Tag Archives: Parenting

My Weekend Picks for 6-3-2016

Picks Weekend

This is the stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing today that I think may enrich your day as well...

This is so good!
If you read only one of these links, read this one…

A Pharisee in Tax Collector’s ClothingBarnabas Piper
We have learned to revel in our weakness, to lead with our flaws. We call it “authenticity” – we are real in what we reveal. We aren’t hypocrites; hypocrisy is the new unforgiveable sin. We are the tax collector, or at least we play one on TV. We are so elated in our role as tax collector we, well, we can’t help but be a bit smug that we’re not like that person. That judgmental jerk on Twitter. That fundamentalist crank. That whoever-is-on-the-other-side-of-my-ideological-fence.

By becoming the tax collector we have become the Pharisee. In pursuing the position of authenticity we have puffed ourselves up. In distancing ourselves from those with whom we differ we have revealed our true selves…

…Which posture do we find ourselves taking – “I am so glad I am not like _____” or “Have mercy on me, a sinner.” We cannot do both.

I think about this every time my grandson asks to play ball or throw a Frisbee with me…

5 reasons why throwing a ball mattersJamie Dew
5. Most of all, taking the time to invest in your child by throwing a ball, or anything like this, shows them that they mean something to you and that you love them. There’s hardly anything more important to them that you can show them.

The title alone makes this piece worthwhile…

God Values Those who Don’t Share His Values
Michael Kelley
This parable powerfully portrays the value God places on those who don’t share his values. This posture of gracious pursuit stands in stark contrast to the separatist Pharisees who refused to associate with any such “sinners” in the name of honoring the Lord through personal holiness.

Can you believe it? Can you believe that God’s posture towards sinners is one in which He diligently pursues them for His joy? If so, you will have joy yourself, and will mirror this same posture to the lost.

You will value those who do not share your core values.

I’ve never understood why so many people want to sit at the back for church worship services…

Why I Sit At the FrontTim Chester
Whenever I find myself at the back of church meeting I feel like I’m hedging my bets. I kind of involved, but I’m also detached. I don’t know what comes first for most people – the half-hearted participation or the sitting at the back. But I notice that it’s the people at the back who are more likely to be looking at their phones during the meeting. Certainly for me sitting at the back makes me feel detached. I feel like an observer.

And why would you want that? Speaking for myself, I need to the public preaching of God’s word, corporate acts of confession, affection-stirring singing. I can’t afford to be peripheral to these moments because that makes them peripheral to my life.

Source: Wrong Hands

My Picks for Wednesday 6-1-2016

Picks Wednesday

This is the stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing today that I think may enrich your day as well...

I appreciated this thoughtful reflection…

Confessions of a Media-Protective Parent
Michelle Van Loon
Confessions of a Media-Protective Parent“We didn’t say “no” to everything our kids wanted to watch or listen to, nor did we want to. Our hope was that, if we could land somewhere between the extremes—of passive, uncritical consumption, or blocking all pop culture with ironclad filters—our kids would learn to think critically with music and media…

…There is a time to shelter, a time to expose, and it takes supernatural wisdom to know the difference. This wisdom is at the heart of Philippians 4:8 and makes outsiders of each one of us who follows Jesus, whether we know all the words to Purple Rain or not.”

Are you “Pro-Life” or just “Anti-Abortion”?

Pro-Life from Womb to TombMarshall Segal
Pro-Life from Womb to Tomb j2ndutuk
“Developing a heart for human life, all human life, from a vision and reality like this will radically transform and inspire how we treat people — of every age, every ethnic background, every socioeconomic status. The cause for life began at creation, when God made man and woman in his image, and gave us dominion over every other created thing. And God punctuated the cause for life when he chose to enter the womb himself for our sake…

…Léonce says, “I think there’s a big difference between being anti-abortion and pro-life. Anti-abortion means you have a conviction that it is murder to kill a child in the womb. It’s a good position. But to be pro-life means that you not only want that child to enter the world, but that you want that child to thrive when they enter the world. . . . It’s not just about getting children into the world, but about making sure they flourish as human beings once they’re here.”

