Archive for October, 2014

Trick or Treat

Posted: October 31, 2014 in Uncategorized

Check out this brief and creative video about the history of Halloween:

The One on Halloween

Posted: October 31, 2014 in Uncategorized

My wife and I have yearly debates about Halloween. We agree we don’t want to mess with Santa Clause and the Easter Bunny because those distract from the true purpose we celebrate those holidays for. But Halloween is different. One of us is more for it while the other leans against participating in it. We’ve heard the arguments that “this is the devil’s holiday” and Christians shouldn’t participate or they are supporting paganism and witchcraft. Instead, the theory seems to go that we should keep our lights off and seclude ourselves from the community and our neighbors even though this is the only time they come door to door to our houses. We’ve heard the arguments that you should celebrate Reformation Day by dressing your kids up like Martin Luther and so forth. That’s cool I guess and I’m all about the Reformation, but we’re not going to do that. We’ve also seen Christians who participate in the holiday in ways that could be defined as “worldly” and seem to throw their convictions out the window every October 31 which doesn’t seem like a legit option.

So where have we landed? The last two years, we have spent a little money and passed out candy with our kids, trying to teach our young children that this is a way to love our neighbors. We don’t trick or treat, but we let them dress up in things we already have (usually thrown together on the day of) and let them eat a few pieces of candy (rare in our home). We let them paint some pumpkins (and their bodies) with finger paint. And then we move on.

Christians might have different convictions on Halloween and there is rightly freedom to do so, but here are 8 guidelines for what I think the Christian should and shouldn’t do on Halloween each year (these are not inspired by God!).

  1. Don’t be the person who condemns everybody who lets their kids trick-or-treat. They’re not doing it to worship Satan, they are making memories. If this is you, chill out.
  2. Don’t miss an opportunity to love your neighbors while you seclude yourselves from the world you are called to win for Christ.
  3. Don’t give kids a gospel track without giving them candy. If you’re going to do that, just leave your lights off.
  4. If you hand out gospel tracks, don’t hand out cheap candy. Get the good stuff.
  5. If you are a Christian parent, use discernment in what you let your kid dress up as. I know they look precious in their horror film outfit, but seriously? If they are dressed as someone who is dead or has recently been the star in a slasher film, we probably need to talk about finding some better role models for your kids.
  6. If you are the parent of a female, please don’t use Halloween as an opportunity to drop the modesty rule and show everybody what she’s working with. I know it’s hard to find a costume as they get older that’s not supposed to be a sexier version of the children costumes. Life is hard, be creative (and modest).
  7. And while we’re at it, teenagers, you are too old to go trick-or-treating. I’ve only got so much candy to give out and your time has passed. Get a job and go buy some candy yourself and stop dressing up in scary costumes to try to scare little kids. And while we’re on teenagers and little kids: on all the other days of the year when public parks are open with playground equipment that has appropriate ages posted for who should and should not be playing, please read and adhere to the signs. I know it’s cool to hang at the park with your friends, but get off the playground equipment when my 3 year old wants to slide. Yield to the kids. It was built for them. I digress…
  8. And while we’re on the topic of age and modesty: Adult Christian, you are way too old for this. Sure, dress up at work if you have a themed day or if you’re going to pass out candy, feel free to have fun. But remember you are Christian who is supposed to represent Christ with what you wear and how you act. To the ladies in particular: put some clothes on. The only time you should be a “sexy (fill in the blank with your costume)” is with your husband. Not on social media for the world to see. You’re not attracting the right attention if this is you.

For those of you who live in communities that celebrate Halloween on the actual day or weekend instead of a week in advance, Have a Happy Halloween!

Wake Up Parents!

Posted: October 29, 2014 in Uncategorized

This is a Public Service Announcement From Nick:

Dear Parent,

It is foolish to give your pre-teen or teenager who has hormones that are raging unrestricted and unmonitored access to the internet. Please stop allowing that. Be their parent, not their friend. Protect them from sexual temptation. Please don’t assume they don’t struggle with that. They do. That’s not legalism, it’s common sense.

Here’s a guide in what to do if this brief letter applies to you: http://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/teens-and-unrestricted-access-time-to-repent

Thanks,

Nick

In the last few weeks we have seen pastors in Houston being demanded to turn over sermons relating to their disapproval of policies put forward that go against God’s word and a chapel being threatened with imprisonment for not agreeing to marry a same-sex couple. With these threats against religious liberty and with the state stepping into an area that is outside their jurisdiction according to God, we should rightly ask the question, “How should we respond?” Should a Christian defend their rights or would that go against the peacemaking, “turn the other cheek” ethic we are called to live with in this life?

