If Nobody Objects

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Donna and I had a new experience fairly recently. For the first time in our lives, we attended a Home Owners’ Association meeting. In many ways, it was an educational and very interesting experience. 

I think I may agree with our son. When I texted him and told him where we were, he sent back a message that he had attended one such meeting while he and his family lived in Nashville. He also said that he’d only learned one thing–to never go to another one!

My education began at the very beginning of the meeting. The person in charge informed the residents that there is now a minister (me) in the community. 

That brief introduction was followed by a statement that was my introduction to a way of thinking that was foreign to me. Our new neighbors were told that I had been asked to open the meeting with a prayer and would do so “if nobody objects.”

To me, those three words are merely one indication of how far (in the wrong direction) we have traveled as a society. I believe that to be true for at least a couple of reasons.

First, I am old enough to remember when public prayer was the norm in all sorts of situations. It was almost unthinkable to begin just about any gathering without a prayer. Sadly, those days are vanishing; if they have not already vanished.

Secondly, I was reminded of the power of a small, but determined minority. It seemed obvious to me that one objection could have derailed the plan that the meeting would begin with a prayer. 

I am, in no way, in favor of a powerful majority trampling on the rights of an oppressed minority. At the same time, I am growing very weary of a vocal minority “setting the agenda” for a society, a community, an educational system, and/or the church. 

The fact of the matter is that I did pray. The meeting was conducted. After the meeting, we adjourned.

As we took one of our neighbors home and then went to our own house, I thought, “This is not the same world in which I grew up. This is not even the same world in which I spent my earlier adult years.”

If things keep going in the direction they are and with the speed they are, I’m wondering how many restrictions will be placed on my children and grandchildren by the time they are my age. I’m wondering whether they will run afoul of the governmental officials and enforcers of the law if they choose to even pray privately

I, for one, would like to sound an alarm that we are in very serious trouble if we do not return to God and His Word–and do that sooner rather than later. Later may be too late. 

I need to sound that alarm whether or not anybody objects. 

Will you join me?

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Photo background credit: Jake Guild on Creative Commons

Episode 39: Teaching Apologetics to Children (with Eric Lyons) [Podcast]

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Teaching children some of the deeper things of the Bible, such as apologetics, can be a real challenge for parents. On today’s program, Adam is joined by Eric Lyons of Apologetics Press. Eric shares great encouragement for parents, and some good resources that will aid them along the way, as well.

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Resouces

Apologetics Press (homepage)

Kids’ books from AP

Discovery magazine

Virtue and Valor magazine (teens)

More from A Legacy of Faith

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Music Credit

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

Closing theme: “Afterglow” by Josh Woodward

A Season of Thanksgiving

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The holiday season is upon us, and that means that my favorite holiday is just around the corner. I love Thanksgiving because it takes me back in my memory to a very happy time in my life when all of my family would gather on the fourth Thursday in November and enjoy a feast of food and fellowship. 

I can still recall the smells and tastes of some of those wonderful dishes we enjoyed. I can still recall my grandmother’s kitchen where my mother and aunts, along with my grandmother, worked beside each other to prepare a feast. There was laughter, conversation, instruction, and often a reprimand when those of us who were younger got in the way.

After my grandmother and grandfather had passed from this life, our day of thanksgiving moved to my childhood home. My mother, along with whoever was available to help, could provide a feast equal to those of my younger days.

Now that my parents are gone, I love Thanksgiving because my children and their families still gather with us for a time of wonderful fellowship and food. My daughter and daughter-in-law work beside me in the kitchen to provide a feast for our family.

At this time of year, many people pause and reflect upon the things for which they are thankful in this life. I am often challenged on Facebook to “list for ten consecutive days a blessing for which I am thankful.” Since I don’t accept challenges on FB, this often goes by the wayside. I am, however, thankful for many things.

I hope you will not only read the following list of things for which I am thankful, but also will be challenged to make your own list –at least mentally – of all of the things for which you have to be thankful on a daily basis.

I am thankful for:

…God, my Father, who loves me and provides a way for me to live with Him one day.  (John 3:16)

…Jesus, my Brother, who set that perfect example for my life.  (1 Peter 2:21)

…the inspiration of the Holy Spirit which allowed men to write the Bible – my guide through this life on my way to Heaven.  (Psalm 119:105)

…family members in the past who led me and helped me to develop my faith. (Deut. 6: 7)

…my husband – the spiritual leader in our home and a man whom I love and respect. (Eph. 5:33)

…the self-sacrificing love that my husband gives me on a daily basis. (Eph. 5:25)

…my children and their mates. (Psalm 127: 3)

…my grandchildren who are being reared in Christian homes. (3 John: 4)

…time spent with my children and grandchildren singing praises to God. (Psalm 100:1-2)

…the congregation with which I am privileged to worship and serve God. (Phil. 1: 3-5)

…the men who selflessly serve as elders and deacons in my congregation.  (1 Tim. 5:17)

…the ministers who faithfully teach and preach the word every week.  (Romans 10:14-15)

…the women who nurture and lovingly care for so many who are in need.  (Prov. 31)

…the challenges in life which build character within me.  (James 1:2)

…the beauty of nature around me and the changing of the seasons. (Psalm 8:3-4)

…the promises of God, and the fact that I never have to doubt them. (Hebrews 10:23)

…the fact that this list could go on forever.

