normal sermon.

Your voice is the one they will remember singing “We Will Glorify” or “Sweet By and By” while making dinner.

Your smile is the one they will remember, though they understand you’re having a bad day.

Your grace will never be forgotten, even though that was your favorite rose bush.

And when they read about Jesus, don’t be surprised if your children think of you.

To every Christian mother, thank you…

…and keep it up!

Happy Mother’s Day.


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Move Here, and Your Home Will Improve

move here

Can you imagine a city counsel or tourism board being so bold as to make a claim that would say, Move here, and your home will improve?

That would be about as bold as it gets. Who could honestly say that, if you move to this one place, your marriage will get better, as will your relationship with your children? I just can’t see any tourism board getting that bold with their claims, no matter how much they may want you to come!


I know a place that will do that, and today, I want to invite you to move.

Let me describe this place.

There are no beaches nearby, where you can just get away as a family and connect. No serene mountain cabins with calming creeks or waterfalls, either.

There aren’t any amusement parks or stadiums, where you can enjoy some form of entertainment together and laugh about things.

There’s not even a restaurant here, where you can get a night away from home and just enjoy a great meal.

In fact, the place I want you to move doesn’t have cable TV, internet, or even cell phone service. There’s no postal system or even a road, for that matter.

Oh, and there’s no moving company to help you get all your stuff to the new location.

So far, you probably aren’t convinced this is much of a place for your family to go. But I’ve got one more thing you need to know that will be the make-or-break factor in your decision.

It will cost you everything to move to this place.

That’s right! For your move, you’ll have to pay everything you have.

How does it sound now?

Are you still ready to improve your home? Is it worth that to you?

Then, get ready, because you don’t have to actually pack a single bag or put anything in a box. You don’t have to scout real estate or figure out the local school system. You don’t need to check on currency exchange rates or local cuisine.

In fact, you don’t have to leave where you are, but you must move…

…to the cross.

Only when your whole family is gathered under the glory, power, and sacrifice of the cross will you be everything that God has designed you to be. Only then will the husband truly know what it means to love and serve. Only then will the wife truly know what it means to honor and respect. Only then will the children know what it means to willingly obey.

So, starting today, move your family to the cross. I guarantee that, if the whole family moves, your home will improve.


Photo background credit: MovingCompanies on Creative Commons

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A Christian Response to “Is It Time to Change Our Views of Adultery and Marriage?”

Yesterday, the Huffington Post ran an editorial by Lisa Haisha with the title “Is It Time to Change Our Views of Adultery and Marriage?”

With that title, you can figure out her answer.

Haisha begins by saying that “society’s view” of marriage–a man and woman married for life–has not always been the accepted norm. Many societies have (and do) expect and promote multiple partner marriages.

She then writes:

Clearly the concept of marriage has changed greatly over the years. And with today’s rate of divorce between 40 and 50 percent, coupled with the prevalence of adultery in many marriages, perhaps it’s time for the concept of marriage to continue to evolve. According to Associated Press, Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 41 percent of spouses admit to infidelity, either physical or emotional. This leads me to ask, “Are we really supposed to be with just one person our whole life? And if not, must we get re-married five times? Are there alternative ways to perceive and participate in a marriage that will guarantee its success?”

As you might expect, Haisha then goes to the growth of life expectancy as her major argument. When people used to marry at 20 years of age or so (she fails to mention that many used to get married as teenagers), they were only expected to live another 10-15 years. So, it was not difficult, she argues, to think that marriage could last “’til death do us part.”

Now, though, we live much longer (and she fails to point out that many are waiting longer to get married, too), so those same 20-year-old newlyweds now would be expected to stay together for 50 or 60 years.

Her point is not to promote adultery, and we should be thankful she points that out. However, she does state about adultery, “Because it is so taboo, when you consider the historical context of marriage, isn’t being shocked by adultery a bit of an overreaction?”

If you think that isn’t strange enough, you haven’t seen anything yet. Haisha writes,

Maybe the tenets of a successful marriage should not be whether the couple stays monogamous for decades, but rather whether the couple openly communicates about what their unique marriage will look like, what will be deemed acceptable and what will not, and then honoring that joint decision.

Did you catch that? You should define what you think a “good” or “successful” marriage should be, and then live to that level of success. If that’s means Let’s try to stick it out for 10 years then move on, then I guess you just shoot for 10 years. If that means It’s okay to have an affair so long as we are open about it, then just communicate that to your spouse and your marriage will be much happier.

Haisha does state that she works with many couples who are divorcing (or who have divorced) and that adultery is very often cited. She states that the reason the adultery occurred is because there was a breakdown in communication in the marriage. As she closes her editorial, she writes that couples should be strong in communication to avoid adultery. We would certainly agree with that.

However, she has already weakened her argument with the use of making marriage “fit” within the confines of modern culture. Since society’s view and expectations of marriage have changed/are changing, so should each individual marriage. Her argument is basically, if you want to try to stay married for a lifetime, communicate that, but if you don’t, just cast that vision ahead of time, too.