I think every worship leader struggles with this question from time to time…

Am I a Hypocrite?Michael Farren
Screen Shot 2016-06-01 at 2.51.15 AM“Even after all my years of leading worship, knowing full well that it has nothing to do with my worth or perfection, I will admit to still wrestling the question of hypocrisy every time I step onto the stage in a broken or messy state of being.

But it’s not just a worship pastor problem. I would make a very unscientific yet experienced observation that roughly half of all attendees walk into church on any given Sunday feeling more or less hypocritical…

…Harsh as it may sound, for the first time ever I now see that there are way more hypocrites at home on Sunday than are sitting in the pews. And I’d rather stand with my hands raised next to messy, broken, yet hope filled people, than become a hypocrite. I refuse to let the enemy blackmail me with his lies and accusations…if we have placed our belief in the goodness and kindness of the one true God, let’s stop behaving in a way that disagrees with that belief.”

There is a lot of information in this article to digest and I think it’s worth whatever time it takes…

Alarmism And Transgendered KidsRod Drehera katz / Shutterstock.com
“This is what’s happening now. The current state of scientific research says that most kids’ — 75 percent — gender dysphoria resolves (the kids are likely to end up identifying as gay or bisexual). But that is extremely politically incorrect — so much so that respected scientists lose their jobs over taking that position…

…This is where we are: a culture driven by the politics of transgender activists…Activists are writing the policies. Activists are driving the media and academic culture…

…Ten, twenty years from now, there are going to be a lot of maimed, broken people staggering around. This episode in history will be looked back on with horror. We will wonder how we gave in to such madness, and harmed so many people, or allowed them to harm themselves. Doctors, activists, celebrities, the media, and politicians will bear so much guilt, but probably little blame. It will all go down the memory hole. Progressives in the future will say of the transgender madness, “How were we to know?”

If they say anything at all.”

Wally’s political opinion…
Tina: I saw your political opinion on Facebook and now I think you're an awful person. Wally: What did you think about me before? Tina: I didn't think about you before. Wally: Sounds like I got promoted.
Click image for a larger view. Source: Dilbert

My Picks for Monday 5-9-2016

Picks Monday

This is the stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing today that I think may enrich your day as well...

I believe he’s right about these spiritual reasons for physical exercise…

3 Reasons Why Exercise is Good for Your Soul
Michael Kelley
Treadmills_at_gym“Don’t misunderstand – exercise is not a cure all. Neither is it inherently spiritual in and of itself. And yet there’s something there…

…I’ve come to think that exercise is not only good for the body; for the Christian, it’s also good for the soul. And here are 3 reasons why…”

I Am Not In ChurchThom Rainer
I-Am-Not-in-Church“I am not in church.

Sure, I have visited churches several times, but I gave up…

But I need help. I know I need help. There are times I hurt badly and seek answers. I was hoping to find some of those answers at church. I was hoping to meet people who cared. I was hoping to be in place where I am treated with dignity and care.”

This link is basically a compilation of other links and articles, some of which I’ve already shared, that seek to provide help for the Christian voter in this hard-to-figure-out election. Lots of wisdom here…

9 Perspectives on Trump, Clinton, and the Evangelical Christian VoterBob Kellemen
1 1 1 1 2016
“…what is an American Christian to do when presented with a choice between two prominent presidential candidates where choosing either is morally problematic?

Many of us have been prayerfully asking ourselves that question. And we’ve been seeking wise counsel. In today’s post, I’ve collated online counsel that can be helpful to us as we seek to address the issue of Trump, Clinton, and the Evangelical Christian Voter

Unsolicited Advice for My Three Sons, In No Particular OrderRufus Griscom

While I don’t have sons, and I don’t necessarily agree with every single piece of advice, I loved this article. Below are three of my favorites.