“give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 

1 Thessalonians 5:18

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Your Invitation to the Periscope Revival

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Starting next Monday (November 9), a great event will be taking place for eight evenings online. It is a Gospel Meeting being held online, on the Periscope app. Watch the following video for your invitation and more information, then check out the related links below.

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Related Resources

Speakers and Schedule page (also includes links to follow each speaker)

Upcoming Event: “Periscope Revival” with 9 Gospel Preachers [Radically Christian]

Periscope Revival [Event page on Facebook]

“We Have Met the Enemy, and He Is Us!”

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Satan is our enemy. There is just no question about it. He is a deceiver and liar from the beginning. He is the father of all lies (John 8:44). Sin came into the world and death through sin because of the works of the devil. But let’s not be mistaken. We are ultimately guilty of every sin we commit. We are the ones who are enticed, who are tempted, and who give in (James 1:13-15). Pogo was right. “We have met the enemy, and he is us” (see cartoon above).

We are our own worst enemy because we are so self-absorbed. We are so inwardly driven. We are not in tune with what is going on in the lives of others. We worship our own personal experiences. These days especially I see people who have kids for the first time and it is as if they are the only people who have ever had a baby before. It’s called children worship and it is real. If we accomplish something we have to tell the world about it. If we are doing any particular thing, it is as if everybody else is inferior because they are not doing it, too.

We are our own worst enemy because we are accumulating stuff! We fight and war and work for stuff! (James 4:1-3). Materialism is at an all-time high in our culture. It seems there are only two classes of people in America: Those who are trying to accumulate possessions and those who are trying to get rid of all of the junk they can’t do anything with. Either way it is a lot of work with little momentary satisfaction. This was the rich young ruler’s problem. This was the problem for the rich fool of Luke 12. They were too enamored with material things. When we are rich toward ourselves and not rich toward God we are simply spiritually bankrupt altogether.

We are our own worst enemy because we will not tell ourselves, “No!” If I want it, I am going to have it and I am going to have it right now. That is, of course, until the next thing I want right now – I’ll have it, too. A new tech device – give it to me now! A relationship that is forbidden – well I won’t be happy unless I can have it. There are too many adults on the floor kicking and screaming because they can’t have it their way in life. When I was a child I was told, “No!” If I didn’t like it, too bad. I needed to hear it. “No” is universally practical and necessary. It provides the proper boundaries that will lead us in the everlasting way.

We are our own worst enemy because we are stubborn. It is not that we don’t know to do right, we simply won’t do it (James 4:17). It is not that we don’t know we are doing wrong, we simply won’t stop. The man in the mirror is just killing us. He knows who he is for a moment but then he leaves and immediately forgets what kind of man he was (James 1:23-24). Most of the injuries we experience happen not because we didn’t know of existing dangers, but rather, we just plow headlong into the fire. We need to realize that we are not strong individually, we are strong with God and in Him alone.

So stop being your own worst enemy. Stop being a spoiled rotten brat. It is time to grow up! It is time to stop thinking about what you want. It is time to start thinking about what God wants and what others need. Then you will stop be the enemy and start being a friend.

“If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself…” – Luke 9:23

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Others Who Have No Hope

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Please read the following words found in the English Standard Version of 1 Thessalonians 4:13 very carefully:

But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others who do not have hope.

I believe that most of us readily understand that the “sleep” being referred to here is the “sleep” of death. I believe it is also fairly obvious that the use of the word “brothers” means that these words are addressed to Christians. 

Does this verse teach us that Christians are not to grieve (mourn, sorrow, etc.) at all when a loved one passes from this life? 

Are Christians supposed to just act as though nothing had ever happened and go on with their lives? 

Does a Christian’s confidence in an eternal home make him or her immune to feelings of loss?

If you did, in fact, read that verse carefully, you should realize that the answer to those questions is, “NO.” The sorrow of a Christian is not to be “…as others who have no hope.” (In reality, it did not take a very careful reading to notice that, did it?)

