Why Bringing Your Kids to Church Is Not Enough

The conversation goes like this. A well meaning parent comes up to me, expressing their desire to get involved with the church. Always curious, I ask why, and the answer I typically get is this: “I want my child to grow up in church.” Though certainly we should want our children to grow up in church, I’m gravely concerned with what is often meant by this innocent statement. Usually what people really mean is this: “I want my children to be raised with some sort of faith, preferably the Christian faith, because it was so important to my moral upbringing. Since I am either unwilling or unable to provide it myself, I’ve come to the church to get them to take care of the spiritual life of my child while I’ll take care of everything else.” To put it more simply, parents want to outsource the spiritual nurturement of their child to the church. 8483660163_3fd14630eb_z

Though I certainly welcome any family and any child into the community of the saints, I do want to challenge the idea of outsourcing the spiritual care of your children to the church. Unfortunately the church has only reinforced this mindset within many people through our programs and ministry methodology. We have taught parents to come and drop off their children where paid professionals stand by to handle the tenacious work of discipleship. As a former youth pastor, I’m fully aware that ministry to teens without the parents simply doesn’t work. The responsibility for the spiritual care of our little ones cannot be placed upon the church entirely, but rather the full weight of responsibility rests on the shoulders of daddy and mommy. God has called the parents to evangelize and disciple their children. The church then exists to come alongside mom and dad to equip them for their task and supplement what is already taking place at home.

So if you are a Christian parent, please bring your children to church, but you must do *more* than that. As any experienced parent will tell you, more is caught than taught. Therefore, in addition to just dropping your child off at church, we must model the Gospel to our children. We must live out what it means for Christ to be our greatest love and greatest treasure. We must display what it means to submit our lives to king Jesus and his authoritative word. If you take seriously your job as a parent, you must live out your faith to those little eyes who are always watching.

Here is the main point: In addition to bringing our kids to church, we must model a life of devotion to Jesus.

Though we certainly never do it for the show, our children should see our devotion to Jesus in action. Our children watch us in the most private and mundane of moments and they should see our professed love for Christ on display. They should see us pray and read the Bible, growing in our relationship with Jesus. Our children should be able to look to us as example of what the Christian life is. Sadly, for far too many families, Jesus only comes up on Sunday mornings and is ignored the rest of the week. When you tell your children to follow Jesus on Sundays, but ignore him every other day, chances are your kids will follow Jesus none of the days. Why? Because your own spiritual life screams hypocrisy.

How can mom or dad tell me Jesus is worthy of my devotion when they show no evidence of that devotion themselves? Why make Jesus the Lord of my life when he isn’t the Lord of theirs?

I’m afraid many parents do more harm than good by forcing their kids to go to church, teaching them that church is like broccoli—nobody likes to eat it, but you have to eat it because it's good for you.

I’ve talked with many parents who struggle with their children who don’t want to come to church, particularly in the teenage years. Every Christian parent encounters this at some point in their parenting, and parents should indeed require their children to come to church, whether they want to or not. Though what is most likely happening behind the scenes is something much bigger than just refusing to come to church; the teen calls the bluff on the parent’s hypocrisy, reacting against the parent who speaks out of the both sides of the mouth.

We must repent of our Janus-faced parenting and confess our hypocritical compartmentalization. After all, the goal of our parenting is not to produce well-behaved, moral little monsters, but contrite sinners, redeemed by the blood of the Christ. If we hope our children will join the redeemed, we must not cast doubt on the truth Gospel by our hypocritical life. Parents must authentically live out their faith before their children. Though we may have the rest of our church fooled, our children are not. Our rehearsed play-acting will only put a bitter taste of Christianity into our children’s mouths. We need less Christian thespians, and more parents who authentically, consistently, and genuinely live their lives in devotion to the Lord Jesus Christ.

So bring your kids to church, but you better demonstrate devotion to Christ in your private life. If not, your legalistic requirement of church attendance and your hypocrisy could very well estrange your children from the Christ you profess to love.

