New Resource: My Story Guidebook for Small Groups or Sunday Classes

In Psalm 78, God instructs older generations to tell younger generations about the work of God and His nature so young people will set their hope in God and keep His commands. The Psalmist states, “Tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and His might, and the wonders He has done. He established a testimony in Jacob.” God wants us to report to future generations what God has done in our life. God wants us to share our story and talk about our experience with God. God is very specific regarding what we are to talk about: His deeds, His might, and His wonders. Our story isn’t the point, it’s the pointer.

According to the Bible, our story is a means of describing the work of God and His nature. It is our testimony recounting what God has done and who God is. We read, “God has established a testimony in Jacob” (Ps. 78:5). God has also established a testimony in every Christian and He wants us to tell it. We can ask questions such as, “How has God worked in our life? How has He proven faithful? How has He provided for us? What have we learned about God throughout our life? Do our children or grandchildren know about our God stories?”

One method to tell our story is to create a written record to pass on to our children and grandchildren. The Bible utilizes this method to encourage future generations to praise God, “Let this be recorded for a generation to come, so that a people yet to be created may praise the Lord” (Ps. 102:18). God has chosen the written Word as the key method to draw us to Christ and deepen our faith (2 Tim. 3:15; Col. 1:28) and we can do the same by recording our story in writing for our children and grandchildren.

Are You Looking for Help Writing Your Story?

My Story Groups are designed to help Christians write their faith story and capture meaningful memories that will strengthen their children’s and grandchildren’s faith in Christ. My Story Groups were created because many individuals have the best intentions to write their story, but sometimes struggle to accomplish this goal on their own. Recently, my father presented my children (his grandchildren) with his written testimony and the details about not knowing Christ in his childhood or teenage years, coming to faith in college, growing in faith as a young man and newly married couple, and wisdom he wanted to pass on to his grandchildren. My dad’s faith story is a wonderful gift to my children that I pray God uses to draw them to Him and establish a deep faith in their heart. My Story groups help you to write your story and pass it on to your family as a tool to grow their faith in Christ.

The My Story Guidebook is designed around community. Gathering in community with other Christians helps us complete the task of writing our story because we are cheered on by others, inspired by other people’s stories, and supported when we get stuck. The My Story Guidebook can be used in a small group setting, a Sunday School class, or even by Zoom. The guidebook provides details about how to launch and lead a My Story Group. It walks you through how to facilitate, plan, and promote your group. The resource provides sessions and topics of discussion, a group covenant, tips to start and finish writing your story, resources, and some ideas about how to share your faith story with your children or grandchildren. 

The My Story Guidebook is available as a digital download for $7.99 or as a book for $9.99

We have seen My Story Groups become transformative for those who wrote their faith stories and those who received them, bearing fruit and impacting individuals in countless and unseen ways. When we share our story, we are honoring the biblical command to tell the next generation about God. Gather with a group of parents, grandparents, or fellow believers and write your story today and bless your family tomorrow. 

Doing Math, Indoctrinating Children, and Lies Children Believe

Doing Math to the Glory of God

A new school year is upon us. I’ve begun to see first day of school pictures on social media so I thought it would be good to think about a school related topic: math. Math was one of the most difficult subjects for me as a child. I received poor grades and needed extra tutoring just to pass. I never loved math. Because I went to a public school for half of my education, I never learned why math works or the motive for learning math. Math makes sense because God created an orderly world. The laws of math are a testimony to God himself. The Bible itself talks a lot about math. In fact, it has a book of the Bible titled Numbers and has a lot of guidance about how we are to be good stewards with money and resources. Math became more bearable for me as I student in college when I was given some reasons to learn it — to serve God through engineering (so we can build a bridge to be a blessing in our city or to reach an unreached people group) and personal finances. The Bible calls us to do all things to the glory of God, including math. In this article, John Piper provides some valuable thoughts that may be worth reading and sharing with your child as you start a new year of math. 