More often than I really care to remember, I’ve been in more homes, hospital rooms, nursing home rooms, etc. when death has taken a loved one from family members and friends. Sometimes death has occurred after a long and serious illness. Sometimes the death is sudden and unexpected. In all reality, no two deaths and no two families are ever exactly the same.

However, I’ve noticed that many of the situations in which I’ve found myself can broadly fit in one of two categories. Both of these categories are linked to the fact that I’m a preacher (and an elder) and that I often get called on during trying times like this.

I’ve been in situations when people just want a preacher around. Any “brand” will do. Often, these people are confused. In fact “panic” might not be too strong a word. These people want somebody–anybody–that has some sort of religious credentials to calm them and assure them in some way. They may not even be aware of what way they have in mind. They just want a preacher around. His presence seems to have some sort of calming effect on them (sometimes).

The other people I’ve been with are just as sad and feel their loss just as much as the first group. Depending on the circumstances, they may even be as confused as the people in the first group. Through tears, they express words that convey their grief to the preacher and to one another.

While they also appreciate a preacher being with them, their actions and words convey a quiet confidence that the other group does not have. Their confidence is not dependent upon the presence of a preacher. Their confidence is in God and His promises. 

It is my prayer that all of us could be a part of this second group of people. It is also my prayer that each of us will live our lives in such a way that those who are left behind can have that quiet confidence that is needed so much during very trying times.

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Photo background credit: David Mulder on Creative Commons

Episode 38: An Alternative to Trick-or-Treating [Podcast]

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Halloween is upon us. Ghosts, princesses, and mummies will be out and about, getting loads of candy corn, Sixlets, and Milky Way bars. (If you are giving away full-size Milky Way bars, please contact Adam.)

Trick-or-Treating is a lot of fun, but on this week’s podcast, Adam and Leah share an idea that is an alternative to, or a great addition to, Trick-or-Treating. We hope you enjoy this brief program.

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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.

Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes

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Find us on Stitcher Radio

Visit the show archives

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Music Credit

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

Closing theme: “Afterglow” by Josh Woodward

 

The Necessary Thing (and a Basket That Will Help Teach It)

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As a mother, there are many things I want to teach my children. My head swirls with all the responsibility. They are my gift from God, and I desperately want to train, educate, equip, discipline, and lead them so that when they leave my house they are ready. I want to them to be ready to face this world.

Every day, there is another item added to the list of “crucial information my children need to know before they leave my home.” That list is long and varied. I want my children to know how to be polite. I want them to know how to clean and how to finally learn how to put something back in its place! (Can I get an “amen”?) I want them to know about their country, and I want them to see that this country is indeed exceptional. I want them to be able to write and read in cursive, and I want them to be able to read a clock that isn’t digital! I want them to be familiar with the parts of an orchestra and to know what the inside of a real theater looks like – and could someone please teach at least one of my children how to play the piano?

Then, because I am a homeschooler, the list seems to grow exponentially. Even now, we are learning to identify types of verbs, we are memorizing a long list of prepositions, and we are learning when to double a consonant. We are locating countries on a map and learning about latitude and longitude. We are learning about sea life, and this week we learned the difference between a sea lion and a seal. Our heads are full of line segments and rays and diameters and regrouping and the constant drilling of addition, subtraction, and multiplication.

Then there are the books I want them to read. I want them to read good books and even the great books. There is just so much, and the task is daunting. I feel the weight of the responsibility. I wonder if I’ll be able to do it.

Just then, when I am about to crumble under the pressure, I will think of the words of Jesus to Martha.

In Luke chapter 10, Martha herself was crumbling under the pressure of preparing a meal for Jesus and His many followers. Martha, I’m sure, wanted to be certain she didn’t leave anything undone. This pressure made her come undone! She was so undone that she complained to her friend and Lord that Mary had left her to serve alone.

Then, Jesus said the words that chastise me and sooth me at the same time. He said the words that give me hope. Jesus said, “Martha, Martha you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” The question that we should ask, then, is, “What is the one thing that is necessary?” The answer can be found in verse 39: “[Martha] had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to His teaching.”

You see, it is very easy for me to spend all my time teaching my kids the things I think they “need” to know. Sometimes I am anxious and troubled about it, just like Martha, and I need the reminder that the one necessary thing is that I teach them about God and His Word. If I neglect that, I have, quite literally, neglected it all.

Children who grow up with a top-notch education and children who star on baseball and softball teams will have nothing when they stand before God on the Day of Judgment if they don’t have the necessary thing. I don’t want to be among the parents who have given their children the whole world and nothing else. The world will pass away and be taken from us, but God’s Word cannot be taken from us.