Pastor Kevin DeYoung tackles this question by looking at the book of Acts and how the Apostle Paul models relating to the state in issues like these. It would be well worth your time to read and think through this issue as it is likely this is just the birth pangs of religious liberty being redefined and eroding in a culture that is becoming increasingly hostile to the Christian faith.

Check it out: http://www.thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/kevindeyoung/2014/10/24/is-it-wrong-for-christians-to-defend-their-rights/

What if Your Child is Gay?

Posted: October 29, 2014 in Uncategorized

Unless you’ve been on a deserted island for the last decade or so, you’ve probably noticed that the issue of homosexuality in our country (and the Western world) is kind of a hot topic. Since I was a child in the 90’s, we have seen a massive shift in the sexual ethics of our society so that homosexuality (which has always been present) is now a major topic of public debate and discussion and a litmus test to determine whether you are close-minded or “enlightened”. With the legalization of so called “gay marriage” in so many states (and the certainty that it will eventually be in all the states) and the normalization of a worldview that embraces homosexuality as beautiful through the media, the Christian today must figure out how to respond with grace and truth. Hiding from or ignoring this issue isn’t an option. We must choose how we will respond, letting our views be shaped by either the culture we live in or the word of God. Choosing the latter will most certainly result in a mild form of persecution and labeling.

But the discussion of homosexuality in the culture and regarding the laws and statutes of our country is different than the discussion about how to actually engage with those we love who identify as a homosexual. Typically, Christians feel that the two options available to them in how to respond are alienation or affirmation. But a biblical response should result in neither. Alienation shouldn’t be an option because we are called to love our neighbor as ourselves and not be self-righteous Pharisees who pretend we have no sin issues to deal with ourselves. The good news of Jesus is only good news because we are jacked up sinners in need of grace. As we proclaim the good news to a lost world we must do so remembering we are no better than those who are lost, but we needed to be redeemed as well! Simultaneously however, we shouldn’t respond with affirmation because to do so would be to deny God’s word which sets the standard for our lives. We are called to show compassion, but must not compromise in the name of showing “love” as defined by our culture.

Many today will say they are a Christian and are gay and they will get much support and affirmation from liberal Protestant churches who let the culture dictate their values and convictions. The question we must ask in thinking through this is, “What is a Christian?” People will give varying answers to that question, but one of the necessary parts of being a Christian is repentance. This is agreeing with God that our sin is awful and offensive and evil and committing to turn away from it as we trust in the work of Christ on our behalf. The person who is unrepentant over sin in their life (regardless of what that sin is) shows by their lives and words that the profession of faith they have made is not genuine and hasn’t resulted in a transformed life. The issue with the person who lives in unrepentant sin and says God doesn’t care and accepts them the way they are is that they seem to have molded a god in their image instead of relying on God’s word to describe Himself and His standards.

With that being said, we need to have a category as Christians for those who struggle with same sex attraction but are seeking to fight against their flesh just as the heterosexual fighting against lust is. We also need not pretend like homosexuality is the only sexual sin that must be addressed. With the prevalence of men addicted to pornography, women addicted to sexual romance novels, and cohabitation taking place in the lives of people who claim to be filled with the Spirit of God, our fight for a Christian sexual ethic is much larger than fighting culture wars over homosexuality.

This is a heavy topic and I am thankful for Dr. Russell Moore, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. He is committed to giving biblical guidance to Christians on how to think through issues such as these. In this article, he paves a way for how a parent who is a Christian should respond to their child who is gay.

Check it out: http://www.russellmoore.com/2014/06/06/what-if-your-child-is-gay/

7 Lies About Homeschoolers

Posted: October 29, 2014 in Uncategorized

We still have a few years left before schooling starts for our kids, but our plan right now is to pursue the home school route. As someone who was raised in public school and didn’t get converted until the end of my teen years, I used to love to make fun of home-schoolers based on all the stereotypes you usually hear. And yet, 10 years later, I’ve been converted and plan to pursue that route. It’s funny how life works sometimes. I show some of these “Messy Mondays” videos to our youth group on Wednesday nights and this one deals with lies about homeschoolers. I think it’s funny so maybe you will too.

Check it out:

Horrified by Matt Chandler

Posted: October 29, 2014 in Uncategorized

I would argue Matt Chandler of The Village Church in Dallas Texas is one of the better Bible preachers alive today. His style is conversational, edgy, intense, and a little in your face. But the Lord is using him greatly to speak the truth to a group of people in the Bible Belt who have bought into a cultural Christianity that offers salvation from Christ without the need for the Lordship of Christ. In this sermon jam on youtube, Chandler goes after what he sees playing itself out in our day as so many buy into a cheapened and powerless “gospel” without showing any evidence of true saving faith in their lives.

If you’re up for it, check it out here: