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King of the One Liners

I recently began reading JC Ryle’s Thoughts for Young Men with one of our sons. Once again I was taken with Ryle’s ability to bring theology to life with great wit and clarity. As a pastor, he challenges me to think more deeply about crafting messages that can be remembered easily. As a reader, it just makes me happy. Ryle didn’t live in the age of Twitter, but I thought you might enjoy reading some of his great one-liners from the first chapter of this great little book. Perhaps it might also be an encouragement to add this to your reading list. 

Man Up!

What does a real man look like in today’s (western) culture? A macho tough guy who never cries; he doesn’t let anyone tell him what to do – not his wife or his workmates or his buddies and certainly not God. He does what he likes with his money and his free time. If he wants to spend every night watching sports or his favourite TV shows or playing X-Box, that’s his right.

It would be easy to let the world’s expectations and stereotypes shape what we are as Christian men, even though the word of God challenges these cultural norms at every point. It would be so easy to just copy the models of masculinity we see all around us—our own fathers, our friends, our fictional heroes from TV and the sporting world—rather than searching the Scriptures to see what a real man is meant to be. A whole series on this topic would be helpful for those of us who need all the help we can get in learning to be men, but let me mention just one way the God who invented masculinity when he made human beings male and female tells us we are to act like […]

Happy Wife. Happy Life.

The beeps. The buzzes. The vibrations. The earbuds. The squinting eyes. The bluish glow. They all indicate that the world has invaded our homes in new ways through online portals, and it clamors for our attention. Relationships at home suffer when we are so distracted that we abandon the ones we love…or ought to love. That leads to sadness and loneliness. The unmitigated invasion of the online world into our homes ruins marriages. As husbands know, a happy wife means a happy life. Conversely, when mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!

Part of the problem, especially for men, is that these online portals call us to legitimate responsibilities in the world beyond the home in addition to the illegitimate ways they clamor for our attention. The good news is that there is nothing new. Even in Moses’ day, God addressed the challenge of a man’s responsibility in the world and his calling to make his wife happy.

“When a man is newly married, he shall not go out with the army or be liable for any other public duty. He shall be free at home one year to be happy with his wife whom he has taken” (Deuteronomy 24:5).

Notice the key: dedicated […]

Baby Loss Week—a tragic disconnect

October 9th-16th was Baby Loss Awareness Week in Ireland, with Saturday 15th being a International Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Day. I had been wondering why the profusion of news items: UK MPs sharing their stories of loss in the House of Commons; an item about a Garden of Stones in County Armagh featured several times on my Facebook feed; and I turned on the radio on Saturday to hear a series of heartfelt stories. Interviewers and newsreaders alike were empathetic and sensitive, gentle and gracious.

And I was confused. Not simply because I didn’t know it was Baby Loss Awareness week. Not because I don’t know something of that intense pain of losing children to miscarriage and watching someone you love deal with a level of sorrow that, as a man, I can’t fully enter into, nor fathom its terrible depths. I know that pain—and it deserves all the tenderness and empathy and sensitivity we can muster.

I was confused, or more accurately, baffled. Baffled by the ability of the media to portray so sensitively, deal so tenderly, and acknowledge one week that what resides in the womb is a baby, while the previous week, and this succeeding week they will argue […]

A Culture of Encouragement

Pastoral burnout is a difficult issue to address – partially because it combines the hard data of how many pastors leave the vocation on a regular basis with the “soft data” (is that a thing?) with issues less easy to measure, like feelings and encouragement and relationship dynamics. I appreciated the recent Mortification of Spin podcast and would recommend it to your listening. 

I’d like to add one thought to this discussion, something based on my own experience. (This was long enough ago that I think I can share it without offending anyone or causing any of my church family to fear for my current sanity.) Several years ago I went through a period characterized by loneliness and discouragement.

Marriage Tweets

My lovely wife and I recently celebrated our seventeenth anniversary. As a way to honor the occasion and make some spiritual use of it, I tweeted out #17thoughtsonmarriage over the course of a couple weeks. In the hope that they may be helpful or spark some conversation, I’ve pasted them here.

 

1 – Genesis 3:15 isn’t the first gospel message. Genesis 2:24 is. Ask Paul (Eph. 5:32). #17thoughtsonmarriage

— Jared Olivetti (@irpcpastor) August 7, 2016

Follow Up from “With Love, Your Single Daughter”

The following post is another article written by Rachel Dinkledine, who wrote a popular post a few weeks ago called With Love, Your Single Daughter. Rachel works as a registered nurse in the Indianapolis area.

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Dear Reader,

Many of you have liked and shared the article I wrote a few weeks ago.  Some of you have thanked me for being vulnerable enough to share an open letter to my parents.  Others have questioned the wisdom of a mid-20-something grieving the loss of her ability to give her parents grandchildren.  I appreciate your thoughts, but the letter wasn’t really about my parents or me.

This fictional letter was based on the experiences of older single women who have shared their stories with me.  In a way, the letter is about the woman who sits in front of you at church.  However, it’s really about you.  Could someone thank you for helping them live out God-honoring singleness?

The letter’s subliminal message is this: Regardless of your age or marital status, you need a biblical theology of singleness.

So I ask–how is your theology of singleness doing?  What would you say if someone asked you: What is the meaning of Christian singleness?  If marriage tells the […]

Male Models

No, not the kind that appear on the cover of GQ. 

In this day of gender confusion, political correctness, and spineless faith, we need male models. Men who exemplify true masculinity. Here I speak not of the overblown sort of a powerful sports figure or movie icon, but the strong, steady walk of a man who fears God, loves his family, and serves Christ’s church. We need to be able to point to them and tell the young men around us, “That’s what being a man is all about.”

Men like Herb, who for nearly three decades has been faithfully teaching junior high students, as he enjoys working with the young people under his charge. When he’s not teaching, during the summers this father of two daughters and five sons has had them up on ladders re-roofing and painting homes so his children could learn the value of work and obtaining useful skills. He also has employed other young people during their times of need, including two of my sons during a summer when one was supporting a new wife and the other needed the companionship his sons provided after a recent move. He and his wife Patty have had college students live with them for […]

Browse Worthy: Being Dad

After a full summer schedule, we are enjoying family vacation before we head back into the busyness of fall. As I work this week on reconnecting with my children, these videos recently viewed provide good reminders of the importance of being Dad.

Though my children were perhaps not quite so persistent, it’s good to remember sweet scenes like this one when they were younger when you are with family.

Often Dad has to be there to save the day, as this compilation shows. Of course, many times what dads are saving their kids from is their own father’s antics, as this compilation also shows!

With all of the Olympic moments of glory witnessed these past few weeks, this emotional scene provided by Derek Redmond and his father from the 1992 games remind dads of the importance of being there during painful times.

The son below has a father suffering from Alzheimer’s, yet when the father sings it is like he is back for a few minutes. Watching the son’s joy as his dad croons gives me hope. Perhaps one day my children, who are pretty regularly asking me NOT to sing around the house, will change their ways (though my kids would quickly add that at […]