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Why Do You Do What You Do?

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Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men

Christmas is just around the corner.  I find that too many of us get so busy at this time of year that we actually miss the season’s true meaning.  When this happens, we also lose the purpose behind our existence and all that we do here on earth.  We celebrate Christmas because it is a reminder that the only begotten Son of God came to earth and became one of us.  One of the most important names that Jesus is called at this time of year is Emmanuel.  The name means God is with us!  This is an amazing truth to try and comprehend.

When Jesus was born in the manger, it wasn’t simply about another baby being born into this world.  We read in Hebrews 1:3 that Jesus was and is the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person.  Jesus’ birth brought glory to God because He was the express image of Him.

This wonderful truth should help each of us answer the question I am asking in today’s blog.  Why do you do what you do?  The answer must be, To give glory to God.  This is what Paul made so clear in his first letter to the church at Corinth.

Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.  1 Corinthians 10:31 (KJV)

Most of us have read this verse over and over again.  Many of us may have even memorized it.  But do we really live it out in our everyday lives?  Recently, I pulled out a book from John Piper’s series, The Swans Are Not Silent.  This one reflected on the lives of Charles Spurgeon, George Müller and Hudson Taylor.  I had read a biography of Müller many years ago.  His life has amazed and challenged Christians for years.  He is most known for his ministry to orphans and how he never asked for funds but trusted God completely to meet his every need.  There are accounts of times when there was no food to feed the children and God miraculously met that need while he was offering thanks before a meal.

However, many of us are unaware of what his fundamental motive was behind all that he did.  It is important to realize the scope of his orphan ministry.  Müller built five orphan houses and ministered to 10,024 orphans in his lifetime.  In fact, he never took a salary in the last 68 years of ministry.  This is hard to comprehend in today’s world of sophisticated marketing and fund raising methods so common in Christian ministries today.  Now, I am not saying that marketing and development strategies are wrong.  I merely point this out as a somewhat misconception of Müller’s primary purpose behind all he did.

See, I always thought that Müller’s ministry was done out of a deep love for orphans and that he wanted these children to have a home and come to know Jesus as their Lord and Savior.  However, these very worthy motives were secondary to his main purpose behind all he did.  Müller’s own words unveils his deepest motive behind his ministry.

The three chief reasons for establishing an Orphan-House are: 1) That God may be glorified, should He be pleased to furnish me with the means, in its being seen that it is not a vain thing to trust in Him; and that thus the faith of His children may be strengthened. 2) The spiritual welfare of fatherless and motherless children. 3) Their temporal welfare.

In Müller’s work, HIs Narrative, he makes his motive very clear.

…the orphan houses exist to display that God can be trusted and to encourage believers to take Him at His Word.

Again, Müller wrote:

The first and primary object of the work, was (and still is) that God might be magnified by the fact, that the orphans under my care are provided, with all they need, only by prayer and faith, without any one being asked by me or my fellow-laborers, whereby it may be seen, that God is faithful still and hears prayer still.

Piper sums up Müller’s reason behind what he did throughout his ministry by writing:

…the chief passion and unifying aim of Muller’s ministry: to live a life and lead a ministry in a way that proves God is real, God is trustworthy, and God answers prayer.

To sum up Müller’s life one could say that his aim in life was to glorify God by helping people take God at His Word.  Müller knew that the only way to accomplish this was to saturate his life with the Word of God.  He said that he read the Bible five or ten times more than he read any other books.

As we contemplate the question, Why do you do what you do?  Would we be able to say that our primary reason for all we do is to glorify God in the way that Müller did?  Do we want to see God glorified more than anything else in our lives or ministries?  Do we live our lives and lead our ministries in such a way that it reflects God’s character and proves that He is real and trustworthy?

As we prepare for Christmas may we live with the reality that God was glorified on that night in Bethlehem when the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person was born in the manger.

Let us see that we keep God before our eyes; that we walk in His ways, and seek to please and glorify Him in everything, great and small.  Hudson Taylor

Some Haunting Questions

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Have you ever received an email or text message that hit you hard and you couldn’t get it out of your mind?  Well, that happened to me last week.  I received a short email from a dear friend.  In the email, he simply shared some questions with me.  After reading it, I tried to move on with some work I had to do.  However, those questions kept coming up in my mind and, no matter what I tried to do, I couldn’t stop thinking about them.

The first question was actually a quote by John Piper from his book, God is the Gospel.

If you could have heaven, with no sickness, and with all the friends you ever had on earth, and all the food you ever liked, and all the leisure activities you ever enjoyed, and all the natural beauties you ever saw, all the physical pleasures you ever tasted, and no human conflict or any natural disasters, could you be satisfied with heaven, if Christ were not there?

I encourage you to carefully read that quote again.  It is a profound question to ponder.  I know what my verbal response would be.  I would boldly declare, of course not.  But then I found myself thinking about how I live my everyday life.  Do I seek the blessings of knowing Christ or do I seek Him?

This would have been convicting enough but my friend’s email took Piper’s quote and applied it to a real life example.  My friend wrote,

Now take that question and change it.

If you could have a school that had all the latest technology, a very competitive sports program, academically excellent, high ACT and SAT scores, a creative arts and drama program, high involvement in community and service projects, humanitarian global mission teams, moral and ethical students, high graduation rates, and a high percentage of students going to college, could you be satisfied with that school, if Christ were not there?

He concluded his email to me with an additional question.  Why would we be okay with anything in our lives if Christ were not there?  There is little doubt in my mind that everyone reading this post would say that Christ is more important than all of these other things that are mentioned above.  Yet, if we think about an average day that goes by, do we really seek Christ in everything or do we strive to accomplish all of the other very worthy things that are mentioned in the questions above?

