Category Archives: Missional

So Much To Write and So Little Time

I find two enemies constantly are at my heels when it comes to this blog.  The first is laziness, I look outside and think about doing some woodworking or I write an article.  Woodworking wins usually.  The second is there simply is not enough time.  So I have a plan.  I am locked down time-wise through Sunday and I have several things I wanted to write.  Instead I will post this interview and ask you to watch it.  Try to listen to how both sides are presenting their arguments and what are those arguments, then write them down in the comment section.  Not the comment section of Facebook, but here.  Try to figure out what is the root problem with Bell’s argument, assuming you find it less than satisfactory.

Remember that Bell is one of those who defined a significant branch of the world of “missional.”  I don’t belong to that branch and frankly want to cut it off and burn it.

I found this to be incredibly exasperating but it is the stuff that is sweeping through our churches and para-church organizations right now.  I hope to see some helpful comments when I can return to the blog at the end of this week.

Brazil, 2014

It is now a bit over a week since we entered Brazil. I wanted to give a bit of an update one what is going on and how you can pray. Philemon and I arrived at Sao Paulo in the morning of the 9th. Right when we got off of the plane Philemon received the news that his father had died so grief was his companion. We came with our wives this time and were able to get to Atibaia with no problems. We are staying in a small apartment on the church campus that is sufficient to our needs. That evening we all went to another town called Terra Preta where I taught a bible study to the men on marriage and Kim taught on the attributes of God to the ladies. This is a very small church that is one that PIBA (stands for First Baptist Church of Atibaia in Portuguese) supports. It is a church that they are trying to revive for it was close to dying not that long ago.

The rest of the week was teaching. Philemon is teaching the seminary students the synoptic gospels, John and Acts while I am teaching Apologetical Methodology. It is good to see the men again and Philemon and I both see a definite growth in all of them from last year. Their questions are deeper and more informed and they show a growing maturity. All these men are very busy ministering in a multitude of ways through evangelism, serving in various churches, leading bible studies and such. The seminary is definitely church-based and is actively allowing these men the chance to practice ministry as they learn the Word.

Kim and Linda continue to teach the ladies. I was happy to hear the report from Kim about how her time with the seminary and pastors’ wives went. She was able to give a lot of practical advice and encouragement to them all. Several expressed their appreciation hearing her stories because they too have experienced similar situations. It gave the seminary wives a chance to really begin to understand what they can expect, both good and unpleasant, as their husbands take a church to shepherd. They still have two more sessions to go before they are done.

Philemon preaches at PIBA this last Sunday in the AM service. He taught out of Romans 8:31-39 and did an excellent job encouraging us all to remember that God is for us and all we need to do is to look to the Cross to remind us. The church received him well. What was very touching was that they announced (without anyone translating for us) that his father had passed away. Then we watched people begin to file forward to give money to Philemon as an expression of sorrow with him. Very humbling and very touching.

I then preached that evening at the small church in Terra Preta. My text was from 1 Peter 1:3-9 and was exhorting them to see that through the resurrection of Jesus we have a living hope that allows us to not merely endure suffering but to rejoices even as we weep. It was a bit of an adventure because my Surface was not charged as I thought and it ran out of power shortly after starting so I was winging it the whole way. Regardless the text was well known to me and the sermon accomplished much. Kim and I find ourselves “connected” to the pastor and his wife (Jeremiah and Anna). They show a genuine love for the people and yet they also have a difficult road to walk. Small churches (25-30) are so vulnerable to the smallest changes. Just consider what would happen in one family left?

How to pray? First, that all four of us would continue to be faithful in our labors. Second, that we can continue to encourage one another as we interact with each other. Third, while here, things in our “real” lives continue and Philemon and I both have several issues we are addressing from afar. Pray that we not become discouraged nor become distracted. Fourth, pray that the students truly absorbs what we are teaching. Fifth, pray that when we travel (we are driving ourselves) at the end of this week we will be wise and there shall be safe travels.

The Real Hole in The Gospel

Well, the news has hit that World Vision’s president,  Richard Stearns, has announced that World Vision is redefining marriage as either one man and one woman, one man and one man, or one woman and one woman.  So now, a so-called Christian organization has made a decidedly non-Christian decision.  There are many who have and will weigh in on this subject so I will merely give a few thoughts on this situation:

In his interview to Christianity Today he argues that this “very narrow policy change” will be an example of the pursuit of Christian unity. He makes the point that same-sex marriages are tearing apart churches.  Of course he fails to answer the real question of if that is a good or bad thing.  I think that the bible is abundantly clear that the gospel has a separating quality because it calls people to turn from themselves and their sin to follow and love Jesus.