Indoctrinate Your Children or Someone Else Will

Allie Beth Stuckey wisely recognizes that children are always being indoctrinated. Indoctrination isn’t the problem. The bigger question is who is doing the indoctrination and what children are being encouraged to believe and act upon. Allie suggests that children are being encouraged to love self, which is the opposite is what the Gospel calls us to in Scripture. Allie asks parents to consider what worldview we want our children to have and how media and education are shaping their beliefs. The good news is that God has given us the tools we need to accomplish the tasks He has called us to. Through the help of a Bible believing local church and a commitment to making Christ the priority of our lives and hopes, we can saturate our children in the truths of Scripture and entrust them to Lord. To read the article, click here. 

7 Lies Our Children are Encouraged to Believe

We are in a battle for the hearts and minds of our children. In any battle, it is always helpful to know the tactics of the enemy or any details of the strategy to win a war. Elizabeth Urbanowicz shares some of the more common lies from our society that children are in danger of absorbing. It is helpful to recognize these messages so that we can discuss them with our children and help them to reject them as they are encountered. One of the goals we have had with our children is to the be first and loudest voice and to help them understand the truth so that they can reject lies. This video is a little over an hour in length, perfect to watch while folding laundry, preparing a meal, or watching after the kids go to bed (or even with older children). 

Single Parent Statistics, Education Alternatives, and Discipling a Drop Out

I have a handful of resources that I wanted to let you know about as I found each of them helpful in different ways. 

Single Parent Statistics

The number of single parent homes in the United States continues to grow. Today, more than one out of every three children will be born to a single parent home. The impact this will have on children, families, and society is significant. Ministry leaders must be mindful of supporting and ministering to single parents as they will need additional help. Parents should work extra diligently to help their children understand the consequences of an out of wedlock birth or divorce. One of the biblical methods to detour young people from negative choices is to show them the consequences and allow them to feel the weight of sinful decisions. Grandparents are given a God-designed surrogate role to step into the family when there are needs such as single parenting. If you are interested in seeing single parent statistics, click here. You can search by state to get a clear picture of the need in your area. 

Education Alternatives for Public School

I recently read that California, New York, and Detroit will require children to wear masks when they return to school this fall. I imagine additional cities and states will be added to the list. In Minnesota, where I live, parents are fighting hard right now to ensure masks are not worn this fall, but that is yet to be determined. Parents are also waking up to many of the radical and unbiblical things their children are taught at school. If there was a silver lining to Covid, the shift to online school allowed parents to see what children were being taught. The LGBTQ agenda, comprehensive sex education, critical race theory (also called equity), and an anti-American agenda are a sampling of what public school has become. As a result, public school attendance dropped by 2.36 percent nationally, which equated to over 1.5 million children. The initial indication is that more parents are removing children for this upcoming school year and, I believe for Christians, this is a wise choice. There are three great options for families to consider: homeschooling, Christian school, or live online classes

How to Disciple a Church Drop Out

Jared Wilson has written a helpful article called How to Disciple Your Kids Into Church Drop Out Status. This isn’t a feel good article, but for any parent who wants to see their children grow up with lifelong faith in Christ and faithful commitment to a local body of believers, then this is an article worth reading. There is no shortage of research available about drop-out statistics. Depending on the study, you will find that anywhere between 45-80 percent of children drop out of the church. It was once believed that many of these individuals would return later in life. But that is becoming less and less the outcome. Of course, there are many factors that cause a child to drop out of church and walk away from Christ. Jared mentions a handful of them. Most of Jared’s items are focused on the local church. Infrequent attendance, church hopping, and no corporate worship (only children’s and youth ministry) are problematic. I will add to his list divorce of parents, secular education, and parents who prioritize something other than Christ in the home. For parents, these topics are helpful to think about so that we can do everything in our power to eliminate barriers that our children may experience to know, love, and serve Christ.

