The Tale of Two Lumberjacks: A Meditation on Eccl. 10:10

There were two lumberjacks cutting wood. One said, “Before I start, I’m going to sharpen my blade.” The other said, “I have a lot of work to do. I don’t have time to waste.” He went straight into the forest and began chopping. The first lumberjack waited patiently while the blacksmith sharpened his axe. By the end of the day he had chopped down significantly more than the man with the dull axe.

Friend, which of these lumberjacks are you most like?

The author of Ecclesiastes reminds us, “If the iron is blunt, and one does not sharpen the edge, he must use more strength, but wisdom helps one to succeed” (Eccl. 10:10). The truth presented in this passage is that dull axes don’t cut well. They require more time and energy to get the job done. 

The fact is, many of us ignore the Bible’s advice. We are doing our work with a dull blade. The point of Ecclesiastes 10:10 is clear: Wise people sharpen their edge. Sharp edges cut faster and deeper. They are more efficient and effective. Applied to our spiritual life, a sharp edge leads to fruitfulness.

According to the Bible, there are numerous ways to sharpen our spiritual edge. Maybe the best know passage is Proverbs 27:17, which tells us that “as iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” Brothers and sisters in Christ are essential for our growth. Psalm 1 provides the most important way to be sharpened: delighting and meditating daily on God’s Word.

Meditating daily on God’s Word

Psalm 1:1-2 says, “Blessed is the man who…delights in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.” Psalm 1:3 provides three illustrations, or outcomes, of being sharpened by God’s Word. The Psalmist states that the person who delights in the Word of God and meditates on it day and night will be “like a tree firmly planted by streams of water which yields its fruit in its season,” will be like a tree whose “leaf does not wither,” and “will prosper in all that he does.”

I summarize the three outcomes using the words fruitful, strength, and prosperous. Let’s consider each briefly.

  1. Fruitful

First, you will be a fruitful person when you delight in the Word of God. God’s Word is alive and active and it refines us into Jesus’ image. We are sharpened when we spend time in God’s Word. You know when you have been around these kinds of people because they are encouraging, refreshing, and nourishing. They help us grow. Their words are life giving. Their life is a model of Christian character. Spending time with them awakens, restores, and even convicts us. If you spend time in God’s Word, you will yield fruit. May there be more fruitful people!

  1. Strong

Second, you will be a strong person if you delight and meditate on God’s Word day and night. The Psalmist says, “Your leaf will not wither.” Leaves wither because of a lack of water. When there is a drought, if a tree is not planted by a stream, it will wither and possibly die. At a minimum, a tree without water will not produce fruit. Your leaf will remain evergreen, in spite of heat and drought, if you meditate on God’s Word daily. Do not make the mistake of thinking that you can sharpen your skills, increase your abilities, or develop your gifts and talents through your own effort. Transformation is the work of God, which is why change happens when we spend time in God’s Word. The Spirit of God works through the Word of God to transform us. If you draw your strength from God in His Word, then difficult seasons will not limit your fruit bearing capacity because your roots will run deep. May we find our strength and nourishment from God in His Word.

  1. Prosperous

The Psalmist tells us that “whatever he does, he prospers.” The prosperity Gospel uses this verse to suggest that if we do certain things, our marriage will be healthy, our business will produce great profits, and life will be good. This passage is not God’s version of habits for highly effective people. Psalm 1:4-5 makes a reference to eternity and says that wicked people will be blown away like chaff and unable to stand in judgment. God’s view of prosperity is an eternal view, not a materialistic view. While there may be prosperity in this life, God’s true measuring stick is what happens at the judgment and what lasts for eternity. The Psalmist tells us that the words and deeds of the wicked will be swept away. They are like chaff. They may have accumulated much wealth and fame, but from an eternal perspective their accomplishments are not considered prosperous. These people will stand before Jesus in judgment and learn that they wasted their life. On the other hand, those who delight in God’s Word will flourish and the fruit they bear will make a difference eternally. 

Abraham Lincoln once said, “If I had six hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend the first four hours sharpening the axe.” If you want to build a home, strengthen a marriage, restore a relationship, or make an eternal impact then sharpen your spiritual edge by spending time in God’s Word. 

Christian, if you are not spending time daily in God’s Word, then you are like the first lumberjack who gets up, goes about his business, and heads straight to the woods with a dull axe. We tell ourselves that we are busy and that we have a lot of work to do. While we punch a few things off our to-do list quickly, in the long run, our spiritual impact will be limited and suffer.

