Friday’s Family Friendly Finds {September 12, 2014 edition}

Welcome to our weekly family links post! We hope you enjoy all the things to read that we have for you, and that they encourage you this weekend.

But first…

Tomorrow, Jim Faughn and I will be speaking together at a youth rally at Bootheel Youth Camp in Bloomfield, Missouri. We would love to see you there. If you are near that area, here is the Facebook page about the rally.

Now, on to this week’s family links.

Family Friendly Finds

This Week’s Finds

The Danger of Protecting Our Kids from Unhappiness {We are THAT Family}

Steve Jobs was a Low-Tech Parent {New York Times}

A Note on the Table {A Bible Commentary Blog}

The Target: Young People & Families {Robert Hatfield}

The Value of Correction {National Center for Biblical Parenting}

Our Week in Review

The following were our five most-viewed posts over the past week. These were not necessarily published in the last 7 days; they just drew the most views. (Original publication date in parentheses.)

#5: Momma’s Fresh Peach Pie {Recipe} (August 29, 2014)

#4: I’ll Try it Out Sometime (September 8, 2014)

#3: The ABC’s of a Healthy Home (September 10, 2014)

#2: The Church and Inexpensive Online Technology (September 11, 2014)

#1: A Response to Victoria Osteen about Worship (September 2, 2014)

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The Church and Inexpensive Online Technology

the church and online technology

“Church” and “technology.” Two words that don’t seem like they belong in the same sentence, unless it is “the technology at church isn’t working.”

But in our online world, churches can have a major impact using technology. Yes, it takes a little work. No, it should never take the place of personal, one-on-one conversations and encouragement.

But technology can be a great tool to help spread the message of Christ, both near and far. Still, there are hangups.

Too often, the singular hangup is money. For so many years, anything under the umbrella of “tech” was code for “expensive.” In the last handful of years, though, all that has changed. (After all, how do you think we keep this site going? It’s not from our overflowing coffers!)

In this post, I want to share some ways through which nearly any congregation can flood the internet with good material for very (very) little money.

1. Social Media. In reality, this is the least expensive way to utilize online technology for a congregation. If done well, it can also be highly effective. Considering how many members are on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and other platforms, why not meet them there? Facebook and Twitter are wonderful tools for building pages that include both information and encouragement. Instagram is a great way to share pictures, as well as cool invitations. All of these are totally free, and just require someone (or several people) willing to keep them up to date. With a little work, these can reach into a community, and show a congregation that is active and encouraging.

2. Podcasting. It is amazing to me how inexpensively a congregation can produce a podcast. If a congregation has a computer that can record sermons digitally, it can literally cost nothing. (Here’s a tutorial on how to do this for free.) For just a few dollars a month (less than $20), a congregation can go all out and make more of a “show” type of podcast (like A Legacy of Faith, for example). Since the world of podcasts is less saturated than blogging, but is growing, this is a great way to get messages out to the world.

3. Blogging. Even if a blog is nothing more than bulletin articles, it is a great way to get Biblical information out. There are several free blogging platforms (Blogger, Tumblr, etc.), or a blog can be incorporated into the church’s website, usually at no additional cost. Again, this takes some dedication, in order to produce new content regularly, but it is a good way to share messages in a bit more relaxed way. (Before you decide to start, though, take a moment and read this quick “before you start blogging” post I wrote some time back.)

4. Website. A church website can be wonderful and cost almost nothing. Hosting fees can be found for less than $10/month (in fact, here’s the hosting site we use for this blog, and it is just $4.95/month for a 3-year commitment), and then anything else you do, cost-wise, is up to you. There are free templates, as well as paid ones. There are free ways to do pictures, graphics, etc., or you can pay for them. Just remember to keep the site up to date!!!

Now, add it all up: Social media (free), podcasting (less than $20/month, and could be free), blogging (free), website (less than $10/month). A congregation can flood the internet with good material for less than $30 each month, and could even do ALL FOUR of these things for less than that, if they chose.

