My 12 Rules for Life

A few months ago Jordan Peterson’s book 12 Rules for Life was all the rage. I found his book interesting and him as a person even more so. What I found interesting is that his rules were based on his worldview. The truth is we all live by a set of propositions we believe to be true. Here are my thoughts on his book as a Christian. His list gave me the idea of coming up with my own list.  I thought it would be fun to give the 12 rules I live by.

  1. Stop eating before you are full – This is one of my many rules that I go by that keep me from gaining weight. I have a book I have never published but have been working on for years called “A Thin Man’s Guide to Losing Weight” – If you stop eating before you get full you will never eat too much.
  2. Teach your kids to protect the small and the weak – speak for those who have no voice. One of the things that get lost in a world where gender roles are not passed on to our kids we have kids who don’t know what they are supposed to do in any given situation. I tell my boys all the time that one of the things men do is protect those who are weaker or smaller than they are. I tell them if they get in trouble for defending kids who are picked on or protecting their sisters they will never be in trouble with me.
  3. Life can only be understood in light of the golden rule in light of the golden ruler. Everyone loves the golden rule not everyone likes the giver of that rule. Jesus said that the greatest commandment is to love God first and the second is like it to love our neighbor. We can’t truly love our neighbor if we do not love God first and understand how we have been loved by God in Christ.
  4. Go to the buffet table last. This is one my mom always taught me. In a group of people always eat last. No exceptions. It breeds humility.
  5. Work three Jobs at the same time. This is another one my parents taught me. You will never go hungry, and you will make yourself irreplaceable in your work if you can do more than one thing.
  6. Kiss babies and old people. This is a lost virtue in our society. We used to value new life and esteem old life. As a society, we now worship beauty and wealth a culture that sacrifices the most vulnerable for the idols of beauty and wealth will always and every time destroy its self from the inside out. Ask the Greeks and the Romans.
  7. Be efficient with problems so you can be patient with people. I say this to my team all the time. We live in a culture that esteems efficiency and time management so that we can have more time to do what we want. The gospel says this is not the way we invest our life. We are efficient with problems, so we have more time to love and serve others

Don’t Waste Your Time

Passing On Faith To Your Kids

Parents my second challenge is not to waste your time. My first challenge was not waste your devotion. Don’t waste your devotion is a simple challenge to parents to live their faith in the light of day.

My challenge to parents is threefold.

  1. Don’t waste your devotion.
  2. Don’t waste your pain.
  3. Don’t waste your time.

Don’t waste your time means that you as a parent understand that your time is limited and that your time is crucial. You understand that our time with our kids goes really fast and your influence huge but diminishes over time. You have to use the time and the influence that you have while you have it because where you spend your time and how you spend your time shows your kids what is valuable to you and important to them.

We love our kids and want what is best for our kids so we take them on the best vacations, throw elaborate birthday parties and drive them all over for sporting event travel teams. Are these wrong? No. Can they give our kids wrong idea about what is most important to us and most valuable to them?  Yes, I think we can. We must invest our kids time in things that are eternal. Take them on great vacations, but walk them through a catechism. Throw them a great birthday party but teach them to be generous with their time and money. Put them in sports but teach them that nothing can replace a community of faith.

How do you intentionally invest your kids time in what matters most?

Family Devotion Resources

Here are the resources that I recommend that will help parents be more intentional about family worship and raising their kids to love and trust Jesus.

Family Worship Bible Guide

Leading and nurturing your family as you seek to glorify God and encourage spiritual growth in your home is both God’s command and your privilege. One of the best and most effective ways to do this is through intentional, worshipful, daily family devotions where the truths of God’s life-changing Word are openly discussed chapter by chapter. Hand in hand with your Bible, this Family Worship Bible Guide presents rich devotional thoughts on all 1,189 chapters in the Bible, including searching questions to promote conversation, to help you with this responsibility. Use this resource every day alongside Scripture to read each chapter’s major takeaways aloud and then discuss them with your family. With the Holy Spirit’s blessing, this book will transform you and your family!

THIS BOOK IS COMPRISED OF FAMILY WORSHIP THOUGHTS EXTRACTED FROM THE REFORMATION HERITAGE STUDY BIBLE.

 

New City Catechism Devotional

In centuries past, the church used catechisms to teach foundational Christian doctrines. In today’s world of shifting beliefs, this communal practice of learning biblical truth via questions and answers is more needed than ever before.

Seeking to restore this ancient method of teaching to the regular life of the church, The New City Catechism Devotional is a gospel-centered, modern-day resource that not only summarizes important Christian beliefs through fifty-two questions and answers but also helps readers be transformed by those doctrines.

Each question features a relevant Scripture reading, a short prayer, and a devotional commentary written by contemporary pastors (including John Piper, Timothy Keller, and Kevin DeYoung) and historical figures (such as Augustine, John Calvin, Martin Luther, and many others). Designed for use in a variety of contexts, The New City Catechism Devotional is a valuable resource for helping believers learn and meditate on the doctrines that stand at the heart of the Christian faith.