I’m impact hungry and my guess is that you are as well. No one wants to waste his or her life. I want to make a difference in my home and in this world for Christ. Ecclesiastes reminds us that before we start chopping, our edge needs sharpening. That happens as we spend time in God’s Word. May you sharpen your axe today.

A Family-Equipping Vision for Your Church

I’m often asked to help a church implement a family-equipping strategy. Pastors often ask how to present the vision to church leadership. A number of years ago I presented a family-equipping vision to my church and I am providing that for you to utilize with your church.

Biblical Foundation: The family is one of two great commission institutions that God created for evangelism and discipleship.

  • What is: “The promise is for you…and for all who are far off.” What’s missing from this Gospel progression?
  • What should be: “The promise is for you and for your household and for all who are far off” (Acts 2:39). God’s pattern for discipleship begins at home, moves across the street, and then around the world.

Psalm 78 is an entire chapter devoted to family discipleship and captures God’s vision for parenting and grandparenting: “so that they should set their hope in God (evangelism) and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments (discipleship); and they should not be like their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation.”

Problem: 168 hours in a week. For kids, media gets 28+. Education gets 30+. The church gets 1-2. Combine that with parents and grandparents doing little and we get Judges 2:10.

  • No family worship, intentional plan, or training by church. “A majority of parents do not spend any time during a typical week discussing religious matters or studying religious materials with their children…parents typically have no plan for the spiritual development of their children; do not consider it a priority, have little or no training in how to nurture a child’s faith.”[1]
  • Infrequent church attendance. “The average child attends an evangelical megachurch less than two times per month.”[2]
  • Strong media and educational influence. The average young person logs 4 hours of TV, video, internet per day and 16,000 educational hours between K-12. “Children will be in school 60 times as much as in church.”[3]

Our parents are relying on this pattern for the spiritual training of their children and the results are not good.

Four primary spiritual influences of young people: (1) parents, (2) grandparents, (3) teachers and coaches, and (4) religious leaders.[4]

  • What is: Church-based with home support.
  • What should be: Home-based with church support.

Problem: Philosophically, for the past 50 years, the evangelical church has operated as if #4 was #1, done little to equip parents, and ignored #2 and #3.

  • “Many of the church leaders talk about the importance of the family, but in practice they have written off the family as an agency of spiritual influence. Their assumption is that if the family is going to be influenced, it is the organized church that will do the influencing, primarily through its events–worship services, classes, special events, etc. This philosophy causes the impetus behind youth (and children’s) ministry to be fixing what is broken–that is, to substitute the efforts of the church for those of parents since most of the latter do not provide the spiritual direction and accountability that their children need. But there is a procedural problem here: kids take their cues from their family, not from their youth ministers. God’s plan was for the church to support the family, and for the family to be the front-line of ministry within the home.”[5]
  • Churches have said to families, “Bring your children to us. Let us teach them about Christ and we will include you in the process. Help us develop Sunday school, small groups, retreats, and vacation bible school. The message we are communicating to families is that the church should be the focal point for nurturing faith in their children.”[6]

Biblical Pattern: Timothy provides an example of discipleship in Scripture combining the influences of parent (Lois), grandparent (Eunice), and spiritual mentor (Paul). When a child has all three spiritual influences there is a greater chance for lifelong faith.


  • Write a philosophy of family ministry that will determine how we equip families.
  • Discuss how we can utilize the pulpit, resources, and equipping opportunities (small groups, classes, conferences) to train parents and grandparents. Create a scope and sequence of topics and resources.
  • Update mission statement to align with Scripture. We exist to glorify God by making disciples of Jesus Christ at home, across the street, and around the world.
  • Begin campaign: Every Family Worshipping Together. The goal is to equip every family to lead worship at home (read and discuss Bible, prayer, praise) and families worshipping together one hour on Sunday morning.

[1]George, Barna, “Parents Accept Responsibility for their Child’s Spiritual Development but Struggle with Effectiveness,” accessed October 11, 2016,

[2]Larry Fowler, The Question Nobody Asks About our Children (Steamwood, IL: Awana, 2014), 11.

[3]Ibid., 18.

[4]George Barna, “Teen Role Models: Who They Are, Why They Matter,” accessed October 11, 2016,

[5]George Barna, Third Millennium Teens: Research on the Minds, Hearts, and Souls of American’s Teenagers (Ventura, CA: Barna Research Group, 1999), 66-67.