One of the biblical principles that I present in my book, Kingdom Education, is that the education of children and youth must hold Christ preeminent in the entire educational process.  But is it truly a reality in how we live our lives and fulfill our roles in the home, church and/or school?  I enjoy listening to music while I am traveling.  When I started pondering the questions that my friend posed to me, the chorus of Natalie Grant’s song, More Than Anything, came to my mind.

Help me want the Healer more than the healing
Help me want the Savior more than the saving
Help me want the Giver more than the giving
Help me want you Jesus more than anything

I have listened to those words many times before but for the first time I asked myself do I really want the Healer more than the healing, the Savior more than the saving, or the Giver more than the giving?  Do I want Jesus more than anything else?  I am reminded of Paul’s mindset that was behind all that he did.

But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.  Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in Him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know Him… Philippians 3:7-10 (KJV)

What about your life and ministry?  Do you seek Jesus more than anything else?  Maybe an even bigger question is, if not, do you even miss Him?  I am still wrestling with these questions myself!  What are your thoughts?  Share them with others by leaving a comment below.

Tradition or Christ?

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There are some buzzwords and phrases that have caused me great concern over the past several years.  I hear these words from leaders in churches, schools and other ministry organizations.  When these statements are made, they really sound good and something we all should want to pay attention to.  Some of these phrases include:

  • research-based
  • data-driven
  • effective school research
  • research indicates

Before I go any further, I want to say that I find it helpful to keep up with research, polls, surveys and data so that I know some of the trends that are taking place in the world.  However, I am concerned when I hear ministry leaders say that they want to make data-driven decisions and that we must follow the latest trends in ministry based on various studies and research.  Paul cautioned Christians about this in his letter to the Colossians.

Now this I say lest anyone should deceive you with persuasive words.  For though I am absent in the flesh, yet I am with you in the spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the steadfastness of your faith in Christ.  As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.  Beware let anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.  For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.  Colossians 2:4-10 (NKJV)

In another translation it reads, see to it that no one takes you captive.  This is a very strong warning that Paul gives to Christians.  He lets us know that we can be deceived and taken captive by persuasive words that follow human tradition.  I will never forget when my former pastor, Michael Catt, made a statement in a sermon that sent alarm bells off in my mind.  He wasn’t referring to this specific passage of Scripture but my mind immediately went to verse 8 when he stated,

It is easier to be traditional than it is to be biblical!

Wow!  When we base our decisions and practices on the latest data, research or programs, are we merely being taken captive by ideas that are following after human tradition?  We must honestly answer this question, if we want God to bless our lives and our ministries.  It is foundational to all we are and do.

Jesus had some stern words for the religious leaders of his day that relates to this very same topic.  In Matthew 15, the Pharisees and scribes asked Jesus why His disciples broke the tradition of the elders?  Jesus’ answer cut to the core of the issue.

He answered and said to them, “Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition?  Matthew 15:3 (NKJV)

Jesus gave a specific example of how their traditions were actually going contrary to Scripture.  He followed this example with a scathing rebuke.

Thus you have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition. Matthew 15:6 (NKJV)

In another translation of verse 6, it reads that you invalidated the word of God for the sake of your tradition.  Unfortunately, it is easier to do schooling according to human tradition while it is very difficult to do it biblically.  When we look at Christian school education around the world today, we need to ask the question,

Is it being done biblically or are we simply trying to Christianize the human traditions of how schooling is to be done?

When we get down to the basics of what research and data actually are, we would have to realize that research and data are compilations of human opinion on any given subject.  It could be said that research and data may actually deceive us with persuasive words.  Again, I want to be clear that I believe it is important to know what research indicates but any data from research must be filtered through the truth of God’s Word.  Whenever I try to broach this subject with others, some will quickly criticize me and tell me that we must stay up with the times in order to be relevant (I will address this in a future blog) with today’s culture.  That sounds good but, once more, is that saying human opinion and research should be the driving points for how we educate our children and youth?

Here is my challenge for all of us as we look at research and data.  I believe it can be valuable to be data/research-informed but our decisions must be Bible-based and Spirit-driven.  For this to be a reality, we must spend more time in the Word and prayer than in studying the latest research.  We must surrender our lives and our ministries daily to the control of God’s Spirit and make sure our traditions/methods/etc. don’t make God’s commandments of no effect.  I would love to know your thoughts about this very important topic.  Please leave a comment below.

It Must Be More Than Just One Day

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All across the United States family and friends will gather together on Thursday for fellowship, fun and food.  This is because the third Thursday of November is celebrated as Thanksgiving Day.  There are several other countries that take time during the year to pause and give thanks for all of life’s blessings.  Of course, Thanksgiving Day in America is set aside to give thanks to the Lord for all of the blessings He has bestowed on us throughout our 200+ years of history.  Unfortunately, the true meaning of Thanksgiving Day has been lost in the busyness of football games, travel and, of course, Black Friday sales gimmicks.  As with most Christian holidays  in America, Thanksgiving Day has succumbed to the secular culture.  In fact, some secular history textbooks present the first Thanksgiving as a time when the Colonists met and gave thanks to the Indians for their help as they settled in the New World.  God is completely ignored.

Even though it is good to take one day each year to give thanks to the Lord for all of His rich blessings on our lives, thanksgiving should be a way of life for the Christian.  It isn’t supposed to be something we just do on a national holiday.  Paul makes this clear in many of his letters in the New Testament.  Two specific verses come to my mind when I think about being thankful for what God does for me each and everyday.

 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.  1 Thessalonians 5:18 (KJV)

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.  Philippians 4:6 (KJV)

Recently I sat down and started thinking about how much God has done for me over the course of my life.  Let me share a few of the things for which I am thankful to God.

