Table for Six, Please

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(This post first appeared at Theological Matters)

My family consists of six people—two adults and four children. Needless to say, in today’s economy, we do not eat out often. However, when we do eat out, there are numerous restaurants to which I cannot take the “Patrick 6.” First, there are the restaurants that possess tables bolted to the floor that fit a maximum of two or four people—there is no option of moving tables together short of breaking concrete. Then, there are the restaurants that possess large enough tables or the ability to move tables together, but they make it quite clear that they do not prefer children. I’ve even been coldly told, “We usually don’t have children here.” Finally, there are the restaurants that “tolerate” my family size but place us in the farthest corner a mile away from the other customers, afraid the children will make noise, throw food, or infect them. Yes, we’ve had other guests actually get up and move after we sit down.[1] Continue reading

Evangelism vs. Church Planting at the Coliseum

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(This post first appeared at Theological Matters)

It’s dark, musty and noisy. All eyes are focused on the boxing ring in the center of the arena. The spectators’ blood lust permeates the air as they anticipate the ring of the fight bell. In one corner stands the well-promoted fighter Church Planting. In the other corner stands the scrappy street fighter Evangelism. The fighters stand ready, muscles twitching, gloves cinched tight, and eyes locked onto each other with laser focus. Who will win the match? Ding goes the fight bell.

Whether intended or not, the ministry world in the past few years has pitted Church Planting against Evangelism and vice versa. The inherent tension is felt at the national, state convention, associational, and local church levels. Which fighter do we root for in the ring? Which ministry do we fund in our church budget? The answer is … both. Continue reading

What Does A Planetary Selfie Tell Us About God?

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For the past few weeks we have been enthralled with New Horizon’s images of the dwarf planet named Pluto. New Horizons was launched in January 2006 with a full payload of multi-spectral imaging and sample analysis equipment. It has taken approximately nine and half years to reach Pluto. And you thought it took you a long time to get the family organized for a family photo! With the images of Pluto history has been made as the U.S. is the first nation to complete the initial reconnaissance of our solar system.

Pluto is roughly three billion miles away and it takes approximately 4.5 hours for New Horizons to send an image of Pluto to Earth. Click – Snap – Wait 4.5 hours. The wait has been worth it! The images have been spectacular and they fill the mind with wonderment and create an almost visceral Star Trekian response to begin proclaiming, “Space: the final frontier…to explore strange new worlds…to boldly go where no man has gone before.” NASA’s science mission statement for New Horizons is: “a close-up look at these worlds from a spacecraft promises to tell an incredible story about the origins and outskirts of our solar system.” So, what incredible story do the images of Pluto tell us? Continue reading

Modern Day Molech

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This post is a rendition of a previous post published at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

With the release of an undercover video this week, the world learned, I hope, that a modern day Molech exists. Molech, as described in the Old Testament of the Bible, was an Ammonite god who required propitiatory child sacrifice. A couple sacrificed their firstborn by burning the child on a metal idol of Molech, believing that Molech would ensure financial prosperity for the family and future children. The Israelites were strictly forbidden to practice this form of worship (Leviticus 18:21, 20:2-5; 2 Kings 223:10; and Jeremiah 32:35) as it is in stark contradiction to the sanctity of life espoused throughout the Bible. Today’s Molech is the abortion industry, sacrificing babies for the idol of financial greed, veiled in the hopes of the development of new cures through biomedical research. Continue reading

Parental Authority: Embrace or Abdicate?

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FoxNews reported that 15-year-olds can obtain state-subsidized sex change operations without parental consent. That’s right – Johnny can leave home for school one morning and come back that evening as Jenny without parental notification. As disturbing as this is, the paramount issue is not about what the Oregon Health Authority will or will not permit nor is it an issue about gender dysphoria. The real issue is one of parental authority. Continue reading

Till Death Do Us Part

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This week has been one of marital contrast. On one hand Paige and Dorothy Patterson (Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary) celebrated their 52nd wedding anniversary. Their biblical marriage remains vibrant and an exemplar. On the other hand Tullian Tchividjian (Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church) resigned as senior pastor after both he and his wife, married 21 years, admitted to moral failures. Two marriages in ministry – one flourishing, one withering. What lesson can we learn? What lesson can I learn to protect my marriage of 9 years? Continue reading

Forging a Sword: Scripture Memorization

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Deuteronomy 6:4-9, Ephesians 6:4, Psalm 78:1-8, and many other Scripture references make it clear that God expects us to teach our children about Him by teaching them His Word. We need to teach our children the spiritual discipline of Scripture memory. Scripture is the only offensive weapon we have in the spiritual battle – the sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:17). Scripture is the sword Jesus used to parry the temptations of Satan in the desert (Matthew 4:1-11). Moreover, Psalm 119:11 attests that memorizing Scripture helps keep one from sin.

My wife and I have memorized Scripture with our children various ways, including: Continue reading