Order The Lord’s Prayer: A Family Devotion

Many modern definitions and practical guides on the subject of prayer are available today. Traditionally, prayer was taught through careful study of Christ’s instruction on prayer. John Calvin who was at the center of the Reformation’s return to biblical worship said, “No man will pray aright, unless his lips and heart shall be directed by the Heavenly Master.” 

In this vein, The Lord’s Prayer delves deeply into the words of Christ to instruct families on the depth of riches available in this prayer. With guidance from the Psalms, the early church fathers, and the luminaries of the Reformation, The Lord’s Prayer points to the singular truth of prayer—complete reliance upon God’s promises.

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Order We Believe: Creeds, Confessions, & Catechism for Worship + Bonus Content

I want to thank everyone involved with the We Believe launch including but not limited to my wife LeAnn, Joshua Torrey, the endorsers, and everyone who pre-ordered it and/or shared it on social media. 

We Believe has over 350 pages of invaluable and timeless resources for your personal worship. The kindle version is available right now for $2.99. That's special pricing that will be available until Reformation Sunday—after that pricing goes up to $4.99. The paperback is $8.99 during pre-order. That's only $0.22 over physical cost of printing the book. After release, the paperback will be $12.99. 

Also, if you've purchased either format of We Believe, please fill out the form below (bottom) to receive a free bonus ebook by the end of November.

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Spay and Neuter Your Children

"It was because in Jesus the Creator Word of God was conceived by the Holy Spirit in the womb of the Virgin Mary, that Christians came to regard the unborn fetus in a new light, sanctified by the Lord Jesus as an embryonic person." —T.F. Torrance

The staged release of the undercover planned parenthood videos has brought to the surface issues that must be addressed by Christians who see social justice, caring for the poor, and protecting all life as an every square inch issue for Christian ethics.

Unequivocally, abortion is an unprecedented evil in our culture. The history of our world demonstrates that evil is cyclical. One generation may have a blind spot when it comes to race. We see this in the New Testament as Paul addresses many of the uniquely Jewish sins as it relates to accepting Gentiles into the covenant community. We also see this in the Atlantic slave trade just two centuries ago and the continued affect of that in American life for minorities.

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Are You Afraid or Poking the Bear?

I have a confession and a bit of repentance to do. You see a few weeks back I came across this “Open Letter to a Trapped Wife.” Douglas Wilson addresses a woman who feels her pastors are not disciplining her husband for his anger promptly enough. He talks about the necessity of due process and witnesses then gives this bit of pastoral wisdom:

I have seen situations where everybody in the family claimed to be afraid of the angry bear with a temper problem, but nobody appeared to have the slightest concern about his views, opinions, decisions, or values. But this made me wonder — if everyone was so afraid of the angry bear — why they all kept poking him with their sticks. They claimed fear so that they could use it as another weapon against someone they did not like, and did not respect, but actual fear was absent. I have seen other situations where the family was genuinely paralyzed by actual fear, and spent all day every day walking on egg shells.

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How the Magic of Being Ordinary Transforms Us

CS. Lewis says, “It is a good rule after reading a new book, never to allow yourself another new one till you have read an old one in between.” I’ve found as a writer and editor that’s a hard rule to follow, but I’ve made it my goal this year to have my readings weighted towards time tested books.

One that I had owned, but had neglected was G. K. Chesterton’s Orthodoxy. One theme that winds throughout is wonder at the ordinary. He reminds us that fairy tales often take the ordinary person and set him on an adventure.  This happens because only an ordinary person is startled at “a mad world” (Orthodoxy [Moody Classics] [pp. 29-30]. Moody Publishers. Kindle Edition.) Think of some of the most popular fairy stories of this last century.

J. R. R. Tolkien’s adventures in middle-earth—the hero is an ordinary hobbit who is swallowed by a larger than life adventure. C. S. Lewis’s Narnia—ordinary children transported to an extraordinary world. J. K. Rowlings’ Harry Potter—an ordinary boy living in a cupboard in Privet Dr. finds out he is a wizard.

