One for your kids

Hi kids. I usually write a few lines each day for your Mom and Dad, but today I thought I’d write something for you.

I was doing a Bible study about children the other day, and discovered that the most common word God uses when talking about children is “obedience.” Here’s a couple of New Testament verses for you (Eph. 6:1; Col. 3:20). You can also find this word lots of times in the Old Testament, especially in the book of Proverbs.

Whatever else you want to be, you must aim and strive to be obedient. That’s not too complicated, is it? It simply means doing what you are told by God, parents, teachers, and others in positions of authority over you.

But obedience is not a very fashionable or popular idea today. In fact, we’re in danger of losing this whole concept from our families, our churches, and our culture. So here’s a quick summary of the kind of obedience God requires from you, and we’ll focus especially on obeying our parents.

1. Total obedience: Do everything your parents say unless it’s clearly contrary to God’s Word. Underline “all things” in Colossians 3:20.

2. Speedy obedience: Delayed obedience is disobedience.

3. Cheerful obedience: Not with sullen face and resentful spirit but willingly and happily.

4. Unquestioning obedience: As you get older, there may be times when you might ask for an explanation for why Mom and Dad are asking you to do something. But that questioning should never be rebellious and a way of avoiding obedience, but rather to help obedience.

5. Unseen obedience: This means obeying even when your parents are not there to see.

6. Initiated obedience: Don’t just wait passively until you are asked to do something but actively volunteer to help, ask in what way you can obey your parents better.

7. Happy obedience: Paul says that obeying our parents is not just right, it’s pleasing to God (Col. 3:20), it makes Him happy. But it also makes us happy too. Psalm 1 celebrates how a life lived in the study and practice of the Bible is the happiest life there can ever be.

8. Life-extending obedience: If we honor our parents by obeying them, God promises to extend our life (Ex. 20:12). Of course God sometimes wisely decides to make some exceptions to that, but in general we can say that obedient children live longer, not just because their lifestyle will be safer, but because of God’s blessing.

9. Temporary obedience: When does the obligation to obey our parents end? Some say 18, or 21, or when we go to college. However, these are all cultural norms. The Bible points to marriage as the game-changer. Although we should never stop honoring our parents, obeying them does undergo a change at marriage. We “leave” our father and mother, and “cleave” to our wife or husband. Although we would be wise to continue to consult our parents and seek their blessing on our decisions, marriage sets up a new family unit and a new center of authority. (What this means for adult singles is another subject).

10. Revealing obedience: Your parents are God’s representatives in your life. He has appointed them to rule you in His name. The way you talk and listen to them reveals how you talk and listen to God. The state of your relationship with them reveals the state of your relationship with God.


Check out

BBC Journalist Admits Media Has Religion Blind Spot
BBC journalist Edward Stourton has said Britain’s lack of appreciation for the importance of religion across the world damages its news coverage.

It’s Not Enough To Win The Head, We Must Also Win The Heart
Stephen Altrogge: “if we’re going to win people to Jesus, we need to aim for both the head and the heart. We need to change people ideas and their desires.”

A Graduation Gift That is Better Than A Book
Kim Shay: “A great gift for students going away from home is a TLC Away From Home Kit. After being the mother of university students for lo these seven years, my suggestion is to find a solid, plastic container with a lid and put in the following…”

Top 10 Books For Graduates
But if you are looking for some book ideas…

Do You Want a Beautiful Woman?
Lore Ferguson is one of the most independent thinkers and one of the freshest voices on the Christian web today.

To All The Parents of Problem Kids
Now this little post is going to encourage a lot of parents.

Father’s Day Surprise
“Sometimes the best part of being a Dad is just being able to be a Dad.”


8 Baby Steps To Christian Courage

Christian leaders face many difficult, daunting, demanding, and, sometimes, dangerous situations – both outside the church and inside the church. That’s why the military model of leadership is used so commonly in Scripture. And yet the vast majority of us are cowards. We avoid danger. We walk away from conflict. We prefer comfort and ease to sacrifice and pain. Christians especially may have a tendency towards timidity rather than bravery. Fear comes more naturally than faith.

