Far and away one of the best books I’ve ever read on child-rearing is Standing on the Promises, by Doug Wilson. If you were to ask to borrow my copy, I’m not sure it would do you any good because you probably wouldn’t be able to read the words from all my notes and markings.
However, if you are looking for a “how to” book to help you raise your children, this is not the book for you. While the book is not without practical application, Wilson is far less concerned with giving you twelve easy steps to parenting godly kids as he is with giving you a firm foundation upon which to do so. But, I hasten to add, the book is anything but abstract and impractical. It is encouraging, instructive, and even inspiring. I heartily recommend it to any and all parents who are seeking to raise godly children in this ungodly age.
Here are a few choice quotes from the first chapter that I think are worth passing on…
The Fountainhead of Culture
The biblical family is an instituted government, established by God at the very beginning of human history. The constitution for this government was written by him, and revealed to us in his Word.
Parents bring up their children to be colonists at the proper time, planting families of their own.
Consequently, each family is designed to be a culture – with a language, customs, traditions, and countless unspoken assumptions. God has made the world in such a way that children who grow up in the culture of the family are to be shaped and molded by it. The duty of the husband and father is to ensure that the shaping is done according tot he standards of the Word of God.
[A common problem among modern Christians] is that of forgetting the family is a culture at all, and allowing, by default, outside cultural influences to take primacy in how the children are shaped. When the biblical cultural mandate for the home is abandoned in the home, the vacuum will not be there for long.
By nature, children are malleable. They will either be shaped lawfully, by those commanded by God to perform the task, or they will be shaped unlawfully, by outsiders. But as children, they will be shaped.
I've shared this piece a number of times over the years, primarily because of the impact Ken Boa made (and continues to make) in my life. I also share it because, in many ways, his influence shows up in much of how I think and minister, as well as what I write. When I begin a new website, (or a website reboot), I try to make sure I include this small gesture of gratitude. I now appreciate the time and effort Ken invested in me as much as when I first wrote this.
Any person who has ever taken a class I have taught has heard the name “Ken Boa” more times than they ever wanted. Ken was a mentor of mine from 1989-1992, while I attended seminary in Atlanta.
I first “discovered” him through an audio tape someone let me listen to. After that, I went to the seminary library and read everything I could get my hands on. I also started attending as many of Ken’s Bible studies and small groups as possible.
Sometimes, at seminary, students can actually become spiritually malnourished as God becomes more of an object to be studied rather than a Person to be loved. Ken served as a great antidote to that disease in my life.
I enjoyed the privilege of getting to know Ken one-on-one and was even allowed to teach some of his classes from time to time. I will always appreciate the time and effort he poured into me. He must have exercised great patience in having this young seminary student trailing behind his every step. But if he did, I never knew it. He was always very gracious and helpful.
After graduation and moving back to Florida, I continued studying under Ken via his audio tapes and books. I have listened to his teaching and read his books over and over again. In fact, I wrote him a few years ago and told him his influence has been felt at every church I have served.
Today I can still keep up with Ken through his website. I can receive daily devotions and prayers, download and listen to his teaching, read many of his articles, etc. And if I want to feel even more like I’m back in one of his studies, I can watch him teach via video.
I haven’t kept up with Ken over the years very well. I have mailed periodic “thank you” cards to him from time to time. But it’s nice to know I can still keep up with him and his teaching. He was, and remains, a very influential mentor in my life. My ministry reveals it as the folks I have been privileged to teach and disciple can easily attest.
Below is an introduction to Ken that I took from his website. If you are interested in spiritual formation, apologetics, or some really good Bible studies, I would encourage you to visit his website and get to know more about him. I am indebted to him and thank God for him.
Grace and Truth,
Kenneth Boa is engaged in a ministry of relational evangelism and discipleship, teaching, writing, and speaking. He holds a B.S. from Case Institute of Technology, a Th.M. from Dallas Theological Seminary, a Ph.D. from New York University, and a D.Phil. from the University of Oxford in England.