“People don’t look bad in photos because they “aren’t photogenic”; they look bad in photos because they think they are better looking than they are. Don’t be one of these people. Embrace and own the degree to which you are funny looking. It gives you personality, and it will cause you to be pleasantly surprised by your reflection in the mirror now and then.”

“If peanut butter could only be found in the placenta of a rare tropical bird, it would cost $1,000 per ounce. Sure, caviar tastes good, but so does peanut butter. People are irrationally attracted to that which is scarce, because scarce things function as status symbols. If you understand the elements of human behavior that are irrational and predictable, you are freed from them and can benefit from the insight.”

“Always give money to street musicians, even bad ones. (Well maybe not really bad ones.) The streets need more music.”

On being treated like an adultSeth Godin

“It’s great to dream like a kid, but no fun to be treated like one. It bristles because we feel that, even if the person involved has best intentions, we’ve outgrown being treated like a child. Some behaviors to consider if you want to avoid this situation…


Click image for a larger view. Source: Pearls Before Swine

My Picks for Thursday 4-21-2016

This is the stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing today that I think may enrich your day as well...

I’ve enjoyed N.D. Wilson’s insightful and reflective writing for some time now. I appreciate very much what he says here about children’s literature..

Why I Write Scary Stories for ChildrenN.D. Wilson
“I write violent stories. I write dark stories. I write them for my own children, and I write them for yours. And when the topic comes up with a radio host or a mom or a teacher in a hallway, the explanation is simple. Every kid in every classroom, every kid in a bunk bed frantically reading by flashlight, every latchkey kid and every helicoptered kid, every single mortal child is growing into a life story in a world full of dangers and beauties. Every one will have struggles and ultimately, every one will face death and loss.

There is absolutely a time and a place for The Pokey Little Puppy and Barnyard Dance, just like there’s a time and a place for footie pajamas. But as children grow, fear and danger and terror grow with them, courtesy of the world in which we live and the very real existence of shadows. The stories on which their imaginations feed should empower a courage and bravery stronger than whatever they are facing. And if what they are facing is truly and horribly awful (as is the case for too many kids), then fearless sacrificial friends walking their own fantastical (or realistic) dark roads to victory can be a very real inspiration and help…

…But the goal isn’t to steer kids into stories of darkness and violence because those are the stories that grip readers. The goal is to put the darkness in its place.”

She’s going to be on the $20 bill, click on this link for a little bit about why…

Harriet Tubman
-from the book 131 Christians Everyone Should Know
Harriet Tubman

“I always tole God, ‘I’m gwine [going] to hole stiddy on you,
an’ you’ve got to see me through.'”

I’ve used movie scenes as sermon illustrations many times. But I think this article makes some excellent points for reconsidering that practice…

Should You Use Illustrations from Movies?Jesse Johnson
movie“A good friend of mine asked me what I think of pastors using illustrations from movies in their sermons. My friend uses them because he thinks they are helpful in relating to a culture that increasingly has their worldview formed through entertainment.

But I don’t buy it. In my experience, illustrations sparked by the golden screen (or Netflix, or what have you) generally fail, and are almost always unhelpful.

Here are some reasons why…”

This excellent insight isn’t just for pastor’s wives,but for everyone who serves regularly in their church…

Pastor’s Wife, Don’t Just Give to the Church
Christine Hoover
“But sometimes I am almost so robotically tuned to “giving” mode that I forget how much I need the ministry of the church myself. I don’t mean that I forget I have needs; I’m well aware of them. I mean that I overestimate my importance in the church and underestimate the importance others are intended to have in my life according to God’s design for the church. This is a dangerous perspective for any leader in the church.

Because here’s what happens. When I wake up on Sunday morning after a busy weekend or with a heavy heart and know deep down that I have nothing in my flesh to give to others, it can be very difficult to prepare my heart and mind for church. Rather going to church with a prayerful expectancy to enjoy the mutual ministry of the Body, I’m prone to self-condemnation because of my weakness, grumbling, and hiding my needs from others. It’s a self-protective, just-get-through-church perspective, because it requires me to be strong and to give but never receive.”

