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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 […]

With Love, Your Single Daughter

The following post is a guest article written by Rachel Dinkledine, a young woman I have had the pleasure of watching grow up since the day I took her brothers to see her at the hospital the day she was born. Rachel works as a registered nurse in the Indianapolis area.

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There are more than enough “Why Singles are Marginalized in the Church” articles floating around cyberspace.  My aim is not to add to their number.  By God’s grace, there are also many pastoral and theologically-sound resources on singleness.  My aim is not to improve upon these (I don’t think I can!).  So what is this article all about?  

Whether you are single or married, your theology of singleness will profoundly influence the life of the church. Instead of writing a five-point essay defending this statement, I submit to you a letter, a letter inspired from the experiences of many godly single women, from 20-somethings to 70-somethings.*  While the letter is written to parents, most aspects can be profitably read as addressed to a congregation from a single sister.  May the Lord use this to propel you to develop and live out a biblical theology of singleness.  

Dear […]

A Wedding in the Woods

Only the Lord could take one day of heart-breaking tragedy, combine it with another day of anticipated joy, and transform it into a time of overflowing grace and beauty.

The day of tragic sorrow occurred less than three months ago when we too abruptly lost Jon, the husband of my wife’s sister. The day of expected joy was Saturday, when his daughter, Kimby, was married.

As Kimby and her groom Andre had desired, and Jon and Jennifer had agreed, the wedding took place in the wooded setting of their home. The day was a gorgeous one, with low humidity and the late afternoon sun shining yet shaded by the tall pines overhead, a breeze gently rustling through them. Large tables with round built-on seats, ones that Jon had secured months in advance for this occasion, were set on the various levels of the deck and yard.  Each one was simply yet elegantly decorated with wood slab chargers (Jon’s idea) holding brightly colored cloth napkins; rich bouquets of a variety of orange and peach colored roses and ranunculuses filled the centers of the tables. The sand volleyball court, the scene of innumerable outdoor games, now served as the sanctuary, with tons of fine sand hauled in by Jon’s friends offering a […]

A Catechism for the Very Youngest

Many of our readers are familiar with the Westminster Shorter Catechism, which B.B. Warfield notes is definitely worth learning, but definitely not very easy. Many families use the shorter catechism as a regular part of their devotions, family worship and theological training of children. Others are also familiar with the First Catechism – a form of the shorter catechism designed for younger children.

When our children were very young (able to speak a few words, but certainly not sentences), I found even the First Catechism to be a little unwieldy for them. And so we began to put together a short catechism for very young children.

Behold Your Mother

When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home. John 19:26-27

During his crucifixion Jesus spoke these words to his mother and to the Apostle John. Have you ever read this portion of the Scripture and thought “what in the world is going on here?” The redemptive nature of the things that are said from the cross are clearly seen, but “behold your mother?”

Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.
Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
I thirst.
It is finished.
Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.

Why does Jesus tell John that Mary is now his mother and then tell Mary that John is now her son? 

In the Twinkle of an Eye

Last Saturday afternoon was a warm, sunny day, full of promise that spring was finally here. Spencer, Miriam, and I were putting up the awning over our back porch, the threat of heavy snows that would damage it now gone and the need for a place of cooling shade growing. With the awning half-draped over the frame, we were enjoying the weather and laughing at our miscues in trying to put the heavy canvas in its proper position.

I left for a moment to get some needed wrenches from the tool shed to finish the job. As I returned, behind the part of the awning still hanging down I could hear that Miriam was upset. She was repeatedly saying, “Oh, no! I’m so sorry!” Thinking somehow Spencer had been injured, I hurried around the green canvas. Spencer was unharmed but stood there stunned as he looked at his mother. Miriam was on the phone with grief, pain, and tears upon her face.

She was hearing the news that our brother-in-law, Jon, had died from a motorcycle accident that afternoon.

How quickly the lives of those we love have changed. Jon was a faithful believer in Christ, husband and father, and servant in his church and community. […]

Children in Worship

An article yesterday over at Reformation 21 on family-integrated worship caught my eye. I enjoyed the historical peek at a time period in Scotland when the church was wrestling over having children in worship. Though Dr. Denlinger is not speaking against family-integrated worship per se, he is sounding a note of caution to advocates who assume that the church has always welcomed children in the sanctuary until modern times. As an added humorous bonus, he also linked to this Lutheran Satire video on the subject which I had not seen.

Just as the questions of whether children should be baptized or should come to the Lord’s Table are often matters of discussion in pastoral theology, so too is the subject of children in worship. As I worked through a position paper a number of years ago on this issue, I thought I would republish it here for any help it might give to others. Please note that I write this as a Presbyterian pastor, so my views of the covenant sign of baptism greatly impact my understanding of this subject.

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Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 19:14)

An increasingly common practice found in […]

A Father’s Thoughts on the Purdue Situation

Having a daughter attending Purdue University, I was concerned to read the news headlines and Facebook feeds about a controversial incident that took place this past week. To the best of my understanding, here is what occurred.

With Black History Month as its backdrop, earlier this month Purdue Students for Life put up pro-life posters around campus warning about the higher rate of abortion that occurs among African Americans than other races. The posters wove together a collation of themes, from Planned Parenthood’s founder’s genocidal motives to the Black Lives Matter movement to the Ferguson shooting.

A non-faculty staff person in the Visual and Performing Arts Department, Jamie Newman, took issue with the posters. On the Purdue Students for Life Facebook page, he minced no words when he called them, “vile, racist idiots who richly deserve all the opprobrium that will be heaped on them as a result of this unbelievably thoughtless, stupid escapade.”

Later that week, when the national pro-life site Life Action News picked up this story and called for action by Purdue, Newman began an argument with another person on a comment thread.  The context shows that in trying to make the point that pro-lifers would think differently about abortion if one […]

Stepping Stones to Covenant Baptism

Last night we watched from western Pennsylvania via Skype as our grandson, Max Mann, was baptized way out in Manhattan, Kansas. Though we wish we could have actually been there to be with and hug our daughter, her family, and the congregation, we are grateful we could witness it, see a congregation surrounding them with prayer and love, and know that other family was there with them. For instance, his namesake, his great-grandfather Max whose birthday it happened to be, was present, adding a special touch to the night. The minister of the church plant our daughter and her husband attend, Pastor Jonathan Haney, did a tremendous job of explaining the powerful promises the Lord gives us regarding baptism and preaching the gospel to all attending, including the children. Afterward, we enjoyed close-ups of Max and visiting with Will, Lindsay, and others gathered there.

Miriam and I found tears rolling down our cheeks during the service, but not only because of the separating distance. We heard God’s covenantal promises read and proclaimed, and were experiencing them in real time! From the simple promise of Psalm 128 to “see our children’s children” to the profound ones of the Lord promising to establish an everlasting covenant […]