[Quote] The Importance of Dad and Mom Being in Agreement on Parenting

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SOURCE: For Better or For Kids by Patrick & Ruth Schwenk (page 76)

A New Look at Discipline

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He had come home from a long hard day at work. That was the norm in those days. Men went to a job, often involving exhausting labor. Moms stayed at home and cared for the home and the children. Supper was put on the table when dad got home and everyone, including all of the children, gathered around the table for a meal together. Each child got to tell what had happened in their day, and laughter was plentiful.

Children did chores in those days, and those chores often included washing the dishes after the meal was over. This was most definitely before the dishwasher days. On this particular day, Dad and Mom had gone to the living room to relax a bit, and the children had begun the task of clearing the table and washing the dishes.

The peaceful relaxation that mom and dad were enjoying was interrupted by the sound of arguing which was coming from the kitchen. It got louder and louder until Dad decided to intervene.

He went into the kitchen (which immediately stopped the noise) and told the children to each get a kitchen chair and line them up facing the sink. The children were puzzled, but they did as they were told. The look on dad’s face conveyed that they had better not ask any questions! He then told them to have a seat in those chairs.

When the children were all seated, Dad proceeded to roll up the sleeves of his shirt, walk to the sink and begin washing the dishes himself. He made those children sit quietly as he did the work they were supposed to do. 

Do you wonder what was going through their minds? Why is he doing this?” “Great! I don’t have to wash the dishes tonight!” Or maybe, “I know Dad was tired tonight.” “I didn’t work all day.” “I feel terrible because Dad is doing my work.”

When he finished washing and drying the dishes, he looked at those children and slowly walked from the room without saying a word. He didn’t have to say anything…his point was made and his discipline was understood by these children. From that day forward those children never argued again when performing this chore.

I was told this story a few years ago by a wonderful Christian man who has gone on to his reward. He instilled in his children a work ethic like none I had ever seen before. He, as well as his children, were well up in years when I first came to know them. All of his children had a strong work ethic and the daughters I knew best were not complainers when hard work was required of them.

I just wonder if parents today who either have or do threaten without following through, yell out of frustration, or spank out of anger have ever considered a method like the one written about above?

Those children knew their father loved them, worked hard to provide for them, and was a disciplined man. For some reason, Jesus comes to my mind.

“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.  Eph. 6:4  (emphasis added)


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The Problem with “Sending Prayers Your Way”

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I see it virtually every day, and each time I see it, I cringe.

It goes this way: someone puts a post on Facebook, seeking prayers for some situation in life. Maybe a relative is facing surgery, or maybe it is because of a job loss. Certainly, there is nothing wrong with that. It is good to ask for others to carry our burdens, including in prayer.

Then, once the request is posted, people begin to put comments. You might see the following:

“Praying for you.”

“I’m praying for your family.”

“We will be praying.”

“Sending prayers your way.”

Wait, what?

Did you read that last one? “Sending prayers your way.”

Now, before you think I am just nitpicking, let me say that I understand what people are trying to say when they leave that comment. But I also believe that words mean things, and writing “sending prayers your way” shows a clear misunderstanding of what prayer is.

Let me illustrate it this way: if I put on Facebook that I lost my job and I sure would like people to be praying for me, then someone says, “I’m sending prayers your way,” who does that imply they are praying to? It is saying that they are praying to me!

I do not want people to pray to me; in fact, they can’t!

We “send” prayers to God…not to other people.

If you want to type that you are sending prayers, write something like this on the Facebook comment: “Sending prayers to our heavenly Father for you.”

After all, He is the only One worthy of hearing and receiving our prayers.

Please, do not stop asking for others to pray for you in any format (in person, through a text, on Facebook, etc.). We need to seek others to pray for us when we are struggling.

But, please, if you are going to respond to those requests, remember the One to whom you are praying…and “send your prayers” to Him.