What Super Bowl Marketers Know that the Church Can't Miss

The super bowl this year was one for the record books. People watch the super bowl for a variety of reasons – some for the game, others for the commercials, and some for the half time show. The super bowl has become such a huge event in America it is practically a national holiday. As I was watching the game something stuck out to me about the commercials this year. It seemed like many of the commercials strongly featured Dads.  A few different companies this year decided to market their products by featuring prominently fathers. It was nice to appear to the sentimentality and bring father’s in the focus, but why? No matter how great the commercial is, the aim is not to pull on your heart strings but to sell you a product. These companies don’t spend millions of dollars to just give you warm fuzzies. We live in a marketing world. We are always being sold something, and often marketers know our culture and know what makes us tick better than anyone. And this year, for Super Bowl 49, Dads were the focus of the commercials. Watch some of these commercials in case you missed them.

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Isn’t this strange? In a day and age where many are arguing to eliminate gender stereotypes and where Father’s living in the home is a relic of the past, these marketers decided they could best sell their products by bringing fathers to our attention. While the marriage between a man and a woman is being redefined in our culture into a genderless union and while the home has been shattered by divorce, these marketers feature loving, gentle, and present fathers.

There is a crisis of fatherhood in America. The traditional family of Dad, Mom, and children seems to be rapidly fading. Many men ignore, run away from, or deny any responsibility they have when it comes to their children. Rather than rising to be worthy of the title husband and father many men are content with the title “baby daddy”. Men refuse to fight for their marriages and for their families and cowardly run from difficulty indulging every selfish pleasure their hearts crave.

But that’s not the picture these advertisers presented to us at the super bowl. These advertisers know us better than we think. They know that there is something hard wired into humanity that longs to be loved by a father. We long to experience the warm protective, self-denying, embrace of dad. The picture of Dad they presented to us is the ideal we crave, but not this is not the reality for many of us.

Children need Fathers. Despite arguments trying to minimize the father in the family, marketers know what many deny – we long for a Father. These super bowl commercials point to the great challenge of Christian men to be father’s who sacrifice, love, protect, and provide for our children.  We need Christian men who can demonstrate in word and deed the love of God the Father to our children. Every human being longs for this. Though our earthly fathers may fail us, we must always point people to the Father who never does. We must point them to the Father who displays his lavish love for us by purchasing our redemption. America has a hole and a desperate longing for fatherly love. The marketers know this. Does the church?

4 Tips for Practicing Christian Hospitality

The art of hospitality is hard to find in action today. We think hospitality is just cooking a meal or hosting a party. Hospitality is at least those things, but it is much more than those things. Hospitality is making people feel at home, comfortable, and open to great conversation. Good hospitality will make you drop your guard and be vulnerable. Hospitality is also a spiritual gift, that the Lord can use mightily for his name.

1. Invite People into Your Home

To use a gift of hospitality, you must be willing to open up your home. Our homes can be quite private. Our homes are our space. They are often messy, chaotic, and our place to isolate ourselves from everyone else. Therefore the act of opening up your home is an act of vulnerability. You are inviting people to your most intimate place of rest and solitude. You are inviting them into a personal part of your life.

Many feel a pressure to impress when they invite people over. Many people invite people over not to serve them or to be hospitable, but to show off they cleanliness, furniture, or style. Yes, it is a good idea to clean your house before people come over. Yes, a nicely decorated house is a plus, but it is not the point of hospitality. The pressure to impress others is not hospitality but pride. True hospitality invites people over even though the house still might need a fresh vacuuming. The purpose of inviting others into you home is to serve them, not to impress them.

2. Ask Good Questions of Your Guests

Again the purpose of hospitality is not to fill people's stomachs but to fill their souls. Some of the best conversations to be had happen around the dinner table or sitting on your couch. When you have people over, take the opportunity to ask some good questions that take the conversation deeper. Don't spend the whole night talking about the basketball game or the latest episode of Downton Abby. As a hospitable host you are seeking to meet the spiritual needs of others.