Two Vacations With a Purpose

If you are looking for an idea for a future family vacation, why not do something that is fun and purposeful at the same time? There are lots of options, but this post is going to highlight two ideas that are impactful and enjoyable. 

Creation Museum Guide

We have been to the Creation Museum and Ark Encounter a couple of times as a family. You will need a couple days, ideally one day for the Ark and one for the Creation Museum. A half a day was perfect for our children, but all families are different. The movies, music, displays, and book store are all fantastic. The apologetic material that we purchased for our children have been read again and again. The staff at the Creation Museum created an educational guide that is worth purchasing and will help you bring some intentionality and talking points to the different displays. They have created different guides for several grade levels, K-2nd, 3rd-6th, and 7th-adult.  There are both student guides and leader guides. Individual copies cost $1.99. We have added one extra element that has really hammered home the truth that our children experience at the Creation Museum. On our drive home we also stop at a natural history museum and discuss the naturalistic, evolutionary beliefs in the displays. On our last trip, my children had a wonderful discussion with the tour guide at the natural history museum about the fallacies behind evolution. We’ve done this trip twice with our children and they recently requested that we do it again. I guess they enjoyed it!

Washington D.C.

We have family that lives in Washington D.C. so visit every few years. There is no shortage of museums and sites to see in Washington D.C. Stephen McDowell, the founder of the Providence Foundation, created a helpful tool that can be used on a self-guided tour of many of the most popular sites in Washington D.C. including the Library of Congress, the Supreme Court, the Capitol Building, the National Archives, the Washington Monument, the White House, the Lincoln Memorial, and the Jefferson Memorial. For a brief overview, click on this link. For $16.99, you can purchase this book. This unique book will guide you through famous historical sites, recounting important providential events, and tell the Christian history of the people who founded this nation and who are honored with monuments, memorials, and statues. Includes: Washington, DC, Philadelphia, Mt. Vernon, Jamestown, Williamsburg, Yorktown, Monticello, and more. Presents biographical sketches of many Founders, highlighting their personal faith: Washington, Jefferson, William Penn, Madison, Patrick Henry, and more. From the paintings in the Capitol to the story of the Liberty Bell, learn how our national buildings, monuments, and heroes declare that America was a nation birthed with a firm reliance on Almighty God. 

30 Day Prayer Challenge for Grandparents

Like it or not, we are in a spiritual battle for the hearts, souls and minds of our children, grandchildren and future generations. It’s time we battle with the strongest weapon in our arsenal; it’s time we battle with PRAYER.

In preparation for Grandparents Day (Nationally recognized day to honor and celebrate grandparents on September 12, 2021), the Christian Grandparenting Network is inviting grandparents everywhere to join a 30 Day Prayer Challenge.

What is the 30 Day Prayer Challenge?

The 30 Day Prayer Challenge is an opportunity for grandparents to:

  • COMMIT to praying for their grandchildren for 30 consecutive days.
  • ENGAGE in purposeful, intentional, and specific prayers for their grandchildren.
  • RECEIVE SUPPORT and ENCOURAGEMENT from others as they make an immense investment into the lives of their grandchildren.

When Does the 30 Day Prayer Challenge take Place?

The challenge begins on August 14th. (Please note that if this timeframe doesn’t fit you schedule, you commit to a 30 Day Prayer Challenge anytime during the year.)

To download the prayer challenge, click here and scroll to the bottom of the page.

Biblical Worldview is Available as an Audiobook

A few months ago I was contacted by Charles Markert, who had just finished reading my book Biblical Worldview. He was impacted by the message of the book and convinced that it needed to become an audiobook so it could be listened to as well as read. Charles believed this so deeply that he offered to record and master the audio. The 6 hours and 29 minute audiobook is now available at Amazon, Audible and iTunes. Thank you Charles for your excellent work on this audiobook!

