Friday, February 29, 2008

Dating, Courtship, or Arranged Marriages?

The college ministry I lead, the Salt Company, just finished a 3 week series on dating. I thought I would share some of my thoughts with you.

Basically, I have scaled down my notes from the two weeks. The full version, with more stories and illustrations is available through our itunes podcast or online at The talk is broken into two parts- "The Absolutes of Dating" and "The Advice of Dating"...

A couple years ago I got an email from a high school girl in our youth group who asked me what I thought about dating. This girl was a pretty typical 17 year old from a pretty typical American family. Her parents basically had a marriage of convenience. In other words, they thought they would take the virtuous route and wait until all their kids graduated before they got divorced. Her dad was an absentee father. Her mom was a nominal church attendee who was faithful to take her to confirmation classes.

Basically, everything she knew about the opposite sex, she learned from what she saw on television, or in the movie theater, or through late night conversations with her friends.

What do you say to this girl?

I realized at that moment, that I was the closest thing she had to a dad.

I did have some conversations with her at youth group, but she always felt more comfortable asking questions via email/online (typical of this generation- awkward in person and bear my soul online). I always enlisted my wife in helping me answer her questions, because I knew the stakes were so high. Moreover, my wife could understand her situation more than me. We were like e-parents.

I really felt the weight of this question. She wants my help in the thinking through the second most important decision of her life.

The stakes are high! I feel the weight of this talk, because I realize that so many of you have never had a mom or a dad open the Bible and share God’s wisdom in how to relate to the opposite sex. Some of you that did have that benefit, in high school you might have been too proud to listen.

But now you’re mature enough and ready to listen.

Series: Ancient Wisdom; Tonight: Dating

Proverbs 2

My 4 word challenge: LISTEN TO ANCIENT WISDOM

Part 1- The Absolutes of Dating

1. Don’t focus on getting the right person, focus on becoming the right person

When it comes to your life- what is God most concerned about?

What does God want most for you?

Proverbs 1:7 “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.”

Proverbs is not a dating manual- it’s Solomon telling his son what kind of person he needs to become- he begins with what you think about God and how it affects your life (fear the Lord)

John 17:17- “Sanctify them by the truth…”

Colossians 1:28 “We proclaim him…so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ.”

My friend Joe, totally not walking with God, made the statement “I’m just praying for the right girl” His mom Sally (and everyone else’s surrogate mom) rebuked him- “What do you mean!? You’ve got to become the right guy before you attract the right girl. Are you sure you deserve a beautiful godly woman?”

- Ask yourself- am I date able? (to date a quality individual, you’ve got to be one)

I meet guys that attend TSC and I often think, “I’m so glad your immoral, undisciplined, flirtatious ways haven’t sucked in one of our TSC guys/girls.”

Here’s another question to consider: Would Mark want me to marry Ava (or Cameron)?

If your life is consumed by finding a mate, you’re consumed with the wrong thing. The greatest command is to love God with all your heart, soul, strength and mind.

Then the second command is like it- then you’re free to date.

I mean love your neighbor… (I always get that mixed up)

2. Trust God- he is smarter than you (and he runs the show)

Proverbs 3:5-6; 16:1, 3-4, 9; 19:21; 20:24; 21:30

I didn’t want to include these verses in this point, because they say things like, “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.” In other words- God is in charge, not you.

The point of this is not to do what you want, it’s to trust him- that his way is always the best way to do life.

Do relationships his way, not your own.

When you’re trusting God, you’re content. You don’t need anything or anyone else.

If you date because you want someone to fill the emptiness and loneliness that’s in your heart- you will not only jack your own life up, but the other person as well.

It’s unfair to ask another human being to do what only God can do- namely, satisfy your soul.

What human can say, Psalm 16:11, “You have made known to me the path of life…”

The coolest wedding I’ve ever done- Phillip and Erin’s Story

They met at youth group and began to date in high school; it was a pretty typical high school relationship. In college, Erin surrendered her life to Jesus and Philip and Erin went their separate ways. Every 6 months or so, Philip would call Erin to see if she was interested in getting back together. She said “no” every time. She resolved in her heart that she would never marry, because Philip was the only man she loved and he was not following Jesus. On a couple of occasions, Philip tried to tell her that he had changed, and he was seeking God. But she could see through it. It needed to be God’s timing. She moved on with life, moving to Florida and purchasing a condo there. It had now been almost 8 years since they had dated, but this time the call was different. God had gotten a hold of Philip’s life, and this time it was a new Philip on the other line. In a matter of months, they decided to get back together and with their parent’s blessing, they got married. On January 26th in a small chapel, I performed their wedding ceremony (it was quite a performance I must say). I’ll never forget her dad’s comments at the reception, “Not many dads can say this about their daughter, but my daughter is my spiritual mentor.” She was rock solid in her trust in God. Here’s their picture… (This picture could be in a magazine if not for that goof-ball in the background...)

That’s a cool love story.

(some of you just need to get over some old high school flame and move on…)

But all of us need to learn from this story of trust.

God was enough for Erin. She didn’t need this relationship to make her happy. So she wasn’t about to let her love for Philip trump her love for God. She submitted her desires, and God was gracious to her.

If you do happen to be lonely and want to get married to fulfill the void, just remember the words of my Grandpa Bill, “It’s better to be lonely than miserable.”

3. Listen to your parents.

Proverbs 13:1; 15:5

41 times Solomon addresses his “son.” Proverbs is a book for college students.

The phrase “listen (or pay attention) my son” is used 8 times

One of the biggest mistakes young people make in life is not listening to their parents.

Of all the commands in the Bible, this is the only one with a promise- your life will be better if you listen to your parents.

You can’t think you’re OK with God and on a good path if your parents don’t think you are (some exceptions, of course, if your parents are hostile to Christianity)

4. Listen to Solomon

He uses the word “listen” 17 times.

How exactly do you listen to Solomon? Prov. 2:1, “store up my commands within you.”

Read it. Memorize it. Think about it. Ponder it. Treasure it.

I never read the Proverbs more in my life than while I was dating Leatha. I had to know, God is this the one for me? So I read morning and evening and between classes. Then one day we had a conversation, and Leatha told me she wanted a skill saw. I thought that was ridiculous… A skill saw? Apparently she wanted to build stuff. That night I got on my knees and opened my Bible to the Proverb of the day- Proverbs 14. The first verse I read… Proverbs 14:1 "The wise woman builds her house"- another mark in her favor, chalk it up on the pro side. The struggle was that there were also some marks on the con side, too.