My Salvation

Sad to say, there are too many days that I allow the urgent to take control of my life and I find myself not consciously being aware of the tremendous price God paid for my salvation.  It goes beyond any human comprehension that the Creator of the universe would give His only Son as a ransom for my sin debt.  When I think about what Christ did for me by laying down His life to redeem me out of sin, it continually amazes me.  It is my desire to never take my salvation for granted but to give God thanks each and every day for this precious gift.

My Family

Next month my wife and I celebrate 50 years of marriage.  Like every marriage, there have been those rough days through which we had to navigate.  But God blessed me with a godly wife who has supported me in everything that God has led me to do.  God also has blessed the two of us with three wonderful children, their spouses and six fantastic grandchildren.  Again, it hasn’t always been smooth sailing but 3 John 4 is so true — There is no greater joy than to hear that your children walk in truth.  I thank God everyday that my three children are walking in truth today.

My Pastors

Sometimes we fail to take time to thank God for the people that God brings into our lives to guide us in the paths He wants us to walk.  I have been overwhelmingly blessed by several pastors who have taught me truth that equipped me for life and ministry.  Spending 16 years under the preaching and leadership of Dr. Jerry Falwell taught me what true faith in God is and how to live by faith each day.  Then sitting under the teaching of Dr. James Merritt and Dr. Glenn Weekly took be deeper into the truths of Scripture.  I also had the privilege to serve with Dr. Michael Catt for nine years at Sherwood Baptist Church.  God used Michael to teach me the importance of prayer in my daily life.  I have also been blessed by the friendships that I have forged with Pastor Mike Lewis at Cathedral of Praise and Pastor James McMenis at Word of God Ministries.  These two men have provided me with biblical counsel and guidance so that my life and ministry would stay focused on Christ.  God has truly blessed me by allowing me to sit under the preaching of such godly men.  One day is not enough to thank Him for providing me with these ministers of God’s Word.

My Mentors

I have also been privileged to serve under and glean from several Christian educators who helped me form a biblical worldview and biblical philosophy of life.  I probably would not have survived being a school leader if it weren’t for the guidance and instruction that I received regularly from Dr. Roy Lowrie, Dr. Jack Layman, Dr. Tony Fortosis, Dr. Gene Garrick, and others.  These men had gone through the trials of leadership and were a source of encouragement and always provided me with a model for what Christ-like, servant leadership looked liked.  A special note of gratitude must go to Dr. Paul Kienel.  He had the courage to take a young Christian school administrator and give him the opportunity to serve Christian schools in 8 Southeast states as Southeast Regional Director of ACSI.  Much of my understanding of kingdom education resulted from Dr. Kienel’s exhortation for me to present a biblical philosophy of education to others.  Again, one day a year is not enough time to thank God for these and other mentors that He has brought into my life over the years.

My Ministry

I have to start by saying that Kingdom Education Ministries really isn’t my ministry — it is His ministry that He allows me to be a part of.  If it were not for God’s leading me that took me to LifeWay Christian Resources, my book, Kingdom Education, would never have been written.  It blows my mind how this little book has been used all around the world to challenge parents, church leaders and Christian educators to follow God’s plan for educating future generations.  Anything I may have been able to accomplish in proclaiming this message to others is due only to the grace of God.  I fully understand the meaning of Jesus’ words in John 15 where His said, without Jesus I can do NOTHING!

My Encouragers

Who are my encouragers?  They are those who receive and read this blog each week.  YOU are one of my encouragers and you do not know what a tremendous blessing you are are to me as you read and share my weekly ramblings with others who want to provide a biblical worldview education to as many children and youth as possible.  There is not a day that goes by that God doesn’t bring to my mind a school leader, a pastor, teacher or fellow laborer in ministry that I have had the privilege of serving and getting to know.  You are in the trenches doing the “grunt” work of putting kingdom education into practice and for that I am eternally indebted and grateful.

I could go on and on listing things for which I must daily give thanks to God.  However, my point for doing this is to encourage all of us to always be thankful for God’s blessings on our lives.  No matter what you and I may face, the truth is that God is at work to make all things good for His glory.  If you live where a specific Thanksgiving Day is observed, by all means take the time to give Him the praise He deserves.  But more importantly, in every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.  Have a blessed week!

Was Blamires Right?

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I had the privilege of speaking at the BJ Press Worldview Conference at the Creation Museum and Ark Encounter last week.  I came away from the conference encouraged, challenged and convicted.  One of the presentations that brought the most conviction to my spirit was the one given by George Barna.  In his presentation he showed where the country was in relation to a biblical worldview.  Barna noted that:

  • Only 10% of adults in the country have a biblical worldview
  • When this is broken down by age group, only 1 out of every 25 Millennials (4%) have a biblical worldview
  • A child’s worldview is basically formed by age 13
  • The primary parenting generation [and teaching generation in schools] today is the Millennial generation

Barna’s premise was that every person, individually, and groups of individuals, corporately, only do what he/she/they believe!  This means that today’s children have a much higher probability of developing a secular worldview than a biblical one because their teachers can only give them what they, themselves, possess.

