Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Are Family Integrated Churches Just Part of a Passing Fad?

by Scott Brown of NCFIC

It is possible that we are entering into a period where it is "hip" to be age integrated. Even Christianity Today has reported this phenomena: “Is the Era of Age Segmentation Over? A researcher argues that the future of youth ministry will require bringing the generations together." There is a significant groundswell of church leaders who are implementing initiatives and programs that hearken to the principle of age-integrated discipleship. Now, perhaps, age-integration is going to be the new "latest thing."
This is both good news and bad news. On the one hand we clap. On the other hand we are nonplussed. We clap, because age integration is biblical. We are nonplussed because the motivation is often for pragmatic reasons. The church needs to stop thinking, “How can we be hip?” or “How can we discover the next new thing?” or “How do we find the best way to reach the world?” This is the kind of thinking that has gotten the church into so much trouble today. Instead we ought to be asking, “How can we be more biblical – regardless of the culture and the consequences?”
The family-integrated church movement is not a reaction to a cultural problem. It is an action based on Scripture. It is not the next new thing. It is the best old thing. It is both best and old because it came from God not man.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Raising Brothers and Sisters to Love and Respect Each Other

A Little Rooster of a Brother PDF Print E-mail

Written by Douglas Wilson   
Monday, 12 March 2012
In most instances, bringing up daughters also includes bringing up sons at more or less the same time, and this means that someone has to manage the interaction. Boys and girls discover their differences early on, and in many cases, they discover that they don't like those differences all that much. And they say so.
Parents have to provide translation services, as well as mediation services, and many forms of preventative maintenance go into this process as well.
While boys have to be taught to be protective of their sisters, girls have to be taught to expect that protection. This has to be done in a way that does not inculcate a pampered "entitlement" mindset, but more like a grounding in the way the permanent things are. The differences between the sexes are just there, like gravity.
Boys should be taught that they are to protect their sisters "from the dragon," and the very first thing this means is that they must refrain from turning into the dragon themselves. When the protector turns into the very thing that protection is needed from, the result for the girl involved is nightmarish. The things you assumed as fixed and given turn on you; one thing morphs into another. When a brother is being annoying (say, for a wild hypothetical), his sister is dealing with two things, not one. The first thing is the annoyance itself -- what she would be dealing with if her sister or a friend at school were being annoying.
But when her brother does it, a second thing comes into the picture, and that is the sense of a double-cross, or a betrayal. He ought be standing between the threat and his sister, but instead he has abandoned his post. It is this that feeds the temptation to resentment -- first of her brother, then her father (who does not intervene), and then of men generally.
There are many marriage problems that began as untended squabbles between siblings.
Boys should be taught that roughhousing with their father is perfectly fine, as it is with their brothers. But to treat your sisters "the same" is to despise and overlook something about them that should have been obvious to the boys. Roughhousing with a brother is honoring something about him.
For the girls, this means that they should be taught not to get into it with their brothers -- even when they could take them. The courtesies that exist between the sexes have a statistical grounding in physical limitations, but at the same time there are plenty of girls who can throw straighter, jump higher, run faster, and so on, than their brothers can. This is particularly the case when the sisters are older, and their highly-provoking brother is a little rooster, full of testosterone and high opinions of himself. There may be times when such a one should be taken down a few notches, but the main effort in every family should be to get the boys to achieve more, not less, and to achieve more on behalf of others, sacrificing themselves for others.
If the basic attitudes are being kept straight, and if bitterness and resentment have not been allowed to grow, sisters generally want to think the world of their brothers. They want to look up to them. Brothers should be taught to stand up straight, and to be worthy of it. The carnal way boys try to garner this is by bragging, and of course parents should be discouraging that in their boys, and encouraging respectful praise from the sisters.
Boys want to be respected, and this is a God-given desire. There is nothing whatever that is wrong with it. It can go wrong, which is what it has done when a boy takes to bragging. But if a boy is famished and as a result grabs for the food greedily, the proper response is to teach him not to grab, and to provide the food in such a way that selfishness is not necessary. Feed a boy with respect (from parents and sisters) and you will find that this makes him less boastful, not more. And the more he is respected for standing straight, the straighter he will stand.
But sin can get in, even here. He will stand straight . . . or pretend to be standing straight. In any culture where honor is given for certain characteristics, and pretending to have those characteristics is way easier than actually having them, the result is hypocrisy. This is the cheap way of maintaining the natural respect that sisters can offer.
But how many young men have been given the respect of their sisters, and have received it while maintaining some kind of disreputable life on the side? In a household that is being governed by biblically-minded parents, hidden sin will almost always come out. Say a brother is caught cheating at school, or using porn, or some other similar kind of thing. The disappointment his sisters feel is genuine, and ought not to be played down. It is part of his growing up. The worst thing (for real men) about being unmanly is the damage that is done to the women as a result. This is the hardest thing for him to learn, and it is essential for him to learn it. If you crater, if you give way to temptation, then other people will suffer. The sooner boys learn that most victimless crimes leave wreckage for other people in their wake, the better it is for everyone.
But if this kind of thing happens, a sister's respect need not be lost forever. If he is being taught by wise parents (and if she is), then she will be able to respect him in his repentance. If he refuses to go the route of making lame excuses, he can repent like David did. If he repents like David did, then he has something to offer others, just as David did (Ps. 51:13).
Girls with a dad and brothers have a prime opportunity to learn how men tick. They should know how men thrive, and how they recover their footing when they have stumbled. This provides two things -- the gift of security in her household, her people. This security is part of her character. The second thing it supplies is the wisdom to know how it applies to other males that God brings into her life -- her husband, and any boys she might have.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Why We Are a Nation Divided

Here are a few quotes from an article written by Patrice Lewis at WND.  