As a Christian, these types of articles fly in the face of God’s standard for marriage. While it is easy to state that some Biblical people (Abraham, David, etc.) had more than one wife, the Bible (1) never says this part of their life was acceptable to the Lord, and (2) always shows that this led to difficulty.

Further, when the New Testament was given, there is nothing that can be remotely used to sanction anything other than one man with one woman for a lifetime. Marriage is sacred and God-honoring. When we sever the bonds of marriage, we are making it more difficult to display the never-ending faithfulness of God.

So, to answer the Haisha’s question, “Is it time to change our views of adultery and marriage?” The answer is “yes,” if you agree with Haisha. The answer is “no” and “never” if you are standing with the Almighty and His powerful Word.


Source: “Is It Time to Change Our Views of Adultery and Marriage?” [Huffington Post]

Photo credit: “Wedding Rings” on

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Video Summer Series Update : The Videos Are Ready!


For several months now, we have been letting you know about the Video Summer Series. If you are unfamiliar with what this is (or just need a refresher), here is what we wrote previously:

In our first post, written on December 23, 2013 we shared the “Big News” about the Video Summer Series, letting you know that it would be a series of 10 videos, each 20-25 minutes in length, that would be available for free for congregations to use anytime they wanted. We also released the theme, “Building Godly Families,” and the list of 10 speakers.

In the follow-up post from March 5, 2014 we let you know that the recording of all 10 videos was done and we were entering the editing process. We also shared a few pictures from the two-day recording process.

Today, we are thrilled to let you know that the videos are ready! Thanks to the great work of the Gospel Broadcasting Network, Chad Landman, and Shane Williams, the videos are now ready to be downloaded and viewed.

Keep in mind that all this is free for you to use, thanks to the oversight of the Lebanon Road church of Christ, and generous gifts from other congregations. All we ask is that you register, so we can keep up with how and where these videos are being used.

One common question is, “Do these have to be used for a summer series?” That answer is “no.” While we envisioned that usage (and Lebanon Road plans to use them that way), you can use these videos for any setting you think they will be helpful. We have heard from places that plan to use the 10 videos in a Bible class setting, and another that plans to use them later in the year for a winter series. Feel free to use them however they will most benefit your congregation–but please use them!

To give you an idea of the quality of the videos, we are pleased to present the first one on our blog. You can also see this video on the Video Summer Series website without registering. (The other 9 will be available for free. All we ask is that you register, and you will be sent a code to a private page where the videos will be located. If you have already registered, you should get that information later this week.)

So, enjoy this first video by brother Steve Higginbotham, then head over the Video Summer Series website and register your congregation to use these very helpful and timely materials!

(video not playing? Click here to watch on the Video Summer Series webpage.)

Two Blogs You Need to Check Out, Even Though They are Closed

Lebanon Road is a wonderful place to be. Our members are so kind, and the support given to each other is remarkable.

A couple of years ago, our congregation went through a series of tragedies that could have broken us. However, with faithful elders and an infinitely faithful God, we did our best to work together through a series of heartaches. While I’m certain that not everything we did was “just right,” I think we can say that we did the best we could.

I will not go into too many specifics, but two who were involved in some of these tragedies decided to blog through their grief and healing. The situations were very different, but they both decided to write about experiences, both good and difficult. While the writing styles are different, both reflect a heart that stayed true to the Lord through tragedy.

In recent days, both of them decided to stop their blogs. Though they are friends, they didn’t decide to do this at the same time; it just worked out that way. However, both of the blogs, though there will likely be no new content, are pages I think you should check out.

The reason is simple: by seeing these words, you see into the mind and heart of someone you know. While you may not know someone who is going through a difficulty like these two were, you know someone who is hurting. Getting even a glimpse into a hurting heart can help you be the support that person needs.

Here are the links, and a very short description of the background:

Five Minus One. This blog was written by a mother who had a stillborn child. That son, though he died at birth, is still very much a part of this family, and she shares that through her blog articles. While she writes from her perspective (of course), you will also see the faith of her husband, and the work they did with their daughter, and (now) their newborn daughter. Her grief was (and is) very real, but you will see a lot of joyful breakthroughs in her writing, as well.

Everyone’s Having Babies, but I’m Getting a Divorce. Written by another young adult lady, this page was penned by a woman whose husband simply walked away from their marriage. Her grief, anger, and confusion are found in her many posts. As with the other blog, though, you also see glimpses of hope and joy. Likely, you know someone who has been through divorce or separation, and this page will help you get some idea of what feelings are present–and continually swirling–as they are devastated by this news.

Each of these two sites never held to a “posting schedule,” per se, but they wrote on a fairly regular basis. With the wonders of the Internet, I hope these sites will be available for a long time to come, but in case they are not, I hope you’ll take a little while to check them out and be touched by what these two ladies shared with the world in the midst of difficulty.

It has been humbling to see their faith, but not just on their respective blogs. As one who has had a very (very) small part in seeing them continue to walk with the Lord through their grief, I am honored to call each of them “friend.”

May their tribe increase.


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