For the good of the country…
Click image for a larger view. Source: Dilbert by Scott Adams

What Will They Remember?

My Papa (pronounced “PAH-paw”) passed away while I was in college. I have some very vivid memories of him. None of them bad. I’m certainly not saying he was the perfect man. I am saying that I can’t think of a single unpleasant memory of my Papa.

He let me drive the tractor.






He let me drink his beer.




He let me help him dig potatoes.

He could blow his nose without a tissue or handkerchief. Just let it fly! This was truly impressive to me. It wasn’t, however, nearly as impressive to my mom when I tried it at home. Possibly because I was indoors at the time, but I can’t be sure.

He let me beat him at Checkers. (I thought I was just that good.)

It seems like he always had time for me.

I always loved the times I got to spend the night at Papa’s house. After spending the day exploring his farm and the woods behind it, or “helping” with some chores, I have memories of sitting in front of the fire in their little farm house and eating popcorn out of a huge bowl. I can still feel what it was like to climb up the steep steps to go to bed in the big feather bed. Well, it seemed big to me at the time.

When I’m with my grandkids I often think about what they will remember about me after they’ve grown. I find that I intentionally say and do things in the hope that it will be a memory they will hold dearly long after I’m gone. I suppose that’s silly in a way, because I know they will end up with lifetime memories of things that I likely will have forgotten by next week.

Crazy kids.

I wonder why we don’t think like this with our own kids.

Maybe we should.

I wish I had.


My Picks for Tuesday 2-16-2016

This is the stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing today that I think may enrich your day as well…

5 Places to Look When You Don’t Know Where to Turn
Michael Kelley
IMG_5338“These are the times when you truly do not know what the next step is; when anxiety is closing in; when everywhere seems like darkness that you can’t get through; when you don’t know where to turn.

That’s why the Bible tells us to “look.” Here are five places you can focus your gaze during those times – when you don’t know where to turn…”

This article resonated with me for two obvious reasons: my two beautiful daughters…

To Your Daughter, Speak the TruthJen Wilkin
“…tell her she’s beautiful. She won’t believe you, any more than we believed our own fathers and mothers. But she will hear it from someone who genuinely means it, with no ulterior motive. She will hear it from you first. And that matters.

Because you don’t want her to hear it from someone else first.

Your daughter knows when you tell her “You’re beautiful” that what you mean is “You’re beautiful to me.” And though initially she may perceive this to be the most well-meaning lie ever told to her, in time she will grow to recognize it as the most basic truth she can ever hear you speak: No matter what anyone else sees when they look at you, I see you when I look at you, and I say that what I see is beautiful. The end.”

I had no idea this existed. Would love to see it…

How 43 Giant, Crumbling Presidential Heads Ended Up in a Virginia FieldJennifer Billock
https://scontent-ord1-1.cdninstagram.com/t51.2885-15/e35/12545290_1675548432693451_178459066_n.jpg?ig_cache_key=MTE3NzI5Njk4Nzg0NDM2NjI4MQ%3D%3D.2“In Croaker, Virginia stands a sight that would make just about anyone stop in their tracks. 43 ghostly effigies of presidents past crowd together in the tall grass. Some of the 18-to-20-foot busts have crumbling noses. Tear-like stains fall from the eyes of others. All have bashed-in heads to some degree. This could be a scene from the world’s most patriotic horror movie, but it’s all too real—and Howard Hankins’ family farm is just the latest stop on the busts’ larger-than-life journey from iconic pieces of art to zombie-like markers of America’s past.”

"Failure isn't a necessary evil. In fact, it isn't evil at all. It is a necessary consequence of doing something new." —Ed Catmull
“Failure isn’t a necessary evil. In fact, it isn’t evil at all.
It is a necessary consequence of doing something new.”
-Ed Catmull

Is this sign necessary?

