Parents focus on what is true

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When I started as a children’s pastor parents would often come up to me and beg me to decry the evils of Pokémon and Harry Potter. I remember when the reality of how overwhelming keeping up with all the things that try to distract and displace the affections of a kid is exhausting. I quickly realized that my job as a children’s pastor is not to address every evil but to use the small window of time I have to paint a picture of Jesus that is so attractive everything else pales in comparison.

In our Christian culture we so easily get this wrong we expend all of our energy in listing out for our kids what shows, books, music are so evil that we never get to the part where we describe the attractiveness of Christ to our kids. Our job as parents and leaders is to protect our children from harm and from the evil that clearly exists but above and beyond that our primary job is make Gospel attractive to our kids.

I grew up in a church culture that was very much about rules, do’s and don’ts, and gave way to much credit to our enemy. I remember asking about witches and wigi boards growing up and received detailed warning of the power and evil behind them and if I didn’t avoid them the dire consequences that would follow. When we do that we give way to much credit to our adversary. Lucky for me I had parents that demonstrated to me what the gospel is all about. Is it wrong to tell kids the evil of messing with thing they shouldn’t? Absolutely not. What we have to constantly be aware of when talking to our kids is that we point them to Christ that we focus on what is true. The more our kids see God’s power in our answers and in our lives the more attractive the Gospel becomes to them.

How do you focus on what is true? Spend time with your kids and ask them questions. When your kids are watching TV ask them about the choices people in the cartoon are making and how those things line up with the truth in Gods word. As you go through the bible and read the bible to them at night ask them questions from the bible. In doing so you will teach them how to ask questions about the bible and where to find the answers.

John 8:31,32
31 To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

One of the things that always sticks with me is all these years later is that all those parents who wanted me to preach on the evils of Harry Potter focused so hard on those things they never handed to their children the love of the truth. The sad fact is that most of those kids never experienced the power of the Gospel and almost all of them graduated from High School and walked away from the church. The first tool you need to have spiritual conversations is a love for the truth and a love for the word. Spiritual conversations start with us as parents and leaders. We need to initiate them and when we do we need to be armed with the truth of God’s word. I love what Doug Fields says “If your kids are not asking questions about the bible they aren’t reading it.” I would go a step further and say if you are not talking with your kids about the bible you are probably not reading it. If you want kids who hate evil you need to teach your kids to love and recognize truth.

Answer your kids direct questions with direct answers

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When kids ask you a question give them an answer. If they understand enough to ask tough questions than chances are that they are old enough to hear tough answers.

I love technology. The leaps we have made in the past 30 years are astounding. I remember as a ten-year old being my families first remote control. As my family was sitting on the couch the kids would take turns either turning the sound up or changing the channel. We didn’t have remote controllers for our TV’s but we also didn’t have the internet. As a result there was many things we just didn’t know. In some ways looking back ignorance really was bliss. As an adult I can remember back to being a child and my mom just making up answers to questions I asked that she either didn’t know the answer to or felt the answer was beyond what I should know at the time. Today we don’t have that luxury. Technology has changed everything.

If we tell our kids half-truths they will find out once they discover our half-truths we have used to deflect or delay from tough conversations our kids will begin to wonder which half of everything we say is untrue. When you answer a question with age appropriate directness you remove the power of curiosity. Kids have always been curious the only things that has changed is the internet allows our kids to not only satisfy any curiosity but it feeds their curiosity.

Every parent needs to invest in filtering and using parent safety procedures most technology provides. The first line of defense is not those things it’s honest answers to though questions. Kids have no lack of resources to satisfy their curiosity without you. It is our job as parents to know our kids enough to know what their questions are and be prepared so that when they ask we are ready to give them the answer that is based on a biblical worldview. This is huge because every answer kid get from the questions they ask help to form their worldview. What our kids need more than their curiosity satiated they need to understand how to see the world through the lens of the gospel. Our worldview informs every question we ask and every answer we give. You might be saying right now I don’t have a world view, I would say you do and If you don’t think you do you are in trouble, because the lens in which we view the world both defines and informs our loves.

Why reading blogs, books and tweets may be bad for you.

