Last week, for Pastor John’s birthday, I put up this post over at the Fighter Verse Song Blog. Challies linked to it, and the video now has more than 2800 views.  Thanks, Tim!

I thought I’d link to the video here. You know, for completeness sake.

I’d also like to state that I find it cool that of all the random combinations of letters that could have been chosen for the link for this video about John Piper, youtube’s link-generating algorithm chose one that ended with “luvjoy”.

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One of the biggest lies that Satan says to you when he is tempting you to do a sin is this: “You have the right.”

Every decision you make is made at least partially out of fear.

I just saw this online ad, and my first thought was, “well, I’d also like them to remove my amateur and recreational mold, were I to hire them.”

Professional Mold

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Every time you sin, it is an act of …
1. Disobedience – God made a command and you went against it
2. Pride – You decided you knew better than God
3. Selfishness – You put yourself first
4. Distancing – You have put space between you and God
5. Embracing – You have brought yourself closer to the will of Satan
6. Foolishness – You acted contrary to the will of the wisest person in the universe.

And for a Christian – it’s worse, because for a person in Christ, every sin is an act of …
1. Betrayal – You acted against your previous commitments to your Lord and Savior
2. Hypocrisy – You say you are a Christian, but you’re not acting like one.

You should remember these things when you confess your sins. And then remember – he is faithful and just and will forgive you your sins. And make them white as snow.

Every time you’re tempted to sin and resist it, it is an act of …
1. Obedience – God made a command and you did it
2. Humility – You decided you (or at least your sinful self) didn’t know best
3. Submission – You put God’s will before your will
4. Distancing – You have put space between you and Satan
5. Embracing – You have brought yourself closer to the will of God
6. Wisdom – You acted in accordance to the will of the wisest person in the universe.

And for a Christian – it’s better, because for a person in Christ, every resisted temptation is an act of …
1. Loyalty – You acted in accordance your commitments to your Lord and Savior
2. Genuineness – You say you are a Christian, and you’re acting like one.
3. Sanctification – God is making you more like His son.
4. Sovereignty – God is ordaining his perfect and prescriptive will through you.

You should thank God that he is working out his salvation in you, for his good pleasure and your good.

 

All sameness comes with a cost.

All change comes with a cost.

Dads, here are …
14 Ways To Show Your Wife and Kids You’re the Most Important Person in the Family

1. Dominate mealtime discussion
They already know what happened to themselves today. They should be forced to hear how yours went. At length.

2. Expensive hobbies
… that don’t involve them. It shows them “Hey, I’ve got a life outside this family!”

3. Don’t be a part of meal cleanup.
You have better things to do.

4. Angry outbursts
They always succeed in quelling the whining you shouldn’t have to listen to.

5. Don’t let them in on decision-making about what your family does.
Your family isn’t a democracy.

6. Extensive me-time.
Disappear for hours.

7. Erratic behavior.
Too much predictability will make them complacent.

8. Don’t allow foods to be served that you don’t like.
You have a discerning pallet and those who disagree with you are lying to themselves.

9. Be very stingy with compliments or grace or mercy.
You don’t want them to get big heads, do you?

10. … And also gratefulness.
If you can’t take your family’s good behavior for granted, who can you?

11. Let them know every bad thing about your church.
Because you have a discerning pallet with spiritual stuff too. They need to know this, and anyway they shouldn’t get joy from what’s not perfect.

12. Use scripture to keep them in their place.
Remember: Context is overrated.

13. Never admit failure.
… moral or otherwise. Once they see vulnerability from you, you’ll never hear the end of it.

14. Treat your wife like your children.
There can only be one on top.

Obligatory Bible Passage: “Something something God wants bla bla bla men should rule the home something” – Somewhere in the third chapter of some place in the New Testament, probably – maybe in an epistle or therefore.

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Did I miss any?

If by any chance you don’t think you’re the most important person, then by all means, don’t do any of these.

Also, some might be wondering how a Wife/Mom could show how she’s the most important. I’ll leave that for a lady to write. How would I know? But I suspect there might be some similar items.

It’s my fear that many chiastic structures found by readers/media viewers weren’t intended by the authors/media creators.

If your negative thoughts about a person involves making assumptions about their mindset by reading their minds, you’re probably sinfully judging.

One factor you should use in choosing a home is: Is it close to my church?

The question I want answered: What’s the real reason?

I’ve noticed a trend in some of the posts I’ve written, so I decided to post them all here.

Why I wear a tie on Sunday, but I don’t think everyone should.

Why our family sits in the second row at church, but I don’t think everyone should.

Why I sing harmony in church, but I don’t think everyone should.

Why we go to church and we DO think everyone should.

I’m glad you’re here. Please take a look around and if you’re interested in finding about music that teaching people the Bible through song, please click on the gold CD to the left there.

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At the risk of letting my right hand know what my left hand is doing, I will state here openly that our family regularly gives a non-zero amount of dollars to our church. I have proof of this, because recently our church sent out to all of its givers their quarterly Contribution Statements. And on it, a sentence caught my eye:

No goods or services were provided in exchange for your contributions, other than intangible religious benefits.

Now it’s clear in the Bible that all (or nearly all?) church attenders should give to their church and we do this, to some degree, because we feel to do otherwise would be an act of disobedience. We are also desiring to contribute to the spreading of the glory of God. But the phrase “intangible religious benefits” made me think.

And it gave me joy – because our family does indeed receive many religious benefits as a result of our church attendance, and (don’t tell the IRS) some of them are just barely ‘intangible’.

Have you considered these?