For Christian guests ask questions like:

  • How did you come to know Christ?
  • What have you been reading in the Bible recently?
  • Has there been a sermon or message that has impacted you recently? What was it and why?

For non-Christians ask questions like:

  • Do you have any sort of spiritual beliefs?
  • What do you think about Church? Have you ever gone before?
  • Do you believe in a god? If so, which god?

Throwing out a spiritual question like this can seem awkward at first, but it is amazing how the conversation turns to deeper things after you do so.

3. Listen Carefully, Respond Graciously

A key component to being hospitable means listening to others. Some people are just talkers. We have all been to dinner parties when one or two people tend to dominate the conversation. They talk about themselves, their accomplishments, and their hobbies. A hospitable host is not someone who is self-consumed, but truly listens to others. As you ask questions of your guests, deeply and truly listen to their answers. Don't begin preaching a sermon to them, but listen carefully and respond slowly in gentleness and love.  Listen for things like "What is going on in this persons life?", "How can I be praying for this person?", or "Where are they at spiritually?" A hospitable person listens to others looking for opportunities to serve.

4. Pray with Your Guests Before they Leave

Kaitlyn and I are trying to make this a practice anytime we have people over for dinner. After a great meal and some deep conversation, we take time to pray with our guest before the leave. It is a great way to finish the evening, especially when there has been some deeper spiritual dialogue.

The Urgent Need for Hospitable Christians

I believe that the church desperately needs more people using  the gift of hospitality. In my experience, people don't tend to open up to much in the hallway of a church or in the pastor's office. Some of the best spiritual conversations I've had with people have taken place in my own home. More Christians need to open up their homes to others for the purpose of ministry. People are not looking for some formal, cold, distant religion, but a warm, personable, relational faith community.

I also believe that hospitality is also a vital component for modern evangelism. Many of our neighbors would never respond to an invitation to go to church, but would jump at the opportunity to come over for dinner. May we leverage our homes for the Gospel, and may they become the missionary outpost scattered across the world to make disciples.

How has someone else's hospitality impacted your life? Share with us in the comments below!

Meaning in the Mundane

Life can get a little mundane can't it? In our lives we can quickly get into the monotony of routine. Wake up, get the kids ready for school, go off to work, eat dinner, go to soccer practice, go to bed. Rinse and repeat. As ambassadors for Christ how do we thrive in the seemingly mundane routine we find ourselves every day? The answer is what must look to every area of our lives with Gospel intentionality. You see the Gospel provides meaning to the mundane and purpose to the trivial. Through a Christ-centered lens our ordinary days become powerfully meaningful and eternally significant. Let me give you two examples.

Raising Children with Gospel Intentionality

When we begin to live with Gospel intentionality, the way we raise our children is different. We are not just raising them to get a good job, get a good education, and make a bunch of money. We are raising them unto Christ. We are raising them to fulfill the great Commission. We are raising them for Christ and to evangelize them, disciple them, and release them as fellow partners in advancing the Gospel. This makes changing diapers and late-night feedings incredibly meaningful. Everyday mundane things filled with Gospel purpose.

Going to Work with Gospel Intentionality

The way we go to work is different, when we begin to go with Gospel intentionality. Many people absolutely hate their jobs. Their sole purpose for going to work is just to make a paycheck. However the Gospel fills our work with purpose. In Christ, not only are we going to work to provide for our families, we go living for Christ to be a light in a dark place. We build relationships with co-workers to be able to live out and speak Christ. As we go into our jobs we do not go as corporate drones but joyous ambassadors for Christ. Therefore no matter what our profession from garbage man to CEO all of it is incredibly meaningful.

The Gospel gives purpose to the mundane and meaning to the trivial. In Christ, our ordinary days become extraordinary. So if you are struggling to get out of the morning and finding your routine boring, begin to see yourself as an ambassador for Christ. When you do you will find just how meaningful the mundane can become.

