Rise of the nones
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I am of the Baby Boomer generation. We have much to be proud of, but much also of which to be ashamed. Our parents believed in institutions—they were joiners. We were rebels and were skeptical about institutions. We began the drift away from church. Our children, the Millennials, have adopted our ideas with a vengeance. According to social researchers, one-third of the Millennial generation has left the church and may never come back. The most rapidly growing religious preference in... Read More
Just a spoonful
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You know those big spoons that are in your kitchen silverware drawer? I’m not talking about the soup spoons. I’m talking about the BIG serving spoons. On a few occasions, I’ve had to use the big spoon to eat cereal because all the other spoons were dirty. With the big spoon you can’t help but deliver generous amounts of food to your mouth. What size spoon do you use to deliver forgiveness to other people? Peter thought he was being... Read More
Choose to praise
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When I was a teenager, it seemed to me that everybody else pretty much had it going on and I was on the outside looking in. Only much later in life did it dawn on me that everybody else was struggling just as much as I was. They were just better at pretending self-confidence. People are cruel. Children are cruel. Teenagers can be especially cruel. They are masters of mockery, cliques, exclusion, castes, boasting, gossip, and sarcasm. All these things... Read More
Worship is praising
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What is worship? Okay, I suppose that sounds like a dumb question. It’s what we do in church, plus a little bit at home and privately, isn’t it? Most of us have “worship habits” grooved pretty deeply in our lives, so we don’t think about it much anymore. It’s possible to keep repeating familiar and comfortable phrases and songs by rote. But what is worship really? Worship is how we express our relationship with our God. It is our joyful,... Read More
Make a plan
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Do you wish you were more generous? Sure you do—who doesn’t? How to become more generous is the question. You might think that more money would make you more generous. That sounds good at first, but between the lines you are actually blaming God for your lack of generosity: until he gives you more money, you can’t be generous. Since blaming God never seems to end well, let’s think through this a different way. God’s greatest act of generosity did... Read More
Our streets are so violent
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The human race just can’t get over having been expelled from Paradise. We just cannot shake the illusion that there should be heaven on earth. Ever since our first parents decided that Satan’s way of life sounded exciting, we, their descendants, have to live in Satan’s war zone. One of its trademarks is human cruelty and violence. The “good old days” in biblical times were not always so good: “LORD, confuse the wicked, confound their words, for I see violence... Read More
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Parents like to think that their children’s growth and education come primarily from their teachers at school. Would that ’twere so. Our kids’ education is derived to an astonishing extent from their peers, from the people they hang out with. Each year you will have less and less influence on the people they choose as their friends. Each year you will be less and less aware of the conversations and culture that they are part of. It is important that... Read More
All is well
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There are things that go bump in the night that disturb our sleep. There are things that go bump in the daytime that disrupt our plans. There are things that go bump in our immune systems that weaken our health. There are things that go bump through our connected devices that cause slowdowns and flash crashes. We need to watch out for all the things that go bump. There is so much we can’t see coming. Darkness provides cover for... Read More
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I do not have good news. The perception of the value of marriage is on the decline in our country. Even when they weary of casual hookups, young adults today are much more likely just to move in with each other. Just in my lifetime the average age of marriage has climbed from 22 to 28. But I also bear good news. There is a growing body of research to show that getting married and staying married is a powerful... Read More
The role of rules
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Every family has its own set of rules: Rules that dictate proper behavior. Rules that govern the use of electronics. Rules that establish a general daily schedule. Each family is a little bit different, but every family has rules. Here’s a silly question: How long did you have to keep the rules before you were brought into your family? You know that the role of rules is not to bring people into a family. Rules indicate you are already in... Read More