5. Listen to your spiritual mentor(s), friends, and others who will speak truth

Proverbs 5:11-14 “At the end of your life you will groan…I would not obey my teachers or listen to my instructors…”

Proverbs 11:14; 13:20; 15:22

There was a leader in the Salt Company a number of years ago. He was in my leader’s group and we were in his dorm room. There were inappropriate pictures of pretty women on his wall, so I told him he should take them down. He was almost offended at my audacity to tell him what he should/should not hang on his walls. This man got married soon after. Within weeks of getting married, he called me crying. His marriage was falling apart. He was divorced within a few months.

6. Marriage between a man and a woman is good

If you weren’t here last week, you really need to hear Troy’s message on Sex. He hit a home run.

Don’t suppress your romantic feelings, submit them

Summary: Marriage is good, Sex is good, and it’s ok to desire both.

Proverbs 18:22

7. Sexual immorality will destroy everyone involved

There’s so much we could say about this. We did a talk last spring at TSC, addressing the issue of “How far is too far?” You can download the talk at

Proverbs 5:15-23 is pretty clear- if you don’t want your future husband/wife doing this with some other man/woman, then it’s wrong. Solomon says never to touch a girl’s breast who is not your wife.

Proverbs 11:6- In purity, see yourself as being faithful to your future wife

It’s sort of like the Wedding Invitation Principle: You want to be able to attend his/her future wedding with no shame.

You may object: “But we love each other in our hearts.”

Some pastor gave this advice to someone I know- “But we love each other and we’re committed in our hearts”- That’s from hell. Send that satanic thought back to hell where it belongs.

If you’re not married, you’re not married. If you’re already committed in your hearts then I’ll marry you right after this service is over…

To date is to protect, not violate. Protect her purity for her future husband- it may or may not be you.

8. Don’t date a Non-Christ follower (2 Corinthians 6:14-ff)

Notice my terminology “Non-Christ follower”

There are a lot of you in this room that think you’re a Christian, but you’re not. To be a Christian means you’re following Jesus.

This is the last of the Biblical Absolutes, because to be totally honest, this is on the border line and I may be going too far to label this as an absolute. There is no direct command related to this. However, there is a command in 2 Corinthians 6:14-ff that certainly has this application.

If you marry a non-Christian, will you lose your salvation? No, you’ll just spend eternity in pergatory… just kidding.

You’ll just spend 50 years in purgatory (It may make your life on earth feel something like purgatory- if not hell)

Part 2- The Advice of Dating

Dating= a prearranged social engagement with someone of the opposite sex

The best dating advice is to tell you what kind of person to avoid and what kind of person to pursue…

Why is this advice? Because I’m not all of these things and neither is anyone in this room. You’ll never find someone who is perfectly all of these. But these are some things to be on the lookout for…

1. What to Avoid

Smooth talker (Proverbs 5:3; 6:24; 7:5; 7:21)

Unfaithful (3:3-4; 5:3; 7:19)

Oh, how huge faithfulness is!

Marriage is built on trust- if you can’t trust someone, don’t date them.

The effect of sex before marriage- it erodes trust

Foolish (and doesn’t realize it) (5:6; 7:19; 19:14; 30:20)

Immoral/flirtatious (6:24)

Immodest (7:10)

If you're a hunter and you make a turkey call, what are you going to get? Turkeys.

So it is with the way you dress…dress for turkeys and turkeys are what you will get!

Defiant (Beware of “I’m a Christian”) (7:14)

In love with Jesus (notice what I didn’t say… “Date a Christian”) That narrows it down- 90% of Americans think they’re a Christian. But have you ever been to a funeral where the person laying in the casket was not said to be in "a better place." Of course, everyone in America thinks they're heaven-bound.

*Lazy (9:13; 10:5! )- They’re not servant minded

Proud, Unteachable, and Quarrelsome- they have an opinion and have to be right about everything (12:1; 21:9; 21:19; 25:24; 27:15)

Watch out for someone with a chip on their shoulder

Are they a pleasant person to be around?

Angry, Bitter, or Quick Tempered person (22:24; 25:28; 29:11)

This is huge- don’t marry someone who has unresolved bitterness in their hearts. If they’ve got a uhaul trailer full of bitterness- you’re going to be hauling that baby around for the rest of your life. His/Her unforgiveness and brokenness will become your own.

2. What to Pursue…

Noble character (12:4; 19:14)

Listens to advice (12:15; 19:20; 24:6)

Lover of people (5:19)

Sweet spirit (11:16)

Patient (16:32!)

Hard worker (not work-a-holic) (24:30-34)

Self-Controlled- whether eating, drinking, purity… (23:20-21; 27:20; 28:7)

The bar (or buffet line) is not the best place to meet someone

Honor their parents (30:11)

*Diligence (Proverbs 31)

3. Remember the Superman Principle

Two people flying hard in the same direction- look over “Hey, you’re going to the same place.”

4. Don’t say “I love you” unless the next words are “Will you marry me?”

Love has been cheapened in our culture.

Love is not a feeling but a commitment- so just because you have some warm fuzzies about a person, doesn’t mean you need to drop the four letter L bomb on them.

5. Kissing is like playing with a tiger cub

Playing with a cub, or baby python- starts small and innocent (and fun for awhile) but it will soon to destroy you (Satan is the master of using momentary pleasure to deceive)

Or, like eating a candy bar. Imagine fasting/going without food for 18 years, then finding a snickers bar and only eating ¼ and leaving rest on table- It’s almost humanly impossible to do.

How long it will take you on your honeymoon to get from kissing to intercourse? Not long. So it's probably wise not to start...

6. Bad things happen late at night

Proverbs 7:9

Leatha and I decided we couldn’t be alone after 10:30

7. It’s passion and commitment, but mostly commitment

Feelings come and go.

How many of you have ever felt like throwing in the towel with your faith? (I haven’t J)

Did you stop loving Jesus because you didn’t feel his presence? NO

Some of the best growth happens in your life with God when persevere out of your love/commitment for Jesus

So it is with any relationship.

The vows are vows of commitment. The ring is a symbol of commitment.

Your marriage will be as good as your word.

8. Outward beauty matters, but not as much as you think.

Troy’s Song of Solomon talk two weeks ago- yes, there should be passion in marriage

But be careful about pursuing beauty without character!

Proverbs 31:30 is clear about this

Prov. 11:22- Beauty without discretion...

