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Six Lessons on Fatherhood From Tim Brown
The former NFL wide receiver shares his tips on manhood and fatherhood from his book Making of a Man: How Men and Boys Honor God and Live with Integrity.

Biblical Medicine
Chris Bogosh has written a new book about modern healthcare: Biblical Medicine: Developing a Christian Worldview for Medical Science.

Gay Danish Couples Win Right To Marry In Church
Under the law, individual priests can refuse to carry out the ceremony, but the local bishop must arrange a replacement for their church.

The World’s Greatest Game
This from a Brazilian: “If we can pour all of this excitement and enthusiasm and happiness into soccer, think about what our hearts might be capable of in response to him.”

Geerhardus Vos on The Covenant of Grace
Not an easy read, but worth the effort for some instructive edification.

A Tribute To Discomfort
Climber and visual storyteller, Cory Richards, was named National Geographic Adventurer of the Year in 2012. Here he explains how hardship in his own life inspired his craft.

Marriage Boom in The UK

Despite the homosexual/transgender/poly-everything juggernaut, The Daily Telegraph reports some good news for real marriage that probably won’t get a lot of media attention. In Marriage Boom As Britain Experiences The Feelgood Factor we read:

The number of weddings in England and Wales jumped by 5.3 per cent in 2012 to more than 262,000 – the highest level for a decade and one of the biggest single increases since the early 1970s, according to the Office for National Statistics.

But analysis by the Marriage Foundation think-tank concludes that the true increase could be as much as 11 per cent when estimates for the number of couples flying abroad to get married are taken into account.

In percentage terms that would be the biggest rise since the surge in weddings when British servicemen returned from war in 1945.

Coupled with the biggest year-on-year jump in the number of church weddings for more than 30 years, family lawyers said it pointed to a revival of support for a “traditional” image of marriage.

Now, isn’t that something to celebrate? No, it’s not perfect, and yes, it’s a long way back, but let’s try to break out of the depressing cycle of constant criticism of moral trends and rejoice in any indication of God’s continuing grace to our world.

The report suggests a number of reasons for this “boom,” including an improved economy and even the “William and Kate” effect.

Ultimately though, it’s God, isn’t it. So, let’s not despair, let’s not give up, let’s not retreat, let’s not stop praying, let’s not stop advocating and lobbying.

Above all, let’s keep marrying (once each), multiplying (as many as you can manage), and modeling family life. If we do, the contrast between happy “traditional” families with the disintegrating and dismal alternatives will be increasingly shocking and stark and will be the most powerful argument in the world.

This report makes me hope that before too long people will yet come to their senses and will look back on these last 10 years of “redefinition” and wonder, “What were we thinking?”

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10 Personalities That Have No Place In Marriage
Jason Helopoulos: “As a pastor, who has counseled many couples, and as a veteran of sixteen years of marriage, I have found that these ten personalities have no place in Christian marriage.”

When My Fashion Accessory Told Me To Take A Hike
Someone once said, when posting about your young kids online, imagine a 15-year-old version of them looking over your shoulder.

Gospel-Shaped Gentleness
Five characteristics of the gentleness that is to dominate our demeanor as followers of Christ.

Ezra, Nehemiah, And Your Place In The Story
Interview with Jim Hamilton about his new Christ-centered commentary.

Why Your Teaching Isn’t As Effective As You Think
“Disequilibration” is the fascinating answer. Two ways to do this while still staying within the bounds of orthodoxy are by teaching old truths in fresh ways, and by teaching old truths that have become neglected and forgotten truths.

Don’t quite know why, but this made me cry.

Good News For Bad Kids

It’s that time of year I used to dread as a child (maybe even more as a parent), the time for end-of-year school reports when teachers issue reports on the progress of their students in various subjects.

The last couple of days we’ve been looking at Jesus’ report card in Luke 2 verses 40-52. There, we find the heavenly Father’s assessment of His Son in the most important subjects of life. No, not Algebra, English, History, etc., but obedience, teachability, and love.

Maybe, like some others, you felt convicted and condemned by such a profile. “I wasn’t a godly child….I’m not even a godly adult….I still fail in all these areas.”