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AUTHOR: Adam Faughn

According to Jesus, You are Richer than You Think

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When Jesus told the parable of the talents he expressed something most people overlook. While the main teaching of the parable likely pertains to stewardship, accountability, or our need to be prepared for the judgment, we have probably never thought about one subtle truth that I believe he also implied.
There were three servants. The first was given 5 talents, the second was given 2 talents, and the third was given 1 talent. They were entrusted with these talents and their master expected them to do something with them. We have all been given something by God, some blessing, some responsibility for which we must give account. I think most of us see ourselves as the one talent servant, and to us, that probably means we don’t see ourselves as very important, or very talented, or very valuable.
But do you know how much a talent was worth in the days of Christ? In my Bible, Thomas Nelson Publishers has added a standard translation of weights and measures. According to their estimation, one talent of gold in today’s society would be worth just under 6,000,000 dollars, while a talent of silver would be worth somewhere in the neighborhood of 400,000 dollars. Either way you look at it, that’s a great deal of money, even if we are just one talent servants.
The point is simply that we are much richer than we think. How thought provoking, that when Jesus chose to express in a parable what God has entrusted to humanity, he used the most valuable symbol of monetary measurement that existed in his time! We need not think that he is even talking about the clothes on our back, or the food on our table, or the warm homes in which we live. These are not the true riches. We need to realize that God’s greatest gift bestowed upon the world was actually Jesus himself, and for each of us, that means something specific. It means we need to use what the master has given us individually to bring glory and honor to His name.
Today I have decided I am not going to look at myself and think I am nothing. After all, Jesus decided that I was worth dying for! If I am just the one talent man, Jesus says I have nearly six million bucks with which to serve him. I am not going to bury what God has given me. I am going to look for opportunities to appreciate what I have been blessed with, invest it by my faith in God into the hearts of others, and allow him and him alone to make it grow.
I know that God is not concerned about how much return he receives on what he has given me. I know that he just wants me to see that I am blessed. He just wants me to be thankful. He just wants me to glorify him with it. He just wants me to try.
“To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away.” – Matthew 25:29
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Post-Truth: Can I Be Sure about the 2016 Word of the Year?

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I listened in disbelief. This latest news couldn’t possibly be true – could it? 

I did a little research. Apparently, it is true. At least I think it is true. It has been reported as true. I’m still wondering, though, if it truly is true.

Here’s the headline that I found on the website of The Washington Post:

‘Post-truth’ named 2016 word of the year by Oxford Dictionaries

Post-truth? What in the world is that?

Thankfully, the website provided this information: 

The dictionary defines “post-truth” as “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.”

So – facts and objective truths are out, but feelings and personal beliefs are in. Is that it? Are you sure that’s it? How do you feel about that being it? What do you believe about that being it?

It seems that, in a “post-truth world,” something may be truth to me, but not truth to you. In fact, it appears to be the case that I cannot be confident about my own “truth.” 

After all; my mood may have changed since I decided that a certain thing was true. Maybe it was true then because I felt good about it. Maybe it is not true now because I no longer feel that way. 

Another possibility might be that I have read, seen, or heard something that makes me question and/or change my personal belief about a matter. That would have a major impact on my “truth.”

Maybe I should go back to the first career I had as an adult. All I would need to do in a “post-truth” high school history classroom would be to keep some semblance of order. After all, if one of my students believed that the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor started the American Revolutionary War, who am I to tell him that his/her “truth” is not accurate? If that student, for some reason, had a deep emotional attachment to our southern states, could I expect him/her to accept the fact that The Confederacy lost the Civil War?

Wait! What if one of those students truly believed that he/she should be the teacher of that class? What if that person felt like he/she was the teacher instead of me? I guess, at that point, I should just turn in my resignation and find something else to do with my time.

Let’s review:

  • The Washington Post (and many other sources) reported that Oxford Dictionaries chose “post-truth” as the 2016 word of the year.
  • “Post-truth” means that I must believe something to be the case and/or have a positive emotion about something in order for it to be truth to me.

