Episode 15: Parents and Mentors (with Dale Sadler) {Podcast}

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Parents have many roles; they wear many hats. One that is rarely discussed, though, is the parent as a mentor for his/her children. In this episode, Adam is joined by counselor and youth minister Dale Sadler to discuss what a parent as a mentor looks like, and what it means to the family structure.

This interview comes out of Dale’s newest book, Generations to Come: Becoming All Things to Your Child.

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Resources

Generations to Come (paperback)

Dale’s other eBook, 28 Days to a Better Marriage

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Music Credit

Opening theme: “Josie Has the Upper Hand” by Josh Woodward

Closing theme: “Afterglow” by Josh Woodward

 

Should Christians “Do” Right or “Believe” Right?

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If you want to stir the pot, religiously, write or speak on some particular issue. While there will be some who very thoughtfully share their studies about Biblical context or historical settings, there will be others who always respond with something along these lines: “We shouldn’t be worried about [insert issue here]. We should be out living our faith.”

I could not agree more with the final part of that sentiment. Here is the problem, though: the “living” that so many talk about is only drawing people to part of the Gospel, and not to the fullness of belief in Scripture.

We cannot reach people with just part of the Bible. We must live out the Gospel in fullness, and teach people its fullness, too.

For example, people want to tell us that Jesus was near to the brokenhearted, the outcasts, and sinners. That is as true as can be. However, they fail to mention that the Lord also spoke to such issues as the necessity of baptism and the one church He would build. He did not reach people and then say, “Now, just go on your merry way, living however you want to live.” Instead, the Lord would tell people, “Go and sin no more.”

Paul ended virtually every letter he wrote with a string of ways to “live out” our faith (e.g., “Pray without ceasing”) that are usually quite easy to share with others, especially when lifted from the context of the letter. You see, he nearly always began each letter with a deeply theological and faith-building section that needed to be inculcated into the mind of the Christian. (If you want probably the deepest example of this, spend some serious time in the book of Colossians.)

You see, it is not about just “believing” or just “doing.”

I must believe right and do right.

And I will not do all the “right” I can until I believe right.

When I come to believe what Scripture says, for example, about how every person is my neighbor, I will do what I can to reach each person with the love and compassion of Christ. I will try to help the poor, touch the untouchable, and do so many other things that many people say the Church is woefully short on.

But, when I come to believe what Scripture says, for example, about the necessity of baptism, I will also do right in defending the faith and speaking the truth in love about such issues.

Yes, I know there are countless lost souls out there who need to know the love and mercy and grace of God. So, I believe Him and strive to reach out to them through compassion.

But we must also know those same lost souls cannot be partially saved, so we must reach out to them with the fullness of Scripture, not just with the parts we think are palatable and easy.

Jesus both taught and did (Acts 1:1). Why would be not follow His example?

Let’s believe all that is right, and do all the right we can.

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A Covenant Worth Keeping

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And so it begins. The previews are now showing for “50 Shades of Grey.” Honestly, it makes me sick. Go to the movie theatre and you will be reminded that there are many movies that don’t need to be seen. Do we even screen what is on the big screen? I know many people who consider themselves Christians who have absolutely no problem letting Satan have control of their lives for two hours while they are entertained. And they have done it so many times that their hearts are calloused. They believe it is their God given right to watch activities that if they participated in them themselves would seal their doom in eternal hell.

The saddest thing about writing this article is that I know that the majority of people are going to think that I am close-minded when it comes to entertainment. They would love to begin an argument about degrees of sin. But if what that really means is that I am open to what God wants for me and closed to what the world wants – then I am alright with that. I want to be like Job, who said, “I have made a covenant with my eyes; Why then should I look with lust upon a young woman?” (Job 31:1). I understand what Jesus was saying in Matthew 5:27-28 – “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

I know that sin begins in the mind and heart; therefore I want to make a covenant with my eyes, to avoid putting my heart and mind in jeopardy. Does this mean that I can be perfect and never lust? Does this mean it is possible for me to completely avoid temptation? Does this mean that I have made a decision that I will never sin again, and that in making such a decision that I will never break my promise to God? My desire to make a covenant with my eyes cannot mean any of those things because I am human. But such a covenant needs to be made so that I will intentionally not put myself in situations where failure is a very good and certainly real possibility.