I would ask Stearns what Jesus meant in these words, “Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household” (Matthew 10:34-36).  Or, what Paul said in 1 Corinthians 5 regarding a so-called brother who loved his sin over truth and Jesus, “I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people; I did not at all mean with the immoral people of this world, or with the covetous and swindlers, or with idolaters, for then you would have to go out of the world. But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler– not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church? But those who are outside, God judges. Remove the wicked man from among yourselves” (9-13).  You see, World Vision purports to be a Christian organization.  If it were not, I would have little to say regarding the decision, it is a non-Christian making a non-Christian decision.  But he claims Jesus as Lord as well as does his organization, so he is held to a different standard.

I am painfully aware that the idea is that those employees are professing Christians.  But professing means nothing because at some point one must take what the bible says regarding what is a Christian seriously.  I know there are books out there that speak about how homosexuality is sooooo misunderstood by the Church and yes you can be a Christian and also love and marry a person of the same gender.  But, of course, the bible is clear and unambiguous on the subject except for those who earnestly desire otherwise.  In other words, the problem with World Vision is deeper than this decision.  In fact, this decision simply is a by-product of the real issue, they don’t know what a Christian looks like.  Not in reality.

Stearns wrote a provocative book entitled, The Hole in The Gospel: What Does God Expect of Us?.  It was well received over-all but that doesn’t mean it was a good book.  His premise is that God expects the Christian to help alleviate poverty.  That is fine.  Our church is all for that.  But as Dr. D. A. Carson points out, that is not the gospel. And here is the problem as I see it, now looking back upon that book.  I think Stearns does see it as the gospel, just as the liberal church has always seen the gospel, more in a social justice perspective rather than a reconciliation with our Creator God through Jesus Christ.  That book was merely a precursor to this current decision which is also not gospel-centered or even Christian.  My mind goes back to these powerful words by Carson,

. . . even while acknowledging—indeed, insisting on the importance of highlighting—the genuine needs that Mr Stearns depicts in his book, it is disturbing not to hear similar anguish over human alienation from God. The focus of his book is so narrowly poverty that the sweep of what the gospel addresses is lost to view. Men and women stand under God’s judgment, and this God of love mandates that by the means of heralding the gospel they will be saved not only in this life but in the life to come. Where is the anguish that contemplates a Christ-less eternity, that cries, “Repent! Turn away from all your offenses. . . . Why will you die, people of Israel? For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone” (Ezek 18:30-32). The analysis of the problem is too small, and the gospel is correspondingly reduced.

In closing, I whole-heartedly agree with Trevin Wax who tells us to weep for the children.  But I would add that we need to weep for the lost all the more.  For the many who are lost while professing Jesus at World Vision and across this land shall one day hear those terrible words, “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; Depart from me, you who practice lawlessness'” (Matthew 7:23).

The Christian and Culture Can Be Nasty Hard at Times

Jonathan Merritt and Kirsten Powers (though only Jonathan’s name is at the bottom of the article) wrote on the 23rd on the subject of Christian businesses who desire to not serve the requests of homosexuals.  Nothing like a bit of red meat for the masses.  If you haven’t read it you should before continuing simply to have the context.  Interestingly it is a short article causing me to wonder how much serious thought went into it since so many see it as something far more complex.  Regardless, here are some of my thoughts on the whole thing.

First, the interaction of the Christian with his culture is bound to create nasty, uncomfortable tensions. Just ask those Christians who had to make decisions regarding fleeing Jews during WWII.  Or parents who are opposed to the evils of Common Core for their children who are in public schools.  Every day Christians are making decisions that are simply are not clean and easy.  Consider the server at a restaurant who finds out the new uniform is more risqué than they believe is proper.  Or a mid-level manager who is told to give even more of his time to the corporation rather than to his family.  The challenges are endless with some being rather small and others quite big but all of them with consequences, at least eventually.