Upon returning home, I went to my bookshelves and pulled two books out that address this serious condition that we are facing in today’s Church.  The first book was The Christian Mind: How Should a Chrisitan Think?, by Harry Blamires.  As I opened the pages of this book, that I have read on a couple of occasions, I was taken captive by the first sentence in the book.  It simply states, There is no longer a Christian Mind.  Wow!  Is Blarmires stating that Christians don’t have minds?  Absolutely not.  What he is proposing is that Christians no longer possess the ability to address all of life from a biblical perspective.  In fact, Blamires states unashamedly that the Christian mind has succumbed to the secular drift with a degree of weakness unmatched in Christian History.  He postures that, in Christianity, there is

  • Christian ethic that Christians subscribe to in their personal lives that non-Christians don’t.
  • Christian practice that, as members of a church, Christians observe that is ignored by the non-Christian.
  • Christian spirituality such as prayer and meditation that a Christian might practice that is unexplored by the non-Christian.

However, when it comes to all of life, there is not any Chrisitan thinking commonly taking place.  In Blamires’ mind, most Christians accept the morality, worship and spiritual culture of religion but reject the “religious” view of life.  Christians have succumbed to the secularization of the mind.  This is evidenced by thinking that ignores the supernatural as having any part to play in everyday life.  There are those who will share their grave concerns as to the direction society is going.  In many cases, these concerns are in line with the concerns we, as Christians, have as well.  However, they can only address these issues from a humanistic view and, therefore, cannot begin to address the cause and/or the cure for the direction we are all heading in.  The alarming thing about what Blamires so accurately described is that he wrote this book in 1963.

The second book that I pulled from my book shelves was one written by Os Guinness, written 30 years after Blamires’ book was published.  I must admit that I first bought this book only because of its title — Fit Bodies, Fat Minds.  However, the subtitle of the book is what really caught my full attention the other day.  It reads, Why Evangelicals Don’t Think and What To Do About It.  Again, I found myself asking the question, Is it true that Christians don’t think?  Once again, I had to admit that all Christians think.  That is a reality of life — human beings all think!  So what was Guinness trying to say.  His main premise is that the average Christian no longer has the ability to think Christianly.  The result, according to Guinness is,

Failing to think Christianly, evangelicals have been forced into the role of cultural imitators and adapters rather than originators.  In biblical terms, it is to be worldly and conformist, not decisively Christian.

Guinness goes on to point out how evangelicals take their “religious” life seriously but Christianity does not have much, if any, influence on our everyday, non-religious life.  He makes this point when he writes,

We are a people with a true, sometimes a deep, experience of God.  But we are no longer people of truth.

Blamires and Guinness talk a great deal about “Christian” things.  I struggle with using Christian as an adjective to describe anything related to life today because the term has become so subjective.  What does Christian mean?  What does it mean to have a Christian mind?  What does Guinness mean when he says we need to think Christianly?  I am thankful that Guinness goes on to define what thinking Christianly really means.

…thinking Christianly is thinking by Christians about anything and everything in a consistently Christian way — in a manner that is shaped, directed, and restrained by the truth of God’s Word and God’s Spirit.  (emphasis mine)

This is what needs to take place in our homes, churches and schools if we are going to be able to instill a biblical worldview into the hearts and minds of children and youth.  Barna summarized his findings as he closed his presentation last week by stating,

  • Most parents do not have a biblical worldview and are not seeking to develop one in their children.
  • The media to which our children are exposed do not reflect biblical principles and are not seeking to develop a biblical worldview among our children.
  • A huge majority of Protestant churches do not have ministries that are focused  upon helping to establish a biblical worldview in the minds and hearts of children.
  • Government laws are not geared to facilitating a biblical worldview among children.

Barna then left the attendees with this challenge.

So…who is called to, and capable of, leading movement to lead the development of a biblical worldview in the minds and hearts of America’s children?

I believe the only hope is for Christians to repent of the sin of giving our children to the world for it to develop a secular mindset in them.  Then the home, church and school must unite and address the issue of education biblically!  As Nancy Pearcey puts it in her book, Total Truth,

We have to insist on presenting Christianity as a comprehensive, unified worldview that addresses all of life and reality.  It is not just religious truth but total truth!

Once we do this, we must then be committed to following God’s plan for educating future generations.

The Danger of Memory Loss

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This past Friday I had the distinct privilege of attending a powerful Veterans Day Program.  I have always enjoyed and been moved at these types of programs over the years.  In fact, one the highlights of my time at Sherwood Christian Academy was participating in our annual Veterans Day Program.  However, Friday’s event was one of the most moving Veterans Day Program I have ever attended.

Vietnam War Memorial

The reason why the program had such an impact on me was because of the men who planned, prepared and presented it.  These men had spent many, many hours planning and putting together the program.  In fact, on display were three tributes to veterans and their sacrificial service to the County.

  • A full-size Willys jeep made out of two pallets of cardboard, 9 gallons of glue, and 3 gallons of paint.  This work took over 750 man-hours and can actually hold a person weighing up to 200 lbs.
  • A detailed replica of the Vietnam War Memorial Wall; complete with the names of the 58,300 US military persons who lost their lives in this war.  This project took over 9000 man-hours, 65 days, and over 3500 lbs. of cardboard.
  • A life-size replica of the Bataan Death March Statue and Walkway.  This project was also constructed out of cardboard and glue.  It even shows the footprints beneath the three figures that represented those prisoners of war that died on the march.

The theme for this Veterans Day Program was Never Forgotten and was a tribute to the more than 80,000 US P.O.W.s and M.I.A.s that still are unaccounted for today.  This is probably the case in other countries where men and women have stood up for freedom and were taken into captivity.  The audience was brought to tears through videos and songs that were performed live by this group of men.  Several pieces, including the songs Never ForgottenFreedom FliesMemories and the poem, P.O.W./M/I.A., were written and performed by individuals in this group.