Or perhaps your parents gave you the articles to read and you said, “Right, I’m going to try much harder today. I’m going to obey perfectly, learn perfectly, and even love my brother.”

Hmm, how’s that working out for you? Didn’t last long, did it? You probably feel more ungodly than ever don’t you?

I have a bit of good news for you. Four bits, to be precise.

Christ’s life for us: I used to dream that maybe one day the teachers would get mixed up and mistakenly send me home with the class genius’s report card. With Christ’s coming, that dream has come true and is even better than I could have imagined. Jesus lived the perfect childhood, the perfect life, that we did not, are not, and cannot. He then puts our name on the top and says, “Take it to Father.” And that’s not a mistake.

Christ’s death for us: But what about all my tardies, demerits, suspensions, lines, expulsions, etc? You can’t just kid on they never happened, can you. No, Jesus doesn’t whitewash our sins; He bloodwashes them. He died a death that covers our failed attempts to be godly children.

Christ’s sympathy for us: “No one understands me. …No one listens to me…Mom and Dad just don’t get it…” Well, whether Mom and Dad remember what it’s like to be a teenager in a world full of temptations, Jesus does. Yes, God, knows what it is like to be a child – a baby, a toddler, an infant, a teenager, etc. He remembers perfectly, understands perfectly, and sympathizes perfectly. He gets it.

Christ’s life in us: And what about going forward? The exams, trials, tests, and temptations never stop. Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could rent a really big brain now and again? But we can have even better, because Christ promises to live permanently inside us if we build our whole lives on His life, His death, and His sympathy.

Obedience, teachability, and love don’t look so scary now, do they?

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Website hosting (1&1) crashed yesterday. Blog reader (Feedly) was hacked. My digital archive (Evernote) had a denial of service attack. I knew I shouldn’t have started reading The Snowden Files. So, quick links today as I try to recover my world.

5 Reasons Established Churches Should Plant Churches

Pastoral Care, Confidentiality, and Sexual Abuse

Why I’m Thankful For The Freedom To Disagree

10 Lessons from 10 Years of Public Schooling

The Joy Of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (Free eBook)

Melinda Gates: Abortion Is Not Women’s Healthcare

Towards A Christian Perspective on Mental Illness

The Best Big Brother Ever

The Christian should try to be as popular as possible without compromising biblical doctrine and morals.

Some Christians measure faithfulness by how much other people hate them; others put friendliness above faithfulness.

However the Christian should aim for maximum faithfulness and maximum friendliness, just as the teenage Jesus grew in favor with God AND man (Lk. 2:52). His heavenly relationship developed and deepened in tandem with his earthly relationships. His spiritual growth coincided with his social growth, and the latter did not compromise the former but rather revealed and strengthened it.

And where did Jesus learn, practice, and mature His social skills? Primarily in His family home, His family relationships, and the family business.

The home and family continues to be the primary place our children learn to “grow in favor with man;” to love their neighbors; the hardest neighbors of all to love; the ones nearest to us; yes, our brothers and sisters.

But how do we measure that? How can we help our children to grow in favor with their brothers and sisters? Here are five loving actions I want to see my kids developing in their relationships with each other.

Communication: Yes, simply sitting down and talking to one another, even just for a few minutes. “What did you do today? How’s school going?, etc.”

Congratulation: Rejoicing when her brother rejoices. Enjoying his sister’s victories and successes. “Well done, I’m so happy for you.”

Commiseration: Weeping with those who weep. Expressing sympathy and sorrow when things don’t turn out so well. “I’m so so sorry, where does it hurt? Can I do anything to make it better?”

Contribution: Blessing them with generous presents and gifts. “Here, I’d like you to have the last piece of cheesecake.”

Collaboration: Working together rather than fighting together.”Can I help you…Would you help me, please?”

Or to put int simply: Speak, Rejoice, Weep, Give, Help.

It’s stunning to think of Jesus growing perfectly in all these areas in His family life as He prepared for wider social life and ministry.

The perfect combination of maximum friendliness and maximum faithfulness.

The best big brother ever.