[6]Ben Freudenberg, The Family Friendly Church (Loveland, CO: Group Publisher, 1988), 28.

Five Reasons for Family Worship

  1. The scripture is clear that our delight is to be directed to God. He is to be worshipped in all places. If this is true, is He not to be worshipped in our home? Are parents not to assist children in their worship of God just as a pastor assists his congregation? It would be shocking to enter a church that did not have its primary purpose the worship of God. A church that does not express itself by worshipping God is a contradiction in terms. It should be just as outrageous to enter a home in which God is not honored and glorified as a family. A non-worshipping family is just as inconsistent as a non-worshipping church. The family is the smallest of all groups. If there is to be any worship of God in a group setting, then it is most natural that it occurs in the family.
  2. Family worship is the means to instruct and nurture our children in the Lord. The primary duty and delight of every parent is raising a child to know and love God. How can this happen if there is no worship of God in the home? Certainly there can be no spiritual instruction of children if they are not afforded the opportunity to worship with the family. Family worship is how we transmit the Gospel, sound doctrine, wisdom, and the fear of the Lord to our children. It provides children with the freedom to express thoughts, test ideas, and have questions answered.
  3. Family worship trains children how to worship God in larger settings. What is learned in the home is transferable to the sanctuary at church. Habits are best taught by practicing them. Limiting God to Sunday morning often makes worship at the church unnatural and difficult. When children worship God in the home, it becomes normal and routine. Francois Carr, in the book Lead Your Family in Worship, asks “Could it be that the decline of many churches is linked with the death of family worship and not cultivating an intimate relationship with God?” Bringing worship into the home communicates much about our priorities and passions.
  4. Worship in the home creates unity in the family. We cannot be an enemy with those we pray for. Meeting together, in light of the scripture, gives us the opportunity to restore relationships and not allow the sun to go down while we are still angry. This helps us realize the needs of other family members. Family worship has been known to bring about unselfishness, encourage communication, limit anger, and produce the fruits of the Spirit. Family worship will help to promote harmony in your family.
  5. Family worship leaves a legacy through the generations. We can make no greater contribution into our children and grandchildren’s life than to bless them with a time of gathering before the throne of grace on a daily basis. A family, with worship at the center, will produce great fruit for the generations to come.

Family worship is a means to help your child know and love God. I find that nearly every Christian parent deeply desires to see their child walking with God. Family worship is the best step towards achieving this desire. Joel R. Beeke, a pastor and professor, remarks how his brother was touched through a time of family worship, “Dad, the oldest memory I have is of tears streaming down your face as you taught us from Pilgrim’s Progress on Sunday evenings how the Holy Spirit leads believers. At the age of three God used you in family worship to convict me that Christianity was real. No matter how far I went astray in later years, I could never seriously question the reality of Christianity, and I want to thank you for that.” Children will be influenced by what they hear and see in family worship and may be spared from much sin as they recall the lessons of their childhood.

If you are not gathering as a family to focus on God you are either too busy or your priorities are out of order. Carl Henry, in his book Church in the Home, agrees, “The child you gave up to God to be dedicated to Him, and admitted a member of Christ’s visible church, was in God’s name given back to you, with the same charge that Pharoah’s daughter gave to Moses’s mother, Take this child, and nurse it for me.”

Through birth, children receive a sinful nature from parents. For this reason parents are highly responsible to arouse the work of God in a child’s life. Parents must urge children to repent and follow Christ, and when he does, our work does not stop there. The most important duty that God has placed on your shoulders is the salvation and discipleship of your children. It is my prayer that you spare no effort to this end. If your salvation and growth in Jesus is important, then you must rank that of your children to be equal in worth. What a painful source of grief it would be to see your children show no sign of affection for Jesus. How it would torment you to see your child live only for his own desires. Today, dedicate yourself to the worthy task of family worship.

Family Talk: News and Resources for Family Discipleship

Family Talk: News and Resources for Family Discipleship

1. 4-8 year olds are being trained to be social justice warriors for the cause of marxism at public schools.

“People say indoctrination starts in college. Or even high school. It starts when you are 4-8 years old.”