Bataan Death March Statue

I was literally blown-away by the sacrifice and talent that these men put into making this event so meaningful.  This is because the program was held inside Walker State Prison and the men who presented the program were inmates there.  While inside the prison compound, I reflected on the reality that many people, including myself, have forgotten that there are so many P.O.W.s and M.I.A.s that are still unaccounted for from past wars.  The theme, Never Forgotten, was not only a reminder that we cannot forget that men and women never returned home from war and no one knows where they might be but also that there are scores of men and women who are serving time in prisons all across the country whose friends and family members seem to have forgotten them and they are all alone.

Since attending this event, my mind has been meditating on how important it is to remember certain things in life.  Unfortunately, the educational systems of the world have led to many people, including thousands, if not millions, of Christians, to suffer from severe memory loss.  Our children and youth are told that they must remember facts and pieces of knowledge in order to score well on tests, be accepted into the university and have a successful life or career.

However, secular education does not place any importance on remembering the most important thing that every person must keep in the forefront of their minds in order to find peace and joy in all of life. What is the culture and the church not remembering that is so dangerous?  It is the reality that we have forgotten God!  When I began studying what God’s Word says about the dangers that come one’s way when he/she forgets God, I became aware of how important it is that God is at the center of all that we think, say and do; including the education we give our children.  I encourage you to take the time and read what the Bible says about the consequences that will always result from forgetting God.  Here is just a sample of what God’s Word says about this subject.

  • Deuteronomy 6:10-12; 8:10-14; 8:19-20
  • Judges 8:33-34
  • Psalm 50:22; 78:7, 42; 103:2; 106:19-22; 106:13
  • Isaiah 51:12-13
  • Jeremiah 2:31-32
  • Hosea 4:1; 5:4; 13:6

Even though it is terrible when men and women become prisoners of war, it is much more disastrous when they become prisoners because of sin and are bond slaves of Satan.  When people, even Christians, forget God, they always end up in chains.  As I have presented in earlier posts, the real danger of giving our children and youth a secular education is found in the fact that God is ignored in the entire process.  Therefore, even though certain lessons may be factually accurate, God is not seen as being the source of wisdom and knowledge for any study and/or area of life that is studied.  The student develops a secular worldview and lives his/her everyday life as if God doesn’t exist.  This always results in imprisonment.

In my book, Kingdom Education, I present 10 biblical principles that I found in Scripture to help guide Christians on how God wants them to educate their children.  Since writing the book, God has revealed three additional principles to me.  The first of these additional principles is of utmost importance.  It reads:

The education of children and youth must have as its primary focus the increase in the knowledge of God.

Here are some Scriptures to support this principle.

John 17:3; Romans 1:20; Romans 11:33-36; Psalm 19:1-6; Ephesians 1:16-19; 3:15-19; 4:13; Philippians 1:9; 3:8-10, 13-14; Colossians 1:9-10; 2:2-3; 2 Peter 3:18; Proverbs 2:5; Hosea 4:1; 6:6; and 2 Corinthians 10:3-5

Our children are asked to remember a lot of stuff throughout their years in school.  Like you and me, they will forget much of it.  However, we must do everything in our power to make sure that they never forget God.  The best way to make sure this doesn’t happen, is for us to always remember Him.  May God never be forgotten!

This Is Important!

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I seldom address politics in my weekly blogs.  However, it is important that Christians deal with government, including politics, from a biblical worldview.  Jesus told His disciples that they were to be salt and light in their culture.  One of the ways that a disciple of Christ can be salt and light in today’s culture is to be active in the political process. I know that the government is not the answer to our problems and that only God can change lives.  However, we must address all areas of life from a biblical perspective.

We are approaching election day here in the United States and it is my conviction that, as a Christian, I have a moral obligation to make my voice known by voting. However, the problem that many Christians have about the voting process is that they look at this from a dualistic worldview perspective.  They see politics as part of their secular, not their spiritual lives.

When a Christian approaches voting from a secular/sacred divide, he/she ends of doing various things such as:

  • Not voting because they don’t see it as having spiritual meaning and/or importance.
  • Voting for a particular person based on his/her personality.
  • Voting for a political party.
  • Voting for what will give him/her temporal gain.

The reality that we must embrace when performing our civic duty by voting in an election is that we must make our decisions based on a biblical worldview.  When we apply a biblical worldview to the area of politics, we realize that we must cast our vote based on the ideas or worldview that an individual and/or a political party espouses.  Whenever I engage in the voting process, I am choosing what ideas/worldview that I want to direct or control my life and the lives of others in my community, state or country.

As election day draws near, I know that I must not be silent by not voting.  For me, it means that I have to take some extra time to cast my vote as I will be out of town on election day.  But just making sure that I vote is not enough.  I must be willing to take a stand for certain ideas and values that are in line with biblical truth.  Here are some of the basic ideas/values that I will be voting for.

The Sanctity of Human Life

We are witnessing the dire consequences when a society does not hold in high esteem the sanctity of human life.  When the culture rejects the fact that every person is created in the image of God and that life begins at conception (see Psalm 139:13-17; Jeremiah 1:5), human life ceases to have intrinsic value.  Because Christians have not voted to protect the sanctity of human life we have witnessed:

  • Over 60.8 million babies aborted since 1973 which is an average of 1.2 million per year.
  • Mass murders taking place in epic proportions.It is becoming all too common to hear accounts of shootings in crowded movie theaters, army bases, schools, shopping malls, and houses of worship.  Just this past weekend 11 Jewish worshipers were killed while attending their Shabbat services in their local synagogue.
  • An epidemic increase in suicides, murders and doctor assisted deaths.
  • Losing of what it means to be human where gender has become a choice. This results in today’s gender confusion that makes it legal for individuals to use restrooms and/or locker rooms based on their individual gender preference.