Sometimes you’re not attracted to someone because you’re attracted to the wrong things.

Men- word on the destructiveness of porn. Confess and be done with it. That’s you’re only hope. Every time you look at that you are destroying your future wife and kids.

9. Date with your eyes wide open, then close them half way when you get married.

If there’s nothing on your con list, then you’ve got a problem. This person is a sinner just like all of us. You better see that before you get into marriage.

10. Don’t get on I-35 going north if you don’t want to go to Minneapolis- Begin with the end in mind.

I got a call from a friend saying that he wanted to propose to this girl. He had dated her for well over a year and he was in love with her. She was the one. There was one small problem- this girl was unwilling to move to the farm. Not that he was planning on it, but there was always that chance it could happen someday. What should he do?

What kind of marriage and family do you want?

If you’re on two separate life journeys… this person feels called to serve overseas, or in the military, or has to travel for work or wants a small family...


If you came in here thinking you’re something sweet, scoping out the chicks you might want to wait.

If you’re just getting out of a relationship, you’re in this category


Every culture has a different way…none of them are perfect

Illustration: Embera- show up in bed with your daughter; Afghanistan- arranged

Our Culture is Dating- So get on the ball and get yourself a date!

I think we need a demonstration: Two ways to get a date-

1. Put the phone on the stand and stare at the phone

2. Dial their number and push the green "send" button

Guys- if everytime you call she’s busy- she doesn’t want to go out with you

Ladies- if you’re really busy and you want to go out with him, tell him! (“I’m really busy but I’d love to hang out sometime”)

Guys, don’t be date-o-phobic.

Breakup (27:12; 28:26)

Some of you are being emotionally manipulated. You might be thinking, as I was 13 years ago, “If I break up with this person, they might kill themselves.”

You’re like a drug to them, the more you’re with them, the more harm you do to them than good.

What’s the best thing to do for a crack addict? Keep giving them crack as you counsel them and talk about how many brain cells are being destroyed? Of course not.

You are responsible for you, not him or her. Put them in God’s hands (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Dating is not something to mess around with. You don’t date to help someone else. You don’t date to lead someone to Jesus.

You date to find someone of excellent character to spend your life with.

Girls- break up with the jerk and get some girl friends who love Jesus

Guys- break up with the girl and get some accountabilibuddies (Thanks, John Dixon, I’ve been waiting all night to say that word. What a fun word, if you’re having a bad day, just say that word a couple times and it’s a sure smile.)

[At this point in the night, the audience texted in questions to a panel- that is on the podcast]

Thursday, February 28, 2008

More miraculous signs and wonders

Last week was spiritual intensity week for our ministry. Each day had a focus- contemplating God, meditation on Scripture, fasting/imaginative prayer, silence and solitude, and evangelism.

We met every morning at 7:00 for prayer. On the day of prayer and fasting, a girl in our ministry told a friend she wouldn't be able to make it because she was too tired. At 3:30 she woke up and she felt like God was telling her to go to prayer. She went back to bed, and woke up again (without an alarm) just in time to get to prayer.

One of our staff guys was leading imaginative prayer. He noticed this girl writing furiously on a notepad. Afterwards he asked what she was doing. She kept getting visions of God invading the dorms and she asked God, "Which floors?" Soon, a flood of dorms and floors came to her mind (i.e. first and fourth floor of Friley, third floor of Maple, etc). That was Wednesday.

On Friday, about 30 students went out to share the gospel on the dorm floors where she received the visions. I went with a student to first floor Eaton. This is the "daddy loves me dorm"- where rich kids stay and keep doors closed (the new dorms are more like an apartment style). It was an unlikely place to go, but we went expecting that God had gone ahead of us.

It was typical evangelism at first- you're thinking to yourself, "What the heck am I doing out here? I'm nuts." And we are. There was basically no one around and I was about to give up.

But sure enough, a guy comes walking into the hallway and we begin to ask him some questions. This guy missed his class because he wanted to keep talking about spiritual things. He was hungry for truth. 45 minutes later we ended the discussion by exchanging contact information so we could talk more later. I got him Mere Christianity, and we're going to meet sometime to talk about it.

I couldn't believe this guy wanted to know more about the Bible. If you think about it, it's a miracle that anyone believes. The Gospel story is a bit far fetched. And yet it makes so much sense. But it's God who was at work, and in this case, he even directed us to where He was working before we even got there. That was the first time I can remember something like this happening.

In the vision, when this girl saw "First floor Eaton", God saw this guy. I think God still speaks and acts. And he definitely wants to be known (Acts 17:24-ff)

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Middle East History Quiz

I was motivated this afternoon by a lecture given by Bob Blincoe, head of the Frontiers mission organization. I had the feeling that I wasn't worthy to be in the presence of such an apostolic man of God. I was informed and inspired (and I laughed, which made it all worth it- Bob cracked me up). I wanted to get on a plane and go to a hostile place to tell people about Jesus (with a smile of course)

Let me share some of what I learned. I decided to do it in the form of a quiz. That way you can see if you are as ignorant as I was 4 hours ago...

1. Where did the Kurds flee after Saddam Hussein systematically wiped out Kurdish neighborhoods in the early 1990's?
A. the mountains
B. Baghdad
C. their basements
D. Syria

2. What did the U.S. military do to lure them out of the place they had fled?
A. built a big bonfire
B. set up a tent city for 25,000 people
C. shined a spotlight in the sky
D. Fireworks to show victory

3. Who (wrongfully) took credit for the successful relocation of hundreds of thousands of Kurds to their homeland by American troops?
A. England
B. Germany
C. The U.N.
D. Russia

4. True or False. The Kurdish Gov't is hostile to Christians.

5. T or F. The Kurds consider themselves Iraqis.

6. Baghdad was founded in...
A. 2000 BC
B. 352 AD
C. 762 AD
D. 1902 AD

7. Baghdad was destroyed in
A. 480 AD
B. 1258 AD
C. 1972 AD
D. 1980 AD

8. 1919 marked the end of...
A. British rule in Iraq
B. German control of the Middle East
C. The Ottoman Empire
D. The rule of Saud in the Middle East

9. True or False. Gertrude Bell made up the modern boundary lines in the Middle East following WWI.

10. What nation exerted their authority in the Middle East following WWI, by installing Ali to rule Arabia, Abdullah to rule Jordan, and Faisel to rule Syria/Iraq?
A. Brits
B. Germans
C. Americans
D. French

11. T or F. The current king of Jordan speaks more English than Arabic.

12. King Faisel of Syria/Iraq, who ruled in the early-mid 20th century, made the statement
A. "You have given me a country that does not really exist."
B. "These people will be able to survive better as a democracy than as individual tribes working against each other."

