He Loves Kids, So Should We


One of the indicators of how much you love God is how much you love what God loves.

And God loves children.

And God blessed them. And God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.’

Genesis 1:28

Now they were bringing even infants to him that he might touch them. And when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them.  But Jesus called them to him, saying, ‘Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.  Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.’

Luke 18:15-17

Much of our culture seems to view children as a nuisance.  Where C.S. Lewis could once say that he didn’t much care for the company of children but saw that as a defect in himself, our day and place seems to see the presence of children (and especially of a lot of children) as itself a defect.

There doesn’t seem to be much of a premium placed on childbearing.  Children don’t seem to be viewed as a blessing.  A husband and wife having more than a kid or two is usually seen as a weird thing.

Our culture doesn’t appear to value this valuable thing.

I say this with three kids being bad in the other room and just after a shift of nursery work this morning at our church’s service that was a touch exhausting.

Childbirth was God’s creation.  And God is the author, the pleased author, of each human soul.  So to despise children is to despise the creation of God.  And there is no way to hate what God creates and at the same time have a healthy relationship with Him.  

I know kids can be loud and annoying.  But I don’t think that’s the root of our culture’s disdain for them (however widespread it is).  Instead, I think we have a particularly self-absorbed spirit in this generation.  I think we don’t like being inconvenienced.  I think we don’t like sacrifice-on-demand.  I think we want to give of ourselves, if we want to do it at all, on our schedule.  The work of disciplining and teaching and hugging and joking and answering the questions of and feeding and providing and bathing some little person when and how he needs it, not when and how we’re ready to do it, is repulsive to a self-centered heart.  This is why parenting has been so instructional for me.  It has forced me to love God more and rely on Him more.  The reality is that I’m a selfish jerk apart from Christ, and through parenting and being around other people’s kids via the church, God has forced me to be more like His Son.

God has forced me to love Him and other living human beings more through parenting.

The more you love God, the more you’ll love what He loves.  If our churches don’t value kids, if we don’t value kids, we may need to perform a little self-examination on our faith.  And if you agree with me that our culture doesn’t have a good appreciation of children, childbearing, and child rearing, then we have an even greater responsibility, as Christians, to get our hearts in line with His.

A watching world needs to see what a healthy love of kids looks like.

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60 Seconds On Men


We live in a culture that is desperately confused on what manhood is and on what to do with men.  “Here are these creatures designed with a modicum of strength and resolve, designed to generally need a helpmate to support them, a helpmate for them to sacrifice for and lead…  Hmm…  Well, we can’t accept that…”

I do not think our culture has a sufficient, coherent answer to the question “What should a man be?” or to the question “What should our men do?”  

What behaviors should it commend in men?  What sorts of men should be praised?  Should our culture exalt braggadocious men like Conor McGregor?  Abusive ones like Floyd Mayweather?  Should it exalt ones who seek to be women?  Should it tell men to stand up for their loved ones, or tell them to let women do the standing up?  And why?  Says who?  

May call in with a question, 2017 America?  

Thank you.  

Ahem.  Where are you getting your standard?

I can take your answer off the air.  

Which men should be jokes and which men should be praised?  What should our sons use their muscles and their desires and their fight for?  What is a man?  And please, oh please, oh please tell me, again:  Says who?  Where are you getting your standard?

I think our culture is standing on some mighty soggy ground, here.  

Proposal:  I think our culture produces Floyd Mayweathers because it exalts Floyd Mayweathers, and I think it exalts Floyd Mayweathers because it doesn’t exalt men rightly using their manhood.  

2nd Proposal:  A culture that says it is bad for a man to use his strength to self-sacrificially lead his wife and children will begin to find more men using their strength for evil things.  

Listen, where God and nature have clear enough presentations on what men are and what men should do, our culture is temporarily lost on the topic.  

The happy news?  That means the church is in a unique position to do some real good.  

I mean it.  There is some mighty good work to be done.  There is a generation of boys among us right now who need to know what being a good man really involves, and the church may just have a monopoly on that message here on the American landscape.  We have a grounded, coherent answer as to what men are and what they should do.  We can help.  

There is good work to be done here.

I trust Christ can use us to accomplish it.  

Re:  Wonder Woman


A culture that does not even have a coherent answer to what a woman is is not fit to give anyone a feminine icon.  

Me:  “What is a woman?”

America:  “A strong, independent human.”