“So when election-year promises come down to politicians informing us that ‘MY government solution is better than THEIR government solution,’ I’m not impressed. … If we got rid of unconstitutional government interference, most of our country’s problems would solve themselves through the often harsh corrections of the free market."

 "We are encouraging government to be cancerous and invasive, rather than streamlined and minimalist. Instead of letting people make their own mistakes, suffering the consequences and learning … we are using the government to “save” us and thus ruin us. Brought to its ultimate conclusion, this means – as far as the federal government is concerned – there would be no government rescue programs, no welfare and no entitlements … because those things were deliberately not in the Constitution."

 "No strong presidential candidate has emerged to say what should be said: STOP. Stop violating the Constitution. Stop funding things the government shouldn’t fund. Stop corrupting the free market. Stop, stop, stop."

Read Patrice's entire article at WND.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Why I Am Not Cut Out to Be a Home School Mom

by  Kristy Howard of
(find this article at Growing Home)

Sometimes, I  get this funny feeling that many folks think we home school mothers are just not normal. “Not normal” meaning: we are somehow exempt from the common plagues of womanhood.  You know, impatience, griping, anger, poor time management, selfishness, loneliness, hormones, etc.

I’ll never forget the day a mother told me, “I wish I wanted to home school.  But I just need that alone time while my boys are away at school!” Where do people get this idea that women who choose to home school their children, do it because it’s just so easy for them? 

That we don’t “need alone time”.  Don’t wake up tired and grumpy on occasion. Never get sick, or have sick little ones.  Don’t crave adult conversation, or relish a hot shower without interruptions, or wouldn’t like to spend one day without peeling hardened pasta off the kitchen floor with a spatula.

I have a news flash to share: Homeschooling moms are “normal”. We are flawed, selfish sinners, just like everyone else.  We fight the same battles with our flesh (and our flesh and blood) as every other mother in the world. The one difference between the “I don’t want to’s”, the “I wish I wanted to’s”, and the determined “I’m going to’s!” is nothing but… Grace - the power and desire to fulfill God’s will for our lives. That grace is new…every morning.
I well remember the frazzled day I told my husband (in a not-so-gentle way), “I AM NOT CUT OUT TO BE A HOMESCHOOL MOM! I just can’t do it!” Looking back those eighteen or so months, I realize I am not the same woman who sobbed those exasperated words to my husband. Granted, I have the same struggles. Wake up to the same challenges every day. But I am not the same. Because of grace.

I’ll give you a few good reasons why I’m not “cut out” to be a home school mom:
  • I’m impatient.                                                                                                                                                                              This lack of virtue has been my life-long struggle. I get irritable. Easily. Gentleness does not come naturally or easily for me. I’m task-oriented. High strung. A perfectionist. Interruptions bother me. Chaos distresses me. Need I say more?
  • I’m inconsistent.                                                                                                                                                                      Home school moms are Super Women who know how to train perfect children, maintain a well ordered home, prepare healthy meals,  sew their own clothing. I can’t do all those things all the time. I start… and stop. Learn… and burn (out). I struggle to with stick with basic routines, much less strict regimens. I’d ruin my kids!
  • I don’t have time.                                                                                                                                                               Seriously, what mama does “have time” to home school her children? Who is supposed to clean the house and buy groceries and do laundry and plan menus… while Mama teaches her children? I haven’t even mentioned my role of being a wife, much less the wife of a pastor. I definitely don’t have time. Do you?
  • I don’t have space.                                                                                                                                                                           In my house, I mean. Right now, there are 7 of us living in a 2-bedroom house. Where would I put all those books and supplies and materials- piled on the dining room table? We’d be in each other’s hair all day. It just isn’t reasonable. I need my space.
The odds are against me: temperament, schedules, circumstances. It just wouldn’t work! But it does work. And I am. Not because I’m necessarily “good” at it, or because it comes easily for me, or because everything always just falls into place for our family.

Homeschooling “works” for our family because we make it work.  It is a priority.  A calling.  Even a conviction. Because of our commitment to home school, there are many other things we aren’t involved in, don’t spend our money on, don’t invest our time into.  Not because some of these “other things” are bad, but because they would rob us of these precious years to nurture and train our children

I can only home school my children once in my lifetime and theirs.  Now is that time.  It is up to me, and to my husband, to make these days count.  For eternity. This is why I choose to get up every morning, sit down at our dining room table, and teach my children in the best way I know how. 

Honestly, I don’t love it every day.  But every day I am learning, growing, and increasingly grateful to be a home school mom.  Even though I’m not really “cut out” for it.