Dr. Boa is the President of Reflections Ministries, an organization that seeks to encourage, teach, and equip people to know Christ, follow Him, become progressively conformed to His image, and reproduce His life in others. He is also President of Trinity House Publishers, a publishing company that is dedicated to the creation of tools that will help people manifest eternal values in a temporal arena by drawing them to intimacy with God and a better understanding of the culture in which they live.
Recent publications by Dr. Boa include Conformed to His Image, 20 Compelling Evidences that God Exists, Face to Face, Augustine to Freud, and Faith Has its Reasons. He is a contributing editor to The Open Bible and The Leadership Bible, and the consulting editor of the Zondervan NASB Study Bible.
Kenneth Boa also writes a free monthly teaching letter called Reflections. If you would like to be on the mailing list, visit http://www.kenboa.org/ or call 800-DRAW NEAR (800-372-9632).
Our local church, Southside United Methodist Church, was born on Easter Sunday, 1950. It was on that day the men and women, boys and girls of Southside assembled together as an official congregation of the Methodist Church to lift their hearts, minds, and voices in worship to God for his grace and goodness in bringing them together. It was also an opportunity for them to commit themselves to the service of Christ and his kingdom.
The men’s ministry, interestingly, was actually born the day before.
It was on the preceding day, Holy Saturday, the men of Southside decided to meet together to get everything ready for the next day’s events. These faithful, servant-hearted brothers also thought it would be a good idea to meet a few hours early for the purpose of cooking breakfast and then enjoying it and fellowship together. Southside men have been meeting every Holy Saturday since then for our annual “Men’s Easter Breakfast.”
I share this bit of history to communicate that this wonderful tradition of Southside men represents how long Southside’s commitment to men has existed. It also shows how far back our men’s commitment to Christ and his local church, Southside UMC, actually goes.
Much of today’s literature that is devoted to men’s ministry is saturated with tales of woe regarding the absence of men in the church at large. Men, they tell us, have been alienated from feeling welcome or comfortable in church settings for a variety of reasons. Perhaps there’s truth to that in some churches.
Yet Southside has been blessed by the men (and, of course, the women) who have stepped up in many ways over the years to be used by God in the building up of his body. From administrative leadership to teaching Sunday school classes to serving the community, Southside men have a rich history of following Christ, which has left an enduring legacy to the Southside men of today.
I give thanks for those men of God who have gone before us. May the men of Southside in each and every generation faithfully pursue our United Methodist Church’s mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
Soli Deo Gloria,
(April 14, 2010)
Trying to find a Bible storybook you can read to your young children is often a challenge. Some aren’t much more than “Jesus loves you” messages – page after page – with a few baby cherub pictures thrown in. Then there’s a variety of other versions that add value in different ways. And, of course, it’s hard to beat simply reading a regular version of the Bible to your child. My experience is that a good children’s Bible storybook supplements a regular reading of the Bible in very helpful ways.
A few years ago I came across a set of Bible stories I have read to my children ever since. These stories come in a Ten Volume set, entitled, The Bible Story by Arthur Maxwell. You can learn more about the book and the author by clicking here.
The series covers the entire Bible. No story, (I’m pretty sure), has been left out. Because the purpose of God’s Word is not always to give us every detail of a person’s life (example: Jesus’ childhood), the author respectfully (and I think fairly faithfully) “speculates” about such things. He never makes up things a Bible character said or did. And if he’s just exercising a little “imaginative wonder,” he clearly communicates that.
The pictures are fantastic. Very colorful. My kids love the pictures as well as the stories. We bounce back and forth between an Old Testament volume and then a New Testament volume.
One of the things I like most about the series is it was written in the 1950s. I know there is no golden era of the Christian faith (though the Puritans come in at the top for me). However, I really like the fact that this is not another children’s book trying more to be “relevant” to the child rather than faithful to the text. Who needs that? The author gives a faithful rendering of the story (with bits and pieces of the actual biblical text interspersed throughout the story) in a winsome way that gives my children a real love for the stories and a deep desire to hear them again and again. You just can’t beat that.