George Barna’s research suggests that extremely low numbers of children have a biblical worldview. His research suggests that less than 10% of children think, act, and live according to biblical principles. If true, that is a troubling statistic that should concern all parents, grandparents, and pastors. This book was written to help children develop a biblical worldview through the influence of family, church, and school. Here is a summary of the book.

In this brief book, you’ll discover what a biblical worldview is, why it matters, and how to establish this foundation in the life of a child. Filled with practical tools and ideas, Biblical Worldview will help you lead children to lifelong faith in Jesus and a fruitful ministry serving him in the world. It’s a helpful resource for parents, grandparents, teachers, and church leaders – anyone that leads children in their spiritual development. 

There is a battle being fought for the hearts and minds of children, and much is at stake. The world is working diligently to assimilate young people to its way of thinking. The beliefs our children develop inevitably shape their decisions and determine their eternal destiny. In a word, worldview is about beliefs. This book will equip you to help young people develop a strong biblical foundation and doctrinal framework for a biblical worldview. Biblical worldview is built on the foundation of the authority, inerrancy, and sufficiency of the bible. This book will help you establish this foundation in the hearts and minds of young people so that they trust the bible, think about life from a Christian perspective, and live according to biblical principles. 

Our worldview is developed as we establish beliefs about four critical topics: 

  1. Creation: How did I get here? What is my purpose? 
  2. Rebellion: What went wrong? Why is there evil and suffering? 
  3. Salvation: What is the solution? Where do I find hope? 
  4. Restoration: What happens in the future? How do we transform lives and change the world? 

These four pillars create the framework for a person’s worldview. It is critical that all four pillars of faith are firmly established and that deep-down convictions are developed around these biblical truths. Biblical Worldview is a serious call to shape the next generation’s beliefs with the bible. The aim of Biblical Worldview is embracing gospel truth for godly living. This book is a short introduction to biblical worldview and will equip you to help children develop a biblically-based view of life that will transform their homes, communities, and nations.

4 Characteristics of a Disciple-Making Grandparent Podcast

Are you a grandparent or do you know a grandparent who wants to leave an eternal impact on one’s children and grandchildren? If so, tune in to hear Dr. Josh Mulvihill discuss four characteristics of a disciple-making grandparent. This talk was first given as a main session seminar at the Legacy Grandparenting Summit and is now being made available on the Legacy Coalition’s podcast to listen to on demand. Be encouraged as you listen and capture a biblical vision for grandparenting!

How to Help a Child Understand and Defend Their Faith

You have helped train your children or grandchildren in the Christian faith. They are familiar with key Bible characters and stories, even memorized Scripture passages. You’ve explained the Gospel. They know that Jesus died on the cross for their sins and rose again. They have even had some significant experiences that have profoundly shaped them. They should be safe, right?

What will they do when someone makes a claim and provide “evidence” that the resurrection never happened? Or that the Bible is full of errors? Or that Christianity is guilty of horrible evils in history? Suddenly, “because mom or dad, grandma or grandpa said so” doesn’t work. Even as early as grade school, children are hearing other voices that seek to undermine everything that you and other spiritual authorities taught them.

Young people will not remain faithful to a faith they do not understand and cannot defend. In a post-Christian culture, it is more critical than ever for young people to know what they believe, why they believe it, and are prepared to defend themselves from attacks to their faith. Throughout church history this has been known as apologetics. Apologetics is the defense of the Christian faith. Peter states that Christians are to be prepared, “to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you” (1 Peter 3:15). A portion of Paul’s ministry included a defense of the Gospel, “I am appointed for a defense of the gospel” (Phil. 1:16). Apologists are individuals who defend Christian beliefs and practices against attacks, provide arguments for the truthfulness of Christianity over other worldviews, and refute unbiblical ideas or theories. The goal of apologetics is to persuade belief by presenting a rational basis for Christianity, to defend the truth by answering questions or the objections of unbelief, and to reveal the foolishness of false ideas so they do not capture the heart and mind of our children. Apologetics is an important aspect of your discipleship ministry to your children or grandchildren and can be divided into the following four categories:

  • Prove. Develop a case for Christianity utilizing biblical, scientific, historical, archeological, and personal testimony to establish the truthfulness of the Christian worldview. Show that Christianity is true, credible, reliable, and aligns with the real world. 