13. Lt. Col. John Nagle said recently that we forgot all the lessons learned...
A. 2500 years ago by the Jews living in Babylon
B. 60 years ago by American troops who preceded our military.

14. Iraq and Iran fought from
A. 1976-1984
B. 1978-1984
C. 1980-1988

15. T or F. The Brits came to Iraq's rescue to finally overcome Iran.

16. The U.S. sent a special envoy to take Iraq off of the list of nations favoring terrorism and human rights violations. The leader of the envoy went to personally shake hands with Saddam and assure Saddam of our support. That special envoy of Reagan was led by...
A. Madeleine Albright
B. James Baker
C. Henry Kissinger
D. Donald Rumsfeld

17. T or F. Saddam received the permission of the U.S. to invade Kuwait.

18. Saddam invaded Iraq on August 2nd,
A. 1989
B. 1990
C. 1991
D. 1992

19. The U.S. Embassy in Baghdad employs 1,000 U.S. employees. How many of them speak Arabic?
A. 2
B. 5
C. 88
D. 680

20. The Gospel is spreading ______ among the Kurds.
A. Slowly
B. Rapidly

21. T or F. Northern Iraq is a dangerous place to live.

1. A 2. B 3. C (America singlehandedly did all the work) 4. F (They protect minority rights) 5. F 6. C 7. B (by Genghis Khan's grandson Molugu Khan) 8. C 9. T (This might've been the most profound insight- the boundaries are synthetic, not historic. Therefore, we're trying to defend and unify a country that has will never have unity- that comes from tribes, not boundaries made by a westerner 90 years ago) 10. A 11. T 12. A 13. B 14. C 15. F (America) 16. D 17. T (After Saddam asked about a possible Kuwait invasion, US Ambassador said, "We have no opinion on your Arab-Arab conflict" 18. B 19. B 20. B (God is doing great things there, and the hate of Islam that almost wiped them out has made them more open) 21. F

Sunday, February 24, 2008

What is nasal irrigation?

I've mentioned in a few previous posts that I irrigate my nose. I started doing this when I first got a sinus infection and continue to do it. I use a Neti Pot and fill it with water and a small scoop of non-iodized pure salt. Then I put it in one nostril and tip my head to one side and the solution comes out the other nostril. It's weird at first but I've gotten used to it.

This procedure helps to provide moisture to the nasal passages as well as providing relief during a sinus infection (decreases pain and swelling). I'm currently doing it 1-2 times per day. The purpose now is to prevent a future infection.

Using a saline nose spray is also a form of irrigation, it's just not as effective. I still haven't convinced Mark that he needs to being using a Neti Pot daily. He's had 2 sinus surgeries and can use all the help he can get. He has started to use a saline nose spray and says it really helps. The other day he said he was able to start smelling some things (kind of shows how bad off he is--and that is normal for him!).

A book that I would highly recommend for people that get allergies, colds, and sinusitis is Sinus Survival by Robert S. Ivker, D.O. A friend, Jen Lee, recommended it and at first I thought, "What could it really tell me that I don't already know?" After I put aside my pride, I borrowed it and learned it was really helpful. It's a holistic approach to treating colds/allergies/sinus infections.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Prophet Bono drops another great quote

Every functioning entity must have individual parts that work for the good of the whole, and not themselves (that's not the Bono comes later)

Think about this- it's true for everything.

A great team must have role players who get the ball to the scorers.
A great band must have a drummer who works to make the bass sound good, the bass works to make the guitars sound good, the guitars work to make the vocals sound good (That's a quote from our new drummer, Austin, who was trained and influenced musically by Andy Landers).
A marriage must have a husband who submits to God and who lovingly lays down his life for his wife, and the wife submits to the husband and lays down her rights for him.
The cell must have a... (OK, I'm not a bio-chemist, but from everything I learned in 9th grade biology, I'm pretty sure it's true for the cell)
And most fundamentally- the Trinity must have a loving Father with a Son who perfectly does the Father's will with a Spirit who puts all attention on the Son.

I was just talking to Todd Wallace, our worship leader, about this, and lo and behold, another quote from the prophet Bono came to mind.

This is so insightful...

When asked how U2 has stayed in tact for so many years, he said:

"All the members of U2 know that we'll only ever be 1/4 of U2. But being one-fourth of U2 is better than being the whole of something else."

In other words, U2 could've imploded if one of them ever decided to have their own agenda- to make it about something other than the band (i.e. themselves). That doesn't mean the band doesn't have a leader or front man (clearly, Bono), but everyone looks to make the others in the band better. Even if that means they fade into obscurity.

That's hard to take. That's why pride destroys great teams or organisms or businesses (or any entity) quicker than anything.

But at the end of the day, wouldn't you rather be Russ Hochstein, an offensive lineman on the New England Patriots, who has a Super Bowl ring for all 10 fingers (maybe he has some he wears on his toes, too) than Dominique Wilkins, who will always be known as the guy who scored a lot of points and had some cool dunks but never won anything?

I want to be willing to be an unknown 1/4 of something great, than be the whole of a Mark-centered dysfunction.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Has your family night ever bombed?

Four little children sabotaged our attempt at family movie night.

Actually, Makai, now 8 months old, is the main culprit. He started screaming "Feed me!" just as we were all about to jump in bed and watch a movie. So Leatha kept speed reading her latest book, Sinus Survival, while I threw the popcorn in bowls and split one can of pop 3 ways for the three older kids.

For what it's worth, our favorite family pop is R.W. Knudsen's Spritzer (pretty much any flavor but lemon- it tastes like bad cough medicine).

After feeding Makai, I brought him in to watch the movie. He's grabbing everything- spilling everyone's popcorn bowls, pop, etc. Moreover, I'm not into the movie because I already missed most of it, so I'm anxiously waiting for it to be done.

Finally, the movie ends and I help get all of their teeth brushed. I get them downstairs and of course Beck has to go "poopy and potty." I set Beck on the toilet, and he shoos me away with his classic line, "I need pyacy daddy."

"Ok, Beck, I'll give you privacy, but I'll be back in five minutes and you need to be done (he takes a long time on the pot)."

I come back to this.

It was official- family night was in ruins.

Yep...undies on the head.

