Friday’s Family Friendly Finds {May 23, 2014 edition}

Before getting to this week’s family links, we want to let you know that the next few weeks on our site are going to be a bit strange. Next week, we will probably only post 2 or 3 times at the most. Then, on Saturday, May 31, we are going to shut down the blog until June 12. The reason is really cool, and we can’t wait to tell you…but we’re going to wait anyway.

We normally try to post 4 or 5 times each week, so we just wanted you to know that the next 3 weeks are going to be different.

Now, on to this week’s family links!

Family Friendly Finds

This Week’s Finds

5 Things That Can Weigh Down Your Marriage & How to Combat Them [for the family]

How to Raise a Reader [Common Sense Media]

Where a Bad Attitude Comes From [National Center for Biblical Parenting]

Husbands, Keep Fighting Like Mad for Us [Apples and Band-Aids Blog]

Family Tweet of the Week

Our Week in Review

These are the five most-viewed posts over the last seven days, though not all were written this past week. (Original publication date in parenthesis.)

#5: Vacation Video 2014 (May 20, 2014)

#4: 10 Budget Basics for Families (March 12, 2014)

#3: Thank You for Modest Ladies (April 16, 2013)

#2: Our Review of the Creation Museum (May 19, 2014)

#1: Hey Guys, Let’s Remember Modesty, Too (May 21, 2014)

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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!

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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.

Enjoy!

 

(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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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Photo credit: syslfrog on Creative Commons

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Friday’s Family Friendly Finds {May 16, 2014 edition}

What a wonderful week! The reason we have not posted is because our little family took a vacation! Our goal is to have some pictures of the trip sometime next week, but it was so great to get away for a few days. We appreciate you understanding that we didn’t post at all while we were gone. It’s always good to have one less thing to do on vacation!

While we were away, we were blessed to have more people sign up to receive our blog through email. We now have 370 email subscribers, and we want to remind those of you who have never signed up to get our blog through email that we send each subscriber a free eBook called Understanding the Love Chapter. We never email sales pitches or “extra” stuff. You just get each post delivered to your inbox for free. If you’ve never signed up, click here and we’ll send you your book asap!

With that said, we’ve got some great family links for you this week, and we should get back to regular posts next week. Enjoy!

Family Friendly Finds

This Week’s Finds

A Simple Family Bible Study Method that Always Produces Fruit [for the family]

Two Ways Dads Can Help Their Children Succeed [Jim Daly; Focus on the Family]

How Abortion Has Changed the Discussion of Miscarriage [Scissortail Silk]

Resisting Materialism [Of the Hearth]

One Thing to Remember before Watching Your Kid’s Sporting Event [Dave Ramsey Blog]

Our Week in Review

With no new posts this week, it was interesting to see what people came to our blog to read. I was pleasantly surprised by our “traffic” for the week, and here are the five most-viewed posts from the last seven days. (Original publication date in parenthesis.)

#5: A Christian Response to “Is It Time to Change Our Views of Adultery and Marriage?” (May 6, 2014)

#4: Video Summer Series Update: Videos are Ready! (May 5, 2014)

#3: A Tribute to Christian Mothers for Mother’s Day (May 8, 2014)

#2: 10 Budget Basics for Families (March 12, 2014)

#1: Thank You, Modest Ladies (April 16, 2013) That’s right: our most-viewed post this week was written over a year ago!

“Like” our Facebook Page

We didn’t think anyone would “like” our page this week, since we didn’t post. But, some did! When we published last week’s Friday Finds, we had 213 likes. As of right now, we have 223. For a week when we were barely online at all, that’s great! If you haven’t liked our page, use the box below or click on this link to jump over to Facebook.

NOTE: Starting next week, we plan on using our Facebook page for more than just “promoting” posts. We hope to have some discussion starters and other things, too, so make sure you like the page to join in the fun!

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Friday’s Family Friendly Finds {Last Day of School, 2014 edition}

That’s right, today our kids finish up their year of school. While it seems that everyone else had about 183 days off for snow and ice this winter, we pushed on and are done as of today. I’m really proud of Mary Carol and Turner for their work this year, and there is no way I could be any more thankful for the great job Leah does in teaching the kids.

Just a quick blogging note: Our next post won’t be until next Friday. We’ve got some other things going on next week that will keep us from posting, but we will try to have a family links post next Friday to get back into things.

With all that said, enjoy this week’s family links!

Family Friendly Finds

This Week’s Finds

Welcoming New Neighbors [Of the Hearth]

How to Rebuild a Bigger and Better Emergency Fund [ChristianPF]

5 Mother’s Day Gift Ideas Moms Really Want [My Kids' Adventures]

Why Movie Musical Characters Make Great Role Models [Common Sense Media]

(Podcast) It’s Not All Good or All Bad [One Extraordinary Marriage] Note: This is a very good episode, but I would recommend that only married adults listen to it.

Our Week in Review

These are the 5 most-viewed posts from the past week. Not all were written in the last week, but this is what people came to our site the most to see. (Original publication date in parentheses.)

#5: 10 Budget Basics for Families (March 12, 2014)

#4: A Tribute to Christian Mothers for Mother’s Day (May 8, 2014)

#3: Move Here, and Your Home Will Improve (May 7, 2014)

#2: Video Summer Series Update: The Videos are Ready! (May 5, 2014)

#1: A Christian Response to “Is It Time to Change Our Views of Adultery and Marriage?” (May 6, 2014)

“Like” Our Facebook Page

You just keep helping us rebuild our Facebook page. Last week, when we published our family links post, we had 179 “likes.” As we post this week, we are up to 213, meaning that 34 more people have liked our site just in the last seven days. Thank you so much!

If you haven’t already liked the blog, use the box below, or use this link to jump over to Facebook.

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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!

BUT…

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.

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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.

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

Photo credit: “Wedding Rings” on freeimages.com

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Video Summer Series Update : The Videos Are Ready!

families

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.)