Summertime Parenting

With older children who go to school, our house is quiet during the day. But won’t last much longer. In just a few short weeks, we will experience a reverse exodus: the children will come home and stay for the summer.

This presents special challenges for our family. First of all, my study is at home and having little bodies around during the day can make getting some kinds of work done more difficult. (Frankly, their bodies aren’t so little any more, but you get the idea.) Second, we have four children at home (two in college) and so we’re dealing with parenting on a larger scale than some other people we know.

To start with, we start with two biblical principles. Continue reading

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Do Not Awaken Love Before Its Time: Waiting and the Dating Game

I’ve been preaching through the Song of Solomon at the church where I pastor and through this work, my faith is being strengthened in the character of our wonderful God.

In my study, a key phrase for grasping the message of the whole book, as it turns out, is from Song of Songs 2:7, which says, in effect, “do not awaken love before its time.”

In the Song of Songs, this intriguing saying of the Shulamite woman precedes a situation in which she tells her Shepherd-King and husband-to-be to come back later–that the timing of his request (“come away with me, my love, my beautiful one!) isn’t quite right! He’s ready, and she’s not.

I can’t think of any more helpful counsel than this for young people who are pursuing dating relationships today. As I’ve both seen and experienced it, nothing is more frustrating and even heartbreaking bout the dating process than this matter of what appears to be “wrong timing.”

You know what this is like: “She’s interested in me; I’m not into her”; and a month later, I’m interested in her, but she’s not interested in me.”

In this essay, I want to sketch out seven thoughts regarding the “problem” of imperfect timing and the tension it can create in dating. My hope is to offer some encouragement to those who desire to honor God with this aspect of their lives, something that’s increasingly difficult in an age and in a generation where it seems like “anything goes.” Continue reading

Is God Anti-Gay? reflections on Sam Allberry’s book (part 1)

I’ve come across a book recently which I’ve appreciated, by author Sam Allberry; and its title is a question: Is God Anti-Gay?

The answer the author proposes is “no”: God is no more anti-gay than He is “anti-sinner.” But Allberry, in the course of his writing this little booklet, touches on a number of other important aspects to this topic which I’d like to explore here, as well as raise a few critiques, which I hope will be constructive.

First, some background. The seventh commandment (“thou shalt not commit adultery”) is the command that addresses mankind’s sexual behavior, or as it has been called God’s Law of Sex. In this law, we see implicitly several important truths, especially this one:

God is not opposed to sex; nor is he opposed to sexual desire. These things are not wrong; in fact, so far from being wrong, they are gifts of God to be celebrated and enjoyed.

But here’s the rub: sex, and sexual desire, are to be celebrated and enjoyed according to His Word, and not merely according to our own way of thinking. He created sex, and sexual desire; He is therefore entitled to govern sex and sexual desire by His Revealed Word. Continue reading

Guidelines for a Dude Going out with His Wife

My wife and I started having “date night” about seven years ago. It was the result of one of my initial assessments for church planting. The encouragement from godly men was “to continue to develop your marriage intimacy now that your kids have a baby-sitter.” (Parents with young kids know how hard it is to get baby sitters, and when the oldest child can help watch the kids, investing in, and developing, marriage intimacy becomes more feasible.)

Part of that meant we would start a weekly date night as a way to invest in our marriage.

But as it turns out, date night isn’t easy when two people are busy and life surges onward while mom and dad are out at Barnes and Noble sipping a latté.

I was pleasantly surprised, therefore, and a little humbled by my wife when she recently emailed me with some dates for our future nights out, along with some requests, which I’ll post below as guidelines for a dude going out with his wife (slightly modified from my wife’s initial email).

Read on for the guidelines as well as a poll on “dating your spouse.” Continue reading