So, here is the question: why aren’t we doing that? In a time when online technology is so inexpensive, the church needs to dedicate itself to putting content online regularly to help people both near and far learn more about the Gospel.

QUESTION: What are some other ways a congregation can effectively utilize online technology for very little money? Share your suggestions in the comments!

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The ABC’s of a Healthy Home

abcs of a healthy home

There are so many traits that a home needs to have in order to be healthy and godly. While not every trait is going to be perfect all the time, if a couple is growing and maturing in the necessary areas, their home will be better for it.

While this is not an exhaustive list, we present to you today the ABC’s of a healthy home.

A is for Acceptance. This does not mean you accept sin, since that is never acceptable. It means that you accept personality differences and quirks.

B is for Be careful what you say. Proverbs 15:1 reminds us that a “harsh word stirs up strife.” The children’s song, “O be careful little mouth what you say” is very good marriage advice!

C is for Commitment. Marriage does not need to be viewed as a contract, because contracts can be too easily broken. Marriage is a covenant, meant to be fulfilled with commitment no matter what the external circumstances might be.

D is for Discipline. It takes both self discipline and the discipline of Scripture to be all that we should be in our homes.

E is for Expect rain. While everything may seem like it is roses and unicorns (or Fudge Rounds and M&M’s) on the wedding day, there are going to be times when difficulties come. Don’t invite them, but expect them. Oh, and prepare for them.

F is for Forgiveness. Christians are commanded to be forgiving people, and that should not just be reserved for “church folk.” Our spouse deserves forgiveness. After all, we have been forgiven in order to forgive others.

G is for God is first. The picture of a triangle is a good one. When husband and wife are individually growing closer to the Lord–at the top of the triangle–they are automatically growing closer to each other.

H is for Hold up your spouse. Lift him or her up in your words, both when they are present and when they are not. Do not berate your spouse, even if he or she is not present.

I is for “I” becomes “we.” When you get married, your pronouns need to change. It is no longer about “I.” It is now about “we” and “us.”

J is for Jump-start your marriage. No matter how good you think your marriage might be, do something to make it better. Read a book (11 recommended titles here). Attend a marriage seminar. Read a marriage blog or article. Listen to a marriage podcast. Go to counseling, just as a “tune-up.” There is always room to grow.

K is for Kick out temptations. If there is something that is tempting you to think things about your spouse that are unhealthy, kick those unhealthy things out. If there are things (or people) who are tempting to be unfaithful, kick them out!

L is for Love unconditionally. Agape love is not just a feeling. It is something that is done with the other person’s best interest at heart. (Sounds a lot like “in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer…”)

M is for Manage your money and media. These two things can easily take over a marriage instead of being under control. Neither is bad in itself, but both must be managed, so they can too easily consume your time and energy.

N is for No negative criticism. There is a way to say negative things in a way that still brings encouragement to your spouse. Find it and use it.

O is for Openness. If it is in your mind or on your heart, it is “fair game” to speak about with your spouse.

P is for Prayer. Pray for your spouse, and pray with your spouse. A lot.

Q is for Quit complaining! If you are complaining about your spouse, you need to look in the mirror and ask, “Why did I marry this person?” You made the decision, so quit complaining!

R is for Respect. In words and actions, show the highest levels of respect you can for your spouse. (Husbands and wives need to read Ephesians 5:33 very carefully together.)

S is for Sacrifice. Jesus is our perfect Example, in that He gave Himself for the church. That is the standard, and it needs to shine forth every day in our homes.

T is for Tend your own garden. If you are feeling emotionally attracted to anyone other than your spouse, you need to take care of your own household. Tend your own garden. Put your mind back at home and put your efforts there first.

U is for Unity. “Whatever God has joined together, let not man separate.”

V is for Value. A virtuous wife’s value is “far above rubies” and her husband praises her (Proverbs 31:10, 28). Speak in words that show great value to your spouse.