I believe humans, though weak because of their carnal side, are also intelligent enough to discern between good and evil. It is in our initial discernment that wise decisions and moral decisions can be made. True Christianity is not just a ceremonial washing of sins. It also involves a game-plan from God. This is what the New Testament can provide. I need to live for God on purpose in every waking moment of my life. That means making moral decisions to fight against what my flesh may be suggesting. It involves making covenants, not just with some parts of my body, but with my entire body, soul and spirit.

As a Christian, there are some things I will not do. There I some places I will not go. There are some things I will not watch or listen to. There are some people I will not follow. Since I have decided to follow Jesus, the only other people I can follow must also be following Him. This is a black and white issue. There is no “grey” area.

“Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be.” – Romans 8:7

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Kids Say the Truest Things

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Those of us “of a certain age” remember when Art Linkletter had a television program based on the idea that children often say some very funny things. The program was very entertaining and it lasted a number of years.

It is, indeed, true that children often say some very, very funny things. It is also true that, often, children say some things that are very honest and true.

That point was driven home to me a number of years ago when our children were still at home. During one of our family vacations, we spent some time at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, Illinois. 

As we viewed some of the exhibits, we notice that there was one exhibit along one of the walls that seemed to be attracting a sizable number of people. When we made our way to this exhibit, we found that the title of the exhibit was Prenatal Development

Along this wall, there were forty different examples of the various stages of development that all of us went through prior to our mothers giving birth to us. The “examples” were not pictures or models. Instead, they came from pregnancies that had been (according to the museum) naturally terminated. 

Each display gave information about the development of human beings. Those who were responsible for providing the information informed those of us who were reading the information that there was a stage in the development when it was proper to stop using the term embryo and start using the term fetus

I noticed that there was one term which was conspicuously absent from the displays. Although the “experts” did not provide that term for us, a young boy looking at the exhibit did.

This young man looked to be about eight or nine years old. As he and his grandfather made their way down the line, I heard the word that the scientists and educators were unwilling to use.

The boy looked up as the man and said, “Grandpa, I feel sorry for these babies.”

To his credit, the young man instinctively understood something that many so-called educated people in our society refuse to admit. Even in the mother’s womb, a human life is a baby. Many may want to use “scientific” and “technical” terms to deny this fact, but one young man was not fooled. 

When I heard this young man make this statement to his grandfather, I immediately thought of the Holy Spirit described John, the forerunner of our Lord, prior to his birth:

And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb (Luke 1:41).

Yes, it is true; sometimes kids do say the truest things.

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Friday’s Family Friendly Finds {January 16, 2015 edition}

We’ve got two notes this week before getting to our family links.

First, one week from today (January 23), Leah and Adam will start a marriage seminar with the Eastside church of Christ in Cleveland, Tennessee. If you are in that area, we’d love to see you at the Friday evening or Saturday morning sessions. To learn more, go here.

Second, we are really seeing a good amount of growth with our Instagram feed for A Legacy of Faith. Our goal is to post 2-3 times each week with short and motivational quotes or verses. To join that growing part of what we do, and to see the pictures we have already posted, go here.

With those things said, let’s move on to our family links.

Family Friendly Finds

This Week’s Finds

24 Lessons I Want to Teach My Daughter (Before She Leaves Home) {for the family}

The Parent-Child Device Contract {Active Digital Parenting}

A Heart Approach is Different {National Center for Biblical Parenting}

7 New Goals for Your Marriage This Year {Mark Merrill}

Maybe Life’s Biggest Moments Are Really the Small Ones {We are THAT Family}

Our Week in Review

These posts were not necessarily written during the last seven days, but they drew the most views during that time. (Original publication date in parenthesis)

#5: Happiness (January 12, 2015)

#4: The Main Issue is Not Women’s Role (or Instrumental Music or…) (December 11, 2014)

#3: Celebrate Life “Eternal” (January 13, 2015)

#2: The First Step in Evangelism (It Might Not be What You Think) (January 14, 2015)

#1: An Open Letter to the 4th Avenue church of Christ (December 4, 2014)

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Episode 14: Forgiveness…White as Snow {Podcast}

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Forgiveness is a concept that is often misunderstood. A true understanding of forgiveness could transform most any relationship, including in our home. In this short devotional program, we consider what true forgiveness means.