  • Defend. In every generation there are many attacks against Christianity and children need to be introduced to these distorted ideas, learn to test them against God’s Word, and be able to identify truth from error. The two primary areas of attack: The Son of God and the Word of God. 

  • Refute. Compare and contrast with other religions and belief systems to verify the Christian faith and dismantle false and erroneous views. Refute arguments made in support of different beliefs by showing they are unreliable, irrational, unverifiable, or simply do not make sense with what we see in real life.

  • Persuade. Work to clarify biblical truths, answer objections, address criticisms, provide answers and eliminate any intellectual difficulties that stand in the way of coming to faith in Christ. The goal is to encourage alignment with God’s Word, apply the truth of God’s Word to life, and establish a lifelong commitment to the Gospel. Apologetics is a partner of evangelism where we seek to convince children to accept truth claims about Christianity and trust Christ. Give your child every reason possible to embrace the Christian faith and reject counterfeit beliefs. 

7 Tips to help children understand and defend their faith:

  • Utilize questions to grow the faith of future generations. Your goal is twofold: become an askable parent or grandparent and become skilled at the art of asking good questions. Use questions to create serious spiritual dialogue, to encourage critical thinking, and discover what children believe.

  • Take objections from a child seriously. Do not mock an objection or dismiss a question. Spend as much time and energy as needed to fully explore a topic with a child. 

  • Anticipate attacks and arguments that a child will face in the teen and adult years. After teaching a biblical truth to a child or grandchild, present the faulty argument, prove why it is false, give reading material that establishes the truth, and continue to point out in conversation over the years the erroneous arguments. 

  • Built an apologetics library for each child. These make great gifts. Suggested books include Cold-Case Christianity by J. Warner Wallace, Tactics by Gregory Koukl, Answers Vol. 1-4 by Answers in Genesis, Quick Answers to Social Questions by Bryan Osborne, Demolishing Supposed Bible Contradictions by Ken Ham, Debunking Evolution by Daniel Biddle, True For You But Not For Me by Paul Copan, and The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel

  • Expose children to the truth in real life experiences. Allow older children to see a live ultrasound so they learn the horrors of abortion, or visit the creation museum to teach the truth of creation and then visit a natural history museum to show the error of evolution.

  • Look for examples of false beliefs or erroneous messages in movies, music, books, and television. Point them out, ask questions, and discuss why something is problematic. Always point back to Scripture so that it is not your opinion, but based on the authority of God’s Word.

  • Utilize the Truth Method. The truth method is intended to teach a biblical truth, identify a message from the world, and analyze it to determine the good and reject the bad using five steps.
    1. Teach a biblical truth through instruction and discussion. What biblical truths do your grandchildren need to be taught to stand strong in their faith?
    2. Recognize the idea or concept the world is communicating. What lies or half truths threaten their faith today?
    3. Understand the claim by analyzing it. What is actually being said?
    4. Test the idea according to the Bible. What does the Bible say about the topic?
    5. Hold fast to what is good and reject what is bad. What should be rejected and why?

Rise up parents and grandparents. The battle of ideas is real and it’s taking no prisoners. We are in a battle for the hearts and minds of our children and grandchildren. Helping a child detect errors and discern truth in the age of fake news, social media, and conspiracy theories is critical and you are uniquely positioned for such a time as this.

Is Same-Sex Attraction a Sin?

“Is same-sex attraction a sin?” This question was asked by a pastor to a group of high school students as part of a talk on sexual identity. My son attends this group, and after inquiring what would be talked about, the pastor invited me to join the group for the evening, so I did. His talk needed much clarity, so for my sons sake and others, I decided to write this post. His premise was three-fold. First, homosexuality is a sin. Second, the Bible does not address same-sex attraction. And third, same-sex attraction is not a sin. Let’s look at each of these briefly.