You can leave for no more the 15 minutes, then you’d better get your car back here…

Photo by Polly Burroughs

My Picks for Monday 2-15-2016

This is the stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing today that I think may enrich your day as well…

Excellent tribute to Justice Scalia. I also appreciated the comparison of his approach to the Constitution to how we approach scripture…

A Giant has Fallen — The Death of Justice Antonin Scalia and the Future of Constitutional GovernmentAlbert Mohler
“Christians must also remember that Justice Scalia’s understanding of the proper reading of the Constitution as a text is directly relevant to the church’s proper reading of Scripture. The same liberal theorists who propose reading the Constitution as a “living” and “evolving” text also propose that the Bible be liberated from its actual text and from the intention of its authors. Ultimately, this approach to the Bible, common to theological liberalism, denies the authority of God as the ultimate author of the Scriptures. It is no accident that liberal theology and liberal theories of the constitution emerged together in American public life.”

One more on Scalia. This one a little more personal…

Justice Antonin Scalia – that time we chatted on the phone
Tim Fall
U.S. Supreme Court (Wikimedia)
“He not only took my call but spent time chatting, not as if I was a nobody from a tiny court in a rural county in California but as one colleague to another.

He encouraged me in our profession and I found that his phone line was still open to me when I called him a few more times over the years, sometimes to talk law and once just to ask if he wouldn’t mind if one of my law clerks poked her head in while she was in Washington. He not only said yes to meeting her, but asked if she’d like him to set aside a seat for her to watch a Supreme Court oral argument. She sat in the section set aside for the justices’ families.

There’s an even better call we can make, though. It’s the one that comes through faith by God’s grace…”

I found this piece very moving…

Death, the Prosperity Gospel and MeKate Bowler
“One of the prosperity gospel’s greatest triumphs is its popularization of the term “blessed.” …  Over the last 10 years, “being blessed” has become a full-fledged American phenomenon. Drivers can choose between the standard, mass-produced “Jesus Is Lord” novelty license plate or “Blessed” for $16.99 in a tasteful aluminum. When an “America’s Next Top Model” star took off his shirt, audiences saw it tattooed above his bulging pectorals. When Americans boast on Twitter about how well they’re doing on Thanksgiving, #blessed is the standard hashtag. It is the humble brag of the stars. #Blessed is the only caption suitable for viral images of alpine vacations and family yachting in barely there bikinis. It says: “I totally get it. I am down-to-earth enough to know that this is crazy.” But it also says: “God gave this to me. [Adorable shrug.] Don’t blame me, I’m blessed.”

I’ve got a grand-daughter who will be 10 next year. This kind of stuff worries me for her…

American Girls: How Social Media Is Disrupting the Lives of TeenagersNancy Jo Sales
“I spent the past 2½ years researching my new book American Girls: Social Media and the Secret Lives of Teen­agers, visiting 10 states and talking to more than 200 girls. It was talking to girls themselves that brought me to the subject of social media and what sexualization is doing to their psyches. How is it affecting their sense of self-worth? The tweens and teens I spoke to were often very troubled by the ways the culture of social media was exerting influence on their self-images and their relationships, with both friends and potential dating partners. They were often highly aware of the adverse effects of the sexualization on girls—but not always sure what to do about it.”

Good reminder to worship leaders…

Becoming Like What We BeholdJamie Brown
FullSizeRender 5“We pick up the mannerisms of people we study and admire. Children are constantly watching, listening, and beholding their parents, and so it’s natural that they begin to become like what (or whom) they’re beholding…

Behold yourself? Become more like yourself. Behold the world? Become more like the word. Behold Jesus? Become more like Jesus.

When we behold Jesus, we’ll pick up more and more of his mannerisms.

Worship leaders: never tire or move beyond helping your congregation behold the glory of Jesus Christ, through the freedom-giving power of the Spirit. Jesus is not one of many things we should pointing to through our songs. He is the main thing. He is the central theme. And he is the image of God.”

Gotta love the classics…
Gary Larson, The far Side