The essence of the article’s argument is that Christians are not being consistent.  Here is some of their position stated:

Before agreeing to provide a good or service for a wedding, Christian vendors must verify that both future spouses have had genuine conversion experiences and are “equally yoked” (2 Corinthians 6:14) or they will be complicit with joining righteousness with unrighteousness. They must confirm that neither spouse has been unbiblically divorced (Matthew 19). If one has been divorced, vendors should ask why. Or perhaps you don’t even have to ask. You may already know that the couple’s previous marriages ended because they just decided it wasn’t working, not because there were biblical grounds for divorce. In which case, you can’t provide them a service if you believe such a service is affirming their union.

I find myself agreeing with them here, to a point. But of course the powers-that-be have already decided on some of these.  I won’t even try to answer all of the ways a Christian business may find themselves in a quandary.  Instead I will write that in a nation that screams “freedom” we have become instead a nation that restricts freedom. Whatever group is the flavor-of-the-day in the eyes of the courts, legislators, and law enforcers get a free pass and the full power of the state and federal government.  If you are not any of those flavors then you are pushed to the side as being small-minded, puritanical, or racist.  Why, if you are illegally in this country you are afforded all sorts of protections that legally don’t exist.  You can be locked up in a prison and make all sorts of demands and if you are in California you will likely even win!  What would be nice is to see businesses truly having the right to refuse service whenever they want to.  And, of course, the public having the right to refuse a product or business as they wish, mind you that this won’t happen or the Affordable Care Act would be toast.  A bartender is not allowed to serve a drink to an obviously drunk person but Lord help the baker who refuses to give a obese man his doughnut.  I would love to see a person with excellent qualifications go into Planned Parenthood to apply for an advertised position  but prominently wearing a “Choose Life” pin.  Somehow I don’t see that job opening up.  For me, this issue is not as much a biblical/Christian issue as a broader issue of freedom.  But that is not the aforementioned article’s point so I shall continue.

The hard reality is that to follow one’s conscience is something a Christian must do. But this does not mean that they will be exempted from the consequences doing so. Frankly this applies to all people.  Rosa Parks followed her conscience, our Founding Fathers did as well.  Agree or disagree I personally respect it when I see a person driven by their conscience and conviction, even when I think that they are utterly wrong.  However, they should be prepared to accept the consequences.  Relationships shall be broken, jobs will be lost, and even reputations will be sullied.  There is no way around it in the age we live.

On an aside, it is interesting how often our Lord is seen with those who were described as “tax collectors and sinners” which meant that they were really bad people who did really bad things (cf. Mark 2:15-17).  He would eat with them, drink with them, relax with them, heal them and feed them.  They flocked to Him and yet he had no problem calling them to repentance.  Ultimately they, along with most of the religious folks of the day, crucified Him.  But even upon the Cross He asked His Father to forgive them.  I think this must come into our conversation in some way when a person who qualifies as a “sinner” comes into our lives seeking our services or help.

In this age a Christian lives in constant discomfort in one way or another if they are living as a Christian should live.  The bible is not just uttering nonsensical musings when it calls the believer an alien and stranger (1 Peter 1:1; 2:11).  When we are called to be salt and light to the world (Matthew 5:13-14) should we be shocked when there is a reaction and push-back? Every Christian is clearly warned that they will suffer but are admonished to suffer for doing what is good and right before the Lord (1 Peter 2:16-20). When they are treated harshly and are abused they are to love those who persecute and pray for them (Matthew 5:44).  When they believe their rights are trampled on they have the right to appeal to the authorities (Acts 25:11-12; Romans 13:1-3) but they should not be shocked when the final decision goes against them.  Every Christian is to live in this age recognizing that it is passing away and to look to the perfect hope of their Redeemer’s return and the final resurrection where all things shall be made right and all things made new (Revelation 20-21).

Ultimately every Christian must entrust themselves to the Father in heaven just as their Lord did when He was infinitely more unjustly treated (1 Peter 2:21-25).  This is the example He left us and I suspect that He expects us to follow it.

For other views on this subject to which I can direct you:

Russell Moore
Douglas Wilson (Warming for those faint of heart, he uses a word you might find offensive)

You Are Not Taking Her, She’s Mine

Yesterday I was on my way to a doctor appointment and I still remember the three young ladies standing bored or forlorn outside the Planned Parenthood building. As the closing days for donations for our local CareNet walk approach I saw this video and saw that value in showing it. Such a contrast.