When it comes to blogging or anything else in life for that matter there is a delicate balance that must be maintained in order for you to be effective. I call it the production vs. consumption dilemma. Catchy I know. Here is the problem. We live in a time where more content is being generated than ever before in our history. Check out this info graphic on how much content is created in one minute on the web. The numbers are staggering.

web content infographic

What has happened has been a seismic shift in content creation. The internet has removed all the previous gateways that filtered content. For example you want to write a book you can anyone can. There are literally hundreds of sites that will help you get your content out there. Years ago the publishing companies where the gatekeepers of books. If your book wasn’t good or what the publishing companies thought people wanted your content didn’t see the light of day. This was a good thing and a bad thing. It was good because it acted as a filter and mostly worked. It was bad because it kept us from finding new voices and hearing new ideas. This is just publishing the internet has broken down so many walls when it comes to content creation it’s almost overwhelming.

My interview with Matt Perman on Gospel Productivity.

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I recently read a book entitled What’s Best Next: How the Gospel Transforms the Way You Get Things Done” By Matt Perman. Here is my review of the book I did a few weeks back. I loved the book how it tackled the whole issue of productivity from the standpoint the great commandment and the great commission. I often talk with my team and tell them we are not efficient with people we are efficient with problems so we can extend grace to people. That’s the heart beat of this book. After I finished reading this book I reached out to Matt to do a blog interview below is that interview.

1. You talk a lot about the need to eliminate and create larger chunks of time – Drucker starts time management by telling executives they need to “Know thy Time” You didn’t mention in your book to specifically track where your time goes. Was this on purpose?  

This is a great question, because originally I did have a section talking about the importance of tracking your time. Tracking your time is an important step because, as Drucker points out, you can’t manage your time unless you know where it actually goes. And, unfortunately, our memories are almost always wrong on this. The only way to truly know where your time goes is to track it. Once you track your time (for a period of about two weeks), then you identify the time wasters, cut them out, and consolidate the time that remains.

I cut those pages out in part due to the need to reduce page count and in part because tracking your time is just plain really hard to do. I wanted to develop a system that was as uncomplicated as possible and that people would actually do. I didn’t think most people would actually take the advice of tracking their time. If I had it to do over again, though, that is something I would probably update, or at least include in a footnote.

2. I loved your list of books to read at the end of each chapter. As a reader I found it exciting and also expensive. If you could recommend just one book as the next book to read after reading What’s Best Next what would that book be?

The one book I would recommend reading after What’s Best Next is Tim Sanders’s book Love is the Killer App. The reason is that it is all about the importance of generosity as the best way to succeed at work, which is one of the most important principles I emphasize in What’s Best Next.  

Ask Tim Keller Transcript via @Cambassador21

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Questions from yesterdays Ask Tim Keller courtesy of Cameron Moore follow him on twitter at @Cambassador21

Ask TK 7/28/14

Q: Favorite puritan?
TK: That’s easy, John Owens because Jonathan Edwards is not technically a Puritan.

Q: Favorite Lewis book?
TK: Another easy one: Mere Christianity.

Q: What is your opinion of “praying in tongues”?
TK: I like Don Carson’s book “Showing the Spirit” on this one. Balanced, thoughtful, and rooted in Scripture.

Q: Was there ever a point in the last several years that you questioned your role in ministry? TK: When Kathy was sick a few years ago, I questioned if I should leave ministry for a while.

Q: Do you envision a time where we will see a “consolidation” of Christian denominations? church seems too fragmented
TK: As long as The Church strives for both unity AND purity there will always be denominations.

Q: Shake Shack or In­N­Out?
TK: Easy, Shake Shack in NYC. Better quality meat.

Q: Advice for young educators? (I teach English lit to 12­17 year olds)
TK: Similar to a question last time: At that age they need Christianity modeled more than explained.­­Doesn’t have to be Christian education, just modeling your faith is important for 12­17 year olds.

Q: Favorite Doctor [Who]?
TK: David Tennant. Bonus: Favorite episode is “Blink.” Of course.

Q: Have you read Harry Potter­ if yes, did you like them… If no­ why not?
TK: Yes loved them, great examples of sacrificial love conquering evil reminds me of another story.

Q: Favorite coffee shop in NYC?
TK: None. I don’t drink coffee. I’m a Harney and sons Tea kind of guy, not to mention PG Tips.

Q: Most influential book on pastoring?
TK: Charles Bridges “The Christian Ministry” and Richard Baxter’s “The Reformed Pastor” and William Still’s book on pastoring

Q: What is your favorite movie?
TK: The Black Stallion