Is It Worth It?

“Mom, I need $3 for blitzing.” “Dad, I need $10 for the youth activity.” $25 for teen camp registration before Christmas time. Winter retreat registration due right as credit card bills. A few bucks for AWANA, more for another ministry event. Especially when two or three are involved in the same ministry you begin to wonder if it’s all worth it.

We’ve all heard the quote regarding Christian education that “it doesn’t cost, it pays,” which, I wholeheartedly agree with. Yet at the same time busyness and expense of activity does not insure godly children. Remember, that our goal is godly children not, simply, good children. So the question remains, is it worth it? Continue reading

Why Aren’t You Having More Kids?

ad_2009_cm_sac_kingdom_questIn case you didn’t figure it out from the title of this post, I am about to wander in to dangerous territory. Even the most socially adept individuals break into a cold sweat when you try to talk about the number of children they plan to have–especially if you encourage them to try for “just one more.”

Just having come out of a distinct college culture (I know, I know; we left Greenville, SC nearly two years ago–but I’m still a graduate student at a seminary), I remember coming to the conclusion that my wife and I should refrain from having children until we were in a good financial position, I had finished my education, and we had spent some quality time together “as a couple.” That was pretty much the standard philosophy of most of the newlyweds who tied the knot around the same time as Mandy and I did. I now wonder whether that take on life borrowed more from the culture around us or from the teachings of Scripture. Continue reading

Book Review: Shepherding a Child’s Heart

51R089Y1DML._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-big-search,TopRight,35,-76_AA240_SH20_OU01_Tripp, Tedd. Shepherding a Child’s Heart. Wapwallopen, PA: Shepherd’s Press, 1995. 211 pages.

This book has been out for a while, but I wanted it to be the first book I highlight in a series of book reviews pertaining to children/parenting. Let me be very clear from the outset: if you are a parent, you need to read this book. I anticipate using this book as a reference and encouragement as I attempt to raise my children to fear God.

What is so special about this book? Besides the experience and wisdom of an experienced pastor, counselor, school administrator, and parent, I’ve listed a few characteristics that set it apart from other books on parenting. Continue reading

There is no God like Thee

SkyWhat is the greatest commandment?  The answer too easily rolls off our tongues:

Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. (Mt. 22:37)

How much of our lives is governed by this love?  Continue reading

THINK before Communicating

thinkThis acrostic is not original with me, but it has been helpful as I think about how I communicate as a growing, maturing Christian.

  • THINK before Communicating
    Is it True?
    Is it Helpful
    ?
    Is it Inspiring
    ?
    Is it Necessary?
    Is it Kind
    ?

Colossians 4:6  Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.

For Parents with Babies

smile-babyAs the parent of a toddler (Breanna, 18 months old), I have been tempted to think that I have all the time in the world to figure out how to engage in the task of parenting in such a way that my children grow up to be Christ-loving, God-fearing adults. That was even more of a temptation when my daughter couldn’t crawl or walk or say any words. When your child is a baby, or just growing out of that phase, it seems a little out of place to speak of “reaching the heart,” or “discipleship.” Sometimes it even seems weird to read a Bible story to an infant–let alone pray with them.

So when is it appropriate for us as parents to begin addressing the heart issues our child needs to face? When should we be gathering the necessary tools to point our children to the Savior? When is it time to think through family devotions? When does it become crucial for our little ones to be in church on a regular basis? I don’t have an exact answer to that question, but the following verses help me keep things in perspective: Continue reading

A Global Gospel: Spain – Allentown – Sellersville – Spain

global-communityWe’re told that we live in a global community an it’s true. But let me give one illustration of how it happened here at Bethel this past Sunday. Jack Dowler, who teaches a Sunday School class to the children who ride the bus to church told me this afternoon that his wife, Jen, was able to lead a 4th grade girl from Spain to Christ. This little girl was visiting extended family in Allentown and decided to come to church with her cousin. What a privilege Jen experienced as this little girl in Spanish and through tears accepted Jesus Christ as her personal Savior. I’m thankful for the bus pastor who spent time on Saturday knocking on doors making sure a little girl came to church. I’m thankful for a bus driver who got up a little early on Sunday morning to drive a bus up to Allentown to pick up boys and girls to hear and live the Gospel. I’m thankful for the bus workers who helped with the program on the bus to prepare little hearts to respond to the Gospel. Praise God for folks giving of themselves to give the Gospel!