2. Six truths about parenting that reorient everything.

“There is so much help in Psalm 51 for understanding the deepest need of your children that I think you could write a whole parenting book from it alone. The implications of what David confesses and cries out for set a whole new agenda for what God has called us to in the lives of our children. As I explore the implications of this psalm for understanding the task of parenting, I want you to notice the focus of David’s confession. He doesn’t say, “I messed up and I’m sorry.” Far from it. David is deeply aware that he has more than a behavior problem. When you read Psalm 51, you are hit with the fact that embedded in David’s confession of specific and concrete sins is a cry for God’s help with an even deeper moral drama. Let me draw six agenda-setting observations from this psalm for your work as a parent.”

3. The family is under attack and there is a strategic reason for the destruction of the home.

Modern society tends to think that given enough education, job opportunities, and equality advancement a child will be able to lift himself out of poverty and enjoy a successful life as an adult. But as a new study published by the Census Bureau shows, one of the greatest ways to lift children out of poverty is right under our noses – and we often seem to purposely overlook this solution because it doesn’t fit our politically correct version of the world. This fact was recently underscored by New York Times columnist David Leonhardt. Assessing the Census Bureau study, Leonhardt noted that one of the best ways to lift children out of poverty is to have more two-parent families in a neighborhood.”

4. 81 percent of Family TV Comedies Shows Kids Being Exposed to Sexual Dialogue. 

“Over 80 percent of prime-time network family comedy television shows have scenes in which adult characters use sexually explicit dialogue in front of children, a conservative media watchdog has warned. In a new report released Monday, the Parents Television Council has documented the widespread use of sexually charged language in television shows across multiple networks that the networks themselves are deeming to be family-friendly. What we are seeing is the frog in the boiling water, where as the temperature goes up, the frog doesn’t realize how hot it has gotten,” Winter told The Christian Post in an interview. “We have certainly seen over the last several years an increase in sexualizing content, especially for young girls.”

My Child Told Me He is Gay, Now What?

October 11 is national coming out day when individuals are encouraged to tell their family and friends they are LGBTQ. Very few parents assume that one of these announcements could one day be made by their own child. Far too many Christians parents are finding themselves in this place, which is why it is important to be talking about biblical principles regarding marriage, sex, and gender when children are young.

I’m regularly asked by parents whose child has told them that he thinks he is gay and wonder what to do next. Here are a few items to consider if you find yourself in this unexpected place:

  • Reaffirm your love for your child and let the child know that nothing will change that fact. Do everything you can to maintain your relationship with the child as relationships are the artery that carry the Gospel. Ignoring your child might make family gatherings easier, but not eternity.
  • Ask questions and listen. Try to learn how they arrived at this decision. It will be uncomfortable. If he is willing to share, praise God, and listen.
  • Point the child to Jesus. The real problem is not homosexuality or sex or drugs. The real problem is that they don’t see Jesus clearly and treasure him more than sin. Homosexuality is the symptom, Jesus is the only hope. When he sees the goodness and greatness of Jesus, he will find his satisfaction in him not in a Jesus-replacement.
  • Don’t act like everything is okay. It isn’t. To pursue homosexuality is to live in active rebellion against God. It is a serious matter and we need to a let a child know that it isn’t God’s best for them. Plead with him more than you rebuke him.
  • Invite your child into your home and let them bring their partner. Jesus ate with sinners and you can too. This is not a sign that you accept the choice, but that you love your child. God always invites the prodigal home and you should too.
  • Know that the child’s primary motive is happiness. He believes a lie that he will be happy, free, and himself when he pursues sexual desire. Without being preachy you can point out that happiness and freedom is only found in obedience to God. Just because we have a sexual desire, even if it is strong, doesn’t mean it is good or right.
  • Gather a group of prayer warriors who will regularly pray for the child and your family. Ask them to pray weekly. Only God can save your son or daughter so commit to fervent prayer.
  • Balance grace and truth. Jesus spent time with adulterers, murders, and thieves. He offered them love, but he always called them to leave their life of sin. If the child was raised in a Christian home, he knows what you think, but he is unsure how you will respond. Be gentle in your disappointment. What concerns you isn’t that they are breaking the rules, but that he is destroying himself.
  • Initiate communication. God sought us out when we were still sinners and you can do the same. Text, email, and call. Even if there is little response, continue to initiate. An open door, a cup of coffee, and a warm embrace go a long way.
  • Learn from the father in Proverbs 5-7. He talks with his son about the blessings and consequences of sexual choices. These talking points may come in handy, but should be used with discernment.
  • Don’t expect them to live like Jesus. He isn’t going to act like a Christian. You know he has rejected God’s standards, so don’t expect him to live by yours. Unbelief is the main issue, so point the young person to Jesus.