Me:  “So can he be a woman?  Steve over there?”

America:  “If that’s what he identifies as.”

Me:  “So what is a man, then?”

America:  “Look, Wade, these are really just arbitrary social categories, anyway.”

Me:  “If they’re arbitrary, then why are you trying to give me a ‘feminine‘ icon?”

America:  “Umm…”

Me:  “Can that guy over there bear children?”

America:  “Umm…”

Me:  “You can get back to me.”

Our culture no longer accepts that God created men and women, at least not in its most prevalent institutions and platforms.  Instead, down deep in its bloodstream, is the belief that no one created us.  And from that flow at least a couple of assumptions.  (1) We don’t owe anyone anything for our existence, or owe anyone anything as created moral beings with moral obligations, and (2) There’s no objective standard of definitions that are just true, not conjecture.  

Now on that (2), abortion rests.  We get to define what a human is, each of us individually, because there isn’t any true answer to the question.   But also on that one rests this dangerous, human-assaulting and humanity-assaulting thing that I’ll call “gender confusion.”  There isn’t anyone to tell us what a man is and there isn’t anyone to tell us what a man should do, our culture says.  There isn’t anyone to tell us what a woman is or what a woman should do.  

“But,” our culture says, “we’ll darn sure tell you what a woman is not.  And no one can tell us what a woman should be.”

Our culture has convictions, but it can’t give a coherent, thorough-to-the-bottom defense of them.  And it can’t tell us why its convictions are right.  It says it knows that women are not designed, when married, to submit to their husbands.  But it won’t, and can’t, coherently say what they are designed for in marriage.  Or in society.  Or as mothers.  Or as daughters.  

This came up when a movement started to swell to allow women into combat situations in the US Armed Forces, and then when two Republican candidates for the presidency in 2016 said they favored women having to register for the draft.  Our culture has produced an ethos where no one could have the down-to-the-ground logical reasoning to say why that was utter nonsense. 

And then it also comes up with this Wonder Woman schtick.  

Here is a fundamental question:  Are women supposed to rush into conflict to save men?  Is that a good thing to be normative?  

Let me ask the question from my vantage point, standing over here on a solid, level ground called “God made the World through Jesus and He gets to say what’s good:”  Are women designed and called by God to rush into battle and save men?

The answer is no.  No, they are not.  No, it is not good for that to be normative.  It would not be healthy and fitting with human flourishing for a society to bless or be proud of its women rushing to the front of conflicts to protect its men.  

No, a society that blessed that should be ashamed.  

We can rail against this all we want, we can be uncomfortable with it until we’ve bitten our nails clean away, but God made men with the design of physically and spiritually protecting their wives, daughters, and the women they are bound to, as well as, in many cases, women and all those who are weaker than them generally.  

Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered. 

1 Peter 3:7

Then the Lord God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.’  Now out of the ground the Lord God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them.  And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name.  The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field.  But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him.  So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh.  And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man.  Then the man said, ‘This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.’  Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.  And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed. 

Genesis 2:18-25

I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling; likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works.  Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness.  I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet.  For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor.  Yet she will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control. 

1 Timothy 2:8-15

God did not design grown women to lead, protect, and save grown men.  Men should want to take the first bullet, to sacrificially lead the way, and to spend themselves to protect women.  While that may not be what happens in each and every circumstance (a woman may save a physically disabled man, for instance), it is the design.  It is what is normative and praiseworthy.  

Our culture seems to want to say, “What’s a woman, you ask?  A woman is a strong and resilient human being.  What’s a man?  Well, a man is something else, we’ll get back to you on that.  But both are the same.  I mean, they can’t be the same, I guess, because we’re telling you what each is, and because we also are telling some men they can be women and some women they can be men.  But men and women are not different.  Get it?  They’re the same and can do all the same things and are totally identical, but some of the one are really the other.  But don’t don’t you dare tell me what the one or the other is.  Or should do.  Nobody really made us or gets to tell us what we should be or should do.”

It’s incoherent.  Our culture has no robust definition of woman or womanhood.  All it can offer is stories and images of women doing those noble and good things that God calls men to do.  But at the same time it supports some men wanting to pretend to be women (the very thing it says are just like men) and celebrates (albeit totally incomprehensibly) “womanhood.”  

