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Top 10 Questions about Your Church’s Ministry with Teenagers

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If I were a senior pastor I would print the following list of questions, and I would take it to staff meeting for discussion. I would expect discussion to involve everyone. For example, I would expect those in ministry with children to consider how 12 years in their program will address question #1. I would expect those in adult ministry to have much to say about questions #7-9. I would expect those who lead senior adult ministry to address question #10 with creativity. And of course, I would keep the youth pastor at the heart of all the conversations. Read More »

Will All the Ducks Fly Away?

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“God, Family, Ducks…in that order.” So reads the Twitter profile of Jase Robertson, one of the stars of A&E’s “Duck Dynasty” reality show. It looks like that saying is about to be tested. A&E has suspended Phil Robertson, father of Jase, Willie, and Jep Robertson and founder of Duck Commander, for his recent comments about homosexuality in an interview published in GQ. Read More »

Do Not Neglect the Table: A Reminder to Parents

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I remember wondering why I could not have the little piece of bread and the small cup of juice that my friend Noel was able to take. I did not question my parents on that Sunday morning, but later asked my mom and she explained that Noel had given his life to Jesus, and you could only take the Lord’s Supper after you had become a Christian. She then explained the Lord’s Supper and the gospel. It was the beginning of my searching and as I was further exposed to the gospel (particularly one night at the parsonage at Falls Baptist Church in Wake Forest, North Carolina) eventually on June 14, 1981 my mom led me to the Lord and I put my faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. Read More »

ObamaCare, Contraception, and the War on Women

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What is the war on women? The phrase has been used by various political groups to characterize attitudes related to the perspective on women’s roles in the home and workplace. In recent days, the idea of a war on women has been used to describe the debate over whether or not the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a., ObamaCare) should provide all forms of FDA-approved contraceptives to women at no cost to them. The typical accusations of a war against women have been lobbed against conservatives who seek to limit the government’s role in providing contraceptives. Read More »

On Being a Pastor’s Kid, Part Three

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I love pastor’s kids (PK’s). I loved being one, and I love having them. I don’t mind the term PK and still wear it with pride. So far in this brief series, the first article focused those who are not the parents of pastor’s kids, and the second article addressed those who are. In this last article, I want to talk about being a pastor’s kid. Read More »

ENDA and The Superiority of Men

Congress is currently considering the Employment Non-Discrimination Act of 2013 (ENDA). For review of the issues see the helpful ERLC piece here. The bill would require employers to hire without consideration of an employees’ sexual orientation. The truth is that a person’s abilities may not be hindered by their sexual orientation. It is also true that no one should ever be discriminated against—for any reason. However, the reality is that this bill threatens the existence of businesses that desire to govern themselves in consistence with their religious convictions. In this way, it infringes upon the right to operate a company by conservative evangelical convictions. Read More »

On Being a Pastor’s Kid, Part 2

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Without question, the foundation of “training up a child in the way he should go” begins in the home. Being a pastor and a parent is not more difficult than any other parent in society. Like all parents, pastors are responsible for laying the groundwork for the spiritual welfare of their children. The complication comes when the roles of pastor and parent are seen in contradiction to each other. In reality, a pastor demonstrates his merit as a minister through his effectiveness as a parent. Read More »

When a Man Is Not Really a Man

No MenWomen have been giving birth to children since the beginning of the world. Men, however, have apparently figured out how to accomplish this feat only recently. In fact, it seems quite popular these days for media outlets to plaster across their pages a headline that includes some version of “Man Gives Birth.” Read More »

On Being a Pastor’s Kid, Part 1

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Being a pastor’s kid is no harder than being anyone else’s kid. It’s just different. For too long we’ve used the image of a fishbowl as though that’s a bad thing. I am a pastor’s kid, I am married to a pastor’s kid, reared four pastor’s kids, my oldest son is married to a pastor’s kid, another of my boys is engaged to a pastor’s kid, and three of our four boys have expressed a call to Christian ministry, increasing the possibility of future pastor’s kids in our family. We like pastor’s kids in our home! Read More »

Juggling the Politics of a Justice: Ginsburg Officiates Same-Sex Wedding

We rarely see Supreme Court justices wade into the waters of political controversy outside the opinions issued from the hallowed halls of the nation’s highest court. The reason for staying away from controversy is that justices who delve into political issues in the public square but away from the bench may find themselves under fire for politicizing the office that is supposed to be free of politics. Read More »

Pastoral Pitfalls: 6 Guidelines for Relationships with Women

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“Except for the grace of God . . .”