How can he get them to fit perfectly on his head but not where they belong?

It's beyond me.

Now I'm laying in bed hoping Makai will stop crying from teething/gas/...? so Leatha and I can regain our sanity.

Like the ocean floor, God is...

Fair Warning: This might be a post you'll want to skip if you don't like thinking about and discussing theology.

Our church does a lot of church based training. I'm currently taking a Biblical Theology class in which The Unity of the Bible is our primary text. It's the book that John Piper says shaped his thinking more than any other. It's basically the deeper, more academic, and more boring version of Piper. (BTW, did you guys see Piper light it up on the prosperity gospel?!!!). That's not a good sign if you're favorite authors are Francine Rivers, Max Lucado and Phillip Yancey (all of whom I happen to enjoy).

In our Friday class, we entered the depths of the ocean, that is God. Only this ocean is much deeper and wider, with vast undiscovered waters. We examined questions like,

"Why did God create the world? Why is the Trinity "necessary" and the creation a "free act"? What can illustrate from life experience and the Bible why the Holy Spirit has a necessary function in the Trinity? If God didn't create the world, would certain attributes never have the chance of being expressed (i.e. mercy, justice, grace, wrath)? Was a sinful world God's intent from the beginning (i.e. Was sending Jesus plan A or B)? What is the overarching theme of the Bible? Why is God's delight not in making demands, but in meeting needs?"

As we were discussing this, someone in the class raised the objection to the in depth examination of these questions: "In the Bible, God spends two whole chapters telling Job that he'll never understand the depths of God (Chapters 38 and 39). Is this discussion really worth it? We seem to be merely speculating about things we'll never really know for sure."

My response to the class via email:

Fellow Biblical Theology Class-

I wanted to follow up our class on Friday with some thoughts. The discussion, though seemingly futile at times, is well worth it. Generally, these discussions will bring one of three responses…

Spiritualized Apathy: “It doesn’t matter, we’ll never know here on earth. So sitting around discussing it is a waste of time. We should focus on more practical stuff like evangelism, etc”

Pride: “Look at how many big words I know and how I’m able to plumb the depths of God.”

Humility: “Oh the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God. How unsearchable are his judgments and his paths beyond tracing out. Who has known the mind of the Lord or who has been his counselor? Who has ever given to God that God should repay him? For from him and through him and to him are things- to him be the glory forever… Come, Christian Triune God who lives, here am I, shake the world again.” – Apostle Paul in Romans 11, and Francis Schafer

All three of these could describe me on any given day. Obviously we need to avoid the first 2 like the plague- but #3 makes it all worth it.

[Unnamed Student], I think I disagree a little with your use of Job to show why the conversation was pointless. In Job’s situation, he was seeking an answer for his life situation in an accusing way (“Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct him? Let him who accuses God answer him!” 40:2) That’s what seemed to illicit the string of rhetorical questions from God (Ch. 38 & 39). I don’t think that was really the intent of our discussion. [Unnamed Student], what do you think? Was that your point in using Job, or did I misunderstand?

Moreover, after 4 breathtaking and mind boggling chapters on God’s sovereignty, Paul ends with the aforementioned quote from Isaiah. The point is that Paul didn’t write that prayer right after chapter 7, he went on to explain God’s steadfast love, sovereign choice of Israel, and ends with 11:32, which is right along the lines of what we were talking about in class. These things are “unsearchable,” as Paul says, and yet he searches them. He could’ve gone further, and I think we’ll be eternally in awe of these truths. But the searching always ends in worship- with greater awe of a bigger God.

Similarly, just because we’ll never fully grasp a concept like “grace,” doesn’t mean we shouldn’t think long and hard about it, then let it drive us to our knees. That the ocean will never be fully explored is not a good argument for not trying.

In short, these discussions will bear much fruit if we approach them with a humble, childlike wonder of God. And in applying ourselves to learning from Fuller- learning new vocabulary words, reading and striving to comprehend complex sentences, stretching the limits of our minds with new ideas, pondering new questions we’ve never thought of, thinking about biblical themes and God’s “storyline”- we’ll be “loving God with our minds,” clearly something we’re commanded to do.

I can’t wait for next class!


Saturday, February 16, 2008

Should I really be laughing at that?

I’m not a funny person, but I love to laugh.

This is convenient for me, because great comics tell jokes without laughing at them. So if I were funny, I wouldn’t be able to laugh at my own jokes, and therefore would not enjoy it as much. But maybe if you’re funny there’s even more joy in making others laugh…

But I do have funny friends.

One of them is a new friend I hung out with yesterday. His name is Austin. The dude was hilarious. He was unique in the sense that he has trained himself in the art of being funny without laughing at his jokes, then moving onto the next funny thing. Demetri Martin is in the same genre of humor (Fair warning: Martin’s sharp wit is intertwined with a couple F-bombs and mildly crass humor.)

Some of my other funny friends are Paul and Jenni Sabino. They are hilarious. Paul is the master of absurdity and quick wit (similar to Jim Gaffigan’s hot pocket rant), while Jenni’s imitations and impressions will put you on the floor laughing. It is a recipe for disaster to sit next to Paul at our staff meetings. When we went on a date night with them, I nearly ran the car off the road because I was laughing so hard. The best impersonator I’ve ever witnessed is Frank Caliendo (with close to 8 million youtube views.)- with Jenni’s British, Scottish, Nerd, East Coast/Italian, Asian and whatever other accents are out there as a close second.

Another friend that can crack me up: Ed Noble. If Jim Rome were a preacher, he might sound like Ed. You wouldn’t know this from his speaking style, but he is one of the smartest, wittiest, and scholarly pastors I know. You can find him here.

BTW, Jim Rome’s take on Miss South Carolina is hilarious.

The hardest thing about humor is that I’m a pastor, and I’m not supposed to laugh at certain things.

But I do.

Even though I often find things funny that I shouldn’t, here are some guidelines I try to live by:

1. Joking about immorality makes me sick most of the time. Perverted humor that does anything other than honor marriage is something I do my best to avoid ("Marriage should be honored by all..." Hebrews 13). It’s the cause of too much brokenness to be funny.

2. Overuse of the F-bomb will disqualify a good comedian, as will taking the Lord’s name in vain. (Although I will say this- the command was not primarily given to keep people from saying “G--“ after hitting their finger with a hammer. Maybe I’ll explain in another blog…)

I’m sure crass language doesn’t bother me as much as it should.