The Family

God ordained marriage to be between a man and woman as a picture of the relationship between Jesus and the church.  Marriage is the cornerstone of society as it is through the marriage relationship that families are made.  When Christians are silent or vote against a biblical standard of the marriage relationship, society embraces:

  • Easy divorce that finds divorce rates in “Christian” marriages keeping pace with those of the world.
  • Laws that allow for same-sex marriage.
  • The disintegration of the family which will always lead to the collapse of a civilization.

Religious Freedom

One of the most treasured freedoms we have experienced here in the United States is the freedom to practice one’s religion without intervention by the government.  Once again, by either not voting or voting for people and laws that do not value the freedom of religion, we find ourselves seeing this freedom eroding at a rapid pace.

I recently saw where posters were placed on community trash cans that compared Christians to trash that needs to be kept off of city streets.  Christians who choose to live out their faith in their private businesses have been harassed and even faced criminal charges.

These are just a few of the ideas that I believe God expects His people to support and protect as we engage in the political process.  There are other values that are always at stake in any election.  These include the power of the government verses dependence on God and the support of Israel.

Kyle Idleman gives Christians a strong challenge in his book, “gods” at War.  I believe this is a challenge that every Christian needs to accept at this critical point in our country’s history.  He explains how Joshua told the people of Israel that it was time for each of them to choose a god and worship it.  He clarifies what he meant by the term “god” when he wrote,

It’s time to choose a worldview and let it remake you.

Christians must destroy dualism in their lives.  It is imperative that we choose a biblical worldview and let it remake us into biblically-thinking and biblically-acting citizens.  A great place to start is to make sure that we act as salt and light in this world.  This means we must take the truths of Christianity into the public arena and make our voice heard.  I do not believe that any Christian can allow false ideas and values to control our lives any longer.  Yes, we must vote but we must vote, in every instance, to make sure that the sanctity of human life, God’s design for the family, and the freedom to practice our religion are protected.

We must also become more determined to give our children a biblical worldview education at home, church and school.  The goal of this type of education should be to prepare them to be salt and light when they go out into the world as young adults.  We can model this for our children to see by engaging in all areas of life – including politics – from a biblical worldview ourselves.  This week talk with your children and let them know how privileged we are to live in a country where we can vote and why you vote in a certain way that will take God’s truth into the public arena.

The question is What ideas do you want to control your lives and the lives of your children and grandchildren?  How you answer that question will determine their future.  We can’t afford to answer this wrong.

The Key Component of a Biblical Worldview

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Every person forms a worldview.  One’s worldview determines how he/she interprets all of life and, therefore, drives his/her everyday actions and attitudes.  Depending on what definition one refers to, a worldview is determined by one’s beliefs about several key components such as:

  • God
  • Creation/Universe
  • Humanity
  • Purpose
  • Moral Order/Behavior
  • Knowledge
  • Future
  • History
  • Work

One’s beliefs about each of these components is important; but one component is more important than all of the others put together.  The foundation stone of every worldview is formed by how one answers this one question.

Who or what is my ultimate authority?

How one answers this question, determines his/her beliefs about God.  What one believes about God, in turn, shapes what he/she believes about every other component of his/her worldview.  A biblical worldview is based on who God is.  If one doesn’t know God, he/she will never have a true biblical worldview that will direct all of life.

Secular education attempts to simply ignore God by teaching every subject as a compilation of neutral, observable facts that have no spiritual meaning.  This type of teaching results in students developing a secular or man-centered worldview where God has no relevance to their everyday lives.

Solomon wrote:

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction. Proverbs 1:7 (NKJV)

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. Proverbs 9:10 (NKJV)

As I have studied the Scriptures to find what God says about educating future generations, I discovered a very important principle that every parent, church leader and educator must understand and embrace.  Simply stated, it is:

The education of children and youth must have as its primary focus the increase in the knowledge of God.

In order to obey this principle, parents, church leaders and educators must make sure that they know God fully.  If we are not constantly growing in our knowledge of God, we will fail to provide our children and youth with a biblical worldview education.  I remember being challenged recently by something that Tim Keller wrote.  He stated:

The beginning of all wisdom is the “fear of the Lord.” But how do we know if we are relating to the real God? The answer is there is no real knowing of God unless we know him through his Word. Otherwise we are creating a God out of our imagination.

The only way we can know the real God is by being in His Word daily.  It is true that we can see and understand God’s invisible attributes by studying His creation (Romans 1:20).  However, we will only have a superficial understanding of the real God if we are not immersed in God’s Word.  Even though most Christians would say that reading the Bible is important, few do it on a daily basis.  When we aren’t in His Word regularly, Keller says that we are creating God according to what we conjure Him up to we want Him to be.

When a person is not in the Word daily, he/she may actually forget who God is.  The results of forgetting who God is leads to severe consequences in one’s life.   Again, I want to share with you what Keller warns about what happens when we forget who God is.  He says,

  • When one forgets God’s wisdom, it results in worry.
  • When one forgets God’s mercy, it results in resentment.
  • When one forgets God’s beauty, it results in covetousness.
  • When one forgets God’s holiness, it results in a life of sin.
  • When one forgets God’s sovereignty, it results in fear.

As I read these points, I asked myself are any of these results evident in my life?  If so, I need to know God better.  When I don’t know God the way I should, I forget what He can do in my life.  One of my former pastors, Dr. James Merritt, explains it this way.

When you forget what God has done for you in the past, you will doubt what God can do for you in the present and what he will do for you in the future.

Erwin Lutzer said it best.

If you accomplish nothing in life at all except to know God and to worship Him, you will have delighted His heart.

How well do you know God?  I encourage you to discipline yourself to be in the Word daily.  As you read it, always be asking yourself what does this passage tell me about who God is?   Knowing Him changes everything!!!