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More from A Legacy of Faith

To subscribe to A Legacy of Faith by email for free (and get a free eBook) click here.

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Music Credit

Opening theme: “Josie Has the Upper Hand” by Josh Woodward

Closing theme: “Afterglow” by Josh Woodward

 

The First Step in Evangelism (It Might not be What You Think)

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Oh no, you are thinking. It’s an evangelism article. Every time I hear a sermon or read an article about evangelism, I feel guilty.

Join the crowd! Even those who are deeply evangelistic often feel guilty about this subject, simply because every Christian knows someone else with whom we have not shared the Gospel.

However, this is not a guilt-trip article. Instead, it is a post written for me. In other words, this is a post that I need as much as anyone else (and I need it more than a lot of folks).

If you have read this far, I am assuming that you are a Christian. In reality, that is the first step in evangelism: being fully committed to Christ yourself.

Knowing that, however, what is the first step to reaching out to others with the saving message of Jesus? What is the first step to evangelism?

Is it some innovative program?

Is it some great invitation technique?

Is it memorizing just the right set of Scriptures?

Is it forming some questions to ask people around us?

Nope. It is none of these. In fact, the first step is even more basic than these things, and it is so obvious that we often overlook it.

The first step to reaching others is to see each individual person as a soul headed for eternity.

That’s it.

What about the person who regularly scans your groceries at the store? She will stand in judgment one day.

How about the teacher you’ve got who is a bit nerdy and out of touch with technology? That teacher will meet their Maker at the end of time.

You know that restaurant manager that everyone says is gruff? He has a soul that needs to be touched.

Your new neighbors who everyone is worried will bring down property values because they don’t seem to take care of their stuff? They won’t spend eternity in that neighborhood; they will spend it in either heaven or hell.

The first step is not to try to devise some “catch all” strategy. The first step is to remember that everyone needs “catching” in the first place!

What can you do today to open your eyes to the souls around you? Who do you see on a regular basis that needs to be treated in a little kinder way? Who have you failed to befriend simply based on rumor or perception? What person could you speak to instead of shuffling by today?

In our splintered, self-centered world, just seeing other people as–to borrow from C.S. Lewis–souls with a body instead of bodies with a soul is the first step to reaching each person for Christ.

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Celebrate Life “Eternal”

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At each year’s end there are many holidays and celebrations. We celebrate blessings, family, and the year that was. In the sports world, there are even more celebrations. Bowl games and national championships and even the Super Bowl, which is arguably the biggest national event on the radar. At the end of these games there is always music and confetti; so much so that you can hardly hear or see. And it seems that there is always one song that will be played at some point during the time that the winning team is holding up the trophy and exchanging high-fives and hugs – “We are the Champions.”

These scenes bring to mind the time when the apostle John was on the island of Patmos and received a heavenly vision through the means of an angel. In that inspired vision he delivers the book of Revelation, written specifically to seven churches in Asia, but with a lasting message for Christians. You might say that the theme of Revelation is the same as the song that teams play in celebration at the end of winning seasons. We are champions! – but not through who we are or what we have done, but because of the Lamb!

In the fourth and fifth chapters of Revelation John invites us into the throne room of God. There are trumpet sounds in the throne room. There are beautiful and precious stones in the throne room. There is a sea of glass, and there are the four beasts, and there are twenty-four elders all in the throne room. There are crowns and sounds and spirits and angels and things beyond comprehension in the throne room. And on the throne, above all, is the One who is seated and who receives continual worship.

The central thought of these two chapters is that God is going to be worshipped eternally for what He has done for His creation. He is certainly worthy of such worship, and in the very presence of God this has always been the most natural response for any created being. But a secondary and crucially important idea expressed in these chapters is the reality that heaven is going to be the location of the greatest celebration that will ever take place. Sin and Satan, death and demons, have been forever defeated through the blood of Jesus Christ. His faithful followers will reside in heaven in everlasting glory with the Godhead and the angelic host of ether plains.