Catastrophic Coverage

We pay serious money for various forms of insurance in case of great loss. But as I consider possible traumatic sudden losses that could happen to our family at any time, none of them are as valuable to me as the knowledge of the great support our family will receive from many families in our church, as it has in the past many times over, if our family did suffer great loss. We have felt the love of God through meals brought to us, and being uplifted in prayer, and many, many words of encouragement. We have been a part of supporting others in difficult times. The value of this (both giving and receiving) is great.

Consulting Confirmation

If my wife and I were going this alone, our kids might have great reason to doubt our theology, or our understanding of the Gospel, or our belief in the existence of God. But each Sunday they hear a sermon from a respected pastor, and then they hear a lesson from a Sunday school teacher. At other times they hear the singing voices of people in our small group. And they learn from mentors and youth group leaders. And all of them are more or less in agreement with what we’ve taught them. There is benefit here.

Correction Certainty

It is possible that one day either or I, or my wife, or one of my kids will stray from God, or away from the gospel, or away from life-giving, fruit-bearing Christ-centered behavior. Out of ignorance or informed disobedience, we might move in a direction outside the will of God in an outward way. If that happens, I know that there will be concern from people in my church, and then prayerful consideration, and then they will, in imperfect but loving ways, approach the family member with warning, direction and biblical counsel. I’ve seen it happen, and I’m counting on it.

Caring Community

Much of our lives, there are situations and concerns, big and small, that are pressing on our hearts, making us fearful, or confused. When we walk out into the commons area of our church after a service, or when we’re having prayer request time in our small group, if there is something we need to talk through with someone outside our family, there they are. Willing to listen and promising prayer, or praying right there on the spot. Giving suggestions. Weeping with those who are weeping and rejoicing with those who are rejoicing. There are times that it’s very important to talk things through and church is a resource making this possible.

Continual Cross

Perhaps the most important truth in the world is “God made a way, through the work of His Son, for you to be with Him.” This truth, as explained in His word, is not only important in showing us the way, but in giving us a right long-term moral, spiritual, and mindful mindset. So, it’s not just a truth to accept and move on from, but it’s a way of thinking that gives us joy and direction throughout life. And our family can hardly spend fifteen minutes in our church without experiencing reminders of this path, this salvation, this Gospel. And the reminder keeps us motivated to stay on the path towards Jesus.

I know that when deciding whether to give to a church, we shouldn’t feel it necessary to do a cost/benefit analysis. But for us, it’s certain the benefits outweigh the costs. I hope you go to a church and I hope you’re finding these benefits at your place of worship. This is certainly not a complete list (I started to run out of C-words), and maybe you could suggest more. Honestly, I don’t know how non-attenders live without them.

==

Here is my post linking to all the posts in this “Why I do this” series of posts.

For nearly every piece of wise advice, there is at least a small subset of people whom it would be unwise to give this advice to. This is true even with Biblical advice.

People are like muscles – if they are stretched the wrong way, they can be injured. But if they are never stretched (challenged, stressed, used) they get weaker.

So as ‘members of the same body’, we should make it a goal to challenge each other.

I was listening yesterday to NPR (again!) and I heard a segment about the sobering subject of the Santa Fe shooting – and the Christian community’s response to this.

In the segment we heard some clips from the prayer vigil that was held on Wednesday night. I was interested to re-listen to it, because two of the Christians discussed God’s role in what had happened.

But as I was looking at the transcript from the segment, I noticed something interesting.

At 0:32 in the segment you can hear the worship band singing the chorus of the Chris Tomlin song “Amazing Grace – My Chains Are Gone” and at this point in the transcript it says:

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)
UNIDENTIFIED SINGER: (Singing) My chains are going to be set free.

… which, you know, aren’t the actual lyrics from the song they were singing.

And despite the serious nature of the segment, this caused me to chuckle. Because I was wondering what the transcriber must have been thinking as he or she typed it in.

“Wow … That’s kind of an odd sentiment. Why would you want your chains to be free? I mean, don’t you want to be free yourself?”

And I would have to agree with the transcriber at this point.

NPR Chains3.jpg

 

 

Right now our family is memorizing Romans 13 and it’s a fairly short chapter (only 14 verses) and has several valuable sections, with Paul’s teaching about being subject to authority, and how we should owe only Love to each other and how love is the fulfillment of the law. The last verse is a nice wrap-up encouragement for all Christians –
[14] But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.

But the verse right before that is more problematic, from the standpoint of teaching it to children –
[13] Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy.

I read this, and I’m thinking, “Really Paul? Orgies? Was that necessary? I mean, it’s not very family friendly. Couldn’t you have left that one word out?”

But then I considered what he might have been thinking as he wrote it. Perhaps he was imagining how a hypothetical conversation between two guys might have gone if he’d left out the O-word:

“Hey, Freedman, can I get your opinion on this section from Romans as I’m thinking about how I should make choices in my personal behavior?”
“Sure, Morris, what do you want to know?”
“Well, it says here that we should not live in drunkenness, or in sexual immorality and sensuality, or in quarreling and jealousy.”
“Sure, that makes sense and is consistent with the rest of what Paul wrote. So what do you want to know?”
“Okay, given this, do you think it would be okay for me to go to orgies?”
“Well, I don’t see why not. It’s obviously not in the list. If Paul didn’t want to you to do that, he would have put ‘orgies’ on the list.
“That’s what I was thinking!”

So, okay, Paul. I see your point. But I think I’m going to change it to ‘parties’ for family memorization purposes.

Given all the warnings there are in the Bible, it is not unwise to make decisions out of fear.

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