I share this link as an encouragement to know Him.  Have a blessed day!

The Danger of Double-mindedness

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There is a passage of Scripture that has been on my mind for the past several weeks.  It is found in James’ letter to the Christians who had been scattered due to persecution.  It reads,

But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.  If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.  But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.  For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his waysJames 1:4-8 (NKJV)

As you can see by my emphasis, the part of this passage that has been most disturbing to me is the last part of verse 8.  James is stating that a double-minded person is unstable in all of life!  I am deeply concerned about the double-mindedness that has taken a vast number of Christians captive.

The dictionary defines double-mindedness as wavering in mind, vacillating.  It also explains that a double-minded person is marked by hypocrisy.  However, the real danger of being double-minded is not simply due to one not being decisive.  The true mark of a double-minded person is the compartmentalizing of one’s life.

One of the most common realities found in the lives of a vast majority of Christians is that they have divided life into two compartments — the sacred and the secular.  By doing this they attempt to live their lives according to two different worldviews.  The late Dr. Albert Greene referred to this type of thinking as dualism.  Dualistic thinking will always lead to dualistic living.

The most common way of illustrating dualism is to explain how many people will live their lives on Sunday much differently than they live their lives Monday through Saturday.  This is a result of thinking that some areas of life are spiritual in nature.  These include things such as attending church, reading the Bible and spending time in prayer.  At the same time, other areas of life are considered to be secular or religiously neutral in nature.  Such things as politics, business, education, and recreation fall into this category.

The end result is that a dualistic person’s life does not have an overarching worldview that brings all of life into unity.  Life ends up extremely fragmented and doesn’t make much sense.  It also makes it very difficult, if not impossible, to find significance in what we do and who we are.  James hits the nail on the head — this type of person is unstable in all of life.  Someone who is unstable cannot function properly.

Even though many Christian educators decry dualism, I am wondering if double-mindedness hasn’t crept into our homes, churches and schools.  There are some dangerous trends that I see taking hold in our efforts to give our children a biblical worldview integration.  I believe I need to make a disclaimer about what I am about to write.  Some of the practices that I am going to mention may or may not be right or wrong.  However, I am bringing them up to foster consideration and discussion.

If the opposite of dualism is living all of life under a unified worldview, then we must examine all of our practices involved in educating our children and youth to make sure everything is governed by a biblical worldview.  As I bring these issues up, I ask that you ponder them in light of this question.  Is this leading to double-mindedness?  If it is, does it mean that we are becoming unstable in all our ways?

Textbook Selection

This is a hot button to start our discussion.  I have heard all the arguments from both sides of the aisle as to what textbooks Christian schools should use.  I recently wrote an article for another publication and titled it The Hidden Agenda.  The essence of the article is that all textbooks, both secular and Christian, strive to be “academically rigorous”, factually accurate, and relevant to life.  However, there is a hidden agenda in all textbooks.  Every textbook is written from a worldview perspective with the goal of taking the students minds captive by its underlying belief system.

I am not going to argue the pros and cons of using one textbook over another.  I am simply asking you to consider the possibility that we might be practicing dualism if we say we want our children to develop a biblical worldview but then immerse them in secular worldview written textbooks.  When making textbook selections, do we consider this passage in James 1?  If not, could we not only be practicing dualism but also leading our students into developing a dualistic mindset?

Athletics and Other Extra-curriclars

Christian education has come a long way when it comes to these school programs.  This is one area that I am starting to see schools adopt a very worldly/secular pursuit of excellence.  Again, there is not time and space to address the entire topic of excellence in this post.  I will simply point out that worldly excellence is pursued from a purely horizontal perspective based on comparing and competing.  One is excellence if he/she is better than the other person.  Biblical excellence, on the other hand, begins with a vertical perspective and is focused more on character than performance and achievement.

With this in mind, we must ask ourselves a couple of questions if we are going to avoid double-mindedness.  Have we developed these programs within the context of a biblical worldview with the same intensity as we do our “academic” disciplines?  Many schools have to use community coaches and sponsors to lead these important aspects of our schools.  Are we being as intentional with developing these staff members with a biblical worldview and philosophy of education as our full-time teachers?  If we do not answer these questions accurately, we may end up being unstable in all our ways.

Dual Enrollment

This has become a major aspect of the curricular offerings at many Christian schools.  There are some real “perks” to offering students opportunities to take certain courses under a dual enrollment program.  A dual enrollment program allows students to enroll in classes at their school through an arrangement with a college or university.  This allows the students to earn both high school and college credits.  Some students earn as many as 15-20 college credits before graduating from high school.

All of this sounds great but are there some dangers that are inherent in these types of programs.  Many schools are doing dual enrollment programs with secular colleges and universities.  Others offer these programs in partnership with Christian institutions.  I realize that if a Christian school has staff members with the proper degrees, they can actually teach these classes.  However, many times these classes are taught by a secular professor using the textbooks and other resources from the partnering college or university.

Again, I am merely asking that we give careful consideration about how this could lead to dualism.  Would we hire an unsaved teacher to teach in our schools?  I hope we would answer this question in the negative.  However, are we doing the same by some of the dual enrollment programs?

I have mentioned three areas where I see that dualism could creep into our efforts to biblically educate our children and youth.  There are probably more and this can be discussion for another time.  However, we must evaluate everything we are doing in our efforts to provide our children and youth with a biblical worldview education.  We cannot open the door for dualism to get a foothold.  If we do, we will become unstable in all we do.