Here’s the link again to the website that sells this series. I wasn’t able to find it at Christian Book.com. I didn’t check Amazon.
The Bible Story
More than four hundred stories in ten volumes covering the entire Bible from Genesis to Revelation
by Arthur S. Maxwell
I encourage you to buy this series at once and begin reading the stories to your children. You won’t regret it. It’s an impacting and fun way to shepherd your children. And, as I said earlier, you just can’t beat that.
Grace and Truth,
The practice of catechesis is vital for the health of both the church and family. Several years ago I came across the following two articles that do a great job of addressing this topic. Both deal with J.I. Packer’s recent book and his comments about the importance of catechesis, and when Packer talks, we all need to listen.
The first one is found at Christianity Today and is an excerpt from his book, Grounded in the Gospel: Building Believers the Old-Fashioned Way, which he cowrote with Gary A. Parrett. Here’s a snippet from that excerpt…
Historically, the church’s ministry of grounding new believers in the rudiments of Christianity has been known as catechesis—the growing of God’s people in the gospel and its implications for doctrine, devotion, duty, and delight. It is a ministry that has waxed and waned through the centuries. It flourished between the second and fifth centuries in the ancient church. Those who became Christians often moved into the faith from radically different worldviews. The churches rightly sought to ensure that these life-revolutions were processed carefully, prayerfully, and intentionally, with thorough understanding at each stage.
Click here to read the whole piece.
The other column is by Mark Earley at BreakPoint. Here’s an excerpt from it…
There is generally need for three distinct forms of catechetical ministry. They say it’s protocatechesis, which refers to teaching what many today would call “seekers” or what the ancients called “inquirers”; catechesis proper, which refers to the formal work of preparing children or adult converts for baptism or confirmation; and ongoing catechesis, which is the never-ending teaching and formation of believers.
Click here to read the whole column and make sure to see the links at the bottom of it.
Grace and Truth,
Below is an interview with J.I. Packer on the importance and need for catechesis.
I'm blessed to be a part of a great group of men at the church I serve. Each and every week we meet together for the purpose of fellowship, studying God’s Word, and prayer. God has been good to us ever since we first started meeting back in 2001.
My hope and prayer when I first started the men’s ministry was the men of our church would come to know Christ better and to have their minds renewed, their hearts renovated, and their lives transformed… in every sphere of their lives. That means personally, at home with their families, at work, at church, in the community, everywhere. Again, God has been good and I have seen firsthand how this has happened and continues to do so.
I believe one of the best ways we, as Christian men, can extend God’s Kingdom and impact our culture for Christ is by influencing men before they’re men. I think the time to begin discipling, encouraging, and developing Christian men is when they’re still boys. Wouldn’t it be great if generation after generation of boys grew up in our churches where being discipled by their fathers and other godly men was commonplace? What might God do in and through the lives of such boys when they become men?
One of the topics I’m committed to writing about on this blog is shepherding (i.e., loving, caring for, encouraging, leading, discipling, developing, etc.) our sons to become men of God. As a father of three sons I must confess I’m still learning. I still fall flat on my face as a dad. However, it’s my deepest desire for my own sons to become godly boys, then godly young men, and then, one day, godly men who are raising their own sons or daughters to know the Lord Jesus Christ and to live for him in every sphere of life. What could be better?
Grace and Truth,
What is The Fellowship of Ailbe? The website states, “The Members of The Fellowship serve the larger Christian community through prayer, teaching, mentoring, and resources for growth and ministry.” You’ll want to make sure to watch the video below to get a better introduction to this very helpful ministry.
Each day T.M. Moore and the members of the Fellowship provide some very rich resources to help you grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. Here’s a sampling of today’s resources…
Full Disclosure – I have been mentored by T.M. Moore over the last few months. But I hasten to add I was reading T.M. long before I met him and have been blessed by his writing ministry for many years now. Truly, his website is not to be missed. You too will be blessed by it. So check it out.
Grace and Truth,