Pastor Dad: The Honor, Joy, and Responsibility of Fatherhood

Dads are a big deal. In our society, when we are more confused about masculinity and manhood than ever, we need Godly fathers to step up and lead their homes. Today I'm celebrating my first father's day. It is my joy to be the father to my sweet son Jude. As I reflect on my first Father's day, I am critically aware of the huge honor, joy, and responsibility of fatherhood.

As a husband and father, God has called me to be the pastor of my home. He has called me to imitate Jesus by laying down my life for my family. It is my job to sacrifice and humbly lead. As I study the scriptures, it is clear that a father is to be a mini-pastor over his family. God has given him a small flock of his wife and children to shepherd, love, and protect. In our homes and in our churches we need a revival of Dad's who see their roles in their homes as pastors.

We need Dads who takes their responsibility as the spiritual leaders in their homes seriously. We need Dads who can take their wife and children by the hand and lead them in prayer. We need Dad's who are competent enough with the Scriptures to teach their children and correct them from error. We need Dad's who do not train a bunch of moralistic pharisees, but children wrecked by the grace of God.

At the end of the day I know that God is going to hold me accountable for the spiritual condition of my wife and children. It will be up to me to disciple them, lead them, and protect them. It will be up to me to teach Jude what it means to be a man and what it means to follow Christ. As the pastor of my home, I cannot delegate these responsibilities out to children's ministries or youth ministries.

We need more Dads to grasp this vision of biblical fatherhood. We need more Dads to step up and be pastors of their homes. Dad's, this is a daunting task you and I are called to do, and we are unable to do it apart from the grace of God. Seek His face, press into His word, and have confidence in Christ. By God's enabling grace, may Dad's rise to the glorious honor, joy, and responsibility of fatherhood. May we bring this next generation up in the fear of the Lord, and may our children and grandchildren praise our God and King, Jesus Christ! What greater joy and honor is there than to leave a lasting impact in the world through the discipleship of our children.  Dads, lets get to work and pastor our families.

Why My Wife Just Retired

DSC 0037 edited 1 My wife just retired.  At least that's what we jokingly tell each other.  As of last week Kaitlyn (my wife) quit her job in order to become a full-time Mom.  We live in a day and age where stay at home moms are becoming rare.  Part of this is because materialism so often rules the home.  Kaitlyn staying home to be a Mom is not a smart financial move on our part, that's for sure!  So why is she staying home?

We made this decision because of some deep Biblical convictions we hold on manhood, womanhood, and parenting.  I'm going to share our reasons with you, but I want you to take caution to my words.  I am not commanding that everyone needs to imitate us.  Not every Mom is able to stay at home (ex. single moms).  However, many Christians fail to examine the Scriptures carefully enough to see how they speak concerning home and family.  Christians must lay themselves bare before the Word of God and allow the Holy Spirit to reveal sin and places where we need correction.  In our decisions, that is what Kaitlyn and I have done our best to do by the grace  of God.

Since this is a blog post and not a book, there will be no way that I will be able to provide compelling Biblical arguments for each of these reasons in just a short blog post.  However for more reading I would recommend this website and this book if you want more of the Scriptural arguments.

The Husband is the Provider

We see in the Scriptures that one of the main responsibilities of the husband is to be the provider. God has given this responsibility to the husband, not the wife.  We see this most clearly in Genesis 3:17-19, the curse Man is under due to sin.  "By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread" (v.19).  It is the husbands job to make sure there is food on the table, the bills are paid, and his families' needs are met.

In my experience, many Christian husbands fail at this.  They pass on their curse to their wives and force them to work in order to maintain their current lifestyle.  I can't tell you how many Christian moms I've talked to who wish they could stay home and raise the children but their husbands will not let them.  Men, this is a failure on our part to be the providers of our family.  This means that when finances gets tight, it is the husband who picks up extra hours or a second job.  The husband must provide for the needs (not necessarily the wants) of his family.