With that in mind, I have made it a goal to teach my kids to stop every day and “sit at the feet of Jesus.” On our hearth, there is a basket. It is our Bible time basket. It is filled with Bible story books, charts, prayer reminders and prayers to memorize, books of the Bible cards, Bible games, and–who knows–I might even squeeze a writing assignment in there every so often. The point is, I want them to see that, above everything else we are learning, God’s word is far more important, because it is the only thing that will last. We have Family Bible time. Our kids memorize verses, they are reading through the book of Matthew this year, and they have a daily Bible reading schedule that goes along with their Bible class at church, but I want the Bible time basket to be more about their individual time with God.

Here are some pictures of this simple basket. I hope it encourages you to put something before your children daily to help them “sit at the feet of Jesus.”

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AUTHOR: Leah Faughn

The One Word that Gives Children Authority Over Parents

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Parenting is hard. Communication is hard. Put them together and you have something that can feel virtually impossible. At best, it can feel like a completely uphill task.

One reason communicating with children is so difficult is because every word means something, and we often say things that we don’t think much about, but that can communicate so much.

Today, I want to share one word that I am striving to reduce in my vocabulary with my children. At the very least, I am trying to change one specific way in which I catch myself using it. The reason is simple: whether I mean it this way or not, this one word gives my children authority over me, instead of the way it is supposed to be.

What is the word?

Okay.

Now, it’s not that “okay” is a bad word. It is how I have found myself using it so often that makes all the difference. See if some of these sentences sound like what you say to your kids:

“You need to clean your room, okay?”

“Your mommy needs help with the dishes, okay?”

“Finish your math work, okay?”

Do you see how that one little word at the end of the sentence changes them dramatically? Instead of stating what is expected, and then knowing it will get done, we have put the child in charge of the situation. Rather than saying, “Clean your room,” what you are doing is giving your child the option to clean his/her room…if it’s okay with them.

I am not suggesting a parenting style where we just give out orders like a drill sergeant. There are times to put the ball in the court of our children and let them decide certain things.

That said, when we give a direction, we should expect for it to be followed. Parents, we must remember that part of our work is to build within our children an understanding of authority. God, being the ultimate authority, does not tell us, “believe in me, okay?” Instead, He simply states what is expected and we are to obey.

We may not think too much about adding “okay” to the end of our sentences, and we may think it is nothing more than just a “filler” word that does not really mean anything (sort of like “um”). But to a kid, “okay,” when phrased as a question, puts the authority with them. While that is fine sometimes, it is not fine all the time.

Instead, we need to build the type of relationship where we can state an expectation and know it will be completed. That’s not cruel parenting. It is teaching children to respect authority, which is something our society desperately needs.

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AUTHOR: Adam Faughn

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Who Are the Real Heroes?

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Ask a young person who they consider to be a hero. What do you think they will say? Chances are, they will pick a well-known individual from the past or present who made a name for themselves because of something they achieved. It may have been they excelled in politics, athletics, music, or some other interest. People who are recognized as heroes are usually extraordinary people who became popular because of something they did or something that happened that was largely due to their influence.

With that in mind, I met a real hero just the other day. I met him in the place where I have learned most of our living heroes still reside. I met him while I was going to visit two of our elderly ladies who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease. These ladies currently live in a nursing home not far from our town. To protect privacy and to not call attention to the facility I am not going to mention any names. But as I was there in the hall with one of the ladies I had intended to see, I met a man who immediately got my attention. He was wearing a very interesting hat.

He was sitting in a chair, not speaking but seemingly looking to start a conversation with his eyes. So I spoke to him, “I really like your hat.” He took it off and looked at it. “Yep,” he said, “That was a long time ago.” The cap he had on simply stated, “World War II Veteran.” I asked him if he had been in the war. He told me he had fought in Germany and had also spent part of his time afterward in Russia. He stayed in the military for most of his life after the war. He had survived the front lines of an ugly and bloody battle.

But now, in his 90’s, he is just living out his days quietly. I don’t know if he has a lot of visitors. I don’t know about his family and friends. We exchanged names, had a nice conversation, and I thanked him for everything he had done for me. I thanked him for everything he had done for us! He seemed at peace with himself about it. I recall him saying, “Well I hoped what we tried to do over there made a difference, made things better.” I assured him so. I let him know he was a hero.

The real heroes in our world do not wear capes and masks. They do not swim in money. They are not on television or in the movies. They will not be known in history by name. Many of them never even came home. Real heroes are people who sacrificed everything for a cause that was bigger than themselves. They believed in something worth giving their lives for, and that’s exactly what they gave.

At the end of time, every history book will be destroyed, every trophy demolished, and every museum brought to ruin. But there are people, who by faith are building a residence yet unseen that will stand forever inside the gates of heaven. These are the people we should follow. These are the people who will rest from the labors, and whose works follow them.

“These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.” – Heb. 11:13

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