These are the words that come to my heart and mind when I hear the story of a minister failing morally. The world seems to rejoice when this happens, while it is certain that the Christian world should grieve. The story is too often repeated; a gifted minister gets wrapped up in an immoral relationship, deals unethically with money, or gets caught in spoken lies and other types of dishonesty. I really believe very few actually begin their ministries with these types of moral flaws, but over the course of time they grow stale in their love for the Savior and begin to make small compromises that lead to life-altering mistakes. I plan to present a series of posts covering some of the more common pitfalls that ministers face. Some are obvious, like today’s post, and others are much less obvious but in many ways just as dangerous. The two most obvious pitfalls that ministers must avoid are inappropriate relationships with the opposite sex and mishandling their money. Read More »

The Supreme Court and the Future of Marriage

June 26, 2013. Mark this day down in history.

I haven’t lived long enough to remember too many historic moments. I remember where I was when the Challenger space shuttle exploded. I have an image burned in my mind of watching the Berlin Wall collapse. I can even recall the visceral pain of watching the World Trade Center crumble in ruins.

I will also remember June 26, 2013, as the day that marriage changed forever in American society.

What exactly happened today? Let me offer a quick summary. Read More »

Who Is Getting Married Today?

Marriage rates are rising according to an article published in USA Today this week. They report about an expected rise in marriage rates over the next few years after a progressive decline since the recession. The report from Demographic Intelligence of Charlottesville, VA, predicts a 4% rise in the number of weddings over the low point in 2009. From 2007 to 2009, the number of marriages in the United States dropped from 2.197 million to 2.080 million. Demographic Intelligence projects that the number of marriages will rise to 2.208 million by 2015. Read More »

Anonymous Parenthood: The Brave New World of Childbearing

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Editor’s Note: This article first appeared on the website of the Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW).

This semester I have been watching a series of lectures from Michael Sandel, professor of government at Harvard, on the issue of justice. In one of those lectures, he referenced advertisements that ran in the Harvard Crimson seeking egg and sperm donors for infertile couples. In the course of the lecture Dr. Sandel raised the moral question of whether it is right to pay anonymous donors for their eggs and sperm for the purpose of creating life. Sandel’s concern is that egg and sperm donors are merely being used as a means to an end rather than being treated as ends in themselves. While Sandel’s concern is certainly valid, I believe an underlying theological issue rests beneath the surface. Read More »

Three Things that We Like about Homeschooling (a Mother’s Day Tribute)

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When I tell people about my wife’s job, they are usually very impressed. Their sentiments are usually expressed in statements like “Wow, that is amazing” or “I could never do that.” What does she do? She is a diligent homemaker who homeschools our children. I should add that we have five children (two preschoolers, one elementary age and two middle-schoolers). We do not have the version of preschoolers that sit still for hours quietly looking at books or playing with blocks. We do not have the type of school-aged children that rise early from their beds with no outside prompting but simply due to the day’s academic potential. So, she is motivator, caregiver, educator, disciplinarian, lunchroom worker and mom each day. Her daily routine is tiresome. Her weekly responsibilities are numerous. Her annual task is daunting. I am grateful to her for her heroic efforts for our children’s sake. I am amazed by thousands of other mommy-teachers like her. Besides the fact that there is a level of calling to being a home educator, why does she sacrifice so much of herself and use up so much of her youthful years? Well, we are not idealists. We do not think that by keeping our children home that we are protecting from being exposed to evil influences. Evil flies into our home through a variety of channels, web pages or conversations. It comes inherent in the hearts of the people who live in our house. We do not think that by homeschooling that our children will be the perfect students. They can still find shortcuts in their assignments. They can still “get away with things” even in a class of three. With these realities noted, there are at least three things that we enjoy about homeschooling. Read More »