You likely have a long road ahead so don’t give up. God is your help in time of need. He is your rock and refuge. Find strength in him.

Why Worldview Matters

Every parent, grandparent, and pastor that I know wants to see their children grow up to know, love, and follow Jesus for a lifetime. We want our children to smell like the scent of heaven and to spend eternity there.

Unfortunately, many Christian young people are unprepared to navigate the tidal wave of unbiblical ideas that confront them. We all know teenagers who have drifted and walked away from Christ. We never think that person could one day be our own child. When the pressure is turned up our children will struggle if they do have confidence that comes from knowing what they believe and why they believe it.

We are losing our children to the world at alarming rates. Many evangelical churches operate according to an attractional model that attempts to reach seekers with the gospel while our children are evangelized into secular humanistic thought by the very people we are trying to reach. Who is doing a better job evangelizing children, the world or the church? If we are honest, many churches are struggling to pass on a deep, lasting, Bible-shaped faith to future generations.

Parents and grandparents want the best for children, yet passions and priorities are often out of order. Athletics and academics are often prioritized over the nurture of a child’s faith. Children may end up at a prestigious university or receive an athletic scholarship, but their faith lags fair behind and leaves them vulnerable to the deception of the world. George Barna states, “a person’s worldview is primarily shaped and is firmly in place by the time someone reaches the age of thirteen; it is refined through experience during the teen and early adult years; and then it is passed on to others during their adult life. Such studies underscore the necessity of parents and other influencers being intentional in how they help develop the worldview of children.” High numbers of parents and grandparents are not developing their child’s worldview and the spiritual vacuum is filled by cultural ideas and secular thought.

That’s why worldview matters. That phrase describes our message to parents, grandparents, pastors, and educators. Biblical worldview is worthy of our attention and resources. Here are six reasons why every family, church, and school needs to help children develop a biblical worldview.

  1. Provides wisdom for life.

When you have a parenting problem, where do you look for answers? When you want to learn how to grandparent, where do you turn for guidance? When you want teaching methods, where do you look for ideas? When you have a decision, where do you turn for wisdom?

The Bible claims to provide everything needed for salvation in Jesus, growth into Christ-likeness, obedience to God’s commands, and godly living. The reformers called this sola Scriptora, which translates to Scripture alone. The doctrine of sufficiency is found in 2 Timothy 3:15-17, “the sacred writings are able to make you wise for salvation in Christ Jesus…and equipped for every good work.” Peter makes the same claim when he says that God, “has given us everything we need for life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3). The key word in these verses is the word “everything.” God has given us everything we need in Scripture to do what he has commanded us in the Bible.

The most urgent need for Christians today is to reclaim the sufficiency of Scripture for all of life. James Montgomery Boyce makes a similar observation:

In Martin Luther’s day, sola Scriptura had to do with the Bible being the sole ultimate authority for Christians over against challenges to it from the traditions of the medieval church, church councils and the Pope. The reformers wanted Scripture to stand alone as the church’s true authority. Today, at least in the evangelical church, that is not our chief problem—we assert biblical authority—but rather, whether the Bible is sufficient for the church’s life and work. We confess its authority, but we discount its ability to do what is necessary to draw unbelievers to Christ, enable us to grow in godliness, provide direction for our lives and transform and revitalize society…in other words, in the sixteenth century the battle was against those who wanted to add church traditions to Scripture, but in our day the battle is against those who would have us use worldly means to do God’s work.

Using worldly means to do God’s work. That is an unfortunate statement, but a common reality. Families look to psychology to help them raise children instead of the Bible. Pastors import business practices while pragmatism drives decisions rather than the methodology of Scripture. Christian schools utilize secular textbooks instead of Bible-based curriculum. Psychology, pragmatism, and secular textbooks are symptoms of a deeper theological problem that results from an under-developed grasp of the sufficiency of Scripture and leads to replacing the authority of the Bible with another source. When it comes to parenting, grandparenting, education, and the church will we look to the Bible for our instruction or to another source?

The Bible contains all that we need to know God, grow into Christ-like maturity, and obey His commands. The Bible does not exclusively address every field or topic, but when the Bible speaks on a subject it is authoritative.