One word that I would use more often if it wasn’t on the evangelical contraband list is “ass.” A few of those- timely placed- are funny to me. Part of Seinfeld’s new stand up routine includes an encore where he talks about the utility of this word. I heard it second hand and it cracked me up. C.S. Lewis, borrowing from St. Francis of Assisi, uses this word in the Four Loves when he talks about “brother ass.”

Some of you were thinking, “I can’t believe he thinks ‘ass’ is ok” But then I dropped C.S. Lewis’ name and it was ok.

But I very rarely use that word, because it’s really not OK to use the word around people who find it offensive. Why use offensive language if it’s not necessary to communicate the point? A couple weeks ago, I said the “S” word in a sermon. It was not to glorify the word, rather to keep the integrity of the story. The setting was also important (i.e. our college ministry)- I never would’ve used the word on a Sunday morning in church or at a junior high event, etc. even to protect the integrity of the story.

4. Laughing at stereotypes and generalizations about groups of people are generally funny, until the humor is hurtful to a particular person. Then it’s not funny- or shouldn’t be. The golden rule rules in this situation (If someone said that about me, would I laugh or be hurt?)

5. Even though Larry the Cable Guy is a Husker fan, his stand up routine was unbearable for me (or anyone else in the blue collar, dirty jokes genre). But I have to admit, his story about his trip to Home Depot made me laugh. Some clean comedians in contrast to him are Brad Stine and Brian Regan.

6. I try to employ moderation when it comes to the consumption of humor. Solomon warns us about this in Ecclesiastes. Moreover, too much humor can trivialize our lives. As I was typing this I got an email about another Afghan tragedy. I’ll write more about that later. I’ve already told Joseph’s story.

But when Joseph smiles, it reminds me why God gave us humor.

Humor is God's gift to bring joy in our often jacked up world. Satan didn’t invent it- he merely perverts it. Thanks, Lord, that every good gift is from you. Teach us to laugh harder at the things you find funny and turn away from all else.

What makes you laugh?

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Family Planning

I've had a number of conversations recently related to family planning and birth control.

There's a concise article by John Piper on the subject that is good, but there's an even better message by Mark Driscoll on the subject. You can download the sermon "Religion Saves and 9 Other Misconceptions- Birth Control" for free off itunes, or go to the Mars Hill website. This is the closest thing I've heard to my opinion on the issue.

Let me share what struck me as I listened to Driscoll's message. In one word: freedom. One way to tell you're in a legalistic environment is if you're often made to feel guilty about life choices that make you wonder, "Is that really in the Bible?"

Legalism is satanic. Legalism is bondage- it wages war against freedom. I think this is an issue where people become legalistic, casting upon others an unnecessary burden. Here's what I mean...

I love the idea of having lots of kids. I know they are a blessing from God. I would love for lots of "Arants" to bring the love of Christ to a hopeless world.

But there's something that's been bothering me... can Leatha and I handle more kids? I might be able to, but what about Leatha's emotional well-being? She is the one who has to remain sane when surrounded by the chaos of little kids all day. I can understand how moms have emotional breakdowns and are prone to depression. It's draining physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Add on top of it trying to maintain order, educate the kids, eating healthy, being inside all day...

Some people object to this with the following quasi spiritual response, "You just need to trust God."

Absolutely. I need to trust God that four kids might be all we can handle. Of course we shouldn't let selfish motives drive our decision (more kids will keep us from going on nice vacations and wearing expensive clothes and driving new cars...) But we are stewards of this life. I have to obey the command to live with my wife "in an understanding way." I've got to study her, "Does my wife want more kids and I'm being selfish? How is she doing emotionally? Would she be able to handle more? Are we being good stewards of the ones we have now? Can we afford it? As Paul would say, "If you can't take care of your own family- you're worse than an unbeliever)

Then there's the 31 orphans we're trying to feed in Malawi. Or the 800 college students we're trying to shepherd. Or the church of which I'm an overseer.

Some women can handle none, or one, or two, or twenty... but it's an issue of freedom. Plan your family with a biblically informed view of family and kids, then make a decision based on how God has wired you as individuals and as a couple.

Freedom in family planning. That's what I felt after listening to the Driscoll message. "Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom!" (2 Cor. 3:17)

P.S.- Leatha and I haven't decided on whether or not there will be a #5 (actually, there are five already, but our first one is in heaven.) Moreover, God has the right to trump our plans...

No longer "hip"

We're no longer hip puritans anymore.

There's a great discussion about the name of our blog- follow the discussion thread under the post "Metropuritan."

Monday, February 11, 2008

Ava's Game

Ava invented a game tonight at bed time.

It was the usual routine... brush teeth, get pajamas on, get the kids in bed and pray Psalms over them (tonight was Ps. 119:9-11). The urgency of the Psalm comes from conversations I had today with male college students about purity that would make you weep.

I decided (in a rare moment of slowing down to enjoy them at bed time) that I would try to get to know what has been on Cameron's mind. I asked him if he knew what worry was ["It's when you think about things like if your friends will be mean to you"], and if he had worried about anything lately. He said he worried about his birthday- would it be fun? Then he asked why we say at the end of praying "Name. Amen." Of course, he meant "in your (or Jesus') name, Amen."

Ava hates being left out when she knows there's something relational happening, so she came in to join our conversation. She said, "Daddy, I've got a game we can play- you tell us a story and we'll tell you if the person was following Jesus or Satan." She had been thinking about something I said earlier and just made this game up as she was laying in bed.

It's a game of moral dilemmas. So I started with easy ones- "Johnnie is on the playground getting beat up by Freddy."

"Freddy is following Satan."

Then my scenarios get progressively more ambiguous...

"Then Mike comes over and punches Freddy to defend Johnnie."

It was a great discussion. Thanks, Ava, for our new game.

P.S. Ava said it would be "a great game to play with people who don't know Jesus, because they will learn what it means to follow him."

Sunday, February 10, 2008


It's time to explain the name of our blog- metropuritan (a word I made up). Let me start by telling you about a bad word I learned in college.



In academia, "Truth" "Conservative" "Intolerance" are equivalent to some crass words- but the King of all swear words in college was "Puritanical." In semantics class, I learned that you should never desire this label. These are the outcasts of society, the right wing, abortion center bombing, religious radicals, "evangelical", gay hating, politically polarizing, fox news watching Americans that- for all the enlightened minds can figure out- are spiritual nut jobs that came from outer space.