Guiding Teenagers to Love the Church

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Just use your imagination. One of your teenagers has graduated and has just started his freshman year at college. It is the first Sunday morning. Asleep in the dorm, he hears his phone alarm go off at 7:00 am. Will he get up and find a new church or roll over and sleep until noon? Read More »

A Grandfather Already?

I do not know exactly when I became a grandfather, but I know that for over eight months now I have been one. So far, I have not held my grandson though he lives nearby. I have seen only a black and white fuzzy image of him dating back a few months, but that is okay. I am not bothered by all of that. He moves around, and he is on the move. Read More »

Who Spiritually Deepens the Adults who Lead Teenagers?

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Even if you and I have never met, I know some things about you. You long to see teenagers love God with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength—and to love others as they love themselves. You long to see them value the glory of God above all things. You long to see them ready to live or die as they join majestic Christ in bringing His kingdom on earth. Read More »

History, the Supreme Court, and Same-Sex Marriage

For the last two days I have been telling my classes that we are living history in this moment. Most of us take little notice of the oral arguments being made before the Supreme Court of the United States. We recognize few of the names of cases, and even fewer names of those who have served as justices. However, Hollingsworth v. Perry and United States v. Windsor may become as familiar as Roe v. Wade or Lawrence v. Texas. In fact, the names Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas, Ginsburg, Breyer, Roberts, Alito, Sotomayor, and Kagan may become quite familiar through the years. Much of the historical significance of these cases and justices hinges not on what happened during the oral arguments on March 26–27, 2013, but on the written opinions that will likely be released in June. Read More »

Teenagers Who Declare Their Intention to Live in Purity

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Spiritual transformation has many different facets. One of those facets is a life of sexual purity. God created the wonder and beauty of sex for several reasons. He designed the sexual union in part to give husbands and wives a way to express a closeness that cannot be put into words. But He also created the sexual union to express the depth of intimacy the Bridegroom will share with the bride (the church) in heaven. Christ is inviting us into more of that closeness here on earth. Read More »

Jovan Belcher, Ruined Lives, and Manhood

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Editor’s Note: This article first appeared on the blog of Dr. Thomas White, vice president for student services and communications at Southwestern Seminary.

In the wake of Kansas City Chief’s linebacker Jovan Belcher’s murder-suicide Saturday, Fox Sports columnist Jason Whitlock wrote, “How many young people have to die senselessly? How many lives have to be ruined before we realize the right to bear arms doesn’t protect us from a government equipped with stealth bombers, predator drones, tanks and nuclear weapons?”  Whitlock and many others have decided to blame guns for tragedies like this one; however, I don’t hear the same outrage over alcohol when a drunk driver kills someone on the roads. Guns are not the problem. Read More »

Sending Out Recent High School Graduates to the Nations

Missions is evangelism and compassionate ministry in the name of Christ. Both here and there and to the uttermost parts of the earth. It flows from passion for Christ’s renown and an insatiable thirst to see the multiplication of worshippers before His throne for all of eternity. On earth the goal is not making converts but making disciples. Or better yet, making disciple makers. Read More »

Spiritual Orphans and the Church

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In the beginning there were children and adults. But then, around 1900, cultural shifts in American education, industrialization, and the law led to a new stage of life—youth. At first youth were a high priority to parents and culture. The majority had their most basic needs met in stable families. Read More »

The Impact of Marriage on Income Inequality

An article ran in The New York Times over the weekend about the impact of marriage on income inequality. The journalist followed the lives of two mothers who work at the same company—one is married and the other is a single mother. What he found, along with conclusions from research, was that marriage plays a significant role in determining on what side of the income inequality divide a family will be.

Read More »