Weiner and Elder

I watch with a strong measure of disbelief as the scandal/non-scandal of Anthony Weiner continues to unfold.  He is running for mayor of New York City after resigning from Congress when compromising tweets of himself were discovered.  I could talk about his politics and his positions on issues such as abortion but that would distract from the point of this post.  I read a sad, sordid post from HotAir.com that shows show his sin and folly continues to be exhumed as he runs for mayor.  What is sad is that he appears to be the front-runner for mayor nonetheless.

So what?  Should I be shocked?  Should I be traumatized and cry out for the good ol’ days?  Once again I shrug.  We see the natural outcome of what it looks like when one rejects Jesus, lives in an unconverted state as a slave to sin.  This sort of thing can annoy me, but it doesn’t shock me.  But this cannot be true for the elder of a church.

The bible is clear that though the people and politics that flow endlessly around a Christian may involve much sin, sordid and otherwise; it is not to involve the office of the elder in the Church.  1 Timothy 3, Titus 1 both make clear statements about the man who holds this office.  And if I were to take one key quality that both passages declare it is to be “above reproach.”  Listen, mayors, presidents and your next door neighbor can sleep around, do drug, embezzle, lie, cheat, and even murder.  That is what happens in a broken, fallen world.  But for those men who are converted through the Gospel of Jesus Christ, who seek to be elders, the standard is unrelentingly high, he must be above reproach in every way.

I won’t go into all the various qualities of the elder.  I only wish to point out that we should expect high standards from our elected officials but never be shocked when they fail to even try to attain them.  But as Christians we should have no patience and no time for those who seek to be a shepherd of God’s Church who refuses to hold to the standards He has set for those who oversee the Church He bought with His blood.

The Pastoral Challenge of Marrying

I read with great interest this post over at the Gospel Coalition’s site.  Collin Hanson asks how pastors in America need to possibly rethink their current practice of marrying people in light of U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker’s decision to overturn Proposition 8.  The audience is actually conservative pastors who see a rapid encroachment of the State into the Church with little shame or concern on the State’s part.

The article has four different pastors who weigh in on the issue to varying degrees of helpfulness.  I found Steve DeWitt’s to be the most helpful.  Here is a glimpse into his response if you haven’t already clicked on the link and read it yourself:

. . . . What makes a wedding “Christian” is a Christian man and a woman covenanting to follow God’s plan and fulfill God’s purpose for marriage.

At the same time, a pastor in the American culture acts as a steward for the state in the civil rite. We are required to make sure the couple signs their wedding certificate making them officially married in the eyes of the government. In my state, the certificates contain nasty warnings for religious leaders who fail to properly fill out, sign, and file the wedding certificate.

This leads to the interesting question: When is a couple actually married? In the eyes of the government marriage happens when a sanctioned official declares it and the signatures of the couple affirm it. In the eyes of God, I believe, it happens when the couple, in accordance with God’s created plan for marriage, vow to be husband and wife to one another. What if they forget to sign the certificate or it is lost in the mail? Are they married? In the eyes of God, yes. In the eyes of the government, no.

This whole thing raises an important question that pastors must begin to address.  I am personally leaning strongly toward only marrying members of my church and no one else, though I continue to think about the whole thing right now.  I also find this interview of D. A. Carson in the Southern Baptist Journal of Theology very helpful as well.  Not sure if I will find myself actually practicing the method done in France but I can see a lot of wisdom in doing so.

We live in interesting times here in America. 

H/T to Andy Naselli who got me going on this whole thing.

Manna and Work and Learning

Then the LORD said to Moses, “Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you;
and the people shall go out and gather a day’s portion every day, that I may test them, whether or not they will walk in My instruction. 
And it will come about on the sixth day, when they prepare what they bring in, it will be twice as much as they gather daily.”
( NASB)

I taught on this briefly in my class on the Pentateuch the other day.  As I was teaching I realized that in this passage there is a good illustration of the value of faithful, diligent work.  I pointed out to the class that God provided Israel food, known as manna, to eat while they were in the wilderness.  (On an aside, it is interesting that God continued to do this for 40 years while He judged the unfaithful, unbelieving first generation—which is called “grace.”) The point I made was that the people had to gather enough for each day and no more.  If they tried to get more manna to store up for the next day it would rot.  The exception would be on the sixth day, when they would gather a double portion and not work on the seventh day.