For Kaitlyn and I, putting this Biblical principle into practice in our life was pretty obvious, though not easy.  This means that I am responsible for the finances of my family.  I will make sure their is money for food and it is my role in the family to make sure there is.  I'm not going to lie to you, this decision will be costly for us.  Our budget will be very tight (after all I live on a Youth Pastor's salary!).  No more movies together or eating out at restaurants, but the basic needs for our family will be met by me. Biblically we believe, the Husband is the provider.

The Wife is to be Homeward in Orientation

We see in the Scriptures that the wife is to be homeward in orientation.  We see this in the Scriptures in Genesis 3:16 and in passages like Proverbs 31.  Homeward in Orientation does not forbid a woman to work outside the home (we see this in Proverbs 31).  However, it does mean that the priority for a wife and mother should be running the home.  Outside work should not distract her from her primary tasks as wife and mother.  The Bible teaches that the most valuable thing a wife and mother can do is to give her life in bringing up the next generation in the Lord.  Although the wife's role is equal in worth to the husbands, it is different.

One of the reasons I decided to marry Kaitlyn is because she desired to be homeward in orientation.  Over and over again she would tell me that her divine calling in life was to be a wife and mother.  I praise God for her that she is so willing to give up a career to give all her energy to me and my children.  It truly is her joy to be obedient in the Scriptures in this area and I praise God for her and hold her out as an example for other Christian women to imitate.  I'm currently trying to convince her to write a guest blog post describing her own perspective on this issue! Hopefully that will be coming very soon. Stay tuned! (You can subscribe to make sure you don't miss an update)

The Goal of Parenting is Discipleship

"Children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children  of one's youth" (Psalm 127:3-4).  This Psalm has been instrumental in my personal understanding of parenting.  You see children are a reward and a blessing, not a curse and a burden.  To have children is the most precious gift and having a quiver full is a good thing! You see, the goal of parenting is discipleship.  Parents raise up their children in the Scriptures, teaching and modeling the Gospel, and then send them out to change the world.  By doing this parents are just like a warrior plunging godly, Christ-centered arrows into the darkness of the culture.  We discovered and believe that the most important thing Kaitlyn and I can do with our lives is disciple the next generation.  No other labor will exceed us or out last us like the labor of parenting.  Discipling our children is one of the greatest and lasting legacies we can achieve.

After examine these Scriptural truths, Kaitlyn and I could not help but joyfully "retire" her from the work force so that she could spend her life on the most eternally significant of tasks: the discipleship of the next generation.  We could not be more excited about this decision and we will trust the Lord every step of the way!  Although we don't expect every Christian home to imitate us, but we pray that more Christians will make their family decisions in light of God's Word.

 

When Materialism Rules the Home

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Is Materialism the god of Your Home?

In my heart and my life, I've noticed a devastating idol that so often deceives me into false worship. It is a poison that I've been swimming in for so long I don't even realize I'm drinking it. Our western consumeristic culture has so indoctrinated me, that the chains are hard to break free from. What is this idol? It is the idol of materialism.

The love of stuff so often rules the way we think about our life. Although we might not realize it, many of us make our decisions in order to please the idol of materialism. I am convinced, that many Christians, like myself, have allowed materialism to greatly distort a Biblical understanding of home and family, especially our understanding of children.

A Biblical Purpose of Family

What is the primary purpose of the family? I am convinced it is this - The Great Commission. The mission each and every Christian is assigned, must be put into practice in the home. The primary existence for the Christian home is to spread the matchless name of Jesus to the ends of the earth. This primarily takes place in Gospel-Driven parenting. This is parenting with a purpose. Parenting to make disciples. Parenting to spread the Gospel through the next generation.

A Culture that Hates Children

We live in a culture that hates children. Children are economic liabilities. They cost a lot of money (I'm learning that one quick, and my son isn't even born yet!). They hinder our individualistic "me"-centered life style. Our culture views them as a drain on society, which is why families with large children always get the stink eye in the super market. Our culture hates children.

If we need any more convincing that our culture hates children, we just need to look at the rampant abortion rates in our society. Every day thousands of young babies are sacrifice to the god of self and materialism. Babies who are thrown to the grave simply because they interfere with our dreams, goals, and ambitions.