Homosexuality is a Sin

The Bible is clear that homosexuality is a sin. Of course, making that statement is about as enjoyable as a doctor telling a patient she has cancer. And it is received with the same range of emotions. Some weep. Others rage. And we are seeing both occur when brave men and women state what the Bible says, that homosexuality is a sin. But in case you are new to the topic, Leviticus 18:22 states, “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.” In the New Testament, the Apostle Paul identifies homosexuality as sin in Romans 1:26-27 and in 1 Timothy 1:10.

Homosexuality, according to Romans 1:21-25, is the consequence of another more serious problem, which is idolatry. Here is the problem in a nutshell: humans spurn the Creator, refusing to glorify God or give Him thanks and worship creation instead of the Creator. Paul tells us that when people exchange the glory of God for creation that they exchange the truthfulness of God for a lie. God gives humans over to their own selfish desires, one of which is the manifestation of homosexuality. God giving individuals over to the depravity of their lusts is, in part, His judgment upon someone. The point of Romans 1:21-25 is not primarily that same-sex temptation and acts are a perversion of God’s good design. This is, of course, a true principle that comes from this passage. However, the main point that we must understand is that homosexuality is God’s act of judgment for idolatry.

Most of us probably know a family member or friend who is actively living in homosexual sin. If we wish to help them, which we should, then what they need is not therapeutic counseling or kid glove coddling. Their soul is in danger of hell and we must treat them with compassion but also great concern. Romans 1 tells us that homosexuality isn’t the problem. Worship is. Homosexuality exists because the worship of God does not. So this tells us where we need to direct our efforts. If we want to see a homosexual person turn from his or her sin, then we need to help them see and savor the greatness of God and beauty of Christ. What is needed is heart change based on repentance of sin and a new affection for Christ. Sin withers only when the Gospel is brought to bear on it. Thomas Chalmers states,

“There is not one personal transformation in which the heart is left without an object of ultimate beauty and joy. The hearts desire for one particular object can be conquered, but its desire to have some object is unconquerable. The only way to disposes the old heart of an object of affection is by the expulsive power of a new one” (The Expulsive Power of a New Affection).

Sin can only be conquered when Jesus is savored as more beautiful and satisfying than the sin. The Gospel motivates us to say no to sin rather than, “I can sin because I will be forgiven later.” We hate sin because God died for it and because we know that God never lets us sin successfully. So the point here is that we must wholeheartedly recognize that homosexuality is a sin. But we must go deeper. We must see that it is a result of idolatry and deal with the root issue.

Same-Sex Attraction in the Bible

The pastor’s second premise was that the Bible does not deal with same-sex attraction. This is about as true as saying the Bible doesn’t have anything to say about education, grandparenting, or the Trinity. If we pull out our trusty concordance, we will find that these words are rather scarce, even absent from the Bible all together. The same is true of same-sex attraction. Should we assume that the Bible is silent on this subject? To make such an assumption is erroneous. The Bible has a lot to say about education, grandparenting, and the Trinity as well as many other subjects that we will not find by name in a concordance. The problem isn’t the silence of Scripture, the issue is an exegetical fallacy of presupposing our own category or terminology on Scripture, not finding it, and claiming it isn’t present.

This is much the same as me trying to locate my son in our home and asking the other children where I may find Frank. To which they would tell me that Frank doesn’t live at this house and would tell me to look elsewhere. But if I asked my children where I may find Jay, they could point me in the right direction, maybe even tell me what room he is in, because his name is Jay not Frank. We must know the Bible’s name or category for a particular topic in order to properly find it. If we misname it or miscategorize it, we will think the Bible is silent when in fact it is not. The Bible’s name for same-sex attraction is sexual temptation. Once we understand this, suddenly the Bible has a lot to say about same-sex attraction.