This is folly, guys.  Women and men were made in the image of God, and made wonderfully distinct.  Women are a beautiful creation of God.  When in congruence with God’s pattern, they reflect His glory and beauty and majesty in their gentleness, their motherly strength, their physical gifts, their Godly obedience to their husbands, their discipling of their sons and daughters, their teaching of younger women, their resilient faith in their Father, their deep and fierce love, their faithfulness, and their rich emotional palate.  

Our culture tries to rob women of their God-given identity by telling them to just be like men, because being what God made a woman to be isn’t good enough.  

If you can’t answer how men and women are differently glorious, if you can’t answer the question of why God didn’t just create two men or two women in the Garden of Eden, then you’ll inevitably tell one to just be more like the other.  

This isn’t pro-woman.  It’s anti-woman.  It’s saying, “‘Woman ‘ isn’t good enough for us.  Instead, let’s just have ‘physically smaller man with long hair.’

“And, um, we’ll give it boots and a rope thingy.”

A Mother’s Day Plea

  
One of the greatest gifts that God has given women is the ability to bear children.  My wife just listened to the rapid little heartbeat of our fifth child (3 living, 1 in the womb, 1 we lost last December in the womb) using one of those home Doppler devices on our living room couch.  And our oldest, our 5-year-old daughter, listened in awe.  My wife smiled and took a picture of her.  My daughter talked about the baby as she listened to the heartbeat whir on the monitor.  

It was a lovely little image, that moment, of childbearing and mothering:  1 child listening to the heartbeat of another as the mother smiled, cherishing them both.  

These are human beings made in the image of God that we see in ultrasounds and listen to with heartbeat devices.  They are tiny people with all the worth and dignity that come from being stitched together as humans by the Creator.  

And in our nation it is legal to murder them.  

Please stay with me for just a minute.  

God is wonderful.  I mean He is just wonderful.  Look at the beauty that He’s made.  Despite all the deceit and greed and destruction we sinful people wreak on creation, still, look at sunsets, morning dew in the early summer, mists in the Appalachians, robins and monarch butterflies and humpback whales.  Look at His might and His goodness written like a title page on all of His creation, not least of all on our own wearied hearts.  This is a beautiful world that He has spoken into existence around us.  And we deny little babies, helpless and small and silent children, the gift of entering this creation He made them to enter and to taste and to seek Him in.  We kill them.  We stop their hearts and their brains and their lungs and then find something to do with their tiny, lifeless bodies.  

How many who might read this are pregnant and considering abortion?  I don’t know; probably not many.  But I wanted to write it anyway, because if I can persuade one, it was well worth my time.  

I’m writing to you and you only, now, anonymous mother.  

Yes, I said “mother,” because by God’s providence that’s what you are.  No matter how it happened to be that this baby was conceived, the little person within you was knit together by Him.  This baby’s small form was created, and is sustained, by the power and plan of God.  Do you love him or her yet?  You probably do, but even if you don’t, or if you perhaps don’t love like you thought you would, no matter.  The baby is loved.  By God.  

The proof is that he or she is here.  

I don’t know your situation.  It could be that you are scared, it could be that you simply don’t want the baby to inconvenience your life.  But, and I say this with Christian charity for your God-made soul, it doesn’t matter.  If someone were prepared to murder you because it would somehow ease his life, I would say the exact same thing to him:  “It doesn’t matter.”  We do not get to end the life of another human simply because we want to or because we feel we need to.  

It may look dark from where you are.  I can empathize.  If you’re worried about how to pay for the child’s needs or how you’ll live and work, I can empathize with that, too.  But murder is not the way forward.  Paying someone to kill this baby will not better your life, despite what some may tell you.  There is a cost that comes with the killing of an innocent, and it is always greater than whatever the sin promises to give you in return.  

Mother.  It’s a beautiful word, isn’t it?  It speaks so much.  There’s a world of weight in that word.  Mother.  It’s His design that women should bear children, and, again, He is so wonderful.  

The lie is that the world knows better.  That murder won’t be murder, or that even if it is it’s somehow just necessary.  

Don’t believe it.  

That’s my plea to you, Mother.  Don’t believe it.  You have been given this marvelous little life. This small one is growing in your womb right now by His hand.  

He has made you a mother.  A mother.  

And you always will be.  No matter where they would put his or her little body after the abortion, no matter how far they might go to hide the little hands and feet and face, they can never clear away that word from your soul.  And neither can you.  

So please, don’t try.  

You are a mother.  

And so this day, like this plea, is for you.  