If one examines these two chapters, the bliss and exuberance of those who are gathered can be observed from the words that are leaving their lips. They are celebrating life eternal. They are praising the one who purchased them with blood. They are extoling the Creator. They are expressing love and adoration for a glorious and holy and perfectly powerful God. Their worship is without pause, their peace is without interference, and their complete joy is without end. This is what it means to be a child of God! These are the feelings and blessings of an ultimate victory.

Christians are people who have already printed hats and t-shirts that say “champions.” They are finishing the final plays of the game and they can see that the scoreboard plainly shows Satan has lost and there is no chance of him coming back and winning. They are beginning their celebration, by living in the splendor of the greatest play in history, the play that sealed the game at a place called Calvary. They can celebrate by living the Christian life. They can anticipate the celebration of the throne room of God! Because in Christ, and only in Christ, they are forever champions!

“Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” – Romans 8:37

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Happiness

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Happiness can be a lot of things to a lot of people. In one instance Happiness was the name of a store I walked by in a mall on one occasion. 

The name of that store has made me think of an implied message of many stores. It seems to me that the “hidden message” of so many stores is, “If you will come in and buy some of what we sell, you will be happy.”

I’ve never had the nerve to walk into any store (even one named Happiness) and ask them to wrap up a year’s worth of happiness for me. I wonder what they would do. 

I imagine that somewhere in the conversation they would try to make the point that they do not, in fact, sell happiness. I’m sure that, at the same time, they would try in some way to convince me that they can sell me things that will make me happy.

The sad truth is that this way of thinking is also a lie. Things do not and cannot make us happy. We are all aware of people (maybe even the ones we see in our mirrors) who keep accumulating things, but are not at all happy. 

It is interesting that, in some translations of the Bible, the people spoken of in what we sometimes call The Beatitudes (Matt. 5:3-10) are referred to as blessed. In other translations, they are described as happy

It makes sense that people should be happy if they are blessed by God, so I am not going to quibble about which word is the more accurate. What I think is more beneficial is to read through The Beatitudes and see who these people are. 

Does God bless the getters or the givers? Does He bless the served or the servers? Are the belligerent, proud, and forceful the ones who are blessed or does God bless those who are peacemakers, humble, and gentle?

It seems to me that, when we find the answers to those questions, we will find where we can really find happiness.

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Friday’s Family Friendly Finds {January 9, 2015 edition}

So, it’s been a few weeks since we had our weekly family links post. We are glad to bring back this regular feature after a break for the holidays, and a bit of an odd posting schedule, and we hope the links we share are encouraging to you and your family.

Since it has been a few weeks, we have a few more posts than usual, but we hope you will take the time over the weekend to enjoy these family links.

On to the posts.

Family Friendly Finds

This Week’s Finds

3 Superpowers Fatherhood Has Given Me [Project Family]

Socks in the Laundry and 15 Years of Marriage [Life in the Kingdom]

“I’ll Stop Looking at Porn Once I’m Married” [Overcome Online]

3 Reasons to Laugh Together as a Family [for the family]

Fatherhood: A Frightening Faithful Journey [Spiritual Java]

Are You Passing the Right Values to Your Children? [Jackie Bledsoe]

To the Parents Who Let Their Children Play on Their iPad During Church [All Kinds of Things]

15 Ways to Have a Fun and Cheap Family Night [ChristianPF]

Be Prepared for Resistance [National Center for Biblical Parenting]

Lessons from the Seesaw [Desert Spiritual]

Our Three Weeks in Review

These posts were not necessarily written in the last 21 days, but they drew the most views during that time. (Original publication date in parentheses.)

#5: The Main Issue Is Not Women’s Role (or Instrumental Music or…) (December 11, 2014)

#4: The Phone Call (December 22, 2014)

#3: The Two Hardest Days to be an Atheist (December 26, 2014)

#2: The Real Philippians 4:13 (January 2, 2015)

#1: An Open Letter to the 4th Avenue Church of Christ (December 4, 2014)

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