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I found this under the heading “Main Things” – in a document I wrote, dated 11/24/1998

Always do either what you should do or what you like doing. If possible, do things that are both, but never do things that are neither. . i.e. don’t do something you don’t enjoy just to avoid doing what you should do.

 

There are two kinds of people in the world, those who say “There are two kinds of people in the world, those who say ‘There are two kinds of people in the world,’ and those who don’t,” and those who don’t.

[I could have made this longer, but I was limited by punctuation]

 

 

 

 

Whenever I compliment someone, and they say, “I’ll take that as a compliment”, it makes me nervous.

One of the sons of my former pastor wrote a book about what it’s like to be a pastor’s kid. It’s a good book. Here’s my review.

Let’s first get the negatives out of the way –

1. It’s a bit repetitive. I would have liked to have had a chance to edit this book.

2. It’s not clear how representative this book is. Barnabas says right up front that research and statistics is not his forte and that he wouldn’t be providing numerical data. This is too bad, because I’d really be interested to know how universal these issues are with PKs.

Not too harsh, I trust?

Here are some positives:

1. It’s illustrative.

If you’ve ever wanted a good description, filled with anecdotes, of what it’s like to be a Pastor’s kid, here you have it. This is a book who’s existence makes the world better, for that reason alone.

2. It’s not all negative.

A major aspect of this book is “These are the hard things that PKs have to deal with”.  And they are hard. But I was grateful for the last chapter, in which Barnabas lists for us some of the upsides of being a PK. It was refreshing.

And being a Bethlehem Baptist Church member, I was happy to see the word “Forward by John Piper” on the cover. Because I assumed (correctly) that this meant that this wasn’t going to be an angry book of harsh stories. About the worst thing he has to say about Pastor John is that he always drives the speed limit.

3. It’s a book I would recommend to many people for different reasons.

For all people in churches who are going to be ministering to (or otherwise dealing with) pastor’s kids (for example, Sunday school teachers and youth leaders and other kid’s parents) – I encourage them to get this book for chapters two and three which lists out the unrealistic expectations that many have for pastor’s kids.

For all pastor’s kids, I would recommend that they read … well all of it – but chapter four “Identity Crisis” is especially helpful, challenging and perhaps hard to read, but is ultimately uplifting.

For all pastors, I would recommend they read chapters six and seven which explains how their kids need them – with ideas like “Laugh, play, be affectionate”, and “have hobbies”.

For all dads who are trying to parent in a strong Christian environment, I recommend chapter five and six. Many of the ideas apply to all dads (and all parents). One of the ideas I found most intriguing is that we should apologize to our children with specific sins (i.e. don’t just admit, “I’m a sinful dad”). It’s good stuff.

For all church going people, the book provides many thoughts on what we should and should not expect of pastors and (directly and indirectly) their kids.

4. It delves into the Gospel.

Barnabas asks the question – what does a PK need? His answer is Grace.

“It is the grace of God that allows anyone to make headway in the struggles to overcome sin. It is the gift of the Holy Spirit that enables followers of Jesus to make good decisions in the face of temptations, and the spirit lives in anyone who acknowledge Jesus as their Savior, as the one and only means to get right with God. The ultimate grace was the sacrifice of the perfect, sinless Jesus for the sake of all humanity to give up His heavenly glory, live a human life and agonizingly die on the grotesque cross so that we would not have to face eternal punishment of dishonoring the perfect God.”

Barnabas Piper says that a PK needs grace from his parents, his need grace from the church, he needs to show grace towards his family and his church and he ultimately and most importantly needs the eternal grace that only God can give him.

This rings true. For each PK and for all of us.

 

… Or more accurately – Here are five motivations that are less than optimal if they are your primary reason for reading God’s Word.

1. Looking for ways that you are better than others.
The Apostle Paul has several lists of bad behaviors in his epistles. Any human can look at those lists and say, “Well, I don’t do that, or that, or that” and “But I know my neighbor Bill does that, and that and that”. If the outcome of this reading is, “Wow, I’m pretty good. No need to change!” then you’re not reading it as the Holy Spirit wants you to. And I’m pretty sure Paul would not be pleased either.

2. Looking for ammunition for your theological debate.
Theological correctness is important. Using God’s word to define and clarify your theology is important. But if you are continually using your time in the Word to look for proof that you are right, you are not being God focused, you’re being people-focused (the people, in this case, being your theological enemy).

3. Thinking reading the Bible will save you.
“Well, I read my chapter for the day. That’s what good Christians do. This means I’m acceptable in God’s eyes. Now on to real life.”

No.

4. Looking for errors.
This has already been done. And if you consider the errors one by one, with an unhateful eye, you’ll see that these errors are based on and sourced by biases, fears and personal predilections. And a strong hope that the God of the Bible doesn’t exist. I suggest you consider the idea that the Bible is true and ask yourself, what is the real reason you want the Bible to be negligible? And, what would you have to do if the Bible is really God’s word?

5. Trying to impress people.
“Well, I read my chapter for the day. If I keep it up for another three weeks, I can casually mention this in my small group, or to my Pastor, or on my blog.

Again, No. Generally speaking, “then they will like me” is a bad reason to do anything. And again, this is people-focused.

===

Now, make no mistake, reading the Bible for bad reasons is better than not reading it all. Here’s a rule of mine: “If it’s a good activity, don’t stop doing it because you’re afraid you’re doing it for wrong reasons.”*

So, please don’t stop reading the Bible every day (if you aren’t reading it every day, then you should start) because of your less-than-perfect motivations. A great deal of good has happened as a result of people reading the Bible for bad reasons.

But do, with the help of the Holy Spirit and through prayer, start reading the Bible for better reasons.

And what are the better reasons?

This fall, for the ninth time, I’ll be leading a Wednesday night class of kindergarteners and first graders, and it uses a curriculum that teaches kids about the Bible. The description of this curriculum begins this way: “God, who is the most valuable Being in all the universe, reveals Himself with clarity and authority through His Word.”

And one of the first lessons is this – the Most Important Person in each story in the Bible is God.

So do read the Bible to learn about –
1. God,
2. His Gospel,
3. His will for you, and
5. What He says are the important eternal realities of the universe.

And while you shouldn’t read God’s word to attain salvation, you should read it because it’s His will for you to do so. It pleases God when you do His will.

And pleasing God is always a good motivation.

Another big round number.

I’ve been blogging since Jan 28, 2007. With the added posts from my other blogs, I have a total of 1537 posts – which means I’ve put up a post, on average, about one every 42 hours – or more often than once every other day.

If you’re interested in seeing my most popular posts, I recommend you go look at my Top 35 page – listing those which have had more than 1000 hits.

Now, I just saw that Challies (to whom I’m very grateful) just had a post get more than 750,000 hits, so I know that I shouldn’t consider any of mine viral.

Nevertheless, I did feel some joy this spring when my 5 Signs post (by far my biggest with 12,000+ hits) did so well, particularly since it dealt so heavily with the Gospel. To God be the glory.

Anyway, please stick around. I have more.

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