Thinking Out Loud

June 12, 2012

Hanging Out Time

There are a number of areas where I would like a ‘do-over’ and those that were a test of my parenting skills are no exception. But one thing I did right was establish a nightly Bible story and prayer time which I’m told has also been an inspiration to some other families.

I wrote about it here almost three years ago.

Sunday night we had our last hanging out time (aka HOT) before Kid One left for his summer camp ministry, where Kid Too will join him in a couple of weeks. The ‘final’ of this event was more significant since Kid Too is off to university in the fall, one that doesn’t afford him the luxury of coming home on weekends as does Kid One.  So I suppose there will still be a few weekend editions with just two of us;  just as there have only been two of us present for the weekday editions the past few years.  But for the most part, what started nearly two decades ago with a copy of The Beginner Bible is about to enter the realm of history.

The robins are leaving the next.

Kid One returns in the fall to his second last year of electrical engineering. An engineer in the house. Who would have guessed? His parents tend to be a little more artsy. Kid Too is off to study with the aim of becoming a youth pastor. Not too scary until you consider that most youth ministry people end up ‘graduating’ to adult ministry.

I kept thinking we should do something special for the final night, but instead I was struggling to keep it together. It seemed like somewhere, a soundtrack should have been turned up, with Michael W. Smith singing “Friends;” except that we’re relatives not friends, and maybe without all the sappiness that critics think that song radiates.

Still the verse really applies,

Packing up the dreams God planted
In the fertile soil of you
Can’t believe the hopes He’s granted
Means a chapter in your lives is through
But we’ll keep you close as always
It won’t even seem you’re gone
‘Cause our hearts in big and small ways
Will keep the love that keeps us strong.

I keep thinking how much their nightly time in the Bible and Christian books, and in prayer has benefited me. I’ll have to work twice as hard this fall to keep discipline.

A chapter in their lives is through; and sadly, in ours also.

By the way, I mentioned this last year without too much success, but for those of you who want to support a couple of summer missionaries, the camp where they work offers a summer assistance program that supplements their rather meager base salary. If you are in Canada, you get a tax receipt. Just email me using this blog’s contact page for more info.

January 25, 2012

Wednesday Link List

The rug and lamp cozy living room theme from Grace Community Church in Fremont, Ohio as seen at the blog, Church Stage Design Ideas

Why are opening remarks called an introduction, but concluding remarks are never called an extroduction?

  • Emotionally stirring:  Caiden Hooks, eight-years-old, lost his eyes to cancer.  He shares his faith in a baptism video produced at LifePoint Church in Columbus, Ohio: “We live by faith and not by sight.”
  • Frank Viola attempts a classification of Evangelicals into four distinct streams.  It’s actually part two of an article he posted in May.
  • Last week I found myself in the middle of a discussion concerning a Catholic parent whose eight-year-old daughter is being invited to Bible study run by Evangelicals.  It’s good to see both sides of this scenario.
  • Or how about this one which goes all the way back to December 30th — that’s so last year — where he’s Baptist and her parents are Church of Christ and insist he convert before marrying her.  They say that otherwise, he is “leading her to hell.”  Yikes.
  • When a faith healer like Todd Bentley reports of crusade miracles taking place, it would be helpful if there were sufficient information to verify the claims. Update: Bentley has just been refused admittance into Australia.
  • Here’s a fun idea; the world’s most popular provider of cosmetic beauty — Photoshop — marketed as if it’s a consumer product that actually changes people in the real world.
  • Haiti for Christ was in line for much needed financial support from Mark Driscoll’s network of churches, but when they found out the organization had a female pastor, they pulled the plug on that support.
  • Comment of the week: At an article at Reformed Arminian about KJV Onlylism, this response: “I am KJVJSB — KJV Just Sounds Better. I can’t bear the ugly English in the NIV in particular. So I swap between the NKJV and the KJV…”
  • An excellent piece from across the pond about the ongoing value and need for the ministry of Christian bookstores.
  • Speaking of Driscoll, Todd Rhodes thinks we’ve gone from speaking too little about sex, to talking too much; especially Pastor Patrick Wooden. (Note: Audio clip content is unnecessarily and uncomfortably graphic.)
  • One of the worst things about being newly — or not so newly — married is hearing the same question over and over and over and over again: So when are you having kids?
  • Meanwhile, over at Mandy Thompson’s house, the topic of contention is FDT or Family Devotion Time; somewhat complicated by the fact that he’s the preacher and she’s the worship leader.
  • Often by promoting a moral high ground, the church unknowingly is pushing sexually active young people toward having abortions.
  • Polish pop star Doda this week was fined the equivalent of $14.95 — no, make that $1,495 — by a Polish court for comments she made in 2009 suggesting the Bible’s writers were drunk and on drugs.  Doda disagreed: “If someone is a deep believer, I would not think such words could offend someone.”
  • How about a blog that mixes video games and theology?  That’s what David is trying to do at Reclaimer 105.  Or maybe you’re in youth ministry and just need a good game analogy to get a message across.
  • Still lots of heat over a July piece here concerning Perry Noble’s charge to his congregation, ‘Show up on time for church, or else.’
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Day last week, turned up a rare 30-second clip of King’s humorous side when he guested on The Tonight Show.
  • So why is the Pajama Diaries comic here today? It was the words “Sunday School Tuition” that got me. We use the phrase in one context and forget that it means something entirely different in a Jewish context. Besides, most church children’s programs don’t charge fees, while the various synagogues I checked online were charging between $200 and $550 per child.

February 13, 2011

When Scripture Is Like a Comfortable Chair

Unless you have public speaking experience, or work in radio and television, or are an actor; chances are that when you’re called upon to read something you haven’t seen before out loud, you stumble over the occasional sentence.  Miss the syntax of a sentence and you can get really bogged down. Start to read the sentence as if it’s a declarative statement when in fact it’s a question, and things can get quite messed up.

Despite having some experience in both broadcasting and public speaking, I can mess up entire paragraphs, especially if I’m not fully concentrating.

Every night at 9:00 PM, my boys — who are now 16 and 19 — join me for Bible study time.  We sometimes read from different translations, but most often read from a wide assortment of devotional books, current Christian bestsellers, or Christian classics.   So we could go from Mere Christianity or With Christ in the School of Prayer all the way to Francis Chan’s Forgotten God or Philip Yancey’s The Jesus I Never Knew in the course of a single week.  In other words, this ain’t The Beginner Bible story time.

As I’m reading — especially with the older classics — it’s not unusual for me to have to start a sentence over.  Sometimes I take two or three runs at a sentence to try to find the ‘voice’ of the author.

But lately I’ve noticed something. I’m not trying to blow my own horn by saying this, but I hope it challenges you or resonates with you or both. I’ve noticed that when I hit a sentence that contains a quotation from scripture, it literally rolls off the tongue; even if the translation is somewhat different.

I’ve found that the scripture passages an author chooses to cite are like second nature; they fit like a cozy chair or a comfortable pair of shoes. I may not have internalized their message fully, and I may not be living out every aspect of their teachings, but at the very least, I can’t claim unfamiliarity with the words.

Although I stumble over the sentences that come before and the phrases that follow, once I am reading Bible quotations, I’m on familiar ground, almost as though the words are the words of an old friend.

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