That’s why God calls us to courage in the Bible (Josh. 1:6, 9, 18; 1 Cor. 9:26; 1 Tim. 6:12; 2 Tim. 1:7; 2:3-4), and also gives us many examples of it in the Bible and in Church History. These exhortations and examples set the bar high but don’t really provide help in reaching it. So, although I feel I have more expertise in cowardice than courage, here are a few things I’ve found useful in times when I have been enabled to put my head above the parapet.

You can read the rest of the post at The Christward Collective.

The bullet points are:

1. Memorize scripture

2. Ponder the potential

3. Seek the En-courager

4. Take baby-steps

5. Trust the Lord with your future

6. Hold on to the promises

7. Maintain a clear conscience

8. Remember the final judgment.


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Have We Forgotten The Power of Touch?
This is worth reading, especially as to re-balance our modern paranoia about how the slightest “touch” might be interpreted.

Diversity? Look No Further Than The Church
Jason Helopoulos: “Is Sunday morning at 10 a.m. the most segregated hour of the week? I don’t know. But I do know that there is no entity, no institution, no movement, and no organization that is as multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, multi-racial, multi-national, or multi-linguistic as the Christian Church.  It is a tapestry of colors, dialects, and ethnicities.”

Too Posh To Be Effective In Inner-City Ministry?
Mez McConnell helps you decide if you’re up to inner-city ministry.

Dear Kids, We’re Not Going To Disneyworld, Period
Parents, you might find this useful.

Do Fathers Matter?
Science is discovering that Fathers contribute far more to their children than many realize. “After birth, children whose fathers play with them, read to them, take them on outings, and care for them have fewer behavioral problems during their early school years. And they have a lower risk of delinquency or criminal behavior as adolescents.”

The Farmer With No Arms Or Legs
This might maker you work a bit happier and harder today.


Top 10 Books on Using Technology

As I’m often asked for book recommendations on various subjects, I decided to put together an online list of my top ten books in various categories. Basically, if I was only allowed 10 books in my library on that subject, these are the ten I would choose. Previous posts include:

Today I’m listing the Top 10 Books on Using Technology. These are the books that I would recommend to any Christian trying to get to grips with this digital age and not be overwhelmed by the digital revolution. These books, though not all by Christian authors, include both warnings about the dangers and practical encouragements for how to use technology in a healthy and profitable way.

After this list you’ll find a poll where you can cast three votes for your favorite books in this category. Click on “View Results” to see what books are most popular.

You can also add any book not on the list by writing the title in “Other” or in the Comments  I’ll add these to the end of the post under “Reader Suggestions.”

You may also want to look at Top 40 Online Resources on Using Social Media In Ministry.

1. The Next Story: Life and Faith after the Digital Explosion by Tim Challies

This book strikes a perfect balance between warning against the dangers of technology while also encouraging a positive approach to using it for personal profit and God’s glory. It also has a good balance between biblical teaching and scientific research. Well-written, well-argued, and well worth reading.

2. You, Your Family and the Internet by David Clark

This is the simplest book on the list. A good starter book for any family that is just beginning to struggle with the Internet and other new technologies. Readable and do-able.

3. Your Brain at Work: Strategies for Overcoming Distraction, Regaining Focus, and Working Smarter All Day Long by

Not by a Christian author, but it helps us to understand the science of what we are doing to our brains with our current work practices, and guides us to manage our limited mental resources in a healthier and happier way. The author follows a totally stressed-out couple as they try to cope with the digital deluge in their work settings. He analyzes their failings and then suggests alternative scenarios that would help them to work more efficiently and enjoyably. He also shows how knowing how our brains work and respond to pressure enables us to understand others better, resulting in better communication, collaboration, and long-term change.

4. Bit Literacy: Productivity in the Age of Information and E-mail Overload by Mark Hurst

On the same subject as Your Brain at Work, but a bit more basic with more emphasis on the practical. A good place to start if you want to pick up numerous tips on how to change bad the digital habits most of us have acquired into good habits that will improve our work and lives. If you want to learn how to better manage all the “bits” that swirl around your life – email, to-do lists, photos, files, etc., – begin here.