Same-Sex Attraction is a Temptation to be Fought

This brings us to the third point, that same-sex attraction is not sin. On the surface, this is a difficult subject to gain clarity about. But when we address this topic using biblical language, it clears up the fog considerably. Let us ask the question on the Bible’s terms. Is same-sex temptation a sin? Now we have a category from which to answer this question from Scripture.

There is a biblical category for being tempted without sinning. It is true to say that temptation itself is not sin. James 1:14-15 makes a distinction between temptation that leads to sin and the sin itself. The feelings of same-sex attraction are not always active sin, but it is a desire for something sinful, so we must take great care with how we navigate this topic.

In Matthew 5:27-28, Jesus equated lust with adultery. This establishes an important biblical principle: if it is a sin to do something, it is also a sin to desire to do that same thing. Any desire for something God has forbidden is sin. Because the Bible states that homosexuality is a sin, it is also sinful to desire to commit homosexual acts.

Same-sex attraction becomes sin if it turns into lust. Once the attraction turns into a desire to do something sexually that God forbids, it has become sin in the heart. It is not wrong to think another person is attractive, but where is the line between attraction becoming lust? Same-sex attraction is a desire for something God has forbidden, and as such, it should not become a fire that we feed or a friend that is courted, but a temptation that is fought.

John Piper has some insightful words on the matter of same-sex attraction: “It would be right to say that same-sex desires are sinful in the sense that they are disordered by sin and exist contrary to God’s revealed will. But to be caused by sin and rooted in sin does not make a sinful desire equal to sinning. Sinning is what happens when rebellion against God expresses itself through our disorders” (Let Marriage Be Held in Honor).

Same-sex attraction is best understood as a temptation that can easily become a sin. If a thought or desire is allowed to turn into something more, it becomes a lustful sin. So what should a person do when a momentary same-sex attraction pops into his head? The Bible tells us to “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Cor. 10:5). Here we get to the crux of the matter. Individuals need to be taught how to battle temptation, not coddle it.

How is the believer to defeat temptation? What does the Bible tell us to do with sexual temptation? The Bible tells us to flee from sin, to fight for purity, and to saturate our mind on God’s Word, guarding it from impurity. In sharp contrast to the world, God calls His people to be pure (1 Thess. 4:3-7). The Bible tells us that the heart is the battleground to conquer sexual sin, including same-sex attraction. To achieve victory, the focus must be on the internal first and then the external. Fighting against sexual sin and temptation is constant and difficult, but it is a battle that every believer can win if they rely upon the resources that God provides such as meditation on Scripture, devotion to prayer, and fellowship with the church. Christians of all ages need biblical tools to fight temptation so that we are not sent into battle without any weapons. 

In addition, the Bible speaks regularly about the consequences of sexual sin. In fact, this is one of the biblical methods of encouraging young people to defeat sexual temptation. Young people can be reminded of the long lasting consequences of sexual sin, such as death (Prov. 7:22-27), loss of wealth (Prov. 5:10), lifelong regret (5:11-14), and shame and destruction (Prov. 6:32-35).

Same-sex attraction may come “natural” to some people, but we all “naturally” desire things that are sinful. The presence of these desires is not an excuse to allow them to take up residence in our heart or to act upon them. Is it right for a “naturally” angry person to allow feelings of bitterness in their heart? Is it right for a “naturally” greedy person to desire their neighbor’s possessions? Of course not. We have the responsibility to resist temptation and to fight these sinful desires and so does anyone who naturally has a same-sex attraction.