  1. Develops the foundation for lifelong faith in Jesus.

Perhaps you’ve heard about the high number of young people who are dropping out of the church, walking away from their faith in Christ, and the low numbers of young believers who have a biblical view of life. I’ve been a pastor to families for nearly twenty years and have seen the following patterns develop:

  • Biblical illiteracy: Alarmingly high numbers of children raised in Christian homes do not know what the Bible teaches.
  • Biblical confusion: High numbers of young Christians do not know why they should believe the teachings of the Bible instead of other views.
  • Biblical immaturity: When young people encounter a different belief system many do not know how to defend their faith or explain the basic truths of the Bible.

What leads to lifelong faith for children? According to the apostle Paul, a Scripture-saturated, Bible-based upbringing shapes the beliefs of children. Paul instructs Timothy, “continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it, and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings” (2 Tim. 3:14-15).

One of Paul’s goals for Timothy is firm belief, which is the result of three things: what Timothy learned (biblical truth), who he learned from (parent, grandparent, and spiritual mentor), and how he learned (being taught the Bible from childhood). Notice, the Bible is concerned with what children learn, who teaches children, and how children are to learn. If we want children to live a godly life, for their entire life, then these are God’s methods toward that end. Scores of Christian children have not been taught the Scriptures leaving them susceptible to false teaching, immaturity, and unbelief.

  1. Shapes character and conduct by truth.

A common phrase used to communicate how to pass on faith to future generations is this, “Faith is caught not taught.” It sounds spiritual. Unfortunately, it’s unbiblical. The Bible elevates both as important. Faith is caught, which is why we must be able to say to young people, “Imitate me as I imitate Christ” (1 Cor. 11:1). Faith is also taught. The Bible prioritizes teaching as the primary method of helping future generations know Christ and grow in maturity. Let’s explore a few passages that command parents and grandparents to teach the truth of God’s word to young people.

  • Teach these things to your children and your children’s children (Deut. 4:9).
  • You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk about them when you sit…walk…lie down…when you rise (Deut. 6:7).
  • He commanded our [grand] fathers to teach their children, that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children (Ps. 78:5-6).
  • Hear, my son, your father’s instruction and forsake not your mother’s teaching (Prov. 1:8).
  • Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord (Eph. 6:4).
  • Older women…are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind and submissive to their own husbands…Older men…urge the younger men to be self-controlled (Titus 2:2-6).

Parents and grandparents are to use the Bible to shape who a child becomes and how the child lives. This is the pattern and command of Scripture. Parents and grandparents in Deuteronomy were commanded to teach the law of God (ten commandments) to children so that future generations develop an understanding of right and wrong. The father and mother in Proverbs provide an example how to train children to develop a biblical view of life as they instruct their son to make wise choices about friendship (1:10), money (3:9), marriage (5:18), and work (6:6), and more. The grandparents of Titus 2 shape future generations by providing character training and guidance how to be a godly mother and wife.

  1. Defends against counterfeit ideas.

A biblical worldview helps children defend their faith. Raising children today requires a Colossians 2:7-8 mindset, “As you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.”

The strategy that Paul provides is simple. We are to teach the core truth of Scripture so that a Christian is established in faith, then introduce a competing belief system and dismantle it by exposing why it is false. When I teach kids, I refer to this as the Bible’s big truth and the world’s big lie.

The two most prominent philosophies that children are exposed to today are secular humanism and socialism. Familiarize yourself with them, learn what they teach, why they are deficient, and be able to point out these arguments when you see them in education, media, or culture. In a post-Christian society children are going to face strong opposition and competing belief systems and unless they are rooted in the Bible they will absorb the ideas of our day and assimilate to the beliefs of our culture. Our aim is to shape the beliefs of young people and to do that we must train children to defend their faith against deceptive and competing belief systems. Biblical worldview is an effective evangelism tool to answer questions and objectives and proclaim the Gospel.

  1. Answers the big questions of life.

A biblical worldview answers the big questions that children ask such as, “Where did I come from?” “Why am I here?” “Who am I?” “What went wrong with the world?” “What is the solution?” “What is the purpose of life?” “What happens in the future?”