W is for Watch your calendar. Put family things on your calendar first. Worship times, family devotionals, prayer times, dates with your spouse, and family vacations need to be a priority on the calendar before anything else.

X is for X-ray yourself. If your marriage is not what you might want, don’t just lob criticism at your spouse. Look at yourself and see where you need to improve.

Y is for Yearn for heaven together. Marriage is a wonderful way to help your spouse get to heaven. Long for that together.

Z is for Zealously love the Lord. He must come first, and He will bless your marriage if you put Him as the head of your house.

COMMENTS? Add your thoughts to the ABC’s of a healthy home in the comments! We’d love to hear from you.

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Book Review: “Bethlehem Road”

I love the Old Testament book of Ruth. The more I read and study the Bible, the more I find myself drawn to this grand narrative. I also like reading about the book of Ruth, so that I can focus again on the amazing account nestled between the books of Judges and 1 Samuel.

So, when Michael Whitworth wrote a guide to Ruth, I was eager to get it and read it. Simply put, I was not disappointed. As with Whitworth’s other “guides,” Bethlehem Road is a great blend of scholarship and readability that helps the Bible student get the meat of the Word.

Using the death of his own father as the backdrop, this is Whitworth’s most personal volume to date. In the introduction, this tragic story serves to draw the reader in, and then helps transition to the tragic opening of the book of Ruth.

The reader will find that Bethlehem Road helps them gain valuable insight into several customs as well as matters of geography and history that add a great deal of depth to their study. Whitworth, as always, has done his homework and has found several gems that lay under the surface of this great book. One of the major takeaways of this book is the overwhelming sense of God’s providence. The book of Ruth centers on that, and Whitworth makes sure the reader does not miss it.

Divided into four chapter (to coincide with the four chapters of Ruth), the book is a quick read. But do not let the relative brevity of the book keep you away. If you like to study Ruth, the Old Testament in general, or the providence of God, you will find this book to be not only helpful, but delightful.

Pick up a copy here. Read it, and thank me later!

I’ll Try It Out Sometime

I'll try it out sometime

Because of the location of our house and my office, I get to see a lot of high school students walking to or from school. Maybe “trudging” would be a more accurate description — especially in the mornings.

It is not unusual for our paths to intersect when I am walking to or from my office or our house. Every time that happens, I say, “hello,” ask how their day has been, wish them well for the day, kid them about getting smarter every day, etc. I even get a response every once in a while — when they are not too much into the music that is being “mainlined” into their ears.

It happened again recently. I was walking from the house to the office and met a young girl who was walking to school. We exchanged greetings (in spite of the wires hanging out of her ears). I asked her if she lived close by and she said her home was a few blocks away.

It was at that point that I asked her to worship with us. I’m still thinking about her response:

“I’ll try it out sometime.”

The way she shrugged her shoulders and the fact that she had to work her response around yet another bubble she was blowing, didn’t add a great deal of legitimacy to that response. But who knows? Maybe she was serious about “trying us out.” I am praying that she was.

However, at the same time, I’m wondering if her statement is not indicative of how many view the whole concept of religion. For many, it may merely be just something to try out. If it doesn’t “fit,” or suit one’s needs, it can be discarded in favor of something more appealing and satisfying.

The problem with that thinking may, in fact, be found in one word — religion. “Religion,” in itself, is not necessarily a bad word. James wrote in both a positive and negative vein about religion. In the space of two verses, he wrote about a vain, worthless, or useless religion and about a religion that is pure and undefiled.

It is not that the word is bad. What is bad is the thinking that religion is only something we do from time to time.

How about some words that more accurately describe what pleases the Lord? How about words like “commitment,” “servant,” and “sacrifice?” How about the whole concept of Jesus being Lord (with everything that Lordship entails)?

It’s beginning to sound like we’re talking about a lifestyle instead of a fad. It sounds more and more like the purpose of our existence is to please Jesus and glorify Him and His Father instead of pleasing ourselves.