Contaminated Waters: The High Cost

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We have been looking at what happened when one city decided to change its source from where it was getting its water.  I want to remind you that the main reason why the city of Flint, Michigan wanted to change from getting its water from Detroit was to same money.  If they would use the water that was right there in their backyard, they would save approximately $5 million.  However, the contaminated water that came from the new source would cost much more than what they had hoped to save.  After a mere 18 months of using the contaminated water, the cost of such a disastrous decision was and is still rising. Consider the following:

  • It was estimated that it would cost the city $1.5 billion dollars to replace the city’s water system
  • Home repairs caused by the corrosive water could be as high as $10,000 per household.
  • Households that tried to compensate for the contaminated water spent approximately $300 for home filtration systems and $100 every couple of months for cartridge replacement.
  • Households who had to go to bottled water averaged spending almost $400 monthly for clean water.
  • One report estimated that the city might face almost $400 million in future “social” costs.These costs would come from addressing education, mental health and behavioral issues stemming from poisoning from contaminated water use.
  • Another report predicted that the use of contaminated water could cost $50,000 in lifetime economic losses for every exposed child.

The alarming thing about all of this is the fact that these costs are the result of the city of Flint attempting to save between $5 and $12 million dollars in water costs.  In March of 2018 it was reported that the state of Michigan was still spending more than $22,000 a day on bottled water for Flint residents.

The decision for Flint, Michigan to switch its water supply resulted in one cost that was much more devastating than the economic impact it had.  Changing to contaminated water led to the loss of human life.  Even though the official death toll was 19, the actual death toll was probably much higher.  Studies showed that pneumonia deaths rose 74% during the 6-month period after the water supply was switched.

The cost that that has resulted from Christians changing the source from which their children would receive their education has been catastrophic.  It is almost impossible to calculate the costs that have resulted from Americans switching to a secular source of education for their children and youth.  Christians have led their children to drink from a secular education system with contaminated water for many decades now.  The poisoning of children and youth has gone on for several generations and the degree of corrosion in today’s culture is almost impossible to comprehend or even imagine. The home, church and school have all been compromised and weakened.

One high cost to drinking from a contaminated educational system is that Christianity has been privatized and is limited to performing a series of programs on Sundays, Wednesday nights and various special events such as VBS, women’s and men’s conferences, etc. Christianity is allowed to operate in the home and church but is being forced out of the public square.  At the same time society has become totally secular where God is simply ignored, denied and/or even attacked.

The secularization of society and many Christian homes continues to carry with it high costs.  Consider the following:

  • Several studies suggest that today’s Christians may be the most biblically illiterate generation in modern day history.
  • George Barna recently reported that only 1 out of 10 (10%) Christians and only 1 out of 25 (4%) millennials possess a biblical worldview.
  • There is a growing loss of understanding of what it means to be human.  Gender confusion can be seen when one understands that there were 70+ gender options one could choose to identify one’s self on Facebook in 2014.
  • Laws have been passed that make same-sex marriage and individuals to use restrooms and locker rooms according to their individual choice legal.
  • Many Christians reportedly support same sex marriage and the idea that one’s gender is a choice not a biological fact.

The poisoning of our children and youth has also carried with it the cost of human life.

  • Since 1973 there have been over 60.7 million babies killed in their mother’s wombs, an average of 1.4 million each year.
  • The murder rate in the USA is up and the suicide rate is at its highest level with a 24% increase over the past 30 years.
  • The number of drug deaths due to overdose has doubled from 2002 to 2014.
  • There are laws on the books that allow for doctor assisted suicide to take place.

I believe the most disastrous cost that we have encountered has been eternal in nature.  Studies show that between 65% and 80% of teens in church today will walk away from their faith within two years of high school graduation.  More and more “Christians” say that the Bible contains errors, evolution is a scientific fact, and that Jesus committed sin while here on earth.  Christian Smith in his study of religion in North America found that many young people are moralistic, therapeutic deists where God only gets involved in one’s life in order to solve one’s problems and make him/her happy.

These are just some of the devastating costs that our society has encountered from drinking from a contaminated educational system.  Of course, God warned His people that this is what would happen if they continued to forsake Him, the fountain of living waters, and go to the world to drink of its waters of knowledge and wisdom (see Jeremiah 2:13, 18).  In fact, God made it clear that choosing to “drink” from the world’s water would become their own discipline.

Your own wickedness will correct you, and your apostasies will reprove you;
Know therefore and see that it is evil and bitter for you to forsake the Lord your God,
And the dread [fear] of Me is not in you,” declares the Lord God of hosts. Jeremiah 2:19 (NASB)

What is the solution to these horrific results that come from drinking from the contaminated waters of a secular education?  The only solution that can reverse these trends is for Christians to return to the “fountain of living waters.”  The costs to change back to the original source of living water, God, seem too high for anyone to afford.  One of the reasons for this is the fact that the poison water of secular education has taken the average Christian home deep into debt because of the desire to consume more and more stuff.  At the same time, only a small percentage of Christians have stayed true to God’s economic system whereby God is given the first tenth of one’s increase and then, he/she uses the other 90% as good stewards of God’s provision to advance His kingdom.

Even if the home and church were to unite immediately and give their children a biblical worldview education, the results would not be seen in the immediate future.  The reason for this is that Christianity’s infrastructure has become corroded over decades of contaminated water pouring through it.  Parents and church leaders must renew their own minds and develop a biblical worldview before they are going to be able to give this to their children.  Churches must also help young adults, who have developed a secular worldview or have compartmentalized their lives and formed a secular/sacred divide, flush out their corroded thinking and develop the ability to think and act from a biblical worldview.

The poisoning of our children and youth has been taking place for decades.  It will take several years to fully reverse this trend.  However, we have reached a crisis point where if we don’t take action now, it might become impossible to do so in the future.