So…

  • Is it true that Oxford Dictionaries chose “post-truth” as 2016’s word of the year?
  • Is it true that The Washington Post reported that?
  • Is it true that The Washington Post even exists?
  • Is it true that Oxford Dictionaries even exists?

I serve the One who said very clearly, “…I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes to the Father except by Me” (John 14:6, emphasis added). 

I live in a nation founded by men who wrote these words to explain why they were disassociating themselves from England: “We hold these truths to be self-evident…”

I think I’ll let the post-modern people live by their post-truth “truths.” I prefer to hold fast to things that are factual, verifiable, and logical.


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Photo background credit: Mike Licht on Creative Commons

Episode 68: Memories of Cousin’s Camp [Podcast]

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Every year, there is a special event in our family called Cousin’s Camp. What is it? How special is it?

On this very special episode of the podcast, Adam sits down with Jim, Donna, Leah, Mary Carol, and Turner to talk about the importance of cousin’s camp, as well as to share some memories. We think you’ll love this fun discussion!

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He Knows

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It happened to me again. I reread a familiar passage and something new jumped out at me. To me, that’s proof that the Bible comes from a Divine Creator. Who else could craft a book where people who are reading for the first time can understand it yet is complicated enough to reveal treasures of wisdom throughout lifetimes? But that thought is for another day.

Today I want to share what jumped out at me. I was reading from Luke 22. I had read about Peter’s denials and how the Lord turned and looked at Peter. In the next 3 verses, I read:

Now the men who were holding Jesus in custody were mocking him as they beat him. They also blindfolded him and kept asking him, “Prophesy! Who is it that struck you?” And they said many other things against him, blaspheming him. (Luke 22:63-65, ESV)

That’s when the thought hit me: He did know. He knew exactly who was hitting Him. He knew who had blindfolded Him. Jesus knew who his “hidden” tormentors were! And it goes even beyond that.

Jesus not only knew who they were, He had helped create them. He knew their intentions. He knew their thoughts. He knew their destinies. And He was headed to the cross for them.

Friends, when we think we have gotten away with a hidden sin, He knows us. He knows us. He knows our thoughts and intentions. He knows our destiny. And He went to the cross to provide the only way to change that destiny to one of hope.

Those men in verses 63-65 did not see Jesus turn and look at them like Peter did earlier in the chapter at his time of failure, but make no mistake: Jesus knew them and He knows us today.

He knows. May I always remember.


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What to Do When Someone Else Gets What You Wanted

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Everyone has had it happen, and it hurts. It is when you worked for something, you put yourself out there, and someone else was chosen for what you wanted.

You applied for your dream job…but were passed over.

You wanted to get into that graduate school…but you didn’t make the cut.

You sought a promotion…but someone else got it.

You tried out for the team…and were left to be in the stands instead of on the bench.

We know the feeling. It is painful–because we wanted it so much–to be told “no,” or even possibly, “you’re not good enough.”

(By the way, as an aside, I have often wondered about the man we are told about in Acts 1 who is named “Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also called Justus” [v.23]. Can you imagine being the one who was not chosen to be an apostle, while Matthias was? I have no doubt that Joseph handled it well, but it has intrigued me for a long time.)

When those times come and you are not the one chosen, what can you do? While this is not an exhaustive list, here are 6 things that I would hope every Christian would do.

1. Prayerfully Evaluate Yourself. It is easy to assume that you were better qualified, more prepared, or more gifted than you actually were. After all, we are striving to put our best foot forward, so we emphasize (maybe overemphasize?) our good traits. Is there something you could have done better? Is there some training or education you need? Could you have been more humble? More well-spoken? More prepared for the interview?