Tragically, so many people from the past are forgotten, misunderstood, or even demonized in our modern culture. One example- the Puritans. Although modern scholars encourage a low view of the Puritans, I esteem them. They weren't perfect, but they were the people of conviction, faith, and perseverance that founded this great country. Of course they were flawed. The more I read about them, I'm actually shocked at how flawed they were (some of their treatment of Native Americans was shameful, their intolerance toward other expressions of Christianity was overboard and often hypocritical- all for another blog), and yet how divinely destined they were to found what is now the U.S.A. But how is a study of them different from a study of characters from the Bible? Such standouts as Abraham, Moses, David, Solomon, Rahab, Apostle Paul, Apostle Peter- liars, murderers, immoral, prostitute, and violent men- are the "heroes" of our heritage of faith.

So this is the etymology of the word...

"Metro" (short for metropolitan) is "a person who has the sophistication, fashionable taste, or other habits and manners associated with those who live in a metropolis. Esp. in culture, accepting and combining a wide variety of people, ideas, etc."

"Puritan" is "a member of a group of Protestants that arose in the 16th century within the Church of England, demanding the simplification of doctrine and worship, and greater strictness in religious discipline"

I love culture. I love history. I love hip. I love radical Christ followers.

Therefore, "metropuritan" seemed to be a nice blend of these, juxtaposing modernity with antiquity.

U2 3D

U2 is my favorite band.

So I'm excited to see the U2 3D movie, which comes out in selected theaters Feb. 22.

About a year ago, I read the book Bono. Bono is an enigma in many ways- evangelical Christians can't quite embrace him because he drops the F bomb, and liberal religious folk don't know what to do when he says Jesus Christ is who he said he was- the Messiah and Savior of the world. And yet there is not a more famous band in the world. Believers and unbelievers describe their concerts as an intensely spiritual experience.

Here are some quotes I found interesting from the book:

[Description of himself] "a scribbling, cigar smoking, wine drinking Bible reading band man... a friend of the poor and sometimes the rich."

[on worship] "Coolness might help in your negotiation with people through the world, maybe, but it is impossible to meet God with sunglasses on."

[on our apathy toward Africa] "God will not let us get away with this...we can't get them these drugs but we can get them our fizzy drinks...If you put your shoulder on the door, it might open. Especially if you're representing a greater authority than yourself. Call it love, call it justice, call it whatever you want. That's why I'm never nervous when I meet politicians. I think they should be nervous because I'm representing the poor and wretched in this world. And I promise, history will be hard on this moment. And whatever thoughts you have about God, who He is or if He exists- most will agree that if there is a God, God has a special place for the poor. The poor are where God lives, so these politicians should be nervous, not me."

[on science and God] "We've gone 200 years since the Enlightenment, but science is starting to bow again."

"He (their pastor who helped lead them to Christ) didn't really believe that our music was an integral part of who we were as religious people unless we used the music to evangelize. I knew then that he didn't really get it, and that indeed he was missing out on our blessing."

"In Scriptures, the blessing of an older man is powerful. Jacob wanted the blessing more, I think God was moved by that...whenever there is a blessing going, I'll be out there trying to catch it. Frank Sinatra, Willie Nelson- I have shocked and surprised people by asking them for blessing... [he talks about asking Archbishop Tutu for a blessing and then how Billy Graham was the best blessing of all.]"

He emphasizes "starting the morning reaching out for God" and that Psalm 46:10 is his favorite verse, "Be still and know that I am God..."

Here is the first of a series of youtube links of an interview Bill Hybels did with Bono, very interesting:

Friday, February 8, 2008

The Kids

Walgreens is having a special for a few days so I was motivated to take a picture so I could get some free ones.
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Thursday, February 7, 2008


I couldn't believe it.

I had no idea.

I just found out tonight this girl was home schooled.

Not just that- this girl broke every stereotype- and she was home schooled from second grade all the way through high school!

Thanks, Annie Lanzen, for vindicating all the home school advocates (and showing that my generalizations are just that- generalizations that aren't true for every individual).

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Mark's Top Ten Worship Songs

Modern worship songs, true to pop culture, are not timeless. Therefore, this list changes often, but these are the songs that are connecting most with my soul right now. As you'll notice, they're all from Hillsong United. These Australian brothers and sisters in Christ are amazing. They write irresistible melody hooks, with tasty guitar riffs, and non-conventional and soulish lyrics. They are a breath of fresh air from the often trite, acoustic driven, adult contemporary worship music coming from America. Moreover, our best writers (David Crowder as an example) are writing songs that are more concert driven (the experience of the concert is worshipful, but it's very difficult to reproduce in a corporate worship setting). What do you think?

(In no particular order)
Lead me to the cross (Hillsong United- All of the Above)
Hosanna (")
Solution (")
My future decided (")
Came to my rescue (Hillsong United- United We Stand)
The Stand (")
Fire Fall Down (")
Take it all (")
Till I See You (Hillsong United- Look to You)
Mighty to Save (Hillsong- Mighty to Save)

Monday, February 4, 2008

Homeschooling Response

Some of our good friends from Portland, Andy and Erin Meschke, wrote a thoughtful response to my take on home school (via email). I posted it under the comments section of "Homeschooling- John Denver's Mistake." I think there are some great points to consider- thanks Andy and Erin...

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Props to Moms

Yesterday was one of longest days of the year.

Sick mom. Sick kids. Nowhere to go. Just stuck inside all day.

I told Leatha how long the day felt, and she asked a piercing question- How do you think I've felt all winter? ("It's only 9 AM?! How am I going to make it through this day?")

One of the things I appreciate about Leatha is that she runs a tight ship. She has a plan and direction for the day. If I were the mom, our lives would be summarized in one word: chaos. Sure, we would have a lot of fun, but in the end, disorder would rule the home.

I was planning on taking care of the kids so Leatha could rest. But as the aforementioned chaos ensued, Leatha pulled me aside to remind me that there was a plan- the Saturday routine. The kids needed to gather all the dirty clothes in the house, then sort them. One of the kids needed to do the dishes. Rooms needed to be cleaned. Ava was to help me figure out the laundry. Then snack time. Room time. Lunch. Naps/Reading for the 2 older kids. Games. Dinner. Pajamas. Brush teeth. Bed time. (I snuck in some TV time, which is critical for Saturday survival).

Discipline and order takes work. But it's the only way to remain sane when you're home all day, every day with small kids.

