Intimacy and Judgment with Children

Last time I wrote about how the the Spirit can transform your intimate relationships. I used the example of approaching your spouse with an attitude of encouragement instead of criticism. How much more can you accomplish if you take the same attitude with your children?

I want a safe environment for dialogue with my kids. I want my kids to be able to talk to me without fear.

“Hey dad, I messed up.”

“What did you do?”

“Well, I was speeding. I got a ticket.”

“Right. So what are we going to do about that? Let’s talk about it.” Continue reading

New Wine in Old Skins

No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; or else the new piece pulls away from the old, and the tear is made worse. And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; or else the new wine bursts the wineskins, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But new wine must be put into new wineskins. Mark 2:21-22

I think Christian families are putting new wine in old wineskins. I think churches are doing it too. They’re pouring the new wine of grace into the old skins of legalism. They’re doing it because they want control. They want to control their congregations, or they want to control their wives and husbands and children, and so they use this legalistic approach.

But then they teach grace within it! Continue reading

Preserving Peace in a Time of War

And while He was still speaking, behold, a multitude; and he who was called Judas, one of the twelve, went before them and drew near to Jesus to kiss Him. But Jesus said to him, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?”

When those around Him saw what was going to happen, they said to Him, “Lord, shall we strike with the sword?” And one of them struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his right ear.

But Jesus answered and said, “Permit even this.” And He touched his ear and healed himLuke 22:47-51

There’s a lot of war in the Bible. Early in the Bible’s history, war was about conquest, because various tribes were trying to establish their boundaries. Now the boundaries are pretty much set. In most cases, everybody knows which country is which. We already have empires. And yet we still have war! Continue reading

What Do You Do When You Just Want to Punch the Guy?

Everyone’s going through a refining fire sooner or later, but you’ll be well-preserved, protected from the eternal flames. Be preservatives yourselves. Preserve the peace. Mark 9:49-50

Preserving peace should be our goal as believers, but it’s hard for me. I compete every day, and I pitch with competitive anger. I’m not joking around out there. I don’t feel bad for the hitter. And then after the game is finished, I have to switch modes. It’s very hard to do. Sometimes I can’t, and then I have to rely on God’s grace to get me through. I said last time that God always give you an out. Here’s a story about the night I turned the other cheek. Continue reading

Intimacy and Judgment, Part 2

Last time I wrote about how the hot water of the Spirit can transform your intimate relationships. I used the example of approaching your spouse with an attitude of encouragement instead of criticism. How much more can you accomplish if you take the same attitude with your children?

I want a safe environment for dialogue with my kids. I want my kids to be able to talk to me without fear.

“Hey dad, I messed up.”

“What did you do?” Continue reading

As We Forgive Those Who Sin Against Us (Part 3)

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“I forgive you.”

That is one of the most powerful things you can say.

You see it in marriages. When a husband says to his wife, “I forgive you,” or when a wife tells her husband, “You know what, I forgive you,” a huge feeling of freedom enters that marriage. If you can forgive, then you won’t feel like your husband or wife is harboring something against you. You won’t feel like they’re keeping anything from you, or pushing you away. There are no walls between you.

Forgiveness is a selfless act. I think a lot of people don’t know how to deal with the power of forgiveness because selfishness is natural. It’s hard to let go of it. I have a hard time with it. It’s hard! Continue reading

As We Forgive Those Who Sin Against Us (Part 2)

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If you can’t forgive, you can’t love. There is no greater act of love than forgiveness. I mean, look at Jesus. He hung on the cross. He was dying. And as He died, He told His Father, “Forgive them, they know not what they do.” Even though it’s so hard to do, there’s nothing more freeing than forgiveness.

Look at the man that forgave the Green River killer. All these families were just wearing the killer out, hating on him, and the killer showed no emotion. Then that one guy stood up. And he was so different from everyone else. He actually had life to him. His daughter was murdered! But he understood forgiveness. Continue reading

As We Forgive Those Who Sin Against Us (Part 1)

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One of the most amazing things that I’ve ever seen was during the sentencing of the Green River Killer. Remember him? He killed dozens of women in Washington State, and they caught him using DNA evidence. As part of a plea bargain he provided details on a lot of his murders in exchange for life in prison instead of the death penalty.

We watched the sentencing phase on TV, when the families of the victims were given an opportunity to confront him. We sat there watching all these families go up to speak to him. One woman said, “You know, after you killed my daughter, you put a door over her face. You covered her body with a door. So they couldn’t find her. You know, when that prison door slams in your face, I hope you rot.” Continue reading

The Consequences of Sin

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Jesus knows exactly who you are, and He loves you. He died loving you, knowing you as you are.

He just wants you to understand that. Recognize the love He has for you. He says, “Think about how much I loved you. If you ask me a question about sin, I’m going to give you an answer. But I loved you first. Remember that. I loved who you were first, as a human being.”

Sin brings consequences. Paul talks about it. There will be consequences if you continue to sin. I’ve written a lot recently about how to be a dad, and central to that is the love you have for your children. You love them so much that you’ll take their shame and embarrassment. Continue reading

Blessed Are the Fans and Peacemakers

I think almost everybody would agree that fan violence is unacceptable. It just doesn’t make sense.

This is our job, the means by which we provide for our families, and we don’t take it that far. Obviously we have more than we need in this game. We make a lot of money. But still, this is how we provide for our families. This is how my children will go to college. This is how my house gets paid for. For us, our performance on the field is a serious issue. Salary is a performance-based issue. Our income depends on how well we play. There’s a lot of pressure on us to do what we do, and to do it well.

And with everything we have at stake, we don’t even take a rivalry off the field. After the game, we’re not fighting anybody. We don’t walk out of the clubhouse, see an opposing team’s fan, and want to fight them. We don’t allow our emotions to take over like that. Continue reading