2. Take Your Frustration to God. God created us with emotions, so He understands when we are frustrated and hurt. While we must always remember to be reverent toward God in our prayers, it is acceptable to pour out our frustrations to Him. After all, as a loving Father, He wants to hear from His children!

3. Respect the One Who Got the Position. You did not get the job (or promotion or position), but someone did, and they have feelings, too. Scripture commands us to “rejoice with those who rejoice” (Romans 12:15), and that is not always easy! Even if you feel that you were more qualified or prepared, respect that the leaders did the best they could, and do not ruin this positive moment for someone else.

4. Be Gracious of the Leaders and the Process. I have literally seen people who were passed over for a job or position take to social media to blast those who did not choose him/her. Such is unbecoming of a Christian! Leaders, in a vast majority of cases, are doing the best they can and are trying their best to have the best process in place. Give them the grace they deserve as leaders and respect the system used of selection.

5. Learn and Grow. The sting of the moment is very real, but if you will use it properly, you will come out on the other side better. How many of our best doctors did not get into their first choice of medical school, but used that to better themselves, and we are better for it! How many preachers did not get that job, but are far better preachers because they know better how to have humility from that “rejection?”

6. Trust that God Has a Plan. Is it not at least possible that, in His perfect providence, God would like you to take this time where you feel rejected and use it to His glory? Maybe you didn’t make the team so you can use that time to learn Scripture better and teach a friend. Maybe you did not get the job over there because you need to shine His light right where you are. Maybe you did not get into that school and it is because it would have been a place where you were tempted to move away from the faith. Even through times when you feel passed over, trust that God has a plan.

None of this is meant to say that you won’t feel down, hurt, or even rejected. The pain is real and natural; every person knows that feeling. But as people of God, there is a right way to handle every situation, even when someone else gets what you wanted. I pray these things will help you when that moment inevitably comes.


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AUTHOR: Adam Faughn

Informing, Not Enforcing: Some Thoughts about The Salvation Army

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I fully realized that this may be one of my most controversial contributions to A Legacy of Faith. I have no interest in enforcing my practices or the practices of my family on anybody else. I would not presume to do so, even if I thought I had that right. 

A few weeks ago, while I was out doing some visiting, I drove by the local Salvation Army building. I took the time to stop and take a picture (which is reproduced below). I am doing this for one reason – and one reason only. 

I believe that there are many good people who donate to and/or buy from this organization without realizing that they are helping to support a religion. While The Salvation Army “markets itself” as merely an organization devoted to benevolence, the sign below demonstrates that it is, in fact, a religious institution.

While I have no interest in enforcing anything, I believe that, as a preacher and as an elder, I have the responsibility to inform others. It cannot be denied that those who choose to support The Salvation Army are (maybe unintentionally) choosing to support a group of people whose name, organization, worship, and plan of salvation cannot be found in the Bible. 

The following information may be found on The Salvation Army’s website:

The Salvation Army is an integral part of the universal Christian Church, although distinctive in government and practice.

Salvation Army places of worship are sometimes called ‘citadels’ or ‘temples’, but, whatever their name, they are Christian churches open to the community they serve and offering a warm welcome to all.

I will tell you that this is not merely an intellectual exercise for me. I have caught some flak from some of the bell-ringers who know that I am a preacher. They cannot believe that I would pass by those red kettles that seem to be everywhere about this time of the year without making a donation. One lady in particular really “raked me over the coals” for being a preacher and not supporting this “good work.”

It is precisely because I am a preacher of the gospel – and a New Testament Christian – that I cannot support or endorse any church other than the one about which I read in my Bible.

That’s where I am. That’s where I intend to always be. I hope you respect my decision and my right to make that decision. 

Your stand and your decision is up to you.

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And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him (Col. 3:17, ESV).


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Our 2016 Holiday Gift Guide

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In past years, we have released a couple of gift guides that were very random (one year, we even included a toy car-making machine!).

