Happy Father’s Day wishes to all the men out there who have one of the toughest yet most rewarding tasks out in the world: being a Dad. May God richly bless you as you follow His lead & lead your family well!

The news story was one that no one wanted to hear. Police had been called to a house to investigate a 911 call. It appeared to be a murder-suicide tragedy. 

Sadness creeps in…

Then you find out that the victims in this story were an elderly couple. 

Sadness grows deeper…

If the news that this tragic event involves an elderly couple was not enough, it is released that this couple was identified by neighbors as a retired pastor from the area. 

That’s just too much…

I wish that I could say that the scene that I have just discribed was fictional and completely made up. The truth is that this is a news story that has impacted an area close to where we live within the past week. 

Alongside the sadness that this story brings stands a gigantic question: What led to this?

The part of this news story that has got my stomach in knots is that the apparent reason behind this murder-suicide is that “the couple’s health was fleeting and they struggled to take care of each other.”

Read that again… “the couple’s health was fleeting and they struggled to take care of each other.” 

My wife and I have recently been talking about the biblical mandate of community among the Body of Christ. If there is one thing that has been struggling in many churches, it is the practice of biblical community. 

This tragic news story should be an alarm for all churches: we desperately need community! 

I know that we have busy schedules. I am as guilty as anyone of putting too much on my plate. This does not excuse us from doing what we have been commanded by our Lord to do: 

I give you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you are also to love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.  (John 13:34-35 CSB)

Jesus was not talking to the masses when he spoke those words. He was speaking to his disciples. The way they cared for and loved one another would be one of the greatest witnessing tools the Church would have. It would be an undeniable characteristic of those who belong to Jesus. 

This whole thing has brought three prayers to my mind:

  • I pray that this story is an anomaly. I pray that this is not one of many stories that show that the Church is not doing as well with “community/fellowship” as we thought we were. 
  • I pray that the Holy Spirit would comfort the family at this time and bring healing. Can’t imagine the pain they are going through at this time. 
  • I pray the Church would not be blind to the desperate need of community. May we not be fooled into thinking that meeting one-two hours on a Sunday morning constitutes community. It didn’t work for the Church in the first century, and it will not work in the 21st century. 

Ministry for the Christ-follower is an important role in his or her life. Many times when we hear the term “ministry,” we think about preachers, ministers, and missionaries. Those are important roles, but I believe that there is another often overlooked ministry that is getting more attention. That ministry is the ministry of the family. 

Sadly, many people do not see the family as a place of ministry. If one looks through the Bible though, he or she sees easily that the family was to be one of the primary places where ministry was done and taught. 

Terence Chatmon shares insights and experiences from his journey as a husband, father, and businessman to help other parents become more successful at building a spiritual legacy in Do Your Children Believe?

I found Chatmon’s book to be a good resource in trying to lead my family in the manner that God desires. I don’t know if it is because I am in the middle of it or what, but I have noticed an emphasis on families becoming more intentional with their discipleship plans. Too many times families just go through the motions and hope that when we get to the end that it all works out.  It doesn’t take long to realize that if you do not pursue something intentionally (especially pertaining to family) then it will not happen. 

One of the things that I really like about Do Your Children Believe? is that Chatmon gives you steps and points you in a direction, but never gives you something to just copy and paste. While we may like the simple task of copy and pasting something, it does not work in family life. Each family is unique. In this book, Chatmon gives some really good principles along with a push to apply them to your unique family. 

Recommendation

After taking time to read Do Your Children Believe?, I would definitely recommend this book to all those who are looking to lead their families well in the Christian faith. I believe that it would help with getting an intentional plan together and moving forward. 

I received a copy of this book from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for an honest review. 

Last night, my oldest son got his first real taste of “homer umpires” in his baseball game in a nearby town.  I’m sure that if you have been in the baseball scene for a fair amount of time, you have gotten a taste as well.  It is never a good thing when you see the umpires favoring one side over the other.  The children that are learning and enjoying the game are the main ones who get hurt.