Two points to make:

  1. This is a simple expression of how God values work from His people.  They could not gather up a lot on one day so that they could be lazy for one or two days later.  Rather, they had to get up and get out and gather enough each day or they would not eat.
  2. In doing this God also instructed them to gather a double amount on Friday so that they would not need to gather on Saturday.  What God was doing was training them for when they receive the command to honor the Sabbath and not do any work.

OK, those are the quick observations, but I think they are good ones worthy of reflection.  Let me expand on one of them a bit.  Fridays were opportunities to operate by faith.  You had to trust that God would not rot the extra manna so that you could eat on Saturday, the sabbath.  This worked even among the generation who were faithless.  In other words, though they were a ungodly generation who would not believe God’s promises to enter the promised land they would believe the lesser (smaller?) promise that God would not rot the extra manna gathered on Friday.  This makes me wonder about those who call themselves “Christians” who don’t believe God in the “big” things, but keep believing Him in small things.  Are they truly His?  What makes them different from unbelieving Israel?  See as a key passage on this point.

As I watch events continue to unfold at an amazing rate in my country I think about the state of the average church in America.  There is faith, but is it really faith in Christ as Lord of all?  Do we really believe that all authority is His or only “sorta-kinda-maybe-if-I-feel-like-it?”  Do we believe that in Him all things shall be judged and do we believe that by Him all things shall be made new? When we say, “Seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness” do we have a clue what that really means as we craft church services that look more like a bad Disney production than a serious encounter with the one True God through the careful, blunt exposition of His Word?  Goodness, do we even think it really is His Word?

I think I live in frighteningly revealing times.  Times where men are called to work as unto the Lord and they choose to let the government work for them.  Times where good is called evil and evil is called good.  Not by the world, but by the Church!  A time where a cool app is more interesting than reading Leviticus because it seems so old-fashioned and bloody and stuff.  I think I could go on, but I won’t because I think I will just read some and then sleep.

Just some random thoughts that came to me as I studied and taught from the Pentateuch.  Welcome to my world.

Quick Thoughts on DOMA Decision

The Supreme Court struck down the DOMA Act today.  The news is exploding with the decision, Drudge has his police light on and the Huffingtonpost  has a twirling earth with the bold letters “GAY DAY.” I read it all and I shrug.

On a personal side I grieve as I recognize the long term consequences to this decision.  But I grieve no more than I do with the decisions related to abortion, immigration, health care, taxation, the so-called Patriot Act, and a myriad of other decisions that has poured like the Niagara Falls from our elected officials over the last 30 decades.  We are a sick nation trying to pretend we are not.  We are fractured on every side captured by the three deadly sins of 1 John 2:16, a lust of the flesh, a lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life.

But as a Christian should I be stunned by this?  Should my worldview be shaken and my gut wrenched in every way possible as I see this unfold?  My answer is no.  It is the “world” in which every Christian lives and therefore wherever they live, in New York City or Atibaia, Brazil or Ndu, Cameroon the people there are controlled by these three driving forces of sin.  So is it any shocking thing that every society rises and falls back in on itself eventually?  I remember reading a fascinating book that described the way ancient Rome lived.  Over and over I said to myself, “This is America.”

I told my congregation the last two major elections that the real reason most will vote the way they will vote is out of a love of money.  Even so-called conservatives are sucking lustily at the teats of their government.  Threaten to cut out the programs that each of us enjoy?  Not on our watch!  So too many Christians vote, not with an eye toward justice or true mercy.  We do not fill up our minds with the Scripture and allow it to define our lives.  We conform ourselves to the lusts of this world and then shout with dismay when we see a decision like DOMA come down and become stridently angry.

I do not agree with the decision, just like I do not agree with the bulk of the decisions coming from our governing authorities.  But I do not desire to be known by these things.  Consider the very blunt, pastoral words of Peter,

Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation.  If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.  Make sure that none of you suffers as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler; but if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name.  For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? AND IF IT IS WITH DIFFICULTY THAT THE RIGHTEOUS IS SAVED, WHAT WILL BECOME OF THE GODLESS MAN AND THE SINNER?  Therefore, those also who suffer according to the will of God shall entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right.
(1Pe 4:12-19 NASB)

Any suffering coming our way is not something strange in the eyes of Peter, it is to be expected.  So why do we get shocked when we read of the growing number of threats against Christians in our nation?  The command in the midst of these sufferings is to “keep on rejoicing” rather than becoming bitter and shrill.  We are to fix our eyes on the return of Christ, where true justice will finally flow and we might truly exult for eternity.  But all of this presupposes that our suffering is because of the gospel, not American Christianity.  It is because you are walking in a manner that is worthy of the name of Christ (that is not the same thing as putting on a “Christian T-Shirt”) and the world hates you for it.  But you suffer for being a wicked person then shame on you and you have no reason to rejoice.  Note the strong extremes given here, from murderer to a meddler.  It is like 1 Corinthians 6 where we have the fornicators and the covetous, neither of when can be such and rightly call themselves “saved.”