Young people are hungry for truth and are searching for answers. They desire open and honest face-to-face conversations. Young people want real answers and are attracted to authenticity. Due to an overabundance of information, young people do not know what information is trustworthy thus they have a prove-it-to-me mindset. One of the most compelling proofs for young people is an authentic life. The individual that speaks truth in love and practices what he or she preaches is incredibly influential in a young person’s life. Here are three suggestions to answer the spiritual questions children will have:

  • Ask questions before children ask them. Don’t be afraid to talk about difficult topics. Encourage children to think deeply about the truths of the Bible.
  • Answer with Scripture. Encourage children to become a student of God’s Word. They either know the answer or know where to get the answer.
  • Aim to be an askable parent, grandparent, pastor, or teacher. Invite questions, take them seriously, and answer them diligently so that the child who is weighing the claims of the Bible will be persuaded to believe in Christ.
  1. Equips individuals for service to Christ.

The world does not need Christians who are culturally-saturated. It needs agents of the gospel filled with the aroma of Christ. A biblical worldview not only shapes what a child believes, but also equips the child to live in a manner worthy of the gospel, for the good of others, and the glory of God through their future vocation. A biblical view of topics such as science, law, medicine, and education will provide the framework so that children can positively impact the world for Christ.

A biblical worldview equips children to serve God using the gifts he has given them. God didn’t just save us from something, he saved us to do something—to resume the task for which we were originally created. We bring him glory when we reflect his character to others. Running a business, teaching students, managing a home are not secondary activities, but doing God’s work in the world. A child’s future vocation is not something they do for God, it is a way to participate in God’s work.

Excerpt from a chapter in a forth coming book by Josh Mulvihill called Biblical Worldview: Teaching Children to Think and Live Biblically in a Secular World

A Poem about the State of the American Church

A poem about the state of many evangelical churches in America:

We are hollow men
We are stuffed men
Experiencing together
Sermons filled with straw. Alas!
Man’s wisdom, for
Itching ears
Is clever and meaningless
As wind in dry grass
Or vapor over broken glass
In our barren lives.

Quick explanation: Many pulpits have exchanged God’s word for man’s opinion leading to the erosion of sound theology and empty lives of God’s people. Experience has become the authoritative source for decisions and the abundance of numbers gives the false impression of success perpetuating shallow faith with little fruit.

In far too many churches we have:

Style over substance
Numbers over nurture
Feelings over thought
Theology is therapy
A copycat culture
The problem of pragmatism
The rousing of emotion
Distain for doctrine
Self-fulfillment is the new gospel

May God coming to reform the church to align with the Bible.

What Music is Your Child or Grandchild Listening to?

Christians are often indistinguishable from culture. Many have absorbed the views of culture, even while attempting to follow Christ. Based on a Lifeway study, about 4 out of every 10 women who get an abortion where going to church at the time of their first abortion. Christians divorce rates are similar. Views of homosexuality are on the rise in the Christian community. Abortion, divorce, homosexuality – Christians are adopting the practices and patterns of culture in these areas as well as many more. There are many reasons why this is the case but one of the reasons is that Christians are spending less time in the Bible and more time with media such as music. Music is one of many influences that shape the beliefs of children.

I want to introduce you to a popular song called Some Nights, by FUN. The lyrics to the chorus and first verse are as follows:

Oh Lord, I’m still not sure what I stand for
What do I stand for?
What do I stand for?
Most nights, I don’t know anymore

This is it, boys, this is war
What are we waiting for?
Why don’t we break the rules already?
I was never one to believe they hype
Save that for the black and white
Try twice as hard and I’m half as liked
But here they come again to jack my style
And that’s alright, I found a martyr in my bed tonight
She stops my bones from wondering just who I am, who I am, who I am
Oh, who am I?

What do I stand for? Why don’t we break the rules? Who am I? These three questions are the same questions every young person is asking. Notice how this song answers the big questions of life:

  • Relativism: “What do I stand for? Most nights, I don’t know anymore.”
  • Morality: “Save that for the black and white… here they come to jack my style.”
  • Sexuality: “I found a martyr in my bed tonight. She stops me from wondering just who I am.”

If your child or grandchild is listening to top 40 music, they are hearing songs like this and it is impacts what they believe. I recently looked up the top 10 songs and nine of them were rated explicit with “God is a Woman” on the list.

A Lifeway study recently found that listening to Christian music was one of the top three influences that led toward lifelong faith in children. If you haven’t given much thought to the impact of music on the spiritual life of your child consider that Martin Luther said, “Next to theology I give music the highest place of honor.” Gordon Fee once stated, “Show me a churches songs and I’ll show you their theology.” Could we also say, “Show me the songs a child listens to and I’ll show you what they believe?”