5. From the Garden to the City by John Dyer

A biblical theology of technology and how it interacts with us and our culture by a reliable Christian author. Good companion volume to The Next Story.

6. Digital Leader: 5 Simple Keys to Success and Influence by Erik Qualman

So important for anyone with any leadership role to understand the powerful influence of using digital technology well. Here’s A Digital Dictionary For Leaders and 10 Digital Commandments I gleaned from this book.

7. Ministry in the Digital Age: Strategies and Best Practices for a Post-Website World by David Bourgeois

You won’t agree with everything in here, but it’s a good place to start for some ideas on how to utilize social media and other new digital technologies for ministry purposes.

8. Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other by Sherry Turkle

Written by an MIT science professor, this book majors on the dangers and downsides of technology. Makes a compelling scientific case for much greater discernment in our choice and use of technology. Similar in approach, outlook, and tone to the best-selling book, The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains by Nicholas Carr. Alone Together focuses more on the social impact, and The Shallows more on the intellectual impact.

9. The Social Church: A Theology of Digital Communication by Justin Wise

Back to distinctly Christian books with this good combination of theology and practice. Like #7, you don’t need to embrace everything to benefit from this book, but it will make you think more deeply about social media and also do it more thoughtfully and theologically.

10. iGods: How Technology Shapes Our Spiritual and Social Lives by Craig Detweiller

Traces the history of modern technologies, takes a balanced look at their present impact, and looks into the future to predict where this is all going.

Honorable Mentions

Digital Invasion: How Technology is Shaping You and Your Relationships by Archibald D. Hart

Technopoly: The Surrender of Culture to Technology by Neil Postman

Now you decide, what are your favorites? You can cast three votes and write a book in “Other” if it’s not on the list and I’ll add it to Reader Suggestions below. Click on “View Results” to see voting results.

Reader Suggestions

Technopoly: The Surrender of Culture to Technology by Neil Postman

iPod, YouTube, Wii Play: Theological Engagements with Entertainment by D. Brent Laytham.


Top 40 Online Resources on Using Social Media In Ministry

I was recently preparing a conference address for pastors on using social media in ministry. When I looked up my online bookmarks on the subject I found I’d accumulated over 40 posts by different authors on using social media for ministry purposes. I’ve listed them below, but first here are links to previous lists of online resources in different categories:

You may also want to look at my list of Top 10 Books On Using Technology.

Top 40 Online Resources on Using Social Media In Ministry

Facebook and the call to ministry

A digital dictionary for leaders

10 digital commandments

The Christian Leader in the Digital Age

Leading Distracted People

10 Tips for Leaders who Don’t Want to Become Self-Promoting Jerks Online

Twitter as a Leadership Tool

Social Tools, Better Leadership

Not Tweeting? Repent!

A Post-website World

The Tweeting Disciple

The Discipline of Secrecy and the Joy of Honoring Others

Social Media and Christian Ministry: Reaching the World for the Kingdom of God

Using Social Media in Your Church

7 Ways to Think Differently About Your Church Social Media Content

4 Things a Pastor Should Consider Before Engaging Social Media

7 Ways Social Media Makes Pastoring More Difficult

Facebook Etiquette: Why Quitting Social Media Is a Losing Proposition

What Your Facebook Updates Say About You, Your Faith, and Your Mental Health

Five Questions We Should Ask Ourselves Before Posting on Social Media

Don’t Let Social Media Destroy Your Marriage

Why Pastors Should Blog

The Dangers of Online Christianity

Pastors: #rethink your Instagram

Pondering a Digital Future

The Plastic Fruit of Online Living

The Digital World Of Teens

The Pastor’s Guide to Blogging

A web of wisdom

A Social Media Heart Check

The 6 Essential Social Media Skills of Leaders

Using Common Media for Church Growth

12 Social Media Tips For Church Leaders

Social Media Changes Everything

Your Best Image Now

Posting Strategy for Social Media

The Best Social Media Tip I Can Give You

Facebook, Privacy and Marital Oneness

The Ultimate List of Social Media Policies for Churches & Ministries

Social Media Best Practices

The Perils and Promise of Social Media by Collin Hansen

Social Media and Digital Discernment

Social Media: Blessing or Curse?