Please Justify Me

 

I’m smart.  I know the right words to say and the right way to say them.  You’ll have to listen to me.  And you’ll have to be amazed by me.  

I’m attractive.  You want to look at me.  You want to look like me.  

I’m likeable.  I’m interesting.  I’m funny. You’d want to invite me to your party.  

I’m powerful.  I’m strong.  I can get you to do what I want.  And my ability to bend situations and people to my liking will astound you.

I’m capable.  I do my job better than the other people do theirs.  I never run away when it gets tough.  I’m never lazy.  

I’m talented.  This skill I have will make your jaw drop.  

I’m good.  I don’t lie.  Or steal.  Or murder.  I pay my taxes.  I’m better than my neighbor.  And I’m not nearly as bad as that co-worker.  Not nearly.   

Please justify me, world.  Please.  I’m smart.  I’m funny.  I’m attractive.  You have to justify me.  You have to, right?  I must count.  Look at me.  At what I do.  At what I’ve done.  Look at it.

This must cover up my nakedness.   

Oh, God.  God.  Please justify me.  Don’t you see?  I know I’ve sinned, even though I pretend I haven’t (or that you don’t exist).  But I’m standing out from the crowd, God.  Right?  So please take this as my offering.  My intelligence and beauty and achievements.  Take them for my guilt.  They must cover it.  They must.  

I don’t have anything else.  

Please count me worthy.  I measure up better than the others.  I have to.  

I have to.  

Oh, Heaven help me, I have to.   And that’s why I’m so tired.  

I can’t do this myself.  

But I’ll die trying.
(In)sincerely,

Every Restless Heart

So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.  Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked.  And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths…  But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, ‘Where are you?’  And he said, ‘I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.’   He said, ‘Who told you that you were naked?  Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat…  And the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them

Genesis 3:6-7, 9-11, 21

I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne

Revelation 3:18-21

At that time Jesus declared, ‘I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  

Matthew 11:25-28

480 Atomic Bombs

  
Somewhere around 250,000 people died from the 2 atomic bombs the United States dropped on Japan to end World War II.

Multiply that by 240 and you have how many human beings have been murdered by abortion in in America since Roe v. Wade.

Do me a favor and re-read that sentence and then just think about it for 10 seconds.  

We have dropped something like 480 atomic bombs on the most fragile, vulnerable human beings among us.  In the United States of America over the last 50 or so years we have violently ended the lives of almost 60 million human beings.  

National repentance.  That’s what’s needed.  Our people have done unspeakably wicked things to our people.  We have murdered babies, boasted about it, and funded it.

And there is a God who is ready to forgive, but He is also a God who hates the violation and massacre of the weak.  

If you are a Christian, you have a job in this.  Pray.  Speak.  Protest.  Adopt.  And always, always proclaim the Gospel.  You must not be silent.  We have to be salt and light amidst the unimaginable evil of abortion.  They need us to be.  Our nation can’t just walk away from this one.  

You can’t drop 480 atomic bombs and then pretend like nothing happened.  

10 Things You Might Learn In College

   

1) Value what’s trendy over what’s true.

2) There are no absolutes.  Every point of view is valid.  Unless you feel really strongly about something.  Then you can act like there are absolutes. 

3) The people who wrote college textbooks now are smarter than any and every human being who has ever lived.

4) Never forget to mock the people we’ve told you are dumb.   It’s good for them. And it’s good for the planet.  Like recycling.

5) Cool your jets with the truly independent thinking.   When we say “independent,” we mean “like us.”

6) You do not need to actually go anywhere or do anything to be an expert.  Reading and talking and blogging will suffice.

7) No one has the right to tell you anything you do is wrong.  But you can and should tell other people about how wrong it is not to agree with what we’ve taught you.

8) Education will fix everything that’s wrong with people.  Except that there’s not actually anything wrong with people because people are basically good and who am I to decide what’s “wrong?”   So society, actually.   Yeah, education will fix what’s wrong with society.  That’s what we meant.  There’s nothing wrong with me and there’s nothing wrong with people, but there is something wrong with society.  And if we get people to go to college we’ll fix society.  Boom.  Checkmate.

9) What I just said will cost you $9,000.  A PELL Grant will cover a hundred of it.

10) Always remember that we made you what you are.  If you ever start to doubt what we’ve told you, breathe deeply, look at the University sticker on your bumper, and write a check payable to ____________ Alumni Relations.