A Father’s Prayer

Father of all fathers, and of Jesus Christ our Lord, Fatherhood is a great mystery. The calling is majestic, and the dangers real. We love our children, and we long to love them better, but we fail so frequently. We worship you as the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and marvel at … More A Father’s Prayer

Growing Up: Six Basic Steps toward Maturity

How can young people move toward maturity? How can adolescents grow into young adults? How can college students move through the college years with increasing integrity, character, maturity, skill, and productivity? Here are six basic steps to help the saplings of the next generation add rings as they reach for the light. 1. Wake Up: Desire … More Growing Up: Six Basic Steps toward Maturity

A Prayer for Friendship

Holy Father, You exist as one God in three persons. Yours is the perfect spirit of friendship. We rejoice to know you and be known by you. Draw your people together into this holy spirit of friendship so that we might fellowship face-to-face and shoulder-to-shoulder, feasting and working alike, in joyful bonds of covenant love. … More A Prayer for Friendship

A Prayer for Patience

Holy Father, When I ponder the world, the church, and especially my own life, I am astonished at your patience. Your long-suffering is beyond comprehension. We, your church, stand in loving amazement at your united patience as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Loving Father, you patiently chose us, patiently made us, patiently redeemed us, and … More A Prayer for Patience

The Moral of the Story and the Story of the Moral

You know the moral of the story. Everyone knows the moral of the story. But do you know the story behind the moral? Every story teaches powerful lessons, whether explicitly or implicitly. We pick up on these lessons, by ethical osmosis, even if we don’t get them quite right or we wonder what exactly the … More The Moral of the Story and the Story of the Moral

Lesson and Legacy: Tell the Coming Generation (Sermon from Psalm 78:1-8)

The following is the manuscript of a sermon I preached at Fellowship Church in Louisville, Kentucky (audio here). Psalm 78:1-8 (ESV) 1 Give ear, O my people, to my teaching; incline your ears to the words of my mouth! 2 I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings from of … More Lesson and Legacy: Tell the Coming Generation (Sermon from Psalm 78:1-8)

“I Saw My Father in Every Verse”: The Enduring Legacy of Mike Padilla (1954-2016)

Michael Simon Padilla (1954-2016) died suddenly last Tuesday, April 26, 2016. I knew of Mike’s Christian kindness from his friendly greetings that radiated across the Southern Seminary campus. I knew of Mike’s strong marriage from a female staff member who’s been mentored by his godly wife. And I knew of Mike’s heroic hospitality from one … More “I Saw My Father in Every Verse”: The Enduring Legacy of Mike Padilla (1954-2016)

The Story Bible (Review)

Teaching our children the Bible is the highest responsibility we have as Christian parents. This teaching involves love, shepherding, discipleship, and modeling, but it never involves less than reading the Scriptures. Nothing can replace the reading and memorization of the normative English Bible. However, children’s story Bibles can be a helpful supplement for smaller children. The … More The Story Bible (Review)

The Jesus Storybook Bible Deluxe Edition (Review)

With four children ages 5-7, I care deeply about children’s Bibles. If the Bible is the sacred book we believe it is, then the selection of stories, their emphases and implications, the language and tone, the artwork — everything matters. The tagline of the popular Jesus Storybook Bible (ZonderKidz, 2009) reads: “Every story whispers his name.” In the introduction … More The Jesus Storybook Bible Deluxe Edition (Review)

A Neglected Grace: Family Worship in the Christian Home by Jason Helopoulos (Review)

“Family worship” is an archaic phrase—and an increasingly archaic practice. It sounds austere and intimidating, like an outdated tradition for über-conservative, tightly sheltered, hyper-Christian families who care more about spiritual solemnity than family warmth. Jason Helopoulos, assistant pastor at University Reformed Church in East Lansing, Michigan, puts the lie to these misconceptions and seeks to … More A Neglected Grace: Family Worship in the Christian Home by Jason Helopoulos (Review)

Praise You, Thank You, Sorry, Help Us: Teaching the Little Ones to Pray

Teaching big truths to little minds simplifies our thinking. Some day I’d like to reach the place where my thinking and teaching could fit Jonathan Pennington’s description of renowned New Testament scholar Richard Bauckham: “He’s on the other side of complexity.” Like any other parent, I’d tried and tried to get our kids (4, 4, 5, 6) to look people … More Praise You, Thank You, Sorry, Help Us: Teaching the Little Ones to Pray

Leaving the Ninety-Nine: Reflections on Leaving One to Bring Home Three

Monday marked our last day together as a three-person family with our precious and only son, Judah. Early Tuesday morning I will say my goodbyes and Cindi will fly Judah to Oklahoma to be cared for by grandparents as we depart for our three weeks in East Africa. One of the surprising emotions arising during these latter … More Leaving the Ninety-Nine: Reflections on Leaving One to Bring Home Three