I wonder how many are willing to try that out — all the time.

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Friday’s Family Friendly Finds {September 5, 2014 edition}

It has been a wonderful couple of weeks. Since we last published a Family Friendly Finds, we have read a lot of great material, and we are thrilled to share with you several family links in this week’s edition.

We continue to see growth in the site, and we appreciate all the encouragement you give us! If you ever feel like you have something to contribute to a post, feel free to comment at the bottom of that post. We read every comment, and would love to have more “engagement” with you through the comments.

With that said, on to this week’s family links!

Family Friendly Finds

This Week’s Finds

5 Toxic Marriage Habits {The Time Warp Wife}

A Letter from a Dad to Carl’s Jr. and the Women in Their Commercials {Greg Trimble}

Why I’m Glad We Don’t Have Cable or Satellite TV {Of the Hearth}

A Parent’s Ultimate Guide to YouTube {Common Sense Media}

15 Ways to Help Kids Stay Connected with Their Grandparents (Near of Far) {My Kids’ Adventures}

This is Parenting {Life in the Kingdom}

The Way You Give Instructions {National Center for Biblical Parenting}

Our (Two) Weeks in Review

The following were our five most-viewed posts in the past two weeks. These were not necessarily published in the last 14 days; they just drew the most views. (Original publication date in parentheses.)

#5: Marriage is All about “U” (August 27, 2014)

#4: Freeze Tag (August 28, 2014)

#3: Momma’s Fresh Peach Pie (August 29, 2014)

#2: “Ohhhhhhh Boy!” (August 26, 2014)

#1: A Response to Victoria Osteen about Worship (September 2, 2014)

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Episode 4 : 5 Common Homeschool Myths {Podcast}

(Audio not working? Click here to listen on the blog.)

Welcome to episode 4 of A Legacy of Faith’s podcast. In this episode Adam and Leah talk about homeschooling, but from a little different angle. Instead of trying to win you over, we simply talk about 5 common homeschool myths and why they do not need to factor into your thinking if you are considering teaching your children through homeschool.

LOFpodcast (1)

The Myths

1. I Can’t Teach My Own Kids in a Formal Way

2. My Kids Would Hate Being Bottled Up in the House All Day

3. Homeschool Kids Don’t Learn Socialization Skills

4. I Don’t Have the Patience to Do This

5. Homeschooled Kids Don’t Test Well or Do Well in College

Resources

“Number of Homeschoolers in America?” (a2z Homes Cool)

More Information

Join our email newsletter and receive a free eBook here.

Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes

Subscribe via rss

Visit the show archives

————–

Music Credit

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

Closing theme: “Afterglow” by Josh Woodward

Next Episode (September 18): Our Thoughts on “Smart Money, Smart Kids”

Another Helpful Resource

One of the goals of A Legacy of Faith is to help families. I thought I’d use my space today to inform you about another resource. It is a resource that I believe you will find to be very valuable.

My friend and brother in Christ, Lance Cordle, preaches for the church of Christ in Calvert City, KY. In 1999, he began publishing The Family Friend. The subtitle says that it is “a collection of articles and quotes to aid your family in daily living.” Lance describes this publication as “kind of a family-article Reader’s Digest.”

I have checked with Lance and he has told me that he would be glad to send this monthly publication to anybody who contacts him to make a request. The normal schedule is for The Family Friend to be sent out on the second weekend of every month. You can receive this either by “snail mail” or by providing your email address to Lance.

Most of the past issues are archived. You can find them at on the Calvert City website by clicking here.

If you would like to subscribe to this helpful publication, please send a request to Lance at lance AT calvertchurchofchrist DOT com. In the subject line, type “Subscribe TFF.”

I hope you’ll take advantage of this helpful resource!

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A Response to Victoria Osteen about Worship

response to victoria osteen

It is only 36 seconds in length, but it has caused waves in the online world. It is a video of Victoria Osteen, wife of Joel Osteen, as she described the reason why we worship.