Materialism Rules the Christian Home

I've found that our cultures view of children have greatly distorted our understanding of the purpose of family. For many of us, the purpose of our homes isn't the Great Commission, but materialism. This is reflected in the rationale behind the decisions we make as parents.  Here are a few examples:

  • We drill our children like slave masters when it comes to sports and hobbies hoping they will be good enough to get a scholarship, and thus get a good job.
  • We keep both parents working, not because it is financially necessary, but because we want to maintain our comfortable lifestyle and afford that new Lexus or Disney Vacation.
  • We have only 2.3 kids so that the economic burden of our children doesn't start affecting our lifestyle.  Big families then, are unthinkable and irresponsible.  It is "bad stewardship" to have a big family.
  • We outsource the raising of our children to "Professionals" -daycare, public school teachers, coaches, youth pastors etc - and pay others to do for us what we've been given by God to do ourselves.
  • We place our kids in Homeschool or Private School, hoping they will exceed better academically so they will be more economically prosperous in the future.

Listen, do not misunderstand me.  My point isn't saying any of those parenting decisions are necessarily wrong.  However, what is wrong is the motivation or the reasoning behind those decisions. You see, it is the god of materialism and convenience that so often rules the roost of our home. It isn't the Scriptures. It isn't the Great Commission. It is materialism.

A Personal Struggle

Over the past several months this is something my wife and I have been fighting against. Materialism still has a strong grip around our throats, but we are trying to put our sin to death and make decisions for our future child that are grounded in the Gospel and the Great Commission.

In the next blog post I will share our journey in more detail and explain why Kaitlyn is "retiring" at the age of 25 to be a full-time wife and mother.

Does Materialism rule the roost in your home?  What is the biblical purpose of family and parenting? How should Christians think about these things? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

 

 

5 Ways to Have a Christ-Centered Christmas

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Don't have a Christ-less Christmas. As Christians we must keep Jesus in the center of everything we do. In our increasingly consumerism-driven understanding of Christmas, we must fight the current of culture and commit to making much of Jesus during this time. However, you might ask yourself the question? How do I have a Christ-Centered Christmas? Well here are five extremely practical ways you can lift up the name of Jesus this Christmas:

1. Go to a Christmas Eve Service

Christmas Eve Services are awesome. They are always one of my favorite church services of the year. Make it a priority to take your family to one this Christmas. If you are out of town visiting family, find a local church and visit them for their Christmas eve service. It is a great way to usher your heart and soul into worship before Christmas day by praising our gracious God who put on flesh for you and for me.

2. Invite a neighbor over for Christmas Dinner

One of the ways we can honor Christ is by reaching out to those around us. As Christians we are ambassadors for Christ, and what a better time to be an ambassador than at Christmas time? Schedule a night to have that family down the street over for dinner. Share with them about who Jesus is and why God sent him for us. Share the Gospel with them. Not only does it honor Christ at Christmas, but it spread the Gospel to those who so desperately need to hear it!

3. Read the Christmas Story Together as a Family

As a family, sit down and read the Birth Narrative of Jesus in Luke 1-2. It is a great time to spend some time in the Scriptures and foster family worship. I know many families that will do this first thing on Christmas morning, before opening presents and before the busyness of the day. The family will gather by the tree and Pastor Dad will lead the family in scripture reading and prayer. Dads, make a priority to start this tradition with your family. It is a great way to disciple your children and keep Christ in the center of your home.

4. Skip the Gift Exchange this Year

What? Are you serious? Skip the gift exchange? I know, I know. That is exactly what you are thinking. There is nothing wrong or sinful about giving gifts to one another at Christmas time, however I think everyone can admit that it does distract us from honoring Christ. So often the thing that Christmas Day centers on is the getting of stuff. It is a travesty and poison that American Marketers have been telling us for decades. How about one year, maybe this year, you take a fast from the gift giving as a family? Maybe take the money that you would spend on Christmas Gifts and give it away? This is something I have been praying about in my own family. Kaitlyn and I are not planning on doing much gift exchanging this year with one another, but we want to give generously to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering, which goes to fund and support all of our Southern Baptist Missionaries over seas. Maybe we should do something a little radical this Christmas and be counter cultural for the name of Jesus.