This year’s gift guide is meant to be more focused, as most of the ideas listed below are meant to instill the Word of God in the hearts of your family. A couple of things are for more specific groups of people, but we hope you find everything below to be helpful in learning God’s Word.

[Disclaimer: Any links below that take you to Amazon are affiliate links. All other links are not affiliate links.]

Polishing the Pulpit Flash Drives. In past years, Polishing the Pulpit has had some flash drives with all the audio lessons for attendees. However, after the convention, there are some drives left over, and they keep them available for sale, so long as supplies last. They are $100 each, but each contains over 400 lessons! To learn more, call PtP at 877-338-3397, or visit this page.

God, Give Us Christian Homes [Book by Jim Faughn]. Every family needs encouragement. Jim Faughn wrote this 13-chapter book to help families, or to be used in a Bible class. It would make a great gift for a family, or just a “gift to yourself,” for your family to study together. Currently, it is $11.95 on Amazon and can be found here.

Shaping Hearts for God “Class in a Box.” We use Shaping Hearts for God as our curriculum at 9th Avenue from 4s-5s through 4th grade. However, their “Class in a Box” is designed for 2s and 3s and can easily be used in a family devotional setting. There are two “classes,” and each is $39.99. Talk about a great gift for a young family that you see trying to teach their kids about God! Find out more and make your order here.

Shaping Hearts of God Bible Timeline. Okay, so this would take some space in a house, but if you know a family who homeschools, or who has a room where they hold family devotionals, this would be an awesome gift. It is a LONG timeline that shows the history of the Biblical narrative in a wonderful way. (Personally, this is my favorite thing that Shaping Hearts for God puts out.) The timeline is $29.99 and can be ordered here.

A gift for your elders: Rest in Green Pastures. Why not get your elders a small token of your affection? This book is written by elders, for elders. It is a quick read but provides so much encouragement. On Amazon, it is currently $12.00, and can be found here.

Advanced Reader: Amazing Skin Designed by God. Our kids love the “Advanced Reader” books from Apologetics Press, and this one is fresh off the presses. These books are for smaller kids, but even up through “tween-age” will probably find them interesting. This book is only $2.00 and can be ordered through Apologetics Press here.

Advanced Reader Series. If you want to dive into the whole Advanced Reader series from AP, you can order all 8 books in the series for the price of seven. For $14.00, that’s a great investment (and can be a wonderful stocking stuffer). Order them all here.

Pryor Convictions, The Book of Genesis. We are currently using this book in our family Bible time and we love it! Each of the 13 lessons is designed to be taught over the course of a few days, and includes a reading guide, review questions, crafts, games, activities, and more. The books produced by Pryor are intended for home use, so you will find them very useful. A great gift for a family. The Genesis book is $14.95, and you can find out more here.

CD: “One Voice: Praise & Worship.” Even though we are living in the age of Bluetooth, our family still listens to a lot of CDs when we travel. This is one of our favorites. It contains wonderful old hymns of praise sung by an amazing male quartet. This would make a great gift for a gift exchange or a quick, last-minute gift at a party. It is $15.00 here.

Hymns of the Heart. Okay, if you don’t mind, I’m going to include my own book here! This book walks readers through 35 of the Psalms and is meant to help the reader learn more about the wonderful God we serve. As of this writing, it is $11.41 on Amazon, but they regularly mark it down from that. You can find it here.

One Word Study Guide. These devotional books walk readers through one Biblical word (e.g., “grace,” “God,” “justification”) each week. Written by ministers of the churches of Christ, the goal is to share five short devotionals about each of the words, one for each week of the year in 2017. Many churches (including 9th Avenue) are going to give these out, but if your congregation is not, it would make a wonderful gift for someone. And, even more amazing, the book–which is tremendously designed and put together–is only $3.00. Order several copies here.

Well, there you go! We hope you find some of these resources to be great gifts…or you just decide to get some for your own family!


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AUTHOR: Adam Faughn