Next to theology I give music the highest place of honor. Martin Luther Click To Tweet

We are often far too lax regarding what our children listen to. Many of us would not allow a person to come into our home use vulgar words, sexually explicit language, or unbiblical ideas. Yet that is exactly what is happening through other digital devices.

The application is twofold. Pay attention to the lyrics and music your child is hearing. Place doctrinally sound, godly music in front of your children. My kids love listening to Andrew Peterson and Roots Kids Worship (scroll down) and I highly commend them to you. There is no shortage of Christ-centered, Bible-based music available today and this will be one more tool in your tool belt to help a child develop deep and lasting faith.

Family Talk: News and Resources for Family Discipleship

Family Talk: News and Resources for Family Discipleship

1. The importance of biblical worship and the dangers of the Jesus Culture.

  • Why Christians should be concerned with the wrong theology behind the Jesus culture.
  • What is wrong with the Christian music scene today.
  • Encouraging signs in the Christian music scene today.
  • The importance of biblical worship and practice in local churches.

2. Raising children to be in the world, not of the world.

“A few things come to mind and the first is to raise our children around the Bible, right. To be teaching our children the Bible consistently from their earliest days because the Bible addresses sin in a frank way. We don’t need to expose our children to sin in blatant ways in order to introduce them to the concept of sin. We can just read the Bible, we can introduce them to God through his Word. And there they’ll see sin, they’ll see it described, but they’ll also see the consequences of sin.”

3. Learn how to be an intentional grandparent using the Creation Museum

“This year, a new two-part series of free workshops called Answers for Grandparents is now available during specific weeks at the Creation Museum (learn more and check for dates and times on the Creation Museum website). These workshops are especially for our senior audience.”

4. The need to provide a biblical foundation for children

“A picture is worth a thousand words,” and these graphs emphasize how we need to raise up generations with the right foundation for their worldview.”

Grandparents Are Influential, Second Only to Parents

Excerpt from the book Grandparenting, which releases in December 2018.

Who are the most influential people in a young person’s life? A Barna study wanted to know the answer to a similar question and asked 602 teenagers, “Who, besides your parents, do you admire most as a role model?” According to Barna, the top five influences in the life of young people are (1) parents, (2) other family members, typically grandparents, (3) teachers and coaches, (4) friends, and (5) pastors or religious leaders.

After parents, grandparents are the greatest potential influence in the life of a child—not a peer, not a pastor, and not a teacher. When teenagers were asked why they named a particular person as influential, teens provided the following reasons: The person was worthy of imitation; they wanted to follow in the footsteps of the chosen person; they were there for the teenager; and they were interested in the teenager’s future. For better or worse, young people are imitating the people they know best and who care for them.

It may sound simplistic but the greatest influencers of young people are typically those who invest the greatest amount of time into their lives. The key for grandparents to understand is that the more time you invest into a grandchild’s life the greater the potential influence will be. When I look at Barna’s top five influences it follows that logic: The five greatest influencers are the people who spend the most time with young people over the course of their life.

The five greatest influencers are the people who spend the most time with young people over the course of their life. Click To Tweet

If you want to influence your grandchildren to love Jesus then it makes sense that you must have an active presence in their lives. If you do not, then other influences such as peers or media fill the void. Take a moment and reflect on two areas of your life:

First, add up the numbers of hours you invest monthly in your grandchildren.

  • How much of that time is direct face-to-face interaction (in person or through technology)?
  • How many hours per month do you invest indirectly in your grandchildren’s parents, praying for grandchildren, preparing for gatherings, activities, or other family-related things?
  • What is your total number of hours?

Many grandparents are surprised to see how few or how many hours they actually spend on their grandchildren.

Second, take a moment and think about your own grandparents.

  • What impact did your grandparents have on your life?
  • Were your grandparents active in your life and did they regularly invest in you?
  • Did your grandparents shape your personality, preferences, or faith in any way, or were your grandparents emotionally distant, primarily living an autonomous life?

Whether the impact was significant or lacking, it reminds us that grandparents matter, and rarely do they have no influence on us. If you ask your grandchildren how you influence their life, what do you think they would say? The goal is not simply to be a positive influence with a strong relationship, but to use our influence to point grandchildren to Christ.