5. Volunteer and Serve Others

At this Christmas time, why not keep Christ at the center by serving others? After all, "even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many" (Matthew 20:28). Imitate your savior this Christmas and honor him by giving of your time to serve other people. Get your eyes off of yourself and onto this dying world who needs you to show them Christ with your words and your actions.

Christmas is busy. It is so easy to get distracted by the next Christmas party you have to attend or the next Christmas show you need to watch. Don't let the busyness of Christmas distract you from keeping Christ at the center of your life and your worship. As Christians we must keep Christ the center of our lives in every season, not just in December, but this Christmas may we seek to lift high the name of Jesus for the whole world to see! The King has come. The savior is born. What great and glorious news!

What are some ways your family keeps Christ at the center of Christmas? Share with us in the comments!

You Knit Me Together in My Mother's Womb

20120828-064824.jpg The picture above, is a picture of my own son. A week ago, my wife Kaitlyn and I had the joy of seeing our son through the wonderful technology of ultrasound. The whole thing was absolutely breath taking because not only is their a little baby in there, the baby moves around and looks like a human being.

In the silent holocaust of abortion, it blows my mind that we have depersonalized that little person in the womb. We call it a fetus or a mass of cells all in order to ease our minds as we slaughter the child on the alter of our comfort and ease. The amazing thing is that at the picture of that ultrasound Kaitlyn was only 16 weeks pregnant. Even then you can see his hands move. You can see his feet squirm. You can see his heart and his spine. No matter who you are, you can't deny that there is a little human being in there. Not just a mass of cells, not just a potential human, but a real person.

The amazing thing is that in my own state, NC, you can get an abortion up to 20 weeks in pregnancy. That is absolutely mind blowing to me, because every little baby is created in the image of God. Every little baby has the right to life.

"For you formed me in my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother's womb" - Psalm 139:13

Am I Ready to be a Father?

So my wife, Kaitlyn, and I made it public today that we will be having a baby!  The due date is on January 31st.  We are super excited, and in my personal journal I wrote this over the past week.  Thought I might share with you all the thoughts wrestling in my brain.  

Am I ready for the task of fatherhood?  Am I ready to image God as the gracious and loving Father?  In a day and age where Godly fathers are hard to find, will I be faithful?

The thought of being responsible for another person is intimidating.  I hope to be the perfect Dad, but I know my sinful flesh will keep that from happening.  I will fail.  I will sin.  I will fall short from perfect fatherhood.  As a result, my goal is not to be a perfect Father, but a radically Gospel-centered dad.  A dad who constantly confesses his own failure.  A dad who repents daily and finds his restoration at the cross. A dad drenched in the grace of God.

I know my task as a Father is to be a man who stands with his arm stretched pointing to the cross.  No matter how hard I try to be everything my children need, at the end of the day, they do not need me to be a perfect dad, they need perfect Jesus.  My role as father will only be to show them the radical love of God the Father who did not spare his own son but gave him up for us all. I will do my best to love my children, to protect them, to provide for them, and to disciple them.  But, no matter what my future failures, if I can just point them to Jesus I will hear the words from God, "Well done my good and faithful servant."

So I am praying for that little soul growing rapidly in my wife's womb, my own flesh and blood.  All the while being painfully aware that my job as Dad is to father this child and one day release them to be obedient to their true father, the most glorious and perfect God.  I pray  already that one day the spirit moves powerfully in my child and that by God's precious grace he would open his or her eyes to see the wickedness of their own sin and the beauty of God's gracious, sin-atoning work at the cross.

Precious son or daughter, I'm praying that you will one day walk hand in hand with your heavenly father, and that he shows you his glory and that He uses you powerfully for the sake of the Gospel.