As I was thinking this over and it took me down another rail of the thought train.  It is one thing to experience dishonest scales on the ballfields, but it is a whole other thing to experience it in other parts of life.  One area that should never have dishonest scales is the church.

The church is to be a place where honesty and truth are at the forefront.  Proverbs 11:1 tells us that “dishonest scales are detestable to the LORD, but an accurate weight is his delight” (CSB).

In the church, there are many different things that are dealt with.  One of the greatest ministries of the church is dealing with people and their issues.  Because of this, it is important that the church have honest scales when dealing with issues of people of all kinds.  It is easy and tempting to use one set of scales for those who are “outside” the walls and another set for those that are “inside.”  Sometimes there are different scales that are used even between different groups inside the church.  This should not be.

The church of Jesus Christ has been a champion of absolute truth.  There is a truth that is relevant and applicable to all people in all places at all times.  This truth is what is given to us in the Bible.  While one cannot expect unbelievers to act like believers in this life, yet there are still some truths that apply to each across the board.

It may be easier to just let certain things go with some people because “that’s just the way they are” or because “they have been a part of this for so long” or “they hold this position/weight in the church/community.”  This is no reason to use dishonest scales.  When we do give in to that temptation, the cause of Christ is harmed, and the people suffer greatly.

May we be careful to have honest scales in our dealings.  If Christ uses honest scales with each of us no matter what we come to Him with, then we – as followers of Christ – should also use honest scales.  It may not be easier… it may not be what people necessarily want, but it is most definitely what we need.

 

Faithful is a word that seems to be a buzz word today.  It seems so hard to find a true manifestation of this word in our world today.  When you do come across something that meets the criteria to be called faithful, then you need to make note of it.

I was reading in the Bible recently about how God had used a man named Joshua to lead the Israelites into the Promised Land.  Joshua took over for “the man,” Moses.  These people had been delivered from a life of slavery and mistreatment that lasted for generations.  The journey from slavery to the Promised Land was not an easy one.  It lasted for an entire generation because of unfaithfulness and distrust of the people in God’s word.

In Joshua 21, we see that the Israelites did not wander forever.  God brought them into the Promised Land as He said that He would.

So the Lord gave Israel all the land he had sworn to give their fathers, and they took possession of it and settled there. The Lord gave them rest on every side according to all he had sworn to their fathers. None of their enemies were able to stand against them, for the Lord handed over all their enemies to them. None of the good promises the Lord had made to the house of Israel failed. Everything was fulfilled.

Joshua 21:43-45  CSB

For the casual reader, this may seem to be just a neat way of ending up that section of the Israelites moving in to the Promised Land.  If you look closely though, you will see that there is much more in those verses than just a summation of what happened.

The LORD gave Israel all the land he had sworn to give their fathers…  The LORD did not generalize on the promises that He gave his people.  The Bible tells us here that the LORD gave all the land He had sworn.  He didn’t give part… He didn’t give most… He gave all.  This seems to be a pattern with God.

The LORD gave them rest on every side according to all he had sworn to their fathers.  The LORD once again kept His word by giving them peace on every side.  This was a peace that covered all borders.  This was a peace that was promised to a people that had not known peace in centuries.

None of the good promises the Lord had made to the house of Israel failed.  Everything was fulfilled.  Read that last line again… everything was fulfilled.  That means that nothing was left undone.  There were no loose ends.  There was no halftime here.  God kept His word fully and proved Himself faithful.

Now I imagine – and it doesn’t take much imagination when you read the accounts – that the people wanted to see God’s “faithfulness” a little sooner than it came about.  The truth is that God’s timing – especially in context of His faithfulness – is perfect. God is never late, but He is never early either.  God always comes through and proves Himself faithful.

What is it in your life that you are looking for God’s faithfulness about?