Life is like entropy (inevitable deterioration of a system or society). Therefore it requires constant work- kitchens don't clean themselves, kids don't roll out of bed obedient humans, clothes don't stay clean, toys never stay in the toy box, cheerios always find their way to the floor, marriages don't stay a honeymoon...

Parenting is like entropy- and it requires the selfless service of a mom to maintain order and love. I'm a pastor and I can tell you that your work is just as (if not more) spiritual than mine. Sacrifice. Servant hood. Unconditional love. Your Father in heaven sees what no one else does- bless you and may the joy of the Lord be your strength!

Friday, February 1, 2008

My Sudanese Brother

I saw Joseph Madoul walking into church last night, and I gave him a big hug. There are some people for which small talk is impossible. Joseph is one of them...

His dad was killed before his eyes. Last month his uncle was crowned by President Bush as the first President of Sudan. His other uncle was one of the most famous Sudanese political leaders. Last year that uncle was assassinated. Joseph is good friends with Manute Bol. As a 12 year old, Joseph led a group of 115 children on a walk across Sudan. Only 60 survived.

We walked over to a map and I asked him, "How far did you walk again?" He pointed to the middle of Sudan, moved his finger down to Kenya, over to Ethiopia, back through Kenya to Uganda, to Sudan, and finally to Kenya. About 2,ooo miles. It took 3 years.

At age 12, he was the oldest of the wandering children. He provided food for everyone by hunting birds and eating leaves off of trees. He watched children die of starvation. Others he watched get torn apart by alligators while crossing rivers. He described the gruesome scene. They were attacked countless times by lions. In all, he saw over 55 children die on this journey for freedom.

He carried an AK-47, but rarely used it. They hid during the day and traveled at night. He didn't want to give away their location to the enemy. The one time he shot an attacking lion, the enemy heard the gun shots. His leg is scarred over with gun shot wounds and shrapnel from the mistake. He said being attacked by a lion is better than being attacked by men.

His life experience is surreal.

He has a different view of life and death. A modern Sudanese holocaust survivor, Joseph told me that God watched over them. He wants to get back to Sudan to help more people.

These conversations with Joseph always have a way of bringing perspective. God help me to make the most of this brief existence here on earth. Be with our brothers and sisters in Sudan and thwart the plans of the wicked, while defending the cause of the fatherless and widow.

Homeschooling- John Denver's Mistake

I recently read an article on homeschooling.

Here is one of the quotes,

Christians should have no part in the government school system. However, I would challenge any Christian to give me a Scriptural basis for sending young children away from their parents for eight or more hours a day to be indoctrinated by a system which is anti-God. You can search the Scriptures high and low, but it isn't there.

Who has the burden of proof? Me to demonstrate that it's "biblical" to send kids to public school?

Let me give you an example of why this is a lame argument. Consider the following statement...

Christians should not live in the suburbs, take out mortgages, drive cars that cost over $10,000, attend a church that has a building, attend church on Sunday... "you can search the Scriptures high and low, but it isn't there" - it's simply not biblical to do any of those things.


If God wanted to give instruction on these things, he would've put it in there. That's why you can't find it. You're not meant to find it.

The problem might just be that you found somewhere in the Bible where God says to home school. I'm just not convinced that Jesus' reference to Caesar had anything to do with how we educate our kids. Voddie Baucham, who this person referred to, is a great Bible teacher. He should know better than to proof text like that.

I have personal reasons for advocating public schools. Although I think they may be good ideas based on what I know about the Bible, none of them are biblically prescriptive.

I did youth ministry for four years, and I've worked with college students for 5 years. Here are some observations (generalizations, of course, for the sake of discussion):

1. Home schooled kids are much less effective in evangelizing lost friends.
2. Many home school parents made their decision to home school out of fear (what's going to happen to poor Johnny if he hears someone drop the F-bomb? Oh no, his virgin ears... I can't send him out as sheep among wolves.)
3. Home school kids tend to be socially awkward with their peers. If you took a poll, they would be labeled "weird" by their peers.
4. Home school, private school, and public school kids tend to turn out like their parents. If their parents are loving, smart, driven, nerds, worldly, committed to the church, lukewarm in faith, immoral, their kids will be.
5. Home school parents tend to be more militant about their opinions, which ends up making them aliens in their neighborhoods, schools, etc. and irrelevant for the gospel.
6. Home school parents can shape the culture of a church or youth group, making it ingrown, family centered, and cultic. Not all bad.
7. Home school kids tend to relate better to adults.
8. Home school parents tend to be more legalistic and conservative culturally.
9. Home school kids are more likely to play games that require dice with more than 6 sides.
10. Home school kids tend to be more avid readers.
11. Home school kids are more likely to wear tight jogging pants and jeans that are too short.
12. Home school parents tend to have an "Us vs. Them" view of the world that makes public school teachers out to have a liberal, homosexual, indoctrinating agenda.

The best argument I've heard for home school is that parents want to shape their children's hearts before sending them off. On the other hand, I think public school is a perfect training ground.

John Denver loved the environment. It broke his heart to see rare trees destroyed. At the time, he made a decision that seemed reasonable, but ended up having unintended consequences. He built an indoor wooded area for these special trees. At first the trees seemed to be doing well- the environment was controlled and the trees were closely watched for progress. On the outside, all was well with the trees.

The only problem was that the trees grew to a certain height, and they began falling over. There was a fundamental lesson from this tree debacle, namely, trees need everything the environment has to offer (blazing wind, scorching heat, sub zero wind chill, imperfect soil, etc) so the roots can grow deep and strong. Environment manipulation doesn't work well for trees. I think the same is true for our children. A little wind isn't going to destroy them. It may make them stronger.

I'm not against home schooling. It may be the best option for some families and children. But as for our household, we're still debating this issue

My apologies...

For those of you on the "outside" of the Christian faith, I want to apologize.

I apologize for Christians who..

...think homeschooling is the "biblical" way to train your children.
...think there's a "biblical" way to breast feed.
...think it's "biblical" to be a Republican.
...don't believe God speaks and acts as he did in biblical times.
...think "courtship" is the "biblical" way to get married.
...think natural family planning is the only right method of birth control.
...firmly believe the Left Behind series is how the end times is going to play out.
...think Israel is above the law and has a right to oppress Palestinians because they are "God's chosen people."
...ostracize you for believing the earth is millions of years old.
...think there is a biblically prescribed style of music.
...are out of touch and irrelevant.
...have compromised biblical truth to be "in touch" and relevant.

I'm also sorry for sometimes being one of those people...