Getting rid of sin is like getting rid of weeds. If weeds are allowed to grow, they will take over. If they are cut off at the ground, they will keep growing back. If we want to kill weeds, we have to pull them up at the roots. This is what we must do with sin and this is what must happen with same-sex attraction. We cannot deal with sin on the surface. We must root it out. The great puritan preacher John Owens once wrote, “Be killing sin or it be killing you.” It is foolish to take sexual desires lightly, entertain them in our mind, or overestimate our ability to resist temptation. We must flee sinful desires and aggressively attack sin in our life. The same is to be true for those who struggle with same-sex attraction.

The Lord designed sex as a wonderful expression between a husband and wife, but those who use sex selfishly or apart from God’s good design will experience much heartache and ruin. Same-sex attraction is the result of a broken creation and for that reason is sinful. Same-sex attraction is not the same as sinning, but it should be treated like all temptation to sin. If you are a Christian and have sinned sexually, know that God has forgiven you based on what Christ has done on the cross. If sin is confessed, God is faithful to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). May God empower us to have victory over sexual sin for His glory and our good.

What Does It Mean to be a GRAND Father?

On a flight last year to Boston, I was privileged to sit next to an 81-year-old man still working fulltime. He’s been with the same company for fifty years. “I see no reason to retire,’ he said. “I love my job, and I’m good at it. I love the relationships I have cultivated over the years, and the opportunities to still make a difference.”

He went on to explain he had taken on the responsibility of “grandfathering” his four adult nephews and nieces who lost their father—his brother—to cancer. “I want them to know,” he said, “that I’m going to be there for them, to help them make the most of their lives. I love that my work gives me opportunities to do that.”

Wow! I don’t hear that kind of talk from many older men, and he isn’t even a believer! But this guy gets something I think many of us men don’t get—it’s not about me. If you are a follower of Christ, it ought to be it’s all about Christ in you so the next generations will know the truth and walk in it. I appreciated that this grandfather sitting next to me was going to make sure his life “mattered and made a difference” for his family. He told me the one question informing the decisions he makes is this: “Will this decision be good for my family?”

While I applaud his commitment to what is good for his family, the thing that is truly best for your family is the all-satisfying delight of knowing Christ and following him wholeheartedly. Still, I wonder how many Christian grandfathers ask the question he asked, let alone the more important one: “Will my decision make Christ look great in the eyes of my family?”

This is Father’s Day, and my prayer is that you choose to be a GRAND father in your family. So, let me challenge you to take to heart the words of Paul to Titus about teaching older men what is in accord with sound doctrine: “Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in steadfastness.”(Titus 2:2 ESV).

  1. Sober or sober-minded:This has to with being restrained or not given to over-indulgence, not merely in the use of alcohol, but in all pleasures in life. Grandfathers, we of all men ought to know the dangers and consequences of over-indulgence in anything.
  2. Dignified:This is living a life that is worthy of respect. It is not the putting on an air of being proper, but that we are serious about a right way of living because we live in the light of eternity.
  3. Self-controlled:This is a term Paul uses a lot and applies it to every age for both men and women. It relates to our passions and who is in control of them—the Spirit or our sinful nature. It is said among Hebrew men that the man who never learns self-control can never become a mature, sage male.
  4. Sound in faith, love and steadfastness:As older men, we ought to display those qualities of life that give evidence of faith that is real, not merely professed. Our faith in Christ and His grace, and the promise of eternal life ought to drive us to love better and persist more. Our love should be more reflective of how Christ loves us. We ought to be men with chests who face the hard things of life with joy and confidence in the promise of God in which we remain steadfast in perseverance—not lulled into complacency.

These things define a grand-father, transformed by the Gospel of Christ. In other words, the grace of God is more than knowing our sins are forgiven. It also “teaches us to say ‘No!’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in the present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ…” (Titus 2:12-13).

May God bless you on this Father’s Day and give you the courage to be a grand-father who is sober-minded, dignified and worthy of respect, self-controlled, and a godly example of faith, love and endurance.

 

GRANDPAUSE:Grace, properly received, trains us, not just to renounce certain actions, but to embrace new treasures and passions. –Josh Lindstrom

Happy Grand Fathers Day!