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Gay Marriage Was the Church’s Idea

Right now the Supreme Court is hearing several cases related to gay marriage in states that have yet to acquiesce to the current cultural tsunami. What’s coming out of that dialogue has been compelling and surprising. In The Daily Signal, Ryan T. Anderson reports,

Justice Samuel Alito pointed to a near universal historical consensus about what marriage is, and asked if the lawyer was seriously going to argue it resulted only because of anti-gay sentiment. Alito asked:

How do you account for the fact that, as far as I’m aware, until the end of the 20th century, there never was a nation or a culture that recognized marriage between two people of the same sex?

Now, can we infer from that that those nations and those cultures all thought that there was some rational, practical purpose for defining marriage in that way or is it your argument that they were all operating independently based solely on irrational stereotypes and prejudice?

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Ten Tips for Family Worship

Honestly, family worship has intimidated me since my wife and I first had children. Sure I have seminary training. Sure I love to talk about theology. But how do I transfer all of that to family worship?

Family worship was nearly non-existent for the first two years of my marriage. But then I realized something. My trepidation revealed a misgiving in my own heart. I confessed with my mouth that the gospel had changed my life. I confessed that it had the power to change others’ lives. But in my shepherding responsibilities as a husband and father I acted like it wasn’t enough. My family needed something more than the ordinary means of grace.

So here are my practical tips for family worship.

1. Get Into a Rhythm

I recommend having a flexible routine that your kids can count on. For instance, we struggled to find a time that worked for my family for a long time. Years back I realized when we eat dinner, I’m frequently done five minutes or more before my family (I’ve always been a fast eater). For a time this worked great. I would eat my food, and it was a natural time for our family to talk, share, and pray.

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How to Change What Children Worship

A few weeks back one of my friends interacting with Tim Keller on Twitter. Keller made the statement that we change behavior by changing what we worship. Chris asks a question I’ve asked and most parents are asking. How can we change what children worship? Now not every parents parses it just like that, but at the heart of the issue that’s what they want to know.

Putting Out the Fires

We’ve all been in the restaurant eating with our families. Our kids are engaged with the task of eating. There are a few bumps. And in the middle of one of those bumps, you hear what sounds like the cry of war. A child going full out Israel at the foot of Mount Sinai. Screaming. Crying. Stomping feet. Demands are made. Parents embarrassingly give in. It’s over. Phew.

In many situations like that, I’ve leaned back to let my food digest and think, “At least my child is not like them.” Parents care about behavior. And it’s not that behavior is unimportant. We want to raise well-rounded people who function in society and love their neighbor.

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Freedom to Love Your Spouse

“Only if God’s love is the most important thing to you will you have the freedom to love your spouse well” —Timothy Keller

Jesus spent part of his earthly ministry dialoguing with the religious leaders of his day. Often times that took the form of these leaders trying to trip up Jesus. The Apostle Matthew reports on one of these times. “Then the Pharisees went out and laid plans to trap him in his words. They sent their disciples to him along with the Herodians” (22:15-16). Now this first round was about paying taxes to Caesar. He subverted their silly question by answering, “So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s” (v. 21). Just as we pay taxes to Caesar because his image is imprinted on the coins; we must give back to God what’s imprinted with his image. “They were amazed” (v. 22). Round two. The Sadducees tried a riddle about who gets the wife in resurrection if she had several husbands. Jesus answers their question, “At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage” (v. 30) then takes a simple verb is and makes the point God is not the God of the dead. “They were astonished” (v. 33).

Round three. You might think the religious leaders might have learned their lesson, but the Pharisees get together and think they may have found a sticky question about fulfilling the law. “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” (v. 36). As with the previous question, Jesus doesn’t just answer their question, but goes further.

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