 

First Step Next Step Cards

Parents need easy first steps and clear next steps. They are busy the world is noisy so it is our job as those who pastor families to not add to the noise but bring clarity in the midst of the storm. One of the things that always amazes me about the story of Jesus asleep on the boat in the middle of the storm was he didn’t wake up and tell the disciples how to sail better He woke up and spoke to the storm. It can be very easy and very tempting for us as pastors to tell parents how to sail better and more effectively when really they need God to speak to their storm. Peace, be still. One way we can do that is to have easy first steps and clear next steps. This is something I am excited about working on for the families in our church.

Here are some of the questions that create storms in families that we are going to try to create simplicity and clarity around.

  1. How do I talk to my kids about sex?
  2. What is the gospel?
  3. Why do bad things happen?
  4. How do I do devotions with my family?
  5. What is a Catechism?
  6. Why do kids need systematic theology?
  7. What Bible should my kids read?
  8. What devotion books should we use?

Parents want to do the right next thing but don’t know what to do. We can’t force them to want to know what to do but we can be prepared for when parents reach out. Have a plan for a simple first step and a clear next step.

 

 

 

Why Teaching Your Kids to Say Sorry Isn’t Good.

Teaching kids to say they are sorry is important but it’s only a start. When kids are small they should learn to say sorry. As kids get older we must teach our kids that sorry is good when it leads to repentance. We live in a world that only knows how to say sorry but doesn’t even attempt to turn from the actions that created the need for the apology in the first place. We address the feelings of others “I’m sorry if I made you feel…” we most often fail to mention the very real gap our actions created. The problem with saying sorry is sorry can be used to gloss over sin. Repentance digs deeper to the root of sin.

I know of a very well-known minister who heads a denomination of churches who many years ago wronged another denomination in a very significant way. The breach came through core beliefs of the church. The well-known minister recently said he was sorry to the other denomination without address the gap they had created and still perpetuates through false beliefs that are core to the church. He said sorry when he should have repented.

I don’t want my kids to be sorry saying appeasers, I want them to repent and ask for forgiveness for the gaps they create. Saying sorry is for the other person, to help them feel better, repentance is different it does a work in you. This is how I teach my kids to apologize I tell them to say “Mr./Mrs. ________ I am sorry for ___________ (specifically name what you did) I was wrong. Please forgive me. I won’t do it again. Apologizing in this way addresses what how you affected the other person ask them to forgive you as you were in the wrong and invites God into the process because what you mean by I won’t do it again is by grace and with his help, I won’t do it again.

Don’t Waste Your Devotion

Passing On Faith To Your Kids

Every godly parent wants their kids to love Jesus forever. The challenge is how do we do this when we don’t ultimately control this. Getting your kids to eat vegetables is hard enough getting them to embrace a life of devotion to Christ is challenging and at the same time not up to us. If it was up to us and within our control, we would all flip that magic switch and make our kids treasure Christ. It doesn’t work that way. This question is addressed in New City Catechism

Q 20: Who is the Redeemer?

A: The only Redeemer is the Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, in whom God became man and bore the penalty for sin himself.

KIDS’ ANSWER:

The only Redeemer is the Lord Jesus Christ.

Parents we have to remind ourselves that Jesus is the only one who redeems. Does that mean you are off the hook? By no means. We water we plant God makes plants grow. We are called as parents and pastors in the life of a child to water and plant but the Lord Jesus Christ is the only Redeemer.

My challenge to parents is threefold.

  1. Don’t waste your devotion.
  2. Don’t waste your pain.
  3. Don’t waste your time.

Don’t waste your devotion is a simple challenge to parents to live their faith in the light of day. We live in an age of specialization and privatization that has spread into our homes and into our faith. We leave public faith to the “religion specialists” at church and we privatize our faith at home to such an extent our kids never see us read our bible on accident or on purpose.

Don’t waste your devotion is a call to public “Personal” prayer and Bible times. Rather than secluded closets and locked bedrooms. Let your kids see you read the bible in the morning and pray payers not so they can think you are something that you are not but that you can model a devoted life. I read my Bible and pray across the table from my kids eating frosted mini-wheats. I don’t do this so my kids think I am holy but rather so they can see where I place my trust every morning.

A devoted life isn’t just public devotions but conversations that point kids back to Christ as our greatest treasure. A devoted life is them seeing you lead someone else closer to Christ as you disciple another believer one-on-one or in a small group.

A devoted life is one where you mention your concern and demonstrate it by praying for world missions. Recently a missionary we support asked for Bibles we discussed this as a family bought the Bibles and prayed over the Bibles as a family. Because I want my kids to see needs of others and to see their need for others that are part of the worldwide body of Christ.

We don’t waste our devotion when we do what the gospel requires of us in front of our kids rather than behind their backs because what many would consider flaunting our faith when it comes to our kids it’s called discipleship.

Parents don’t waste your devotion.