Judgment is to first start with the house of God and it begins through suffering in this world.  When we are falsely accused, hated for our love of Jesus, reviled in spite of our acts of mercy and humility, then God is pleased and we will endure as we fix our eyes on the end.  And part of that enduring is the fact that if God is not pleased to bring our detractors to repentance, that they too shall face judgment who cannot entrust their souls to anything that can save them.

All of this is to say, the DOMA decision is a sad thing but not a shocking thing.  It fits the course of this age and for what this age lusts.  The challenge for the Christian is to consider how they live within their nation in a way that reflects a different Lord and a different hope.  Can the gospel still save people?  Does the gospel still save people?  Is God’s kingdom somehow stymied due to evil?  Did Jesus really receive “all” authority?  At some point every follower of Jesus will have to answer these questions in reality rather than in the abstract.  And when they are answered, some who say they follow Jesus will stop because they will realize that the God of the Bible is not the god of their hearts.

What the Church must do is continue to call men and women everywhere to repent and turn to the living God.  We must build up the people of God in the most holy faith.  We must purify the Church through correction and discipline.  We must grow in our salvation through rich, dense teaching that flows from the Word.  And we must learn to “eagerly await” the return of Jesus (Hebrews 9:28).

 

 

 

Money and Parenting–Some Cheap Advice

In light of my post yesterday  I thought it might be of some small interest how Kim and I taught our children how to approach money when they were very young.  The motive was not to make lots of money, it was to teach them to save, to be prepared to give and give generously and not go into debt.  These were things I had not learned for years and had no desire to put that burden upon my children as well.

The standard was simple, no matter what you get and where you get it, 10% you get to spend, 10% you give to the Lord and the rest you put into savings.  End of subject, not open for debate or discussion.  Each of my children were faithful to this expectation to varying degrees since as they became older they would have greater control over their money.

This standard took place early in their life.  When I say early I mean, when they were about to get money for birthday or Christmas this program kicked in.  That meant that they would put their money into the offering plate on Sunday and they learned to go to the bank and put the rest into savings.

I am also a firm believer in teaching children the value of work and employment so all of mine were working at a restaurant by fourteen.  I had little interest in their social life and activities, knowing that these would come and go but certain standards ingrained early could benefit them for a life.  I taught them that there are a lot of idiots out there and they must not be numbered among them.  Rather, they should do every and any job with the mind set that when the boss is looking to send someone home they are the last person on his mind.

It did not take much time for their paychecks to add up and since they knew I refused to pay for their college they kept at it with the savings.  The result is that they all went to colleges and they all paid for their colleges with cash.  They discovered that they could study, work and go to classes and not die.  They might not be able to “hang out” like so many of their friends, but they certainly did not want to waste their hard earned money by flunking.

I cannot tell you how many in my church would tell me, or even more helpfully, my children how mean I was as a father.  I sat and heard many a mom (usually while the father quietly sat on the side) tell me how my children only had their youth once and they should enjoy it.  How I could harm my children and make them resent me.  To be honest, I would look at them and what I really heard was, “Blah, blah, blah.”  I figured in the end things would be plain and Kim and I would reap what we sowed one way or another.

Were they perfect?  Nope, not in the slightest.  And at times we had to make corrections and reminders.  But they are all young adults, two with children of their own, who are not afraid of work and not adverse to going without something if it means debt.  Kim and I delight to see our children, we love to fiddle around with the grandchildren.  And we hope to see these things poured even deeper into the hearts of the lives to come.

Tomorrow I asked my oldest to relate what it was like growing up in this sort of home and ultimately paying for college on her own.  Apparently there is a “traumatic” moment at 14 that I don’t remember that involved her first paycheck, a haircut and me glowering at some lady.

Oh, and if you are not sure about what I mean by, “blah, blah, blah” I present this:

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