If you haven’t seen it, here it is:

(Video not playing? Click here to watch on YouTube.)

So, when we worship, it isn’t about God. It’s about us being happy. Overall, that’s the takeaway from Victoria Osteen’s short speech.

If I may, I would like to respond to her words.

1. God’s Primary Concern is Not Our Happiness. It’s Our Holiness. Mrs. Osteen’s words only reflect a very commonly held view in modern religion, and that is that God’s primary concern with my day-to-day walk is that I be happy. While that certainly sounds good, it is not the message of Scripture. Yes, I know we are to be people of joy (Philippians 4:4, et.al.), but joy and happiness are not the same thing. When Paul was shipwrecked, when Christians were run from Jerusalem, and when Stephen was stoned, were they happy? Well, then I guess they weren’t living right in Victoria Osteen’s world. But they were certainly people who were holy, and that is what matters to the Lord (see 1 Peter 1:16).

2. Worship is Primarily toward God. In studying, preaching, and writing about the Psalms this year, I have been filled with this idea in a deeper way than ever. Worship is ascribing to God what He is due. Every aspect of our worship (singing, Bible study, prayer, giving, and communing) is God-centered and is meant to lift Him up as the only One worthy of such adoration. Anything less than that puts something else before God, which is the very definition of idolatry. If I come to worship seeking my own happiness, I have made my personal feelings my idol.

3. Our “Horizontal” Goal in Worship is Teaching and Admonishing, Not Happiness. We are told in the New Testament that our singing is to be such that it teaches and admonishes (Colossians 3:16). There is an encouragement bound up in admonition, but the word also means “to warn.” Teaching can lead to happiness, but not everything we teach is going to make us happy in the moment.

4. Knowing God is Pleased is My Joy. This is where the “God wants you to be happy” doctrine misses it. Their idea is that, if I’m happy then God is happy. Instead, when I have done my best to worship God and I know He is pleased, then am filled with joy.

I know that Victoria Osteen is not the first person to teach this idea of doing what makes you happy and that will please God. But I also know, tragically, she will not be the last. Our joy as Christians is to lift God up before the world, no matter if it brings us some earthly happiness or not. Mrs. Osteen would do well to understand that concept, but so would we all.

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A Labor Day News Dump

Sometimes, you just have to get a lot of stuff out that may not be something for a full post. Today, we thought we’d take advantage of the Labor Day holiday to share with you several items in a rapid fire way. Enjoy your holiday!

Leah’s PtP Slideshow

First, at last week’s Polishing the Pulpit, Leah presented a class to ladies on modest clothes for young girls. We thought you might find her PowerPoint interesting, so, here you go…

Speaking of Polishing the Pulpit…

What an amazing crowd! I don’t remember the exact attendance at the 2013 PtP, but it was about 2800. This year, there were over 3600 who registered for the event. If you are not familiar with Polishing the Pulpit, visit their website and see what all the buzz is about! Then, start making plans to attend in 2015.

Our First Digital Download

Over the years, I (Adam) have written several books and self-published them. We have recently added one of those books, Blessings from Revelation, to our store as a digital download. You can download the pdf version of the book for just $2.50. Click here to visit our store, which currently has one free item and (now) the digital book.

Donation Button

We have said before that A Legacy of Faith is not intended to be a huge money-maker, but we also do have costs associated with running the sites and podcast. If you like what you get from us, we have added a “donate” button to the right-hand sidebar of the blog. You can use it to donate via PayPal. Any amount will help us offset the costs and would be appreciated. (If you are reading through email or rss, click here to visit the blog where the button is found.)

Video Summer Series Update

In early 2014, we told you about the Video Summer Series, “Building Godly Families.” We could not be any more pleased with how that series has been received. At last count, 43 congregations are either currently using the videos, or have registered (for free) to use them in the future! To God be all the glory for how these are being utilized. If you don’t know about this resource, click here to visit the site.